Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Protesters in Somalia demanded to know the fate of their children who originally were sent to Eritrea for military training, amid reports of Somalian soldiers being deployed to fight in neighboring Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict.
  • AMERICAS: Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette resigned amid reports that a third-party probe into allegations of workplace harassment and bullying from current and former staffers was completed.
  • ASIA: Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he was determined to hold the Tokyo Olympics, following media reports which suggested the government was considering canceling the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • EUROPE: Russian authorities have detained five of opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s aides and warned social media websites against spreading online calls to stage weekend protests.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Iraq’s capital Baghdad.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Google has threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if Canberra moves ahead with its plans to make tech giants pay for news content.

Top Story

  • Global: President Biden seeks extension of New START treaty with Russia.
    • The White House said that US President Joe Biden will seek a five-year extension to the New START arms control treaty with Russia.
    • The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) arms control treaty went into effect in 2011 and is set to expire on February 5 and is the only remaining deal between the US and Russia that sets controls on nuclear stockpiles and allows inspections.
    • The White House also said that President Biden had “tasked” the intelligence community to assess the recent Solar Winds cyber breach, Russian interference in the 2020 election, Moscow’s use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and alleged bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan.
    • Russia reacted positively to the news about a possible extension to the New START arms control treaty, with the Kremlin saying, “We can only welcome political will to extend the document”, but also adding that “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.”
    • The announcement of the intention to extend the New START treaty takes place as The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons takes effect, albeit with the lack of signatures from any of the world’s major nuclear states.
    • Reporting: AP, Reuters, AFP, DPA

Africa

  • Region: Protesters in Somalia demanded to know the fate of their children who originally were sent to Eritrea for military training, amid reports of Somalian soldiers being deployed to fight in neighboring Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict. (AP)
  • Central African Republic: The UN peacekeeping mission in the country called for a “substantial increase” of UN peacekeepers, warning that the country risks a setback in efforts to restore peace because of rebel attacks. (AP)
  • Tunisia: Mothers in the capital Tunis have accused authorities of arbitrarily arresting their children in response to the recent protests and unrest in the country, with rights groups saying at least 1,000 people have been detained. (AFP)
  • Uganda: Lawyers representing opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, have asked a court to order his release from a de facto house arrest since he alleged fraud in the country’s recent presidential election. (VOA)

Americas

  • Region: Mexico’s National Guard said it had stopped a shipping truck carrying nearly 130 migrants from Central America in the state of Veracruz. (Reuters)
  • Canada: The country’s Governor General Julie Payette resigned amid reports that a third-party probe into allegations of workplace harassment and bullying from current and former staffers was completed. (WaPo)
  • Colombia: The FARC party is set to announce a new name later this month in a bid to move away from the acronym. (AFP)
  • Mexico: The country reported a record high number of newly confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths in the previous 24 hours. (AP)

Asia  

  • China: Beijing has started a new coronavirus testing drive amid the emergence of a new local cluster of cases believed to be linked to a more contagious coronavirus variant. (AFP)
  • Japan: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he was determined to hold the Tokyo Olympics, following media reports which suggested the government was considering canceling the event due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
  • North Korea: More than 45% of the country’s citizens are undernourished, according to a new United Nations report. (UPI)
  • Vietnam: The European Union condemned the government’s crackdown on activists ahead of a major ruling Communist Party congress next week. (Reuters)

Europe

  • France: President Emmanuel Macron vowed to provide all university students two meals a day for one euro a day after student protesters called for more help to tackle loneliness and financial problems. (BBC)
  • Hungary: Budapest has agreed to buy large quantities of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, even though it has not been approved by the European Union, becoming the first EU member to approve and purchase the Russian vaccine. (AFP)
  • Russia: Authorities have detained five of opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s aides and warned social media websites against spreading online calls to stage weekend protests. (Guardian)
  • Turkey: Authorities have issued arrest warrants for 44 judges and prosecutors, whom they suspect of having links to the Gulen group Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt. (AP)

Middle East

  • Region: Syrian state media claims that Israeli airstrikes on Syria’s Hama province have killed four civilians, including two children. (AFP)
  • Iran: Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran’s oil exports and sales of petroleum products to foreign buyers reached record highs in recent months, despite US sanctions. (Reuters)
  • Iraq: The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in the capital Baghdad. (DPA)
  • Israel: The country has reportedly vaccinated a record 224,000 people against COVID-19 in a single day. (DPA)
  • Saudi Arabia: Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said relations between Riyadh and Washington will be “excellent” under new US President Joe Biden. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Google has threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if Canberra moves ahead with its plans to make tech giants pay for news content. (AP)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Cyclone Eloise
      • Location: 239 nautical miles N-NW of Europa Island
      • Wind: 75 mph
      • Movement: W-SW at 15 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Philippines
      • Location: 210 km SE of Pondaguitan, Philippines
      • Magnitude: 7.0
      • Depth: 95.8 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 22JAN21)
      • Confirmed cases: 97,592,137
      • Total recovered cases: 53,830,411
      • Deaths: 2,093,387
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 191
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (23JAN21)

  • Libya: The deadline for all foreign foreign troops and mercenaries to withdraw from the country, as stipulated in the ceasefire agreement between the country’s warring factions in October 2020.
  • Netherlands: The government will impose a coronavirus curfew for the first time ever since the coronavirus pandemic first started.
  • Russia: Supporters of opposition politician Alexei Navalny could potentially hold weekend protests. (to 24JAN)
  • Venezuela: 2nd anniversary of opposition leader Juan Guaidó being declared as the country’s interim president.

END