Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: A group of armed men killed at least 58 people in Niger’s southwestern region after intercepting a convoy returning from a weekly market and attacking a nearby village.
  • AMERICAS: Brazil recorded 2,841 coronavirus deaths yesterday, marking a new record number of daily coronavirus deaths in the country.
  • ASIA: A district court in Japan has ruled that barring same-sex couples from marrying is “unconstitutional”.
  • EUROPE: Russia described the new US intelligence report claiming that President Vladimir Putin had likely attempted to influence the 2020 US presidential as baseless.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Yemen’s Houthi rebels expressed “deep regret” after Human Rights Watch said projectiles fired by the rebels were responsible for a fire at a migrant detention center.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The French antitrust agency dismissed a request by online advertising lobbying groups demanding Apple suspend a feature that enables users to block advertisers from tracking them across different apps.

Top Story

  • Global: US imposes sanctions on Chinese officials on the eve of talks.
    • The US has announced new sanctions on an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong government officials over China’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s political freedoms.
    • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that the newest update to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act report showed that China undermined Hong Kong’s Hong Kong’s electoral system last week, during Beijing’s annual National People’s Congress session.
    • The announcement takes place just ahead of the Biden administration’s first face-to-face talks with senior Chinese diplomats, including Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
    • Speaking of the upcoming meeting, Secretary Blinken said “We look forward to the opportunity to lay out in very clear terms to our Chinese counterparts some of the concerns that we have about the actions they’re taking.”
    • Reporting: AP, DPA, NYT, Reuters, FT

Africa

  • Region: Tunisian President Kais Saeid is visiting neighboring Libya to hold discussions with the new interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. (AFP)
  • Egypt: Human Rights Watch accused the country’s security forces of destroying more than 12,300 buildings in the Sinai Peninsula since 2013, in a move the rights group said could amount to “war crimes”. (AFP)
  • Libya: A new UN report criticized Russia, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries for violating a global arms embargo on the country’s two warring factions. (WaPo)
  • Niger: A group of armed men killed at least 58 people in the country’s southwestern region after intercepting a convoy returning from a weekly market and attacking a nearby village. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: US President Joe Biden told migrants not to come to the United States amid an uptick in migrant arrivals on the US-Mexico border. (AFP)
  • Brazil: The South American country recorded 2,841 coronavirus deaths yesterday, marking a new record number of daily coronavirus deaths in the country. (BBC)
  • El Salvador: Prosecutors raided the offices of the opposition-dominated congress as part of a probe into alleged corruption. (AFP)
  • Uruguay: The country has received a shipment of more than 1.5 million doses of Chinese company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine. (EFE)

Asia  

  • Region: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed Washington’s security commitments to achieve a denuclearized Korean peninsula. (Reuters)
  • Region: Australia said it will ask the European Union to release one million doses of coronavirus vaccines to help Papua New Guinea deal with its coronavirus outbreak. (Reuters)
  • Region: Taiwan and Palau have agreed to launch a travel bubble next month which will allow people to travel between the countries without quarantining. (AP)
  • Japan: A district court has ruled that barring same-sex couples from marrying is “unconstitutional”. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: The country’s most influential Buddhist monks’ association has urged the military junta to stop its violence against anti-coup protesters and accused an “armed minority” of torture. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The Russian Foreign Ministry said the UK’s new plans to expand its nuclear capabilities have dealt a serious blow to the concept of arms control and that Moscow will consider the UK’s plans during its own military planning in reaction. (Reuters)
  • Region: US President Joe Biden is set to hold a virtual Saint Patrick’s Day meeting with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, during which Biden is expected to express support for the Northern Ireland peace agreement amid Brexit-related tensions. (AFP)
  • Bulgaria: In a joint operation with the US Secret Service, authorities seized counterfeit money worth millions printed at a university in capital city Sofia. (BBC)
  • France: Former President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to go on trial over alleged illegal campaign financing just two weeks after he was sentenced on bribery charges. (DPA)
  • Russia: Moscow described the new US intelligence report claiming that President Vladimir Putin had likely attempted to influence the 2020 US presidential as baseless. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Region: Syria said it shot down several Israeli missiles aimed at Damascus. (France24)
  • Kuwait: The government has backtracked on its threat of taking legal action against members of parliament for violating coronavirus rules by hosting private gatherings and a press conference. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Protesters took to the streets and burned tires after the country’s currency crashed past another low. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: The country’s Houthi rebels expressed “deep regret” after Human Rights Watch said projectiles fired by the rebels were responsible for a fire at a migrant detention center. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Tech Regulation: The French antitrust agency dismissed a request by online advertising lobbying groups demanding Apple suspend a feature that enables users to block advertisers from tracking them across different apps. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Russia
      • Location: 176 km SSE of Ust’-Kamchatsk Staryy
      • Magnitude: 6.6
      • Depth: 22.1 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 17MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 120,745,792
      • Total recovered cases: 68,481,161
      • Deaths: 2,671,764
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 18
      • Deaths: 9
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 5
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (18MAR21)

  • Global: The Finance and Central Bank Deputies of APEC countries will hold a meeting.
  • Global: The Korea-LAC Latin America Digital Cooperation Forum will be held.
  • Europe: The European Medicines Agency is expected to hold an emergency meeting to discuss and decide on the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
  • Europe: European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will address the European Parliament.
  • Europe: Joint Russian-Belarussian military exercises will be held. (to 19MAR)
  • Europe: Azerbaijan will hold military exercises.
  • Europe: Armenia will hold military exercises. (to 20MAR)
  • 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. (to 19MAR)
  • Aruba: National Anthem and Flag Day – 1976
  • Bangladesh: Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will visit.
  • Iceland: The country will reopen its borders to travelers with valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Italy: The country will hold a national day of remembrance for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Lebanon: The UN Security Council will hold discussions on the situation in the country.
  • New Zealand: The government will release GDP data for Q4 2020.
  • Russia: Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, will visit to attend an Afghan peace summit organized by Moscow.
  • Turkey: The central bank will make an interest rate decision.
  • United States: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and senior diplomat Yang Jiechi will visit Alaska and meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. (to 19MAR)
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on human rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • United States: Health authorities will testify to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

END