TURKEY/PURGE – The government has accused another 2,700 soliders, teachers, and civil servants of having links to ‘terrorisst groups’ and sacked them. Since the failed coup last year about 50,000 people have been arrested and about 150,000 have lost their government jobs. Most are accused of links to U.S-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government blames for the attempted coup.
AUSTRALIA/MID EAST – Australia is ending its airstrike campaign in Iraq and Syria following a three-year engagement. This comes after both Syria and Iraq declared victory against ISIS. 6 Hornet jets will return home but 380 Australian personnel will stay on to train Iraqi forces.
USA/UKRAINE – President Trump is expected to approve the sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine according to ABC. This could include Javelin missiles which would help Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russian-backed separatists.
MEXICO/HOMICIDE – Mexico has registered its highest murder total since modern records began 20 years ago. 23,101 murder investigations were opened in the first 11 months of 2017, surpassing the 22,409 registered in the whole of 2011 acc to the Interior Ministry, however the murder rate is down from 19.4 per 100,000 to 18.7.
COMING UP –
Mon – Christmas Day in the Western calendar. Pope gives Urbi et Orbi address at the Vatican. President Trump is expected to be playing Golf at Mar-a-Lago, Mrs. Merkel will be cross country skiing in Switzerland, Mrs. May will be in the town of Maidenhead where she can be expected to watch the Queen’s Speech at 15.00 local time.
Mon – President Putin, for whom Christmas comes on Jan 7th, expected to be in Iran where Christmas is somewhat muted but is celebrated by about 350,000 Christians either today, or on Jan 6th, depending on their denomination.
Tues – ‘Boxing Day’ in the UK, and now also in much of the Commonwealth.
Tues – Resumption of sedition trial of Turkish journalists and human rights activists charged with “conducting propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation.”
Tues – Run off in Liberian presidential election between former footballer George Weah and incumbent Vice President Boakai.
Sun – New Year’s Address by King Salman of Saudi Arabia – one of many made by leaders this day.
Sun – Dubai attempts to gain an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for staging the world’s biggest light show.