fbpx

POLITICS

US Capitol siege a ‘wake-up call’ for democracies, top EU diplomat says. The European Union’s top diplomat said that last week’s siege of the US Capitol exposed the dangers of allowing the degradation of democratic values to go unchecked and disinformation to spread on social media.

Twitter stock tumbles 10% after President Trump is permanently banned from the platform. The company’s shares slumped as much as 10% in premarket trading following the permanent suspension of President Trump’s account. Facebook shares dropped 3% since they also banned him.

Three-way talks on Ethiopian dam reach new impasse. Negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have reached an impasse. However, Egypt and Ethiopia, in separate statements, blamed Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks for the new impasse.

Ghana president urges unity after fight in parliament during swearing in ceremony. Soldiers entered Ghana’s parliament overnight to break up a fight between rival lawmakers at odds over the Dec. 7 election that marred the major cocoa and gold producer’s reputation for peaceful polls.

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan elect pro-Russian presidents. The elections centralise more power with the Presidents following political systems similar to their neighbour, Uzbekistan that has fewer political freedoms but also less unrest and close relations with Russia.

After 50 years River Jordan is free of mines. A shrine near the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism on the River Jordan hosted an Epiphany procession for the first time in more than 50 years after it was declared free of landmines.

Central African Republic President Touadera is re-elected for another 5-year term. Armed militias control vast swathes of the country. Successive waves of violence since 2013 have killed thousands and forced more than a million from their homes. The UN has over 12,000 peacekeepers in the country.

DEVELOPMENT

US to allow small drones to fly over people and at night. Small drones will be allowed to fly over people and at night in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, a significant step toward their use for widespread commercial deliveries.

As the first country in the world, Norway registered more new electric cars than those with combustion or hybrid engines. E-cars are almost completely tax-exempt in Norway, so they can keep up with diesel and gasoline-powered cars in terms of price. The electricity required for the e-cars is generated almost exclusively with hydropower in the country.

‘Rural Resilience’: Morocco, Germany Sign Agreement on Water Management. The major goals of the “Rural Resilience” initiative include water resources management, poverty reduction, and resilience building. A recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) predicts that one-third of the world’s countries, including Morocco, will face high to extreme levels of water stress by 2040.

African nations reduce deforestation by 18%. Deforestation dropped by 18% in two years in African countries where organizations subscribed to receive warnings from a new service using satellites to detect decreases in forest cover in the tropics.

SOCIAL

UFO report set to be released within 6 months. An obscure law in the recent stimulus bill has put the government on the clock to disclose what it knows about UFOs. Recent sightings by navy pilots have spiked interest.

Pope Francis backs women’s roles in Catholic services. Pope Francis has formally changed the law in the Roman Catholic Church, allowing women to administer communion and serve at the altar. The ordained priesthood will still be the preserve of men.

Impossible Foods cuts wholesale prices by 15% for second time in one year. The maker of the plant-based Impossible Burger, said it would cut prices for foodservice distributors in the United States by about 15% amid increasing demand for its burgers.

Security concerns over insecure car data. Insecure data in cars reveals everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the mobile phone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories.

Less than a third of Filipinos open to COVID-19 jabs – survey. The survey by Pulse Asia conducted found that 32% of 2,400 respondents would get a COVID-19 vaccine jab when available, while 47% would refuse it over safety concerns.

CONFLICT

Al Qaeda’s branch has grown in strength in the Sahel. The Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has claimed the killing of French soldiers in Mali and condemned the “indiscriminate” killing of 100 civilians in two villages in western Niger. A year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron designated the EIGS as the number one enemy in the Sahel region.

Spiritual leader of Jihadist network released from prison after 10 years. Abu Bakar Bashir is the suspected mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people were killed, but was imprisoned for setting up a militant training camp. Bashir is a spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, a jihadist network with ties to al-Qaeda.

Colombia’s illegal armed groups lost more than 5,000 members in 2020. The figure includes combat deaths, captures, and desertions affecting the National Liberation Army (ELN) dissidents of the demobilized FARC who rejected a 2016 peace deal, and other armed groups.

Pakistan’s Hazara say no end to Quetta sit-in without justice for slain miners. Members of the Shi’ite Hazara minority in Pakistan who have blockaded a highway with the bodies of slain coal miners said they will not withdraw until the killers are brought to justice. Islamic militants slit the throats of 11 miners, filmed it and posted the footage online.

ECONOMICS

The World Bank’s 10-year outlook is gloomy. A semi-annual report warned of a potential “lost decade,” while also cautioning a delayed vaccine rollout could stunt global growth in 2021. The bank lowered its growth projection to 1.9%.

Almost 200 German credit institutions pass on negative interest rates to customers. For more and more savers, money at call is becoming a negative business. Over the New Year period a number of banks introduced negative interest rates and tightened existing regulations. 

Nearly half of America’s states are increasing their minimum wage in 2021. Only three will provide a “living wage”.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached an agreement on oil production. An unusual quota agreement has been reached, in which Saudi Arabia has agreed to decrease their output by 1m barrels per day. This reduction of overall oil production has increased prices by more than 4 per cent already.

US government pandemic aid has brought bankruptcy filings to the lowest in 35 years. This has been one of the most puzzling dynamics of the pandemic, however it is unclear what will happen when the stimulus stops.

Subscribe to Future Trends