Your Monday Briefing

Poland’s Morawiecki has been appointed for another term as Poland’s Prime Minister with a minority government, for some bizarre reason. He will probably very quickly lose a vote of confidence and be forced out and replaced with Donald Tusk and his party.

The worst storm in a century hit Crimea over the weekend, cutting power for half a million people and with some potential damage to Russian military defenses. It also affected Odessa and is expected to hit Kiev today.

Leaked documents reveal that the UAE is planning to seek oil and gas deals at the COP28 climate talks.

Something like a failed coup attempt seems to have occurred in Sierra Leone, with men in uniforms associated with former President Koroma shooting at/in barracks and freeing people from jails. Whatever happened, it was stopped relatively quickly with deaths and arrests, as well as a curfew.

Zambia restructured its $6.3 billion debt in June, of which about two thirds is owed to China. As part of this deal, China pushed for private bondholders to offer comparable debt relief. In November, China and other creditors shot down a deal with private bondholders that Zambia and the IMF deemed sustainable, as China wanted private bondholders to take a larger haircut. The restructuring deal is now in stalemate, and might discourage other nations from trying to pursue a similar path.

South Africa has returned to stage 6 power outages, the highest level of load shedding yet implemented - President Ramaphosa said that this was a shock to him.

The DPRK has said that it will continue launching satellites, and they are apparently restoring some demolished guard posts on the border.

The People’s Liberation Army will conduct military drills near the Myanmar border as the situation inside Myanmar deteriorates, with the junta in charge taking significant Ls lately.

Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for 85% of global palm oil production, are deeply unhappy with the EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (which will ban imports of cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soy, and wood if produced on land deforested in 2021 or later), set to begin at the end of 2024. They have accused the EU of “regulatory imperialism” and “crop apartheid”, while other governments and producers in the region are being a little more diplomatic and worrying about passing the hurdles.

The Western double standards on Israel’s war crimes in Gaza compared to Russia’s much smaller war crimes in Ukraine have caused the periphery to become increasingly disillusioned with the West, with China stepping in as a leader figure with a consistent desire for ceasefires, thus boosting their soft power yet further - but there are limits, of course, due to America’s global imperialism.

Ukrainian casualties + deaths + missing may total 400,000 for the war so far, based on estimates from analysing a statement by the Ukrainian military leadership, and General Zaluzhny reportedly does not have a plan for 2024, big or small, beyond taking 20,000 citizens per month.