Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Voters in Guinea are casting their ballots in a controversial election where President Alpha Condé, 82, seeks a third term.  
  • AMERICAS: Bolivian Citizens have started voting in a presidential election redo that could determine its democratic future and bring a return of the socialist party to power as it struggles with a raging pandemic and protests over last year’s annulled ballot. 
  • ASIA: A day after winning a second term, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she believes that the election result is an endorsement of her government’s successful pandemic policy.
  • EUROPE: Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of breaking a cease-fire aimed at stopping the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, just hours after it went into effect on October 18. 
  • MIDDLE EAST: The Iranian Foreign Ministry says a UN embargo on conventional arms sales to the Islamic republic was lifted on October 18 under the terms of the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. 
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Singapore will become the world’s first nation to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy activists are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse.

 

Top Story

  • United States: Political Tensions rise as it looks like another surge of COVID-19 cases is imminent. 
    • A total of 392,471 new COVID-19 cases were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), a record high since the start of the pandemic, taking the total number of confirmed cases worldwide to 39,196,259.
    • The United States now has the most hospitalized COVID-19 patients since early September.
    • President Donald Trump criticized Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer for enacting lockdowns to curb the outbreak, drawing shouts of “lock her up” from a Wisconsin rally crowd.
    • In a sign of political disagreement, the U.S, the Senate will vote on a $300 billion Senate Republican pandemic relief bill that is far below the estimated $2 trillion that Democrats have demanded.
    • At a rally in Wisconsin, President Trump warned that Biden would “shut down the country, delay the vaccine and prolong the pandemic.” 
    • Reporting: Xinhua, Reuters, TelegraphReuters, AP,    

 

Africa

  • Guinea: Voters in the nation are casting their ballots in a controversial election where President Alpha Condé, 82, seeks a third term. (BBC)  
  • Morocco: The nation recorded 3,763 new COVID-19 cases, the largest single-day increase so far, taking the number of infections in the country from March 2 to 170,911. (Xinhua
  • Nigeria: The government announced the launch of a major military operation across its territory to combat insecurity, the army said in a statement. (Xinhua

 

Americas

  • Brazil: The nation will suspend tariffs on corn and soy imports from countries outside the Mercosur trade bloc until early next year to help reduce food prices that are pushing up inflation, the economy ministry reported. (Reuters
  • Bolivia: Citizens have started voting in a presidential election redo that could determine its democratic future and bring a return of the socialist party to power as it struggles with a raging pandemic and protests over last year’s annulled ballot. (AP)  
  • United States: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held talks about efforts to develop a stimulus package to aid the U.S. economy, weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bloomberg

 

Asia  

  • Afghanistan: Seven soldiers and five Taliban militants were killed in the Imam Sahib district of northern Kunduz province, a local official announced. (Xinhua
  • New Zealand: A day after winning a second term, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she believes that the election result is an endorsement of her government’s successful pandemic policy. (AP)  
  • South Korea: New COVID-19 cases rose by double digits for a third consecutive day Sunday, but sporadic cluster infections across the country put more strain on the country’s virus fight. (YNA
  • Vietnam: A landslide left at least 22 military personnel missing in the central province of Quang Tri, the government reported, in what could be the largest military loss the nation has faced in peacetime. (Reuters

 

Europe

  • Region: Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of breaking a cease-fire aimed at stopping the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, just hours after it went into effect on October 18. (RFE)
  • Belarus: Protesters are due to stage a new march on Sunday against strongman Alexander Lukashenko in defiance of authorities’ threat to open fire in an increasingly dangerous standoff between the opposition and the regime. (AFP)  
  • Germany: Over two-thirds of citizens say they are mostly satisfied with the federal government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Kantar on behalf of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. (DPA
  • Russia: COVID-19 cases increased by 15,099 in the past day to 1,399,334, the anti-COVID-19 crisis center told reporters. (TASS

 

Middle East

  • Region: Israel and Bahrain will officially establish diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Manama, an Israeli official reported, after the two states reached a U.S.-brokered normalization deal last month. (AFP)  
  • Iran: The Foreign Ministry says a UN embargo on conventional arms sales to the Islamic republic was lifted on October 18 under the terms of the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. (RFE’
  • Israel: The total number of COVID-19 cases in the nation increased to 302,770 after the addition of 874 new cases, marking a fifth consecutive day of decrease in the number of daily new cases, Israel’s Ministry of Health reported. (Xinhua)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Singapore will become the world’s first nation to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy activists are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse. (AFP

 

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
      • Confirmed Cases as of 18OCT20:39,714,245
      • Total Recovered Cases as of 18OCT 27,320,618
      • Deaths as of 18OCT20: 1,110,371
      • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 189
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (11th Ebola outbreak figures from Equateur Province)
      • Confirmed Cases as of 10OCT20: 119 
      • Probable Cases as of 10OCT20: 9 
      • Deaths as of 10OCT20: 53
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19OCT20)

  • Global: U.N. Security Council meetings on the Central African Republic
  • Global: OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meeting
  • Asia-Pacific/Americas: Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to conclude trip to the U.S.
  • Europe: EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to visit London for trade talks with the U.K.
  • Europe/Eurasia: Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric to visit Moscow, meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Russia’s participation in the Council of Europe as well as future priorities and reform of the council.
  • MENA: Israeli delegation to travel to Manama, Bahrain in first official Israeli visit.
  • China:  quarterly GDP data released

 

END