Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s office said that Tebboune successfully underwent a foot surgery following complications from a coronavirus infection.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico welcomed new US President Joe Biden’s order to halt the construction of a wall at the US-Mexico border and other immigration related reforms.
  • ASIA: China imposed sanctions on members of the outgoing Trump administration, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Aides Robert O’Brien and Matthew Pottinger.
  • EUROPE: The European Union and the UK are in the midst of a new diplomatic row after the UK refused to give the EU’s Ambassador to London the full diplomatic status that is granted to other ambassadors.
  • MIDDLE EAST: At least 20 people died and 40 others were injured after a twin suicide bombing at a commercial area in Iraq’s capital Baghdad.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Twitter locked the official account of the Chinese Embassy to the US for a post that defended China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang.

Top Story

  • United States: Biden sworn in as 46th president.
    • Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, following which he called for unity and declared that “democracy has prevailed”.
    • In a first day blitz of 15 executive orders, President Biden took action on both domestic and international issues. 
    • On the domestic front, President Biden signed executive orders aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to sign another such ten orders today, as well as executive orders on immigration, such as ending a travel ban on some Muslim-majority countries.
    • On the international front, President Biden restored the United States’ WHO membership, naming Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as the head of Washington’s delegation to the WHO’s executive board, who said that the US will soon join the organization’s COVAX vaccine program that the EU and China have already joined.
    • Other decisions President Biden took included making the US rejoin the Paris climate accord and revoking the presidential permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
    • The Biden administration also announced that President Biden will speak with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tomorrow, in his first phone call with a foreign leader as president, with the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline likely to be discussed.
    • Reporting: NYT, BBC, Reuters, WSJ, AP, WaPo, AP2

Africa

  • Algeria: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s office said that Tebboune successfully underwent a foot surgery following complications from a coronavirus infection. (Reuters)
  • Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood’s official spokesperson said a new “street uprising is inevitable” in the country, though he added that he couldn’t “predict a precise date” for any such uprising. (AFP)
  • South Africa: The government reportedly plans to import, store and distribute coronavirus vaccines for frontline healthcare workers via a contract with partly state-owned pharmaceutical company the Biovac Institute. (Reuters)
  • Tunisia: Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi acknowledged the ongoing protests against economic and social hardships but warned protesters against any violence. (BBC)

Americas

  • Region: Mexico welcomed new US President Joe Biden’s order to halt the construction of a wall at the US-Mexico border and other immigration related reforms. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: The country received its first batch of coronavirus vaccines from three pharmaceutical companies, as well as the WHO’s COVAX initiative. (Reuters)
  • Mexico: New testimony by a witness reportedly directly implicates the country’s army in the 2014 disappearance of 43 college students. (AP)
  • United States: The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. (AP)
  • Venezuela: The UN’s aid coordination office said it halted its programs which provide cash transfers to the poor in the country after authorities raided and detained some nonprofit organization workers. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • China: Beijing imposed sanctions on members of the outgoing Trump administration, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Aides Robert O’Brien and Matthew Pottinger. (WaPo)
  • India: A fire broke out at the country’s Serum Institute, which is producing millions of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)
  • Japan: A court upheld the country’s ban on dual citizenships, as it rejected a suit that challenged the ban’s constitutionality. (AFP)
  • Mongolia: Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa announced his resignation after thousands of people protested against what they said was the government’s heavy-handed treatment of a coronavirus-infected mother and her newborn baby. (AFP)
  • Sri Lanka: Authorities reopened the country to foreign tourists after a 10-month coronavirus pandemic closure. (AP)

Europe

  • Region: European Parliament lawmakers are reportedly expected to pass a resolution on calling for the halt of construction work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. (RFE-RL)
  • Region: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney blamed Brexit for food supply issues in Northern Ireland. (Reuters)
  • Region: The European Union and the UK are in the midst of a new diplomatic row after the UK refused to give the EU’s Ambassador to London the full diplomatic status that is granted to other ambassadors. (BBC)
  • Spain: Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez said that Madrid is pushing the European Union and the OECD for the creation of a coronavirus vaccination certification for travelers. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Iraq: At least 20 people died and 40 others were injured after a twin suicide bombing at a commercial area in capital Baghdad. (BBC)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated new US President Joe Biden and said he looked forward to working on strengthening the alliance between their countries. (VOA)
  • United Arab Emirates: The Health Ministry approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Twitter locked the official account of the Chinese Embassy to the US for a post that defended China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang. (Bloomberg)

World

  • Cyclones
    • Cyclone Eloise
      • Location: 365 nautical miles N-NE of Europa Island
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: W-SW at 11 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 21JAN21)
      • Confirmed cases: 96,938,729
      • Total recovered cases: 53,473,804
      • Deaths: 2,077,005
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 191
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (22JAN21)

  • Global: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to which no nuclear state has signed on to, will enter force.
  • Americas: New US President Joe Biden will speak with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his first phone call with a foreign leader as president.
  • Europe: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will meet with European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels. 
  • Asia: The ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat will be held virtually. 
  • Australia: The Senate will debate proposed new rules making internet giants pay to media outlets to host news content.
  • Croatia: Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar will visit and meet with his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić-Radman.
  • Estonia: Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will visit and meet with President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
  • Germany: Results of the ruling Christian Democrat party’s leadership contest to replace incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel could be announced.
  • Guinea-Bissau: Cape Verdean President Jorge Carlos Fonseca will visit.
  • India: The government will hold another round of talks with farmers over its controversial new agriculture laws. 
  • Russia: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will visit.
  • United States: The Senate’s Finance Committee will hold a meeting to consider the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Treasury Secretary.

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