Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Nigeria’s former finance and foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will reportedly become the next head of the World Trade Organization, which would make her the first person from an African country to lead the international organization.
  • AMERICAS: Peru’s Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete resigned due to a growing scandal over government officials receiving coronavirus vaccinations well before the general public.
  • ASIA: Myanmar’s military authorities extended their detention of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi until Wednesday.
  • EUROPE: The Socialist Party won the most votes in the regional elections in Spain’s Catalonia region, but the pro-secessionist party bloc took a majority of the seats in the regional parliament.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran said it will block inspections by the UN’s nuclear watchdog later this month if the other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal do not fulfil their obligations.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Australian media outlet Seven West Media became the first of the country’s major news outlets to strike a licensing deal with Google, as the Australian government continues with its plan to force the internet giant to pay media companies for hosting news content.

 

Top Story

  • Japan: Economy sees some recovery amid pandemic slump.
    • Japan’s economy declined by 4.8% during 2020, marking its first contraction since 2009, due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
    • However, there were nevertheless signs of strong economic recovery, as Japan’s economy grew at an annual rate of 12.7% in October-December, marking a more than expected growth as well as a second consecutive quarter of growth.
    • The economic recovery was due to a rebound in overseas demand, which boosted Japan’s exports and capital spending.
    • As a result, Japan’s economy performed more strongly than the US or the Euro Zone’s economy in October-December.
    • Japan’s Nikkei index also briefly surged past the 30,000 mark for the first time since 1990.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, AP, NYT, Bloomberg

 

Africa

  • Guinea: Authorities announced that the country faces an Ebola epidemic after the deaths of at least three people from the virus. (BBC)
  • Namibia: The government shutdown the state-owned Air Namibia airline, as it can no longer afford the airline’s financial losses. (AP)
  • Nigeria: Former finance and foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will reportedly become the next head of the World Trade Organization, which would make her the first person from an African country to lead the international organization. (DPA)
  • South Africa: Former President Jacob Zuma once again defied court orders and refused to appear before a judicial panel probing corruption during his stay in office. (AFP)

 

Americas

  • Argentina: Former President Carlos Menem died at the age of 90 after long-term health problems. (Reuters)
  • Canada: Ottawa launched a 58-nation initiative that seeks to prevent countries from detaining foreign citizens for diplomatic leverage. (Reuters)
  • Haiti: Thousands of people took to the streets of capital Port-au-Prince to demonstrate against the international support for President Jovenel Moise, saying the government was trying to establish a new dictatorship. (AFP)
  • Mexico: Federal authorities arrested two more people over the 2019 murders of nine US-Mexican dual citizens near the country’s northern border. (AP)
  • Peru: Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete resigned due to a growing scandal over government officials receiving coronavirus vaccinations well before the general public. (AFP)

 

Asia  

  • Indonesia: Authorities said the number of poor people in the country rose by 2.76 million to a total of 27.55 million over the last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Military authorities extended their detention of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi until Wednesday. (AP)
  • New Zealand: No new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases have been reported since the city of Auckland was placed under a three-day lockdown after the discovery of three unexplained virus cases. (AP)
  • South Korea: The government eased some of its strictest social distancing measures for businesses but continued other coronavirus measures and restrictions. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: Germany’s designation of neighboring Czech Republic as a “risk zone” due to a coronavirus variant introduced checkpoints for incoming travellers, resulting in huge queues of trucks on Czech highways. (DPA)
  • Kosovo: The leftist-nationalist Vetevendosje party looks set to return to power after winning 48% of the vote in the country’s parliamentary elections. (RFE-RL)
  • Spain: The Socialist Party won the most votes in Catalonia’s regional elections, but the pro-secessionist party bloc took a majority of the seats in the regional parliament. (AP)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Syria’s army said it intercepted “Israeli aggression” over the city of Damascus, in its latest attack on Iranian targets in the country. (Reuters)
  • Iran: Tehran said it will block inspections by the UN’s nuclear watchdog later this month if the other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal do not fulfil their obligations. (Reuters)
  • Israel: The government signed a tourism agreement with Cyprus that will allow citizens vaccinated against the new coronavirus to travel between both countries without the need to quarantine. (AP)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Australian media outlet Seven West Media became the first of the country’s major news outlets to strike a licensing deal with Google, as the Australian government continues with its plan to force the internet giant to pay media companies for hosting news content. (Reuters)

 

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 15FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 108,823,118
      • Total recovered cases: 61,102,173
      • Deaths: 2,400,456
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (16FEB21)

  • Global: The European Court of Human Rights will hear the case brought forward by the father of two children who were killed in a NATO airstrike ordered by German armed forces in Afghanistan’s Kunduz region in 2009. 
  • Africa: A G5 Sahel conference will be held.
  • Europe: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will hold a press conference ahead of an upcoming defense ministers meeting.
  • Europe: The finance ministers of EU member-states will hold a virtual meeting to discuss the next steps towards a post-pandemic stimulus plan.
  • Europe: The EU will release GDP data for Q4 2020.
  • Europe: The European Space Agency will hold a press conference on the application process for new astronauts.
  • Europe: Slovakian Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok will conclude his visit to Poland, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine.
  • Austria: The National Council will hold a special session to discuss the recent raid of Finance Minister Gernot Blümel’s house over bribery allegations.
  • Central African Republic: The International Criminal Court trial of militia leaders accused of war crimes will begin.
  • Republic of Congo: Voter registration for the country’s upcoming presidential election will end.
  • Iraq: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the country’s situation.
  • Ireland: European Commission Vice President Marcos Sefcovic will address parliament.
  • Lithuania: Independence Day/National Day – 1918
  • Malaysia: The government will hold a meeting with religious representatives to discuss coronavirus vaccine guidelines.
  • Mexico: The government expects Pfizer to resume shipping its coronavirus vaccine to the country after the pharmaceutical company announced global delays of shipments of its coronavirus vaccine.
  • North Korea: The 80th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s birth.
  • Pakistan: The navy will hold its annual Aman naval exercise.
  • Russia: Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey will visit and meet with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
  • Russia: Authorities will meet with a Serbian military delegation as part of preparations for the Army 2021 forum which will be held later this year.
  • Singapore: The government will release its 2021 budget.
  • Syria: Russia, Turkey, and Iran will discuss the situation in the country in an Astana format meeting. (to 17FEB)
  • Uganda: Finance Minister Matia Kasaija will reportedly meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss the president’s order to suspend the EU-founded democracy and human rights NGO the The Democratic Governance Facility. (to 17FEB)
  • United Kingdom: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to appear at an inquiry into her administration’s handling of harassment claims against predecessor Alex Salmond.
  • United States: President Joe Biden will hold a televised town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Yemen: The US will remove the country’s Houthi rebels from its terrorism blacklist.

 

END