Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin landed in Sudan for the first visit of a senior US official to the country since Washington removed Khartoum from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
  • AMERICAS: Allies and partners of embattled President Nicolas Maduro took control of Venezuela’s Congress, which was the country’s last remaining democratic institution.
  • ASIA: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un said his five-year economic plan for his country failed to meet its goals in “almost every sector”, at the start of a rare congress of the ruling Workers’ Party.
  • EUROPE: The Dutch government started its coronavirus vaccination program several days early following criticism of the program’s slow start which made the country the last EU member-state to begin coronavirus vaccinations.
  • MIDDLE EAST: South Korea is sending a delegation to Iran to secure the release of a Korean chemicals tanker and its 20-member crew seized by Iran’s armed forces.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The British government is reportedly set to appoint former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp as the next chairman of the BBC.

Top Story

  • China: WHO team investigating coronavirus origins denied entry.
    • China denied entry to a World Health Organization team that was due to visit and investigate the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the city of Wuhan.
    • Beijing denied entry to the WHO team despite months of painstaking negotiations already being conducted, and led to WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying he was “very disappointed” with China over the issue.
    • The WHO cited a lack of visa clearances for the denial of entry but China challenged the WHO’s claim, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying saying the issue was “not just about visas”.
    • Hua added that there was a “misunderstanding” and that Beijing and the WHO were still in discussions over the timing and other arrangements.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, AFP, CNN, BBC, Guardian, WSJ

Africa

  • Egypt: President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi met with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ahead of Secretary Mnuchin’s visit to Sudan. (AP)
  • Mali: The French military denied reports of killing 20 civilians in an airstrike that allegedly struck a wedding party in the country’s central Mopti region. (BBC)
  • Sudan: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin landed in the country for the first visit of a senior US official to the country since Washington removed Khartoum from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. (AP)
  • Tanzania: Human rights activist Tito Magoti was freed from imprisonment under a plea bargain over alleged economic crimes. (AFP)

Americas

  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro said the country was “broke” and that he is unable to do anything about the situation due to the “press-fueled” coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • Chile: Lawmakers submitted to Congress a bill that will make getting a coronavirus vaccine mandatory. (Reuters)
  • Peru: Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said the government’s talks with Pfizer over a vaccine deal hit a snag last month. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: Allies and partners of embattled President Nicolas Maduro took control of Congress, which was the country’s last remaining democratic institution. (AP)

Asia  

  • Region: Indonesian police killed two men suspected of being involved in a 2019 church bombing in the Philippines during a counter-terrorism operation in Makassar city. (Reuters)
  • China: Hong Kong police arrested 53 pro-democracy activists for their involvement in an informal primary election, marking the biggest crackdown yet under Beijing’s recent national security law. (NYT)
  • Japan: The country registered a record number of new coronavirus cases, as health experts urged the government to impose a strict state of emergency for capital city Tokyo. (Reuters)
  • North Korea: Leader Kim Jong Un said his five-year economic plan for the country failed to meet its goals in “almost every sector”, at the start of a rare congress of the ruling Workers’ Party. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The European Medicines Agency is holding a meeting to discuss the potential greenlighting of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. (AP)
  • Germany: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is set to make his first foreign visit in four months as he travels to Jordan for a Stockholm Initiative on nuclear disarmament conference. (DPA)
  • Netherlands: The government started its coronavirus vaccination program several days early following criticism of the program’s slow start which made the country the last EU member-state to begin coronavirus vaccinations. (DPA)
  • United Kingdom: The number of daily new coronavirus cases exceeded 60,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic first started. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushed a deal to end the row between Qatar and its neighboring countries at a regional summit. (Reuters)
  • Iran: South Korea is sending a delegation to the country to secure the release of a Korean chemicals tanker and its 20-member crew seized by the country’s armed forces. (Reuters)
  • Israel: The government is set to increase its coronavirus measures and restrictions to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that is occurring while the country’s vaccine supplies dwindle. (Bloomberg)
  • Syria: The country and close ally Russia clashed with the US and allies at the UN Security Council over a push to suspend Damascus’ voting rights in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The British government is reportedly set to appoint former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp as the next chairman of the BBC. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Cyclone Danilo
      • Location: 623 nautical miles S-SE of Diego Garcia
      • Wind: 60 mph
      • Movement: W-SW at 6 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Kermadec Islands region
      • Magnitude: 6.2
      • Depth: 26.1 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 06JAN21: 86,476,173
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 06JAN21: 48,527,463
    • Deaths as of 06JAN21: 1,869,987
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (07JAN21)

  • Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with provincial and territorial leaders to discuss the country’s coronavirus vaccination plans.
  • Cyprus: New coronavirus measures and restrictions are expected to be announced.
  • France: New coronavirus measures and restrictions are expected to be announced.
  • Ghana: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will be sworn-in for his second term in office.
  • Italy: A countrywide coronavirus lockdown will end.
  • Japan: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce his decision on a potential new coronavirus lockdown.
  • Lebanon: New coronavirus measures and restrictions will take effect.

END