Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The first direct commercial flight between Israel and Morocco took off from Israel, carrying US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat.
  • AMERICAS: Nicaragua’s Parliament approved a controversial law that government critics and opponents say effectively bars opposition politicians from standing in next year’s general election.
  • ASIA: Tibetan Central Administration President Lobsang Sangay welcomed the new US legislation that reaffirms the rights of Tibetans to choose a successor to the Dalai Lama.
  • EUROPE: Pharma company BioNTech said its coronavirus vaccine developed in partnership with Pfizer is likely to work against the new coronavirus strain in the UK but cautioned that further studies were needed to be sure.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iraq’s Health Ministry said the government signed a preliminary deal that will see the country receiving Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in early 2021.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Committee to Protect Journalists said 21 journalists worldwide were murdered in reprisal for their work in 2020.

 

Top Story

  • United States: Congress approves coronavirus aid after months of inaction.
    • Congress approved a long-awaited $900 billion coronavirus relief package after months of political wrangling. 
    • The package includes direct payments of $600 to most Americans, funds for businesses, and support for unemployment programs.
    • Accompanying the package is also a $1.4 trillion spending bill to fund the government’s operations over the next nine months.
    • President Donald Trump is expected to sign the package into law sometime this week.
    • This is the first congressionally approved coronavirus relief since April and comes as the number of coronavirus infections continue to surge across the country.
    • Reporting: ABC, Reuters, AP, WSJ, BBC, WaPo, NYT

 

Africa

  • Libya: The US charged one of the country’s citizens for constructing the bomb that blew up a Pan Am Flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. (BBC)
  • Mali: Investigators told the UN Security Council there is evidence of the country’s army committing war crimes and of jihadists and other armed groups perpetrating crimes against humanity. (AFP)
  • Morocco: The first direct commercial flight between Israel and the country took off from Israel, carrying US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat. (AFP)
  • Sudan: The US reinstated the country’s sovereign immunity following Khartoum’s removal from Washington’s state sponsor of terror list. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Region: Colombian President Ivan Duque said his administration will exclude undocumented Venezuelan migrants in Colombia from its coronavirus vaccination program. (AFP)
  • Brazil: Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine reportedly proven effective in trials being held in the country. (WSJ)
  • Canada: Ottawa will provide the UN agency for Palestinian refugees around $70 million in financing. (AFP)
  • Nicaragua: Parliament approved a controversial law that government critics and opponents say effectively bars opposition politicians from standing in next year’s general election. (AFP)
  • United States: The White House released a list of Russian and Chinese companies restricted from buying goods and technologies from their country due to their alleged links to the Russian and Chinese militaries. (Reuters

 

Asia  

  • Region: Tibetan Central Administration President Lobsang Sangay welcomed the new US legislation that reaffirms the rights of Tibetans to choose a successor to the Dalai Lama. (Reuters)
  • China: Hong Kong activist Tsang Chi-kin, who was shot at point blank range by a police officer in the clashes during last year’s protests in the city, failed to appear in court. (DPA)
  • South Korea: The country scrambled its jets following an intrusion into its air space by 19 Russian and Chinese military aircraft. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: The country registered its first locally transmitted COVID-19 case in 255 days. (CNN)

 

Europe

  • Region: Russia imposed tit-for-tat sanctions on European Union officials after the EU imposed sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (AFP)
  • Region: Pharma company Pfizer/BioNTech said its coronavirus vaccine developed in partnership with Pfizer is likely to work against the new coronavirus strain in the UK but cautioned that further studies were needed to be sure. (AP)
  • Region: The European Medicines Agency authorized the use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in the EU’s 27 member countries. (BBC)
  • United Kingdom: The country’s gross domestic product grew by a record 16.0% from July to September, according to official data. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Iraq: The Health Ministry said the government signed a preliminary deal that will see the country receiving Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in early 2021. (AFP)
  • Israel: The country faces the prospect of its fourth general election in two years after the ruling coalition government failed to reach a budget agreement. (DPA)
  • Lebanon: The governor of the country’s central bank, Riad Salameh, said the bank has $2 billion in reserves left for basic goods subsidies. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The Committee to Protect Journalists said 21 journalists worldwide were murdered in reprisal for their work in 2020. (RFE-RL)

 

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
    • United States
      • Volcano: Kilauea volcano, Hawaii
      • Source: AP
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 22DEC20: 77,432,103
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 22DEC20: 43,698,196
    • Deaths as of 22DEC20: 1,704,065
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (23DEC20)

  • Europe: 100th anniversary of the partitioning of Ireland by the United Kingdom.
  • Brazil: The Butantan Institute of Sao Paulo will submit an application for the authorization of Chinese company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine to the country’s health regulator Anvisa. 
  • Czech Republic: The country’s ongoing coronavirus state of emergency is slated to end unless extended.
  • Guatemala: Travelers from the UK and South Africa will be barred from entering the country over new coronavirus strains.
  • Israel: Foreign travelers will be required to undergo a 2-week quarantine before entry to the country.
  • Moldova: President Igor Dodon’s term will end.
  • Morocco: A new night-time curfew will be imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
  • Qatar: The country’s coronavirus vaccination program will begin.
  • South Korea: New coronavirus restrictions will be imposed in capital city Seoul.
  • Sudan: Travelers from the UK, the Netherlands, and South Africa will be barred from entering the country over new coronavirus strains.
  • Turkey: The in-absentia trial of journalist Can Dundar on charges of espionage and links to terrorism will be held.
  • United States: Attorney General William Barr’s last day in office.
  • United States: President Donald Trump will arrive in Florida, where he is expected to spend Christmas.

 

END