Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: King Goodwill Zwelithini of South Africa’s Zulu nation has died at the age of 72.
  • AMERICAS: In his first prime-time address since taking office, US President Joe Biden pledged to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines by 1 May.
  • ASIA: Activists in Myanmar continue to hold protests against the military junta, as South Korea said it would suspend defense exchanges and reconsider development aid to the Southeast Asian country due to the military’s brutal crackdown on protests.
  • EUROPE: The UK’s economy contracted less than expected in January despite it entering a coronavirus lockdown, but its trade with the European Union was predictably hammered due to new post-Brexit rules taking effect.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel has led a joint naval exercise with Greece, Cyprus, and France.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: A court in Myanmar has extended the pre-trial detention of an Associated Press journalist who was arrested while covering anti-junta protests.

Top Story

  • Global: Thailand joins European countries in pausing use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.
    • Thailand is the latest country to delay the rollout of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine over reports of blood clots.
    • Though no link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and blood clots has been established yet, Thailand made the decision a day after Denmark, Norway, and Iceland also temporarily paused the use of the vaccine.
    • However, Australia, Mexico and the Philippines said they will continue to administer AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine due to finding no evidence of the vaccine triggering any adverse reactions.
    • Many health regulators, including the European Medicines Agency, have also said there is no evidence that AstraZeneca’s vaccine triggered adverse reactions.
    • Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has reportedly cut its forecast of vaccine supplies to the European Union by 25% from its pledges to the EU last month.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, AFP, NYT

Africa

  • Egypt: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Cairo and his country have made their first diplomatic contacts since 2013. (AFP)
  • Libya: The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Egypt, and Jordan hailed parliament’s approval of a new unity government for the country, which will remain in charge until elections in December. (AFP)
  • South Africa: King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation has died at the age of 72. (BBC)
  • South Sudan: The UN warned that 60% of the country’s population are “increasingly hungry” while the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the country is facing a “humanitarian crisis” exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

Americas

  • Region: Convicted drug trafficker Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, a former leader of the Cachiros cartel, told a US court that he paid Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández $250,000 for protection from arrest in 2012. (AP)
  • Colombia: Defense Minister Diego Molano is facing calls to resign after he called child victims of a government airstrike on dissident rebels “machines of war” who were indoctrinated by the rebels. (Guardian)
  • Mexico: Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said the country will continue using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, after Denmark, Norway and Iceland temporarily halted its use. (Reuters)
  • United States: In his first prime-time address since taking office, President Joe Biden pledged to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines by 1 May. (AP)

Asia  

  • Region: Japan said it would not take part in China’s offer to vaccinate “participants” in the postponed Tokyo Games and next year’s Beijing Winter Games, though the International Olympic Committee accepted Beijing’s offer. (AP)
  • Region: The leaders of the ‘Quad’ countries are reportedly set to announce a plan to boost India’s coronavirus vaccine manufacturing capacity at their first ever meeting. (AP)
  • Afghanistan: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara will appoint a special envoy to the country and announced plans to host peace talks between the government and the Taliban in Istanbul next month. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Activists continue to hold protests against the military junta, as South Korea said it would suspend defense exchanges and reconsider development aid to the Southeast Asian country due to the military’s brutal crackdown on protests. (Reuters)
  • Philippines: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to loan the country $400 million to finance its efforts to purchase coronavirus vaccines. (DPA)

Europe

  • Region: The Turkish Foreign Ministry, as well as the US State Department, criticized the release on parole in the US of Hampig “Harry” Sassounian, who was responsible for the 1982 assassination of the Turkish consul general to Los Angeles. (RFE-RL)
  • Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić said production of Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine is set to begin in the country, making it the first in Europe to produce the Chinese company’s vaccine. (AFP)
  • United Kingdom: The country’s economy contracted less than expected in January despite it entering a coronavirus lockdown, but its trade with the European Union was hammered due to new post-Brexit rules taking effect. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Region: Israel has led a joint naval exercise with Greece, Cyprus, and France. (AP)
  • Region: The United Arab Emirates announced it will create a $10 billion investment fund for strategic sectors in Israel following a “constructive” phone call between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, is doing well following her appendectomy. (DPA)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: A court in Myanmar has extended the pre-trial detention of an Associated Press journalist who was arrested while covering anti-junta protests. (AP)

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 (as of 12MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 118,656,470
      • Total recovered cases: 67,196,638
      • Deaths: 2,631,694
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 07MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 18
      • Deaths: 9
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 07MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 4
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (13MAR21)

  • Bhutan: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign could begin.
  • Ethiopia: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign is expected to begin.
  • Germany: The country’s anti-coronavirus Querdenken lockdown movement is expected to hold demonstrations.
  • The Holy See: Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis – 2013
  • New Zealand: A national remembrance service for the victims of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks will be held.
  • Tunisia: The country is expected to begin its coronavirus vaccination campaign.
  • United States: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to visit the US Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii ahead of his trip to Japan, South Korea, and India.

END