Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Two people accused of leading Christian-dominated militias in widespread attacks against Muslims in the Central African Republic pled not guilty to all charges against them at the International Criminal Court.
  • AMERICAS: The Organization of American States expressed “concern” over Ecuador’s recent presidential election and called on the country’s electoral authorities to “provide guarantees of certainty and transparency”.
  • ASIA: Police in Myanmar charged ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with violating Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law which could result in her indefinite detention without a trial.
  • EUROPE: The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the complaint against German authorities over their refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered a 2009 bombing on oil tankers in Afghanistan which resulted in the death of some civilians.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran and Russia are holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean to make maritime trade more secure in the region, according to Iranian state media reports.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: South Korea said North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer networks of pharma company Pfizer in an attempt to obtain information on the company’s coronavirus vaccine.

 

Top Story

  • Iraq: Rocket attack strikes US coalition forces.
    • US-led coalition forces in the country were targeted by a rocket attack near a military air base at the Erbil International Airport.
    • The rocket attack killed one foreign civilian contractor and injured one US service member, making it the deadliest such attack in almost one year.
    • The attack was claimed by a little-known group called the Guardians of Blood Brigades militia, which is reportedly believed to be a pro-Iranian group.
    • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “outraged” by the attack and pledged to hold accountable those responsible for it.
    • Reporting: NYT, Reuters, BBC, AP, WaPo

 

Africa

  • Region: French President Emmanuel Macron urged the G5 Sahel countries to increase their anti-terror operations and said that Paris will also intensify its efforts to “decapitate” terrorist groups in the region. (AFP)
  • Central African Republic: Two people accused of leading Christian-dominated militias in widespread attacks against Muslims in the country pled not guilty to all charges against them at the International Criminal Court. (Reuters)
  • DR Congo: President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Sama Lukonde Kyenge as the country’s new Prime Minister. (VOA)
  • Nigeria: Newly-appointed World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned against vaccine nationalism. (BBC)

 

Americas

  • Bolivia: Former President Evo Morales said he will hit the campaign trail to support his party’s candidates in the country’s upcoming regional elections. (DPA)
  • Colombia: Pharma company Pfizer delivered to the country its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines. (AP)
  • Ecuador: The Organization of American States expressed “concern” over the country’s recent presidential election and called on the country’s electoral authorities to “provide guarantees of certainty and transparency”. (AFP)
  • Peru: Veteran diplomat Allan Wagner was appointed as country’s sixth foreign minister in less than a year. (AFP)
  • United States: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress will create an independent commission to investigate last month’s deadly storming of the Capitol. (AP)

 

Asia  

  • Region: South Korea’s military detained a North Korean national who crossed the heavily fortified border between the two countries with the possible intention of defecting to Seoul. (Reuters)
  • Region: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accused Australia of shirking its responsibility for canceling the passport of a dual New Zealand-Australian citizen with alleged links to the Islamic State who was arrested in Turkey. (AFP)
  • Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an apology to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. (AP)
  • Bangladesh: A court sentenced five members of the Ansar Ullah Bangla Team militant group to death for the 2015 murder of a US blogger critical of religious extremism. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Police charged ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with violating Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law which could result in her indefinite detention without a trial. (AP

 

Europe

  • France: Parliament is set to vote on a proposed bill aimed at battling Islamist extremism, but which critics say breaches religious freedom. (AFP)
  • Germany: The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the complaint against the country’s authorities over their refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered a 2009 bombing on oil tankers in Afghanistan which resulted in the death of some civilians. (NYT)
  • Russia: State prosecutors asked a court to fine opposition politician Alexei Navalny $13,000 for slandering a WWII veteran, a charge that Navalny calls politically motivated. (Reuters)
  • Spain: Police stormed a barricaded building in the town of Lleida to arrest rapper Pablo Hasél, who was sentenced to jail on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of supporting Kurdish militants, as the Foreign Ministry summoned the US Ambassador to Ankara. (WaPo)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran and Russia are holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean to make maritime trade more secure in the region, according to Iranian state media reports. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The government will cease conducting business with foreign companies whose regional headquarters are outside the country starting in 2024, according to state media reports. (AFP)
  • Yemen: The UN warned Tuesday that a Houthi rebel advance on the government’s last northern stronghold of Marib could endanger millions of civilians. (AFP)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: South Korea said North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer networks of pharma company Pfizer in an attempt to obtain information on the company’s coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)

 

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes
    • Vanuatu
      • Location: 90 km W of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
      • Magnitude: 6.2
      • Depth: 10 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 16FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,210,284
      • Total recovered cases: 61,410,226
      • Deaths: 2,409,902
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (17FEB21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will hold a briefing on a proposed global ceasefire amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Global: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development commission will hold its annual session.
  • Global: The UN will hold a virtual briefing on the equitable international distribution of coronavirus vaccines. 
  • Global: The Defense Ministers of NATO member-states will hold a meeting. (to 18FEB)
  • Global: The Athens Energy Dialogues will be held virtually and will feature senior ministers from Greece, Serbia, Egypt, and other countries. (to 18FEB)
  • Americas: Inter-American Development Bank President Mauricio Claver-Carone will speak at a virtual event organized by the think tank CSIS.
  • Europe: The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: European Council President Charles Michel will attend a Visegrad Four leaders meeting in Poland.
  • Europe: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan to discuss the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
  • Europe: The European Central Bank’s Governing Council will hold a non-monetary policy meeting.
  • Colombia: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign is expected to begin.
  • Germany: A court ruling could be made in the trial of Abu Walaa, who is suspected of being the leader of the Islamic State’s branch in the country.
  • Japan: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, using Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, will begin.
  • Kosovo: Independence Day – 2008
  • Kyrgyzstan: Parliament will begin discussions on drafting a new constitution.
  • Latvia: Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets will visit and meet with counterpart Edgars Rinkevics.
  • Libya: The 10th anniversary of the ousting of Muamar Gadaffi.
  • Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained by the country’s new junta post-coup, could potentially be released by the police.
  • Russia: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit and meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. (to 18FEB)
  • Rwanda: The terrorism trial of “Hotel Rwanda” protagonist, Paul Rusesabagina, could potentially be held.
  • Syria: Russia, Turkey, and Iran will discuss the situation in the country in an Astana format meeting. 
  • 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. 

 

END