By Robert A. Vella

What’s happening this week

The House of Representatives will send articles of impeachment over to the Senate on Tuesday which could begin President Trump’s trial as early as Wednesday.  The biggest question is how far moderate Republican senators up for reelection this year will fall in line with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intention to ram through a quick sham trial without calling witnesses who refused to testify before the House’s impeachment inquiry last November.  Also on Tuesday, the next Democratic presidential debate will be held fielding six of the remaining candidates.  Tom Steyer – a hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, liberal activist, and fundraiser – met the Democratic National Committee’s requirements for this debate by spending vast sums on advertising and getting a significant boost in the polls.  See:

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 13

With pressure on in Iowa, Democratic debate carries higher stakes

What happened over the weekend

Reports are somewhat sketchy, but Iranians have been protesting against the military downing of a Ukrainian commercial airliner last week and authorities are apparently trying to suppress the demonstrations.  Hong Kong officials, backed by China, are not allowing a human rights organization to enter the administrative region.  A Russian-arbitrated ceasefire has been announced in the deadly civil war in Libya.  Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez has just barely managed to form a coalition government between his Socialist Workers’ Party and the left-wing, anti-austerity party Unidas Podemos.  Embattled Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his parliamentary attempt to delay the start of his criminal corruption trial until after the upcoming election.  The Trump administration is refusing to extradite the wife of a U.S. diplomat (Anne Sacoolas) who killed a motorcyclist (Harry Dunn) in a U.K. traffic accident last summer.  Thousands are fleeing the erupting Taal volcano near Manila in the Philippines.  See:

Iranians protest for third day over downed airliner with reports of security using live rounds

Human rights organization head denied entry into Hong Kong

Libyan rivals to sign ceasefire deal in Moscow

Threats and insults fly as Spain prepares for coalition government

Netanyahu Attempt to Delay Start of Corruption Trial Founders

U.S. Rejects Extradition Request for Driver in Fatal U.K. Accident

Lava gushes from Philippine volcano as ash spreads to Manila