Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The US said that all Eritrean soldiers in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region should leave “immediately”.
  • AMERICAS: A volunteer in a Peruvian trial of a coronavirus vaccine produced by China’s Sinopharm Group died from COVID-19-related pneumonia.
  • ASIA: The relatives of some coronavirus victims in Wuhan say Chinese government authorities deleted their social media groups and are pressuring them to remain silent while a World Health Organization team visits their city to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.
  • EUROPE: The European Union contested AstraZeneca’s explanation for a delay in vaccine deliveries after AstraZeneca claimed it would be able to fulfill its contract with the UK but not the EU, as the UK signed a contract three months earlier than the EU, giving the firm more time to iron out any issues related to vaccine production in the UK.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel’s top general said a US return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would be “wrong”, adding that the Israeli military was also refreshing its operational plans against Iran.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: China said India’s ban on 59 Chinese apps violated the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) fair rules of business.

Top Story

  • Global: President Biden speaks to Russia’s Putin for first time since taking office.
    • US President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office and discussed the New START treaty, bounties on US troops, Ukraine, the SolarWinds hack and the arrest of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
    • The Kremlin described the call as “business-like and frank” in a statement released after the call and did not mention any points of friction.
    • The Kremlin also said that Russia and the US reached an agreement to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty just days before it is due to expire.
    • The Russian State Duma also voted unanimously to extend the New START treaty for five years.
    • Reporting: NYT, BBC, Reuters, AP, AFP, WSJ

Africa

  • Region: The US said that all Eritrean soldiers in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region should leave “immediately”. (AP)
  • Mali: The country’s military junta was officially disbanded, more than five months after the army deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. (AFP)
  • Somalia: The UN warned that the country was heading toward “unpredictable territory” if its leaders are unable to soon broker an urgent settlement over how to proceed with delayed elections. (AFP)
  • Tunisia: Parliament approved a cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, as hundreds of people protested outside the heavily barricaded parliament building over social inequality and police abuses. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Cuba: Authorities have detected one of the newer, potentially more contagious COVID-19 variants in the country. (Miami Herald)
  • Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s spokesperson said the President was tested for COVID-19 after returning to Mexico City from an official visit on a commercial flight. (Reuters)
  • Peru: A volunteer in a local trial of a coronavirus vaccine produced by China’s Sinopharm Group died from COVID-19-related pneumonia. (Reuters)
  • United States: The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee, Antony Blinken, as the next Secretary of State. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Region: The Chinese government said actions like Beijing flying its warplanes near Taiwan last weekend are intended as a warning against both foreign interference in Taiwan and any independence moves by the country. (AP)
  • China: The relatives of some coronavirus victims in Wuhan say authorities deleted their social media groups and are pressuring them to remain silent while a World Health Organization team visits their city to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. (AFP)
  • India: Police closed several roads around capital city New Delhi, a day after farmers clashed with the police during protests that took a violent turn and left one person dead. (AFP)
  • Nepal: The country started its coronavirus vaccination campaign after neighboring India gifted the country a million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Vietnam: The incumbent chief of the country’s ruling Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, was nominated for a rare third term, according to state media. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The foreign ministers of Hungary and Ukraine are set to meet in Kyiv to discuss the language rights of around 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine. (Reuters)
  • Region: The European Union contested AstraZeneca’s explanation for a delay in vaccine deliveries after AstraZeneca claimed it would be able to fulfill its contract with the UK but not the EU, as the UK had signed a contract three months earlier than the EU, giving the firm more time to iron out any issues related to vaccine production in the UK. (AFP)
  • Belarus: Rights group Amnesty International said the government subjected detained protesters to systematic torture. (DPA)
  • Netherlands: Violence and rioting over the government’s coronavirus curfew reduced following three days of clashes between the public and police, but more than 130 people, most of them young, were still arrested. (DPA)

Middle East

  • Region: Russia backed a Palestinian proposal to hold a Middle East peace conference, as the new US President Joe Biden’s administration said it would move towards renewing ties with the Palestinians. (AFP)
  • Region: Israel’s top general said a US return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would be “wrong”, adding that the Israeli military was also refreshing its operational plans against Iran. (Reuters)
  • Iran: President Hasan Rowhani said Tehran is willing to compromise over its nuclear program but added that the US should take the first steps in returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. (DPA)
  • Yemen: A new UN report said the country’s Houthi rebels diverted at least $1.8 billion away from the government in 2019. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Tech Regulation: China said India’s ban on 59 Chinese apps violated the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) fair rules of business. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes:
    • Indonesia
      • Mount Merapi erupted again, spewing lava and a new ash cloud.
      • Source
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 27JAN21)
      • Confirmed cases: 100,348,783
      • Total recovered cases: 55,480,240
      • Deaths: 2,160,154
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 (+1)
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (28JAN21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Cyprus, Libya, and Yemen.
  • Global: Transparency International will publish its annual Corruption Perceptions Index.
  • Global: The CORE Group will hold its annual Global Health Practitioner Conference, with WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus scheduled to speak.
  • Global: The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Agenda” will be held virtually, with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva expected to speak during the event. (to 29JAN)
  • Asia: China will conduct military exercises in the South China Sea just days after a US aircraft carrier group entered the sea. (to 30JAN)
  • Europe: The Justice and Interior Ministers of EU member-states will hold an informal meeting.
  • Middle East: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash will speak at the 14th International Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • China: The WHO team investigating the origins of the coronavirus is scheduled to leave the country.
  • Cyprus: Parliament will vote on the ratification of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Statute of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.
  • Germany: A verdict is expected in the trial of the assassination of politician Walter Luebcke in an alleged right-wing attack.
  • Italy: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will testify in a pretrial hearing for former interior minister Matteo Salvini’s migrant abuse case.
  • United States: The Congressional Budget Office will release its annual Budget and Economic Outlook.
  • United States: The Bureau of Economic Analysis will publish GDP figures for Q4 2020.
  • Vietnam: The 13th National Congress of the country’s ruling Communist Party will be held. (to 02FEB)

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