Saudi Arabia

Chess champion Anna Muzychuk announced her intention to boycott the Women’s world championship in Saudi Arabia, forfeiting her blitz and rapid titles. This comes in response to the limits on female autonomy in the Gulf state, which Muzychuk says is demeaning and insulting.

South Africa

Several years of low rainfall in South Africa has led to Cape Town running low on water reserves. The BBC reports that the city could be the first major city to run out of water, a fear harboured by African politicians for a long time, as they struggle to mitigate the impact of drought on the continent.


Germany is still in gridlock, without the formal creation of a new government after last year’s election failed to produce an outright winner. Merkel, the incumbent chancellor, and Martin Schultz, the leader of opposition party the SDP, are likely to enter talks to create another governing ‘grand coalition’.

South Korea

The Winter Olympic games endured fresh controversy over the festive period. Due to be held in PyeongChang in February, the IOC decided to ban the Russian team from the competition because of ongoing revelations about doping allegations. Russian athletes cannot compete under the Russian flag or have their national anthem played.


India is struggling with a constitutional crisis, after four Supreme Court judges challenged the authority of the head of the judiciary and accused him of corruption. They laid charges of favouritism and cronyism against him, causing an unprecedented power struggle at the top of the fast growing and diverse nation.

United States

Rumours about the democratic challenger to take on Trump in 2020 have thrown up the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running, following the Golden Globes, in an all-reality television clash for the ages.