Editors Jimmy Lovaas and Irene Villora discuss the recent surge of cartel violence in Mexico, plus more on a no-confidence vote in Montenegro, the head of the UN visiting Ukraine, Greece leaving the EU's so-called enhanced surveillance framework and a court hearing regarding Idaho's abortion trigger law.
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This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Jaime Calle Moreno, Jeff Landset, Awais Ahmad, Joe Veyera and Irene Villora. Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.
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Copyright © 2022 Factal. All rights reserved.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
JIMMY LOVAAS, HOST:
Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.
Today is August 18th.
In this week’s forecast we’ve got a no-confidence vote in Montenegro, the head of the UN visiting Ukraine, Greece leaving the EU's so-called enhanced surveillance framework, a court hearing on Idaho's abortion trigger law and a look at the recent surge of cartel violence in Mexico.
You can read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.
Montenegro no-confidence vote
Information compiled by Jaime Calle Moreno
JIMMY: Montenegro’s parliament will hold a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Dritan Abazović tomorrow.
The move was initiated by the prime minister’s own ruling coalition partners and comes after an agreement was made between Abazović’s liberal party and the Serbian Orthodox Church, focusing on the country’s relationship with the church.
The Serbian Orthodox Church is the largest religious organization in Montenegro, and the agreement would allow the church to have sprawling rights to build churches, relocate cultural heritage and take ownership of property it claims across the country.
Now, this no-confidence motion is the second this year, following an earlier motion that collapsed the former government led by Zdravko Krivokapić.
Human rights organizations and pro-European parties have criticized the agreement, which was done behind closed doors and with no media presence, calling it “non-transparent”.
Some argue it may be fuelling long-standing divisions between ethnic and religious communities in the country since its independence from Serbia in 2006.
If a simple majority is reached, another early election would be called and the agreement would be set aside.
UN chief Guterres to visit Odesa
Information compiled by Jeff Landset
JIMMY: The head of the United Nations will tour Ukraine’s Black Sea port on Friday. The visit follows the resumption of grain shipments.
Russia has been blockading the port of Odesa since its wide-scale invasion in February and grain exports from Ukraine ground to a halt, worsening a global food shortage.
Ukraine and Russia, however, signed a deal last month with the UN and Turkey that allows the resumption of grain exports from Odesa.
Now, on the heels of that political breakthrough, UN Secretary-General Guterres will meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Turkish President Erdogan to discuss possible diplomatic means to end the war.
However, the visit could also lead to more Russian shelling. When Guterres traveled to Kyiv in April, Moscow shelled the area about an hour after he held a press conference with Zelenskyy.
Greece to exit EU's 'enhanced surveillance' framework
Information compiled by Awais Ahmad
JIMMY: The European Commission will cease years-long surveillance of the Greek government’s budget on Saturday. It will effectively mark an end to the country's debt crisis.
Greece lost access to the international bond markets in 2010 after admitting it misreported key financial data and its debt grew to nearly double the GPD.
After three bailouts by the IMF and European Central Bank — the final of it formally ending in 2018 — Greece introduced deep economic reforms.
The European Commission now says the “resilience of the Greek economy has substantially improved,” and the “enhanced surveillance is no longer justified.”
Now, Greece’s credit rating remains below investment grade, raising its borrowing costs, despite its return to international bond markets.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has pledged to remain within fiscal targets in hopes to regain investment grade status by early next year.
Idaho court hears DOJ abortion appeal
Information compiled by Joe Veyera
JIMMY: The first federal legal challenge to a state abortion statute since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade will go before a judge on Monday in Boise, Idaho.
It comes just days after the Idaho Supreme Court declined to prevent the trigger law passed in 2020 from taking effect on Aug. 25.
The Justice Department filed suit earlier this month against Idaho and its near-total abortion ban, claiming it violates a federal law requiring any hospital that accepts Medicare to stabilize anyone who arrives in need of emergency care.
In a brief, several national medical organizations expressed concern over a lack of detail around what actions would constitute protecting the life of the mother.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little called the lawsuit "federal meddling" and an example of overreach by the Biden administration.
Now, the case will serve as a key test for reproductive rights advocates and what legal avenues may be available to counter state legislation that limits abortion access.
More than 20 states filed a friend to the court brief against Idaho’s ban, saying it could send abortion patients into other states, stressing the already fragile medical systems post-pandemic.
Baja California weekend violence
Information compiled by Irene Villora
JIMMY: Our last item for this forecast is on the recent wave of violence in Mexico’s Baja California. For more on that I spoke with Factal editor Irene Villora.
JIMMY: Hi, Irene.
IRENE: Hi, Jimmy.
JIMMY: So glad you're with us today. Hoping you can fill us in on what exactly went down last weekend in Mexico.
IRENE: Yeah, so last weekend, especially on Friday, more than 30 arson attacks were recorded and multiple road blockades were staged in different cities of Baja California and, according to authorities, suspected Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generation members were responsible for them. This then led to a bit of paralysis in the cities, obviously after Friday, because the people were scared of repercussions to their lives or their businesses if they went out.
JIMMY: Do we know the purpose of these cartel roadblocks?
IRENE: So, local officials have suggested that the attacks could be a distraction method, which is used by cartels to generate chaos and deviate some of the state's resources into securing areas that are not critical to their trafficking operations, or even as a display of power. However, the CJNG had warned the week before that it was going to create some chaos in the area to pressure the government to free some imprisoned cartel members.
JIMMY: Besides the arsons and roadblocks, what's the cartel situation like just in general lately?
IRENE: Well, last weekend's violence surge was not an isolated event at all, especially in the recent context. It has in fact come amid a wave of unrest which authorities believe is related to both cartel wars for territorial control, mainly involving the CJNG and the Arellano Félix cartel, but also to the fact that the cartels are putting pressure on authorities to release some of their detained members. Last week, at least 11 people were killed in a jail riot and developing unrest in Ciudad Juárez and other incendiary attacks were staged in Jalisco and Guanajuato after the attempted arrest of one of their leaders.
JIMMY: Well, in addition to just keeping an eye out for more threats from cartels, what else should folks be watching for?
IRENE: So, so far, after the events took place over the weekend, there have been efforts made to increase security in Baja California. So, some 3,000 soldiers were deployed and 2,000 police officers as well statewide. And then also 350 additional military staff were deployed in Tijuana alone to secure the area, because it was one of the cities most impacted by the actions. Aside from these, the neighboring Baja California Sur announced they're going to attempt a “sealing” of its border. So basically, they're going to try to reinforce the security in the area to avoid a spillover of crime after what happened over the weekend. But sadly, I have to say I think in the near future, as a territorial dispute between the cartels continues and with an ever bigger military presence in the area, I think we're just going to see similar episodes repeat sporadically in the region
JIMMY: Well, Irene, we're just about out of time, but thank you for catching us up to speed. Until next time, let's hope we don't see a full repeat of last weekend.
IRENE: Yeah, hopefully. Thanks, Jimmy.
JIMMY: Take care.
JIMMY: As always, thank you for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast and newsletter each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. Please subscribe and review wherever you find your podcasts. We’d love it if you’d consider telling a friend about us.
Today’s episode was produced with work from Factal editors Jaime Calle Moreno, Jeff Landset, Awais Ahmad and Joe Veyera. Our interview featured editor Irene Villora and our music comes courtesy of Andrew Gospe.
Until next time, if you have any feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing email@example.com
This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed.
Copyright © 2022 Factal. All rights reserved.
Music: 'Factal Theme' courtesy of Andrew Gospe