Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The conflict over Ethiopia’s Tigray region has reportedly spilled over into the neighboring Afar state after the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front increased its presence in that region.
  • AMERICAS: The United States imposed sanctions on a Cuban official and security force unit for alleged human rights violations during a crackdown on the recent anti-government protests in the island nation.
  • ASIA: Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is also a member of the militant group’s negotiating team, said the Taliban doesn’t want to monopolize power but insisted there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until President Ashraf Ghani is removed.
  • EUROPE: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the European Union wanted a two-month delay in discussions on Budapest’s pandemic recovery plan amid an “ideological war” between the two.
  • MIDDLE EAST: One person was shot dead during demonstrations held in Iran’s west in sympathy with the drought-hit Khuzestan province.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pitched making Spain the “Hollywood of Europe” to streaming service executives in the United States.

Top Story

  • Global: Pandemic-era Tokyo Olympics set to begin.
    • The COVID-19 delayed Tokyo Olympics are set to begin later today with an opening ceremony in an almost empty Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
    • The Tokyo Olympics will be the first pandemic Olympics in a century and the public will not be allowed to attend Olympic events due to the pandemic but hosting the games during the pandemic was already unpopular with the Japanese public.
    • The games also take place under a COVID-19 emergency in Tokyo, where COVID-19 infections are currently increasing.
    • The preparations for the Tokyo Olympics have been marred by issues including those related to hosting the event during a pandemic, but also other issues such as yesterday’s firing of the opening ceremony’s director for his comments on the Holocaust.
    • The games will be inaugurated by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and the opening ceremony will be attended by 15 global leaders, including US First Lady Dr Jill Biden.
    • Reporting: NYT, Reuters, AP, BBC, DPA, WSJ

Africa

  • DR Congo: Suspected members of the Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed 16 people in the country’s eastern region. (AFP)
  • Ethiopia: The conflict over the Tigray region has reportedly spilled over into the neighboring Afar state after the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front increased its presence in that region. (BBC)
  • Guinea: Sports Minister Sanoussy Bantama Sow reversed course on yesterday’s announcement of not sending a delegation to the Tokyo Olympics. (AP)
  • Madagascar: Officials said one French citizen was among those arrested on suspicion of involvement in a plot to kill President Andry Rajoelina. (Reuters)
  • Tanzania: The government said it aims to begin its COVID-19 vaccination campaign soon, marking a shift away from its previous policies. (AFP)

Americas

  • Region: The United States imposed sanctions on a Cuban official and security force unit for alleged human rights violations during a crackdown on the recent anti-government protests in the island nation. (Reuters)
  • Region: Mexico said it will deploy two navy ships loaded with food and medical aid to Cuba. (AP)
  • Brazil: Political leaders stressed that next year’s presidential election was certain to take place following a media report claiming Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto had indicated the election would not take place unless printed ballots were used. (Reuters)
  • El Salvador: Authorities ordered the arrest of former President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and nine other officials from a previous administration. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: Tajikistan was preparing to accept 100,000 refugees from Afghanistan following the escalation of conflict in that country. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is also a member of the militant group’s negotiating team, said the Taliban doesn’t want to monopolize power but insisted there won’t be peace in the country until President Ashraf Ghani is removed. (AP)
  • China: President Xi Jinping visited Tibet for the first time since taking office in 2012. (Deutsche Welle)
  • North Korea: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman renewed the call for Pyongyang to return to the table over its nuclear program and expressed sympathy for people facing hardships and food shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. (AP)
  • Samoa: A Court of Appeal ruling cleared the way for Fiame Naomi Mata’afa to become the country’s first female prime minister after a three-month electoral deadlock. (DPA)

Europe

  • Region: The UN Security Council rejected Russia’s proposal to scrap the UN’s Office of the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina. (RFE-RL)
  • Germany: The recent flooding in the country was estimated to have caused damages of up to $1.5 billion. (AP)
  • Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the European Union wanted a two-month delay in discussions on Budapest’s pandemic recovery plan amid an “ideological war” between the two. (Reuters)
  • Italy: The country will become the latest in Europe to introduce a mandatory COVID-19 certification starting next month. (BBC)
  • United Kingdom: The government will exempt supermarket workers and food manufacturers from COVID-19 quarantine rules over worries of staff shortages causing food supply issues in the country. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Iran: One person was shot dead during demonstrations held in the country’s west in sympathy with the drought-hit Khuzestan province. (AFP)
  • Iraq: A delegation of senior officials visited the United States to hold preliminary talks on the US military presence in the country ahead of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s imminent trip to the White House. (AFP)
  • Lebanon: Hospitals warned of a “catastrophe” amid electricity shortages in the country. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pitched making Spain the “Hollywood of Europe” to streaming service executives in the United States. (EFE)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Typhoon In Fa
      • Location: 185 nautical miles SW of Kadena Air Base, Japan
      • Wind: 90 mph
      • Movement: NW at 4 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 23JUL21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (24JUL21)

  • Americas: The foreign ministers of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • Asia: French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the French Polynesian islands. (to 27JUL)
  • Europe: Russia will resume air communications with the Czech Republic and France.
  • Europe: US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Ambassador John Kerry will visit the United Kingdom and Italy. (to 26JUL)
  • Georgia: The country will receive a donation of 500,000 Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the United States.
  • Germany: The 2021 Berlin Pride event will be held.
  • Japan: US First Lady Dr Jill Biden will visit.
  • United States: The government will extend its National Emergency with respect to significant transnational criminal organizations.

END