Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 10

Headlines From This Week 

  • Warming Relations on the Korean Peninsula – President Trump has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after overtures from Pyongyang. The warming of relations between North Korea, South Korea, and the Unite States is highly unexpected, especially given the high tensions in 2017. It is unclear what can be expected to be gained from any talks, but reports suggest that Pyongyang is considering denuclearisation in return for regime security. The warming of relations between North and South Korea largely came as a result of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games and the differing, yet seemingly complementary, tactics of Seoul and Washington. 
  • Violent Unrest in Sri Lanka – This week saw violent unrest in the island nation of Sri Lanka as Buddhists and Muslims clashed, most notably in the city of Kandy. Reports from 09 March suggest that the situation has calmed somewhat after a state of emergency and curfew were implemented. The Sri Lankan military has reportedly been able to quell Buddhist rioters who had attacked mosques and Muslim-owned businesses. There have not been any reports of tourist areas being affected by the violence.
  • Papua New Guinea Earthquake – Over 100 people are now believed to have died after an earthquake struck the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), with strong aftershocks still being felt. The remoteness of those affected has made rescue efforts a struggle, despite assistance from Australia and New Zealand. Key infrastructure has also been damaged with ExxonMobil forced to shut down all facilities in PNG; repairs and inspections could take around eight weeks.
  • North America Winter Storms – A massive two-day winter storm that had stretched over a 3,000-kilometre front struck the eastern seaboard of North America, mainly impacting the northeast. The storm is one of the largest since the 1950s and has caused ground travel to come to a halt in many areas, and for flights to be cancelled; power outages have also been reported. A further storm is expected to bring hazardous weather conditions to the southeast coast of the US in the early part of next week.
  • Elections in Italy – The Italian elections of 04 March brought about strong results of populist parties. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement won the largest share of the vote at 32 per cent while the far-right, anti-EU Lega party came third with more than 17 per cent. No party nor pre-election coalition has the necessary 40 per cent to govern. Talks between different parties will now have to take place to ensure that a government can be formed. This will prove difficult as the Five Star Movement ruled out going into government with any other party before the election. New elections may be called if no government can be formed.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Colombia Elections – Legislative elections in Colombia are due to take place on 11 March. This will mark the first election in which the former rebel group, FARC, are due to participate; the peace deal with FARC has been divisive partly because they are guaranteed 10 seats in the legislature. Another rebel group, the ELN, remain active in Colombia despite peace overtures from the government. The ELN has increased their levels of violence since the end of the ceasefire in early 2018, though they have temporary halted hostilities for the election period.
  • Tibetan Uprising Day – Observed on 10 March, Tibetan Uprising Day commemorates the 1959 uprising against the presence of China in Tibet. This anniversary often brings protests in neighbouring countries, such as India or Nepal, but these events have been toned down this year. Expect enhanced security measures in Tibet and the neighbouring provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan Provinces, as Chinese security forces seek to prevent self-immolations (the practice, often by monks, of committing suicide by fire as a form of protest).
  • Australia-ASEAN Summit – The city of Sydney will host the Australia-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Summit on 17-18 March. Enhanced security measures and road closures are set to be implemented. Protests should also be expected as a series of contentious issues are set to be discussed including political developments in Cambodia, the Rohingya crisis, and the drug war in the Philippines. Smaller summits and events will be held from 12 March.
  • Resumption of Protests in Togo – After a period of relative calm, opposition groups have announced plans to resume protests on 13, 14, 15, and 17 March. Talks between the government and its opponents had been ongoing since 19 February. The capital Lomé is likely to be the focus of the protests which have turned deadly in the past. Opposition groups are demanding a return to the 1992 Constitution.
  • Elections in Cuba – Elections will be held in Cuba on 11 March 2018 for members of the National Assembly of People’s Power. This election will mark the beginning of the end of the Castro brothers, with Raul due to step down in April 2018. As this election marks a generational change, it may encourage public unrest. Security forces may forcefully crush any demonstrations. In the previous election, the Communist Party won all 612 seats.
  • Anti-Finance Law Protests in Niger – Anti-finance law protests are set to take place in Niger on 11 March, specifically in Niamey, Zinder, Maradi, Tillaberi, Tahoua, and Dosso. Previous protests have turned violent and should be avoided. The government claims the law will allow more efficient measures to be implemented against corruption.

Significant Dates and Events

  • 09-18 March – South Korea – 2018 Winter Paralympics, Pyeongchang
  • 11 March – Lithuania – Restoration of Independence Day
  • 11 March – Lesotho – Moshoeshoe’s Day
  • 11 March – Cuba – Legislative elections
  • 12 March – Australia – Canberra and Labour Day
  • 12 March – Commonwealth – Commonwealth Day
  • 12 March – Zambia – Youth Day
  • 12 March – Belize – National Heroes and Benefactors Day
  • 12 March – Mauritius – National Day
  • 13 March – Vatican City – Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis
  • 13 March – Nepal – Presidential Elections
  • 13 March – Grenada – Legislative Elections
  • 14 March – Albania – Summer Day
  • 15-16 March – Belarus – Constitution Day
  • 15-16 March – Hungary – Public holiday
  • 16 March – Philippines – Davao City Day
  • 17 March – Bangladesh – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birthday
  • 17 March – Indonesia – Hari Raya Nyepi
  • 17 March – Austria – Anti-racism rally to be held in Vienna
  • 17 March – Ireland – Patrick’s Day
  • 17 March – France – Anti-police violence and discrimination march in Paris
  • 17 March – Serbia – Anti-Kosovo independence protest to take place in Belgrade
  • 17 March – Argentina – Anniversary of 1992 bombing of Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires
  • 18 March – Mauritius – Ougadi
  • 18 March – Russia – Presidential Election
  • 19 March – Mexico – Benito Juarez’s Birthday
  • 20 March – Tunisia – Independence Day
  • 20-24 March – Persian New Year (Noruz) – Celebrated in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, and elsewhere
  • 21 March – Japan – Vernal Equinox Day
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 10 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 10 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.