Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African continent reached 2,623,086, as the casualties from the COVID-19 pandemic reached 61,954, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reported.
  • AMERICAS: Federal agents searched the home of a possible suspect in the explosion that rocked downtown Nashville as investigators scoured hundreds of tips and leads in the blast that damaged dozens of buildings on Christmas morning.
  • ASIA: Japan is barring entry of all nonresident foreign nationals as a precaution against a new and possibly more contagious COVID-19 variant that has spread across Britain.
  • EUROPE: France has not ruled out implementing a third nationwide lockdown if COVID-19 cases continue to increase, its health minister said Sunday, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas surge.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Gulf Arab foreign ministers will hold a virtual meeting hosted by Bahrain ahead of an annual summit to discuss steps towards ending a diplomatic row that has undermined‮ ‬regional stability and thwarted Washington’s efforts to form a united front against Iran. 
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP) — the largest party in the European Parliament — has sharply criticized the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an opinion piece published on December 27 by a German newspaper. 

 

Top Story

  • Europe: European Union has started the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. 
    • The European Union nations started a coordinated effort to give COVID-19 vaccinations to the most vulnerable among the bloc’s nearly 450 million citizens. 
    • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been delivered to all 27 member states.
    • Germany has officially begun its nationwide drive to vaccinate vulnerable residents against Covid-19, joining the other European Union countries in a coordinated campaign.
    • Almost 10 months after the first Italian patient tested positive for COVID-19, the country vaccinated the first citizens against COVID-19.
    • Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis became the first person in the country to be given a vaccine against COVID-19.  
    • Reporting: AP, BBC, DPA, Reuters, Reuters 

 

Africa

  • Region: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African continent reached 2,623,086, as the casualties from the COVID-19 pandemic reached 61,954, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reported. (Xinhua)  
  • Central African Republic: The country heads towards presidential and legislative elections with the risk of possible violence in one of the world’s poorest and most troubled nations. (AFP)  
  • Niger: The West African nation votes in an election that is expected to lead to the first transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents. (Reuters

 

Americas

  • Canada: Ontario health authorities reported that they detected the nation’s first cases of the new strain of COVID-19 recently discovered in Britain, believed to be more contagious. (DPA)  
  • Mexico: The capital city recorded 2,664 more deaths than usual earlier this month as authorities fought to contain the spread of COVID-19 that has strained hospitals and forced the city into a semi-lockdown. (Reuters
  • United States: Federal agents searched the home of a possible suspect in the explosion that rocked downtown Nashville as investigators scoured hundreds of tips and leads in the blast that damaged dozens of buildings on Christmas morning. (AP)  

 

Asia

  • Japan: The country is barring the entry of all nonresident foreign nationals as a precaution against a new and possibly more contagious COVID-19 variant that has spread across Britain. (AP)
  • Pakistan: An army helicopter on a rescue mission crashed, killing all four aboard, the military reported. (AP
  • South Korea: The nation’s COVID-19 cases fell below 1,000, mainly due to less testing over the weekend, as the government is considering whether to raise social distancing rules to the highest level to contain the winter wave of the virus. (YNA)
  • Thailand: The nation confirmed 121 new infections of COVID-19, a senior official reported, up from the 103 cases reported earlier.  (Reuters

 

Europe

  • France: The country has not ruled out implementing a third nationwide lockdown if COVID-19 cases continue to increase, its health minister said, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas surge. (AFP)  
  • Turkey: An earthquake of magnitude 5.3 struck the eastern part of the country, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) reported, while the interior minister said there were no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage. (Reuters
  • Turkey:  The parliament passed a law that would ramp up oversight of foundations and associations and, according to rights groups including Amnesty International, risks limiting the freedoms of civil society organizations. (Reuters)  

 

Middle East

  • Region: Gulf Arab foreign ministers will hold a virtual meeting hosted by Bahrain ahead of an annual summit to discuss steps towards ending a diplomatic row that has undermined‮ ‬regional stability and thwarted Washington’s efforts to form a united front against Iran. (Reuters)  
  • Iran: Following an announcement that Tehran had won approval from the United States to use foreign-currency reserves to buy COVID-19 vaccines, the country’s president has claimed that Washington is now demanding that a deal goes through a U.S. bank. (RFE)
  • Israel: The nation will enter what officials hope will be its last pandemic lockdown as they ramp up vaccinations to a pace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said may allow an emergence from the pandemic by March. (Reuters)  

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: The chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP) — the largest party in the European Parliament — has sharply criticized the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an opinion piece published on December 27 by a German newspaper. (RFE

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Cyclone Chalane
      • Location:18.1S 47.6E
      • Movement: W
      • Wind:30 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Cyclone Yasa
      • Location:23.3S 178.1W
      • Movement: SSW
      • Wind:60 mph
      • Map 
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report. 
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
      • Confirmed Cases as of 27DEC20: 80,412,311
      • Total Recovered Cases as of 27DEC20: 45,469,906
      • Deaths as of 27DEC20: 1,758,886
      • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (28DEC20)

  • Global: U.N. Security Council reports due
  • Bangladesh: Local elections first phase
  • United States: Latest deadline for new funding deal to avert federal govt shutdown

 

END