Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The UN Security Council decided to end a joint UN-African Union mission in Sudan’s Darfur region at the end of this year.
  • AMERICAS: The coronavirus spread to all continents on Earth as Chile’s army reported 36 COVID-19 cases at its Bernardo O’Higgins research station in Antarctica.
  • ASIA: Pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai was granted bail by Hong Kong’s High Court.
  • EUROPE: Denmark’s Maritime Authority issued a notification that pipe-laying work for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the Baltic Sea bed will begin on January 15.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel’s ruling coalition government collapsed after coalition members failed to meet a deadline in a row over state budgets, triggering yet another general election scheduled for March.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: A Turkish court convicted exiled journalist Can Dundar on espionage and terror-related charges for a news report.

Top Story

  • Europe: France partially relaxes UK border lockdown.
    • France relaxed its 48-hour lockdown of the country’s border with the United Kingdom after talks between Paris and London, allowing some UK freight and travelers who tested negative for the coronavirus to enter.
    • France locked down its border with the UK after a new, highly infectious strain of the coronavirus emerged in the UK.
    • However, British authorities said it would still take “a few days” for the backlog of truckers in the UK to resolve while the British military conducts coronavirus tests on the stranded drivers.
    • British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said there are still approximately 4,000 trucks stranded in Kent, where truck drivers angry over being stranded briefly scuffled with the police.
    • Members of the UK’s retail industry warned that the backlog of trucks in Kent could result in the lack of availability of some fresh goods in the UK.
    • Reporting: Guardian, AP, BBC, WaPo, Reuters, AFP, Reuters2, DPA

Africa

  • Central African Republic: China evacuated around 250 of its citizens in the country after 8 Chinese mining company vehicles were stolen amid armed clashes. (AP)
  • Kenya: Al Shabaab claimed the abduction and beheading of a local village chief in the country’s northeast region near the Somalian border. (AFP)
  • Libya: Turkey’s Parliament voted in favor of extending for another 18 months the law allowing the deployment of Turkish troops to the country. (AP)
  • Somalia: US Navy ships arrived off the country’s coast to support the withdrawal of around 700 US personnel from the country. (AFP)
  • Sudan: The UN Security Council decided to end a joint UN-African Union mission in the country’s Darfur region at the end of this year. (AP)

Americas

  • Argentina: Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, as well as the metro, were hit by a huge blackout in capital city Buenos Aires. (BBC)
  • Colombia: Bogota expelled two Russian diplomats over alleged espionage, prompting Moscow to declare two of the country’s diplomats in Russia “personae non gratae”. (RFE-RL)
  • Chile: The coronavirus spread to all continents on Earth as the country’s army reported 36 COVID-19 cases at its Bernardo O’Higgins research station in Antarctica. (BBC)
  • Peru: The country is now the fifth Latin American country to record more than one million coronavirus cases. (AP)
  • United States: President Donald Trump called on lawmakers to increase the direct payments for most Americans in the recent coronavirus relief package from $600 to $2,000. (AP)

Asia  

  • Afghanistan: A bombing and shooting killed at least two people in Kabul, including the head of an independent elections watchdog. (AP)
  • China: Pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai was granted bail by Hong Kong’s High Court. (BBC)
  • India: A coalition of political parties opposed to the government’s Kashmir region policy won the majority of seats in the restive Kashmir region’s local elections. (AP)
  • Malaysia: The government launched a 10-year plan that seeks to restart the country’s pandemic-hit tourism sector. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: Denmark’s Maritime Authority issued a notification that pipe-laying work for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the Baltic Sea bed will begin on January 15. (Reuters)
  • Region: The European Commission recommended EU member-states to lift any travel bans imposed on the United Kingdom to avoid stranding travelers and supply chain disruptions. (VOA)
  • Germany: There were a record number of 962 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours in the country. (DPA)
  • Russia: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused members of US President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration of “Russophobia”. (AFP)
  • Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chastised the European Court of Justice’s call for Ankara to release Kurdish political leader Selahattin Demirtas from jail, calling it an “entirely political” ruling. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Region: Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani called for deescalating tensions in the regions and for Arab countries to hold talks with Iran. (Reuters)
  • Iran: President Hassan Rouhani called US President Donald Trump a “madman” and compared him to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. (DPA)
  • Israel: The country’s ruling coalition government collapsed after coalition members failed to meet a deadline in a row over state budgets, triggering yet another general election scheduled for March. (BBC)
  • Saudi Arabia: A court dismissed detained women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul’s torture lawsuit. (DPA)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: A Turkish court convicted exiled journalist Can Dundar on espionage and terror-related charges for a news report. (AP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
    • United States
      • Volcano: Kilauea volcano, Hawaii
      • Lava lake formed in the volcano’s crater.
      • Source: AP
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 23DEC20: 78,105,462
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 23DEC20: 44,082,571
    • Deaths as of 23DEC20: 1,719,278
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (24DEC20)

  • Europe: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to potentially hold a phone call to discuss Brexit.
  • Iraq: New coronavirus measures and restrictions will take effect.
  • Mexico: The government’s coronavirus vaccination drive will begin.
  • Moldova: Newly-elected President Maia Sandu’s inauguration will be held.
  • Serbia: The government’s coronavirus vaccination drive will begin.
  • Spain: The final day of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s quarantine after his contact with COVID-19 positive French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Turkey: The central bank is expected to make an interest rate decision.
  • Turkey: A verdict is expected in the trial of lawyer and rights activist Eren Keskin, who is accused of membership in a terrorist organization.

END