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SYRIA/EUROPEANS – 3 Europeans fighting with the Kurdish YPG have died in Syria. The group said a French national, Spanish national, and a Dutch national have been killed.

ETHIOPIA/EMERGENCY – Ethiopia’s defence minister says a state of emergency imposed a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on Thursday will last for 6 months.

HEZBOLLAH/DRONES – The U.S. Department of Justice has charged 3 men with conspiring to illegally export goods and technology from the USA to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Usama Darwich Hamade and Issam Darwich Hamade are in custody in South Africa, Samir Ahmed Berro remains at large. The indictment alleges the men tried to export equipment used in unmanned aerial vehicles.


Another big Brexit week: The EU Heads of Government meeting on Friday is the last before the next deadline in talks between the EU and the UK. All sides will use the meeting, which also will discuss Poland and the Balkans, to seek greater clarity on Brexit positions.

Jean-Claude Junker’s trip to the Balkans begins and will take in Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania. All 6 are interested in joining the EU by 2025. Some EU countries support absorbing the relatively poor region, others don’t. The candidates need to do some serious work on their legal systems, media, and links to organized crime to be considered.

Mahmoud Abbas’s address to the UN Security Council should be interesting. The Palestinian president will focus on President Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. That prompted the Palestinians to refuse to see Vice President Pence on his recent trip to the region which in turn led to the US cutting aid.


Mon – EU finance ministers meet in Brussels. On the agenda – the impact of Brexit on finances.

Mon – ‘President’s Day’ in the USA which means The Donald will be in Florida at his Mar-a-lago golf resort.

Tues – Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas to address the UN Security Council in New York.

Weds – South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, oversees Budget Day.

Weds – Russian Foreign Mins Sergei Lavrov in Belgrade.

Weds – Bolivian President Evo Morales officially relaunches re-election campaign.

Fri – EU Head of Government meet in Brussels.

Thurs – It’s National Chili Day in the USA. People eat incredibly hot chilies while being filmed and cheered on.

Sat – Egypt’s presidential campaign officially begins even though the result appears a foregone conclusion.

Sun – Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, is off to the Balkans for a 6 day/6 country tour.

Sun – 7th round of NAFTA talks open between Canada, Mexico, and the USA.

Sun – Closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


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