Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 34
Headlines From This Week
- President Trump in Trouble – President Trump experienced two significant blows to his leadership this week thanks to two court cases. Trump’s former-lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He admitted to attempting to circumvent campaign finance laws, by hiding “hush money” payments and directly implicated Trump. Commentators have suggested that he may be seeking a plea agreement with the special prosecutor in the probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections. The President’s former-campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of financial crimes including tax fraud. Five Trump associates have now been found or pled guilty to crimes.
- Venezuela Introduces New Currency – On 20 August, President Maduro’s government introduced a new currency which revalued and renamed the old bolivar currency, by effectively removing five zeroes. Inflation in Venezuela could reach one million per cent this year and the new currency is meant to control this by pegging its rate to a new cryptocurrency which is linked to the Venezuelan oil reserves. Economists are not confident that the new currency (alongside a host of other measures) will help to control inflation as it fails to address the root causes of price increases.
- Political Drama in Australia – Scott Morrison is the new Australian Prime Minister after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted by party rivals in a leadership contest. This marks a shift to the right for the Australian government; Morrison is in the conservative wing of the ruling Liberal party, while Turnbull is closer to the political centre. Turnbull is the fourth Australian Prime Minister to be ousted by his own party. With the former-Prime Minister vowing to step down from Parliament after being ousted, the government’s one-seat majority is in serious jeopardy and there is an increased potential for an early election.
- Crisis in Uganda – Uganda Member of Parliament and pop star Bobi Wine has been charged with treason by a civilian court shortly after being released by a military court on 23 August. His arrest, and those of other activists, has led to violent protests across the country, notably on 19 and 20 August in Mityana and Kampala. Moreover, police have sealed off the homes of a number of opposition politicians, and high-profile opposition figure Kizza Besigye was also arrested in the capital. Further unrest should be expected.
- Constitutional Court Rules in Zimbabwe – Security levels in Zimbabwe’s capital were heightened as the Constitutional Court gave its ruling on a bid by opposition politicians to have 30 July presidential election results thrown out. In the end, the court sided with the President Mnangagwa in its ruling on 24 August. There is a high potential for unrest, potentially violent, over the next week.
What To Look Out For Next Week
- Papal Visit to Ireland – Pope Francis will make a two-day visit to Ireland, arriving in Dublin at 1030 on 25 August. A series of events are planned for his visit including meetings with the Prime Minister and President, an event at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral (1530hrs on 25 August), and an address at Croke Park (1930hrs on 25 August). The Pope will then spend the morning of 27 August in Knock, before attending a 1500hrs mass at Phoenix Park, Dublin. Security is expected to be tight with a series of road closures already in place. Activists have also announced plans to protest the visit, highlighting historical clerical abuse in Ireland.
- Neo-Nazi Rally in Sweden – The neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) have been granted permission to march in Stockholm on 25 August. The march is set to begin in Kungsholmstorg with the predetermined route heading through Kungsholmen residential island. NMR permit allows between 30 and 30,000 protesters. A counter-protest will also take place, with an event starting at Norra Bantorget in the city centre. Although it is unclear how many attendees are expected at either event, Stockholm police have called in reinforcements from around the country; security is expected to be tight.
- Malaysia Independence Day Celebrations – Malaysia celebrates its Independence Day on 31 August. Each year celebrations include an aerobatic performance by the country’s air force, usually in Kuala Lumpur, some 60km from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. However, this year displays are set to occur in Putrajaya which is closer to the airport. Due to this, airspace around the airport will be closed from 0930hrs to 1030hrs from 27 to 31 August to allow the display to take place and for preparation. This is scheduled to impact a total of 498 flights. Delays and cancellations are expected and travellers should confirm their itineraries.
- Legislative Elections in Mauritania – Legislative elections in the west African country of Mauritania are set to take place on 01 September in difficult circumstances. The opposition, despite boycotting previous votes, will take part in the 2018 elections. Tensions have mounted over a new electoral commission set up in April without members of the opposition. Unrest is expected and violence is likely.
- US Open Tennis – The final tennis grand slam of the year, the US Open, is set to take place between 27 August and 09 September 2018. A series of titles will be up for grabs at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, New York City. Security is expected to be tight. Attendees are advised to arrive early, prepare to have their person and bags searched, and should adhere to the code of conduct for the event. For more information, see the US Open website – https://www.usopen.org/en_US/visit/prohibited_items.html.
Significant Dates and Events
- August – Haiti – Anti-government protests planned throughout August
- 18 August to 02 September – Indonesia – 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang
- 23 to 25 August – United Kingdom – Liverpool John Lennon Airport workers to strike
- 24 to 26 August – Belgium – Formula One weekend in Spa
- 25 August – South Korea – Pro-choice rally to be held in Seoul
- 25 August – Spain – Police officers to rally in Santiago de Compostela
- 25 August – United Kingdom – Southampton and Cardiff LGBT+ Pride parades
- 25 August – Paraguay – Constitution Day
- 25 August – Uruguay – Independence Day
- 25 August – Mali – Opposition rally planned in Bamako
- 25 to 27 August, and 01 to 02 September – United Kingdom – London Euston train station to close for engineering work
- 25 to 27 August – United Kingdom – Notting Hill Carnival
- 26 and 27 August – Moldova – Opposition Protests in Chisinau
- 26 August – Romania – Anti-government protests in Bucharest
- 27 August – Moldova – Independence Day
- 27 August – Guatemala – Taxi drivers in Guatemala City to stage protests
- 27 August – Philippines – National Heroes’ Day
- 28 August – Chile – Striking teachers to protest in Santiago
- 28 August – Costa Rica – Fishermen plan nationwide protests
- 28 August – Georgia/Macedonia – St Mary’s Day
- 28 August – Syria – Anti-Turkey march planned in Tell Abyad
- 29 August – Slovakia – National Uprising Day
- 29 August – Sri Lanka – Railway workers to strike
- 30 August – Kazakhstan – Constitution Day
- 30 August – Timor-Leste – Popular Constitution Day
- 30 August – Turkey – Victory Day
- 31 August – Kyrgyzstan – Independence Day
- 31 August – Trinidad and Tobago – Independence Day
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 34 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 34 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.