Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The World Health Organization (WHO) said the risk of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea spreading to neighboring countries was “very high”.
  • AMERICAS: The US Labor Department’s upcoming employment report is expected to show accelerated job growth in the country amid falling new COVID-19 cases.
  • ASIA: Australia’s government has asked the European Commission to review Italy’s decision to block the export of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Canberra.
  • EUROPE: EU Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič said the EU was preparing “infringement proceedings” after the United Kingdom unilaterally extended the grace period on Irish Sea border checks.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Pope Francis has arrived in Iraq for his first foreign visit outside Italy since November 2019.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Australian public broadcaster SBS will stop using content from Chinese state-run television until a review of serious human rights concerns is conducted.

Top Story

  • China: Beijing tightens grip on Hong Kong, sets ‘over 6%’ growth target as the NPC begins.
    • China announced moves to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, among other announcements during the largely rubber-stamp National People’s Congress’ (NPC) opening day.
    • Newly introduced legislation at the legislative body will give more power to Hong Kong’s electoral committee by granting it the authority to nominate legislative candidates.
    • Addressing the National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang warned foreign countries against interfering in Hong Kong and unveiled the Chinese government’s new 5-year-plan.
    • Under the new 5-year-plan, Beijing will seek to increase yearly research and development spending by more than 7% until 2025.
    • Premier Li Keqiang also announced that Beijing will target an “over 6%” economic growth for 2021 and pledged to cut down China’s carbon emissions.
    • Reporting: BBC, AP, NYT, WaPo, WSJ, Reuters, DPA, Deutsche Welle

Africa

  • Region: The World Health Organization (WHO) said the risk of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea spreading to neighboring countries was “very high”. (Reuters)
  • Region: The UN called upon Eritrean troops to leave Ethiopia, saying their presence in Ethiopia was “now abundantly clear to all” and that there were “well-corroborated” reports of their atrocities in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. (Reuters)
  • South Africa: Police arrested four people after seizing a haul of hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: The UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that extreme poverty in Latin America is at its worst level in two decades due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • Region: Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Ottawa was prepared to “invoke whatever measures” are necessary to keep the Line 5 oil pipeline operational, ahead of the deadline of a shutdown order for the pipeline from the US state of Michigan. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro told the public to stop “whining” about the new coronavirus after the country reported two consecutive days of record daily coronavirus deaths. (Reuters)
  • Cuba: The country’s Soberana 2 coronavirus vaccine candidate has entered Phase III trials, the government said. (AFP)
  • United States: The Labor Department’s upcoming employment report is expected to show accelerated job growth in the country amid falling new COVID-19 cases. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Australia: The government has asked the European Commission to review Italy’s decision to block the export of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Canberra. (Guardian)
  • India: Farmers who have been protesting against the government’s new agriculture laws are set to block a major New Delhi highway to mark the 100th day of their campaign. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: The police once again opened fire on the country’s protesters, killing one man in the process, while the UN Security Council prepares to discuss the crisis. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: Authorities have lifted the tsunami warning they had issued following an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in the South Pacific. (NYT)

Europe

  • Region: EU Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič said the EU was preparing “infringement proceedings” after the United Kingdom unilaterally extended the grace period on Irish Sea border checks. (BBC)
  • France: Unemployed culture and tourism sector workers have occupied the 19th century Odeon Theater in Paris to demand increased government support amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AP)
  • Italy: The country became the first EU-member to use a new EU vaccine regulation to block the export of a shipment of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Australia. (BBC)
  • Moldova: The country became the first in Europe to receive coronavirus vaccines through the WHO’s COVAX facility. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said the EU’s decision promise of legal action over the government’s decision to extend the grace periods for trade showed its priority was not interested in protecting the Belfast Agreement as it claimed and only interested in “protecting their bloc”. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Region: Greenpeace criticized Israeli Environment Minister Gila Gamliel’s accusation of “environmental terrorism” against Iran due to the accusation “lacking any factual basis at this stage”. (AFP)
  • Region: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said his country is drawing-up plans to hit Iranian targets if Iran shows signs of nuclear escalation. (AP)
  • Region: The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels said it had intercepted six drones directed at the kingdom as the Houthis claimed to have launched an attack into southern Saudi Arabia at dawn. (Reuters)
  • Iraq: Pope Francis has arrived in Baghdad for his first foreign visit outside Italy since November 2019. (Reuters)
  • Israel: US Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed Washington’s opposition to the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes in Palestinian Territories during a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Australian public broadcaster SBS will stop using content from Chinese state-run television until a review of serious human rights concerns is conducted. (AFP)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Cyclone Niran
      • Location: 584 nautical miles W-NW of Noumea, New Caledonia
      • Wind: 130 mph
      • Movement: E-SE at 24 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • New Zealand
      • Location: Kermadec Islands, New Zealand
      • Magnitude: 8.1
      • Depth: 19.4 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 05MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 115,618,088
      • Total recovered cases: 65,383,289
      • Deaths: 2,569,422
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 28FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 17
      • Deaths: 7
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 28FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 8
      • Deaths: 4
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (06MAR21)

  • Europe: EU asset freezes over the misappropriation of Ukrainian government funds are set to expire but could be extended.
  • China: The country’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress, will hold its annual session. (to 11MAR)
  • China: The 13th National Committee of the CPPCC, the country’s top political advisory body, will hold a session. (to 10MAR)
  • Cyprus: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will visit ahead of reunification consultations between the country’s two main divided ethnic groups.
  • Ghana: Independence Day – 1957
  • Iraq: Pope Francis will visit. (to 08MAR)
  • Israel: Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and a government delegation will visit the country to evaluate the EXO-CD24 nasal spray for use against the new coronavirus.
  • Ivory Coast: Parliamentary elections will be held.
  • Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to seek a confidence vote from the National Assembly.
  • Portugal: Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaia will visit and meet with Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva. (to 07MAR)
  • Sudan: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will visit.
  • United States: The government will extend its National Emergencies with respect to Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

END