Jack Merlin Watling - 7 May 2015
ONES TO WATCH
UK: General Election. British voters go to the polls on Thursday in what is expected to be one of the closest elections in British history with only a couple of seats determining whether it will be possible for either the Conservative or Labour party to form a governing coalition with the Liberal Democrats or Scottish National Party. Business leaders and Britain’s international partners remain deeply concerned with the prospect of either a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, or a deciding influence held by Scottish Nationalists with their promise to end austerity and potentially disunite the United Kingdom.
ISRAEL: Netanyahu forms desperate coalition hours before deadline. Netanyahu has allied with the far-right Jewish Home Party to avoid forfeiting his electoral victory after Foreign Minister Lieberman dropped his support for a coalition on Monday. The move leaves Netanyahu’s governing Likud party with a very weak position, dependent upon the extreme right.
YEMEN: Aid agencies preparing to pull out. Aid agencies warned they could be forced to pull out of the “humanitarian catastrophe” zone at short notice due to food and fuel shortages caused by the intense fighting. This comes within hours of Houthi militants launching their first deliberate attacks against Saudi civilian targets across the border.
THURSDAY 7 MAY 2015
GREECE: Golden Dawn leaders stand trial. 70 members of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party are being charged with organized crime as their party has orchestrated violent attacks and has practiced widespread intimidation. The defendants include the party’s leader and several of its MPs, many of whom have been held in custody for over a year.
RUSSIA: German Foreign Minister attends WWII memorial in Volgograd. The Victory Day celebrations come as Angela Merkel restarts direct negotiations with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. In a bid to support the talks Germany’s foreign minister will visit Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad and pay respects to the fallen.
ITALY: Gulf security conference focuses on Libya. The Libya and the Future of Cooperative Security conference in Rome will discuss the ongoing situation in Libya and see dialogue between Italian staff planners and the Gulf states. Gulf air forces have contributed to an ongoing security crisis by bombing in support of proxy forces. Analysts expect that Italy will play a leading role in any potential peacekeeping activities in Libya.
FRIDAY 8 MAY 2015
GERMANY: Summit on refugee crisis. The conference is aimed at both improving German contributions to European support for migrants, and to curb growing numbers of violent attacks on refugees inside Germany. Germany and Sweden, who currently host the majority of Syrian refugees in Europe will likely aim to spread the burden more equally across EU member states.
US: Hearing on ‘London Whale’ trading scandal. The London Whale scandal saw JPMorgan Chase traders Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout fraudulently transfer money through London, losing the bank up to $6.3 billion. The case has raised questions about the enforcement of transnational banking crimes as Martin-Artajo has successfully evaded extradition from Spain, while Julien Grout has similarly been protected in France.
SATURDAY 9 MAY 2015
TURKEY: US training programme for Syrian rebels to begin. The Turkish government has confirmed that US forces will begin to train and equip vetted Syrian rebels in order to build an anti-government force of around 15,000 troops. The programme will be closely scrutinised as there is deep scepticism of the effectiveness of vetting.
INDIA: Modi unveils flagship social security reforms. The reform packages announced in the February budget are aimed at extending insurance cover to vulnerable and rural communities, and to make it easier for the elderly to receive pension payments. Access to banking is heavily restricted for many communities, with villagers having to travel for miles by foot to receive their pensions.
SUNDAY 10 MAY 2015
RUSSIA: Direct talks between Merkel and Putin. As Ukraine prepares its defences for further fighting after NATO warned of a new Russian build up at the border, Merkel will be seeking to hold together the vulnerable Minsk II agreement. Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed on Wednesday. As well as her negotiations with Putin Merkel will follow her Foreign Minister in honouring Russia’s sacrifice during the Second World War. She is expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
POLAND: Unexpectedly close presidential elections. When President Bronislaw Komorowski kicked off the election campaign he was expected to win a comfortable second term, having overseen strong economic growth at the helm of the Civil Platform party. However an uninspiring campaign has seen his rivals catch up and is now expected to require a second round vote. Komorowski was empty chaired at a leaders’ debate on Tuesday.