Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Staffers of Bobi Wine, the leading opposition candidate in Uganda’s upcoming presidential election, said dozens of his campaign staff were being held in a military barracks after authorities refused court orders to release them.
  • AMERICAS: The Mexican government has sent one of its top health officials to Argentina to discuss coronavirus vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
  • ASIA: Firebrand Indonesian Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who inspired the 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali, was released from prison.
  • EUROPE: The European Commission doubled its order of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine following criticisms of its coronavirus vaccination program.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned the government from purchasing coronavirus vaccines from the United States, and the United Kingdom.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: NASA has agreed to join Japan’s Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope mission that will send a telescope to the sun.

Top Story

  • Global: 2020 tied with 2016 as warmest year on record.
    • New data from the European Commission showed that 2020 effectively tied with 2016 as the world’s warmest recorded year.
    • The EC’s Copernicus Climate Change Service provided the data and said that 2020 was approximately 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1.25 degrees Celsius) warmer than the long-term average.
    • The unprecedented levels of heat in the Arctic, which is warming faster than any other region, and Siberia were key factors in driving up the temperature.
    • Additionally, Europe’s average temperature in 2020 was 0.4 degrees Celsius, or nearly three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit, warmer than 2019.
    • Temperatures across North America were above average as well, though not as much as compared to Europe but still enough to play a critical role in last year’s wildfires in the US.
    • Reporting: NYT, BBC, WaPo, Guardian, CNN

Africa

  • Ethiopia: The UN expressed fears of potentially “massive community transmission” of COVID-19 due to displacement and the collapse of health services in the country’s Tigray region. (AP)
  • Ghana: President Nana Akufo-Addo was sworn-in for his second term in office just hours following scuffles between lawmakers in Parliament. (BBC)
  • Kenya: The government told the UN that it will cost the country $62 billion to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. (Guardian)
  • Uganda: Staffers of Bobi Wine, the leading opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential election, said dozens of his campaign staff were being held in a military barracks after authorities refused court orders to release them. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: The Mexican government has sent one of its top health officials to Argentina to discuss coronavirus vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: The country’s coronavirus pandemic death toll passed 200,000, according to the health ministry. (AFP)
  • Guatemala: The ex-security chief at a mine owned by Canadian mining giant Hudbay Minerals pleaded guilty to killing an anti-mining activist in 2009. (BBC)
  • United States: Democratic party leaders are pushing to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: China warned the United States it faced a “heavy price” if its Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, visits Taiwan next week as planned. (AFP)
  • Region: A South Korean court has ordered Japan to compensate twelve “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels, prompting Tokyo to criticize the court’s decision. (Reuters)
  • Indonesia: Firebrand Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who inspired the 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali, was released from prison. (AP)
  • Vietnam: The government said a US investigation into the country’s currency and timber industry could harm bilateral relations and negatively impact workers and consumers in both countries. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: Portuguese Health Minister Marta Temido, whose country holds the current six-month European Union presidency, said any side-deals for coronavirus vaccines made by EU member-states should not undermine the 27-country bloc’s joint vaccine orders. (Reuters)
  • Region: The European Commission doubled its order of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine doses following criticism of its coronavirus vaccination program. (DPA)
  • France: The US suspended planned tariffs on some of the country’s goods and products that it had planned to impose in retaliation for Paris’ new digital services tax. (Reuters)
  • Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced an extension of the government’s existing coronavirus measures and restrictions to 1 February. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: All international passengers planning to travel to the country will soon be required to test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to enter. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have unveiled an underground missile base at an undisclosed location in the Gulf region. (Reuters)
  • Region: Iraq’s judiciary said an arrest warrant has been issued for outgoing US President Donald Trump over last year’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and the leader of an Iraqi militia Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. (AP)
  • Region: Qatar Airways has begun to reroute some flights through Saudi airspace following Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to end a years-long dispute. (DPA)
  • Iran: The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned the government from purchasing coronavirus vaccines from the United States and the United Kingdom. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Space: NASA has agreed to join Japan’s Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope mission that will send a telescope to the sun. (Guardian)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Cyclone Danilo
      • Location: 629 nautical miles E-NE of Port Louis, Mauritius
      • Wind: 45 mph
      • Movement: W-SW at 11 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Vanuatu
      • Location: 146 km S-SE of Isangel, Vanuatu
      • Magnitude: 6.1
      • Depth: 117.7 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 08JAN21: 88,140,964
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 08JAN21: 49,170,247
    • Deaths as of 08JAN21: 1,900,380
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (09JAN21)

  • Middle East: The United Arab Emirates will reopen all of its land, sea, and air entry points with Qatar.
  • Afghanistan: The government and the Taliban to potentially hold talks in Qatar.
  • Switzerland: The government will increase its coronavirus measures and restrictions.
  • United Kingdom: The British overseas territory of Gibraltar will begin its coronavirus vaccination campaign using Pfizer vaccines.

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