Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Tanzanian President John Magufuli, a prominent COVID-19 denier, died after a two-week absence from public life due to a heart failure, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced.
  • AMERICAS: Chile’s highly efficient coronavirus vaccination campaign has reached Antarctica as authorities inoculated air force personnel and staff at the country’s Profesor Julio Escudero research base on the icy continent.
  • ASIA: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged China to use its “tremendous influence” to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program after Pyongyang said it will ignore US negotiation offers.
  • EUROPE: The G7 group of countries said they would not accept Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, in a statement marking the seventh anniversary of the illegal takeover.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Houthi rebels said a ceasefire agreement in Yemen would only be possible after the Saudi-led blockade of the country is lifted.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Chinese authorities have summoned 11 companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, over voice software-related security concerns.

Top Story

  • Netherlands: PM Rutte on track for 4th term in office.
    • Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right party is projected to have won the most seats in the country’s general election.
    • However, Rutte and his party does not have enough seats to form a government on its own and will need to form a new coalition government.
    • Rutte’s center-right VVD party won 35 of the 150 contested seats while the center-left D66 party won 24 seats.
    • Rutte is expected to hold coalition discussions with the D66 party, saying a new coalition government with the center-left party “would seem obvious”.
    • This will be Rutte’s fourth term as the Dutch prime minister, after his last government resigned in January over a child welfare fraud scandal.
    • Reporting: DPA, NYT, Reuters, AP, BBC

Africa

  • Egypt: Prominent human rights activist Sanaa Seif was sentenced to 18 months in prison for “spreading false news”. (BBC)
  • Ethiopia: United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet accepted the government’s request for a joint investigation into the humanitarian issues caused by the conflict in the country’s Tigray region. (AFP)
  • Nigeria: The government has approved spending of $1.5 billion to modernize an oil refinery at Port Harcourt and awarded Italian company Tecnimont the contract for the project. (Reuters)
  • Tanzania: President John Magufuli, a prominent COVID-19 denier, died after a two-week absence from public life due to a heart failure, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced. (Guardian)

Americas

  • Brazil: The country’s new Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga promised to enact science-based policies against the new coronavirus. (AFP)
  • Chile: The country’s highly efficient coronavirus vaccination campaign has reached Antarctica as authorities inoculated air force personnel and staff at the country’s Profesor Julio Escudero research base on the icy continent. (Reuters)
  • Ecuador: Investigators probing influence peddling allegations against former health minister Juan Carlos Zevallos raided the country’s health ministry. (AFP)
  • Haiti: Protesters staged a jailbreak to free four police officers from behind bars in Port-Au-Prince, amid ongoing protests over a botched police raid on a gang. (Reuters)
  • Paraguay: President Mario Abdo Benitez has survived the opposition’s impeachment attempt but faced protests outside the country’s legislature demanding his resignation. (AP)

Asia  

  • Region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged China to use its “tremendous influence” to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program after Pyongyang said it will ignore US negotiation offers. (AP)
  • Afghanistan: A roadside bomb struck a bus carrying government employees in Kabul, killing four people in the process, while nine security force members were killed in a helicopter crash. (Reuters)
  • Australia: The country’s population has declined for the first time in more than a century. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: Construction magnate Maung Waik, who has links with the country’s military, claimed he had given ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi more than half a million dollars in cash. (AP)
  • Thailand: Parliament rejected a bill that would have enabled making amendments to the country’s military-backed constitution. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The European Medicines Agency is set to announce the results of its investigations into AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and potential links to blood clots later today. (AP)
  • Region: The G7 group of nations said they would not accept Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, in a statement marking the seventh anniversary of the illegal takeover. (AFP)
  • Armenia: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has defied a court order to reinstate the army’s chief of staff. (AFP)
  • Russia: Moscow recalled its ambassador to Washington after US President Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” over election meddling allegations. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: A prosecutor has asked the Constitutional Court to ban the country’s main pro-Kurdish opposition party. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: The US is planning to reset ties with the Palestinians. (Reuters)
  • Iran: Ukraine rejected Tehran’s final report on the downing of a Ukrainian jet last year, calling it a “cynical attempt” to hide the truth. (BBC)
  • Yemen: Houthi rebels said a ceasefire agreement in the country would only be possible after the Saudi-led blockade is lifted. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Chinese authorities have summoned 11 companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, over voice software-related security concerns. (AP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Algeria
      • Location: 20 km NNE of Bejaïa, Algeria
      • Magnitude: 6.0
      • Depth: 8 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 18MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 121,256,160
      • Total recovered cases: 68,757,476
      • Deaths: 2,681,790
      • 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 (19MAR21)

  • Global: The “Fridays for Future” group is expected to hold strikes across the world to highlight climate change-related issues.
  • 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.
  • Europe: The Romania-led Sea Shield 21 NATO multinational naval exercises will be held. (to 29MAR)
  • Europe: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will take part in the 4th German-Ukrainian Economic Forum.
  • Europe: Joint Russian-Belarussian military exercises will be held.
  • Europe: Armenia will hold military exercises. (to 20MAR)
  • Bangladesh: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit. (to 20MAR)
  • China: The trial of detained Canadian citizen Michael Spavor will be held.
  • Curacao: Parliamentary elections will be held.
  • Germany: President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will confer the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit upon Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin, the co-founders of the BioNTech company which partnered with Pfizer to create a coronavirus vaccine.
  • India: US Defense Secretary will visit and meet with his counterpart Rajnath Singh. (to 21MAR)
  • Ivory Coast: The burial of recently deceased Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko is expected to be held.
  • Lebanon: Government officials are expected to meet and discuss pharmaceutical subsidies.
  • Mexico: The government could make an announcement on the future supplies of coronavirus vaccines.
  • Ukraine: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will visit and meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov.
  • 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.
  • United States: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the state of Georgia.

END