Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Facebook reportedly closed down accounts of Ugandan government officials accused of seeking to manipulate public debate in the run-up to Uganda’s upcoming presidential election.
  • AMERICAS: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will proceed with a push to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.
  • ASIA: The frontrunner in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election, Sadyr Japarov, looks certain to take a landslide election victory, according to preliminary results.
  • EUROPE: The head of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is also the country’s richest citizen, quit politics two months after a parliamentary election his opponents alleged was rigged.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the advancement of plans to build 800 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Kaspersky investigators say the malicious computer code used in the cyber-espionage campaign against the US has links to spying tools previously used by suspected Russian hackers.

Top Story

  • Yemen: US to blacklist Houthi rebels as terrorists, raising famine concerns.
    • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington plans to designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist group, in the wake of a recent spate of attacks by the Houthis on oil tankers in the Red Sea.
    • The Houthis will be blacklisted on 19 January, a day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, unless the US Congress blocks the designation.
    • Following the announcement, the Iran-backed Houthis dismissed the US plans, with some Houthi leaders blaming the US for “killing and starving the Yemeni people”, while other Houthi leaders said the announcement was an attempt to deflect attention from the ongoing political crisis in the US.
    • Elsewhere, Iran’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the designation and said Washington would eventually need to enter into negotiations with the Houthis to strike peace in Yemen.
    • The UN and differing aid groups warned that the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group could result in a famine in Yemen, one of the worst the world has seen, as the designation will likely scare away outside actors from engaging in transactions such as bank transfers for food and fuel with the Houthis, who control large parts of Yemen, for fear of US prosecution.
    • Reporting: WaPo, NYT, Reuters, Bloomberg, AP, AFP

Africa

  • Morocco: The US started work on creating a consulate in the Western Sahara region. (AFP)
  • Uganda: Facebook reportedly closed down accounts of government officials accused of seeking to manipulate public debate in the run-up to the country’s upcoming presidential election. (AFP)
  • Zambia: President Edgar Lungu dismissed Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya from his office without giving a reason for the decision. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: Guatemala and Honduras will deploy their armies to prevent the advance of US-bound migrant caravans. (Reuters)
  • Mexico: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s spokesperson tested positive for the coronavirus on the same day as the country reported its first case of a new COVID-19 variant. (AP)
  • United States: House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will proceed with a push to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time. (AP)

Asia  

  • Region: India released a Chinese soldier whom its army previously apprehended near the country’s border with China in the remote Ladakh region. (AP)
  • Indonesia: The country’s Food and Drug Authority approved the emergency use of Chinese company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine, with the first vaccinations expected to take place later this week. (AP)
  • Kyrgyzstan: The frontrunner in the country’s presidential election, Sadyr Japarov, looks certain to take a landslide election victory, according to preliminary results. (BBC)
  • North Korea: Leader Kim Jong Un was named Secretary General of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, according to state media reports. (DPA)
  • Taiwan: The country rolled-out its newly redesigned passports aimed at avoiding confusion with Chinese passports amid Beijing’s recent increasing efforts to assert sovereignty over the island nation. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Georgia: The head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is also the country’s richest citizen, quit politics two months after a parliamentary election his opponents alleged was rigged. (Reuters)
  • Russia: The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financially backed the development of Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, said that 1.5 million people around the world received the Sputnik V vaccine, but did not name any specific countries. (AFP)
  • Spain: The government is scrambling to clear roads covered by heavy snow, a rare event for the country, to maintain the steady supply of food and coronavirus vaccines to the most affected areas. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: Commercial air travel between Qatar and Saudi Arabia will resume for the first time in years, following last week’s diplomatic deal that saw Qatar’s neighbors lifting their blockade on Doha. (AFP)
  • Iran: Tehran told South Korea to avoid politicizing the country’s Revolutionary Guard’s seizure of a South Korean vessel as it presses Seoul to release $7 billion of frozen funds. (Reuters)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the advancement of plans to build 800 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Kaspersky investigators say the malicious computer code used in the cyber-espionage campaign against the US has links to spying tools previously used by suspected Russian hackers. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 11JAN21: 90,343,519
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 11JAN21: 50,063,504
    • Deaths as of 11JAN21: 1,936,133
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (12JAN21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will hold an open debate on terrorist threats.
  • Asia: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. (to 16JAN)
  • Germany: The Bundestag’s committee tasked with probing the Wirecard scandal will hold a special session.
  • Kenya: Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu will visit and meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta. (to 13JAN)
  • Poland: The Constitutional Tribunal will rule on the future of the country’s human rights ombudsman.
  • South Africa: Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum will visit and meet with Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
  • Uganda: The International Criminal Court will announce the verdict in the war crimes trial of Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen.
  • United States: President Donald Trump is expected to visit the US-Mexico border.

END