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Factal Forecast: Chile’s Southern Macrozone sees uptick in violence, Biden holds first 2024 campaign event, and Navalny to be tried on extremism charges

A city square is completely submerged. There is a Zodiac-style boat with rubber exterior holding several people motoring through the floodwaters

Welcome to Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories from the editors at Factal.

We publish our forward-looking note each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead.

Week of June 16-23
A Look Ahead

June 16 – Russia says Dnipro river should return to banks  

The southern reach of the Dnipro river is “likely” to return to its banks by Friday, according to the head of the Russian-controlled southern section of Ukraine’s Kherson province.

What’s happened so far 
The 2-mile Kakhova Dam near Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine, was breached on June 6, causing widespread flooding and prompting the evacuation of several key cities, including Kherson. Both Ukraine and Russia accused the other of breaching the dam, with Kyiv blaming Moscow of placing explosive devices within the dam in an effort to prevent a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south. Ukrainian authorities said at least 10 people have died, while Russia reported a death toll of at least eight. Emergency services of both countries say dozens remain missing.

The impact 
Water levels on both sides of the Dnipro river have been slowly decreasing and, according to the Russian-installed officials, are expected to return to their original levels by Friday. The breach will continue to impact the area, however, with analysts warning it is likely to affect access to drinking water, food supplies and ecosystems around the Black Sea. The UN has yet to assess the damage at the nearby nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, though IAEA head Rafael Frossi says he intends to visit the plant to check for “a significant discrepancy” in the water level data at the dam, which is used to cool the plant’s reactors.

June 17 – Biden holds first 2024 campaign event 

U.S. President Joe Biden will kick off his re-election campaign on Saturday at a rally with union members in Philadelphia, the White House confirmed.

What’s happened so far 
In April, Biden confirmed he will run again, seeing off any rumors that he might not seek a second term in office. Biden remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination with other hopefuls either ruling themselves out or backing him. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has ruled out a bid and discouraged other progressive candidates from challenging Biden. First Lady Jill Biden will also hit the campaign trail in support of her husband. 

The impact 
Biden is holding his first 2024 campaign event in the swing state of Pennsylvania, which is likely to be a key battleground in the upcoming election. Biden carried the state in 2020 after it went for Trump in 2016 and he’ll be hoping for a repeat. The Biden 2024 campaign is wasting no time fundraising and is set to report its haul next month, in what will surely be a closely-watched indicator of support for the president.

June 18 – Blinken in Beijing for talks  

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China on Sunday for a postponed trip designed to signal a return to cordiality between the two global powers.

What’s happened so far 
Blinken was originally due to make the trip in February, which would have been the first by a U.S. official of his rank in more than five years. However, the visit was canceled over the Chinese spy balloon incident. Blinken’s trip comes several days after the release of a Wall Street Journal report stating China had reached a multi-billion-dollar agreement with Cuba to establish a spying facility on the island.

The impact 
Alleviating tensions with China is high on the Biden administration’s agenda. Several mid-level meetings between officials have occurred in the last few months, including an apparent secret visit to Beijing by CIA Director Bill Burns in May. While privately acquiescing to diplomatic reconciliation, China’s public rhetoric has remained hostile. On Tuesday, a state media-affiliated broadcaster called U.S. engagement in talks a “false illusion,” demonstrating the complexity for Washington of repairing its rapport with a volatile and highly politicized Beijing.

June 18 – Istanbul LGBTQI+ hold Trans Pride week  

Istanbul’s queer community is holding a Trans Pride march Sunday for the first time since 2017, when it was held amid a ban and police action. While other cities across Turkey are expected to hold similar events, all eyes will be on Istanbul, the flashpoint city

What’s happened so far 
Since 2015, Pride has been banned every year by Istanbul’s governor, a presidential appointee. This year, the city of Eskisehir has restricted all Pride-related events, and at least five people were arrested at Pride picnics in Izmir. Pride 2023 follows both a steady dip in queer rights and a highly divisive election cycle in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaign routinely associated LGBTQI+ with “terrorism.”

The impact 
While the new governor of Istanbul has not yet banned Pride, he is expected to, given his history of anti-queer decisions in Gaziantep. The transgender community announced it will go ahead with the march in central Taksim Square, the site of the 2013 Gezi Park protests. Turkey’s Trans Pride week ends on June 18 with the march and Pride week starts the next day, raising expectations of police blockades and potential use of force. The government’s crackdown at last year’s Pride March was exceptional, arresting more people than “three times the total during the previous seven Istanbul Pride marches combined.”

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June 19 – Navalny to be tried on extremism charges  

The trial of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is set to begin Monday, where he faces 30 years behind bars. The extremism charges, which Navalny has rejected as “absurd,” relate to his work on an anti-corruption foundation. 

What’s happened so far 
Navalny is currently imprisoned at the IK-6 penal colony in Russia’s Orenburg Oblast after receiving a nine-year sentence on fraud and contempt of court charges. The Kremlin critic was arrested in early 2021 after returning to Russia following treatment in Germany for nerve-agent poisoning. The arrest and later sentencing sparked massive protests in Russia and condemnation from abroad, with the European Court of Human Rights calling for his immediate release.

The impact 
The trial will occur in an increasingly repressive Russian state. Putin’s government has cracked down on dissent in recent months as the Ukraine war continues. More than 100 demonstrators were arrested on Sunday, June 4, Navalny’s birthday, at anti-government demonstrations. 

June 22 –  Biden hosts Modi at the White House   

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a state dinner at the White House.

What’s happened so far 
After a state visit through Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the dinner is hoping to strengthen economic and bilateral ties between the two, which will continue to foment increases in trading, as the United States is currently India’s top trading partner. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has been in India for a week prepping the meeting, which is also the third state dinner Biden has hosted. 

The impact 
The visit is undoubtedly a move from the United States to maintain India and Modi as close allies, especially in attempting to counterbalance the Chinese sphere of influence in the South Asian country, a continued and growing concern for the United States. Biden is also expected to announce a deal between both countries for U.S. General Motors to build jet engines for India’s military aircraft. 

June 22 – Brazilian president visits Paris  

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will visit the French capital starting Thursday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron. 

What’s happened so far 
Lula and Macron last met during the G7 summit in Japan in May, where they discussed diplomatic efforts to rebuild relations following years of tension during former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. In their last meeting, Lula and Macron discussed the possibilities of a strategic partnership, including defense cooperation, and addressed the risks to democracy from extreme right-wing groups. 

The impact 
During Lula’s visit, the leaders will also meet as part of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, called by Macron with the goal to reach an agreement to tackle climate change and the global financial crisis. Access to healthcare and measures against poverty will also be discussed as part of the development agenda. The meeting will take place amid ongoing negotiations between the EU and the Mercosur bloc, which involves both France’s and Brazil’s interests, to seal a trade deal.

June 22 – Fed chair to testify at U.S. Senate

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Jerome Powell will testify in front of the Senate banking committee Thursday to update Congress on the state of the country’s monetary policy.

What’s happened so far 
Powell will give his testimony for the second time this year on the U.S economic outlook and recent monetary policy actions as the Fed continues to attempt to control high inflation. In a previous appearance back in March, Powell said the Fed was “acutely aware” that high inflation was causing “significant hardship” as it remains above the 2 percent objective.

The impact 
There is slightly more optimism leading up to next week’s testimony than the previous one, with the annual pace of inflation easing to its lowest level in more than two years. This week, the Fed left rates unchanged for the first time in over a year, but signaled that additional increases are likely before the end of 2023.

What Else Matters

In front of the main entry to Trump Tower Manhattan about a dozen protestors stand holding a large banner that reads "No one is above the law"
Protesters gather outside of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on June 10 as former President Donald Trump was in court related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents. (Photo: Diane Greene Lent / Flickr)

Trump indictment 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 37 felony counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House, becoming the first former president to be charged with federal crimes. The indictment accusing Trump of willfully retaining government secrets, including information on nuclear programs, and later attempting to obstruct the investigation into their whereabouts.

Watch for: Experts say it could be a year or more before a trial takes place, due to both the challenges of handling classified evidence and legal maneuvering by Trump’s lawyers. Meanwhile, he’ll continue his campaign for president with no restrictions on his travel, after a judge declined to institute any limits on his movement. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, said he will block all future nominations to the Department of Justice following Trump’s indictment, requiring floor votes for Senate confirmation as opposed to unanimous consent. 

Infrastructure attacks in Chile’s Southern Macrozone 

In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in violence across Chile’s Southern Macrozone region, including incendiary attacks on industrial infrastructure, targeted shootings against government officials, and, most recently, the bombing of a railway bridge in the Ñuble region. Officials last week extended the state of emergency in the region for the 25th time in response to the violence, which is mostly related to indigenous Mapuche militant groups reacting to this year’s constitutional referendum becoming overpowered by far right-wing political groups, as well as the controversial strengthening of police in the Ley Naín Retamal following increased shootings targeting officers.

Watch for: These indigenous Mapuche militant attacks are a direct response to both the new controversial police reinforcement law and the far-rights victory over the constitutional referendum, both of which will have a noticeable influence over the indigenous land rights movement and security in the area. The attacks are becoming more targeted and with higher repercussions, and more attacks are expected across the Southern Macrozone, namely in Araucanía, areas within the Bio Bio region, Ñuble, Los Rios and Los Lagos. 

Extended Outlook

What’s on our radar in the coming weeks…

June 16-23 

June 16

  • Special Olympics World Summer Games begin
  • Russia says Dnipro river should return to its banks

June 17

  •  Biden holds first 2024 campaign event 

June 18 

  • Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visits Portugal
  • Trans Pride parade in Istanbul 
  • Blinken to be in Beijing for talks

June 19

  • Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny public trial at IK-6 penal colony

June 20

  • Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visit Belgium
  • German Chancellor Scholz invites Chinese Premier Li Qiang for talks
  • Jagannath Rath Yatra Hindu Festival

June 22

  • U.S. President Joe Biden hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for state visit
  • Brazilian president visits Paris
  • Fed Chair Powell to testify at U.S. Senate

June 24-30 

June 24 

  • Sierra Leone elections
  • Security officers strike at Heathrow airport

June 25 

  • U.S.-Israel Negev Forum in Morocco
  • Guatemala elections
  • Greece elections
  • EU’s Digital Services Act comes into force

June 26

  • Toronto mayoral election
  • Hajj
  • Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez visits Brazil

June 29

  • Devshayani Ekadashi Hindu holiday

July 1-7 

July 1

  • Closure of Russian embassy office in Lappeenranta, Finland
  • Kenya and Somalia reopen three points on land border
  • Jordan, Iraq power link to start production

July 2

  • Municipal elections in Peru

July 4

  • U.S. Independence Day

July 8-14

July 11

  • MLB All-Star Game in Seattle
  • NATO summit in Lithuania

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Top photo: The Ukrainian National Guard rescued people trapped in flooding in Korabelna Square in Kherson on June 7. (Photo: National Guard of Ukraine / Facebook)

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