ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 9 – 15 January

A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 9 to Sunday, 15 January from ForesightNews


By Nicole Hunt


Monday looks to be the biggest day of what should be an interesting week internationally. Kicking off with the ongoing EU debt crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin to iron out amendments to the new EU fiscal stability treaty that was agreed last month.

Italian bank Unicredit opens its €7.5bn rights issue, having discounted shares by about 43 per cent in a bid to raise funds. Investors will be watching the sale closely to gauge market support for European banks.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak begins a three-day visit to China at the invitation of President Hu Jintao. Discussions are expected to focus heavily on regional security in the wake of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, which has dragged on for nearly two years, finally comes to an end as the jury is scheduled to deliver its verdict in Kuala Lumpur. In addition to Ibrahim’s freedom – he faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty – the verdict will also determine who will run against Prime Minister Najib Razak in the country’s next elections, which are not due until June 2013 but look increasingly likely to be called this year.

Attentions turn Stateside on Tuesday as New Hampshire Republicans cast their ballots in the presidential primary. Following the 3 January Iowa Caucus, in which Mitt Romney beat Rick Santorum by just eight votes, Michelle Bachman announced that she was dropping out of the race.

In Washington, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announces whether to move the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock, which represents how close humanity is to ‘catastrophic destruction’. The last time the clock was moved, in January 2010, the BAS’ outlook was somewhat positive, moving the minute hand back one minute from five to six minutes before midnight.

Tuesday also marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre.

The High Court in London is expected to rule on Wednesday whether the Occupy London protesters can remain in their camp outside of St Paul’s Cathedral. Despite legal action from the City of London Corporation, the camp has been in place since 15 October.

The World Economic Forum releases its annual Global Risk Report ahead of the Davos Forum, which opens on 25 January. Last year’s report found that the financial crisis had ‘drained’ the world’s ability to deal with shocks.

The European Central Bank’s Governing Council meets in Frankfurt on Thursday to decide whether to raise, lower, or maintain the euro area’s interest rate. After last month’s meeting, during which the interest rate was decreased to 1 per cent, ECB President Mario Draghi announced major refinancing operations to support bank lending and market activity.

Alleged al Qaeda member Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who pled guilty in October to attempting to set off an explosive device in his underwear on a Detroit flight on Christmas Day in 2009, is sentenced in Detroit.

India is hoping to celebrate a milestone anniversary on Friday. If no new cases of polio are reported between now and then, the country will mark its first-ever year without any new cases. The World Health Organisation considers a disease to be eradicated when no new cases are reported for three consecutive years. Apple is set for a massive sales boost as the iPhone 4S goes on sale in China and 21 other countries in South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Apple is set for a massive sales boost as the iPhone 4S goes on sale in China and 21 other countries in South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the resignation of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose 23-year rule was ended after nearly a month of protests dubbed the Jasmine Revolution. The success of protests in Tunisia spurred similar movements across the region, with widely varying results in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and Syria.

In Taiwan, voters go to the polls to elect a new President for a four year term. Incumbent Ma Ying-jeou faces challenges from China-sceptic Tsai Ing-wen and pro-Beijing James Soong.

Elections also take place in Kazakhstan on Sunday, following President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s snap decision to dissolve Parliament on 16 November. The vote is expected to see at least one opposition party enter Parliament, usually dominated by Nazarvbaeyev’s Nur Otan party, though that party is likely to be close ally Ak Zholl.