Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Vote counting kicked off in Zambia after a hard-fought general election that saw social media throttled in Lusaka and President Edgar Lungu send more troops to three provinces to quell potential violence.
  • AMERICAS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected on Sunday to call for snap elections to be held on September 20, according to sources.
  • ASIA: China rejected the World Health Organization’s calls for a renewed probe into the origins of COVID-19.
  • EUROPE: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Moscow next Friday where she will meet President Vladimir Putin.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada will all send troops to Kabul to evacuate their embassies and to assist citizens in leaving Afghanistan.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook Inc has pushed back its office return date for all U.S. and some international employees until January 2022.

Top Story

  • Afghanistan: Taliban take Kandahar and Herat in major lightning offensive. 
    • The Taliban captured the second and third largest cities of Kandahar and Herat, further pressuring the government of Kabul just weeks before the end of the American military mission in Afghanistan.
    • The seizure of both cities marks a turning point for the Taliban, who have taken 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals in a rapid major blitz.
    • Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes fearing a dire humanitarian crisis and a brutal, repressive government excluding women’s rights.
    • Latest U.S military assessments suggest Kabul could come under militant pressure within a month and if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within 90 days.
    • US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they spoke with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to stress Washington remains invested in the stability of Afghanistan even with a reduced military presence.
    • AP, NBC News, ABC News, NPR, Reuters

Africa

  • Algeria: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced the arrest of 22 suspected arsonists allegedly responsible for devastating wildfires which have killed at least 65. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: U.N. special envoy James Swan reported “significant progress” in implementing an agreement to hold national elections, but said greater efforts are needed to ensure electoral security. (AP)
  • South Africa: The country’s health minister said he would not recommend a relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown measures despite a decrease in infections. (Reuters)
  • Zambia: Vote counting kicked off in the country after a hard-fought general election that saw social media throttled in Lusaka and President Edgar Lungu send more troops to three provinces to quell potential violence. (AFP)

Americas

  • Region: The United States has begun shipping over 500,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the first part of a pledge of 5.5 million doses. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: Supreme Court Justice Alexandre Moraes opened a probe into President Jair Bolsonaro for publishing sealed documents from an investigation into the hacking of a federal election court. (Reuters)
  • Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected on Sunday to call for snap elections to be held on September 20, according to sources. (AFP)
  • Cuba: Havana denounced a US Senate amendment that would see the United States provide Cubans with internet access to help them circumvent censorship. (AFP)
  • Nicaragua: The country’s only independent national daily newspaper in circulation, La Prensa, suspended its print edition due to customs refusing to release its paper imports. (AFP)

Asia

  • China: The country rejected the World Health Organization’s calls for a renewed probe into the origins of COVID-19. (AFP)
  • India: Officials said at least 2,000 people were evacuated after a major landslide in the country’s ecologically fragile Himalayan north blocked a major river. (AFP)
  • Japan: According to government data, the country’s daily COVID-19 cases reached 20,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, with a record high of 5,773 new infections confirmed in the capital Tokyo. (Xinhua)
  • Malaysia: Police said a serviceman shot dead three air force personnel at a military base in the northern Borneo state of Sarawak before killing himself. (AFP)
  • Thailand: For the second day in a row, the country reported a record increase in the number of coronavirus infections (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Moscow next Friday where she will meet President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)
  • Belarus: More than 20 people have been detained in the latest wave in a crackdown on dissent. (AP)
  • Russia: The country recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll for a second consecutive day, as a third wave of infections continues despite efforts from authorities to boost vaccinations. (AFP)
  • Spain: Firefighters brought a wildfire in the northeastern region of Catalonia under control as hot temperatures put most of the country at risk for blazes. (AFP)
  • Turkey: The disaster and emergency management authority announced the death toll from the country’s flash floods along its northern Black Sea coast rose to 27. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Afghanistan: The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada will all send troops to Kabul to evacuate their embassies and to assist citizens in leaving the country. (WaPo)
  • Egypt: The army said forces have killed 13 Islamist militants during clashes in the Sinai Peninsula. (AFP)
  • Iran: Officials criticized a photo of British and Russian diplomats posted on Wednesday by the Russian embassy in Tehran, slamming it as “disrespectful” and reminding people of the Anglo-Soviet military invasion of Iran during World War II. (Xinhua)
  • Israel: Citizens aged 50 and over began receiving vaccine booster shots against COVID-19 as part of a government bid to stem spiking infections driven by the Delta variant. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Tech: Facebook Inc has pushed back its office return date for all U.S. and some international employees until January 2022. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: 
  • Tropical Depression Fred
    • Location: 22.0N 76.7W
    • Movement: WNW
    • Wind: 35 mph
    • Map
  • Tropical Storm Linda
    • Location: 16.4N 110.6W
    • Movement: WNW
    • Wind: 90 mph
    • Map
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 13AUG21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (14AUG21)

  • Global: 80th anniversary of Roosevelt and Churchill issuing the Atlantic Charter
  • Egypt: 8th anniversary of Rabaa massacre in Cairo
  • Italy: 3rd anniversary of collapse of Morandi Bridge in Genoa
  • China: Qixi Festival, also known as “Chinese Valentine’s Day”
  • Pakistan: Independence Day
  • Falkland Islands: Falklands Day
  • United States: VJ Day
  • Vatican City: Vigil of Assumption Day

END