Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The UN Security Council ended plans to issue a statement calling for an end to violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region because of opposition from China and Russia, diplomats said.
  • AMERICAS: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that emergency payments to aid the poor in the pandemic could vary from 150 reais to more than 300 reais ($26.36-$52.72), while a plan being considered in Congress gives cash transfers of 250 reais.
  • ASIA: A group of eleven Hong Kong pro-democracy activists accused of subversion will stay in jail for at least five more days while judges consider whether to release them on bail, a court announced.
  • EUROPE: The effects of Brexit took their toll on Anglo-French trade volumes at the start of 2021, mirroring declines in commercial activity between the UK and other large EU nations.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Saudi Arabia will stop most COVID-19-related restrictions, including resuming indoor dining, reopening cinemas, and resuming entertainment activities and events, the state news agency SPA reported.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has taken its first drive on Mars – moving 6.5 meters in 33 minutes.

Top Story

  • United States: The Senate conducts an overnight Vote-o-Rama session on the COVID-19 recovery bill. 
    • Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) held open a vote on a minimum wage amendment for a record 11 hours and 50 minutes to preserve the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) raised an unexpected objection.
    • Senate leaders and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin struck a deal late Friday over emergency jobless benefits, ending a standoff that had stalled the party’s showpiece $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
    • U.S. Press secretary Jen Psaki noted the President’s support for the deal saying, “This agreement allows us to move forward on the urgently needed American Rescue Plan.”
    • Democrats defeated an amendment during the Vote-o-Rama which would have allowed the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.
    • Reporting: The Hill, AP, CNNWaPo,

Africa

  • Ethiopia: The UN Security Council ended plans to issue a statement calling for an end to violence in the Tigray region because of opposition from China and Russia. (AFP)
  • Ethiopia: The country’s Federal Ministry of Health announced that it is expected to receive 2.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX on Sunday morning. (Xinhua)
  • Somalia: Ten people have been killed after a rickshaw bomb was detonated by al-Shabaab terrorists at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu. (The Guardian)

Americas

  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro said that emergency payments to aid the poor in the pandemic could vary from 150 reais to more than 300 reais ($26.36-$52.72), while a plan being considered in Congress gives cash transfers of 250 reais. (Reuters)
  • Paraguay: The police in the capital city of Asunción fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds protesting record numbers of COVID-19 cases and the country’s troubled health care system. (AP)
  • United States: Former President Donald Trump endorsed South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster for a second term in 2022, in a move that strengthens his ties to the South Carolina politician. (AP)
  • United States: The White House fired the general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, continuing attempts to remove controversial Trump appointees viewed as hostile to the mission of the agencies they worked for. (WaPo)

Asia  

  • Hong Kong: A group of eleven pro-democracy activists accused of subversion will stay in jail for at least five more days while judges consider whether to release them on bail. (AP)
  • India: Farmers began blocking a six-lane expressway outside New Delhi to mark the 100th day of protests against the deregulation of agriculture markets, to raise pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. (Reuters)
  • Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan will face a vote of confidence in parliament, days after the country’s ruling coalition lost an important Senate seat. (DPA)
  • South Korea: The country’s new COVID-19 cases hovered above 400 as sporadic cluster infections showed no signs of a decline and the rising number of travelers amid warm weather is worried to spark yet another wave of infections. (YNA)

Europe

  • Region: Cyprus’s choice to allow vaccinated British citizens entry to the country ahead of the rest of the EU was caused by the bloc’s reluctance to take a decisive stance on Covid-19 immunity certificates, Cyprus’s tourism minister announced. (The Guardian)
  • Region: The effects of Brexit took their toll on Anglo-French trade volumes at the start of 2021, mirroring declines in commercial activity between the UK and other large EU nations. (FT)
  • Poland: Six people died and more than 30 were injured in an accident involving a bus transporting Ukrainian citizens in the southeast. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Iraq: The Vatican says Pope Francis thanked the nation’s top Shiite cleric for having ‘raised his voice in defense of the weakest.’ (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The kingdom will halt most COVID-19-related restrictions, including resuming indoor dining, reopening cinemas, and resuming entertainment activities and events. (Reuters)
  • Syria: The nation’s western-backed Kurdish forces have returned 12 children of alleged Islamic State members to their mothers from Iraq’s Yazidi minority. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Space: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has taken its first drive on Mars – moving 6.5 meters in 33 minutes.  (DPA)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Cyclone Niran
      • Location: 584 nautical miles W-NW of Noumea, New Caledonia
      • Wind: 130 mph
      • Movement: E-SE at 24 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Marian
      • Location:25.8S 95.9E
      • Movement: SSE
      • Wind:40 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Habana
      • Location:16.2S 78E
      • Movement: ESE
      • Wind:145 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 06MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases:116,119,879
      • Total recovered cases: 65,645,490
      • Deaths: 2,581,247
      • 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 (07MAR21)

  • Bolivia: Local Elections.
  • Iran: Sentence for British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe due to expire in the nation.
  • Israel: The nation eases some COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Switzerland: Referendum on banning full-face coverings.

END