Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The United Nations will try to reboot its efforts to foster national unity in Libya by bringing in monitors to oversee a widely encouraged ceasefire and by forcing the country’s political leadership to work towards electing a prime minister.
  • AMERICAS: Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has condemned GOP attempts to object Jan. 6 to the Electoral College tally of the presidential election, warning colleagues against a “dangerous ploy” that could damage the nation’s civic traditions.
  • ASIA: Taiwan is ready to have “meaningful” talks with China as equals as long as they are willing to put aside confrontation, President Tsai Ing-wen stated in her New Year’s speech.
  • EUROPE: Russian energy giant Gazprom announced it had begun delivering natural gas to Serbia and Bosnia through the TurkStream pipeline and a new route crossing Turkey and Bulgaria.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The number of citizens vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in Israel has reached more than 950,000, the state’s Ministry of Health reported.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS:  Microsoft noted in a blog post that hackers tied to a massive intrusion of dozens of U.S. government agencies and private companies broker further into its systems than previously thought, although the intrusion does not appear to have caused any additional harm.

Top Story

  • Europe: The United Kingdom has officially left the European Union at the start of the new year. 
    • Britain has left the European Union’s internal market and customs union, finalizing the Brexit divorce.
    • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose ambition is to take an independent Scotland back into the EU, tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.”
    • After leaving the EU with an 11th-hour deal, the first trucks hauling goods across the new customs border presented their clearance documents to French agents before loading on to a train to pass through the Eurotunnel.
    • French President Emmanuel Macron expressed regret over Brexit saying, “The United Kingdom remains our neighbor but also our friend and ally,” he added. “This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises.”
    • Reporting: DPA, BBC, The Guardian, AP,

Africa

  • Africa: The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Director John Nkengasong stated that he envisages most African countries will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines by the second half of 2021. (Xinhua)
  • Congo: At least 25 civilians have been killed in the troubled east, local officials reported, blaming the attack on the notorious ADF militia. (AFP)
  • Libya: The United Nations will try to reboot its efforts to foster national unity in the nation by bringing in monitors to oversee a widely encouraged ceasefire and by forcing the country’s political leadership to work towards electing a prime minister. (The Guardian)
  • Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni reported an elite force has been deployed in the capital Kampala to stamp out criminality ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential and parliamentary elections. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • United States:  Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has condemned GOP attempts to object Jan. 6 to the Electoral College tally of the presidential election, warning colleagues against a “dangerous ploy” that could damage the nation’s civic traditions. (AP)
  • United States:  A Pacific storm of record proportions swept a remote stretch of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain, battering a region used heavily by commercial shipping with hurricane-force winds and seas five stories high. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: The nation detected 437 additional cases of covid-19 in the last 24 hours, as total cases in the South American country increased to 113,558, Information Minister Freddy Ñáñez reported. (EFE)

Asia  

  • Region: Taiwan is ready to have “meaningful” talks with China as equals as long as they are willing to put aside confrontation, President Tsai Ing-wen stated in her New Year’s speech. (Reuters)
  • India: India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 10,286,709 as 20,035 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, the latest data from the health ministry reported. (Xinhua)
  • North Korea: Kim Jong Un thanked citizens for supporting his leadership in “difficult times” in a rare hand-written New Year letter released ahead of a crucial ruling party congress that will set the country’s economic goals. (AFP)
  • South Korea: The nation’s daily new COVID-19 cases rose above 1,000 as health authorities are expected to extend the current social distancing measures amid no signs of the winter wave of the virus abating. (YNA)

Europe

  • Region: Russian energy giant Gazprom announced it had begun delivering natural gas to Serbia and Bosnia through the TurkStream pipeline and a new route crossing Turkey and Bulgaria. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Moscow recorded 71 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, the COVID-19 monitoring center said in a statement on Telegram. (TASS)
  • Serbia: President Aleksandar Vucic was present at the ceremonial opening of the nation’s section of the Russia-led Balkan Stream natural-gas pipeline. (RFE)

Middle East

  • Egypt: China signed a letter of intent for mutual cooperation with the nation on COVID-19 vaccines. (Xinhua)
  • Israel: The number of citizens vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in the nation has reached more than 950,000, the state’s Ministry of Health reported. (Xinhua)
  • Syria: A car bomb detonated near a Russian military base in the northeast in the first such jihadist attack in the area against the ally of Damascus, a war monitor said. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Microsoft noted in a blog post that hackers tied to a massive intrusion of dozens of U.S. government agencies and private companies broker further into its systems than previously thought, although the intrusion does not appear to have caused any additional harm. (AP)

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
    • Confirmed Cases as of 01JAN21: 83,543,928
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 01JAN21: 47,114,761
    • Deaths as of 01JAN21: 1,820,403
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (02JAN21)

  • nothing of note

END