Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Aid group Save the Children said jihadists are beheading children as young as 11 in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
  • AMERICAS: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will appoint cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga as the country’s fourth new health minister since the coronavirus pandemic first started.
  • ASIA: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China against “coercion and aggression” in his ongoing visit to Japan.
  • EUROPE: The British government said it will shift its foreign policy focus to India, Japan and Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, which it described as “increasingly the geopolitical centre of the world”.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Human Rights Watch said weapons fired by the Houthi rebels caused a recent fire that killed dozens of migrants at a holding facility in Yemen.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Chinese government appeared to have blocked the encrypted messaging app Signal from functioning in China.

Top Story

  • North Korea: Pyongyang issues warning to US before Seoul meeting. 
    • North Korea warned the United States not to “cause a stink” if it wants to “sleep in peace”, as Pyongyang condemned the joint military exercises between the US and South Korea.
    • The statement was issued by Kim Jong Un’s influential sister Kim Yo-jong ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to South Korea.
    • The statement is the first official comment from Pyongyang on new US President Joe Biden, whom the country had yet to acknowledge.
    • Meanwhile, the US revealed it has attempted to make diplomatic contact with Pyongyang for weeks, but it has yet to receive any response from Pyongyang.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, DPA, BBC, NYT, AFP, WaPo, WSJ

Africa

  • Region: Tunisian President Kais Saied will visit Libya following the swearing-in of Libya’s new interim government. (Reuters)
  • Region: The UN named Mauritanian diplomat El-Ghassim Wane as the organization’s new envoy to Mali. (AFP)
  • Mali: The army said two soldiers died during an attack on a military post in the country’s northeast where jihadist groups run rampant. (AFP)
  • Mozambique: Aid group Save the Children said jihadists are beheading children as young as 11 in the country’s Cabo Delgado province. (BBC)

Americas

  • Region: Mexico has reportedly stepped up its raids on Central American migrants heading to the United States since new US President Joe Biden took office. (Reuters)
  • Region: Former drug lord Leonel Rivera told a US federal trial that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez duped the US Drug Enforcement Administration and received shipments of cocaine from Colombia. (AFP)
  • Bolivia: The opposition called upon its supporters to hold protests following the arrest of former interim President Jeanine Anez. (AFP)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro is set to appoint cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga as the country’s fourth new health minister since the coronavirus pandemic first started. (BBC)
  • Venezuela: The country will not authorize the usage of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)

Asia  

  • Region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China against “coercion and aggression” in his ongoing visit to Japan. (Reuters)
  • Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing criticism for saying it was a “triumph” that protesters attending rallies against violence and sexual harassment of women weren’t “met with bullets”. (DPA)
  • Indonesia: President Joko Widodo launched the government’s coronavirus vaccination campaign on the island of Bali. (DPA)
  • Kyrgyzstan: The country accepted the repatriation of dozens of children whose parents joined extremist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria. (AFP)
  • Thailand: Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was inoculated with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine despite the country’s previous temporary suspension of the vaccine’s usage. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: The director-general of Italy’s medicines authority said Germany, France, and Italy’s temporary suspension of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is a “political one”. (Reuters)
  • Region: Armenia’s military is set to hold drills of its own after Azerbaijan started its own military exercises. (RFE-RL)
  • Region: Greek and Turkish officials are conducting another meeting in a bid to resolve their dispute over eastern Mediterranean borders and energy rights. (AFP)
  • The Holy See: The Vatican said that the Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions. (BBC)
  • United Kingdom: The government said it will shift its foreign policy focus to India, Japan, Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, which it described as “increasingly the geopolitical centre of the world”. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Iran: Authorities announced the start of clinical trials of a third new indigenous vaccine. (AP)
  • Israel: Archaeologists discovered dozens of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Judean desert. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The country’s economy contracted by 3.9% year on year in Q4 of 2020 but grew by 2.5% from the previous three months, according to government data. (Reuters)
  • Syria: The UN said it has provided information and evidence related to war crimes in the country to 12 different jurisdictions, most of which “are in Europe”. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: Human Rights Watch said weapons fired by the Houthi rebels caused a recent fire that killed dozens of migrants at a holding facility in the country. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: The Chinese government appeared to have blocked the encrypted messaging app Signal from functioning in China. (AFP)

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 16MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 120,273,942
      • Total recovered cases: 68,223,807
      • Deaths: 2,662,067
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 07MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 18
      • Deaths: 9
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 07MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 4
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (17MAR21)

  • Global: The Finance and Central Bank Deputies of APEC countries will hold a meeting. (to 18MAR)
  • Global: The Korea-LAC Latin America Digital Cooperation Forum will be held. (to 18MAR)
  • Europe: The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: The European Committee of the Regions will hold a plenary session.
  • Europe: Joint Russian-Belarussian military exercises will be held. (to 19MAR)
  • Europe: Azerbaijan will hold military exercises. (to 18MAR)
  • Europe: Armenia will hold military exercises. (to 20MAR)
  • Europe: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will visit Brussels.
  • Europe: Turkey and Greece will discuss issues related to the Mediterranean sea.
  • Americas: The Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and Inter-American Investment Corporation will hold their annual summit. (to 21MAR)
  • Asia: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit South Korea and Japan. (to 19MAR)
  • Algeria: A verdict is expected in the appeal trial of activist Dalila Touat.
  • France: Former President Nicholas Sarkozy will be back on trial, this time for alleged illegal campaign financing.
  • Hungary: The country is expected to receive an additional 100,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm firm.
  • India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with the chief ministers of each state and discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • Ireland: Saint Patrick’s Day – 461/1903
  • Libya: Tunisian President Kais Saied will visit.
  • Netherlands: General elections will be held.
  • Russia: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi will visit and meet with counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
  • Thailand: Parliament will deliberate on proposed constitutional amendments.
  • Tunisia: A general strike is expected to be held in the Sfax region.
  • United States: President Joe Biden will host a virtual meeting with Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin in place of the traditional White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
  • United States: Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will speak with the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
  • United States: The Federal Reserve will make an interest rates decision.

END