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?
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.
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.