Global Overnight Overwatch Report – 14 August 2020

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: UN experts have accused senior army and intelligence officials of deliberately obstructing a shaky 2015 peace accord, originally designed to reduce violence in the war-torn West African country.
  • AMERICAS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will bar private charter flights to Cuba in a move designed to put more economic pressure on the Cuban government.
  • ASIA: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has lifted a coronavirus lockdown on a major city near the border with South Korea where thousands had been quarantined for weeks over coronavirus worries, state media reported.
  • EUROPE: The British government said travelers from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, Aruba and France will now face a mandatory 14-day quarantine, causing France to warn it would take “reciprocal measures”.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran and Turkey lashed out against the United Arab Emirates and its decision to normalize relations with Israel, accusing it of betraying the Palestinian cause.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Google said it will no longer provide data in response to requests from Hong Kong authorities following the enactment of a new national security law imposed by China.

 

Top Story

  • Belarus: Opposition leader calls for protests and vote recount, released protesters accuse police of abuse.
    • Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called for a recount of last week’s presidential election in the country, and also asked her supporters to take to the streets for a new wave of protests over the weekend.
    • Tsikhanouskaya added “The situation is critical. We need to stop the violence on the streets of Belarus’s cities. I call on the authorities to stop this and start a dialogue.”
    • Tsikhanouskaya’s calls for the recount and protests take place after President Alexander Lukashenko’s government started releasing detained protesters and said it would release all 6,700 of them.
    • Many of the released protesters have talked about brutal beatings and other abuse at the hands of police, with some even showing bruises for their time in police custody, which Amnesty International said indicated “widespread torture”.
    • The Foreign Ministers of EU member-states are set to meet and discuss potential EU sanctions on Belarus today, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen already expressing her support for potential sanctions.
    • Reporting: AP, AFP, DPA, BBC, Reuters

 

Africa 

  • Region: Sudan’s National Security and Defense Council reiterated the importance of reaching a comprehensive and binding deal regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). (Xinhua)
  • DR Congo: The World Health Organization said the country is facing a growing Ebola outbreak in its northwest Equateur province. (VOA)
  • Ivory Coast: At least three people have died during protests against President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term in office. (Reuters)
  • Mali: UN experts have accused senior army and intelligence officials of deliberately obstructing a shaky 2015 peace accord, originally designed to reduce violence in the war-torn West African country. (AFP)

 

Americas 

  • Region: Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is developing a promising coronavirus vaccine with the UK’s University of Oxford, said their agreement with Mexico and Argentina to produce the vaccines for Latin America initially foresees the production of 150 million doses for the region. (DPA)
  • Region: The US plans to unveil a major economic investment program with the Colombian government next week according to Mauricio Claver-Carone, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser on Latin America. (Reuters)
  • Region: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will bar private charter flights to Cuba in a move designed to put more economic pressure on the Cuban government. (VOA)
  • United States: President Donald Trump said he was blocking funding for the Postal Service in a new coronavirus relief bill saying “If we don’t make the deal, that means they can’t have the money, that means they can’t have universal mail-in voting.” (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: The National Assembly has demanded information on an oil spill which has caused a large oil slick to be washed up on the shores of Falcón state. (BBC)

 

Asia 

  • Afghanistan: The government released the first 80 of a final 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for negotiations between the government and the Taliban. (AFP)
  • Malaysia: The country’s Human Resources Ministry lifted its limit on the hiring of foreign workers meant to protect jobs for locals in most sectors. (Reuters)
  • North Korea: The country’s leader Kim Jong Un has lifted a coronavirus lockdown on a major city near the border with South Korea where thousands had been quarantined for weeks over coronavirus worries, state media reported. (AP)
  • Philippines: Abu Sayyaf commander Anduljihad Susukan, who has been linked to beheadings of hostages including two Canadians and a Malaysian, surrendered after negotiations with police in southern Davao city. (AP)
  • Vietnam: The Health Ministry has registered to purchase Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine according to state-media reports. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: The Foreign Ministers of EU member-states are set to meet and discuss potential EU sanctions on Belarus and Turkey. (Deutsche Welle)
  • Poland: The country is facing its first recession since the end of the communist era more than three decades ago, according to data from the government’s statistics office, as it deals with the economic fallout of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • United Kingdom: The government said travelers from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, Aruba and France will now face a mandatory 14-day quarantine, causing France to warn it would take “reciprocal measures”. (BBC)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran and Turkey lashed out against their regional rival the United Arab Emirates over its decision to normalize relations with Israel, accusing it of betraying the Palestinian cause, even as much of the international community welcomed the move. (AP)
  • Region: Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a deal to normalize relations, with Israel agreeing to temporarily suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. (BBC)
  • Iran: Local media is reporting that government officials deny the reports of four of the country’s ships and gasoline cargoes being seized by the US. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: The UN says the death toll from last week’s massive port explosion in the capital Beirut has risen to 178, with an estimated 6,000 people injured and at least 30 still missing. (AP)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Google said it will no longer provide data in response to requests from Hong Kong authorities following the enactment of a new national security law imposed by China. (Reuters)

 

World 

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes:
    • Tropical Storm Josephine
      • Location: 680 miles E-SE of the Northern Leeward Islands
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: W-NW at 15 mph
      • Map
    • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
    • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
    • Global Disease Outbreaks:
      • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
        • Confirmed Cases as of 14AUG20: 20,939,967
        • Total Recovered Cases as of 14AUG20: 13,009,485
        • Deaths as of 14AUG20: 759,928
        • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 188
        • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
      • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (11th Ebola outbreak figures from Equateur Province)
        • Confirmed Cases as of 08AUG20: 75
        • Probable Cases as of 08AUG20: 4
        • Deaths as of 08AUG20: 33
        • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (15AUG20)

  • Belarus: Protests against the government and the country’s disputed presidential election are expected to continue. (to 16AUG)
  • Congo: Independence Day – 1960
  • Japan: The country marks the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II.
  • Liechtenstein: National Day – 1940
  • Poland: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit.
  • South Africa: The government’s coronavirus “state of disaster” expires.
  • South Korea: Liberation Day – 1945
  • United Kingdom: The country will hold rescheduled celebrations to commemorate end of the Second World War in Europe 75 years ago.
  • United States: Officials from Washington and Beijing are expected to meet to discuss their trade agreement.
  • Uzbekistan: The government’s coronavirus restrictions are set to expire but could be extended again.

Global Overnight Overwatch Report – 13 August 2020

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping, the company that owns the vessel behind a major oil spill off Mauritius’ coast, said it felt its responsibility acutely and intends to take steps towards assessing compensation.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said former Mexican presidents Enrique Pena Nieto and Felipe Calderon should testify over a growing corruption scandal following a complaint by a former head of state oil firm Pemex.
  • ASIA: New Zealand’s new coronavirus outbreak in the city of Auckland grew to 17 cases, with officials warning the number will likely increase further, with the initial three-day lockdown of the city likely to be extended.
  • EUROPE: The Greek and French militaries reportedly conducted training exercises off the Greek island of Crete amid growing tensions between Athens and Turkey over disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Lebanon’s Parliament held its first session since the last week’s port explosion in capital city Beirut that forced the government to resign and is set to discuss extending the state of emergency in Beirut.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Slovenia where he is expected to make the case for high-speed wireless networks that bar Chinese companies like Huawei.

 

Top Story

  • Belarus: Police detain 700 protesters overnight, but protests continue.
    • Belarusian police say they detained an additional 700 people overnight for participating in protests over the country’s disputed presidential election.
    • The overnight arrests did not deter protesters, as hundreds of people are back in the streets of capital Minsk to show solidarity with the detained protesters, including large groups of women forming long “lines of solidarity.” in southwestern Minsk where police shot rubber bullets at protesters overnight.
    • The total number of people detained by authorities for protesting in recent days now stands at more than 6,700.
    • Neighboring Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis meanwhile announced that Belarusian citizens will be allowed entry into Lithuania “for humanitarian reasons”.
    • Earlier in the day, a 25-year-old man became the second protester to die in police custody, with the UN condemning the use of violence by authorities against the protesters.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, AFP, DPA, BBC

 

Africa 

  • Mauritius: Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping, the company that owns the vessel behind a major oil spill off the country’s coast, said it felt its responsibility acutely and intends to take steps towards assessing compensation. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: A court made the first convictions under the country’s new anti-piracy law which fined three men $52,000 each for hijacking a ship and securing a ransom to release its crew members in March. (BBC)
  • Sudan: The Interior Ministry said the government increased its security presence in the Red Sea state and imposed a curfew in its main sea gateway of Port Sudan after 32 people died in recent tribal clashes. (Reuters)

 

Americas 

  • Bolivia: The government denounced armed protesters, whose blocking of roads it says is preventing vital medical supplies from reaching hospitals amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • Brazil: The state of Parana signed a deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to potentially test and produce Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: Interior Minister María Paula Romo said former President Abdalá Bucaram is detained in an organized crime probe. (AP)
  • Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said former presidents Enrique Pena Nieto and Felipe Calderon should testify over a growing corruption scandal following a complaint by a former head of state oil firm Pemex. (Reuters)
  • United States: Protesters in Bend, Oregon blocked Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from detaining two men. (AP)

 

Asia 

  • Region: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi expressed concern over the arrests of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow and media tycoon Jimmy Lai. (Reuters)
  • Region: Taiwan will increase its defense spending by $1.4 billion next year, as China announced details of its latest combat drills near the democratic island. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: The new coronavirus outbreak in the city of Auckland grew to 17 cases, with officials warning the number will likely increase further, with the initial three-day lockdown of the city likely to be extended. (AP)
  • North Korea: US-based think-tank 38 North say satellite imagery shows that recent flooding could have damaged pump houses connected to the country’s main nuclear facility at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: The Greek and French militaries reportedly conducted training exercises off the Greek island of Crete amid growing tensions between Athens and Turkey over disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean. (Reuters)
  • Region: The US will maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other EU goods. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: The country’s police can now stop, question and detain people at the borders on suspicion of espionage or foreign interference, in response to a 2018 chemical attack blamed on Russian agents. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Region: The US said Iranian forces boarded a Liberian chemicals tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman, utilizing a helicopter and two ships to take over the vessel for several hours before eventually releasing it. (AFP)
  • Israel: Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the military successfully conducted a test of the country’s advanced missile defense system against long-range ballistic attacks. (AP)
  • Lebanon: Parliament held its first session since the last week’s port explosion in capital city Beirut that forced the government to resign and is set to discuss extending the state of emergency in Beirut. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The country’s 84-year-old monarch is in the under-construction planned city of Neom in the Red Sea region for rest after an operation. (DPA)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Slovenia where he is expected to make the case for high-speed wireless networks that bar Chinese companies like Huawei. (AP)

 

World 

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Mekkhala
      • Location: 216 nautical miles W-SW of Taipei, Taiwan
      • Wind: 80 mph
      • Movement: N-NW at 13 mph
      • Map
    • Hurricanes:
      • Tropical Depression Eleven
        • Location: 1405 miles E-SE of the Northern Leeward Islands
        • Wind: 35 mph
        • Movement: W at 13 mph
        • Map
      • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
      • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
      • Global Disease Outbreaks:
        • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
          • Confirmed Cases as of 13AUG20: 20,643,028
          • Total Recovered Cases as of 13AUG20: 12,846,169
          • Deaths as of 13AUG20: 749,764
          • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 188
          • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
        • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (11th Ebola outbreak figures from Equateur Province)
          • Confirmed Cases as of 08AUG20: 75
          • Probable Cases as of 08AUG20: 4
          • Deaths as of 08AUG20: 33
          • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (14AUG20)

  • China: The government will release economic data for the month of July.

Global Overnight Overwatch Report – 12 August 2020

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Nigerian health officials say they received the 200 ventilators promised by US President Donald Trump in April to help the country in its fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • AMERICAS: Former US Vice President Joe Biden named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for November’s presidential election.
  • ASIA: New Zealand’s new coronavirus outbreak forced the government to delay the dissolution of parliament just five weeks ahead of the next general election which the opposition party now wants to delay.
  • EUROPE: EU Foreign Ministers are set to meet this week to discuss sanctions against Belarus following the country’s recent disputed election and violent crackdown down on protesters, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Israel’s military said it conducted overnight attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after the recent launching of incendiary balloons from across the shared border with the territory.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: A Texas court ruled that Apple must pay more than $500 million in damages and interest for infringements of 4G patents held by intellectual property company PanOptis.

 

Top Story

  • United Kingdom: Economy declines by record 20% as unemployment fears grow.
    • The UK’s economy saw a 20.4% quarter-on-quarter drop in the April to June period, which is the worst decline the country’s economy has seen since records began in 1955, as the country grapples with the fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic.
    • Since the UK’s economy saw a 2.2% contraction in the first three months of the year, the latest statistics mean the British economy has been pushed into a recession for the first time since 2009.
    • The latest figures mean the UK suffered the worst economic hit from the coronavirus in Europe and among other leading economies including the US, Germany, France and Italy.
    • The UK also saw the most number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, with the official coronavirus-related death toll standing at 46,611 deaths.
    • Reporting: DPA, Reuters, WSJ, BBC, AP

 

Africa 

  • Mali: Thousands of people took to the streets of capital Bamako to once again hold protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and demand his resignation despite international mediation efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis. (Reuters)
  • Mauritius: Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said he expects compensation from the Japanese shipping company responsible for the oil spill off the island nation’s coast. (UPI)
  • Nigeria: Health officials say they received the 200 ventilators promised by US President Donald Trump in April to help the country in its fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)

 

Americas 

  • Region: Indigenous groups living at the headwaters of the Amazon river called upon European banks to stop funding oil development in the region due to the threat it poses to them and the damage it causes to the region’s fragile ecosystem. (Guardian)
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed reports of fires in the Amazon rainforest as “lies” even though data produced by his own government showed thousands of fires are surging across the region. (Reuters)
  • Colombia: The National Electoral Council launched an investigation into whether President Ivan Duque and his party violated campaign financing rules during the 2018 election. (AFP)
  • Mexico: Emilio Lozoya, the former head of state-run oil company Pemex, accused former President Enrique Pena Nieto of accepting money from scandal-marred Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during his 2012 election campaign, in what is turning into a widening corruption scandal. (DPA)
  • United States: Former Vice President Joe Biden named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for November’s presidential election. (AP)

 

Asia 

  • China: Hong Kong’s government says it will end its extradition agreements with France and Germany after the two European countries made the same move to protest shrinking freedoms in the city. (AFP)
  • India: Three people died in the city of Bangalore after police clashed with crowds protesting against an allegedly blasphemous Facebook post about the Prophet Muhammad. (BBC)
  • New Zealand: The country’s new coronavirus outbreak forced the government to delay the dissolution of parliament just five weeks ahead of the next general election which the opposition party now wants to delay. (Guardian)
  • Philippines: A group of the country’s scientists are set to meet with representatives of the Russian researchers behind Moscow’s coronavirus vaccine to discuss possible participation in clinical trials and access to its research data. (Reuters)
  • Taiwan: US Health Chief Alex Azar ended his trip to the country with a visit to late President Lee Teng-hui’s shrine where he praised his role in steering the island’s transition to democracy. (AFP)

 

Europe

  • Region: EU Foreign Ministers are set to meet this week to discuss sanctions against Belarus following the country’s recent disputed election and violent crackdown down on protesters, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said. (Reuters)
  • Belgium: The country’s capital Brussels region made it mandatory to wear face masks in public, as the country battles one of the most serious coronavirus outbreaks in the continent. (AFP)
  • Germany: The country saw its biggest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in more than three months, as Health Minister Jens Spahn warned of outbreaks in nearly all parts of the country due to holiday returnees and party-goers. (Reuters)
  • The Netherlands: Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the government plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people who have come in close contact with someone infected with the new coronavirus, as well as for travelers returning from high-risk countries. (AP)

 

Middle East

  • Israel: The military said it conducted overnight attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after the recent launching of incendiary balloons from across the shared border with the territory. (AFP)
  • Lebanon: People in Beirut held a vigil for the more than 200 victims of the huge explosion that devastated the city’s port a week ago. (BBC)
  • United Arab Emirates: The government ended its entry restriction for foreign residents that required foreign residents currently overseas to seek approval before returning to the country. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: A Texas court ruled that Apple must pay more than $500 million in damages and interest for infringements of 4G patents held by intellectual property company PanOptis. (AFP)

 

World 

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Mekkhala
      • Location: 216 nautical miles W-SW of Taipei, Taiwan
      • Wind: 80 mph
      • Movement: N-NW at 13 mph
      • Map
    • Hurricanes:
      • Tropical Depression Eleven
        • Location: 1405 miles E-SE of the Northern Leeward Islands
        • Wind: 35 mph
        • Movement: W at 13 mph
      • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
      • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
      • Global Disease Outbreaks:
        • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
          • Confirmed Cases as of 12AUG20: 20,307,862
          • Total Recovered Cases as of 12AUG20: 12,602,544
          • Deaths as of 12AUG20: 741,737
          • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 188
          • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
        • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (11th Ebola outbreak figures from Equateur Province)
          • Confirmed Cases as of 08AUG20: 75
          • Probable Cases as of 08AUG20: 4
          • Deaths as of 08AUG20: 33
          • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (13AUG20)

  • Australia: The government will release employment data.
  • Lebanon: Parliament is expected to meet and discuss the aftermath of the recent port blast and subsequent political fallout.
  • Singapore: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will visit and meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
  • Slovenia: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit and meet with President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša.

 

END

Chirp Chirp – 11 August 2020

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11 August 2020.  From Belarus to Venezuela, one only needs to watch the countries that align themselves with the decline of democracy and the ascendency of dictators. The former Iron Curtain of the Cold War is replaced by a Silicon Curtain of a Hot Peace, with new proxies & conflicts that deprive people of their rights & freedoms, until nothing is left.