Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Botswana’s Appeal Court upheld a 2019 landmark ruling decriminalizing gay sex in the country.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced members of the European Union’s (EU) electoral observation mission who monitored voting last weekend as “spies,” and accused them of looking to “stain” the regional elections on their preliminary report.
  • ASIA: The Indian Parliament passed a bill to cancel contentious farm laws that have led to a protracted agitation by farmers.
  • EUROPE: Russia carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Foreign Ministry spokesperson Said Khatibzadeh told reporters that Iran is firmly determined to reach an agreement with major powers on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal as talks resume in Vienna.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Facebook will show it has no interest in making the online world safe if it quits Australia over laws holding it liable for defamation on its platform.

Top Story

  • Global: New Omicron Variant Poses “Very High” Global Risk, World Health Organization (WHO)
    • The World Health Organization said the heavily mutated Omicron COVID-19 variant is likely to spread internationally and poses a very high risk of infection surges that could have “severe consequences” in some places.
    • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said many uncertainties remain about just how transmissible and severe infection by the highly mutated omicron might be.
    • In its risk assessment to 194 member states, the WHO said ““Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high.”
    • The body mentioned that “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic.”
    • G7 health ministers are set to meet later in the day to discuss the new strain first detected in South Africa and the fresh challenge it poses to global efforts to battle the pandemic.
    • On Friday, the WHO declared the recently-discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19, first detected in southern Africa, to be a variant of concern and renamed it Omicron.
    • Reuters, AP, CNBC. NBC News, Politico, AFP

Africa

  • Botswana: An Appeal Court upheld a 2019 landmark ruling decriminalizing gay sex in the country. (BBC)
  • Ethiopia: The country denied it staged an attack over the weekend along its shared border with Sudan, blaming unrest in the disputed zone on rebels from its war-hit Tigray region. (Al Jazeera)
  • Senegal: The three-day triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) conference has officially opened in Dakar. (BBC)
  • South Africa: The country said it was “regrettable and sad” that African nations joined a rush by wealthy countries to impose travel bans over the new Covid variant. (AFP)

Americas

  • Chile: Leftist candidate Gabriel Boric is leading conservative Jose Antonio Kast in the latest polls ahead of the second round of the presidential election on Dec. 19. (Reuters)
  • Honduras: Preliminary results suggest opposition candidate Xiomara Castro has a commanding lead in the country’s presidential election. (BBC)
  • Peru: Local health authorities said that twelve people were injured after a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake rattled the country’s north on Sunday. (DPA)
  • Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro denounced members of the European Union’s (EU) electoral observation mission who monitored voting last weekend as “spies,” and accused them of looking to “stain” the regional elections on their preliminary report. (Reuters)

Asia

  • Region: Singapore and Malaysia reopened their border allowing vaccinated travelers to cross after nearly two years of being shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reuters)
  • Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said reopening will not take place on December 1 as planned, calling the delay “a necessary and temporary decision.” (AFP)
  • India: Parliament passed a bill to cancel contentious farm laws that have led to a protracted agitation by farmers. (DPA)
  • Japan: The country plans to bar all new foreign travelers over the Omicron variant of Covid-19. (AFP)
  • Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen said that the island is looking forward to collaborating more closely with Baltic nations in efforts to strengthen democracy. (DPA)

Europe

  • France: Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin urged Britain to open a legal route for asylum seekers in order to prevent people risking their lives by taking small boats across the Channel to England. (AFP)
  • Netherlands: Military police arrested a husband and wife who left a hotel where they were being quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 and boarded a plane bound for Spain. (AP)
  • Russia: The country carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile. (AFP)
  • Sweden: Social Democratic Party leader Magdalena Andersson gets a second chance at becoming the country’s prime minister after her initial attempt last week lasted just seven hours. (AFP)
  • United Kingdom: The independent body advising the government on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will decide whether to expand the booster program to younger age groups following the discovery of the new omicron variant. (AP)

Middle East

  • Iran: Foreign Ministry spokesperson Said Khatibzadeh told reporters that Tehran is firmly determined to reach an agreement with major powers on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal as talks resume in Vienna. (AFP)
  • Israel: Newly appointed US Ambassador Thomas Nides arrived in the country replacing David Friedman. (I24News)
  • Lebanon: Demonstrators blocked roads across the country in protest of the economic meltdown. (Reuters)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country eased some penalties for travelers arriving in the country with products containing THC, the main intoxicating chemical in cannabis. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Facebook will show it has no interest in making the online world safe if it quits Australia over laws holding it liable for defamation on its platform. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report
  • Earthquakes:
    • Izu Islands, Japan
      • Magnitude: 6.6
      • Depth: 10 km
      • Map
    • Volcanoes:
      • La Palma, Spain
        • Explosive activity continues
        • Erupting
        • Source
      • Global Disease Outbreaks:
        • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 29NOV21)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (30NOV21)

  • Global: WTO Ministerial Conference. (to 03DEC)
  • Global: Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare.
  • Global: Giving Tuesday.
  • Event: Atlantic Council discussion on US Latin American relations.
  • Event: Heritage Foundation discussion on the Summit for Democracy.
  • Event: Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger speaks to the German Marshall Fund.
  • Barbados: Independence Day.
  • Barbados: Barbados becomes a republic and removes Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
  • Belgium: Sustainable Future Summit. (to 01DEC)
  • Cambodia: Cambodia to reopen borders to fully vaccinated tourists without quarantine.
  • Europe: NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting. (to 01DEC)
  • Latvia: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visit. (to 02DEC)
  • Philippines: Bonifacio Day.
  • Romania: Feast of Saint Andrew.
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia visa regulations to shift.
  • Saudi Arabia: Deadline for public consultations on Saudi Arabia’s new digital content platforms regulations.
  • Scotland: Saint Andrew’s Day.
  • Senegal: Eighth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
  • United States: Treasury Secretary Yellen and Fed Chair Powell testify to the Senate Banking Committee on the CARES Act.
  • United States: Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on ‘democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean’.
  • Yemen: Independence Day.

END