Headlines From This Week
- Patel Dam Collapse – At least 49 people have been killed and many more are missing after a dam collapsed in Kenya. Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Kenya’s Rift Valley on the evening of 09 May. So far 41 people have been rescued from the mud and 500 families have been displaced.
- US Withdraws from the Iran Nuclear Deal – On 08 May, President Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), widely referred to as the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’. The other members of the deal, including the United States’ European allies, have criticised the move and stated their intent to uphold their obligations under the treaty. This is likely to lead to destabilisation in the Middle East. Indeed, overnight on 09 to 10 May, the Iranian military directly targeted Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the disputed Golan Heights with ‘around 20 missiles’. In response, the IDF launched its most intensive attack on Iranian positions in Syria since the beginning of the civil war in 2011.
- US-North Korea Summit Announced – President Trump announced over twitter that he will be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 12 June in Singapore, the first meeting ever between the leaders of the US and North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in North Korea this week, returning to the United States with three imprisoned Americans, released as a ‘goodwill gesture’ by Pyongyang.
- Ebola Reported in DRC – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 17 fatalities have been attributed to the virus in the northwest of the country, with two confirmed cases. Officials from the WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have been deployed to the region.
- South Africa Mosque Attack – An imam was killed, and two others injured, after three assailants armed with knives and guns attacked a Shia mosque in Verulam, 27km north of Durban on 10 May. The attackers proceeded to set fire to the mosque with a petrol bomb before escaping; at the time of writing, they are still on the run. The reason for the attack is unclear, however, commentators have reported that there has been a rise in anti-Shia rhetoric over the past few years
- Protests in Munich – At least 30,000 people took to the streets of the German city of Munich on 10 May to voice their opposition to a proposed bill which would grant the police sweeping new powers. The rally in Odeonsplatz was one of the largest rallies in Munich for years. The vote on the proposed bill is set to take place on 15 May.
What To Look Out For Next Week
- Ramadan Begins – The Islamic festival of Ramadan is predicted to begin on 15 May, depending on the lunar cycle. The festival involves fasting during daylight hours, with no eating, drinking, or smoking allowed in public areas. In the past, the holy month of Ramadan has seen an increased frequency of Jihadi terror attacks. Travellers to Muslim-majority countries are advised to respect the traditions of the month of Ramadan and prepare for travel disruptions.
- Referendum in Burundi – A constitutional referendum is due to be held in Burundi on 17 May. The proposed changes would reintroduce the role of Prime Minister and reduce the number of Vice-Presidents to one. The proposals would also increase the presidential term from five to seven years and restrict a president to two consecutive terms. Changes would also allow incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza, in office since 2005, to stand for re-election, despite having already served three terms. The country has seen a political and security crisis since 2015 when Nkurunziza successfully ran for a third term. Violent clashes between the state and opposition supporters have been reported during the campaign period.
- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia – 17 May marks the International Day against homophobia. It is a major event for pro-LGBTQI campaigners, commemorating a 1990 decision by the World Health Organisation to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Events are planned in countries around the world. For more see this link – https://dayagainsthomophobia.org/events-by-country/.
- General Strike in Guinea – Opposition parties delayed a planned general strike from 09 May until 14 May. Protesters are calling for the government to release opposition members from prison and are also rallying to denounce the results of local elections in February. Travellers in Guinea, and the capital city Conakry in particular, should expect travel disruption and should avoid all large gatherings as violent clashes between security forces and protesters may occur.
- Opposition March in Poland – The Civic Platform opposition party and other activist groups are set to rally in Warsaw on 12 May. Protesters are set to gather at the Rondo de Gaulle from 1300hrs local time. Exact participant numbers are unclear, but thousands may attend to voice support for shared European values and to oppose the policies of the ruling Law and Justice Party. Travellers can expect localised travel disruption and heightened security measures.
Significant Dates and Events
- 11-13 May – Spain – Formula One weekend in Barcelona
- 12 May – Timor-Leste – General election
- 12 May – Georgia – St Andrew’s Day
- 12 May – Iraq – National Elections
- 12-14 May – France – Air traffic controllers at Marseille Airport to go on strike
- 12-13 May – Israel – Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)
- 13-15 May – Cambodia – King Sihamoni’s Birthday
- 14 May – Israel – New US Embassy in Israel to open in Jerusalem
- 14 May – Philippines – Local and Regional Elections
- 14 May – Liberia – National Unification Day
- 14 May – Malawi – President Kamuzu Banda’s Birthday
- 14 May – Greece – Metro strike in Athens
- 14 May – Algeria – Demonstrations in Béjaïa
- 15 May – Paraguay – Independence Day
- 15 May – Spain – San Isidro Feast Day
- 17 May – Democratic Republic of Congo – National Liberation Day
- 17 May – Malaysia – Wesak Day
- 17 May – Norway – Constitution Day
- 17 May – Uruguay – Battle of Las Piedras
- 18 May – Haiti – Flag Day / University Day
- 18 May – Somaliland – Independence Day
- 18 May – Turkmenistan – Constitution Day
- 18 May – India – Anniversary of 2007 bombing of Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad
- 19 May – Turkey – Ataturk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day
- 19-21 May – Judaism – Shavuot begins
- 20 May – Cameroon – National Day
- 20 May – Christianity – Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
- 20 May – Timor-Leste – Independence Restoration Day
- 20 May – Venezuela – Presidential elections
- 20 May – Cambodia – Day of Remembrance
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 19
The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 19 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.