Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Somalian opposition leaders have agreed to postpone their plan for mass anti-government protests after discussions with the prime minister.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico’s central bank said the country had registered an annual current account surplus for the first time in at least 15 years as imports declined more than exports during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • ASIA: South Korea and Hong Kong are the latest places in Asia to have started their coronavirus vaccination campaigns.
  • EUROPE: Hundreds of opposition supporters have camped outside Armenia’s parliament demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan.
  • MIDDLE EAST: US President Joe Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarch King Salman ahead of the expected release of an unclassified report on the role of Riyadh in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has dropped an exhibition of World Press Photo winners due to “safety and security” concerns.

Top Story

  • Middle East: Biden orders airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria.
    • US President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes on facilities belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed Iraqi militias in eastern Syria.
    • The Iran-backed Iraqi militias that were targeted were Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.
    • The Pentagon said the airstrikes had destroyed “multiple facilities located at a border control point”.
    • The airstrikes are the first response by the Biden administration to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq.
    • A rocket attack conducted by Iran-backed militias in the Iraqi city of Erbil on 15 February had killed a Filipino contractor and wounded six others, including a Louisiana National Guard soldier.
    • Reporting: AP, NYT, BBC, WaPo, Reuters, WSJ

Africa

  • Region: US President Joe Biden spoke with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over the phone and discussed the crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. (Reuters)
  • Region: Amnesty International accused Ethiopian and Eritrean troops of war crimes during a November 2020 operation to take control of Axum in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. (WaPo)
  • Ivory Coast: The country is set to become the second to receive a shipment of free coronavirus vaccines from the WHO’s COVAX facility. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: Opposition leaders have agreed to postpone their plan for mass anti-government protests after discussions with the prime minister. (WaPo)

Americas

  • Colombia: Juan Carlos Salazar, the director general of the country’s civil aviation authority, was elected as the United Nations aviation agency’s governing body. (Reuters)
  • Mexico: The central bank said the country had registered an annual current account surplus for the first time in at least 15 years as imports declined more than exports during the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
  • United States: The Senate parliamentarian ruled that the Senate cannot add President Joe Biden’s $15 minimum wage in a proposed coronavirus bill. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: The foreign ministers of India and China discussed further de-escalating tensions at their shared Himalayan border. (AFP)
  • Region: South Korea and Hong Kong are the latest places in Asia to have started their coronavirus vaccination campaigns. (Deutsche Welle)
  • China: Beijing condemned the decision of Dutch lawmakers to pass a motion that declared Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang amounting to genocide. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and guns to disperse protesters in the country’s two biggest cities. (Reuters)
  • Sri Lanka: The government has ended forced cremations for those who have died from the coronavirus, following Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the country. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: The leaders of European Union member-states are set to hold security and defense discussions with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. (DPA)
  • Armenia: Hundreds of opposition supporters have camped outside parliament demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. (AFP)
  • Belarus: Embattled President Alexander Lukashenko’s son, Viktor Lukashenko, has replaced his father as the head of the country’s National Olympic Committee after both of them were banned from attending the Olympic Games. (Reuters)
  • Germany: Authorities raided the homes and offices of members of a neo-Nazi network involved in drug sales and money laundering. (DPA)
  • Russia: Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a prison outside Moscow, according to his lawyer. (AP)

Middle East

  • Region: Two US navy warships in the region have been affected by coronavirus outbreaks. (AP)
  • Israel: The Shin Bet security agency arrested an Arab citizen for allegedly providing missile defense information to Hamas. (AFP)
  • Saudi Arabia: US President Joe Biden spoke with the country’s ruling monarch King Salman ahead of the expected release of an unclassified report on the role of Riyadh in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (WSJ)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has dropped an exhibition of World Press Photo winners due to “safety and security” concerns. (AFP

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 26FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 113,076,275
      • Total recovered cases: 63,793,201
      • Deaths: 2,509,448
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 6
      • Deaths: 4
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 8
      • Deaths: 5
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (27FEB21)

  • Global: The finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 countries will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Middle East: US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will travel to several countries in the Arabian Peninsula. (to 03MAR)
  • Bhutan: The first formal hearing in the trial of a military general and two judges accused of plotting to overthrow the country’s top military officer and chief justice will be held.
  • Central African Republic: Campaigning for the first round of the country’s general elections will begin.
  • China: The National People’s Congress Standing Committee will meet. (to 28FEB)
  • Colombia: Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya will visit the town of Cucuta on the border with Venezuela to assess the conditions of Venezuelan migrants at the border.
  • Dominican Republic: Independence Day – 1844.

END