Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Republic of the Congo’s leading opposition presidential candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas has died of COVID-19 on polling day.
  • AMERICAS: US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas affirmed that the southern US border is “closed” as he defended President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
  • ASIA: Chinese authorities have tried former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig over spying allegations, Canadian officials said.
  • EUROPE: AstraZeneca said trials of its vaccine in the US, Chile and Peru showed the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran is reportedly planning to target Fort McNair in Washington DC and the US Army Vice Chief of Staff General Joseph M. Martin.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Internet addresses across China reportedly participated in a cyberattack on the Inter-American Development Bank in 2019.

 

Top Story

  • Turkey: Lira declines to near record low after Erdogan fires central bank governor.
    • Turkey’s Lira currency tumbled by as much as 17% to an almost record low.
    • The sharp decline takes place after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired central bank governor Naci Agbal unexpectedly, ostensibly due to his hiking of interest rates.
    • Agbal, who was Turkey’s third central bank governor in two years and was only appointed last November, was credited as a key factor in pulling the lira back from historic lows.
    • Agbal’s dismissal has shocked both local and foreign investors and affected shares on the Istanbul stock exchange.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, BBC, AFP, WSJ

 

Africa

  • Algeria: A court issued arrest warrants for exiled activists and backers of the country’s Hirak protest movement. (AFP)
  • Republic of the Congo: Leading opposition presidential candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas died of COVID-19 on polling day. (BBC)
  • Mauritania: The country reestablished diplomatic ties with Qatar after breaking bilateral ties country almost four years ago. (AFP)
  • Niger: The country’s constitutional court confirmed Mohamed Bazoum as the country’s next president. (AFP)

 

Americas

  • Region: The Venezuelan military clashed with an unconfirmed armed group near the Venezuela-Colombia border, according to the mayor of the Colombian border town of Arauquita. (AFP)
  • Region: Canadian Pacific Railway will acquire Kansas City Southern to create the first railway spanning the United States, Mexico, and Canada. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro called state governors and mayors imposing coronavirus lockdowns “tyrants”. (BBC)
  • Mexico: The government deployed several immigration agents to its border with Guatemala to enforce its new travel restrictions. (AP)
  • United States: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas affirmed that the country’s southern border is “closed” as he defended President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. (WaPo)

 

Asia  

  • Region: The Philippines said it has observed more than 200 Chinese ships at a reef in the South China Sea and called the presence of the ships a violation of Manila’s maritime rights as it urged China to withdraw the vessels. (Reuters)
  • Australia: Authorities plan to evacuate thousands of people from Sydney suburbs in the face of the worst flooding in 60 years. (Reuters)
  • China: Authorities have tried former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig over spying allegations, Canadian officials said. (NYT)
  • Myanmar: Protesters are employing new tactics, such as honking car horns and placing posters in an empty square, to avoid being arrested during protests. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign began, with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine used for the inoculations. (DPA)

 

Europe

  • Region: The foreign ministers of EU countries are reportedly expected to announce sanctions for human rights abusers in China, North Korea, Russia, Libya, Eritrea, and South Sudan. (DPA)
  • Slovakia: Prime Minister Igor Matovic offered his resignation to defuse a ruling coalition crisis over his decision to acquire doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. (FT)
  • United Kingdom: AstraZeneca said trials of its vaccine in the US, Chile and Peru showed the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. (Reuters

 

Middle East

  • Iran: Tehran is reportedly planning to target Fort McNair in Washington DC and the US Army Vice Chief of Staff General Joseph M. Martin. (AP)
  • Lebanon: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged European countries to take action over the country’s economic and political crisis. (Reuters)
  • United Arab Emirates: Chinese company Sinopharm said a “very small number” in the country will be administered a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine after antibody tests showed an insufficient response following two doses of the vaccine. (WaPo)
  • Yemen: The Saudi-led coalition in the country said it launched dozens of attacks on what it called Houthi military targets in Sanaa and the port city of Salif. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Internet addresses across China reportedly participated in a cyberattack on the Inter-American Development Bank in 2019. (AP)

 

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 22MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 123,279,455
      • Total recovered cases: 69,867,364
      • Deaths: 2,716,604
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 18
      • Deaths: 9
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 14MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 5
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (23MAR21)

  • Global: The foreign ministers of NATO members will meet for the first time in-person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. (to 24MAR)
  • Global: The 29th session of the joint Higher Jordanian-Egyptian Committee will be held in Jordan, with Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madboulli visiting.
  • Global: British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Finance Minister Daniele Franco will discuss the priorities for their presidencies of the G7 and G20 groups.
  • Asia: India and Pakistan are expected to hold discussions on the sharing of river waters.
  • Asia: Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will visit Malaysia for two days, after which he will visit Indonesia. (to 25MAR)
  • Europe: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Brussels. (to 25MAR)
  • Europe: The Romania-led Sea Shield 21 NATO multinational naval exercises will be held. (to 29MAR)
  • Europe: Italian Ambassador to Russia Pasquale Terracciano will reportedly attend an online conference on the prospects of Russia’ Sputnik V in Italy, along with RDIF Director Vladimir Primak.
  • Afghanistan: The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the country.
  • Bangladesh: Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari is expected to visit.
  • China: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit.
  • Denmark: The government is expected to announce its plans to end ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
  • Germany: Greek Foreign Minister will visit Dusseldorf to meet with the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Armin Laschet.
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with representatives of the automotive industry.
  • Israel: Knesset elections will be held.
  • Pakistan: Pakistan Day/Resolution Day/Republic Day – 1940
  • Serbia: Another batch of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will arrive in the country.
  • United Kingdom: The country will hold a National Day of Reflection for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic on the anniversary of the country’s first coronavirus lockdown.
  • United States: President Joe Biden will visit the state of Ohio.
  • United States: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify about the response to the coronavirus pandemic to the House Committee on Financial Services.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing to deliberate on Samantha Power’s nomination as the next USAID administrator.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on international tax policy.
  • United States: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Congressional war powers.

END