Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The Central African Republic’s Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara said rebel forces launched two attacks on the outskirts of the capital Bangui.
  • AMERICAS: The US State Department canceled all senior-level overseas travels, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to Belgium and envoy to the UN Kelly Craft’s planned trip to Taiwan, in a decision to assist with the transition to the next administration.
  • ASIA: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo received an injection of the Chinese-made CoronaVac coronavirus vaccine, as his country begins its coronavirus vaccination program with a vaccine that had disappointing results in trials.
  • EUROPE: Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas announced his resignation over corruption allegations surrounding his Centre Party.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Interpol issued red notices for the captain and owner of the ship that carried the chemicals responsible for the major explosion in Beirut’s port last year, according to Lebanese state media reports.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: YouTube suspended President Donald Trump’s channel for at least seven days over concerns about “ongoing potential for violence”.

 

Top Story

  • North Korea: Kim Jong Un ends party meeting with calls for nuclear might.
    • Leader Kim Jong Un again called for strengthening Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities.
    • Kim made the comments at the close of an eight-day-long ruling Workers’ Party’s 8th congress, where he pledged to “further strengthen our nuclear deterrence” and called the establishment of a nuclear force “a strategic and predominant goal.”
    • During the Workers Party Congress, Kim also called for increased state control over the economy, boosting agricultural production and prioritizing the development of chemicals and metal industries as part of a five-year plan.
    • Meanwhile, Kim Yo Jong, Kim’s sister and a member of the party’s Central Committee, criticized South Korea for monitoring a military parade in Pyongyang, calling the monitoring an expression of Seoul’s “hostile approach” to Pyongyang.
    • The 8th party meeting was the first such meeting since 2016 and is expected to be followed by North Korea’s parliament adopting the new five-year economic plan and state budget later this week.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, NYT, DPA

 

Africa

  • Region: The African Union said it secured 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses for the continent, marking the largest such agreement yet for Africa. (AP)
  • Central African Republic: Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara said rebel forces launched two attacks on the outskirts of the capital Bangui. (AFP)
  • Malawi: President Lazarus Chakwera declared a state of national disaster due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as two of his cabinet ministers died of COVID-19. (VOA)
  • Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni blocked Facebook from operating in the country days after the social media site blocked some government accounts and just days before the country’s presidential election. (NYT)
  • Zambia: The country’s tax authority said the government paid $400 million in value-added tax returns to mining companies, amid the country’s external debt struggles. (Reuters

 

Americas

  • Region: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the US-Canada border will remain closed to all non-essential travelers until 21 February. (AFP
  • Brazil: Data from the trials of Chinese company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine in the country showed a disappointing 50.4% efficacy rate, which is only barely enough for regulatory approval. (Reuters)
  • Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a cabinet reshuffle, including the appointment of former Transport Minister Marc Garneau as Ottawa’s new foreign minister. (BBC)
  • Mexico: The country’s election regulatory agency banned all media outlets from broadcasting President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily morning news conferences in full, ahead of this year’s congressional and state elections. (AP
  • United States: The State Department canceled all senior-level overseas travels, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to Belgium and envoy to the UN Kelly Craft’s planned trip to Taiwan, in a decision to assist with the transition to the next administration. (AP)

 

Asia  

  • Australia: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declined to comment on whether he intended to block China State Construction Engineering Corp’s takeover of the Australian-based Probuild construction company. (AP)
  • India: Farmers are set to burn copies of the government’s new agricultural laws as they continue their protests against the new laws despite the Supreme Court’s intervention into the issue. (Reuters
  • Indonesia: President Joko Widodo received an injection of the Chinese-made CoronaVac coronavirus vaccine, as the country begins its coronavirus vaccination program with a vaccine that had disappointing results in trials. (NYT)
  • Japan: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a coronavirus state of emergency in seven more prefectures as the country grapples with a surge of coronavirus infections. (DPA)

 

Europe

  • Estonia: Prime Minister Juri Ratas announced his resignation over corruption allegations surrounding his Centre Party. (DPA)
  • Italy: A trial against alleged members of the ’Ndrangheta crime syndicate started in a specially constructed bunker in Calabria. (AP)
  • Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended the government’s coronavirus restrictions until 9 February. (AFP)
  • Russia: Opposition politician and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said he will return to the country this weekend after spending five months in Germany following an attempted poisoning. (RFE-RL)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran’s navy inaugurated its largest military vessel, a logistics ship called the Makran, as it started a short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman. (AP
  • Region: Israel conducted overnight raids targeting arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria, killing at least five soldiers and 11 allied fighters during the operations, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (AFP)
  • Iran: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of allowing jihadi group al-Qaeda to establish a “new home base” inside the country. (BBC)
  • Kuwait: Prime Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah presented the resignation of his cabinet to Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah just days before the prime minister was set to be questioned by Parliament over his ministerial appointments and other issues. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Interpol issued red notices for the captain and owner of the ship that carried the chemicals responsible for the major explosion in Beirut’s port last year, according to state media reports. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: YouTube suspended President Donald Trump’s channel for at least seven days over concerns about “ongoing potential for violence”. (NYT)

 

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 13JAN21: 91,691,962 
      • Total Recovered Cases as of 13JAN21: 50,729,800
      • Deaths as of 13JAN21: 1,964,571
      • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (14JAN21)

  • Asia: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. (to 16JAN)
  • Europe: Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani will visit and meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
  • Europe: The European Parliament will discuss the recently agreed Brexit deal with the United Kingdom.
  • Europe: The European Union’s Chamber of Commerce in China and China Institute Merics will release a report on the result of an economic decoupling from China.
  • Middle East: Iran’s navy will conduct a short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman.
  • China: A WHO team will arrive in the country to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus.
  • Germany: The government will release GDP data for 2020.
  • Greece: North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani will visit and meet with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias.
  • Guinea: The trial of activist Oumar Sylla will be held.
  • India: Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will visit. (to 16JAN)
  • Lebanon: The government will increase its coronavirus restrictions.
  • Pakistan: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit and meet with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
  • Tunisia: The 10th anniversary of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster from power in the Arab Spring.
  • Tunisia: A four-day coronavirus lockdown will be implemented. (to 17JAN)
  • Tunisia: Revolution and Youth Day – 2011
  • Uganda: Presidential elections will be held. 
  • United States: President-elect Joe Biden is expected to release his coronavirus vaccine rollout and economic relief plans.
  • United States: USAID will unveil its new “Economic Growth Policy” at an event organized by think tank CSIS.
  • Yemen: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in the country.

 

END