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Politics this week

North Korea tested a nuclear device about eight times more powerful than the one it tested a year ago. President Donald Trump responded by criticising South Korea almost as much as the North, for seeking talks with its northern neighbour. America is pushing to tighten already stringent sanctions on North Korea. See article . 

Over 150,000 Rohingyas, a Muslim minority group in Myanmar , fled into Bangladesh after the Burmese army went on the rampage, shooting villagers and burning homes in response to attacks on police posts by Rohingya militants. The UN urged Myanmar’s government to protect civilians “without discrimination”. See article .

Police in Cambodia arrested Kem Sokha, the leader of the main opposition party, on spurious charges of treason. The Cambodian government appears to be stifling all dissent in the run-up to next year’s elections. See article .

Latest updates A pastor becomes a pawn in a spat between America and Turkey Erasmus 10 hours ago Another job opening in the Trump administration Democracy in America a day ago The UK Independence Party elects a former Liberal Democrat candidate as its new leader Britain a day ago Roads are becoming more deadly in developing countries Graphic detail a day ago Winnie-the-Pooh brought joy to readers, but misery to the Milnes Prospero a day ago Ukraine’s aviation sector is holding the country back Gulliver a day ago See all updates Australia’s High Court ruled that the government could hold a non-binding postal referendum on legalising gay marriage. Critics say the ballot is superfluous and that parliament should simply vote on the matter.

North Korea’s nuclear explosion overshadowed a meeting in China of leaders of BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The participants issued a statement condemning the test and expressing “deep concern”. The gathering underlined signs of an easing of tensions between China and India, which until a few days earlier had been involved in a standoff near their border.

State-controlled media in China reported that facial-recognition technology had been used to catch 25 criminal suspects at a beer festival in the coastal city of Qingdao. Visitors’ faces were scanned at entrances and matched with police records. One of those caught had been on the run for a decade. Dozens of other people with criminal records were also spotted by the cameras and denied entry.

The face of migration

The French minister of foreign affairs appointed an “ambassador for migration”, who will foster co-operation with migrants’ countries of origin and of transit. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced plans for a new migration law in 2018. 

The European Court of Justice dismissed legal complaints from Slovakia and Hungary over accepting refugees. A quota system adopted in 2015 is aimed at easing pressure on Italy and Greece. Countries refusing to respect quotas could now face fines.

David Davis, Britain’s Brexit secretary, assured Parliament that talks in Brussels over Britain’s exit from the European Union were making “concrete progress”. Yet EU negotiators suggested that not enough had been settled, especially on Britain’s exit bill, to start talks on future trade in October, as Britain wants. See article .

Packed with corruption

Police in Brazil found suitcases stuffed with cash worth more than $16m in an apartment used by one of President Michel Temer’s former cabinet ministers. The stash was discovered the same day that Rodrigo Janot, the chief prosecutor, charged two previous presidents, Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of the opposition Workers’ Party, with running a “criminal organisation” that collected more than $450m in bribes.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) completed their transition from a guerrilla army to a political party, keeping their acronym but changing their name to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force and their logo to a red rose. Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, announced the first bilateral ceasefire between his government and the National Liberation Army, another leftist guerrilla group. See article .

Hurricane Irma ripped apart buildings, flooded homes and damaged infrastructure on several Caribbean islands, including St Martin, St Barthélemy and Barbuda. At least nine people were killed. Barbuda was left “barely habitable”, said the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda. Residents of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba braced themselves for heavy rain and 185-mph winds. Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. See article .

Deal or no deal

America’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, hinted that President Donald Trump would not recertify a nuclear accord signed with Iran in 2015 when it comes up for renewal in mid-October. He may leave it to Congress. International inspectors recently declared that Iran is complying with the agreement to constrain its nuclear-weapons programme.

The Syrian army and its allies pushed into the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, one of the last strongholds of Islamic State in Syria. The soldiers freed a government-held enclave that had been under siege since 2014. And Israel bombed a site in Syria that has been linked to chemical weapons. See