Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Tunisian President Kais Saied appointed a new director-general of national security and a new commander of the National Guard.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico is set to receive 1.75 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the United States this weekend, shortly after Mexico authorized its emergency use.
  • ASIA: Local police said a roadside bomb exploded among a procession of Shiite Muslims in central Pakistan, killing at least three and wounding over 50 people.
  • EUROPE: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan the most important geopolitical event since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S President Joe Biden will meet next week with stalled nuclear talks with Iran at the top of the agenda.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Amazon warned merchants selling via its marketplace that antitrust proposals in the U.S. Congress would hurt their business.

Top Story

  • Afghanistan: Taliban mark Independence Day as challenges to its rule rise
    • The Taliban celebrated Afghanistan’s Independence Day on Thursday by declaring it had defeated the United States, but challenges to their rule ranging from running the country’s frozen government to potentially facing armed opposition began to emerge.
    • The Taliban noted that on Afghan Independence Day, the country celebrates the anniversary of the 1919 treaty that ended British rule, but also declared their victory over the United States.
    • A total of 12 people have been killed in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport.
    • For the second consecutive day, protesters defied the Taliban all across the country in Khost, Kunar, and Nangarhar provinces waiving national flags even though they were met with violence and suppression by the militants.
    • Several people were killed in the city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally.
    • In an interview with ABC News, US President Joe Biden said US troops may stay in Afghanistan past the August 31 withdrawal deadline, as Taliban fighters kept evacuees away from reaching Kabul’s airport.
    • AP, Axios, Reuters, AP2, NDTV, BBC

Africa

  • Burkina Faso: The president declared three days of national mourning after suspected jihadists killed 47 people, including 30 civilians, in an attack in the north of the country. (AFP)
  • Nigeria: Police said gunmen abducted nine students on their way home from an Islamic school in the country’s northwest after another mass abduction took place in a neighboring state. (AP)
  • The Gambia: The Health Ministry declared a national public health emergency following two confirmed cases of polio type 2. (Xinhua)
  • Tunisia: President Kais Saied appointed a new director-general of national security and a new commander of the National Guard. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: Mexico is set to receive 1.75 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the United States this weekend, shortly after Mexico authorized its emergency use. (Reuters)
  • Canada: The extradition trial of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou concluded in Vancouver, and a ruling was scheduled for October 21. (Reuters)
  • Cuba: The conditional release of leading dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer was revoked, ordering him to see out the remaining four years of a prison sentence. (AFP)
  • Haiti: The death toll from a massive earthquake in the country exceeded 2,000 as the number has risen by almost 250 to 2,189. (AFP)
  • United States: The Biden administration proposed new rules allowing immigration officers to decide on asylum cases without referring them to judges, in an effort to speed up the system and ease a backlog at the southern border. (UPI)

Asia

  • Indonesia: The World Health Organization has urged the country to take action to stem the spread of COVID-19, as new data showed retail and recreation reaching pre-pandemic levels in some key regions. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: COVID-19 cases jumped to 21 as authorities positively identified the source of the outbreak on a traveler returning from Sydney on August 7. (Reuters)
  • North Korea: A UN Security Council panel approved sanctions exemptions for a German project to provide North Korea with COVID-19 test equipment. (Yonhap)
  • Pakistan: Local police said a roadside bomb exploded among a procession of Shiite Muslims in the central part of the country, killing at least three and wounding over 50 people. (AP)
  • Singapore: Officials confirmed a British man was sentenced to six weeks in jail for not wearing a mask and harassing police. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan the most important geopolitical event since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. (AFP)
  • Germany: The government launched a relief fund worth 30 billion euros (35.1 billion U.S. dollars) for the victims of the flood disaster in July. (Xinhua)
  • Latvia: More than 5,000 people demonstrated in Riga against coronavirus restrictions and government plans to mandate vaccination, the largest protest in the country since 2009. (AFP)
  • Spain: The Ministry of Health confirmed more than 30 million people have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. (Xinhua)
  • United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the UK would double its humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan to £286 million this year. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Israel: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S President Joe Biden will meet next week with stalled nuclear talks with Iran at the top of the agenda. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Four members of a South Korean peacekeeper unit face withdrawal on charges of embezzlement and other irregularities. (Yonhap)
  • United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi emirate will end a partial lockdown that took into effect last month as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: The country’s Al-Qaeda branch congratulated the Taliban on their takeover of Afghanistan and vowed to continue its own military campaigns. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Tech: Amazon warned merchants selling via its marketplace that antitrust proposals in the U.S. Congress would hurt their business. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: 
  • Tropical Storm Grace
    • Location: 20.0N 87.2W
    • Movement: W
    • Wind: 80 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricane Linda
    • Location: 19.7N 136.2W
    • Movement: WNW
    • Wind: 85 mph
    • Map
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report.
  • Volcanoes:
  • Fuego, Guatemala
    • Explosive activity continues
    • Erupting
    • Source
  • Shiveluch, Russia
    • Explosive activity continues
    • Actively erupting
    • Source
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 19AUG21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20AUG21)

  • Americas: OAS Permanent Council extraordinary virtual session on Haiti.
  • Europe: NATO Foreign Ministers meet in Brussels to discuss Afghanistan.
  • Event: Middle East Policy Council discussion with former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
  • United States: Vice President Kamala Harris visiting Singapore and Vietnam. (to 26AUG)
  • Japan: Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi visiting Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Qatar. (to 24AUG)
  • United States: Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman visiting Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the UAE to discuss the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia. (to 24AUG)
  • Turkey: International Defense Industry Fair 2021.
  • New Zealand: Last day of three-day national COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Russia: Meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
  • Russia: 1st anniversary of Russia’s Alexei Navalny poisoned with nerve agent.
  • India: Akshay Urja Day.
  • Estonia: Restoration of Independence Day.
  • Morocco: Revolution Day.
  • Hungary: Saint Stephen’s Day.

END