Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the African continent has reached 2,323,845, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reported.
  • AMERICAS: The US Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit from the state of Texas seeking to invalidate president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory, marking a major defeat in President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss.
  • ASIA: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured farmers that reforms in the agrarian sector were aimed at helping them as thousands of farmers continued protests against three new laws to overhaul the procurement and sale of produce.
  • EUROPE: Officials of the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh reported that three Armenian fighters were wounded in clashes with Azerbaijani forces, undermining a recent peace deal brokered by Russia.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran executed a once-exiled journalist over his online work that helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017, authorities said, just months after he returned to Tehran under mysterious circumstances.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Hong Kong media businessman and activist Jimmy Lai was denied bail after being charged with foreign collusion; a new offence created this year under the city’s national security law imposed by the mainland.

Top Story

  • United States: COVID-19 vaccines are ready for distribution in the nation
    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it authorized the use of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, with the first inoculations expected soon, marking a possible end to the pandemic that has killed more than 295,000 people in the nation.
    • The US said it was purchasing 100 million more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Moderna, amid reports the government passed on the opportunity to gain an additional supply of the Pfizer jab.
    • The head of the FDA, Stephen Hahn, was forced to approve it for emergency use by Friday or resign, US media reported, although he called this “untrue”.
    • The vaccine could be needed as fast as possible with Hospitalizations being at record levels, at over 107,000 people, according to the Covid Tracking Project,
    • Reporting: Reuters, AFP, BBC, DPA,

Africa

  • Region:  The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the African continent has reached 2,323,845, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reported. (Xinhua)
  • Ethiopia: The first international aid convoy arrived in the capital of the Tigray region since fighting broke out more than a month ago, triggering a refugee crisis and humanitarian disaster. (AFP)
  • South Africa: The nation reported 8,319 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the nation’s total to 845,083, the country’s health ministry reported. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • United States: The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit from the state of Texas seeking to invalidate president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory, marking a major defeat in President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss. (DPA)
  • United States: The Justice Department inflicted the death penalty on Alfred Bourgeois, a 56-year-old inmate sentenced to death for killing his 2-year-old daughter in 2002. (NYT)
  • Venezuela:  Political opponents of Nicolás Maduro are inviting Venezuelans to express their frustrations in a survey after the governing party won congressional elections boycotted by the opposition, which called the vote a fraudulent maneuver aimed at consolidating the president’s power. (AP)

Asia 

  • Afghanistan:  At least one person was killed and two were injured in the nation’s capital of Kabul as ten rockets hit various parts of the city, officials reported. (Reuters)
  • India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured farmers that reforms in the agrarian sector were aimed at helping them as thousands of farmers continued protests against three new laws to overhaul the procurement and sale of produce. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: The Ministry of Health reported one new case of COVID-19; according to the ministry, the new case hit an aircrew member, who arrived in the country on Dec. 9 on a flight from the United States. (Xinhua)
  • South Korea: President Moon calls COVID-19 situation ’emergency,’ orders mobilization of all available resources to contain the pandemic. (YNA)

Europe

  • Region: The top negotiators between the United Kingdom and the EU have warned they are unlikely to reach a post-Brexit trade deal by Sunday. (BBC)
  • Region: Officials of the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh reported that three Armenian fighters were wounded in clashes with Azerbaijani forces, undermining a recent peace deal brokered by Russia. (AFP)
  • Belarus: Security agents have seized the computer and documents of a journalist at Minsk’s airport after briefly holding him upon arrival from Ukraine. (RFE)
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to discuss a tightening of lockdown restrictions with state leaders as COVID-19 infections rise and amid growing calls for action, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Iraq: An explosion took place near Baghdad international airport in an area housing military compounds, but caused no damage or casualties, security sources reported. (Reuters)
  • Iran: The nation executed a once-exiled journalist over his online work that helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017, authorities said, just months after he returned to Tehran under mysterious circumstances. (AP)
  • Syria: The global chemical weapons watchdog criticized the regime for failing to declare a chemical weapons factory and respond to 18 other issues, while Russia accused the watchdog of undertaking a “political crusade” against its close ally, the Syrian government. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Hong Kong media businessman and activist Jimmy Lai was denied bail after being charged with foreign collusion; a new offence created this year under the city’s national security law imposed by the mainland. (DPA)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Bongoyo
      • Location:21.7S 74.3E
      • Movement: W
      • Wind:40 mph
      • MAP
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 12DEC20: 71,189,492
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 12DEC20: 45,450,107
    • Deaths as of 12DEC20: 1,597,157
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (13DEC20)

  • Global: UK, U.N., and France co-host Climate Ambition Summit (virtual)
  • Niger: Local elections

END