Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Most African countries are not ready to complete the terms for the African Continental Free Trade Area when the new zone comes into effect on January 1, 2021 according to the head of the trade bloc’s secretariat.
  • AMERICAS: President-elect Joe Biden reported that many of America’s security agencies were “hollowed out” under President Donald Trump and the lack of data being provided to his transition team by the Trump administration is an “irresponsibility.”
  • ASIA: Relatives of the 10 Hong Kongers accused of fleeing the city by speedboat during a government crackdown on dissent say they’ve been informed that the group pleaded guilty and the verdicts will be given by a court on the mainland.
  • EUROPE: European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier stated the completed trade deal with Britain was a relief and provided stability for people and companies. 
  • MIDDLE EAST: The first study of the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine began Tuesday, Iranian state TV announced, with dozens due to receive the domestically developed shot. 
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: President-elect Joe Biden noted that his incoming administration would focus on the defense implications of the massive cyberattack that swept through U.S. government agencies and businesses. 

 

Top Story

  • United States: The House of Representatives votes to give $2000 checks to most Americans and overrides the president’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
    • The House of Representatives passed a measure to increase stimulus checks for Americans under a certain income to $2,000 after President Donald Trump expressed support for the effort, with the bill now being sent to the Senate where its future is less certain.
    • The House also voted in favor, by 322-87, to override the veto by President Trump on the NDAA with most Republicans voting with a large majority of Democrats, however, action on stimulus might delay a vote to override within the Senate. 
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to publicly address if he will allow a vote on more stimulus spending. 
    • Democrat Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, said he would join Senator Bernie Sanders in blocking the veto override vote on the NDAA until there’s also a vote scheduled on increased stimulus checks.
    • Reporting: CNN, Reuters, AP, WaPo

 

Africa

  • Region: Most African countries are not ready to complete the terms for the African Continental Free Trade Area when the new zone comes into effect on January 1, 2021 according to the head of the trade bloc’s secretariat. (FT
  • South Africa: With more than 50,000 new COVID-19 infections being recorded in the nation since Christmas Eve, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country would return to level three lockdown with immediate effect. (Xinhua)  
  • Zimbabwe: The country banned the use of mercury in mining and placed controls on the element’s release from industrial operations, joining several countries that stopped using the toxic metal, state media reported. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Argentina: A divided Senate will vote on legalizing abortion in a move experts say could go either way. (AFP)  
  • United States: President-elect Joe Biden reported that many of America’s security agencies were “hollowed out” under President Donald Trump and the lack of data being provided to his transition team by the Trump administration is an “irresponsibility.” (Reuters
  • United States: More than 65,000 Americans died from COVID-19 so far, roughly equivalent to 1.6 Americans dying from the virus every minute, making December the worst month for COVID-19 deaths in the nation since the start of the pandemic. (Xinhua)

 

Asia

  • China: Relatives of the 10 Hong Kongers accused of fleeing the city by speedboat during a government crackdown on dissent say they’ve been informed that the group pleaded guilty and the verdicts will be given by a court on the mainland. (AP)  
  • Kazakhstan: The Central Asian nation supports the trade and cooperation agreement signed by the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit and hopes to finish a cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom in 2021, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. (Interfax)
  • Philippines: The country will ban travelers from 19 countries and territories until mid-January as a measure to keep out a new variant of COVID-19, its transport ministry reported. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: The country’s daily COVID-19 cases bounced back to over 1,000 after three days, despite the tougher virus regulations being extended for another week, with the daily virus deaths hitting a new record high of 40. (YNA)

 

Europe

  • Region: European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier stated the completed trade deal with Britain was a relief and provided stability for people and companies. (Reuters
  • Region: The EU and China are close to reaching a long-awaited business investment deal, according to media sources. (BBC
  • Spain: The nation wants to use a register to track citizens who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Health Minister Salvador Illa reported. (DPA
  • Ukraine: 6,988 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the nation, with 16,106 people recovered and 232 additional deaths, Health Minister of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov reported. (Interfax

 

Middle East

  • Iraq: The nation’s oil exports from its southern ports are stable at 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in December, Basra Oil Company Chief Khalid Hamza told al-Sabah state paper. (Reuters)  
  • Iran: The first study of the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine began, state TV announced, with dozens due to receive the domestically developed shot. (AP
  • Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked by phone discussing regional developments. (Xinhua)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: President-elect Joe Biden noted that his incoming administration would focus on the defense implications of the massive cyberattack that swept through U.S. government agencies and businesses. (UPI)  

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Cyclone Chalane
      • Location: 19.6 S 39.9 E
      • Movement: W at 16 mph
      • Wind: 50mph
      • 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 29DEC20: 81,362,561
      • Total Recovered Cases as of 29DEC20: 46,076,190
      • Deaths as of 29DEC20: 1,776,572
      • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (30DEC20)

  • Africa: U.N. Security Council Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) report due

 

END