Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: DR Congo’s government is set to impose brand new coronavirus restrictions to crush the second wave of the ongoing pandemic.
  • AMERICAS: Mexican lawmakers voted in favor of legislation that will strip foreign agents of their immunity and require them to share information with the government.
  • ASIA: Australia called-in the World Trade Organization to adjudicate the trade and tariff dispute over barley between Canberra and China.
  • EUROPE: The European Union says there is now a clear but narrow path to reach a post-Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The US blacklisted the Iran-backed Saraya al-Mukhtar as an international terrorist organization, accusing the group of offering cash rewards for the assassination of officials and targeting US citizens in Bahrain.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook will move its UK-based users agreements with the company’s corporate headquarters in the US, potentially pushing its UK-based users outside of European privacy laws.

 Top Story

  • Europe: Germany enters hard lockdown amid coronavirus surge across the continent.
    • Germany entered a hard coronavirus lockdown until 10 January 2021, including the closure of schools and non-essential businesses, to control the country’s surging coronavirus numbers.
    • The lockdown takes effect on the same day as Germany reporting its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day, with a total of 952 deaths recorded over the last 24 hours.
    • Germany is not the only European country to impose strict new coronavirus measures, as France and the Netherlands have also announced new measures and restrictions for the holiday season.
    • Meanwhile, the European Union’s drug regulator will decide on the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on 21 December 2020, as European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen announced that the bloc’s 27 countries would aim to begin coronavirus vaccinations on “the same day”. 
    • Reporting: BBC, AP, AFP, DPA, France24, Deutsche Welle

Africa

  • DR Congo: The government is set to impose brand new coronavirus restrictions to crush the second wave of the ongoing pandemic. (Reuters)
  • Ethiopia: The UN warned that almost 2.3 million children are cut off from access to aid due to the ongoing clashes in the Tigray region. (BBC)
  • Mozambique: President Filipe Nyusi vowed to defeat the militants in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province, where pro-Islamic State militants forced 570,000 people to flee their homes. (Reuters)
  • Uganda: The Health Ministry has postponed its plans to hold clinical trials of three locally developed antiviral drugs aimed at helping COVID-19 patients. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • Region: The US and El Salvador agreed on the “operational details” of a deal between the two countries that will see El Salvador taking in certain migrants seeking asylum at the US border. (Reuters)
  • Region: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said 62% of the IMF’s coronavirus lending has gone to 21 countries in Latin America. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden for his election victory. (Reuters
  • Mexico: Lawmakers voted in favor of legislation that will strip foreign agents of their immunity and require them to share information with the government. (NYT)
  • United States: Congressional lawmakers say progress was made over ending a standoff over coronavirus relief and a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: Australia called-in the World Trade Organization to adjudicate the trade and tariff dispute over barley between Canberra and China. (Guardian)
  • Region: A Taliban delegation arrived in Pakistan to hold discussions with Pakistani government officials. (AP)
  • Malaysia: The government declared a coronavirus state of emergency in two constituencies where elections are scheduled for next month. (Reuters)
  • Papua New Guinea: The opposition’s bid to oust Prime Minister James Marape failed after more than a dozen lawmakers switched allegiances and backed the ruling government. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with European Council President Charles Michel over the phone and told him that Ankara wants to build its future with the EU, according to a statement released by the Turkish government. (Reuters)
  • Region: The European Union says there is now a clear but narrow path to reach a post-Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom. (AP)
  • Russia: Opposition activist Konstantin Kotov, who was detained by authorities last year for violating protest laws during mass anti-Kremlin demonstrations, was released from prison. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of the capital city Kyiv, where they were met with tear gas by riot police. (VOA)

Middle East

  • Region: The US blacklisted the Iran-backed Saraya al-Mukhtar as an international terrorist organization, accusing the group of offering cash rewards for the assassination of officials and targeting US citizens in Bahrain. (UPI)
  • Region: US victims of extremist violence in Israel accused three Qatari leading financial institutions of secretly funding Palestinian groups responsible for killing Americans. (WaPo
  • Iran: A Canadian government report questioned the country’s investigation into its military accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger plane in January, which led to the deaths of 176 people. (RFE-RL)
  • Saudi Arabia: Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said the country’s first order of coronavirus vaccines arrived for public use, though he did not specify which vaccines were received. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Facebook will move its UK-based users agreements with the company’s corporate headquarters in the US, potentially pushing its UK-based users outside of European privacy laws. (BBC)

World

  • Cyclones
    • Cyclone Yasa
      • Location: 270 nautical miles NW of Suva, Fiji
      • Wind: 160 mph
      • Movement: E-SE at 10 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes
    • Philippines
      • Location: 21 km South of Sarangani, Philippines
      • Magnitude: 6.1
      • Depth: 26.9 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 16DEC20: 73,573,455
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 16DEC20: 41,695,780
    • Deaths as of 16DEC20: 1,637,805
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (17DEC20)

  • Global: The 10th anniversary of market stall vendor Mohamed Bouazizi immolating himself in Tunisia, which marked the beginning of the Arab Spring.
  • Europe: The European Court of Justice is expected to issue opinions on the appointment of judges in Poland, Malta; and issue a ruling on Hungary’s asylum procedure.
  • Europe: The Environment Ministers of EU member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: The EU-Armenia Partnership Council will meet.
  • 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.
  • Afghanistan: The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the country.
  • Australia: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will deliver a speech on the country’s economic and fiscal outlook.
  • Bhutan: National Day – 1907
  • Cameroon: Three security force members will go on trial for allegedly taking part in the massacre of 21 civilians in the country’s northwestern region of Ngarbuh earlier this year.
  • China: Eight people, including former lawmakers, will appear in court over charges related to protests in Hong Kong.
  • DR Congo: The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit. (to 18DEC)
  • France: Mass coronavirus testing will be held in the city of Le Havre. (to 19DEC)
  • The Holy See: Pope Francis’ 84th birthday.
  • India: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will visit. 
  • Kuwait: The country’s new post-election Parliament will hold its first session. (to 18DEC)
  • Malaysia: Parliament will hold a final vote on the proposed 2021 budget.
  • Russia: President Vladimir Putin will hold his annual end-of-year press conference.
  • Turkey: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will visit and meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • United Kingdom: The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold a meeting.
  • United Kingdom: Workers at London’s Heathrow airport are expected to go on strike. (to 18DEC)
  • United States: An FDA advisory committee will meet to discuss the potential emergency authorization of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
  • 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)

END