Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The new Libyan Government of National Unity held its first meeting discussing the domestic fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and electricity supply.
  • AMERICAS: A top Amazon.com Inc official took a shot at U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for planning a visit to meet the company’s workers in Alabama, who are voting on possibly forming a union.
  • ASIA: Hong Kong has told some foreign consulates to stop accepting a British travel document that many Hong Kong residents use to apply for working holiday visas in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, diplomats reported.
  • EUROPE: Belarusian Opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called on citizens to start a new wave of protests against Alyaksandr Lukashenka on March 25 as they commemorate the anniversary of the short-lived Belarusian People’s Republic.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel has administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than half its population, its health minister announced.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google are scheduled to hear new questions by Congress, focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence.

Top Story

  • Korean Peninsula: North Korea launches two new missiles into the Sea of Japan.
    • North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, says the US and Japan – the first test since the start of the Biden Administration.
    • Japanese Prime Minister Suga said Japan is making “a serious protest” after North Korea fired the missiles and that his government “strongly condemns” the act.
    • The missiles launched during the Biden administration’s final stages of its North Korea policy review, which promises a tough line on human rights, denuclearization, and sanctions, while making diplomatic overtures that have so far been rejected by Pyongyang
    • South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy talked about North Korea’s latest missile launches with a senior U.S. official and planned to do the same with his Japanese counterpart, a foreign ministry official reported.
    • Reporting: BBC, DPA, Reuters, YNA,

Africa

  • Region: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has currently reached 4,150,680, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said. (Xinhua)
  • Libya: The new Government of National Unity held its first meeting discussing the domestic fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and electricity supply. (Xinhua)
  • South Africa: The nation’s top court started hearing an urgent application to have ex-president Jacob Zuma jailed for two years for refusing an order to testify in a corruption hearing. (AFP)

Americas

  • Honduras: President Juan Orlando Hernández claimed that he had recordings made by US anti-drug agents, which contradicted accusations connecting him to narcotics traffickers. (AFP)
  • United States: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is warning that the nation’s infrastructure needs exceed $1 trillion and that rival nations, namely China, are pulling ahead of the U.S. with their public works investments, a scenario he describes as “a threat to our collective future.” (AP)
  • United States: A top Amazon.com Inc official took a shot at Senator Bernie Sanders for planning a visit to meet the company’s workers in Alabama, who are voting on possibly forming a union. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • China: Fashion giant H&M has come under a state-sanctioned attack in China, with state media outlets calling for consumers to boycott the brand, online shopping platforms pulling its products, and Chinese celebrities ending endorsement deals. (WaPo)
  • Hong Kong: The city’s government has told some foreign consulates to stop accepting a British travel document that many Hong Kong residents use to apply for working holiday visas in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, diplomats reported. (Reuters)
  • India: The nation added 53,476 COVID-19 infections overnight, the highest daily increase since Oct. 23. (Reuters)
  • Papua New Guinea: The nation ordered the snap closure of borders used by Indigenous groups to cross to and from Australia, as fears grew about the spread of Covid-19 to remote communities. (AFP)
  • South Korea: The nation’s daily new COVID-19 cases stayed above 400 for the second straight day as the yearlong virus battle decreased citizen’s willingness to follow anti-pandemic regulations. (YNA)

Europe

  • Belarus: Opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called on citizens to start a new wave of protests against Alyaksandr Lukashenka on March 25 as they commemorate the anniversary of the short-lived Belarusian People’s Republic. (RFE)
  • France: European leaders failed to see that Covid-19 vaccines would be developed as quickly as they were, and this was why rollouts in the EU now lagged behind some other countries, President Emmanuel Macron stated. (Telegraph)
  • Germany: The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the nation increased by 22,657 to 2.713 million, the most significant increase since Jan. 9, as the country struggles to agree on measures to contain the third wave of the pandemic. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s health is stable and satisfactory, the Federal Penitentiary Service reported, a day after his allies expressed concern over his condition. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Egypt: Efforts to remove a 400 m (1,312 foot) long container vessel that has blocked traffic along the Suez Canal resumed at high tide, with five tugs working to put the ship to deeper water, according to ship-tracking data. (Reuters)
  • Israel: The nation has administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than half its population, its health minister announced. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Kazakhstan’s fifth peacekeeping company is heading to the nation to relieve the previous mission sent in August 2020, the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan reported: (Interfax)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google are scheduled to hear new questions by Congress, focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence. (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 25MAR21)
      • Confirmed cases:124,823,795
      • Total recovered cases: 70,817,671
      • Deaths: 2,744,837
      • 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 (26MAR21)

  • Asia-Pacific/MENA: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Iran.
  • Asia: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh.
  • Europe: EU Summit concludes.
  • Europe: European Council summit to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial policy, the digital transformation, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and relations with Russia.
  • Bangladesh: 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence.
  • South America: Mercosur 30th anniversary summit.
  • Tanzania: Funeral of Tanzania’s President.
  • Ukraine: National Guard Day.
  • United States: Court hearing for a woman accused of helping steal Dem Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s laptop (virtual).

END