Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Separatist rebels killed four Senegalese soldiers and are holding seven hostages after a clash on the border between Senegal and The Gambia last week.
  • AMERICAS: The US State Department urged families of government employees in Belarus to leave the country amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • ASIA: The Indian government will introduce a state-backed “digital rupee” and impose a 30 percent tax on profits from virtual currencies.
  • EUROPE: Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has taken a softer line on the Ukraine crisis than fellow NATO and EU members.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Two local Afghan journalists from the Ariana Television Network have been detained by Taliban forces in Kabul for unknown reasons.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Meta Platforms’ digital currency venture Diem, formerly known as Libra, announced it would be shutting down operations following an asset sale.

Top Story

  • Global: Russia denies responding to US proposal on Ukraine.
    • Russia has sent follow-up questions rather than a response to the United States in their exchange on Moscow’s demands for security guarantees.
    • Washington provided Moscow with a written response to the demands, and three Biden administration officials said that the Russian government sent a written response to the US proposals.
    • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree increasing the army’s size over the next three years, and the creation of an additional 20 brigades.
    • British President Boris Johnson and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to discuss the Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border.
    • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was canceled as tensions heighten on the Ukrainian border with Russia.
    • Reuters, AP, Ukrinform, AFP, The Guardian,

Africa

  • Region: Separatist rebels killed four Senegalese soldiers and are holding seven hostages after a clash on the border between Senegal and The Gambia last week. (AFP)
  • Libya: The UN Security Council voted to extend its political mission in the country for three months following a dispute between Russia and the West over the appointment of a new envoy. (AP)
  • Mali: The European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on five members of the junta after military rulers went back on an agreement to organize elections in February. (Reuters)
  • South Africa: The country no longer requires those who test positive for COVID-19 without symptoms to isolate and has also reduced the isolation period for those with symptoms by three days. (Reuters)
  • Tanzania: Former BBC Swahili journalist Zuhura Yunus has been appointed as the country’s director of presidential communication. (BBC)

Americas 

  • Colombia: The foreign ministry objected to being included in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s list of 20 countries at risk of acute food insecurity. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: Flooding in Quito and a landslide have killed at least 11 people. (AlJazeera)
  • Honduras: Incoming foreign minister Eduardo Enrique Reina indicated that his country would continue relations with Taiwan and will not establish a diplomatic relationship with China. (AP)
  • Nicaragua: Prosecutors reported that criminal trials will resume this week for some 46 political prisoners arrested ahead of the country’s elections last year. (AFP)
  • United States: The State Department urged families of government employees in Belarus to leave the country amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP)

Asia

  • India: The government will introduce a state-backed “digital rupee” and impose a 30 percent tax on profits from virtual currencies. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: Activists urged residents to stay indoors and business to close as the army threatened to jail any who take part in a “silent strike” on the anniversary of the military coup. (Reuters)
  • Japan: Parliament adopted a rare resolution on what it called the “serious human rights situation” in China and asked the government to take steps to relieve the situation. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: The island announced a reversal to its weekend decision to forgo the opening and closing of the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying the committee governing the Games was “requiring” attendance at the ceremonies. (AFP)
  • Thailand: Tourists who have two coronavirus vaccine shots can enter the country quarantine-free. (DPA)

Europe  

  • Region: Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has taken a softer line on the Ukraine crisis than fellow NATO and EU members. (AFP)
  • Belarus: The International Civil Aviation Organization extended its investigation into Ryanair flight 4978, citing inconsistencies in the government’s account of its rerouting of the aircraft. (AFP)
  • Denmark: The country became the first European Union member to scrap most pandemic restrictions as it no longer considers the COVID-19 outbreak “a socially critical disease.” (AP)
  • Germany: Two companies involved in storing and supplying oil and other materials said they have been hit by a cyberattack that has impacted operations in the country. (AP)
  • United Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson cannot answer specific questions over lockdown parties at his Downing Street office and residence because he does not want to prejudice a police investigation into 12 gatherings. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Afghanistan: Two local journalists from the Ariana Television Network have been detained by Taliban forces in Kabul for unknown reasons. (DPA)
  • Israel: Three military officers were disciplined over the death of Omar Assad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-American citizen detained at a checkpoint earlier this month. (WaPo)
  • Qatar: The country reached an agreement with the Taliban to resume chartered evacuations out of Kabul airport. (Reuters)
  • Syria: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that chlorine was used in an attack on a rebel-held area in 2016 in which at least 20 people suffered breathing difficulties. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: The U.S. military launched interceptor missiles during an attack by Houthi rebels that targeted the Persian Gulf country during a visit by Israel’s president. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Meta Platforms’ digital currency venture Diem, formerly known as Libra, announced it would be shutting down operations following an asset sale. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 01FEB22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (02FEB22) 

  • Event: CEIP discussion on nuclear proliferation.
  • Event: CSIS discussion on Ukraine with bipartisan Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman.
  • Event: United Nations Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) Partnership Forum.
  • Global: OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting.
  • Global: World Wetlands Day.
  • France: Audience capacity limits on public events to be lifted.
  • Pakistan: IMF review board to discuss bailout package.
  • Philippines: Constitution Day.
  • Russia: Victory of the Battle of Stalingrad.
  • United States: Groundhog Day.
  • United States: Secretaries Austin and Blinken testify to Senate Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan.

END