Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted his ruling party “could and should” have done more to prevent corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s reign.
  • AMERICAS: Brazil’s Senate launched an inquiry into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • ASIA: India’s coronavirus death toll crossed 200,000 amid a massive coronavirus wave that has overwhelmed the country’s health system to the point of collapse.
  • EUROPE: Russia expelled the diplomats of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia for their countries’ “pseudosolidarity with the indiscriminate actions of the Czech Republic”.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The US said it fired warning shots after three Iranian vessels came close to a US warship in the Gulf.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua downplayed the prospect of Taiwanese tech firms manufacturing advanced semiconductors in European Union countries.

 

Top Story

  • Europe: EU lawmakers ratify post-Brexit trade treaty, marking formal Brexit end.
    • The European Parliament has overwhelmingly ratified the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the United Kingdom.
    • The ratification of the TCA means that a key requirement to ensure tariff-and quota-free trade between the EU and the UK continues is now fulfilled. 
    • Both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the move.
    • The ratification marks the formal end of a nearly five-year old Brexit process.
    • Reporting: DPA, AP, Reuters, NYT, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Bloomberg

 

Africa

  • Mali: The military eliminated 26 militants near the border with Mauritania in a joint operation with the French army. (AFP)
  • Somalia: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed relented in the face of both domestic and international pressure and dropped his bid to extend his term in office. (Reuters)
  • South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted his ruling party “could and should” have done more to prevent corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s reign. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Region: The US announced a new effort against “transnational criminal organizations” it said were responsible for smuggling migrants across the US-Mexico border. (AFP)
  • Brazil: The Senate launched an inquiry into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
  • Canada: The country reported its first AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine-linked death. (Reuters)
  • Mexico: Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the country will domestically produce Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)
  • United States: President Joe Biden is set to mark his first 100 days in office with a joint address to Congress. (AP)

 

Asia  

  • Australia: The government announced its plans to expand joint drills with US forces and spend more than half a billion dollars on upgrading military bases in the country’s far north a day after it warned of the beating “drums of war” in the Pacific. (AFP)
  • China: Pharma firms Sinovac and Sinopharm are looking at mixing their coronavirus vaccines with vaccines made by other companies in a bid to better prevent COVID-19. (AP)
  • India: The country’s coronavirus death toll crossed 200,000 amid a massive coronavirus wave that has overwhelmed the country’s health system to the point of collapse. (AP)
  • Indonesia: One police officer and five Papuan independence rebels died in an ongoing clash between the two groups in the country’s Papua province. (AP)
  • Pakistan: The government is considering stricter coronavirus lockdowns after the country recorded more than 200 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: Russia expelled the diplomats of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia for their countries’ “pseudosolidarity with the indiscriminate actions of the Czech Republic”. (AFP)
  • Region: France detained seven former members of Italy’s left-wing extremist group known as the Red Brigades. (AFP)
  • France: The government condemned a letter signed by active-duty soldiers that claimed the country was heading towards a “civil war” due to “fanatic partisans” creating divisions between communities and religious extremism. (BBC)
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are holding online discussions in an effort to resolve a raft of outstanding issues between Berlin and Beijing. (DPA)
  • Netherlands: The country is set to exit from its four-month coronavirus lockdown. (DPA)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they launched a drone targeting a military base in Saudi Arabia’s Khamis city. (Reuters)
  • Region: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Riyadh seeks positive relations with Iran as long as it stops what he called Tehran’s negative behavior. (DPA)
  • Region: The US said it fired warning shots after three Iranian vessels came close to a US warship in the Gulf. (Reuters
  • Iran: President Hassan Rouhani said the recently leaked audio tape of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif deploring the military’s influence was leaked in an effort to sow “discord” amid talks to revive the 2015 JCPOA deal. (AFP)
  • Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the government is currently engaged in negotiations with a global energy company over purchasing 1% of state oil firm Aramco. (Reuters)  

 

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua downplayed the prospect of Taiwanese tech firms manufacturing advanced semiconductors in European Union countries. (Reuters)

 

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes
    • India
      • Location: 9 km NNW of Dhekiajuli, India
      • Magnitude: 6.0
      • Depth: 34 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 28APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 148,763,564
      • Total recovered cases: 86,294,149
      • Deaths: 3,136,874
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 18APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 16
      • Deaths: 12
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 18APR21)
      • Confirmed cases: 11
      • Deaths: 6
      • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (29APR21)

  • Global: A G7 Digital and Technology Ministerial meeting will be held.
  • Global: The CSTO Council of Defense Ministers and CSTO Council of Security Council Secretaries will hold meetings. 
  • Global: The UN will hold a virtual high-level dialogue on antimicrobial resistance.
  • Global: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will attend a session of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) intergovernmental council. (to 30APR)
  • Europe: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will embark on a European tour, which will include visits to the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Poland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. (to 08MAY)
  • Middle East: A decision over the cancelation of Palestinian elections is expected to be made.
  • Cyprus: The UN will hold a summit on resolving the country’s ethnic divide.
  • Denmark: Three members of Iranian separatist group the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz will go on trial in the country for allegedly promoting terror in Iran with an unnamed Saudi intelligence service. 
  • Morocco: The trial of journalist Omar Radi, accused of espionage and sexual violence, will be held. 
  • Russia: A court will rule on opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s appeal against fine for defamation.
  • Spain: Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will visit and meet with his counterpart Arancha González Laya.
  • Turkey: The government will impose a full coronavirus lockdown until 17MAY.
  • United States: The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Indo-Pacific region.
  • United States: The Bureau of Economic Analysis will release GDP data for Q1 2021.
  • United States: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit the state of Georgia, hold a drive-in car rally to celebrate President Biden’s 100th day in office.
  • United States: The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on ethnically and racially motivated violent extremism.

END