Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Uganda’s military will withdraw hundreds of troops it sent last year to help the Democratic Republic of Congo combat an Islamist insurgency.
  • AMERICAS: The United States said it would loosen some economic sanctions against the government in order to help restart talks between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders.
  • ASIA: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged Beijing to “play a responsible role” over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his first talks with his Chinese counterpart in six months
  • EUROPE: Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there was no movement in peace talks with Ukraine, and that Kyiv was showing an unwillingness to continue them.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The Iranian navy seized a foreign vessel in the Gulf and arrested its crew on suspicion of fuel smuggling, the second such operation in a week.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Elon Musk said that Tesla Inc wuld host its second artificial intelligence day on August 19.

Top Story

  • Europe: Finland and Sweden Submit NATO Membership Application.
    • Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO alliance, a decision spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but face objections from Turkey to an accession process that is expected to take only a few weeks.
    • Finnish Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen and his Swedish counterpart Axel Wernhoff personally handed the applications to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
    • The countries will only benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee, once the membership ratification process is concluded in a few months.
    • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the news; “All allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement. We all agree that we must stand together and we all agree that this is an historic moment which we must seize.”
    • The applications face resistance from Turkey, which has threatened to block them over accusations the Nordic neighbors act as safe havens for armed groups opposed to Ankara.
    • Despite Turkey’s opposition, other NATO members have vowed to move quickly to ratify Finland and Sweden’s applications.
    • Reuters, WSJ, AP, AFP, Bloomberg, Forbes

Africa

  • Region: Humanitarian organizations have warned that across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, one person is dying every 48 seconds from acute hunger linked to conflict, the climate crisis, and the rising cost of food. (BBC)
  • Ghana: One person died, and five others are receiving treatment after a group of protesting youths stormed a police station in the northern town of Nkoranza. (BBC)
  • Nigeria: Police declared as wanted the “prime suspects” of last week’s lynching of a female student in the northern city of Sokoto. (BBC)
  • Somalia: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the redeployment of US forces where al-Shabab attacks had heightened due to a prolonged electoral crisis. (BBC)
  • Uganda: The military will withdraw hundreds of troops it sent last year to help the Democratic Republic of Congo combat an Islamist insurgency. (BBC)

Americas  

  • Canada: Ottawa introduced a bill in the Senate that will ban Russian President Vladimir Putin and 1,000 other members of his government from entering the country. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: President Alejandro Giammattei said he will not attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles next month following criticism from the United States over corruption. (AP)
  • Mexico: The southern state of Guerrero decriminalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, becoming the eighth region in the Latin American country to do so. (AFP)
  • Nicaragua: Jailed opposition leader Victor Hugo Tinoco was moved to house arrest due to health problems. (AFP)
  • Venezuela: The United States said it would loosen some economic sanctions against the government in order to help restart talks between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders. (NYT)

Asia

  • Australia: The national election has become too close to call as the ruling conservative coalition narrowed the gap with the main opposition Labor Party. (Reuters)
  • Japan: Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged Beijing to “play a responsible role” over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his first talks with his Chinese counterpart in six months. (AFP)
  • North Korea: Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting to discuss antivirus measures, where he criticized the state’s premature response to the crisis. (Yonhap)
  • Pakistan: The country opened delayed talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume a seventh review of the $6 billion rescue package agreed in 2019. (Reuters)
  • Sri Lanka: The country is expected to be placed into default by rating agencies after the non-payment of coupons on two of its sovereign bonds, while it runs out of money to pay for fuel. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Armenia: Police arrested hundreds of protesters as opposition supporters sought to spread their month-long anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan. (AFP)
  • Belarus: The ex-Soviet country introduced the death penalty for attempts to carry out acts of terrorism. (AFP)
  • Greece: Former mayor of Bucharest Sorin Oprescu was arrested in Athens on a European warrant for corruption charges. (AFP)
  • Russia: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there was no movement in peace talks with Ukraine, and that Kyiv was showing an unwillingness to continue them. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: Inflation surged last month to its highest annual rate since 1982, pressuring finance minister Rishi Sunak to keep raising interest rates despite a risk of recession. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Egypt: Gamal Mubarak, son of former president Hosni Mubarak, said that recent court decisions in the EU and elsewhere demonstrate his and his family’s innocence of corruption charges. (AP)
  • Iran: The navy seized a foreign vessel in the Gulf and arrested its crew on suspicion of fuel smuggling, the second such operation in a week. (AFP)
  • Iraq: UN envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert called on politicians to end the deadlock which has kept parliament from forming a new government for over seven months. (AFP)
  • Qatar: The country’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $5 billion in Spanish projects. (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia: The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has taken a 5.01% stake in Nintendo as the sovereign wealth fund increases its exposure to the Japanese video gaming industry. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Elon Musk said that Tesla Inc wuld host its second artificial intelligence day on August 19. (Reuters)

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 18MAY22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19MAY22) 

  • Event: Wilson Center discussion with Colombian defense minister Diego Molano.
  • Americas: US First Lady Jill Biden continues Ecuador / Panama / Costa Rica trip. (to 23MAY)
  • Belgium: NATO Military Committee Chiefs of Defense Session in Brussels.
  • 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 Health Ministers meeting in Berlin. (to 20MAY)
  • Netherlands: Visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
  • Thailand: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Trade Ministers meeting in Bangkok. (to 22MAY)
  • Timor-Leste: Inauguration of president-elect José Ramos-Horta.
  • Turkey: Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.
  • United States: Visit by Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
  • United States: President Biden departs on a South Korea / Japan visit.
  • United States: House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for US policy in the Indo-Pacific.
  • United States: Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • Vietnam: Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi. (to 23MAY)

END