Jack Merlin Watling, 30 April 2015
ONES TO WATCH
YEMEN: US seeks Iranian help in forcing parties to negotiate. Tensions continue to rise after the Iranian Republican Guard seized a cargo ship in international waters and Saudi jets bombed a Yemeni runway to prevent Iran from landing aid. However the US is hoping that Iran can fulfill its promise to promote stability in the region by forcing its Houthi allies to the negotiating table following the breakdown of backdoor negotiations last week.
NEPAL: Protests as death toll tops 5000. Amidst accusations of a poorly coordinated relief effort Nepalese protesters are blocking roads and demonstrating in the capital of Kathmandu. International medical teams have arrived in Nepal as the Prime Minister has warned the death toll could reach 10,000. Foreign nationals have been reported to be involved in disturbances.
SAUDI ARABIA: King Salman appoints new generation as successors. The new Saudi monarch has appointed his nephew to the position of crown prince in the first generational shift in the kingdom’s line of succession since 1953. The political consequences of the transition are likely to be shielded from public view, but could be considerable. The former defence minister who has overseen the widespread arming of rebel groups in Syria has been elevated to the position of deputy crown prince.
THURSDAY 30 APRIL 2015
UK: BBC to air a series of pre-election debates one week before polling day. With the two major parties neck and neck and a coalition government a near certainty the debates could be a deciding factor for many floating voters.
GREECE: Greece’s creditors meet to assess proposed reforms. European lenders are skeptical about the possibility of a deal being reached. The Greek government needs to secure an “interim” deal to avert a cash flow shortage before a 12 May deadline when an IMF loan repayment of €750 million is due.
UZBEKISTAN: Human Rights Watch release report on mass killings at Andijan. The Andijan massacre took place on 13 May 2005 when Uzbek forces shot and killed unarmed protesters who had gathered in a city square to protest against poverty, corruption and other abuses. The country’s stance on human rights has remained draconian since the crackdown. Human Rights Watch hopes the report will encourage the US and EU to apply pressure against Uzbekistan at the UN.
PALESTINE: Jimmy Carter visits West Bank and Gaza to unite Palestinian factions. Analysts of the Israel-Palestine peace process have expressed concern that there is no serious negotiating body who can represent the Palestinian position. Carter’s visit aims to unify the negotiating position of the feuding Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
INDONESIA: President launches 'One Million Houses Program' in Central Java. The $782 million building programme is to provide homes for low income citizens who will be eligible for a government subsidised mortgage on apartments or houses provided they earn less than $312 or $546 per month respectively.
SPAIN: Egyptian President Sisi visits Spain at the invitation of King Felipe VI. Sisi will also hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister and the Secretary for Energy, Industry and Tourism who cut short a trip to China to return for the unexpected visit by the Egyptian President.
FRIDAY 1 MAY 2015
UN: Lithuania assumes presidency of Security Council amidst tensions with Moscow. Lithuania recently announced its plans to increase military spending by a third to counter perceived threats and work more closely with NATO allies. This comes after a major Russian military exercise in the Kaliningrad enclave bordering Lithuania last year.
ARGENTINA: Further economic instability due to legal wrangling over national debt. Argentina defaulted on its debts in 2001 and has been barred from paying creditors by a US court until it settles its debts with a US group of investors. The government has continued to try and process debt payments but faces claims in local law after 30 April, just a day after the Finance Minister denounced the power of ‘Vulture Funds’ at the UN.
SATURDAY 2 MAY 2015
PHILIPPINES / UNITED STATES: Boxing’s most anticipated fight. America’s Floyd Mayweather will face Filipino Manny Pacquiao for a purse of $300 million in what is billed as the world’s largest ever fight.
SRI LANKA: John Kerry visits in bid to thaw relations after long mutual distrust. America’s relations with Colombo deteriorated as former president Mahinda Rajapaksa pursued close ties with Beijing. Since Maithripala Sirisena ousted Rajapaksa in elections early this year both countries have worked to restore their previously positive relations.
SUNDAY 3 MAY 2015
LIBYA: Trial of 37 Gaddafi era officials resumes. The officials face charges of killing and repressing demonstrators during the 2011 uprising that toppled the Gaddafi regime. The hearing is expected to establish the date on which a verdict will be delivered.
OMAN: Three month general amnesty for undocumented migrants. Undocumented expats are being encouraged to leave and return home without incurring the usual fine or punishment for illegal migrants.
UAE: International Renewable Energy Agency opens headquarters in Masdar City. After growing concerns around the long term viability of the UAE’s reliance on non-renewables this move is seen as helping to bolster the country’s plans to deliver a more varied source of energy and may contribute to the country’s influence at the Paris climate conference later this year.