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.
COMING UP –
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.