World roundup: June 7 2023
Stories from Sudan, Ukraine, Colombia, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
June 7, 1494: In the Treaty of Tordesillas, Spain and Portugal agree to divide the world, or at least any “newly discovered” parts of it, along a north-south meridian that runs through the eastern half of modern Brazil. The negotiations superseded a decree previously issued by Pope Alexander VI that threatened both Portugal’s control of the around-Africa sea route to India and any claims it had on India itself. The agreement, which was mostly undefinable (and therefore unenforceable) but did the job in terms of avoiding a Spanish-Portuguese conflict, left most of the recently-“discovered” Americas in Spanish hands save what eventually became Brazil. It was duly ignored by later expansionist European powers—particularly Protestant England, which viewed the treaty as a Catholic accord that it was not obliged to honor.
June 7, 1942: After a four day battle and thanks in large part to having decrypted Japan’s pre-battle communications, the US Pacific Fleet defeats a larger Japanese naval force in the Battle of Midway, around the Midway Atoll west of Hawaii. One of a handful of naval battles in the running for most decisive in history, Midway was the first major US victory in World War II’s Pacific Theater and permanently degraded the Japanese fleet, which lost four large aircraft carriers and almost 250 planes. The US victory gave it an opening to go on the offensive following the Pearl Harbor attack in December, helping to shift the balance of power in the Pacific.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
Official results from Tuesday’s Kuwaiti parliamentary election are in and…there doesn’t seem to be any consensus as to what they mean. According to Reuters there are 12 new members in the 50 member National Assembly, and since they’re all independents by law it’s hard to know whether they’ll align with the government (which could reduce gridlock) or not. One thing that is certain is that only one woman was elected to the new parliament, down from two in the previous session. Upcoming votes on a speaker and the confirmation of a new cabinet could reveal the parliament’s overall leanings.
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