IRAQ/MOSUL – Iraqi special operations forces have now cleared Islamic State fighters from most of the Mosul University campus.  Other units made gained along the eastern bank of the river Tigris. Once these gains are consolidated the Iraqi forces can begin preparations to push into western Mosul.

TUNISIA/DEMO – Demonstrations broke out in Sidi Bouzid, Meknassi and Gafsa over the weekend on the 6th anniversary of the beginning of the uprising which overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Unemployment and corruption remain high and the tourism industry has been badly hit by recent terror attacks.

OBAMA/IMMIGRANTS – President Obama has ended the ‘wet foot/dry foot’ immigration policy for Cubans.  Cubans who made it to land were given refuge, those caught at sea were repatriated. Now all Cubans arriving illegally will be turned away. Obama oversaw a 23% rise in deportations compared to the Bush presidency.

GERMANY/NEO NAZIS – Police arrested 2 men connected to a neo-Nazi group known as the ‘Oldschool Society in the town of Lauterecken. They are being held on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack after explosives were discovered.

PHILIPPINES/DUTERTE – President Duterte says martial law could be imposed if his country’s drugs problem get worse.  6,000 people have already been killed in 6 months during a drugs crackdown. The legality of such a move under the Philippines Constitution is a moot point.

CHINA/EXPORTS – Chinese exports fell 7.7 percent in 2016 compared to 2105. If, and it remains an if, the incoming Trump administration sparks a trade war with China, Beijing will be starting from its lowest export figures in 6 years.

COMING UP

Lots of activity on the economic front with the annual 4-day World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland beginning on Tuesday.  For the first time a Chinese president will attend. Xi’s presence is a signal that China remains committed to globalization. On the same day UK PM Theresa May gives a speech on Brexit. Details will be sketchy but we can expect a broad-brush layout of the UK’s Brexit goals. Mrs May is also expected in Turkey this week. Oh, and President Trump will be inaugurated on Friday.

DIARY

Jan 16 – Moldovan President Igor Dodon in Moscow to see President Putin.

Jan 17 – UK PM Theresa May speech on Brexit strategy

Jan 17/20 – World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Jan 16 – Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Vietnam at end of trip during which he visited the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia.

Jan 18 – UN report on Iran sanctions violations and update on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Jan 19 – Gambia’s presidential inauguration. But who will be inaugurated?

Jan 20 – Donald Trump sworn in as the President of the United States.

Jan 21 – Right-wing Eurosceptic nationalist parties in the European Parliament hold ‘The Europe of Nations and Freedom’ meeting in Germany. AFD from Germany, Dutch Freedom Party, and French National Front all attending.

Jan 21 – Egyptian delegation visits USA to lobby politicians to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Jan 22 – French Socialist Party holds 1st round of primary elections.

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