Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The corruption trial of South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma, whose arrest triggered riots in the country, is expected to resume today.
  • AMERICAS: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from the hospital after a four-day stay due to intestine complications.
  • ASIA: South Korean President Moon Jae-in scrapped plans for what would have been his first summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after reports emerged of a senior Japanese diplomat being derogatory about President Moon’s efforts to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations.
  • EUROPE: The Russian pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy will move into Germany’s waters today for construction work on a portion of the NordStream 2 pipeline.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he would not change the norms at a contested holy site in Jerusalem, walking back on earlier comments that sparked angry reactions.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Leaked records showed evidence that the military-grade Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli company NSO, was being used to spy on journalists, human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents across the world.

Top Story

  • United Kingdom: Nearly all legal COVID-19 restrictions lifted in England.
    • Rising infections, warnings of supermarket shortages and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s self-isolation marred England’s ‘freedom day’ marking the lifting of most social COVID-19 restrictions.
    • Restrictions that were shelved included social distancing measures, including lifting all limits on the number of people that can attend major events, meaning venues such as theaters and nightclubs can now resume near-normal operations.
    • Despite the lifting of restrictions, Prime Minister Johnson urged the public to be cautious.
    • Additionally, face masks will no longer be a legal requirement but merely a recommendation for certain spaces.
    • The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown were among the world’s most stringent but experts still urged caution, warning that the UK was entering uncharted waters with the lifting of restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace, in the country.
    • Reporting: BBC, NYT, AFP, WaPo, Reuters, AP

Africa

  • Region: Algeria recalled its ambassador to Morocco after Morocco’s envoy to the UN expressed support for self-determination for Algeria’s Amazigh-majority Kabylie region. (AFP)
  • Egypt: Authorities released several journalists and activists after months of detaining them over charges including joining or aiding a terrorist group and spreading false news. (Reuters)
  • Mali: Three people shot at the EU Training Mission in the country but fled after security forces returned fire. (DPA)
  • South Africa: The corruption trial of former President Jacob Zuma, whose arrest triggered riots in the country, is expected to resume today. (Reuters)
  • Sudan: Finance Minister Gebreil Ibrahim announced that Khartoum will seek debt relief from Gulf Arab countries. (AP)

Americas

  • Region: More than 700 Venezuelan citizens were repatriated to Venezuela from Trinidad & Tobago. (AFP)
  • Region: Costa Rican police seized 4.3 tons of cocaine that originated in Colombia. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from the hospital after a four-day stay due to intestine complications. (BBC)

Asia  

  • Region: The Philippine coast guard tracked and chased out a Chinese warship in the South China Sea. (DPA)
  • Region: South Korean President Moon Jae-in scrapped plans for what would have been his first summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after reports emerged of a senior Japanese diplomat being derogatory about President Moon’s efforts to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: Foreign diplomatic missions in the country called for a ceasefire between the government and the Taliban. (Reuters)
  • China: One person died after being infected by the rare Monkey B virus in Beijing. (WaPo)
  • South Korea: The military recorded its largest COVID-19 infection cluster with more than 80% of personnel aboard an anti-piracy patrol vessel in the Gulf of Aden testing positive for the new coronavirus. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The Russian pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy will move into Germany’s waters today for construction work on a portion of the NordStream 2 pipeline. (Reuters)
  • Hungary: Opposition lawmakers demanded an inquiry into reports that the government used malware to spy on critical journalists, politicians, and business figures. (AP)
  • North Macedonia: Skopje repatriated four suspected former Islamic State fighters from Syria and Iraq. (RFE-RL)
  • Ukraine: The country received two million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States through the WHO’s COVAX scheme. (RFE-RL)
  • United Kingdom: Defense Minister Ben Wallace said the government found no evidence of espionage related to secret documents at a bus stop which contained details of one of the country’s warships and Russia’s potential reaction to its passage through the Black Sea. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Region: Muslim pilgrims took part in the second COVID-19 affected annual hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca. (AP)
  • Iran: Police officers opened fire during protests against water shortages in the country’s southwest. (AP)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he would not change the norms at a contested holy site in Jerusalem, walking back on earlier comments that sparked angry reactions. (AP)
  • Jordan: King Abdullah II is traveling to the United States to meet with US President Joe Biden. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The Interior Ministry said the country’s citizens will require two COVID-19 vaccine doses from next month before being allowed to travel outside the country. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Leaked records showed evidence that the military-grade Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli company NSO, was being used to spy on journalists, human rights lawyers, activists, and dissidents across the world. (Guardian)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Cempaka
      • Location: 103 nautical miles SW of Hong Kong
      • Wind: 60 mph
      • Movement: W-NW at 2 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 19JUL21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20JUL21)

  • Belgium: A day of mourning will be held for the victims of the recent flash flooding in the country.
  • Cyprus: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit on the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the country in 1974.
  • Cyprus: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the country.
  • Colombia: The National Strike Committee, a major protest group in the country, has called for a demonstration in front of Congress.
  • Colombia: Independence Day – 1810
  • Japan: British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will visit.
  • Peru: The country’s electoral authority will announce the winner of the recent presidential election.
  • United States: Belarusian opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will speak at an Atlantic Council event.
  • United States: Health agency chiefs will testify to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

END