Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The U.S. military says its troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete, in one of the final actions by President Donald Trump.
  • AMERICAS: US law enforcement agencies are screening National Guard members to check if they pose a security risk during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, a four-star general stated. 
  • ASIA: U.S. officials who participated in “nasty behavior” over Taiwan will face sanctions, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported, after Washington lifted curbs on exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.
  • EUROPE: Germany’s Foreign Minister is expected to meet his Turkish counterpart in the Turkish capital, in the aftermath of a turbulent year in Turkish-European relations. 
  • MIDDLE EAST: Saudi Arabia dramatically reduced the number of people put to death last year, following changes ending executions for non-violent drug-related crimes, according to the government’s tally and independent observers.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: China unveiled new rules on lunar sample management, encouraging international cooperation on studying the samples returned by the Chang’e-5 probe.  

 

Top Story

  • Europe: World condemns Russia for the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny  upon his return to Russia.
    • Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said the nation would “immediately raise issues concerning the EU’s possible response to the detention and persecution of Navalny, and new sanctions against Russia.”
    • US President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, demanded Navalny’s immediate release, adding that the “perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable.”
    • The French Foreign Ministry called for Russian authorities to immediately free Alexei Navalny, adding to a wave of Western condemnation. 
    • In its statement, the UK government noted it was “deeply concerned” by Mr. Navalny’s arrest, adding: “Instead of persecuting the victim of this terrible crime, the Russian authorities should investigate how a chemical weapon came to be used on Russian soil.”
    • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is being held by police “illegally” and denied access to a lawyer, his foundation reported, after he was arrested at a Moscow airport on arrival from Germany.
    • Reporting: FT, The Guardian, AFP, BBC, AFP 

 

Africa

  • Democratic Republic of Congo: The nation honored independence hero Patrice Lumumba on Sunday, marking the 60th anniversary of the assassination plot linked to the nation’s former colonial master Belgium. (AFP)  
  • Ethiopia: The Ministry of Health said the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the East African country increased to 131,195 after 423 additional cases were reported. (Xinhua)
  • Somalia: The U.S. military says its troop withdrawal from the nation is complete, in one of the final actions by President Donald Trump. (AP)  

 

Americas

  • Region: A new migrant caravan with several thousand Honduran nationals on their way to the United States were met with tear gas and violent clashes with authorities in Guatemala, according to domestic sources. (DPA)
  • United States: Law enforcement agencies are screening National Guard members to check if they pose a security risk during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, a four-star general stated. (AFP)
  • United States: President Trump is preparing to pardon or commute the sentences of more than 100 people in the last days of his term, names are expected to be announced Monday or Tuesday, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. (AP)  

 

Asia  

  • China: The nation’s economy grew 2.3 percent in 2020, the statistics office in Beijing reported. (DPA)  
  • China: U.S. officials who participated in “nasty behavior” over Taiwan will face sanctions, the Foreign Ministry reported, after Washington lifted curbs on exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials. (Reuters)  
  • India: The nation’s COVID-19 tally rose to 10,571,773 as 13,788 additional cases were recorded during the past 24 hours, according to the latest data from the federal health ministry. (Xinhua
  • Japan: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated his government would take all possible measures to protect the country’s medical system as hospitals creak under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reuters)  
  • South Korea: President Moon Jae-in urged the incoming US Biden administration to build upon the achievements and learn from the failures of President Donald Trump’s diplomatic talks with North Korea. (AP)  

 

Europe

  • Region: Germany’s Foreign Minister is expected to meet his Turkish counterpart in the Turkish capital, in the aftermath of a turbulent year in Turkish-European relations. (AP)  
  • France: The country’s Muslim federations agreed on a “charter of principles” requested by President Emmanuel Macron in his bid to end sectarianism and extremism. (AFP)  
  • United Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a rebellion by about 30 Tory MPs who are seeking to block a potential post-Brexit trade deal with China over its human rights record. (FT)
  • United Kingdom: The country is vaccinating 140 people per minute against COVID-19 on average, Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced. (Reuters)  

 

Middle East

  • Israel: The military said its fighter planes hit Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians fired rockets at the Jewish state. (AFP
  • Israel: The education minister is banning groups that say it is an “apartheid state” from lecturing at schools, a move that targets one of the country’s leading human rights groups after it started describing its control of the Palestinian territories as a single “apartheid” system. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The nation dramatically reduced the number of people put to death last year, following changes ending executions for non-violent drug-related crimes, according to the government’s tally and independent observers. ( AP)  

 

Tech & Communications

  • Space: China unveiled new rules on lunar sample management, encouraging international cooperation on studying the samples returned by the Chang’e-5 probe. (Xinhua)

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Storm Joshua
      • Location: 19.7S 87.9E
      • Movement: SW
      • Wind: 45 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Kimi
      • Location: 17.8S 147.1E
      • Movement: SSE
      • Wind: 65 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Eloise
      • Location: 13.7S 56.6E
      • Movement: W
      • Wind: 50 mph
      •  Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report 
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 18JAN21)
      • Confirmed cases: 95,091,565
      • Total recovered cases: 52,363,203
      • Deaths: 2,031,948
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 191
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19JAN21)

  • Europe: Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research publishes economic outlook.
  • Europe: EU Economic and Finance Ministers meet.
  • France: Trial of former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur over illegal campaign funding.
  • Germany: The German Statistical Office presents a detailed inflation rate for December and all of 2020.
  • Greece: Greek Parliament will decide on the expansion of territorial waters in the Ionian Sea, a vote that could lead to further tensions with Turkey.
  • Switzerland: World Economic Forum presents its Global Risks Report.
  • United Kingdom: The hearing in the case of Duchess Meghan against the British tabloid press; she wants to bypass a multi-day trial, and her lawyers appealed to the court in London to decide the case in a summary trial.
  • United States: Washington to hold a memorial for COVID-19 victims; President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee invited other cities around the country to participate in the commemoration with similar events at the same time.

END