Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Botswana’s unemployment rate rose to 24.5% in Q4 of 2020.
  • AMERICAS: The US State Department will review its foreign aid to Myanmar after determining that the military takeover in the country constitutes a coup.
  • ASIA: Police in Myanmar filed charges against the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing communications equipment.
  • EUROPE: The UK asked the European Commission to extend the temporary post-Brexit lighter enforcement of customs rules at Northern Ireland ports until 2023.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel’s Ministry said the government will offer coronavirus vaccinations to people of all ages and not only those above the age of 35.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Microsoft announced its support of the Australian government’s plans to make Google and Facebook pay to host news content and offered to replace Google if Google follows through on its threat to turn its search engine off in Australia.

 

Top Story

  • Russia: Mass detentions after Kremlin critic Navalny sentenced to prison.
    • Opposition politician Alexei Navalny was sentenced to more than two years in prison by a court, for allegedly violating the conditions of a previous suspended sentence.
    • Navalny, who returned to Russia in January after months of treatment in Germany for a near-fatal nerve agent attack last year, said the case was being used to frighten opposition to the Russian government, with his lawyers saying they would appeal the sentence.
    • Navalny’s supporters continued to hold rallies for him while the sentencing was taking place, and at least 1,400 people were detained by the police for holding the demonstrations, according to rights monitors. 
    • Some riot police were filmed beating demonstrators with batons, and there were also reports of security forces refusing to call medical help for demonstrators. 
    • The US, the UK, Germany, France, and the European Union denounced the ruling and called for Navalny’s immediate release, while Russia accused the West of interfering in its internal affairs. 
    • Reporting: BBC, DPA, AFP, Reuters, NYT, WSJ

 

Africa

  • Botswana: The country’s unemployment rate rose to 24.5% in Q4 of 2020. (Xinhua)
  • Ethiopia: Opposition parties in the Tigray region warned of a massive “humanitarian disaster” if the delivery of aid to the region is delayed. (BBC)
  • Liberia: The trial of suspected warlord Gibril Massaquoi is set to begin and will be the first such case to be partly heard in the country. (AFP)

 

Americas

  • Canada: Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the country will be able to start the domestic production of coronavirus vaccines by the end of the year. (AP)
  • Mexico: Authorities approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country. (AFP)
  • United States: The State Department will review its foreign aid to Myanmar after determining that the military takeover in the country constitutes a coup. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: The Pan American Health Organization said at least 1.4 million coronavirus vaccines have been set aside for the country under the COVAX coronavirus vaccine program, but added that Caracas will have to pay for them within a week. (Reuters)

 

Asia  

  • Australia: The state of New South Wales is easing its coronavirus restrictions after a 17-day run of zero coronavirus cases. (Reuters)
  • China: The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the new coronavirus visited a research laboratory at the center of a number of conspiracy theories regarding the virus’ origins. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Police filed charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing communications equipment. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: Government regulators provisionally approved the use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in the country. (Guardian)

 

Europe

  • Region: The UK asked the European Commission to extend the temporary post-Brexit lighter enforcement of customs rules at Northern Ireland ports until 2023. (BBC
  • Denmark: The government is developing a digital vaccination passport that will enable people who have been vaccinated against the new coronavirus to travel. (AP)
  • France: A court in Paris ruled that the government failed to take sufficient action to battle climate change in a case brought by a group of nongovernmental organizations. (AP)
  • Italy: President Sergio Mattarella summoned former European Central Bank head Mario Draghi to hold discussions to form a new government. (NYT)

 

Middle East

  • Iran: President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran will not accept any changes to the 2015 nuclear deal. (DPA
  • Israel: The Health Ministry said the government will offer coronavirus vaccinations to people of all ages and not only those above the age of 35. (DPA)
  • Saudi Arabia: Riyadh suspended the entry of travelers from 20 countries, including neighboring United Arab Emirates and the United States, in a bid to halt the spread of the new coronavirus. (AFP)
  • Syria: Human Rights Watch condemned Turkey’s “illegal transfer” of 63 Syrian citizens whom Ankara detained in the border area of Ras Al-Ain after seizing the region from Kurdish fighters. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: Wealthy people from outside the country are reportedly being allowed to pay for access to the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine through the country’s coronavirus vaccination program. (Guardian)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Microsoft announced its support of the Australian government’s plans to make Google and Facebook pay to host news content and offered to replace Google if Google follows through on its threat to turn its search engine off in Australia. (AFP)  

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Cyclone Lucas
      • Location: 57 nautical miles E-NE of Noumea, New Caledonia
      • Wind: 45 mph
      • Movement: S at 13 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Cyclone Eighteen
      • Location: 97 nautical miles south of Learmonth, Australia
      • Wind: 35 mph
      • Movement: W at 1 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 03FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 103,943,365
      • Total recovered cases: 57,754,110
      • Deaths: 2,255,091
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (04FEB21)

  • Global: The UN’s International Day of Human Fraternity – 2021
  • Global: UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board will hold an executive session. (to 05FEB)
  • Belgium: The trial of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accused of plotting to bomb an exiled opposition group’s rally in France, is scheduled to be held.
  • Chad: The opposition is expected to hold protests against President Idriss Deby. (to 07FEB)
  • Cyprus: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will visit.
  • France: Moldovan President Maia Sandu will visit. 
  • France: Serbian Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali is visiting.
  • India: British Trade Secretary Liz Truss will visit and meet with government officials to discuss post-Brexit trade ties between the UK and the country.
  • Iran: Authorities expect the first delivery of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
  • Israel: The government will start offering coronavirus vaccines to anyone above the age of 16.
  • Kazakhstan: Activist Maks Boqaev is expected to be released from jail.
  • Libya: Delegates from the country’s opposing sides will hold a meeting to choose an interim prime minister and a three-person presidency council. (to 05FEB)
  • Pakistan: Uzbekistan will send a trade delegation to the country to discuss a potential Pakistan-Uzbekistan Preferential Trade Agreement. 
  • Russia: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will visit and meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (to 06FEB)
  • Sri Lanka: Independence Day/National Day – 1948
  • Uganda: The International Criminal Court will rule in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier and commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army.
  • United Kingdom: The Bank of England will release a monetary policy report.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a meeting.

 

END