Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Uganda announced a polio emergency and blamed the outbreak on COVID-19 during which resources were redirected from polio vaccination projects.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuelan opposition leader Freddy Guevara, recently freed from prison, said he was willing to participate in negotiations with President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Mexico.
  • ASIA: Hong Kong police said four student leaders from the city’s top university were arrested for “advocating terrorism.”
  • EUROPE: Poland deployed hundreds of troops at its border with Belarus to support border guards.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran stressed its nuclear activities are peaceful and conform to safeguard obligations, after the UN nuclear watchdog said Tehran has accelerated the production of highly enriched uranium.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: BlackBerry Ltd disclosed a security flaw in its QNS Real Time Operating System used in a wide range of products, including cars and medical equipment, which may now be vulnerable to cyberattack.

Top Story

  • Afghanistan: Evacuations increase as the Taliban promise rights and amnesty to reassure Afghans and world powers
    • According to many western governments, thousands of diplomats and aid workers have been evacuated.
    • In a press conference, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid vowed the militant group will respect women’s rights, forgive those who fought them and ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists reassuring world powers and a fearful population.
    • As U.S President Joe Biden returned to Washington from Camp David for a second time, the White House said that the Taliban had agreed to provide safe passage to Kabul’s airport for civilians who have the right to live in the United States.
    • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recalled Parliament to discuss the unfolding catastrophe in Afghanistan, as government officials vowed to continue working to evacuate British and Afghan nationals from the country.
    • As the Taliban moved forward with establishing a new government, they faced street protests against their takeover of Afghanistan, with demonstrations in the northeastern city of Jalalabad and the southeastern city of Khost.
    • CNBC, AP, CNN, WaPo, NYT

Africa

  • Libya: The High National Elections Commission reported that over 2.8 million voters have registered for the elections on December 24. (Xinhua)
  • Libya: The government announced it would reopen its border and resume flights to Tunisia. (Xinhua)
  • Niger: The country declared 48 hours of national mourning after 37 people were killed in a massacre by suspected jihadists. (AFP)
  • Uganda: The country announced a polio emergency and blamed the outbreak on COVID-19 during which resources were redirected from polio vaccination projects. (DPA)

Americas

  • Haiti: The death toll from the weekend’s earthquake rose to over 1,900 as Tropical Storm Grace halted search and rescue operations. (AP)
  • Colombia: The country’s Human Rights Ombudsman reported that at least 1,150 people have fled villages in Choco province to escape fighting between militant groups. (AP)
  • United States: UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged world leaders to attend the General Assembly remotely in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: Opposition leader Freddy Guevara, recently freed from prison, said he was willing to participate in negotiations with President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Mexico. (Reuters)

Asia

  • Hong Kong: Police said four student leaders from the city’s top university were arrested for “advocating terrorism.” (Al Jazeera)
  • Laos: National Assembly President Xaysomphone Phomvihane has asked Thailand to help citizens working in the neighboring country overcome the COVID-19 crisis. (Xinhua)
  • Malaysia: King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has urged political parties to work together against a dire situation the country is facing as he carefully considers candidates for a new prime minister. (Xinhua)
  • New Zealand: The country’s number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rose to seven. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: Daily new coronavirus cases rose to above 1,800 after a dip owing to fewer tests being conducted over the Liberation Day holiday weekend. (Yonhap)

Europe

  • Armenia: The Defense Ministry reported that one serviceman was wounded in a skirmish along the border with Azerbaijan after two soldiers were killed the day before. (RFE/RL)
  • France: Hundreds of firefighters struggled for a third consecutive day to contain the country’s worst wildfire of the summer near the Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez, where one person died, and thousands of residents and tourists were forced to flee. (Reuters)
  • Poland: The country deployed hundreds of troops at its border with Belarus to support border guards. (AP)
  • Turkey: The death toll of devastating flash floods rose to 77 as emergency crews were searching for more victims in the country’s northern Black Sea region. (Xinhua)
  • United Kingdom: The Home Office said in a statement that will take in up to 20,000 Afghans in the coming years, as part of a resettlement plan following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. (Xinhua)

Middle East

  • Iran: The country stressed its nuclear activities are peaceful and conform to safeguard obligations, after the UN nuclear watchdog said Tehran has accelerated the production of highly enriched uranium. (AFP)
  • Israel: New restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 took effect in the country after the mostly vaccinated country saw the highest daily infection rate since January. (France24)
  • Jordan: Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi said that Amman and Ankara approved an agreement to boost economic cooperation. (Xinhua)
  • Lebanon: Angry mobs caused chaos throughout the country amidst fuel shortages and electricity blackouts as the formation of a new Cabinet continues to stall. (UPI)

Tech & Communications

  • Tech: BlackBerry Ltd disclosed a security flaw in its QNS Real Time Operating System used in a wide range of products, including cars and medical equipment, which may now be vulnerable to cyberattack. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: 
  • Tropical Storm Grace
    • Location: 18.8N 80.9W
    • Movement: W
    • Wind: 65 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricane Linda
    • Location: 18.1N 130.7W
    • Movement: W
    • Wind: 105 mph
    • Map
  • Earthquakes:
  • Port-Olry, Vanuatu
    • Magnitude: 6.9
    • Depth: 89.5 km
    • Map
  • Volcanoes:
  • Mount Merapi, Indonesia
    • Moderately large pyroclastic flow
    • Erupting
    • Source
  • Shiveluch, Russia
    • Large pyroclastic flow
    • Actively erupting
    • Source
  • Popocatépetl, Mexico
  • Large pyroclastic flow
  • Actively erupting
  • Source
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 18AUG21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19AUG21)

  • Global: World Humanitarian Day.
  • Global: UN Security Council special session on terrorism and peacekeeping.
  • Event: CSIS discussion on the future of German security and defense.
  • Event: Hudson Institute discussion on the dynamics of a changing arctic.
  • Mexico: Tropical Storm Grace expected to make landfall as a Hurricane.
  • Japan: Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi visiting Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Qatar. (to 24AUG)
  • United States: Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman visiting Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the UAE to discuss the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia. (to 24AUG)
  • Turkey: International Defense Industry Fair 2021. (to 20AUG)
  • New Zealand: Three-day national COVID-19 lockdown. (to 20AUG)
  • Afghanistan: Independence Day.
  • Philippines: Manuel Luis Quezon Day.
  • United States: DHS Secretary visits Miami.

END