Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Clashes between competing militias in Tripoli have forced one of Libya’s rival prime ministers to abort his attempt to seat his government there.
  • AMERICAS: The United States announced plans to ease sanctions on Cuba imposed by the Trump administration.
  • ASIA: North Korea reported six additional deaths and 270,000 new COVID-19 cases.
  • EUROPE: Sweden signed a formal request to join NATO, a day after it announced it would seek membership in the 30-member military alliance.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Final results in Lebanon’s weekend parliamentary elections show that Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority of parliament seats they had held since 2018.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: US prosecutors accused Venezuelan doctor Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez of creating and selling ransomware used in attacks linked to Iran.

Top Story

  • Ukraine: The Mission to Defend Mariupol’s Azovstal Steel Plant is Over.
    • Ukraine’s military command said that the mission to defend the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern port of Mariupol is over and pledged to rescue service members still trapped inside.
    • Mariupol’s Azovstal Iron and Steel Works and its network of underground tunnels have for weeks served as a shelter for some 1,000 Ukrainian fighters, including many from the Azov Regiment.
    • More than 260 fighters were evacuated through humanitarian corridors to areas under Russian and separatist control, with Ukraine’s defense ministry saying a further “exchange procedure” would take place later.
    • The Ukrainian army said that holding the steelworks delayed the transfer of 20,000 Russian troops to other parts of Ukraine and stopped Moscow from quickly capturing the southern city of Zaporizhzhia.
    • According to the Russian Defense Ministry, “265 fighters, including 51 seriously wounded, have laid down their weapons and were taken into captivity over the past 24 hours.”
    • Reuters, WaPo, AFP, The Guardian, DW

Africa

  • Region: Morocco and Spain reopened the land borders between the north African country and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, two years after they were shut due to Covid restrictions and a major diplomatic row. (AFP)
  • Libya: Clashes between competing militias in Tripoli have forced one of the country’s rival prime ministers to abort his attempt to seat his government there. (AP)
  • Mali: The ruling junta said it thwarted an attempted coup last week backed by an unnamed Western state. (AFP)
  • Nigeria: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested treasury administrator Ahmed Idris on charges of diverting public funds. (Reuters)
  • Togo: The West African state reopened its land borders after closing them more than two years ago to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (AFP)

Americas  

  • Region: The United States announced plans to ease sanctions on Cuba imposed by the Trump administration. (BBC)
  • Chile: A harmonization commission began work on editing a first draft of a new constitution. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: President Alejandro Giammattei re-appointed attorney general Consuelo Porras, who the United States last year labeled an “undemocratic actor.” (AP)
  • Mexico: The number of people officially listed as disappeared in the country rose to more than 100,000, as family groups called on authorities to do more to find victims of violence linked to organized crime. (Reuters)
  • United States: The US Air Force announced a successful test of a hypersonic weapon. (Reuters)

Asia

  • China: Administrators at an elite Beijing university backed down from plans to tighten pandemic restrictions on students as part of the “zero-COVID” strategy after a weekend protest at the school. (AP)
  • India: At least 11 people have died in floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rains in the country’s remote northeast region. (AP)
  • Indonesia: Hundreds of farmers staged a protest in Jakarta demanding the government end a palm oil export ban that slashed their income. (Reuters)
  • Japan: The Tourism agency will start conducting “test tourism” in the form of limited package tours in May as a way of gathering information prior to a full re-opening of the country to tourism. (Reuters)
  • North Korea: The government reported six additional deaths and 270,000 new COVID-19 cases. (Yonhap)

Europe

  • Region: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, accusing them of harboring members of the PKK. (BBC)
  • Armenia: Police detained nearly 300 opposition supporters who tried to block streets in Yerevan, which has been gripped for a month by anti-government protests. (AFP)
  • Russia: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would probably make “not much difference” as the two countries had long participated in the alliance’s military drills. (Reuters)
  • Sweden: The country signed a formal request to join NATO, a day after it announced it would seek membership in the 30-member military alliance. (AP)
  • United Kingdom: The government will set out steps to tackle post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland, but will not introduce a new law this week, dialing down a row with the EU that could threaten a trade war. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Region: More than 70 Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli forces at a Jerusalem funeral in unrest that police said included “violent riots” which threatened officers’ lives. (AFP)
  • Iran: Schools and government offices have closed in the capital and elsewhere in the country after yet another sandstorm blanketed Tehran. (AP)
  • Iraq: The oil ministry has reportedly thwarted three prospective deals which would have increased Chinese control over the country’s oilfields. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Final results in the weekend parliamentary elections show that Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority of parliament seats they had held since 2018. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: A sandstorm engulfed Riyadh and other regions of the desert kingdom, hampering visibility and slowing road traffic. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: US prosecutors accused Venezuelan doctor Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez of creating and selling ransomware used in attacks linked to Iran. (CNN)

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 17MAY22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (18MAY22) 

  • Event: Atlantic Council conversation with Kosovo PM Albin Kurti.
  • Global: World Meteorological Organization to release the final report for the year on the state of global climate change.
  • Global: International Museums Day.
  • Africa: UNSC meeting on G5 Sahel.
  • Denmark: Summit on North Sea wind energy in Esbjerg.
  • Europe: European Parliament plenary session. (to 19MAY)
  • Europe: European Commission to publish legislative proposals to end reliance on Russian natural gas.
  • Germany: Visit by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. (to 20MAY)
  • Germany: International Transport Forum Annual Summit in Leipzig. (to 20MAY)
  • Germany: G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Bonn. (to 20MAY)
  • Germany: G7 Development Ministers meeting in Berlin. (to 19MAY)
  • Haiti: Universities Day and Flag Day.
  • Hungary: Conservative Political Action Conference, attended by PM Viktor Orban.
  • Pakistan: Talks begin with IMF to resume support package.
  • Somaliland: Independence Day.
  • Sri Lanka: Remembrance Day.
  • Turkmenistan: Constitution Day.
  • United States: Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on US Syria policy.
  • Uruguay: Battle of Las Piedras Day.
  • Vietnam: Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi. (to 23MAY)

END