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Welcome to the first ‘Mire’ of the year – A weekly round up of the type of stories and diary dates on international news which often get lost amid the malestrom of events. It’s slightly shorter than usual due to the holidays.  Happy New Year!

VENEZUELA/PRISONERS – The government released 6 opposition activists on New Year’s Eve. Among them was the former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales who had been detained for more than a year. They must all remain in Venezuela and report to the police on a regular basis. About 100 other political prisoners remain in custody.

ITALY/MIGRANTS – Italy’s Civil Protection chief, Franco Gabrielli, has ordered police stations across the country to take ‘extraordinary action” to identify and deport migrants. About 180,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy in 2016, more than the number which arrived in Greece.

TURKEY/PRESIDENT – Turkey’s constitutional commission has approved granting powers which would result in an executive presidential system. If approved by Parliament, and then a referendum, a new constitution would mean the President can choose both government ministers and state officials, and recall the ruling party’s leadership. If the proposals come into effect this year, the current President (Erdogan) could remain in office until 2029. President Erdogan supports the proposals.

BAHRAIN/PRISON – Armed men attacked a prison south of the capital, Manama, killing a policeman and freeing several inmates. The authorities said it was a ‘terrorist act’. The identities of those freed is not known, but thousands of Shia are in prison on charges stemming from the protests of 2011.


In the week that impeachment hearings begin against the South Korea President, Park Guen Hye, the outgoing UN Chief Ban Ki Moon returns to the country. If there’s a vacancy – he might run for it.

Yet another week when it’s worth watching Venezuela. The new National Assembly is supposed to meet on Thursday amid rumours that the government may try to prevent this. See Diary below for other events there.


Jan. 2 – Limited freedom of movement across Venezuela’s borders into Colombia and Brazil set to expire.

Jan 3 – S Korea’s Constitutional Court begins preparatory hearings on President Park Geun Hye’s impeachment.

Jan 3/7 – Turkish parliament discusses constitutional amendments. See above.

Jan 4 – Libyan peace talks in Algeria. Unconfirmed.

Jan 6 – Mass demonstration in Nepal by the opposition Communist Party.

Jan 7 – Ghana’s president-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, sworn into office.

Jan 7 – Orthodox/Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas.


4 Comments on "Things We Lost In The Mire – 1"

  1. Turkey is heading in the direction of having a Muslim Brotherhood like Sultan / president for life dictatorship, one with clear Islamo-Fascist policies & seeking for Turkey to play a dominant role in Mid-Eastern affairs, one which will bring it into conflict with its Arab & Iranian neighbours & the West too.

    This has been along time in the making & is once again a failure of Western leaders and NATO to realise that their pressure on & abhorrence with the various military regimes that Turkey has not led to the strengthening of democratic values & institutions of Tiurkey but has opened the door for Erdogan and his Muslim Brotherhood inspired party to wrest power away from secular political parties backed by the military & marginalize them completely.

    The question now is will Turkey under Erdogan be the next Muslim state to seek to build a nuclear arsenal?

    • Mahatma, The Turkish people have voted for Erdogan for over a decade now, they liked what he was saying on housing, the economy and rolling back secularism. I was in the country during the Presidential campaign and it was very clear in that campaign that he intended to make the role of President an executive position and most people knew where that would lead. If that is what they want it is not for the West to back military coups or their resulting juntas to prevent it.

      • The Germans voted in Hitler knowing what a violent bunch the National Socialists were & the extremist ideals that Hitler laid out clearly in Mein Kampf. The Germans were by & large an educated & industrious people and not over religious, the Turks on the other hand are nowhere near the same level of education & sophistication as the Germans and are Muslims who have been increasingly radicalized for more than a decade in the Mosques. Apart from a few million educated upper & middle class Western orientated Turks who can be described as relatively liberal & non-religious the rest of Turkey is strictly Muslim & increasingly Sharia observant. It is a myth spread by the Left that Muslim societies can accept liberal Western democratic norms, they cant & Turkey is becoming a Sharia law based society which will soon enough no longer be the secular representative democracy that Atatürk intended it to be.

    • Dov Forest Hills | 15th January 2017 at 6:33 am | Reply

      The Turkish military was always the fail safe that kept Turkey from going to the dark side.

      Erdogan castrated the military and destroyed the system.

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