• AFRICA: Tunisian President Kais Saied escalated his dispute with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, saying his office enabled him to command the country’s internal security forces and not just the army.
  • AMERICAS: Half of the US adult population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the government said.
  • ASIA: New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Wellington is “uncomfortable” with expanding the role of the Five Eyes.
  • EUROPE: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s closest supporters are expecting the worst after Navalny’s lawyers were not allowed to see him over the weekend.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran will always welcome dialogue with Saudi Arabia but did not confirm or deny if the two countries held any direct talks this month.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Japan urged Myanmar to release a Japanese journalist detained by security forces in Yangon yesterday.

 

Top Story

  • Asia: Australia-New Zealand travel bubble opens.
    • Hundreds of travelers from Australia landed in New Zealand as both countries opened their borders to each other’s citizens for the first time in more than a year.
    • The opening of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble marks a coronavirus pandemic milestone allowing the option of a quarantine-free travel.
    • Both Australia and New Zealand have been effective in keeping their coronavirus numbers low throughout the pandemic owing to tight restrictions and also their relative isolation.
    • Thousands of passengers are expected to follow suit in traveling between Australia and New Zealand today.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, WaPo, AP, AFP

 

Africa

  • Chad: The country’s army claims it halted a rebel advance originating from neighboring Libya. (AP
  • South Africa: A wildfire on Cape Town’s Table Mountain spread to the University of Cape Town campus resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of students. (BBC)
  • Tunisia: President Kais Saied escalated his dispute with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, saying his office enabled him to command the country’s internal security forces and not just the army. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Canada: The government will increase funding for childcare, wage subsidies and other pandemic recovery measures in its new budget. (AFP)
  • Cuba: Dissidents accused authorities of blocking their internet access and travel options during the ruling Communist Party’s congress. (Reuters)
  • United States: Half of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the government said. (AP)
  • Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro said authorities made a second payment to the WHO’s COVAX initiative to obtain around 11 million COVID-19 vaccines. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Cambodia: Human rights groups accused the country of taking “a step towards a totalitarian dictatorship” over the government’s new coronavirus rules under which people who infringe the rules could face up to 20 years in prison. (Guardian)
  • India: A week-long coronavirus lockdown will be imposed in capital city New Delhi amid a massive surge in coronavirus cases. (AFP)
  • New Zealand: Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Wellington is “uncomfortable” with expanding the role of the Five Eyes. (Reuters)
  • Pakistan: The Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan group released eleven police officers it took as hostage as part of their campaign to get the French ambassador expelled from the country. (AFP)

 

  • Europe
  • Region: The European Union acquired an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Region: Russia said it will expel 20 Czech diplomats after the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats. (BBC)
  • Greece: The country struck a defense procurement deal with Israel, which will see Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems building a training center for the country’s air force. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s closest supporters are expecting the worst after Navalny’s lawyers were not allowed to see him over the weekend. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran will always welcome dialogue with Saudi Arabia but did not confirm or deny if the two countries held any direct talks this month. (Reuters
  • Iran: The high-ranking general Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi, considered a key part of the country’s security apparatus, died at the age of 65. (AP)
  • Iraq: Rockets fired at the Balad air base hosting US soldiers wounded three Iraqi soldiers and two foreign contractors. (AFP

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Japan urged Myanmar to release a Japanese journalist detained by security forces in Yangon yesterday. (AP)

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Typhoon Surigae
      • Location: 308 nautical miles East of Manila, Philippines
      • Wind: 145 mph
      • Movement: N-NW at 4 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 19APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 141,422,630
      • Total recovered cases: 80,802,937
      • Deaths: 3,020,112
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 11APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 16
      • Deaths: 12
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 11APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 6
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20APR21)

  • Global: The European Conference on Space Debris will be held virtually. (to 23APR)
  • Asia: A regional summit on the situation in Myanmar is expected to be held.
  • Asia: The Boao Forum for Asia will be held. (to 21APR)
  • Europe: The European Medicines Agency will issue a ruling on blood clots allegedly caused by Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine.
  • Europe: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver a speech to the Council of Europe.
  • Europe: The Czech Republic will discuss the alleged involvement of Russia in the 2014 blast at the ammunition depot in the village of Vrbetice with NATO.
  • Germany: Anti-coronavirus lockdown groups will present legal arguments against a new coronavirus lockdown. 
  • Kuwait: Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid will visit.
  • Malta: The European Court of Justice will issue a ruling on the country’s procedure to nominate judges.
  • Pakistan: The deadline for the expulsion of the French ambassador to the country set by the Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labaik.
  • Saudi Arabia: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will visit.
  • Syria: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will meet and potentially vote on sanctions against the country.
  • Taiwan: Transport minister Lin Chia-lung will resign over a recent train crash.
  • United Arab Emirates: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will end his visit to the country.
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on the fight against climate change.
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a closed briefing on China.

END