Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn-in as the country’s first female president following the death of John Magufuli.
  • AMERICAS: The US announced plans to send 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to neighboring Mexico and Canada.
  • ASIA: Chinese authorities held the trial of detained Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, but no verdict was delivered.
  • EUROPE: Major European Union countries are set to restart using AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after the European Medicines Agency found that the vaccine was “not associated” with a higher risk of blood clots.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said it will conduct cold tests of its Arak nuclear reactor.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Australia’s science agency will use a new digital tool to screen for potential political interference and human rights abuses in its collaborations with foreign partners.

 

Top Story

  • Global: US, Chinese diplomats clash during high-level meeting.
    • US and Chinese officials exchanged sharp remarks during the first high-level talks between the Biden administration and Beijing.
    • The talks were held between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and senior diplomat Yang Jiechi.
    • Prior to the start of private discussions, Secretary Blinken said the US would “discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber-attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies”
    • The Chinese officials then accused Washington of inciting countries to “attack China” while the US said Beijing’s officials were “intent on grandstanding” in the meeting, in an exchange of sharp public remarks rarely seen during diplomatic meetings.
    • The two delegations also scuffled over when the media could leave the meeting and accused each other of violating diplomatic protocol by speaking too long in opening remarks. 
    • Reporting: NYT, Reuters, AP, BBC, DPA, France24

 

Africa

  • Region: Hundreds of people in Algeria held a protest against Morocco’s decision to expel farmers from a disputed border area where the farmers had long been allowed to cultivate dates. (AFP)
  • South Africa: The country’s last apartheid-era president Frederik de Klerk was diagnosed with cancer, but is in “no immediate threat”, according to his foundation. (AFP)
  • Tanzania: Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn-in as the country’s first female president following the death of John Magufuli. (AP)

 

Americas

  • Region: The US announced plans to send 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to neighboring Mexico and Canada. (WSJ)
  • Argentina: Thousands of people marched in Buenos Aires to demand food aid amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • Mexico: A police convoy was ambushed by a suspected criminal gang, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 people. (BBC)

 

Asia  

  • Region: Malaysia and North Korea are embroiled in a diplomatic spat over Malaysia’s decision to extradite a North Korean criminal suspect to the US. (AP)
  • Region: Three Indonesian hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf group were rescued by police in the Philippines. (AP)
  • Afghanistan: The Taliban and the government have agreed to speed-up peace negotiations following an international conference in Moscow. (Reuters)
  • China: Authorities held the trial of detained Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, but no verdict was delivered. (AP)
  • Myanmar: Security forces killed nine coup opponents, as Indonesia called for an end to violence and a restoration of democracy in the country. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Azerbaijan to investigate allegations of ill-treatment against Armenian prisoners of war from the recent conflict over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region. (RFE-RL)
  • Region: Major European Union countries are set to restart using AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after the European Medicines Agency found that the vaccine was “not associated” with a higher risk of blood clots. (BBC)
  • France: Paris is set to be placed under a month-long lockdown over fears of a potential third wave of the new coronavirus. (BBC)
  • Turkey: Authorities arrested a human rights activist and officials of the Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). (AFP)

 

Middle East

  • Iran: Tehran’s Atomic Energy Organization said it will conduct cold tests of its Arak nuclear reactor. (Reuters
  • Lebanon: Hezbollah said it would support a new cabinet if one were announced next week but added that a government formed entirely of specialists would not last. (Reuters)
  • Syria: Turkey said rockets launched from the country had landed in its southern Kilis province, adding that Ankara had notified Russia “to stop the shooting”. (UPI)
  • Yemen: Houthi rebels have made major advances on the government holdout of Marib in the country’s north. (AFP)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Australia’s science agency will use a new digital tool to screen for potential political interference and human rights abuses in its collaborations with foreign partners. (Reuters)

 

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 (as of 19MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 121,848,070
      • Total recovered cases: 69,028,199
      • Deaths: 2,692,806
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 18
      • Deaths: 9
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 5
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20MAR21)

  • Americas: The Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and Inter-American Investment Corporation will hold their annual summit. (to 21MAR)
  • Europe: The Romania-led Sea Shield 21 NATO multinational naval exercises will be held. (to 29MAR)
  • Europe: Armenia will hold military exercises. 
  • Bangladesh: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit.
  • India: US Defense Secretary will visit and meet with his counterpart Rajnath Singh. (to 21MAR)
  • Oman: A partial commercial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to end.
  • Philippines: Overseas visitors will be barred from entering the country temporarily.
  • Russia: Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, will leave the US and return to the country.
  • Tunisia: Independence Day – 1956

END