Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Rwandan Hutu rebels rejected accusations that they were responsible for the killing of the Italian ambassador to DR Congo, and instead accused the DR Congo and Rwandan armies of the killing.
  • AMERICAS: The US arrested Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
  • ASIA: The UN said civilian casualties in Afghanistan have escalated sharply since peace talks started last year, as negotiators met for the first time after weeks of inaction.
  • EUROPE: At the European Court of Human Rights, Ukraine accused Russia of conducting targeted assassinations of “perceived opponents.” 
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s government officially began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, as Tehran continues with its bid to pressure the US into lifting sanctions while restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook will restore news pages for the social media website’s Australian users later this week after the Australian government agreed to amend its landmark social media news content regulations.

 

Top Story

  • Georgia: Police arrest opposition leader, storm opposition party offices.
    • Police in Georgia arrested top opposition leader Nika Melia and raided his party’s headquarters, deepening the country’s recent political crisis.
    • Opposition politicians have called for large scale demonstrations across the country in response.
    • The arrest and raid take place just days after Giorgi Gakharia resigned as Prime Minister in protest of the plan to arrest Melia, which has garnered swift condemnation from the US and UK embassies in Georgia.
    • Melia’s United National Movement opposition party is accused of inciting violence at street protests in June 2019, but Melia and his party say the accusations are politically motivated.
    • Georgia’s political crisis first started in October 2020 when the ruling Georgian Dream party won parliamentary elections, prompting the opposition to claim it was rigged and refuse to take their seats in Parliament until a new election was held.
    • Reporting: AP, AFP, Reuters, WaPo, Deutsche Welle

 

Africa

  • Region: Rwandan Hutu rebels rejected accusations that they were responsible for the killing of the Italian ambassador to DR Congo and instead accused the DR Congo and Rwandan armies of the killing. (AFP)
  • Region: Around fifteen Ethiopian UN peacekeepers of Tigrayan origin have sought asylum in South Sudan. (AP)
  • Niger: Ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum extended his lead in the country’s presidential election runoff, according to the latest data from the election commission. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: The government accused the United Arab Emirates of fueling the opposition’s protests amid a political standoff over delayed elections. (VOA)
  • South Africa: The country’s unemployment rate rose to a record high of 32.5%. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Region: The US arrested Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. (WaPo)
  • Canada: Parliament approved a non-binding resolution that declared China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region as genocide. (Reuters)
  • Haiti: President Jovenel Moise defended his track record at the UN Security Council, as the US called upon him to end his era of “rule by decree”. (AFP)
  • Mexico: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized government audits of some infrastructure projects, calling the audits “exaggerated” and saying, “Their data are wrong, I have other facts”. (AP
  • United States: More than 500,000 people have died from the new coronavirus in the country. (Reuters)

 

Asia  

  • Region: Malaysia’s government defied a court order and returned more than 1,000 Myanmar citizens to their country, despite the ongoing unrest in Myanmar. (AFP)
  • Afghanistan: The UN said civilian casualties in the country have escalated sharply since peace talks started last year, as negotiators met for the first time after weeks of inaction. (Reuters)
  • China: Hong Kong announced plans to bar from office anyone deemed a national security threat or who were disloyal to Beijing. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: The country’s new junta called for energetic efforts to revive an ailing economy amid increasing pressure from foreign countries to cease its violent crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy protesters. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: Seoul said it reached an agreement with Iran to potentially unfreeze billions of dollars of blocked oil money but signalled that the agreement was effectively subject to US approval. (AFP)

 

Europe

  • Region: At the European Court of Human Rights, Ukraine accused Russia of conducting targeted assassinations of “perceived opponents.” (AFP)
  • Region: Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said the European Union may impose further sanctions on Belarus following Minsk’s decision to imprison two journalists for filming protests. (Reuters)
  • Armenia: Thousands of people marched in capital city Yerevan to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian for his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. (RFE-RL)

 

Middle East

  • Region: The US State Department said Washington would hold Iran accountable for its Iraqi proxies after rocket fire hit the US embassy in Baghdad, but insisted it would not be drawn into an escalation with Iran. (AFP)
  • Iran: The government officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, as Tehran continues with its bid to pressure the US into lifting its sanctions on Tehran while restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: Former oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani, who was behind a 1973 oil embargo, has died at the age of 91. (Reuters)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country’s state-owned arms manufacturer EDGE said it expects to be involved in the supply chain of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 war plane if the planes are sold to the country. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Facebook will restore news pages for the social media website’s Australian users later this week after the Australian government agreed to amend its landmark social media news content regulations. (Guardian)

 

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 23FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 111,790,695
      • Total recovered cases: 63,082,216
      • Deaths: 2,476,128
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (24FEB21)

  • Global: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will address the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament.
  • Americas: The heads of government of CARICOM member states will meet for a CARICOM summit. 
  • Europe: Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto will visit NATO headquarters and meet with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană.
  • Middle East: US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will travel to several countries in the Arabian peninsula. (to 03MAR)
  • Central African Republic: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in the country.
  • China: Hong Kong Finance Minister Paul Chan Mo-po will present the budget to the city’s legislature.
  • Estonia: Independence Day – 1918
  • Germany: Authorities will release GDP data for Q4 2020.
  • Kuwait: The country will close most of its land and sea borders. (to 30MAR)
  • Malaysia: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign will begin.
  • Mexico: Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez will visit and meet with his counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • Niger: Results of the country’s runoff presidential election, which will mark the country’s first ever transfer of power through voting, are scheduled to be released.
  • Pakistan: Afghanistan’s special envoy for Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai will visit and meet with government officials to discuss negotiations with the Taliban.
  • Russia: Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov will visit and meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. (to 25FEB)
  • Russia: The military will deploy a new S-400 missile battalion to Sakhalin.
  • South Africa: Finance Minister Tito Titus Mboweni will present the budget to parliament.
  • Spain: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will address parliament over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sri Lanka: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit and meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. 
  • United States: President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on the economy. 
  • United States: Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will visit and is reportedly expected to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • United States: The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for William Burns to be the next CIA director. 
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on development and diplomacy across the world.

 

END