Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: A confidential U.S. government report stated that people in Tigray are being driven from their homes in a war with the Ethiopian central government, an American ally — posing President Biden’s first major test in Africa.
  • AMERICAS: The processing of asylum seekers seeking to enter the United States expanded to a third border crossing, even as nongovernmental organizations asked for more effort to protect the thousands still in Mexican border cities.
  • ASIA: Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party seeks to form an “interim government” to rival Myanmar’s military junta and is asking for official recognition for the new body from the US, UK, and UN.
  • EUROPE: U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, joined allies from Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and the Czech Republic in expressing condemnation about “destabilizing and antidemocratic actions” in the South Caucasus nation of Georgia.
  • MIDDLE EAST: U.S. President Joe Biden says the airstrike against an Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria should be seen by Tehran as a warning against any further attacks.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS:  McDonald’s Corp is exploring selling part of Israeli artificial intelligence company Dynamic Yield Ltd, which it purchased two years ago to boost online marketing efforts, the company announced.

Top Story

  • United States: A Biden Administration-backed stimulus plan passed the House of Representatives. 
    • The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in a win for President Joe Biden, even as top Democrats tried assuring agitated progressives that they would revive their derailed drive to boost the minimum wage.
    • Democrats passed the bill with a 219 to 212 vote with 2 democrats and all Republicans voting no.
    • The bill’s big-ticket items include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, a $400-per-week federal unemployment benefit through Aug. 29 and help for those in difficulty paying rents and home mortgages during the pandemic.
    • The relief package now heads to the US Senate, it is expected that Democrats are expected to amend it and send it back to the House of Representatives for approval before unemployment insurance benefits expire on March 14.
    • Reporting: AP, BBC, Reuters, DPA

Africa

  • Botswana: The nation is ready to bring in multiple COVID-19 vaccines, President Mokgweetsi Masisi reported. (Xinhua)
  • Ethiopia: A confidential U.S. government report stated that people in Tigray are being driven from their homes in a war with the central government, an American ally — posing President Biden’s first major test in Africa. (NYT)
  • Libya: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that more than 150 illegal migrants have been saved off the nation’s coast. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • Region: An aircraft belonging to the former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was confined at Guatemala’s international airport by the local anti-narcotics prosecutor’s office at the request of U.S. authorities, Guatemalan authorities stated. (Reuters)
  • Region: The processing of asylum seekers seeking to enter the United States expanded to a third border crossing, even as nongovernmental organizations asked for more effort to protect the thousands still in Mexican border cities. (AP)
  • Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that Canada’s drug regulator had authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the version created by the Serum Institute of India. (NYT)

Asia  

  • Japan: Tokyo recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases, its government said. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Australian resources giant Woodside will pull out its workers from the nation in response to suspected human rights abuses committed by the military. (The Guardian)
  • Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party seeks to form an “interim government” to rival the country’s military junta and is asking for official recognition for the new body from the US, UK, and UN. (FT)
  • Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte has extended partial COVID-19 curbs in Manila until the end of March, as the country awaits the arrival of vaccines, the presidential spokesman reported. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, joined allies from Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and the Czech Republic in expressing condemnation about “destabilizing and antidemocratic actions” in the South Caucasus nation of Georgia. (RFE)
  • Czech Republic: Approaching 20,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, the nation has tightened restrictions as the Central European country’s outbreak strains the health system to its limits. (DPA)
  • Russia: The nation’s COVID-19 cases grew by 11,534 in the past 24 hours, the total number of infected people has reached 4,234,720, the anti-COVID-19 crisis center reported. (TASS)
  • Russia: Opposition activists plan to pay tribute to murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow. (RFE)

Middle East

  • Region: An explosion happened on an Israeli-owned cargo ship sailing out of the Middle East, an unexplained blast highlighting concerns about ship security in the region amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. (AP)
  • Region: U.S. President Joe Biden says the airstrike against an Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria should be seen by Tehran as a warning against any further attacks. (RFE)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country supports Saudi Arabia’s position on the United States intelligence report about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the UAE’s state news agency WAM reported. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Artificial intelligence: McDonald’s Corp is exploring selling part of Israeli artificial intelligence company Dynamic Yield Ltd, which it purchased two years ago to boost online marketing efforts, the company announced. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Marian
      • Location:15S 94.7E
      • Movement: WSW
      • Wind:75 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 27FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 113,467,722
      • Total recovered cases: 64,034,886
      • Deaths: 2,518,597
      • 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 (28FEB21)

  • Africa: U.N. Security Council African Union Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) mandate expires unless extended.
  • Bangladesh: Local elections fifth phase.
  • Israel: Ends Purim night curfew.
  • El Salvador: Parliamentary elections.
  • Thailand: Pro-democracy protests reportedly planned.

END