Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The Gambia’s United Democratic Party (UDP) filed a petition at the country’s supreme court to challenge President Adama Barrow’s victory in the 4 December poll.
  • AMERICAS: The national death toll from COVID-19 in the United States reached 800,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • ASIA: Chinese President Xi Jinping expects to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing in February.
  • EUROPE: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov delivered Russia’s proposals for legal security guarantees over NATO’s expansion to a top US diplomat after President Vladimir Putin said he wanted talks to start immediately.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Turkey and the United Arab Emirates aim to deepen cooperation after talks in Dubai between the Turkish foreign minister and the UAE’s prime minister.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, previously scheduled for December 22, has been delayed for at least two days by communications problems.

Top Story

  • Asia: Search underway for missing Indonesians as boat capsizes off Malaysia, killing 11 people.
    • Maritime authorities said a search and rescue mission is being conducted for 25 Indonesians missing after a boat capsized off Malaysia killing 11 people, among them suspected undocumented migrants.
    • The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said the boat capsized in bad weather at around 4:30 a.m. off the coast of Tanjung Balau, a beach town in the southeastern Malaysian state of Johor.
    • Another 14 people were found alive following the voyage from a nearby Indonesian island and have been taken into custody.
    • Malaysia’s maritime regulatory agency said the migrants likely entered Malaysian waters illegally, but it is unclear where they set off from.
    • Those missing are believed to have fled into hiding or drowned, and authorities have deployed boats and an aircraft to search for them.
    • Reuters. NYT, AFP, DPA, TRT

Africa

  • Region: African and international navies are struggling to combat the scourge of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as seaborne bandits attack further offshore where they are harder to track and catch. (AFP)
  • Kenya: Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said the country detected its first three cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. (AFP)
  • South Africa: The High Court ordered former president Jacob Zuma to return to jail after setting aside the decision to release him on medical parole. (AFP)
  • The Gambia: The United Democratic Party (UDP) filed a petition at the country’s supreme court to challenge President Adama Barrow’s victory in the 4 December poll. (BBC)

Americas 

  • Colombia: The ELN is believed to be responsible for a bombing at Cucuta International Airport which killed two police officers and the attacker. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: Erosion has caused a rupture in the state-owned SOTE oil pipeline, whose use was suspended last week. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: Assistant US Secretary of State Brian Nichols expressed concerns that anti-corruption efforts in the country are stalling. (Reuters)
  • United States: The national death toll from COVID-19 reached 800,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. (AP)

Asia

  • China: President Xi Jinping expects to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing in February. (Xinhua)
  • Myanmar: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration is weighing tough new sanctions on the country to pressure its military leaders to restore a democratic path interrupted by a February coup. (AP)
  • North Korea: Kim Yong-ju, brother of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and great-uncle of current leader Kim Jong-un, died at age 101. (Yonhap)
  • Philippines: Tropical Storm Rai is steadily on the verge of becoming a typhoon as the storm is on track to reach the southern and central portions of the country Thursday. (CNN)
  • Vietnam: A Hanoi court ordered the jailing of two activists who posted on Facebook about a land dispute clash that left four people dead on the outskirts of the capital last year. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said omicron is expected to be the dominant COVID-19 variant in the 27-nation bloc by mid-January. (AP)
  • Region: Armenia and Azerbaijan held talks in Brussels, mediated by EU president Charles Michel. (RFE/RL)
  • France: Police were holding the leader of a Paris extreme-right movement on suspicion of being behind violence against anti-racism activists at the rally of far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour earlier this month. (AFP)
  • Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed his new government will win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and make the country “structurally fit” for the 21st century. (AP)
  • Russia: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov delivered the country’s proposals for legal security guarantees over NATO’s expansion to a top US diplomat after President Vladimir Putin said he wanted talks to start immediately. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Region: Turkey and the United Arab Emirates aim to deepen cooperation after talks in Dubai between the Turkish foreign minister and the UAE’s prime minister. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: UN deputy human rights chief Nada Al-Nashif reported that at least 72 extrajudicial killings have been attributed to the Taliban since their takeover of the country in August. (AFP)
  • Syria: Cross-border humanitarian aid to the country remains vital as a UN authorization allowing aid into rebel-held areas in the country’s northwest without approval from Damascus is set to expire. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted the US was still prepared to sell F-35 fighter jets to the country, which has threatened to scrap the deal over stringent conditions. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: The launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, previously scheduled for December 22, has been delayed for at least two days by communications problems. (AP)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Cyclone Ruby
      • Location: -24.3S, -189.5W
      • Movement: SE
      • Wind: 50 mph
      • Map
    • Hurricanes:
      • Tropical Storm Rai
        • Location: 9.1N, 131.0E
        • Movement: W
        • Wind: 80 mph
        • Map
      • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report.
      • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report.
      • Global Disease Outbreaks:
        • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 15DEC21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (16DEC21)

  • Asia: US Secretary of State Blinken visiting Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. (to 17DEC)
  • Bahrain: National Day.
  • Egypt: Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Sharm El-Sheikh.
  • Europe: European Council Euro Summit in Brussels.
  • India and Bangladesh: Victory Day.
  • Italy: Government to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11.
  • Kazakhstan: Independence Day.
  • North Korea: 10th anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il.
  • Philippines: Typhoon Rai expected to make landfall.
  • South Africa: Day of Reconciliation.
  • South America: Mercosur meeting of economy ministers, virtual.
  • South Korea: Open Government Partnership Global Summit. (to 17DEC)

END