Jack Merlin Watling, 26 January 2015.
ONES TO WATCH:
NIGERIA: Boko Haram offensive continues; John Kerry arrives for talks. The army claimed some success on Sunday as it tried to prevent the fall of the northern city of Maidiguri to Islamist militants, but fighting is far from over. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived on Sunday for talks with President Goodluck Jonathan and opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari, stressing the need for stability ahead of next month’s potentially divisive elections.
GREECE: What’s next for Greek debt? Anti-austerity left-wing party Syriza won a sweeping victory in Greece’s general election on Sunday. The party’s leader Alexis Tsipras has pledged to renegotiate Greece’s debt arrangement with international creditors. Greeks can expect a stern reaction from Germany.
JORDAN: Will the Islamic State and Amman agree a prisoner exchange? IS has reportedly demanded that the kingdom release an Iraqi woman held in a Jordanian prison in exchange for a Japanese journalist they are holding captive. The group released a video on Saturday that showed what appeared to be the dead body of another Japanese man, Haruna Yukawa.
ISRAEL / UNITED STATES: How will the White House react to Bibi’s snub? Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has triggered a storm of protest over his upcoming visit to the U.S. to deliver a speech to a joint sitting of Congress – at the invitation of Republican House leader John Boehner, in violation of diplomatic protocol. The fallout could weaken Israel’s leverage over the Obama administration in the Iran nuclear talks.
MONDAY, 26 JANUARY
ICC: Ugandan Militia leader appears before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Dominic Ongwen, who was allegedly Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), was transferred to the ICC on 20 January 2015 after being captured in the Central African Republic. He’s charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.
INDIA: President Obama guest of honour at India’s Republic Day celebrations. Major ceremonies will be held in Delhi to mark 65 years since the country’s constitution came into force. President Obama will attend parades with President Modi as well as delivering a speech. There will be major parades in all state capitals. Pro-Pakistan Kashmiris usually mark the occasion as a day of mourning.
SYRIA/RUSSIA: Russia hosts talks between the Syrian government and opposition. It will be the first time the sides have met since a UN-backed conference early last year that collapsed in acrimony. The talks will be boycotted by prominent opposition figures who blame Russia for supporting the Assad government and prolonging the conflict.
TUESDAY, 27 JANUARY
POLAND: Holocaust Memorial Day marks 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auchwitz. The Nazis used the camp to kill 1.1 million people, most of them Jews. Countries around the world will hold ceremonies to mark the occasion.
SAUDI ARABIA: President Obama arrives in Riyadh to visit the new Saudi King Salman. Mr Obama will be cutting short his visit to India following the death of Saudi King Abdullah. The new King has promised continuity.
UK/RUSSIA: UK opens inquiry into assassination of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. The hearing will be chaired by Sir Robert Owen, who had previously been charged with conducting an inquest into the death. Mr Litvinenko’s death in London in 2006, apparently by poisoning with a radioactive substance, soured Anglo-Russian relations.
WEDNESDAY, 28 JANUARY
BAHRAIN: Bahrain’s Shi’ite opposition chief stands trial. Sheikh Ali Salman is charged with “promoting the overthrow and change of the political regime by force.” Salman, head of the largely Shiite al-Wefaq party, has been in custody since December 28 despite ongoing local protests and international calls for his release.
INDONESIA: Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee will meet the press. It’s not clear how much information they will release about how AirAsia flight QZ8501 fell into the sea on its way to Singapore on December 28th.
Editing by Paul Raymond.