A very happy and peaceful New Year to all our readers and viewers. 

RUSSIA/ELECTION – The Supreme Court upheld a ban on government critic Alexei Navalny from running for president in 2018. Navalny has called for mass demonstrations on Jan. 28 and a boycott of the March vote.

SPAIN/CATALONIA – Prime Minister Rajoy says the new Catalan parliament will hold its first session on Jan. 17. Parliament will then have to appoint a new government, which could take several months.

TURKEY/RUSSIA – The 2 countries have finalized their agreement for Turkey to buy Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Other NATO members are not impressed…

 

COMING UP – All eyes on Iran: Will the demonstrations fizzle out, continue, but be contained to ‘economic’ protests, or explode into nationwide violence?

 

DIARY –

Mon – German city of Stuttgart bans diesel cars from centre.

Mon – Russia’s Gazprom begins pumping gas to China in a 30 year $400 billion deal – one of the biggest energy deals in history.

Harbin Ice Festival

Mon – Estonia grows by 24 centimetres by changing from the Russian measuring system to the European Vertical Reference system.

Mon – Pope Francis oversees New Year’s Day Mass at the Vatican.

Weds – The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nicki Haley, hosts a ‘Friendship Reception’ for UN member states.  63 countries have been invited.  There are 193 members of the UN.

Fri – Harbin, China, hosts world’s largest ‘Ice Festival’. Exhibits include ice models of the Colosseum and Empire State Building. Geopolitical significance? None – but there’s some great pics!

Sun – Angela Merkel restarts talks with the SDP to try and agree the formation of a coalition government.

 

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