I'm getting some progress with levelling my first Republic character, Nural's already lvl. 35 and finished his first chapter. A few other members hang around that number, so I guess we can expect a new batch of lvl. 50's (admittedly most are from members with at least one lvl. 50 character) coming 'soonish'.
Also, having not spend much time with my merc I cannot say how the situation is in the IMB, let's say peacefully.
But I may finally try to do some HM Flashpoints, it's been a long time in the making.