Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: South Africa’s Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize rejected British Health Minister Matt Hancock’s claim that a new coronavirus variant in the country is more contagious or dangerous than the new strain spreading the UK.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica have all started their coronavirus vaccination programs.
  • ASIA: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted the success of his government’s agricultural schemes and called the country’s ongoing farmer protests politically motivated.
  • EUROPE: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny said his close political ally Lyubov Sobol was detained for ringing the doorbell of one of the Russian state officers he believes tried to kill him.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israeli jets were spotted flying low in Lebanon as Syria reported explosions in the town of Masyaf and said it had responded to the attack.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The father of slain US journalist Daniel Pearl has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to challenge the verdict of one of the country’s court that ordered the release of a militant convicted of murdering Pearl in 2002.

Top Story

  • United States: Travelers from UK will require negative COVID-19 test.
    • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all travelers arriving in the US from the UK will be required to get a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to board their flight.
    • The negative test must have been conducted no more than 72 hours before departure for the US.
    • The new travel restriction, which will begin from 28 December, is being imposed due to the emergence of a new, infectious coronavirus strain in the UK.
    • The US joins a long list of countries across the globe that have imposed travel restrictions on travelers from the UK due to the emergence of this new coronavirus strain in the UK.
    • Reporting: BBC, AP, Reuters, NYT, DPA, WaPo, WSJ

Africa

  • Ethiopia: The National Electoral Board announced 5 June 2021 as the date for the country’s next parliamentary election. (Reuters)
  • Mali: Opposition leader Soumaila Cissé has died of COVID-19 at the age of 71, just two months after his release from detention by jihadist militants in a prisoner swap. (France24)
  • Morocco: The government has ordered millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccines developed by China’s Sinopharm, and Oxford/AstraZeneca, for its coronavirus vaccination program. (AFP)
  • South Africa: Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize rejected British Health Minister Matt Hancock’s claim that a new coronavirus variant in the country is more contagious or dangerous than the new strain spreading the UK. (AFP)
  • Sudan: A recent Human Rights Watch report says the security forces who killed seven protesters in Kassala two months ago were never held accountable. (VOA)

Americas

  • Region: Panama’s Health Ministry has invited 220 Cuban medical professionals to tackle the coronavirus pandemic despite US objections. (AFP)
  • Region: Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica have all started their coronavirus vaccination programs. (BBC)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro cast doubts on the efficacy of Chinese company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine that has been purchased by São Paulo state. (AP)

Asia  

  • India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted the success of his government’s agricultural schemes and called the country’s ongoing farmer protests politically motivated. (Reuters)
  • Japan: The government said it plans to eliminate gasoline vehicles in the next 15 years as part of Tokyo’s efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions and generate nearly $2 trillion a year in green growth by 2050. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: The country has reported a record high daily number of coronavirus cases. (AFP)

Europe

  • The Holy See: Pope Francis said people should feel obliged to help the needy because Jesus himself was born a poor outcast during this year’s Christmas Eve Mass. (Reuters)
  • Moldova: The country’s new President Maia Sandu vowed to be an “honest and transparent” president of “all Moldovans,” at her swearing-in ceremony. (RFE-RL)
  • Russia: Opposition politician Alexei Navalny said his close political ally Lyubov Sobol was detained for ringing the doorbell of one of the Russian state officers he believes tried to kill him. (DPA)

Middle East

  • Region: Israeli jets were spotted flying low in Lebanon as Syria reported explosions in the town of Masyaf and said it had responded to the attack. (AP)
  • Iran: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned US President Donald Trump against any “adventurism” before his term in office ends. (AFP)
  • Lebanon: Health officials said the country has recorded its first case of the new variant of the coronavirus in the UK in a flight that arrived in the country from London. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The father of slain US journalist Daniel Pearl has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to challenge the verdict of one of the country’s court that ordered the release of a militant convicted of murdering Pearl in 2002. (AFP)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Cyclone Chalane
      • Location: 270 nautical miles N-NW of Port Louis, Mauritius
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: W at 9 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes:
    • Philippines
      • Location: Calatagan, Philippines
      • Magnitude: 6.3
      • Depth: 109 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 25DEC20: 79,447,410
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 25DEC20: 44,774,892
    • Deaths as of 25DEC20: 1,743,760
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (26DEC20)

  • Europe: Coronavirus vaccines are expected to be delivered to multiple EU member states ahead of a “united” EU coronavirus vaccination campaign.
  • Austria: A third countrywide coronavirus lockdown will be imposed.

END