- AFRICA: Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 300 school boys in Nigeria’s northwest in an audio recording.
- AMERICAS: Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa accused China of using opaque criteria to enable the emergency approval of its CoronaVac coronavirus vaccine, which is in the final phase of trials in the country.
- ASIA: The International Criminal Court said in a report there is evidence to show crimes against humanity were committed in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.
- EUROPE: Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn urged the EU to approve a coronavirus vaccine for public use before Christmas.
- MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the US decision to impose sanctions on Turkey for acquiring Russian S-400 air defense systems showed “contempt for international law”.
- TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Poland and Lithuania’s governments were targeted by an online disinformation attack aimed at undermining the relationship between the two countries, with Russia being viewed as the likely culprit behind the campaign.
- United States: Electoral College officially affirms Biden’s election win.
- The Electoral College confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the recent presidential election as electors gave Biden a solid majority of 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232 votes.
- President Donald Trump refused to concede the electoral defeat on 03 November and that still remains the case following the Electoral College vote officially affirming President-elect Biden’s victory.
- President-elect Biden gave a short speech following the announcement saying it was “time to turn the page” and that US democracy had been “pushed, tested and threatened” but “proved to be resilient, true and strong”.
- Later in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin finally congratulated President-elect Biden on his victor, becoming one of the last world leaders to do so.
- Reporting: Reuters, NYT, WaPo, BBC, WSJ, AP, AFP
- Region: Somalia’s Interior Ministry said the country is cutting its ties with neighboring Kenya accusing Nairobi of political interference in Somalia, without giving any specific examples of this interference. (Reuters)
- Niger: The government and the UN blamed Boko Haram for killing 28 people and burning 800 homes in the country’s Diffa region over the weekend. (Reuters)
- Nigeria: Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 300 school boys in the country’s northwest in an audio recording. (AP)
- Region: Argentina’s Foreign Minister Felipe Solá said the Mercosur bloc of countries will address environmental concerns raised by the European Union that stalled a trade deal between the two blocs at the upcoming Mercosur summit. (AP)
- Brazil: The country’s health regulator Anvisa accused China of using opaque criteria to enable the emergency approval of its CoronaVac coronavirus vaccine, which is in the final phase of trials in the country. (AFP)
- United States: A coronavirus vaccination program officially started in the country as federal health officials prepared to review a second coronavirus vaccine. (AP)
- Venezuela: A report published by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said there is “reasonable basis to believe” that the country’s “civilian authorities, members of the armed forces” committed crimes against humanity. (Reuters)
- Afghanistan: A shooting and bombing in the capital city Kabul resulted in the deaths of at least three people, including Kabul’s deputy provincial governor. (AP)
- Japan: The country’s space agency said the asteroid samples brought back to earth by the country’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft contain more than the anticipated amount of soil and gases. (AP)
- The Philippines: The International Criminal Court said in a report there is evidence to show crimes against humanity were committed in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte. (NYT)
- Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen launched an advanced warship and commissioned a new minelawyer and said Taipei might become a supplier of weapons to Western democracies. (Reuters)
- Region: The US imposed sanctions on fellow NATO country Turkey for its purchase and deployment of Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system. (BBC)
- Bosnia & Herzegovina: The Croat and Muslim Bosniak members of the country’s inter-ethnic three-man presidency refused to meet the visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying he had shown disrespect towards the country. (Reuters)
- Germany: Health Minister Jens Spahn urged the EU to approve a coronavirus vaccine for public use before Christmas. (AP)
- Portugal: Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita is facing calls to resign and is set to face questioning in Parliament over border patrol officers beating a Ukrainian man to death at a detention center at Lisbon airport in March. (Guardian)
- Iran: Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the US decision to impose sanctions on Turkey for acquiring Russian S-400 air defense systems showed “contempt for international law”. (Reuters)
- Israel: The country’s highest court allowed extradition to Australia of Malka Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexual abuse of many of her pupils in Australia. (AFP)
- Kuwait: Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah told Parliament that comprehensive reform efforts were required to help guide the country out of an economic crisis as he urged lawmakers against “fabricating conflicts”. (Reuters)
- Lebanon: A political activist was sentenced to three years of hard labor for collaborating with Israel by a military court. (AP)
- Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Watch said migrant workers continue to be subjected to abuses in the country’s detention centers. (Telegraph)
Tech & Communications
- Cybersecurity: Poland and Lithuania’s governments were targeted by an online disinformation attack aimed at undermining the relationship between the two countries, with Russia being viewed as the likely culprit behind the campaign. (AP)
- Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
- Location: 74 km N-NE of Calama, Chile
- Magnitude: 6.0
- Depth: 114 km
- Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
- Confirmed Cases as of 15DEC20: 72,926,815
- Total Recovered Cases as of 15DEC20: 41,339,537
- Deaths as of 15DEC20: 1,623,179
- Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
- Sourcing: John Hopkins University
Tomorrow’s Outlook (16DEC20)
- Global: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission will meet in Vienna, Austria.
- Global: The UN’s Human Rights office will hold a webinar to raise awareness about two new UN international instruments on the right of peaceful assembly.
- Global: The World Economic Forum will release its Global Competitiveness Report.
- Americas: The leaders of Mercosur member countries will hold a summit.
- Europe: Eurozone Finance Ministers will hold a meeting.
- Europe: Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will visit Germany and Belgium to meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schauble, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Tsikhanouskaya will also receive the European Parliament’s Sakharov Human Rights Prize at the end of this trip.
- Europe: The European Parliament will hold a plenary session with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and EU cooperation with neighboring countries to the east expected to be the main items on the agenda. (to 17DEC)
- Europe: The European Space Agency’s council will hold a meeting to decide on a new leader of the agency.
- Bahrain: National Day – 1971
- Bangladesh: Victory Day – 1971
- Brazil: The Supreme Court’s deadline to the government to announce the start date of its planned coronavirus vaccination campaign.
- DR Congo: The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit. (to 18DEC)
- France: A court verdict is expected in the recent trials related to the Charlie Hebdo terror attack.
- France: Mass coronavirus testing will be held in the city of Le Havre. (to 19DEC)
- Germany: The country will enter a coronavirus lockdown. (to 10JAN)
- India: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will visit. (to 17DEC)
- Kazakhstan: Independence Day – 1991
- Kuwait: The country’s new post-election Parliament will hold its first session. (to 18DEC)
- The Netherlands: A strict coronavirus lockdown will be imposed across the country.
- Sudan: Senior military officers will testify to the Sudan Human Rights Commission over last year’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in the country.
- Syria: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in the country.
- United States: The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on competition with China.
- United States: The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee will make an interest rates decision.
- Vietnam: The country’s ruling Communist Party will hold a plenum to discuss potential changes to the party and the country’s leadership, among other topics. (to 18DEC)