February Preview 2022

Festivals & awareness events in February 2022

1 February

Chinese New Year celebrations

LOW RISK

1 February - 1 March

Black History Month in the United States

LOW RISK

5-12 February

Sapporo Snow Festival

LOW RISK

6 February

Queen's Platinum Jubilee in the United Kingdom

The date marks the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. Public celebrations will occur all around the year in the UK, including a long four-day weekend in summer. A highly anticipated Platinum Party is likely to occur at the Palace in February. The celebrations are also announced throughout the Commonwealth.
LOW RISK

12 February - 1 March

Venice Carnival in Italy

LOW RISK

14 February

International Epilepsy Day

NEGLIGIBLE RISK

21 February

International Mother Language Day

NEGLIGIBLE RISK

Sport Events in February 2022

4-20 February

Winter Olympics in Beijing, China

LOW RISK

6 February

Women's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Final in India

The 20th edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup will be held in India from 20 January to 6 February, with twelve teams competing for the prestigious trophy. Mumbai and Pune have been chosen to host the matches. The championship will be played in Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, D Y Patil Sports Stadium in Navi Mumbai, and Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.
LOW RISK

13 February

56th Super Bowl in the United States

LOW RISK

Summits in February 2022

17-18 February

African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Summit in Brussels, Belgium

The 6th AU-EU Summit is scheduled on 17 and 18 February and takes place every three years, alternating between Africa and Europe. Several themes for the summit were laid out in December 2021. New economic and financial deals with Africa, health education, climate agenda, security, and migration are among them. The summit also aims to establish a genuine system of peace and prosperity to build a shared future.
LOW RISK

Elections in February 2022

6 February

General Election in Costa Rica

The general election will be conducted on 6 February. The coun-try is set to elect a president, two vice presidents, and all 57 seats in the legislature, as it does every four years. A candidate must receive at least 40 percent of the vote on election day to win. If none achieve the benchmark, the top two finishers will proceed to a runoff on 3 April.
LOW RISK

27 February

General Election in Mali

MEDIUM RISK

Independence-/National Days in February 2022

4 February

Independence day in Sri Lanka

LOW RISK

6 February

National (Waitang) Day in New Zeeland

The national day, also known as Waitangi Day is a public holiday celebrated in the country. Commemorations are centered in Waitangi but are held throughout major cities. Public celebra-tions include Māori ceremonies as well as sporting events, music, and parades.
LOW RISK

18 February

Independence Day in The Gambia

LOW RISK

23 February

National Day in Brunei

LOW RISK

24 February

Independence day in Estonia

LOW RISK

25 February

Independence Day in Kuwait

LOW RISK

27 February

Independence Day in Dominican Republic

LOW RISK
Safeture Preview February 2022 Ruling Junta Tightens Grip In Mali Göita ECOWAS
Misha Desai analysis Mali

Ruling junta tightens grip in Mali

On 24 May 2021, the Malian Army led by then Vice-President Assimi Goïta staged a coup, forcing out an interim civilian government, effectively mirroring a similar seizure of power in August 2020.
Now in charge, Göita has since postponed general elections set to take place in February 2022 and instead proposed a 5-year transition period that will culminate in elections at the end of 2026. The move has understandably worried many in the international community, who see the power grab as a way for Göita to entrench the military’s role in the Malian government. As such, 2022 will prove a pivotal year in Mali’s efforts to ensure a democratic transition in a country that has seen two coups in two years.
In lieu of Goïta’s decision to postpone elections and his seeming reluctance to initiate democratic reforms, the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has ramped up sanctions on Mali’s ruling junta. The regional bloc has closed land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali and frozen assets and stopped transactions with financial institutions in the region. These measures are intended to force the hand of the military government, as similar sanctions imposed in 2020 ushered in the move towards the transition plan for a return to civilian rule.
However, the transitional government has cited security concerns as the factor behind the postponement of the country’s election. An insurgency continues to rage in the central and northern regions of the
country. France, a longstanding security ally, has gradually reduced its presence amid a deterioration in relations. The current administration has also shown interest in deploying Russian-backed security contractors, like the Wagner Group, to fill the security vacuum and bolster capabilities in the country. Such a move further risks alienating the administration on the international stage as these groups have been accused of human rights violations and have a track record of further destabilizing regions.
ECOWAS is banking on its pressure forcing Goïta and his administration to call for democratic reforms. However, leaving Mali politically and economically isolated may force the junta to deepen its reliance on Russian support. Economic sanctions also threaten an already dire humanitarian situation in the country that could trigger mass protests, similar to those that preceded the 2020 coup. Considering the raft of problems, the proposed February date seems too short a timeframe to hold free and fair elections. This could prove a volatile year for the current administration in a country that has seen coups as a means of succession.
Safeture Preview February 2022 Lunar New Year Asia Year Of The Tiger
Chan analysis Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year set to roar into parts of Asia

Events to welcome the Lunar New Year are expected to be held in multiple countries in the Asia region on 1 February.
With the beginning of another year in the Lunar calendar, traditional festivities with a modern twist will mark the celebration that usually lasts for at least a fortnight.
Large-scale events will be held in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. While the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is the most well-known celebration for many across the globe, there are also several variations to mark the new year in other countries. Such as “Tet” in Vietnam or “Seollal” in South Korea also observe various customs.
In China, the Spring Festival will usually be preceded by a large-scale travel rush as migrant workers return from big cities to their hometowns to celebrate with loved ones. Transport hubs such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shenyang, and Shanghai will be significantly busier than usual. For 2022, officials have already designated the 17 January-25 February as the Spring Festival travel rush period or “Chunyun.”

Activities that are usually being observed on the Lunar New Year include family reunion and dinner, giving red envelopes, lion and dragon dances, and setting off fireworks/firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. On New Year’s Eve, many families in China also gather to watch the CCTV New Year’s Gala, making it the most-watched TV program in the world.

Besides China, the festival is also celebrated in countries with significant overseas Chinese populations, such as Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others. While some of the traditions from China are still practiced, others have undergone changes or even newly created to adapt to the local lifestyle. For instance, the consumption of dumplings or “Jiaozi” might be a common practice in northern China but is hardly noticeable in the Southeast Asian region. Likewise, the tossing of “yeesang,” a Cantonese raw-fish salad to signify prosperity, is also a cuisine that can only be found in Malaysia or Singapore during the Chinese New Year.
Safeture Preview February 2022 Lunar New Year Vietnam Tet
In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is also being referred to as “Tet,” and it is one of the most important festivals in the country. On this day, some Vietnamese will return to their families while others will be honoring their ancestors at family altar or graves. Like the Chinese traditions, people in the streets will also make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, and gongs to chase evil spirits.
For Koreans, the “Seollal” celebration will take center stage, during which family members will participate in a ritual of ancestor reverence, referred to as “charye.” Food will be prepared to serve the ancestors in a ceremony known as “eumbok.” The offerings will then be served to all family members to gain ancestors’ blessings for the year ahead.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly dampened the celebration of the Lunar New Year for the past two years, enthusiasm has remained high to welcome the Year of Water Tiger. With the impact of the Omicron variant in mind, governments in Asia are most certain to apply restrictions of varying degrees since this is the time when more gatherings will take place, and cases in some countries have already shown an uptrend.
Although cautious, many are hopeful that the celebrations will be livelier compared to 2021, as the latest variant has yet to show signs of overrunning healthcare systems in the region.
Safeture Preview February 2022 Tougher Democratic Shift Ahead In Sudan
Ezza Omar analysis Sudan

Tougher democratic shift ahead in Sudan

Sudan is seeing fresh turmoil in the wake of Prime Minister Aballa Hamdok’s resignation in early January, which means completing the 25 October 2020 military coup.
The country will likely carry on into an unsettled period in the coming months as no political structures, or independent bodies have been able to appoint a new prime minister. Power-sharing is no longer practical as the military has control over large leadership and the economy sections. In addition, political parties are fragmented, complicating the democratic transition. On the streets, citizens are back in force, holding regular protests amid internet and phone shutdowns.
Protesters are demanding the installation of a fully civilian government consisting of technocrats independent of political parties. However, the military is adamant about maintaining a tight hold of the country without a functional government until the planned elections in 2023. Security forces will continue to use violence to suppress anti-coup protesters until such time. This prolonged struggle between civilians and the military will continue to hamper Sudan’s democratic transition even as the country faces other security and economic challenges.
Safeture Preview February 2022 Continued Instability Myanmar Military Coup
Rikard Larsson analysis Myanmar

Continued instability in Myanmar

On 1 February, one year would have passed since the armed forces of Myanmar seized power in a military coup.
A year that has been marked by major upheavals in a country that was once a beacon of democracy in Southeast Asia. Protests and strikes set off on a wide scale across Myanmar immediately after the coup, and the military government soon answered with force.
Nevertheless, protests have continued daily in several townships across the country. At the same time, ethnic insurgent groups have increased attacks on government troops in multiple states. New insurgent groups have also been organized and armed coalitions formed in response to violence against protesters.
While the government has recently extended a unilateral ceasefire, reports of airstrikes and alleged atrocities have continued in several states. Based on current developments, it is highly likely that anti-government unrest will continue through 2022 amid intensified insurgent attacks.
Safeture Preview February 2022 56 Super Bowl LVI United States Calendar Mark
Carl Cotton analysis Super Bowl Covid-19

Covid-19 looms large over Super Bowl event

One of the United States’ most sacred annual events is set to take place on 13 February.
Set to be held in Inglewood, California, the 56th Super Bowl will commence at the state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium, which can seat over 70,000 spectators.
Yet, amidst the nationwide excitement, the Covid-19 pandemic remains a threat. As Los Angeles County reports surging infection numbers, questions have arisen regarding how the pandemic will affect the event and if it will be postponed at the eleventh hour, like in 2021. The event organizers are optimistic that the event will commence as planned.
California recently extended its mask mandate for people while inside public spaces, along with other restrictions. Super Bowl fans will thereby be required to wear masks, except when eating or drinking, and attendees over the age of five must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test, no more than 48-hour old, to enter.
Farith Ariffin analysis Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan erupts into mass unrest

Citizens in Zhanaozen city started the new year by staging protests to denounce the removal of a cap on fuel prices.

The protests quickly spread to other major urban centers and included additional socio-economic grievances. Violent clashes were reported between security forces and protesters.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency and sacked the entire government to restore stability. Furthermore, there were allegations that political rivals orchestrated the mass unrest amid a major power struggle. In response, Tokayev has stripped former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, as the chairman of the Security Council, while Karim Massimov, a former chairman of the National Security Committee, was arrested on suspicion of treason.
The president also requested military aid from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian- led military alliance of former Soviet states. While a semblance of calm has since been restored in Kazakhstan, tensions remain high.
Heightened security measures are expected to be maintained, especially in western regions. Unless the new government addresses critical issues quickly, Tokayev may yet fight for his political survival again in the near future.

Disease watch: Influenza

Animated Video Cover Image
Adam Yusoff analysis Influenza

Authorities across Europe are expected to continue the mass culling of poultry amid the continent’s worst outbreak of avian influenza

Over the past few months, at least 29 European countries have reported highly pathogenic H5N1 strain outbreaks at poultry farms.
Experts believe wild birds are spreading the virus amid the ongoing migration season. It is feared more cases will be reported until at least March when the current season ends. Despite mitigation efforts, millions of domesticated and wild birds have died. Although treatment is available, there are no universal vaccines to manage different strains of avian influenza.
However, the risk to humans remains low, and the virus is unlikely to spread between humans at this time. Nevertheless, there are concerns that the virus could mutate into an easily transmissible form among people as scientists are registering an alarming number of new variants in this current outbreak. Therefore, authorities will likely double down on strict biosecurity measures for the foreseeable future despite the adverse effect it will have on the poultry industry.

Disease watch: COVID-19

Chan analysis covid-19

Milder Omicron variant sweeps the world

After being discovered for the first time last November, the Omicron variant had since taken over the world by storm in many countries from Asia to Europe to the Americas.
Cases skyrocketed to record high while restrictions returned to ensure healthcare systems do not reach breaking point. While the restrictions imposed, have been far from those imposed at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the emergence of this highly transmissible though less deadly variant has continued to disrupt lives and economic activities.
As companies are forced to comply with health measures, issues of staff shortages become more severe, resulting in a temporary closure of shops,
reduced operating hours, or in some instances, an “apology note” on the door.
Even the travel industry was not spared as airlines were forced to cut flights due to a shortage of pilots. Aiming to minimize such inconveniences, health officials have since revised some of these measures, such as allowing for shorter quarantine if one fulfills certain conditions and simplifying testing requirements. However, it remains unclear if they will ease the crunch anytime soon.
SAFETURE Preview February 2022 Omicron Variant Sweeps The World Statistics

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