Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: China said it is supplying 40 countries in the continent with coronavirus vaccines.
  • AMERICAS: Anti-government protests were held across Colombia once again, ahead of talks between protest leaders and the government.
  • ASIA: China said a US warship entered its waters in the South China Sea illegally before being forced out by its navy, which the US denied.
  • EUROPE: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held their first face-to-face discussion on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Iceland.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Diplomatic efforts towards an Israel-Gaza ceasefire continued, but so did the exchange of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The head of TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance will step down from day-to-day operations to focus on long-term strategy.

Top Story

  • Europe: US calls off some Nord Stream 2 sanctions.
    • The United States imposed sanctions on Russian companies and ships building the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but waived sanctions on the German Nord Stream 2 AG company.
    • The US also waived sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG’s chief executive Matthias Warnig, a former East German intelligence officer.
    • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that waiving penalties for the German Nord Stream 2 AG company was “in line with our commitment to strengthen our Transatlantic relationships as a matter of national security”.
    • The waivers have no specific end date and can be rescinded by the Secretary of State.
    • Reporting: BBC, WaPo, AFP, Reuters, AP, DPA

Africa

  • Region: China said it is supplying 40 countries in the continent with coronavirus vaccines. (AP)
  • Region: The European Commission is holding discussions with Libya and Tunisia over ways to ease the number of migrants heading to Italy. (Deutsche Welle)
  • Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed judge Martha Koome as the country’s first woman chief justice and head of the judiciary. (AP)
  • Ivory Coast: Former prime minister and rebel leader Guillaume Soro went on trial in absentia over charges of plotting a coup against President Alassane Ouattara. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: US Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of Guatemala’s justice system. (AP)
  • Brazil: Environment Minister Ricardo Salles is being investigated for allegedly facilitating illegal timber exports to Europe and the United States. (EFE)
  • Colombia: Anti-government protests were held across the country once again, ahead of talks between protest leaders and the government. (AFP)
  • Guatemala: At least seven prisoners were killed, most of whom were beheaded, in clashes between rival gangs at a prison in the country’s west. (AFP)

Asia  

  • Region: China said a US warship entered its waters in the South China Sea illegally before being forced out by its navy, which the US denied. (Reuters)
  • Region: China started vaccinating its own citizens in Thailand as part of a global campaign to inoculate those living and working abroad. (AP)
  • China: A Hong Kong court ruled that the first person to be charged under Beijing’s national security law can be tried without a jury. (AFP)
  • New Zealand: The government unveiled its new budget, which will focus on housing, climate change, and reducing child poverty. (DPA)

Europe

  • Region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held their first face-to-face discussion on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Iceland. (AP)
  • Region: Serbia will provide the Czech Republic with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for free. (DPA)
  • Greece: A large wildfire outside the resort town of Loutraki prompted authorities to conduct evacuations. (AP)
  • Spain: Defense Minister Margarita Robles accused Morocco of “blackmail” after more than 8,000 migrants entered the country’s enclave of Ceuta largely unimpeded. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Region: Diplomatic efforts towards an Israel-Gaza ceasefire continued, but so did the exchange of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. (Reuters)
  • Iran: Negotiators involved in discussions to revive the JCPOA said a deal was “shaping up” to bring the country and the United States back into compliance. (AFP)
  • Syria: The country’s expatriates and refugees have started casting their votes at foreign embassies ahead of next week’s presidential election in the country. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: The head of TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance will step down from day-to-day operations to focus on long-term strategy. (DPA)

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 20MAY21)
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 16MAY21)
      • Confirmed cases: 16
      • Deaths: 12
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (21MAY21)

  • Global: A G20 Global Health Summit will be held virtually.
  • Global: The Dublin Climate Dialogues will be held with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe participating.
  • Global: Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo will visit France, Belgium, and South Africa. (to 24MAY)
  • Global: The Supreme Council of the Eurasian Economic Union will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: A Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers will be held.
  • Denmark: The government will ease some of its coronavirus restrictions.
  • France: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will meet with President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Ireland: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit.
  • Libya: The UN Security Council will hold meetings on the country.
  • Russia: Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum will visit and meet with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
  • Russia: The government’s deadline for 10 US diplomats to leave the country.
  • Ukraine: Prime Minister Denys Shmyal will speak at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund.
  • United States: South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit and meet with President Joe Biden.

END