Special ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events until 8 January 2012

A special round up of world events from Monday, 26 December to Sunday, 8 January 2012 from ForesightNews


By Nicole Hunt



Here’s a special two-week roundup of big international events planned over the holiday period. While we can’t predict tsunamis, terrorist attacks, or sudden political change, we can give you a heads up on the big stories that are sure to go ahead.

Following last week’s Commonwealth of Independent States and Gorbachev resignation anniversaries, Boxing Day formally marks the 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Soviet parliament voted the USSR out of existence on 26 December, 1991.

Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has pledged to begin a public fast on 27 December to coincide with an extended session of the Indian Parliament scheduled to debate a new anti-corruption bill. The Jan Lokpal Bill was drafted earlier this year after a five-day hunger strike by Hazare prompted nationwide protests.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trial resumes on 28 December after a long hiatus to allow lawyers for the families of victims to challenge the trial judge and venue. The challenges were rejected on 7 December, so the trial starts back up today before Judge Ahmed Refaat.

The funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il takes place on 28 December. If the usual military displays and the public mourning since Kim’s death are anything to go by, it’s sure to be a spectacular event.

North Korea’s mourning period officially ends on 29 December, and will be marked by a gun salute, three minutes of silence nationwide, and the simultaneous sounding of the horns of all trains and ships in the country.

31 December marks the deadline issued by the Tripoli Council for the city’s residents to hand in any weapons they may be holding on to. The move is part of a push to disarm the city, which has been plagued by gun battles between rival militias since the declaration of liberation.

The controversial ban on bullfighting in Catalonia, which was approved on 28 July, 2010, comes into effect on 1 January. Catalonia is the first region in mainland Spain to outlaw the sport, which it has done on the grounds of animal cruelty.

There are two big polls scheduled for 3 January. Iowa Republicans gather statewide to kick-off the selection process for the Republican presidential nominee. The race has been and remains unpredictable; recent polls have alternately shown Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich leading in the Hawkeye State. Voters seem unable to settle on any particular candidate and there are no signs of this changing in the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s nine remaining provinces take their turns at the ballot box following two earlier rounds in the country’s other 18 regions. Preliminary results from the earlier rounds indicated strong support for the Muslim Brotherhood, but the full make-up of the People’s Assembly won’t be known until later this month.

The African National Congress kicks off three days of celebrations on 6 January to celebrate the party’s 100th anniversary. The ANC was founded in 1912 to help further the rights of South Africa’s black population, and first came to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994. President Jacob Zuma delivers the Centennial address on 8 January.