Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed signed a law extending his term in office and his government’s mandate, with the US and other countries threatening sanctions over the move.
  • AMERICAS: Far-left unionist Pedro Castillo will face rightwing populist Keiko Fujimori in Peru’s June presidential runoff election.
  • ASIA: China called its military exercises near Taiwan “combat drills,” as senior former US officials landed in Taiwan for a visit intended to signal US President Joe Biden’s commitment to Taiwan.
  • EUROPE: US President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions caused by a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border and proposed a Biden-Putin summit to deal with a host of disputes between Washington and Moscow.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran intends to start enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity following an explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility it blamed on Israel.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Increasing racist abuse against soccer players on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has led to British soccer officials demanding the social media platforms to take stronger action against racism.

 

Top Story

  • Afghanistan: US to withdraw all troops by September 11.
    • President Joe Biden is expected to announce a complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that were coordinated in Afghanistan.
    • President Biden is also expected to announce the timeline of the withdrawal and his vision for the way forward in Afghanistan today.
    • 2,500 US forces are expected to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 1 May withdrawal deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban.
    • Biden’s decision reportedly overrules warnings from military advisers of a resurgence of terrorist threats in Afghanistan.
    • It is unclear how the decision will affect an upcoming 10-day Istanbul summit on Afghanistan that is set to include the United Nations.
    • Additionally, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she expected NATO to take a similar decision following a special session later today, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said NATO troops in Afghanistan will leave in coordination with the US plans.
    • Reporting: AP, NYT, WaPo, WSJ, Reuters, Reuters2, Reuters3

 

Africa

  • Benin: President Patrice Talon took home an easy win in the country’s presidential election that critics alleged of being stacked in his favor following a crackdown on his opponents. (AFP)
  • DR Congo: Interior Minister Gilbert Kankonde said the government will launch its coronavirus vaccination campaign next week. (AFP)
  • Egypt: The Suez Canal Authority will impound the Ever Given container ship that blocked the Suez Canal recently until its owners pay $900 million in compensation. (BBC)
  • Libya: The country and Greece agreed to hold discussions on marking out their maritime zones in the Mediterranean Sea. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed signed a law extending his term in office and his government’s mandate, with the US and other countries threatening sanctions over the move. (AP)

 

Americas

  • Ecuador: The country’s comptroller and former Energy Minister Jose Augusto Briones were detained as part of an investigation into corruption at three state institutions, including oil company Petroecuador. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: Congress refused to swear-in crusading anti-corruption judge Gloria Porras to another five-year term on the country’s constitutional court. (AP)
  • Peru: Far-left unionist Pedro Castillo will face rightwing populist Keiko Fujimori in June’s presidential runoff election. (AFP)
  • Suriname: The government said the country’s creditors agreed to defer interest payments on its 2023 and 2026 bonds. (Reuters)
  • United States: The latest annual threat assessment warned of the threats posed by Russia and China, including China’s effort to expand its growing influence across the world. (NYT)

 

Asia  

  • Region: The Philippines filed another diplomatic protest against China after 240 Chinese vessels were sighted in the South China Sea. (DPA)
  • Region: China called its military exercises near Taiwan “combat drills” as senior former US officials landed in Taiwan for a visit intended to signal US President Joe Biden’s commitment to Taiwan. (Reuters)
  • China: A Beijing-drafted electoral reform bill was introduced in Hong Kong’s legislature. (AP)
  • Myanmar: Clashes reportedly broke out between junta forces and rebels from the Kachin ethnic group in the country’s north. (EFE)
  • Pakistan: The government deployed paramilitary forces in the Punjab province to deal with violent sit-ins by hardline Islamists to protest the arrest of Saad Rizvi. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: The UK asked the EU for more time to respond to the 27-country bloc’s legal action over London’s unilateral decision to ease requirements of the Northern Ireland Protocol. (Reuters)
  • Region: US President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions caused by a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border and proposed a Biden-Putin summit to deal with a host of disputes between Washington and Moscow. (Reuters)
  • Serbia: Authorities halted work at the country’s only copper mine and ordered China’s Zijin Mining Group to first complete a wastewater treatment plant after the company failed to comply with environmental standards. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hailed “a new era” of bilateral relations between his country and Egypt, as Ankara pushes ahead with normalizing relations with Cairo. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: The military rehearsed a counterattack against a potential Russian tank and infantry invasion near the border with Crimea. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Region: A commercial vessel owned by an Israeli company was attacked near the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)
  • Region: Iran intends to start enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity following an explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility it blamed on Israel. (AFP)  
  • United Arab Emirates: The country continued its space exploration push, as it finalized an agreement with exploration company ispace to transport one of its rovers to the moon in 2022. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Increasing racist abuse against soccer players on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has led to British soccer officials demanding the social media platforms to take stronger action against racism. (DPA)

 

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 14APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 137,515,918
      • Total recovered cases: 78,345,919
      • Deaths: 2,961,469
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 04APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 16
      • Deaths: 12
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 04APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 6
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (15APR21)

  • Global: The US and Iran are expected to resume indirect talks over the 2015 JCPOA deal with representatives from other JCPOA countries expected to act as intermediaries. 
  • Global: The winner of the World Press Photo competition will be announced.
  • Global: The US and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will virtually host an Investment Opportunity for the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment event.
  • Global: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Israel, Germany, NATO headquarters in Belgium and the United Kingdom. 
  • Global: The CIS Council of Defense Ministers will meet and discuss air defense. 
  • Global: NATO will hold the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference 2021 virtually.
  • Americas: US Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council Juan Gonzalez will visit Colombia, Argentina, and Uruguay. 
  • Asia: US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will visit China and South Korea. (to 17APR)
  • Europe: Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan will visit Germany, France, and Belgium and meet with his counterparts to discuss coronavirus vaccine supplies. 
  • Europe: The European Court of Justice will issue opinions on judicial independence in Hungary and Poland.
  • Europe: Two US warships are expected to sail through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and into the Black Sea. 
  • Europe: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Brussels. 
  • Europe: Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman will visit Spain, as part of his European tour. 
  • Europe: British officials will meet with EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Irish sea border.
  • Bulgaria: The country’s newly-elected parliament will hold its first session.
  • Lebanon: US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale will visit. 
  • Russia: Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) will send a delegation to assess the Sputnik V vaccine.
  • South Africa: The deadline for regional heads of ruling African National Congress (ANC) to submit names to the party leadership of party members implicated in corruption.
  • Taiwan: An unofficial delegation sent by US President Joe Biden will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen.
  • Tunisia: Parliament will elect members of the Constitutional Court.
  • Turkey: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ rescheduled visit to Turkey for talks with his counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will take place.
  • Turkey: The central bank will hold a monetary policy meeting under its newly-appointed governor.
  • Ukraine: Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis will visit.
  • United Kingdom: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney will visit.
  • United Kingdom: The government’s deadline to vaccinate all adults aged over 50 in the country.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hybrid business and nominations hearing.
  • United States: The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the national security challenges in the USEUCOM region.
  • United States: The House of Representatives will hold a hearing on the storming of Capitol Hill.
  • United States: Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra will testify on the health budget to the House. 
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on Syria.
  • Yemen: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the country.

END