BAHRAIN/LEBANON – Bahrain has ordered all its citizens in Lebanon to “leave immediately” after the country’s Prime Minister Saad al -Hariri resigned while in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Ministry also said its citizens are banned from traveling to Lebanon.

RUSSIA/DEMONSTRATIONS – The Russian security services arrested 263 people in Moscow city centre yesterday. Those held were said to be supporters of the radical opposition activist Vyacheslav Maltsev who has called for a “People’s Revolution” and an immediate end to Mr Putin’s rule.

CATALONIA/POLLS – Two polls suggest pro-independence parties will win the most seats in next month’s snap election, but may fall short of a majority. Yesterday former Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont turned himself over to police in Brussels.

DRC/ELECTION – The long awited election to replace President Joseph Kabila has been scheduled for December 2018. It was supposed to have taken place a year ago but Kabila refused to step down.

EGYPT/RAPE – A lawyer appearing live on Egyptian TV has condemned women who wear ripped jeans saying that “when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her”. Mr Nabih Wahsh is still practising.  You can see the clip here –  Mr Wahsh shouts.


Barring unexpected ‘events’ the international news this week is likely to be dominated by President Trump’s travels. At 11/12 days this is the longest Asian trip an American president has made since 1992. (See diary). N Korea may mark the week with the launch of ‘something’.

We should get some clarity on what’s going on in Saudi Arabia. Over the weekend the Lebanese PM resigned whilst there, a ballistic missile was launched at Riyadh from Yemen, and several senior princes and officials were removed from their posts.

Monday’s meeting of EU Chiefs of Defence Staff sounds dull enough… they will discuss the formation of PESCO – Permanent European Structured Cooperation… dull indeed. Except that PESCO also might spell ‘Military Alternative to NATO?’ Alarm bells are ringing in London and Washington.


Mon – President Trump finishes the Japan leg of his Asian tour.

Mon – EU Chiefs of Defence Staff meet in Brussels and will discuss increased military cooperation.

Tues – Turkish PM Binali Yildirim in USA. Relations are currently strained.

Tues – OPEC publishes annual World Oil Outlook.

Tues – New York Mayoral election. Incumbent Bill de Blasio (D) overwhelming favourite to win.

Tues – President Trump in S Korea and will address National Assembly.

Weds – President Trump in Beijing. N Korea top of the agenda.

Weds –  French President Emmanuel Macron visits UAE.

Thurs –Trump still in China.

Thurs – EU chief negotiator and UK’s David Davis continue  Brexit talks.

Fri –      EU Foreign Ministers meet in Brussels.

Fri –      APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam. Donald Trump attending

Sat –     Trump still in Vietnam.

Sun –  President Trump in Philippines.

Sun – France, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Norway expected to extend border controls until May.






6 Comments on "Things We Lost In The Mire – 44"

  1. Hopefully we won’t see the news go quiet on the “Paradise Papers” which have shown that the Queen has been investing money in offshore tax havens. Interestingly, the UK media has notably refrained from using the phrase “tax avoidance”, not a courtesy they have extended to the many others caught engaging in similar practices over the years.

    The US joint chiefs have finally said what many of us already knew, namely that the only certain way to disarm North Korea is via a ground invasion with huge projected casualties for South Korea.

    • Not sure it’s the same given she isn’t legally obliged to pay tax. I seem to recall that it’s voluntary.

      Not that it matters, I’d be surprised if she even knows anything about any of this. Not sure she’d interested in anything unless it’s got four legs and craps in a stable…

      • Yes David, she pays a voluntary amount equal to her income tax liability, and boy did the royalists make a big fuss of what a generous and honourable act it was to do so. Of course if that amount is whittled down to virtually nothing by parking investments offshore it doesn’t seem such a generous and honourable gesture after all. You will be right about her not knowing about it, and your wider point is undoubtedly true as well. Just never ceases to amaze me the level of toadiness on display when it comes to the Queen.

        • True but I’ve long come to the conclusion that I prefer our system to that of America. Head of State with no real power towards whom we can direct our adoration and a PM with real power towards who we can direct our spite is better than a Head of State with political power who can use ‘respect for the President’ as a way to deflect real criticism. In a strange way, we have a very pragmatic system.

          • Would be fine with it if it wasn’t based on heredity. Seems bizarre in a country where people go on incessantly about the importance of equality. Strangely enough, a British PM holding a large majority actually wields more power than your average US president, but yes I prefer our system too.

          • I agree. I think it’s a cruel business, though admittedly with a few perks. The problem is that I don’t see an alternative which wouldn’t give the vote to the British people who I wouldn’t trust not to make Katie Price our monarch. It we were truly enlightened we’d celebrate something abstract. Perhaps a 200 year old tortoise we’d venerate but wouldn’t feel the pain of duty. I mean, the whole bloody thing is nonsense anyway so we should accept it. The world would think we’re bonkers but that’s no bad thing. They think we’re bonkers already.

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