Jack Merlin Watling, 8 January 2015
ONES TO WATCH
AFGHANISTAN: Violence on the rise following NATO withdrawal. At least nine people were killed across Afghanistan on Wednesday, amid a Taliban resurgence that is challenging the country’s nascent security forces.
PALESTINE: Fallout continues from International Criminal Court bid. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Palestine will join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 April, a move that will enable the Palestinians to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel. The U.S. State Department said it does not consider Palestine a state, and threatened to withhold funding until the Palestinians withdraw their bid. West Bank public sector workers could be hit hard.
THURSDAY 8 JANUARY
FRANCE: National day of mourning for victims of Charlie Hebdo attack.Expect solidarity demonstrations organised by both left and right. Meanwhile, the search continues for the killers.
SRI LANKA: Presidential elections. Incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces an unexpectedly tight race against top opponent Maithripala Sirisena. Many Sri Lankans are also disillusioned with what they see as Rajapaksa’s attempts to turn democratic politics into a family affair. Overseas, China stands to lose out if Rajapaksa is ousted – his opponent has promised a more balanced foreign policy.
FRIDAY 9 JANUARY
THAILAND: Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra goes on trial.Thailand’s first female premier faces impeachment for negligence over a state rice-buying scheme. She was removed from office shortly before the coup last May. The country’s senior military official has warned the army will “take action” under martial law if protesters demonstrate against the trial.
SATURDAY 10 JANUARY
FRANCE: Charlie Hebdo solidarity march. Leftist parties called for the “republican march” in protest at this week’s attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
SOUTH AFRICA: President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC. He’ll speak at the ruling party’s 103-year anniversary celebration at Cape Town Stadium. Zuma urged his supporters telling the crowd to get to Cape Town Stadium on Saturday to celebrate “the birthday of the only political movement experienced enough” to help them.
SUNDAY 11 JANUARY
CROATIA: Runoff presidential elections. Voters in the newest member of the European Union choose their next president. The center-left incumbent, Ivo Josipovic will faces his conservative opponent, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Although the presidency in Croatia is largely a ceremonial position, the vote represents a test for the country’s largest political parties.
Editing by Paul Raymond.