Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The trial of Rwandan government critic Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving the lives of more than a thousand people he sheltered at his hotel during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, has started.
  • AMERICAS: Millions of people in the US state of Texas continue to deal with electricity outages following a historic winter storm that has killed 21 people so far.
  • ASIA: A US Navy warship conducted a new freedom of navigation operation near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.
  • EUROPE: Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said the Croatian government is talking with Russia about potentially importing Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, without waiting for the EU to approve the vaccine.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Turkish officials detained five Russian citizens and one Libyan citizen at Syria’s border with Turkey after the six people, one of whom is a suspected member of the Islamic State, attempted to leave Syria and enter Turkey.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Cambodian government is setting-up a national internet gateway which activists say will create a China-style firewall around the country’s internet and result in the suppression of freedom of expression.

 

Top Story

  • Myanmar: Large protests against military coup continue.
    • Pro-democracy protesters are blocking key roads across the city of Yangon, in an apparent new protest tactic, as public anger and rejection of the recent military coup in the country continues.
    • These latest demonstrations are reportedly the largest since the military overthrew the country’s elected government earlier this month.
    • The UN’s Myanmar rapporteur, Tom Andrews, expressed worries of potential violence against protesters after reports emerged of soldiers being transported to Yangon, saying “In the past, such troop movements preceded killings, disappearances, and detentions on a mass scale”.
    • However, there have been no reports of any serious trouble so far today.
    • Apart from Yangon, which is Myanmar’s largest city, there are also reports of protests being held in the city of Mandalay and the small central town of Khin U.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, AP, AFP, Guardian, CNN

 

Africa

  • Central African Republic: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended an increase of nearly 3,700 UN peacekeeping personnel in the country. (AP)
  • Nigeria: A group of gunmen reportedly kidnapped hundreds of schoolchildren in the central town of Kagara. (AFP)
  • Rwanda: The trial of government critic Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving the lives of more than a thousand people he sheltered at his hotel during the country’s 1994 genocide, has started. (NYT)
  • Zimbabwe: Authorities said the coronavirus variant first discovered in neighboring South Africa now accounted for more than 60% of the active coronavirus cases in the country. (BBC)

 

Americas

  • Brazil: Congressman Daniel Silveira, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, was arrested after he posted a video online insulting and threatening Supreme Court justices. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: The National Electoral Council suspended its recount of the first round of the country’s recent presidential election. The council failed to reach a majority decision regarding left-wing indigenous candidate Yaku Perez’s request for a vote recount. (AFP)
  • Mexico: The National Energy Control office said that 12 states will be affected by rolling blackouts due to the winter storms in the US, resulting in power outages in the country’s northern region. (AP)
  • Peru: A doctor told lawmakers while testifying in parliament that former President Martin Vizcarra requested and was given a coronavirus vaccination out of turn. (BBC)
  • United States: Millions of people in Texas continue to deal with electricity outages following a historic winter storm that has killed 21 people so far. (Reuters)

 

Asia  

  • Region: A US Navy warship conducted a new freedom of navigation operation near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
  • India: Police arrested roughly a dozen student protesters marching on the parliament building in capital city New Delhi to demand the release of a 22-year-old climate activist, who was arrested for expressing her support of the country’s ongoing farmer protests. (AP
  • Indonesia: President Joko Widodo said public workers, people over 60, traders and security personnel will be administered shots of Chinese pharma company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine, after more than 1.1 million workers—mostly in the health sector—received the vaccine in the first phase of inoculations. (AP)
  • North Korea: Kim Jong Un’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, made her first public appearance in more than a year, according to state media reports. (DPA)
  • Taiwan: Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said “political pressure” caused the failure of a last-minute attempt to secure five million coronavirus vaccines for the country. (AFP)

 

Europe

  • Region: China overtook the US to become the European Union’s biggest trading partner in 2020. (BBC)
  • Croatia: Health Minister Vili Beros said the government is talking with Russia about potentially importing Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, without waiting for the EU to approve the vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Italy: New Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged politicians to make a joint effort against the coronavirus pandemic in his first policy speech following his swearing-in. (DPA)
  • United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London will urge the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for a global cease-fire in conflict zones to allow the delivery of coronavirus vaccines. (AP)

 

Middle East

  • Region: The Palestinian Authority supplied the Gaza Strip its first batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines, reportedly with Israel’s approval. (DPA)
  • Iraq: The US said that helping Baghdad assert its sovereignty and prevent a resurgence of the extremist Islamic State group is a top priority. (AP)
  • Syria: Turkish officials detained five Russian citizens and one Libyan citizen at the country’s border with Turkey after the six people, one of whom is suspected of being a member of the Islamic State, attempted to leave the country and enter Turkey. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: The UN pledged to raise the issue of Princess Latifa’s alleged detention with the country’s government. (BBC)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Internet: The Cambodian government is setting-up a national internet gateway, which activists say will create a China-style firewall around the country’s internet and result in the suppression of freedom of expression. (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 17FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,579,074
      • Total recovered cases: 61,641,399
      • Deaths: 2,420,974
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (18FEB21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will discuss a global ceasefire to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Global: The UN will hold a Global Youth Environment Assembly. (to 20FEB)
  • Global: The Defense Ministers of NATO member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Global: The Athens Energy Dialogues will be held virtually and will feature senior ministers from Greece, Serbia, Egypt, and other countries. 
  • Americas: Peru’s President Francisco Sagasti will speak at a virtual event hosted by the Wilson Center. 
  • Asia: The health ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: The 9th trilateral Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey foreign ministers’ meeting will be held. (to 20FEB)
  • Europe: European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will visit Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss migration issues. (to 20FEB)
  • Egypt: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will visit and meet with his counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
  • The Gambia: Independence Day – 1965
  • India: Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen will visit and meet with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (to 19FEB)
  • Russia: The UN’s special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen will visit and meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
  • Russia: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit and meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. 
  • Saudi Arabia: Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will visit and meet with his counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
  • Serbia: The Serbian Orthodox Church will elect a new patriarch.
  • United States: NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance is scheduled to land on Mars.
  • Yemen: The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the country.

 

END