Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Eswatini’s government has directed its main telecoms operator, MTN, to shut down Facebook.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his intention to normalize diplomatic relations with neighboring Colombia.
  • ASIA: Malaysia’s top diplomat said ASEAN should rethink its decades-long policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states, amid a worsening crisis in Myanmar.
  • EUROPE: European Union leaders will pressure Poland over a court ruling that questioned the primacy of European laws that risk precipitating a new crisis for the bloc.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The Taliban struck several journalists to prevent media coverage of a women’s rights protest in Kabul.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Former President Donald Trump announced the launch of the Trump Media & Technology Group and social media app “TRUTH Social.”

Top Story

  • South Korea: The country launches a homegrown space rocket for the first time.
    • South Korea launched its first homegrown space rocket, but failed to place a dummy satellite into orbit, delivering mixed results for a test launch that represents a major leap for the country’s ambitious space plans.
    • The Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II, known as Nuri, took off from Goheung, about 500km (310 miles) south of Seoul.
    • President Moon Jae-in described the test as an “excellent accomplishment” that takes the country a step further in its pursuit of a satellite launch program.
    • Lawmakers in the national assembly stopped proceedings to watch the launch.
    • While South Korea aspires to be a leader in space technology, it has plans to land an uncrewed craft on the moon by 2030.
    • Reuters, BBC, AP, France24, NYT

Africa

  • Region: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has appointed special envoys to Eswatini amid civil unrest. (Xinhua)
  • Eswatini: The government has directed the country’s main telecoms operator, MTN, to shut down Facebook. (BBC)
  • Mali: Security sources and a local official said presumed jihadists have kidnapped five civilians in the country’s south. (AFP)
  • Niger: Six soldiers were killed in an ambush on a convoy escorting a senior official near the Burkina Faso border. (AFP)
  • Zambia: The anti-corruption agency arrested 14 former and current government officials over graft offenses. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • Chile: More than 200 fishermen clashed with naval forces, protesting lack of access to the Valparaiso seaport. (AFP)
  • Haiti: The Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, an NGO in Port-au-Prince, recorded 119 kidnappings in the country in just the first half of October. (AFP)
  • Peru: Congress announced a vote to confirm or reject President Pedro Castillo’s new cabinet will be held Monday. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro announced his intention to normalize diplomatic relations with neighboring Colombia. (Reuters)

Asia

  • China: Authorities cancelled hundreds of flights, closed schools, and ramped up mass testing to stamp out a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a group of tourists. (AFP)
  • New Caledonia: The pro-independence group FLNKS called for a boycott of the December 12 independence referendum in light of the health crisis. (AFP)
  • Malaysia: The country’s top diplomat said ASEAN should rethink its decades-long policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states, amid a worsening crisis in Myanmar. (Straits Times)
  • New Zealand: Dame Cindy Kiro was sworn in as Governor-general, the first indigenous Māori woman to hold the post. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will visit Slovakia next week on a trip to Europe that will also include a visit to the Czech Republic and a virtual address to a forum in Rome. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: NATO defence ministers are ready to agree on a new master plan to defend against any potential Russian attack on multiple fronts. (RFE)
  • France: The lower house of parliament voted to approve extending the country’s COVID-19 health pass measures until at least July 31, 2022. (Reuters)
  • Poland: European Union leaders will pressure the country over a court ruling that questioned the primacy of European laws that risk precipitating a new crisis for the bloc. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Moscow will reintroduce lockdown measures from Oct. 28 to combat surging COVID-19 cases. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: The government agreed to a free trade deal with New Zealand. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Region: Economies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council will grow faster next year than previously thought given the biggest risk of a decline in oil and gas prices. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: The Taliban struck several journalists to prevent media coverage of a women’s rights protest in Kabul. (AFP)
  • Iran: The country launched an annual air force drill a week after holding another massive exercise in air defense. (AP)
  • Syria: A rocket and drone attack struck al-Tanf garrison, where US and coalition troops are stationed, but no US casualties were reported. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Former President Donald Trump announced the launch of the Trump Media & Technology Group and social media app “TRUTH Social.” (AP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes:
    • La Palma, Spain
      • Explosive activity continues
      • Erupting
      • Source
    • Global Disease Outbreaks:
      • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 20OCT21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (22OCT21)

  • Asia: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers meeting, virtual.
  • Belgium: NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels.
  • Europe: European Council meeting in Brussels.
  • Russia: Visit by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
  • Thailand: Chulalongkorn Day.
  • United Kingdom: G7 Trade Ministers Meeting in London.

END