Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Algeria announced it will start administering doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in January.
  • AMERICAS: Argentina and El Salvador followed the United Kingdom in authorizing the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
  • ASIA: China approved Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine candidate for public use, making it the first coronavirus vaccine that Beijing authorized.
  • EUROPE: The US will increase its tariffs on select EU goods and products, including aircraft components and wines from France and Germany.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Yemen’s new power-sharing government pledged to bring stability back to the country after yesterday’s attack on the Aden airport targeting cabinet members.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was ordered back to jail by the city’s highest court.

 Top Story

  • Europe: Brexit poised to become reality after UK Parliament vote.
    • The British House of Commons overwhelmingly backed the recently struck post-Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
    • Most lawmakers from the main opposition Labour Party voted in favor of the agreement, but all other opposition and regional parties, including the Lib-Dems, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and all Northern Ireland parties voted against the bill.
    • As a result, the post-Brexit agreement is set to take effect later today 31 December, with the UK’s formal exit from the EU following at midnight.
    • As part of the agreement, there will be no tariffs and no quotas for goods traded between the EU and the UK.
    • Reporting: WaPo, BBC, CNN, Reuters

Africa

  • Region: The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Director John Nkengasong said the world risks a “moral catastrophe” if coronavirus vaccinations in the continent are delayed while wealthier parts of the world inoculate their entire populations. (Reuters
  • Algeria: The government announced it will start administering doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in January. (AFP)
  • Burkina Faso: President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré dismissed Prime Minister Christophe Dabiré and dissolved the country’s government. (AFP)
  • South Africa: The country reported a record daily increase in coronavirus infections as it registered 17,710 new cases yesterday. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: Argentina and El Salvador followed the United Kingdom in authorizing the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. (DPA)
  • Region: The US sanctioned Venezuelan judge and prosecutor involved in Venezuela’s trial and sentencing of six US former oil managers known as the CITGO 6. (VOA)
  • Cuba: The government warned the US against re-designating Havana a state sponsor of terrorism. (AFP)
  • Honduras: Authorities are investigating the separate weekend murders of two of the country’s indigenous activists. (AP)
  • United States: Senator Mark Warner said the recently reported cyber-attack on government agencies may have started earlier than last spring as previously believed. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • Australia: The country’s Catholic Church, as well as the Vatican, both denied any knowledge of transfers worth $1.8 billion between the Vatican and Canberra that were reported by the country’s financial watchdog. (Reuters)
  • China: Authorities approved Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine candidate for public use, making it the first coronavirus vaccine that Beijing authorized. (AFP)
  • Japan: Capital city Tokyo reported a record 1,337 new coronavirus infections yesterday as the country grapples with a third wave of the coronavirus. (DPA)
  • Pakistan: The government confirmed its plans to purchase 1.2 million doses of Chinese company Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The European Medicines Agency said it would require additional data on the “quality, safety and efficacy” of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine before it authorizes the vaccine for the EU’s 27 member-states. (EFE)
  • Region: The US will increase its tariffs on select EU goods and products, including aircraft components and wines from France and Germany. (Reuters)
  • Italy: The government condemned Egypt’s decision to rule out charging five state security officers over the torture and murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni. (BBC)
  • Netherlands: Health officials said the country’s national coronavirus lockdown will probably have to last at least until mid-February. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Iran: The government is set to commemorate military commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in January. (AFP)
  • Israel: Authorities are having to juggle supplies in their COVID-19 vaccination drive to meet their late-January goal of full protection for its most vulnerable people. (Reuters)
  • Syria: Islamic State attacked a bus in the country’s restive eastern Deir al-Zour province, reportedly killing 28 soldiers. (BBC)
  • Yemen: The country’s new power-sharing government pledged to bring stability back to the country after yesterday’s attack on the Aden airport targeting cabinet members. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was ordered back to jail by the city’s highest court. (AFP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 31DEC20: 82,820,052 
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 31DEC20: 46,823,363
    • Deaths as of 31DEC20: 1,807,331
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191 
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (01JAN21)

  • Global: The United Kingdom will take over the G7 presidency from the US.
  • Global: Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa’s two-year UN Security Council terms will end. The countries will be replaced by India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway at the Security Council. 
  • Global: Tunisia will take over the monthly UN Security Council presidency.
  • Global: OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries will adjust their crude oil production levels by 7.2 million barrels per day.
  • Global: A US-Hong Kong shipping agreement on income tax exemptions will be terminated.
  • Global: A European Union ban on exporting plastic waste to developing countries will take effect.
  • Africa: The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement is scheduled to take effect.
  • Asia: Brunei will take over the ASEAN group’s chairmanship from Vietnam for 2021.
  • Europe: The European Union’s coronavirus economic rescue plan will take effect.
  • Europe: Portugal will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from Germany. 
  • Chad: French Prime Minister Jean Castex will visit and meet with President Idriss Deby before spending time with French soldiers deployed to the Sahel region.
  • Cuba: The government will end the current dual currency system and revert to the sole usage of the traditional peso.
  • Cuba: Triumph of the Revolution/Liberation Day – 1959
  • Haiti: Independence Day – 1804
  • The Holy See: Pope Francis’ office will gain more control over the Vatican’s finances, following a series of financial scandals surrounding the Vatican.
  • Ireland: The government will increase security at the country’s border with the UK.
  • Kuwait: A coronavirus travel ban will be lifted.
  • Sudan: Independence Day – 1956
  • Turkey: A four-day New Year’s coronavirus lockdown will be imposed. (to 03JAN)
  • United Kingdom: The country will drop EU tariffs on US goods due to its formal exit from the European Union.
  • United Kingdom: A ban on purchasing equipment from China’s Huawei will take effect.

END