World roundup: June 26 2023
Stories from Sierra Leone, Russia, Guatemala, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
June 26, 1243: The Battle of Köse Dağ
June 26, 1409: The Council of Pisa elects Cardinal (though this is somewhat debatable) Peter of Candia as Pope Alexander V. This otherwise unremarkable event is noteworthy inasmuch as there were already two other popes in place at the time, Gregory XII in Rome and Benedict XIII in Avignon. Pisa was held at the height of the “Western Schism,” after a group of cardinals in Rome had elected their own pope to counter the French-controlled papacy in Avignon. A group of senior Catholic Church officials decided to call a general council to depose both popes and elect a new one who would officially heal the schism. As you might expect, neither of the two pre-existing popes recognized his deposition and so the Church found itself with three popes instead of one, which was ideal, or even two, which while still bad was not as bad as three.
June 26, 1794: The French Republican army defeats the Coalition at the Battle of Fleurus, in the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium nowadays). The victory forced the Coalition to retreat and thereby opened the Netherlands to French forces. This marked the death knell for the Dutch Republic and set France on course to winning the War of the First Coalition. The battle is also notable in that it involved the first successful use of aircraft (a French reconnaissance balloon) in a military context.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
In a new interview with The Guardian, Southern Transitional Council leader Aidarus al-Zoubaidi portrays the concept of an independent southern Yemen as nearly a fait accompli, though he did promise that the STC would “abide by all international laws and UN charters” before holding an independence referendum. I don’t think there’s much point parsing Zoubaidi’s interview in detail, but his comments are an important reminder that while the STC is being virtually locked out of ongoing talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, the political future of southern Yemen is anything but settled.