Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Morocco’s minister of state for human rights said Rabat was justified in relaxing border controls at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta due to Spain’s decision to admit a sick Western Sahara independence leader to hospital.
  • AMERICAS: Prominent former FARC commander Jesús Santrich was reportedly killed in Venezuela.
  • ASIA: China called the latest passage of a US Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait a provocation that undermined peace and stability.
  • EUROPE: The French government will ease many of its coronavirus restrictions, including reopening bars, shops, and cultural spaces.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Lebanon’s acting Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe resigned due to a diplomatic row with Gulf Arab countries sparked by some of his recent remarks.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The European Union condemned the Belarusian government’s closure of the country’s leading independent news site.

Top Story

  • Middle East: No signs of a ceasefire as Israel-Gaza fighting continues.
    • Diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants continued as a growing chorus of international parties called upon both sides to stop hostilities.
    • France is pushing for the UN Security Council to call for a ceasefire but it remains unclear when a resolution will be put to a vote, while Egypt and Jordan also called for a brokered end to the fighting.
    • The efforts have not stopped Israel’s military continuing with air strikes on Gaza or Hamas militants from firing rockets into Israel so far.
    • Six people reportedly died overnight in Gaza due to the continued hostilities, while the UN said the fighting has displaced more than 52,000 Palestinians and destroyed or damaged almost 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip.
    • Reporting: AP, BBC, NYT, WaPo, AFP, Reuters, Guardian

Africa

  • Region: Chad warned the UN Security Council that foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya are entering the Sahel region and threatening to undermine gains in fighting terrorism made by countries in the region. (AP)
  • DR Congo: A Muslim leader was killed in Beni in the second such killing this month. (AFP)
  • Madagascar: The country is facing famine and acute food scarcity, according to the World Food Programme. (Telegraph)
  • Morocco: The country’s minister of state for human rights said Rabat was justified in relaxing border controls at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta due to Spain’s decision to admit a sick Western Sahara independence leader to hospital. (Reuters)
  • Rwanda: French President Emmanuel Macron plans to make his first visit to the country at the end of this month. (AFP)

Americas

  • Region: Prominent former FARC commander Jesús Santrich was reportedly killed in Venezuela. (NYT)
  • Brazil: A group of senators accused former Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo of undermining efforts to obtain coronavirus vaccines due to his anti-China rhetoric. (Reuters)
  • United States: Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China citing human rights abuses in China. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: Singapore summoned India’s ambassador to the country to protest “unfounded” remarks made by New Delhi’s chief minister over a coronavirus strain from the city-state affecting children. (AFP)
  • Region: China called the latest passage of a US Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait a provocation that undermined peace and stability. (AP)
  • India: The navy recovered 22 bodies of people onboard a vessel that sank off the city of Mumbai due to Cyclone Tauktae. (AP)
  • Myanmar: People displaced by fighting in the country’s Chin state voiced concerns over shelter and supplies. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: The government raised its coronavirus alert level as the island deals with a coronavirus spike. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: Russia offered to mediate border demarcation discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan after an alleged Azeri incursion. (Reuters)
  • France: The government will ease many of its coronavirus restrictions, including reopening bars, shops, and cultural spaces. (BBC)
  • Germany: Police raided 20 locations across the country against Hezbollah-linked banned organizations. (DPA)
  • Russia: Parliament’s lower house approved Moscow’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty after the United States’ departure from the pact. (AP)
  • Spain: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited the country’s Ceuta enclave in northern Africa after 8,000 migrants entered the enclave when Moroccan officials suddenly suspended security controls. (DPA)

Middle East

  • Region: Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates said they will offer booster shots of China’s state-owned firm Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine at least six months after the first two doses. (Reuters)
  • Region: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates summoned Lebanon’s ambassadors to their countries to protest Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe’s remarks suggesting that Gulf countries support extremists. (AP)
  • Lebanon: Acting Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe resigned due to a diplomatic row with Gulf Arab countries sparked by some of his recent remarks. (AP)
  • United Arab Emirates: Foreign citizens opening a company in the country will no longer require an Emirati shareholder or agent from June 1. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The European Union condemned the Belarusian government’s closure of the country’s leading independent news site. (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 (as of 19MAY21)
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 16MAY21)
      • Confirmed cases: 16
      • Deaths: 12
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20MAY21)

  • Global: The Annual Session of the International Labour Conference will be held.
  • Global: The Dublin Climate Dialogues will be held with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe participating. (to 21MAY)
  • Global: Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo will visit France, Belgium, and South Africa. (to 24MAY)
  • Americas: Dutch Interior Minister Raymond Knops will visit St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten.
  • Europe: EU leaders and officials will hold discussions on a coronavirus vaccine passport scheme.
  • Europe: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Iceland to attend the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting.
  • Bangladesh: The trial of recently detained journalist Rozina Islam, who criticized the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held.
  • Cameroon: State Unification Day – 1972
  • Kenya: The Chinese-built seaport in Lamu will receive its first ship.
  • New Zealand: Finance Minister Grant Robertson will unveil the government’s new budget.
  • Serbia: Domestic packaging of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will reportedly begin.
  • Somalia: Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble could hold a roundtable with the leaders of the country’s five semi-autonomous states.
  • Sudan: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the country.
  • Syria: The country’s citizens living abroad will cast their vote in the country’s presidential election.
  • Tajikistan: Kazakhstan President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev will visit and meet with his counterpart Emomali Rahmon.
  • Timor-Leste: Restoration of Independence Day – 2002
  • Tunisia: Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and EU home affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson will visit to discuss migration issues.
  • United States: The House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing on US engagement in Afghanistan.

END