Jack Merlin Watling, 12 February 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
GREECE: Days left to avert a Greek tragedy. A series of meetings between Greece’s leaders and its creditors could determine the ability of the country’s government to agree with its European partners and avoid a Greek exit from the Eurozone.
EGYPT: Candidates register for March elections. With the Muslim Brotherhood outlawed and several reformist parties planning to boycott the elections, the line-up looks set to be dominated by associates of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak. Nobody is likely to mount a particularly strong opposition to the country’s military-backed president Abdelfattah al-Sisi.
YEMEN: Security continues to deteriorate. Houthi rebels who mounted a coup last week seized U.S. Embassy vehicles in Sanaa on Wednesday as diplomats fled and foreign embassies shut down.
EBOLA: Cases on the rise for second week in a row. West Africa’s worst-hit countries have all reported rising numbers of new Ebola patients, signalling the outbreak may still yet take a while to stamp out.
THURSDAY 12 FEBRUARY
UKRAINE: Pro-Russian Rebels start “mass-mobilisation”. Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the Donetsk rebel region, says rebels want to gather 10,000 troops to help them fight Ukrainian government forces. The announcement raises the question of whether reinforcements are in fact Russians moving in across the rebel-controlled frontier.
EGYPT: Retrial of Al Jazeera journalists begins in Cairo. Australian Peter Greste was recently released and deported, but an Egyptian court will retry his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have both now been detained for over 400 days for “spreading false news”. They were originally sentenced to seven years in prison.
SOUTH AFRICA: President Jacob Zuma delivers “State of the Nation” speech. Zuma’s critics are pressing for him to address falling educational standards and electricity shortages. The president is also facing accusations of mishandling public finances for personal gain.
BRUSSELS: Heads of state discuss terrorism, Russia and Ukraine. The summit is expected to establish the foundations of an EU strategy to stop young Europeans becoming radicalised. The meeting will also allow heads of state to coordinate after Merkel and Hollande met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
FRIDAY 13 FEBRUARY
GREECE: Opening parliamentary session must elect new President. Failure to elect a President forced the snap elections that brought anti-austerity Syriza to power. The Greek government is expected to propose former prime minister Kostas Karamanlis to become President.
US: White House convenes cyber-security conference at Stanford University. The meeting brings together security and industry representatives including Apple CEO Tim Cook and the head of the FBI to discuss how to improve online security in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks against government and companies. There is ongoing controversy surrounding the creation of security “back-doors” for government agencies, allowing authorities access personal data.
SATURDAY 14 FEBRUARY
INTERNATIONAL: Global campaign to tackle violence against women. The One Billion Rising campaign sees events across the globe highlighting the issue, including demonstrations in 34 provinces of Afghanistan and marches in major cities.
SUNDAY 15 FEBRUARY
CROATIA: Presidential inauguration. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic becomes first female president in a country that was part of the former Yugoslavia.
EGYPT: Former President Mohammed Morsi goes on trial for espionage. Morsi stands accused of handing over classified information to Qatar and to Al Jazeera news, an accusation that may bear on the fate of Al Jazeera English journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.
HAITI: Start of Carnival expected to be disrupted by protests over fuel prices. Raising tensions over the high price of fuel led to violent demonstrations last week with cars being set on fire and barricades made out of burning tires. Threats have been made to disrupt the Carnival celebrations.
Editing by Paul Raymond.