Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Ethiopia’s government-appointed human rights body accused security forces of killing 11 people and wounding at least 30 others in the eastern Somali region.
  • AMERICAS: The presidents of Mexico and Bolivia warned they not attend the Summit of the Americas if Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are excluded from the June meeting in Los Angeles.
  • ASIA: State media reported North Korea’s first officially-recognized COVID-19 infection.
  • EUROPE: Russian energy giant Gazprom said that gas transiting via Ukraine to Europe dropped by a third after Kyiv suspended supplies through a key route.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Iran for talks with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, as efforts to save Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers hit a deadlock.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Meta Platforms Inc is preparing cutbacks in its Reality Labs division, a unit at the center of the company’s strategy to refocus on hardware products and the “metaverse.”

Top Story

  • Finland: Leader’s Support Joining NATO “Without Delay.”
    • Finland will apply to join NATO “without delay”, with Sweden expected to follow suit, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brings about the very expansion of the Western military alliance that Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent.
    • President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement that “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire [defense] alliance.”
    • The latest opinion poll conducted by Finnish public broadcaster YLE showed that 76% of Finns are in favor of joining NATO, a substantial change from earlier years when only 20-30% of respondents favored such military alignment.
    • A large majority of parties in Finland’s parliament backs a bid, as well as parliament’s defense committee.
    • President Navasto said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had changed Finland’s security situation although there was no immediate threat.
    • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden with open arms and expects the accession process to be speedy and smooth.
    • Reuters, Axios, AP, AFP, CNBC, BBC

Africa

  • DR Congo: Rapper Nzanzu Muyisa Makasi was sentenced to two years in prison for criticizing the president and has been acquitted on appeal. (AFP)
  • Ethiopia: The government-appointed human rights body accused security forces of killing 11 people and wounding at least 30 others in the eastern Somali region. (BBC)
  • Guinea: The National Transition Council announced a three-year transition period before the restoration of civilian rule, defying regional partners who have called for a swifter timetable following September’s coup. (AFP)
  • Somalia: The East African country will hold its long-delayed presidential vote on Sunday, ending the convoluted electoral process that raised tensions when the president’s term expired last year without a successor in place. (AP)
  • South Africa: Authorities confirmed that 48 people are still missing following last month’s deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal with the official death toll now at 445. (BBC)

Americas  

  • Region: The presidents of Mexico and Bolivia warned they not attend the Summit of the Americas if Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are excluded from the June meeting in Los Angeles. (AP)
  • Brazil: Newly-appointed energy minister Adolfo Sachsida said he will request studies on the privatization of state oil company Petrobras as his first act in office. (Reuters)
  • British Virgin Islands: Activists held a rally calling for continued autonomy following an inquiry report saying the islands should be governed directly by London. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez received death threats following his order for nine former police and military officers to stand trial for crimes committed during the country’s civil war. (AP)
  • United States: More than one million people have died due to Covid-19 as the country crossed a grim milestone in the pandemic. (AFP)

Asia

  • China: Envoy Xiao Qian said that Beijing’s engagement with South Pacific island countries poses no threat to Australia. (AP)
  • North Korea: State media reported the country’s first officially-recognized COVID-19 infection. (AP)
  • Philippines: US President Joe Biden called Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to congratulate him on his apparent landslide victory in the presidential election. (AP)
  • South Korea: The military said that North Korea fired three ballistic missiles after Pyongyang announced the country’s first-ever cases of Covid-19. (AFP)
  • Sri Lanka: A court banned former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal and 15 allies from leaving the country over violence against anti-government demonstrators. (AlJazeera)

Europe

  • Region: The United Kingdom signed security deals with Sweden and Finland, promising to come to their aid if attacked. (AP)
  • Russia: Energy giant Gazprom said that gas transiting via Ukraine to Europe dropped by a third after Kyiv suspended supplies through a key route. (AFP)
  • Turkey: A court ordered the release of Metin Gurcan, prominent defense analyst and an opposition party co-founder, pending trial. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced the first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier. (AP)
  • United Kingdom: Police issued more than 50 additional fines over a “Partygate” scandal rocking Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Region: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Iran for talks with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, as efforts to save Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers hit a deadlock. (AP)
  • Israel: The military demolished 18 buildings and structures in the occupied West Bank following a Supreme Court decision that would force around 1,000 Palestinians out of an area declared a firing zone. (AP)
  • Jordan: The country called for a just, transparent, and immediate investigation into the killing of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to hold perpetrators accountable. (Xinhua)
  • Lebanon: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that his government has taken “all necessary measures” to ensure safe and free parliamentary elections slated for May 15. (Xinhua)
  • Palestinian Territories: Thousands have gathered to mourn a slain Al Jazeera journalist in the occupied city of Ramallah. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Meta Platforms Inc is preparing cutbacks in its Reality Labs division, a unit at the center of the company’s strategy to refocus on hardware products and the “metaverse.” (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 (as of 12MAY22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (13MAY22) 

  • Germany: G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Schleswig-Holstein. (to 14MAY)
  • Germany: G7 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Stuttgart. (to 14MAY)
  • Iran: Iran International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran. (to 16MAY)
  • Poland: FAO Regional Conference for Europe in Łódź.
  • Sweden: Government to release security review, including decision on joining NATO.
  • United States: US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington DC.
  • United States: Visit by King Abdullah II of Jordan.
  • Vietnam: Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi. (to 23MAY)

END