Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Algerian authorities released at least 35 pro-democracy activists from jail in the past 24 hours under presidential pardons given ahead of the second anniversary of a popular uprising, rights groups said.
  • AMERICAS: Former US President Donald Trump announced that he will speak before an audience next week for the first time since his presidency ended, local media reported. 
  • ASIA: Protesters gathered across Myanmar a day after security forces killed two people at a demonstration in the country’s second-biggest city, and a funeral was also held for a young woman killed earlier by police. 
  • EUROPE: Russia would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership were affected by painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels reported. 
  • MIDDLE EAST: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog met with Iran’s atomic chief ahead of plans to partly suspend United Nations inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, state TV reported.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook has deleted the Myanmar military’s main page for breaking its standards, banning the incitement of violence, as police arrested a well-known actor wanted for opposing the military coup.

 

Top Story

  • Global: Countries across the world are gaining traction in purchasing vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • S. Korea to start administering 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine this month.
    • The Senegalese government began to distribute the first doses of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine across the country for the imminent vaccination campaign, Senegalese Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr announced.
    • Malaysia moved up its COVID-19 inoculation drive by two days as the first vaccines arrived in the Southeast Asian nation, with hopes of achieving 80% herd immunity within the year.
    • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, calling the start of the nation’s vaccination program a “massive step” that will enable it to return to normal. 
    • A shipment of 150,000 COVID-19 vaccines created by AstraZeneca and Oxford University arrived at Belgrade airport, making Serbia the first country in the Western Balkan region to get supplies of the vaccine.
    • The British government announced that it seeks to give every adult in the country the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target.
    • Reporting: YNAXinhua, Reuters, BBCReuters, AP

 

Africa

  • Algeria: Authorities released at least 35 pro-democracy activists from jail in the past 24 hours under presidential pardons given ahead of the second anniversary of a popular uprising, rights groups said. (AFP)  
  • Ethiopia: The nation recorded 841 additional COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 151,857, the country’s Ministry of Health reported. (Xinhua)  
  • Libya: More than 200 illegal migrants, including women and children, were saved off the coast, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported. (Xinhua)  

 

Americas

  • Argentina: The new health minister took office in the aftermath of the resignation of her predecessor who was caught helping friends skip the line for Covid-19 vaccinations. (AFP)  
  • United States:  President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, says the Justice Department must make sure laws are “fairly and faithfully enforced” and all Americans’ rights are protected. (AP
  • United States:  Former US President Donald Trump announced that he will speak before an audience next week for the first time since his presidency ended, local media reported. (DPA)  

 

Asia  

  • Myanmar: Protesters gathered across the nation a day after security forces killed two people at a demonstration in the country’s second-biggest city, and a funeral was also held for a young woman killed earlier by police. (AP
  • Myanmar: The military junta has summoned a notorious infantry unit in Mandalay, where two people were killed, in what campaigners described as a worrying escalation of the crackdown on peaceful protests against the junta’s rule. (FT)  
  • South Korea: The nation’s daily new COVID-19 cases stayed below 500 for the second straight day, but health authorities remained wary of a potential flare-up in virus infections amid eased social distancing rules. (YNA
  • Taiwan: The government reported that it had confirmed three cases of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil and that all arrivals from that country would undergo centralized quarantine this week. (Reuters)  

 

Europe

  • France: The mayor of Nice called for a weekend lockdown to stop an increase of visitors and reduce a sharp spike in COVID-19 infections. (Reuters)  
  • Germany: Berlin’s newly opened airport BER will shut one of its terminals due to the sharp fall in passenger traffic caused by the pandemic. (DPA
  • Russia: The nation would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership were affected by painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels reported. (Reuters)  
  • Turkey: The president says mutual interests with the United States outweigh their differences and has expressed a desire for more cooperation with the Biden administration. (AP)  

 

Middle East

  • Iran: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog met with the atomic chief ahead of plans to partly suspend United Nations inspections of the nation’s nuclear facilities, state TV reported. (AP)
  • Israel: The rollout of ‘green passports’ in Israel will allow vaccinated citizens to visit gyms, swimming pools, and hotels. (Telegraph)
  • Israel: The Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is overwhelmingly effective after the second jab is administered, the Health Ministry reported. (DPA)  

 

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Facebook has deleted the Myanmar military’s main page for breaking its standards, banning the incitement of violence, as police arrested a well-known actor wanted for opposing the military coup. (The Guardian)  

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Storm Guambe
      • Location:28.6S 37.6E
      • Movement: SE
      • Wind:75 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Dujuan
      • Location:9.1N 127.8E
      • Movement: WNW
      • Wind:40 mph
      • Map 
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 111,133,590
      • Total recovered cases: 62,674,761
      • Deaths: 2,461,688 
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (22FEB21)

  • Global: Secretary of State Blinken participates in EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
  • Global: U.N. Human Rights Council tri-annual session.
  • Global: United Nations World Food Programme Executive Board First Regular Session.
  • Asia: Takeshima Day on islets contested between Japan and South Korea.
  • Europe: European Semester Conference. (virtual)
  • United States: Senate Judiciary Committee begins considering Merrick Garland to be AG.

 

END