Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The DR Congo declared the Ebola outbreak in the Equateur province over, nearly six months after the first case was discovered, marking the first time in almost two and a half years of the country being free of the Ebola virus.
  • AMERICAS: The US dropped its charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos and agreed to return him to Mexico.
  • ASIA: Thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok for another day of protests, after six people were shot during violent clashes, as Parliament is set to vote on constitutional reforms.
  • EUROPE: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Budapest vetoed the recent proposed EU budget and coronavirus fund because the two pieces of legislation would force Hungary to accept immigrants.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel attacked Iranian targets within Syria, reportedly killing three military personnel, in what Israel said was retaliation for explosive devices placed at the contested border between Israel and Syria.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Solomon Islands is reportedly set to ban social media website Facebook after the government received harsh criticism on the platform.

Top Story

  • United States: Pentagon to cut troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq.
    • The Pentagon announced a sharp reduction of US troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January, before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
    • The Pentagon also said it would reduce the number of US troops in Iraq, although by a smaller number.
    • Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller asserted that the decision would fulfill outgoing President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring US troops back home.
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the plan “a mistake”, while NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg earlier in the day spoken against a troop reduction.
    • Critics of the troop reduction say that the decision could undermine the fragile peace talks with Taliban and undermine the security situation in Afghanistan.
    • Reporting: NYT, BBC, AP, WaPo, Reuters

Africa

  • Region: Malawian police arrested controversial preacher Shepherd Bushiri who is wanted in South Africa on fraud and money-laundering charges. (AFP)
  • Region: The US blacklisted two Al-Shabaab members blamed for an attack earlier this year in Kenya that resulted in the deaths of three Americans. (AFP)
  • DR Congo: The country declared the Ebola outbreak in the Equateur province over, nearly six months after the first case was discovered, marking the first time in almost two and a half years of the country being free of the Ebola virus. (AP)
  • Ethiopia: Rebels in the country’s Tigray region refused to surrender and claimed they were winning their war with the federal government. (Reuters)
  • Ivory Coast: President Alassane Ouattara insisted that the country would not witness a political transition following the recent disputed election that was boycotted by the opposition. (AFP)

Americas

  • Region: The US dropped its charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos and agreed to return him to Mexico. (WaPo)
  • Region: Hurricane Iota caused at least five deaths in Central America. (DPA)
  • Argentina: President Alberto Fernández is set to table a new bill legalizing abortion in the country to Congress. (BBC)
  • Canada: Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou faced another round of extradition hearings in which a border official said Meng was not forced to submit the passwords to her electronic devices. (AFP)
  • United States: President Donald Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, after Krebs refuted President Trump’s claims of electoral fraud. (AP)

Asia  

  • Australia: The state of South Australia will be placed under a lockdown after a sudden outbreak of the coronavirus emerged following seven months of no community transmission. (DPA)
  • China: Hong Kong authorities arrested three former lawmakers from the city’s pro-democracy opposition for holding protests in the city’s legislature. (AFP)
  • India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with US President-elect Joe Biden on the phone, congratulating President-elect Biden on his election victory and pledging to deepen strategic ties between New Delhi and Washington. (Reuters)
  • Thailand: Thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered in capital city Bangkok for another day of protests, after six people were shot during violent clashes, as Parliament is set to vote on constitutional reforms. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Budapest vetoed the recent proposed EU budget and coronavirus fund because the two pieces of legislation would force Hungary to accept immigrants. (Reuters)
  • Georgia: Thousands of protesters unhappy with the recent parliamentary election’s process took to the streets of capital city Tbilisi, as US Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo meets with political and church leaders. (Reuters)
  • Germany: Thousands of people are protesting in capital city Berlin against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plans to grant the government the power to enforce coronavirus measures and restrictions. (Reuters)
  • Russia: The Duma approved a bill that seeks to grant presidents immunity after leaving office. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: Saudi Arabia and Iraq reopened the Arar desert border crossing ending 30 years of sealed land borders between the two countries. (AFP)
  • Region: Bahrain sent its first official delegation to Israel, which is being led by Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani. (Reuters)
  • Region: Israel attacked Iranian targets within Syria, reportedly killing three military personnel, in what Israel said was retaliation for explosive devices placed at the contested border between Israel and Syria. (AP)
  • Iran: The International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly believes that Tehran fired up uranium-enriching centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site in what would be a breach of its nuclear deal with world powers. (Reuters)
  • Iraq: The military said that capital city Baghdad was attacked by rockets, with four of them hitting the city’s heavily fortified Green Zone, resulting in the death of one child. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: The Solomon Islands is reportedly set to ban social media website Facebook after the government received harsh criticism on the platform. (AFP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes:
    • Hurricane Iota
      • Location: 20 miles NW of El Papalon, El Salvador
      • Wind: 35 mph
      • Movement: W-SW at 11 mph
      • Map
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
      • Confirmed Cases as of 18NOV20: 55,695,116
      • Total Recovered Cases as of 18NOV20: 35,848,321
      • Deaths as of 18NOV20: 1,339,820
      • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19NOV20)

  • Global: CEOs from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member countries will hold a virtual meeting. (to 20NOV)
  • Global: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his Europe and Middle East tour which includes planned visits to France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. (to 23NOV)
  • Global: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, are expected to speak at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum.
  • Africa: The South African police’s deadline for controversial Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri to hand himself over to the country’s police, failing which South Africa is expected to lodge a complaint with the Malawian government.
  • Asia: The Inspector-General of Australia’s Defense Forces is expected to release a report on alleged war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan.
  • Europe: The 30th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
  • Europe: An EU summit on the coronavirus pandemic and other ongoing issues, including a stalled EU budget proposal, and a final post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, will be held.
  • Europe: The Foreign Ministers of EU member-states will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: The Industry Ministers of EU member-states will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will speak in front of the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
  • Libya: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the country.
  • Monaco: National Day/Saint Rainier’s Day – 1857
  • South Africa: Former President Jacob Zuma will testify in front of an anti-corruption panel. (to 20NOV)
  • South Korea: Coronavirus measures and restrictions will be reintroduced to capital city Seoul and some other parts of the country.
  • Turkey: The Central Bank will hold its first rate-setting meeting since the ouster of Ankara’s previous central bank chief and Finance Minister.
  • United States: The Census Bureau will release its new international population estimates.

END