Jack Merlin Watling, 13 April 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
YEMEN: US restarts drone strikes. US drone strikes against Al-Qaeda targets have been carried out for the first time since America evacuated its special forces from the country. Foreign coalition ground forces, probably Egyptian, could join the conflict within days. Thousands have been displaced by the bombing and UN calls for a ceasefire have been ignored.
EGYPT: Bombings in Sinai kill 14. The latest attacks against security forces in the peninsula come after an Egyptian court upheld a controversial death sentence for the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie.
BANGLADESH: Security forces prepare for protests after execution of Islamist leader. One of the leading figures of the opposition Jamaat e Islami movement was executed this weekend for crimes committed during the country’s 1971 Independence war against Pakistan. The government expects civil unrest over the coming days.
INDIA: Hindu nationalists stoke inter-communal tensions. Popular hard right Hindu fundamentalist group Shiv Sena called on Sunday for Muslims to lose their right to vote.
MONDAY 13 APRIL 2015
SUDAN: Presidential and parliamentary elections (until 15th). Sudan’s president is elected in a two-round system, so if no candidate gains a majority of the vote in the first round, a run-off will be held. The election was delayed from 2 April. The opposition has denounced the election as fraudulent and called for a mass boycott, and the EU has said the poll cannot produce a credible result.
KUWAIT: Appeal of blogger facing two years’ prison for tweets. Opposition activist Ayyad al-Harbi was sentenced for re-tweeting verses in which Iraqi poet Ahmad Matar blasted Arab rulers.
US: Marco Rubio expected to announce presidential bid. If Senator Marco Rubio declares his intention to run for the White House he will be the third contender in the Republican primaries, although may run into an uncomfortable battle if Jeb Bush joins the race, as the two have worked closely together.
UK: Labour party launches election manifesto. Four weeks prior to parliamentary polls, the main parties are outlining their policies.
TUESDAY 14 APRIL 2015
USA / IRAQ: Iraqi PM visits Washington to discuss Islamic State fight. Haider Al-Abadi is rumoured to be seeking further weapons deliveries from the US to support the Iraqi army’s struggle to take back areas that fell to the extremist group last year. His visit comes amid differences with the US over strategy following the liberation of Tikrit.
CAMBODIA: Cambodian authorities expected to pardon mothers in prison. The Cambodian government has come under fierce criticism for its policy of keeping children with their parents in prison. Prime Minister Hun Sen has aimed to release mothers and pregnant inmates ahead of the Khmer New Year this Tuesday.
SIERRA LEONE: Schools reopen as Ebola under control. Students have not been to school in seven months, but as new cases of the killer virus continue to decline, the Ministry of Education is to reopen schools. Teachers have been trained in identifying Ebola symptoms. Schools were to open two weeks ago, but the move was postponed.
UK: Ruling Conservative Party to launch election manifesto for May poll. There have been reports that the Tories had yet to finalise their manifesto amid concerns that the party’s message is not positive enough.
US: Republicans seek to undermine Iran nuclear negotiations through legislation. The US Senate foreign relations committee is to consider the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act 2015, a bill that Republicans are hoping will place legal restrictions on the White House’s nuclear deal, potentially rendering the lifting of sanctions impossible.
MALTA: Hunting season begins following Europe-wide campaign against the sport. The country’s controversial hunting season officially opens, following a referendum in which voters narrowly rejected a ban on shooting migratory birds. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has warned hunters “it will not be business as usual” after the referendum, which attracted campaigners from across northern Europe.
WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL 2015
INTERNATIONAL: Chinese-led rival to IMF announces final list of founding members. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has attracted support from many Asian countries as well as Israel, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. America views the bank a rival to other global financial institutions and initially discouraged states from joining.
Editing by Paul Raymond.