25FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Lawyers representing imprisoned opposition politicians on a hunger strike in protest against the Ethiopian government expressed concern for the lives of their clients.
  • AMERICAS: US President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at boosting the country’s supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals, and semiconductors.
  • ASIA: Supporters of Myanmar’s military attacked opponents of the recent coup in downtown Yangon.
  • EUROPE: A worker at the Bundestag’s building was charged with spying for Russia after he allegedly provided floor plans of the German legislature’s building to a Russian intelligence agent.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was discharged from the hospital following a “successful surgery” to remove his appendix.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook has banned all accounts tied to Myanmar’s military and military-controlled media.

Top Story

  • Armenia: PM Pashinyan warns of coup after army demands his resignation.
    • Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is warning of an “attempted military coup” after the Armenian military issued a statement demanding Pashinyan and his cabinet’s resignation. 
    • Pashinyan also urged his supporters to take to the streets of Armenia’s capital city Yerevan, where he was later seen marching with supporters.
    • The military demanded Pashinyan’s resignation after Pashinyan’s decision earlier this week to sack the first deputy chief of the military’s General Staff
    • Before today, Pashinyan had already faced several mass protests demanding his resignation due to Armenia’s defeat in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. 
    • Russia, an ally of Armenia, expressed alarm at the developments in the country, where Russia has a military base, and urged all sides to resolve the situation peacefully and within the framework of the constitution.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, BBC, AFP

Africa

  • Region: Egypt affirmed Sudan’s proposal to internationalize arbitration in their dispute with Ethiopia over its construction of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. (AP)
  • Central African Republic: Amnesty International said 14 people, including two civilians, were killed inside a “religious site” in the town of Bambari when they were caught in the crosshairs of fighting between the army and rebel forces. (AFP)
  • Ethiopia: Lawyers representing imprisoned opposition politicians on a hunger strike in protest against the government expressed concern for the lives of their clients. (AP)
  • Libya: Human Rights Watch accused the country’s authorities of failing to bring to justice those responsible for committing war crimes during the protests that brought down Muammar Gaddafi. (AP)
  • Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least 10 people in the city of Maiduguri using rocket-propelled grenades, which officials called a “new trend”. (BBC)

Americas

  • Argentina: The country’s economy contracted at a lesser rate than expected by the government. (Reuters)
  • Bolivia: Health workers in the country are protesting a controversial law they say could limit their right to demonstrate and strike. (DPA)
  • Nicaragua: Vice President Rosario Murillo said the country has received its first coronavirus vaccines including an initial donation of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)
  • United States: President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at boosting the country’s supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals, and semiconductors. (AP)
  • Venezuela: Pro-Maduro lawmakers declared the European Union’s ambassador to Caracas “persona non grata” and gave her 72 hours to leave the country. (DPA)

Asia  

  • Region: The UN said that India’s coast guard responded to its request to aid a boat carrying Rohingya refugees that was adrift in the Andaman Sea. (AP)
  • Region: India and Pakistan have agreed to stop cross-border firing along the disputed border of Kashmir. (Reuters)
  • China: President Xi Jinping declared a “complete victory” in Beijing’s efforts to end rural poverty in the country, during a ceremony marking a signature initiative of his eight-year tenure. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Supporters of the country’s military attacked opponents of the recent coup in downtown Yangon. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: Authorities in Germany and Belgium seized a record amount of more than 23 tons of cocaine that was bound for the Netherlands. (BBC)
  • France: Authorities are set to extend the period of the country’s oldest nuclear power plants, which provide up to 70% of the country’s current electricity supply. (AFP)
  • Germany: A worker at the Bundestag’s building was charged with spying for Russia after he allegedly provided floor plans of the building to a Russian intelligence agent. (DPA)
  • Russia: One person was found guilty of treason for allegedly passing on state secrets to China and was sentenced to eight years in prison. (Reuters)
  • Ukraine: Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said the country has recorded an almost 40% increase in new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Israel: The country’s secretive Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center is reportedly undergoing its biggest construction project in recent decades. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was discharged from the hospital following a “successful surgery” to remove his appendix. (AP)
  • United Arab Emirates: Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai’s current ruler, has appealed to British authorities to reopen investigations into the kidnapping of her older sister from the UK more than 20 years ago. (BBC)
  • Yemen: The UN warned that the country will face the worst famine the world has seen for decades if donors, especially its Gulf neighbors, do not contribute to the UN’s fundraising efforts for the country. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Facebook has banned all accounts tied to Myanmar’s military and military-controlled media. (Deutsche Welle)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes
    • Indonesia
      • Mount Sinabung
        • Eruption spewed ash 1,500 meters into the sky.
        • Sourcing: DPA
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 25FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 112,629,748
      • Total recovered cases: 63,560,952
      • Deaths: 2,499,202
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University
    • Ebola Virus Disease: DR Congo (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 6
      • Deaths: 4
      • Sourcing: WHO
    • Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 8
      • Deaths: 5
      • Sourcing: WHO

Tomorrow’s Outlook (26FEB21)

  • Global: The finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 countries will hold a virtual meeting. (to 27FEB)
  • Americas: US Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp and Guatemalan Ambassador to the US Alfonso Quinones will deliver remarks at an online event organized by the Wilson Center.
  • Europe: The leaders of EU member-states will hold a virtual summit to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
  • Middle East: US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will travel to several countries in the Arabian Peninsula. (to 03MAR)
  • Middle East: The UN Security Council will hold meetings on the region.
  • China: Hong Kong’s coronavirus vaccination campaign is expected to begin.
  • Colombia: The government will create a new military command aimed at combating dissident guerrillas.
  • India: The government will release GDP data for the third quarter of the country’s economic year.
  • Japan: The government is expected to decide on extending its coronavirus state of emergency. 
  • Libya: Deadline for prime minister-designate Abdel Hamid Dbeibah to announce his Cabinet.
  • South Korea: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign is expected to begin.
  • United States: President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden will visit the state of Texas.
  • United States: An FDA advisory committee will meet to discuss a request for the emergency use authorization of Janssen Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine candidate.
  • United States: The House’s Oversight and Homeland Security Committees will hold a joint hearing on cybersecurity incidents including the attack targeting SolarWinds.
  • United States: Executives of major airlines will reportedly hold a virtual meeting with White House officials over efforts to cut carbon emissions and renewable fuel usage.

END

24FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Nigerois opposition leader Mahamane Ousmane claims he won Niger’s recent presidential election despite official results showing that he lost the vote by more than 11 percentage points.
  • AMERICAS: US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a virtual meeting and pledged to work together to counter China and address climate change.
  • ASIA: Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi canceled a trip to Myanmar following opposition to the planned visit due to the recent coup in Myanmar.
  • EUROPE: A German court sentenced a Syrian citizen to four and a half years in prison for his role in the Syrian government’s torture regime, marking the first verdict of its kind worldwide.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said he discussed developing bilateral relations and continuing cooperation to fight Daesh in a phone call with US President Joe Biden.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Leading tech companies told Congress that the recent months-long breach of corporate and government networks was so sophisticated and labor-intensive that it was likely that a country was responsible for it, with all the evidence pointing to Russia.

Top Story

  • Global: First free COVAX vaccines arrive in Ghana.
    • Ghana became the first country in the world to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative.
    • Ghana received a shipment of 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India through the COVAX initiative.
    • In a joint statement, the WHO and UNICEF called the delivery of the vaccines a “momentous occasion.”
    • The COVAX initiative pools together money from wealthy countries and nonprofits to equitably distribute coronavirus vaccines across the world for free.
    • The initiative aims to deliver about two billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to several countries across the world by the end of 2021.
    • Reporting: AFP, Reuters, WaPo, AP, BBC, NYT, WSJ

Africa

  • DR Congo: Italy has asked the United Nations to investigate the killing of its ambassador to the country. (AFP)
  • Niger: Opposition leader Mahamane Ousmane claims he won the country’s recent presidential election despite official results showing that he lost the vote by more than 11 percentage points. (AFP)
  • Senegal: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign began with the administration of Chinese pharma company Sinopharm’s vaccine. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: The UN said that the number of people facing hunger in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua has nearly quadrupled in the last two years. (Reuters)
  • Region: US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a virtual meeting and pledged to work together to counter China and address climate change. (Reuters)
  • Ecuador: Authorities said escape attempts, fights between rival gangs and riots across prisons in three of the country’s cities resulted in the deaths of 62 inmates. (AP)
  • United States: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington will compete for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council. (AP)
  • Venezuela: Pro-Maduro lawmakers called for the expulsion of the EU Ambassador to Caracas following the EU’s decision to impose sanctions on 19 officials. (AFP)

Asia  

  • Region: Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi canceled a trip to Myanmar following opposition to the planned visit due to the recent coup in Myanmar. (Deutsche Welle)
  • Region: China called the Japan-US mutual security pact a product of the Cold War after the US criticized China’s deployment of coast guard vessels to Japanese-claimed territorial waters over the weekend. (AP)
  • Malaysia: Lawmakers and rights groups are demanding that the government explain its decision to violate a court order and deport over a thousand Myanmar migrants. (AP)
  • Nepal: Embattled Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s aide said he would not resign but face a floor test in parliament instead, a day after the Supreme Court rejected his decision to dissolve parliament and call for early elections. (Reuters)
  • Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the country is in discussions with foreign countries over the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, calling it a necessary step to enable the resumption of international travel. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Germany: A court in the city of Koblenz sentenced a Syrian citizen to four and a half years in prison for his role in the Syrian government’s torture regime, marking the first verdict of its kind worldwide. (DPA)
  • Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it was still too early to ease the government’s partial coronavirus lockdown due to low vaccination rates and a recent increase in coronavirus infections. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Amnesty International stripped opposition politician Alexei Navalny of his status as a “prisoner of conscience” after the organization received complaints highlighting xenophobic comments made by Navalny in the past. (BBC)
  • Spain: The last public statue in the country of former dictator Francisco Franco was removed in the city of Melilla. (Guardian)

Middle East

  • Iran: UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, accused the government of misleading denials and inadequate investigations following the military’s accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in January 2020. (RFE-RL)
  • Iraq: Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said he discussed developing bilateral relations and continuing cooperation to fight Daesh in a phone call with US President Joe Biden. (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia: The value of the country’s imports from Turkey declined to their lowest level in at least a year due to an informal boycott of Turkish goods by the country’s businessmen and retailers. (Reuters)
  • United Arab Emirates: The government plans to set up new field hospitals in a bid to boost the capacity of the country’s healthcare sector. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: Health authorities in the country’s government-controlled regions urged hospitals to prepare for a possible second wave of coronavirus and take steps to prevent the virus’ spread. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: Leading tech companies told Congress that the recent months-long breach of corporate and government networks was so sophisticated and labor-intensive that it was likely that a country was responsible for it, with all the evidence pointing to Russia. (AP)

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 (as of 24FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 112,184,238
      • Total recovered cases: 63,345,471
      • Deaths: 2,487,155
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (25FEB21)

  • Global: The International Institute for Strategic Studies will launch its annual assessment of the military capabilities of 171 countries.
  • Global: The US could release an intelligence report that reportedly claims Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Europe: The leaders of EU member-states will hold a virtual summit to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and other issues. (to 26FEB)
  • Europe: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: Eurozone finance ministers will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calvino will speak at the European Parliament.
  • Middle East: US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will travel to several countries in the Arabian peninsula. (to 03MAR)
  • China: Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will hold a press conference.
  • Hungary: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit and meet with his counterpart Peter Szijjarto and Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
  • Kuwait: National Day – 1950
  • Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari will meet with state governors to discuss fuel pricing.
  • Russia: Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov will visit and meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.
  • Syria: The UN Security Council will hold meetings to discuss the situation in the country.
  • United States: The government will extend its National Emergency with respect to Libya.
  • United States: President Joe Biden will address a National Governors Association meeting.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on the nomination of Katherine Tai’s nomination to be the next US Trade Representative.
  • United States: The Bureau of Economic Analysis will publish GDP data for Q4 2020.
  • United States: Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera will launch an online studio interview program hosted by libertarian broadcaster Stephen Kent, ahead of a planned launch of its own center-right news platform in the country sometime later this year.

END

23FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Rwandan Hutu rebels rejected accusations that they were responsible for the killing of the Italian ambassador to DR Congo, and instead accused the DR Congo and Rwandan armies of the killing.
  • AMERICAS: The US arrested Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
  • ASIA: The UN said civilian casualties in Afghanistan have escalated sharply since peace talks started last year, as negotiators met for the first time after weeks of inaction.
  • EUROPE: At the European Court of Human Rights, Ukraine accused Russia of conducting targeted assassinations of “perceived opponents.” 
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s government officially began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, as Tehran continues with its bid to pressure the US into lifting sanctions while restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook will restore news pages for the social media website’s Australian users later this week after the Australian government agreed to amend its landmark social media news content regulations.

 

Top Story

  • Georgia: Police arrest opposition leader, storm opposition party offices.
    • Police in Georgia arrested top opposition leader Nika Melia and raided his party’s headquarters, deepening the country’s recent political crisis.
    • Opposition politicians have called for large scale demonstrations across the country in response.
    • The arrest and raid take place just days after Giorgi Gakharia resigned as Prime Minister in protest of the plan to arrest Melia, which has garnered swift condemnation from the US and UK embassies in Georgia.
    • Melia’s United National Movement opposition party is accused of inciting violence at street protests in June 2019, but Melia and his party say the accusations are politically motivated.
    • Georgia’s political crisis first started in October 2020 when the ruling Georgian Dream party won parliamentary elections, prompting the opposition to claim it was rigged and refuse to take their seats in Parliament until a new election was held.
    • Reporting: AP, AFP, Reuters, WaPo, Deutsche Welle

 

Africa

  • Region: Rwandan Hutu rebels rejected accusations that they were responsible for the killing of the Italian ambassador to DR Congo and instead accused the DR Congo and Rwandan armies of the killing. (AFP)
  • Region: Around fifteen Ethiopian UN peacekeepers of Tigrayan origin have sought asylum in South Sudan. (AP)
  • Niger: Ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum extended his lead in the country’s presidential election runoff, according to the latest data from the election commission. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: The government accused the United Arab Emirates of fueling the opposition’s protests amid a political standoff over delayed elections. (VOA)
  • South Africa: The country’s unemployment rate rose to a record high of 32.5%. (Reuters)

 

Americas

  • Region: The US arrested Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. (WaPo)
  • Canada: Parliament approved a non-binding resolution that declared China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region as genocide. (Reuters)
  • Haiti: President Jovenel Moise defended his track record at the UN Security Council, as the US called upon him to end his era of “rule by decree”. (AFP)
  • Mexico: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized government audits of some infrastructure projects, calling the audits “exaggerated” and saying, “Their data are wrong, I have other facts”. (AP
  • United States: More than 500,000 people have died from the new coronavirus in the country. (Reuters)

 

Asia  

  • Region: Malaysia’s government defied a court order and returned more than 1,000 Myanmar citizens to their country, despite the ongoing unrest in Myanmar. (AFP)
  • Afghanistan: The UN said civilian casualties in the country have escalated sharply since peace talks started last year, as negotiators met for the first time after weeks of inaction. (Reuters)
  • China: Hong Kong announced plans to bar from office anyone deemed a national security threat or who were disloyal to Beijing. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: The country’s new junta called for energetic efforts to revive an ailing economy amid increasing pressure from foreign countries to cease its violent crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy protesters. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: Seoul said it reached an agreement with Iran to potentially unfreeze billions of dollars of blocked oil money but signalled that the agreement was effectively subject to US approval. (AFP)

 

Europe

  • Region: At the European Court of Human Rights, Ukraine accused Russia of conducting targeted assassinations of “perceived opponents.” (AFP)
  • Region: Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said the European Union may impose further sanctions on Belarus following Minsk’s decision to imprison two journalists for filming protests. (Reuters)
  • Armenia: Thousands of people marched in capital city Yerevan to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian for his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. (RFE-RL)

 

Middle East

  • Region: The US State Department said Washington would hold Iran accountable for its Iraqi proxies after rocket fire hit the US embassy in Baghdad, but insisted it would not be drawn into an escalation with Iran. (AFP)
  • Iran: The government officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, as Tehran continues with its bid to pressure the US into lifting its sanctions on Tehran while restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: Former oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani, who was behind a 1973 oil embargo, has died at the age of 91. (Reuters)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country’s state-owned arms manufacturer EDGE said it expects to be involved in the supply chain of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 war plane if the planes are sold to the country. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Facebook will restore news pages for the social media website’s Australian users later this week after the Australian government agreed to amend its landmark social media news content regulations. (Guardian)

 

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 (as of 23FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 111,790,695
      • Total recovered cases: 63,082,216
      • Deaths: 2,476,128
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (24FEB21)

  • Global: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will address the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament.
  • Americas: The heads of government of CARICOM member states will meet for a CARICOM summit. 
  • Europe: Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto will visit NATO headquarters and meet with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană.
  • Middle East: US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will travel to several countries in the Arabian peninsula. (to 03MAR)
  • Central African Republic: The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in the country.
  • China: Hong Kong Finance Minister Paul Chan Mo-po will present the budget to the city’s legislature.
  • Estonia: Independence Day – 1918
  • Germany: Authorities will release GDP data for Q4 2020.
  • Kuwait: The country will close most of its land and sea borders. (to 30MAR)
  • Malaysia: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign will begin.
  • Mexico: Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez will visit and meet with his counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • Niger: Results of the country’s runoff presidential election, which will mark the country’s first ever transfer of power through voting, are scheduled to be released.
  • Pakistan: Afghanistan’s special envoy for Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai will visit and meet with government officials to discuss negotiations with the Taliban.
  • Russia: Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov will visit and meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. (to 25FEB)
  • Russia: The military will deploy a new S-400 missile battalion to Sakhalin.
  • South Africa: Finance Minister Tito Titus Mboweni will present the budget to parliament.
  • Spain: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will address parliament over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sri Lanka: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit and meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. 
  • United States: President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on the economy. 
  • United States: Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will visit and is reportedly expected to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • United States: The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for William Burns to be the next CIA director. 
  • United States: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on development and diplomacy across the world.

 

END

22FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum holds a small early lead in the second round of Niger’s presidential election, according to electoral commission data.
  • AMERICAS: Conservative Guillermo Lasso will face leftist economist Andres Arauz in the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election that has been marred by fraud allegations.
  • ASIA: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the US to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and what he called an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector.
  • EUROPE: The foreign ministers of EU member-states are set to finalize sanctions against those responsible for the crackdown on Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his supporters, as well as those responsible for the recent coup in Myanmar.
  • MIDDLE EAST: International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said Iran’s government will end the agency’s right to make snap inspections of the country’s nuclear sites but has otherwise agreed to extend UN inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites for three months.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Australia’s Health Ministry will no longer advertise on Facebook in the latest escalation of the spat between the government and the social media platform.

 

Top Story

  • Myanmar: Thousands of protesters gather despite military warning.
    • Thousands of people have taken to the streets of major cities across Myanmar to participate in a general strike against the recent military coup in the country.
    • The thousands of protesters are taking part in the general strike in defiance of a thinly veiled threat to use force by the country’s new ruling military junta, which followed the death of at least two protesters on Sunday.
    • Business owners are also participating in the general strike, along with workers and members of the general public.
    • Meanwhile, Indonesia reportedly seeks to call upon ASEAN to facilitate dialogue between Myanmar’s ruling junta and protesters and is reportedly pushing Myanmar’s southeast Asian neighbors to diplomatically push the junta on its pledge to organize new elections.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, AP, AFP, Guardian, Reuters2

 

Africa

  • Niger: Ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum holds a small early lead in the second round of the country’s presidential election, according to electoral commission data. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: The regional governments of Jubaland and Puntland said President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, whose four-year term expired this month, should not be involved in any discussions aimed at ending a dispute that caused a delay in choosing the country’s next head of state. (Reuters)
  • Tanzania: President John Magufuli seemed to finally acknowledge the existence of the coronavirus in the country after months of claiming that the virus was not an issue, as he urged citizens to take precautionary measures, including wearing locally produced face masks. (AP)

 

Americas

  • Argentina: The country’s drug regulator authorized the emergency use of Chinese pharma company Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: The country’s securities industry watchdog will reportedly begin an investigation into the newly-announced change of CEO at state-controlled oil company Petrobras. (Reuters)
  • Ecuador: Conservative Guillermo Lasso will face leftist economist Andres Arauz in the second round of the country’s presidential election that has been marred by fraud allegations. (AFP

 

Asia  

  • Afghanistan: The Taliban rejected any potential of US troops withdrawal from the country. (DPA)
  • China: Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the US to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and what he called an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector. (Reuters)
  • India: Authorities imposed lockdowns and other coronavirus restrictions in certain regions of the country after a new surge in virus cases follows months of steady decline. (AP)
  • Indonesia: The government issued new regulations on investment, including the removal of some restrictions on foreign investment, in an effort to boost the country’s pandemic-hit economy. (Reuters)

 

Europe

  • Region: The foreign ministers of EU member-states will finalize sanctions against those responsible for the crackdown on Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his supporters, as well as those responsible for the recent coup in Myanmar. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said the government reached an updated agreement with US firm Novavax for 15 million coronavirus vaccines. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a four-part plan to lift the country’s coronavirus lockdown. (BBC)

 

Middle East

  • Iran: International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said the government will end the agency’s right to make snap inspections of the country’s nuclear sites but has otherwise agreed to extend UN inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites for three months. (BBC)
  • Israel: Authorities closed all of the country’s Mediterranean beaches due to an offshore oil spill. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: State-owned arms firm Saudi Arabian Military Industries said it aimed to generate an annual revenue of $5 billion by 2030, as part of a drive to increase domestic weapons production. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Australia’s Health Ministry will no longer advertise on Facebook in the latest escalation of the spat between the government and the social media platform. (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 (as of 22FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 111,391,447
      • Total recovered cases: 62,856,601
      • Deaths: 2,466,873
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (23FEB21)

  • Global: Iran’s deadline for the US to lift sanctions on Tehran, failing which Tehran will ban short-notice inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency in a breach of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.
  • Global: The fifth session of the UN’s Environment Assembly will be held.
  • Global: The UN Security Council will hold an open debate on climate and security issues.
  • Global: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to address the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Americas: The heads of government of CARICOM member states will meet for a CARICOM summit. (to 24FEB)
  • Americas: US President Joe Biden is expected to hold his first bilateral meeting since taking office, holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Asia: Malaysia is expected to deport 1,200 Myanmar nationals back to their country, amid the ongoing unrest in Myanmar over a recent military coup.
  • Europe: The Ministers for European Affairs of EU member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Brunei: National Day – 1984
  • Guyana: Republic Day – 1984
  • Japan: Birthday of Emperor Naruhito – 1960
  • Mauritius: Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will visit.
  • Sri Lanka: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit and meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. (to 24FEB)
  • Sudan: The date to which the corruption trial of the country’s autocratic former leader Omar al-Bashir was adjourned. 
  • United States: The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to be the country’s next Attorney General.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • United States: The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will consider the nomination of Deb Haaland to be the country’s next Secretary of the Interior.
  • United States: The Senate’s Homeland Security and Rules and Administration committees will hold a joint hearing over the recent storming of Capitol Hill.
  • United States: Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers are expected to testify to the House Commerce subcommittee.

 

END

21FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Algerian authorities released at least 35 pro-democracy activists from jail in the past 24 hours under presidential pardons given ahead of the second anniversary of a popular uprising, rights groups said.
  • AMERICAS: Former US President Donald Trump announced that he will speak before an audience next week for the first time since his presidency ended, local media reported. 
  • ASIA: Protesters gathered across Myanmar a day after security forces killed two people at a demonstration in the country’s second-biggest city, and a funeral was also held for a young woman killed earlier by police. 
  • EUROPE: Russia would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership were affected by painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels reported. 
  • MIDDLE EAST: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog met with Iran’s atomic chief ahead of plans to partly suspend United Nations inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, state TV reported.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Facebook has deleted the Myanmar military’s main page for breaking its standards, banning the incitement of violence, as police arrested a well-known actor wanted for opposing the military coup.

 

Top Story

  • Global: Countries across the world are gaining traction in purchasing vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • S. Korea to start administering 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine this month.
    • The Senegalese government began to distribute the first doses of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine across the country for the imminent vaccination campaign, Senegalese Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr announced.
    • Malaysia moved up its COVID-19 inoculation drive by two days as the first vaccines arrived in the Southeast Asian nation, with hopes of achieving 80% herd immunity within the year.
    • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, calling the start of the nation’s vaccination program a “massive step” that will enable it to return to normal. 
    • A shipment of 150,000 COVID-19 vaccines created by AstraZeneca and Oxford University arrived at Belgrade airport, making Serbia the first country in the Western Balkan region to get supplies of the vaccine.
    • The British government announced that it seeks to give every adult in the country the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target.
    • Reporting: YNAXinhua, Reuters, BBCReuters, AP

 

Africa

  • Algeria: Authorities released at least 35 pro-democracy activists from jail in the past 24 hours under presidential pardons given ahead of the second anniversary of a popular uprising, rights groups said. (AFP)  
  • Ethiopia: The nation recorded 841 additional COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 151,857, the country’s Ministry of Health reported. (Xinhua)  
  • Libya: More than 200 illegal migrants, including women and children, were saved off the coast, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported. (Xinhua)  

 

Americas

  • Argentina: The new health minister took office in the aftermath of the resignation of her predecessor who was caught helping friends skip the line for Covid-19 vaccinations. (AFP)  
  • United States:  President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, says the Justice Department must make sure laws are “fairly and faithfully enforced” and all Americans’ rights are protected. (AP
  • United States:  Former US President Donald Trump announced that he will speak before an audience next week for the first time since his presidency ended, local media reported. (DPA)  

 

Asia  

  • Myanmar: Protesters gathered across the nation a day after security forces killed two people at a demonstration in the country’s second-biggest city, and a funeral was also held for a young woman killed earlier by police. (AP
  • Myanmar: The military junta has summoned a notorious infantry unit in Mandalay, where two people were killed, in what campaigners described as a worrying escalation of the crackdown on peaceful protests against the junta’s rule. (FT)  
  • South Korea: The nation’s daily new COVID-19 cases stayed below 500 for the second straight day, but health authorities remained wary of a potential flare-up in virus infections amid eased social distancing rules. (YNA
  • Taiwan: The government reported that it had confirmed three cases of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil and that all arrivals from that country would undergo centralized quarantine this week. (Reuters)  

 

Europe

  • France: The mayor of Nice called for a weekend lockdown to stop an increase of visitors and reduce a sharp spike in COVID-19 infections. (Reuters)  
  • Germany: Berlin’s newly opened airport BER will shut one of its terminals due to the sharp fall in passenger traffic caused by the pandemic. (DPA
  • Russia: The nation would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership were affected by painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels reported. (Reuters)  
  • Turkey: The president says mutual interests with the United States outweigh their differences and has expressed a desire for more cooperation with the Biden administration. (AP)  

 

Middle East

  • Iran: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog met with the atomic chief ahead of plans to partly suspend United Nations inspections of the nation’s nuclear facilities, state TV reported. (AP)
  • Israel: The rollout of ‘green passports’ in Israel will allow vaccinated citizens to visit gyms, swimming pools, and hotels. (Telegraph)
  • Israel: The Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is overwhelmingly effective after the second jab is administered, the Health Ministry reported. (DPA)  

 

Tech & Communications

  • Social Media: Facebook has deleted the Myanmar military’s main page for breaking its standards, banning the incitement of violence, as police arrested a well-known actor wanted for opposing the military coup. (The Guardian)  

 

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Storm Guambe
      • Location:28.6S 37.6E
      • Movement: SE
      • Wind:75 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Dujuan
      • Location:9.1N 127.8E
      • Movement: WNW
      • Wind:40 mph
      • Map 
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 21FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 111,133,590
      • Total recovered cases: 62,674,761
      • Deaths: 2,461,688 
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (22FEB21)

  • Global: Secretary of State Blinken participates in EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
  • Global: U.N. Human Rights Council tri-annual session.
  • Global: United Nations World Food Programme Executive Board First Regular Session.
  • Asia: Takeshima Day on islets contested between Japan and South Korea.
  • Europe: European Semester Conference. (virtual)
  • United States: Senate Judiciary Committee begins considering Merrick Garland to be AG.

 

END

20FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: African countries have recorded 3,799,029 COVID-19 cases, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) announced.
  • AMERICAS: Six more people connected with the extremist Oath Keepers group have been arrested and charged for their role in last month’s Capitol riots, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia reported.
  • ASIA: Four retired Taiwanese military intelligence officers — including a major general — have been indicted for spying for China, prosecutors announced.
  • EUROPE: Gazprom has advised against fixating on specific dates for completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe, but declared they are sure that the project will be completed.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The United States plans no additional actions in response to pressure from Tehran ahead of possible talks on a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the White House said on February 19.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The lander and the rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have been switched to the dormant mode for the lunar night after working successfully for the 27th lunar day, the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of China National Space Administration reported.

Top Story

  • United States: The federal government is continuing to deal with Texas’s recovery from recent harsh winter weather. 
    • US President Joe Biden is set to enforce a major disaster for Texas, paving the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts for the state.
    • At least 59 deaths across the U.S. have been blamed on the recent winter weather.
    • More than 140,000 homes and businesses are still without power in Texas.
    • Texas Governor Greg Abbott blamed the state’s widespread power outages on the grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), in a press conference.
    • Reporting: BBC, APBloomberg, CBS,

Africa

  • Region: African countries have recorded 3,799,029 COVID-19 cases, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) announced. (Xinhua)
  • Eswatini: King Mswati III said he had recovered from COVID-19 after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen provided antiviral medication to deal with the illness. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: The African Union (AU) called on the nation’s political class to act in the interests of the country by avoiding narrow partisan political interests. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • Mexico: The first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 will come to the nation, the deputy health minister, Hugo López Gatell, announced at a news conference. (Reuters)
  • United States: A Russian man has been charged in California with attempting to aid a foreign terrorist organization, authorities reported. (AP)
  • United States: Six more people connected with the far-right Oath Keepers group have been arrested and charged for their role in last month’s Capitol riots, the Attorney for the District of Columbia reported. (DPA)

Asia  

  • Afghanistan: Three separate explosions in the capital city of Kabul killed at least five people and wounded two others, a police official reported, during a surge in violence in the war-torn country. (AP)
  • Indonesia: Severe flooding across several areas in the capital Jakarta forced more than a thousand people to flee their homes, with the country’s meteorology agency warning the conditions were set to persist for the next week. (Reuters)
  • New Zealand: The country launched its Covid-19 vaccination program but warned the initial rollout was only the beginning of a long battle against the pandemic. (AFP)
  • Taiwan: Four retired military intelligence officers — including a major general — have been indicted for spying for China, prosecutors announced. (AFP)

Europe

  • Region: Gazprom has advised against fixating on specific dates for the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe but declared they are absolutely sure that the project will be completed. (Interfax)
  • Spain: Protests broke out again in several cities over the controversial arrest of a famous rapper who was sentenced to nine months in prison for insulting the monarchy and praising violence. (DPA)
  • Russia: The nation approved a third COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin stated on state TV. (Reuters)
  • Russia: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny lost his appeal against what he said was a politically-motivated decision to imprison him for nearly three years. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has told the BBC that the country should donate vaccines to developing countries now rather than waiting until it has a surplus. (BBC)

Middle East

  • Iran: The United States plans no additional actions in response to pressure from Tehran ahead of possible negotiations on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the White House said on February 19. (RFE)
  • Syria: After ten years of civil war, the nation is currently suffering from its worst hunger crisis, according to the German aid organization Welthungerhilfe. (DPA)
  • Yemen: The country’s Saudi-backed government accused Houthi rebels of using civilians as human shields in their renewed attacks against Marib, its last major stronghold in the north. (AFP)

Tech & Communications

  • Space: The lander and the rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have been switched to the dormant mode for the lunar night after working successfully for the 27th lunar day, the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of China National Space Administration reported. (Xinhua)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Guambe
      • Location:25.7S 36.3E
      • Movement:S
      • Wind:85 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 20FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 110,770,701
      • Total recovered cases: 62,383,815
      • Deaths: 2,453,381
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (21FEB21)

  • Iran: IAEA chief reportedly visits the nation for technical discussions.
  • Laos: Parliamentary elections.
  • Niger: Presidential and legislative elections second round.
  • Norway: King Harald turns 84.
  • Zimbabwe: Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day.

END

19FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Gunfire broke out in Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu as government forces clashed with opposition supporters angry over a delay in elections.
  • AMERICAS: US President Joe Biden is set to outline details of his administration’s foreign policy at a G7 summit and a Munich Security Conference event.
  • ASIA: Grocery store worker Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who was shot in the head by police during a protest, became the first casualty of Myanmar’s ongoing anti-coup protests.
  • EUROPE: French President Emmanuel Macron said the US and European countries should send up to 5% of their coronavirus vaccine supplies to developing countries.
  • MIDDLE EAST: General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the US Army Central Command (Centcom), said Washington is looking at “fallback” bases in Saudi Arabia to prevent US troops in the region from becoming targets in the event of tensions with Iran.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Hong Kong’s government called for the city’s public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong to be more closely supervised by government-appointed advisers, in a move which critics say is the city government’s latest attempt to limit freedom of the press.

Top Story

  • Global: US says ready to meet with Iran and world powers over 2015 nuclear deal.
    • The Biden administration signaled it was willing to participate in discussions with Iran and world powers over salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
    • The US State Department said, “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program.”
    • Such an invitation has not been sent out by the European Union yet, but one is expected shortly after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with the foreign ministers of the UK, Germany, and France.
    • The Biden administration also backed away from a Trump administration effort to restore United Nations sanctions on Iran and eased the stringent travel restrictions for Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.
    • Following the developments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the Biden administration to lift US sanctions “imposed, reimposed or re-labeled by Trump”, after which Tehran would “immediately reverse all remedial measures”.
    • Iran has previously threatened to ban short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections next week if the US does not lift sanctions.
    • Reporting: AP, Reuters, DPA, BBC, NYT, WSJ 

Africa

  • Region: The African Union plans to setup a fund to finance infrastructure projects across the continent. (Reuters)
  • Algeria: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune dissolved the lower house of parliament and called for early legislative elections. (Reuters)
  • Somalia: Gunfire broke out in capital city Mogadishu as government forces clashed with opposition supporters angry over a delay in elections. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Canada: The country’s main opposition party has called for the House of Commons to declare that China is committing genocide in its Xinjiang region. (AP)
  • Brazil: The country surpassed 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases, amid a vaccine shortage in a number of cities. (Reuters)
  • Guatemala: Thousands of people marched on the capital Guatemala City demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei for a mismanaged response to the coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
  • United States: President Joe Biden is set to outline details of his administration’s foreign policy at a G7 summit and a Munich Security Conference event. (AP)
  • Venezuela: Authorities have started administering doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to healthcare workers. (AFP)

Asia  

  • Region: China revealed for the first time that four Chinese soldiers had died during a bloody Himalayan border skirmish with Indian troops in June 2020. (Reuters)
  • Region: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Japan, Australia, and India “agreed on the need to swiftly restore the democratic system” in Myanmar, according to Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Grocery store worker Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who was shot in the head by police during a protest, became the first casualty of the country’s ongoing anti-coup protests. (Guardian)

Europe

  • France: President Emmanuel Macron said the US and European countries should send up to 5% of their coronavirus vaccine supplies to developing countries. (BBC)
  • Netherlands: The government is appealing to judges to overturn a recent court order that scrapped the government’s coronavirus curfew. (AFP)
  • Spain: Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the government will confront all forms of violence after protests over the arrest of a rapper for posting controversial tweets. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Region: General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the US Army Central Command (Centcom), said Washington is looking at “fallback” bases in Saudi Arabia to prevent US troops in the region from becoming targets in the event of tensions with Iran. (AFP)
  • Region: Russia mediated a prisoner swap between Israel and Syria after an Israeli woman was detained by Syrian authorities after crossing the border between the two countries. (BBC)
  • Yemen: The International Committee of the Red Cross is “extremely concerned” by the recent increase in violence between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and government forces in the oil-rich Marib province. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Hong Kong’s government called for the city’s public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong to be more closely supervised by government-appointed advisers, in a move which critics say is the city government’s latest attempt to limit freedom of the press. (NYT)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Dujuan
      • Location: 787 nautical miles SE of Manila, Philippines
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: NW at 5 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 18FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,987,995
      • Total recovered cases: 61,945,099
      • Deaths: 2,432,430
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (20FEB21)

  • Global: The UN’s World Day of Social Justice – 2008
  • Europe: The 9th trilateral Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey foreign ministers’ meeting will be held.
  • Europe: European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will visit Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss migration issues.
  • Iran: International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Grossi will visit.
  • Maldives: Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will visit and meet with his counterpart Abdulla Shahid. (to 21FEB)
  • Mexico: The government’s first order of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine could arrive in the country.
  • Russia: Opposition politician Alexei Navalny will appeal against the parole violation and defamation charges levied against him.
  • Thailand: Parliament could hold a no-confidence vote against Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and nine members of his Cabinet.

END

18FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Together, Guinea’s government and the WHO said Guinea will receive more than 11,000 Ebola vaccines this weekend.
  • AMERICAS: Mexico summoned the US chargé d’affaires to Mexico City John Creamer after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered fuel to remain within Texas as it deals with a freeze that has overwhelmed its energy grid.
  • ASIA: Myanmar’s Pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets in the city of Mandalay after security forces attempted to intimidate the public overnight.
  • EUROPE: Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned over plans to arrest top opposition leader Nika Melia.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The United Arab Emirates is reportedly partially dismantling its military base in the east African country of Eritrea.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: A Belarus court sentenced two television journalists with the Poland-based Belsat TV to two years in prison for filming a demonstration against Belarus’ embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Top Story

  • Australia: Facebook blocks news access for Australian users.
    • Facebook is no longer allowing its users in Australia to view or share news articles on the site due to a controversial new law being considered by the Australian government.
    • Facebook was criticized for the move by news producers and politicians and also human rights advocates, as Facebook seemed to have removed not just news articles for its Australian users but also health pages, emergency safety warnings and welfare network pages.
    • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was one of the politicians to criticize Facebook’s move, saying “Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing.”  
    • The dispute between Facebook and the Australian government could be a test for the future of online publishing worldwide, as governments elsewhere are closely monitoring the law as a test case for a global push to force tech giants into sharing revenues with content providers.
    • Reporting: BBC, AP, Reuters, DPA, WaPo

Africa

  • Region: Sudan recalled its envoy to Ethiopia for consultations amid a growing border dispute between the two countries that has resulted in a military buildup along their shared border. (AP)
  • Cameroon: Former Anglophone rebels are protesting against what they said were poor conditions at the government’s rehabilitation centers for rebels. (VOA)
  • Guinea: Together, Guinea’s government and the WHO said Guinea will receive more than 11,000 Ebola vaccines this weekend. (Reuters)

Americas

  • Region: Mexico summoned the US chargé d’affaires to Mexico City John Creamer after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered fuel to remain within Texas as it deals with a freeze that has overwhelmed its energy grid. (Reuters)
  • Region: Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro said he was open to dialogue with the new US Biden Administration, even as he accused six US oil executives jailed in Caracas of spying for the CIA. (AP)
  • Colombia: A special team will investigate 416 human remains found in a cemetery in Puerto Berrio to determine if they were victims of the country’s internal conflicts. (AFP)
  • United States: Life expectancy dropped by one year in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

Asia  

  • China: Hong Kong’s High Court again rejected another bail application submitted by media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai. (Reuters)
  • India: Farmers continue to protest the government’s new agriculture laws, this time by blocking railway lines in parts of the country. (AP)
  • Myanmar: Pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets in the city of Mandalay after security forces attempted to intimidate the public overnight. (AP)
  • Taiwan: BioNTech said it still intends to supply the country with its coronavirus vaccines after the country’s health minister complained about the firm withdrawing from a deal, possibly due to Chinese pressure. (Reuters)

Europe

  • Region: The Defense Ministers of NATO member-states will discuss the potential end of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. (DPA)
  • Finland: The US State Department approved the sale of multiple launch rocket systems to the country. (UPI)
  • Georgia: Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned over plans to arrest top opposition leader Nika Melia. (AFP)
  • Netherlands: Lawmakers are set to debate a new, hastily drafted piece of legislation to provide backing to the government’s coronavirus curfew order after a judge ordered the measure scrapped earlier this week. (AP)

Middle East

  • Iran: Senior diplomats from the US, the UK, Germany, and France will hold a virtual meeting to discuss the next steps in saving the 2015 nuclear deal with the country. (DPA)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Biden over the phone for the first time since the President took office. (NYT)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country is reportedly partially dismantling its military base in the east African country of Eritrea. (AP)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: A Belarus court sentenced two television journalists with the Poland-based Belsat TV to two years in prison for filming a demonstration against Belarus’ embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko. (BBC)

World

  • Cyclones
    • Tropical Storm Dujuan
      • Location: 787 nautical miles SE of Manila, Philippines
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: NW at 5 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes
    • Vanuatu
      • Location: 147 km SSW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
      • Magnitude: 6.2
      • Depth: 10 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 18FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,987,995
      • Total recovered cases: 61,945,099
      • Deaths: 2,432,430
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (19FEB21)

  • Global: The leaders of G7 countries will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Global: The Munich Security Conference will hold a special virtual one-off broadcast of remarks by global leaders, including US President Joe Biden, due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
  • Global: The EU-Tajikistan cooperation council will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: The 9th trilateral Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey foreign ministers’ meeting will be held. (to 20FEB)
  • Europe: European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will visit Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss migration issues. (to 20FEB)
  • Finland: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will visit and meet with her counterpart Sanna Marin and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
  • Somalia: Protests against President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo could potentially be held.
  • Tunisia: Parliament will debate approving a bill under which all liability for potential complications suffered by coronavirus vaccine recipients will be held by the government. 
  • United States: The country is expected to officially rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
  • United States: The government will start processing some asylum applications.

END

17FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: The trial of Rwandan government critic Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving the lives of more than a thousand people he sheltered at his hotel during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, has started.
  • AMERICAS: Millions of people in the US state of Texas continue to deal with electricity outages following a historic winter storm that has killed 21 people so far.
  • ASIA: A US Navy warship conducted a new freedom of navigation operation near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.
  • EUROPE: Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said the Croatian government is talking with Russia about potentially importing Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, without waiting for the EU to approve the vaccine.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Turkish officials detained five Russian citizens and one Libyan citizen at Syria’s border with Turkey after the six people, one of whom is a suspected member of the Islamic State, attempted to leave Syria and enter Turkey.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Cambodian government is setting-up a national internet gateway which activists say will create a China-style firewall around the country’s internet and result in the suppression of freedom of expression.

 

Top Story

  • Myanmar: Large protests against military coup continue.
    • Pro-democracy protesters are blocking key roads across the city of Yangon, in an apparent new protest tactic, as public anger and rejection of the recent military coup in the country continues.
    • These latest demonstrations are reportedly the largest since the military overthrew the country’s elected government earlier this month.
    • The UN’s Myanmar rapporteur, Tom Andrews, expressed worries of potential violence against protesters after reports emerged of soldiers being transported to Yangon, saying “In the past, such troop movements preceded killings, disappearances, and detentions on a mass scale”.
    • However, there have been no reports of any serious trouble so far today.
    • Apart from Yangon, which is Myanmar’s largest city, there are also reports of protests being held in the city of Mandalay and the small central town of Khin U.
    • Reporting: Reuters, BBC, AP, AFP, Guardian, CNN

 

Africa

  • Central African Republic: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended an increase of nearly 3,700 UN peacekeeping personnel in the country. (AP)
  • Nigeria: A group of gunmen reportedly kidnapped hundreds of schoolchildren in the central town of Kagara. (AFP)
  • Rwanda: The trial of government critic Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving the lives of more than a thousand people he sheltered at his hotel during the country’s 1994 genocide, has started. (NYT)
  • Zimbabwe: Authorities said the coronavirus variant first discovered in neighboring South Africa now accounted for more than 60% of the active coronavirus cases in the country. (BBC)

 

Americas

  • Brazil: Congressman Daniel Silveira, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, was arrested after he posted a video online insulting and threatening Supreme Court justices. (AFP)
  • Ecuador: The National Electoral Council suspended its recount of the first round of the country’s recent presidential election. The council failed to reach a majority decision regarding left-wing indigenous candidate Yaku Perez’s request for a vote recount. (AFP)
  • Mexico: The National Energy Control office said that 12 states will be affected by rolling blackouts due to the winter storms in the US, resulting in power outages in the country’s northern region. (AP)
  • Peru: A doctor told lawmakers while testifying in parliament that former President Martin Vizcarra requested and was given a coronavirus vaccination out of turn. (BBC)
  • United States: Millions of people in Texas continue to deal with electricity outages following a historic winter storm that has killed 21 people so far. (Reuters)

 

Asia  

  • Region: A US Navy warship conducted a new freedom of navigation operation near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
  • India: Police arrested roughly a dozen student protesters marching on the parliament building in capital city New Delhi to demand the release of a 22-year-old climate activist, who was arrested for expressing her support of the country’s ongoing farmer protests. (AP
  • Indonesia: President Joko Widodo said public workers, people over 60, traders and security personnel will be administered shots of Chinese pharma company Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine, after more than 1.1 million workers—mostly in the health sector—received the vaccine in the first phase of inoculations. (AP)
  • North Korea: Kim Jong Un’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, made her first public appearance in more than a year, according to state media reports. (DPA)
  • Taiwan: Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said “political pressure” caused the failure of a last-minute attempt to secure five million coronavirus vaccines for the country. (AFP)

 

Europe

  • Region: China overtook the US to become the European Union’s biggest trading partner in 2020. (BBC)
  • Croatia: Health Minister Vili Beros said the government is talking with Russia about potentially importing Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, without waiting for the EU to approve the vaccine. (Reuters)
  • Italy: New Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged politicians to make a joint effort against the coronavirus pandemic in his first policy speech following his swearing-in. (DPA)
  • United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London will urge the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for a global cease-fire in conflict zones to allow the delivery of coronavirus vaccines. (AP)

 

Middle East

  • Region: The Palestinian Authority supplied the Gaza Strip its first batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines, reportedly with Israel’s approval. (DPA)
  • Iraq: The US said that helping Baghdad assert its sovereignty and prevent a resurgence of the extremist Islamic State group is a top priority. (AP)
  • Syria: Turkish officials detained five Russian citizens and one Libyan citizen at the country’s border with Turkey after the six people, one of whom is suspected of being a member of the Islamic State, attempted to leave the country and enter Turkey. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: The UN pledged to raise the issue of Princess Latifa’s alleged detention with the country’s government. (BBC)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Internet: The Cambodian government is setting-up a national internet gateway, which activists say will create a China-style firewall around the country’s internet and result in the suppression of freedom of expression. (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 (as of 17FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,579,074
      • Total recovered cases: 61,641,399
      • Deaths: 2,420,974
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (18FEB21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will discuss a global ceasefire to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Global: The UN will hold a Global Youth Environment Assembly. (to 20FEB)
  • Global: The Defense Ministers of NATO member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Global: The Athens Energy Dialogues will be held virtually and will feature senior ministers from Greece, Serbia, Egypt, and other countries. 
  • Americas: Peru’s President Francisco Sagasti will speak at a virtual event hosted by the Wilson Center. 
  • Asia: The health ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member-states will hold a meeting.
  • Europe: The 9th trilateral Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey foreign ministers’ meeting will be held. (to 20FEB)
  • Europe: European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will visit Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss migration issues. (to 20FEB)
  • Egypt: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will visit and meet with his counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
  • The Gambia: Independence Day – 1965
  • India: Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen will visit and meet with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (to 19FEB)
  • Russia: The UN’s special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen will visit and meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
  • Russia: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit and meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. 
  • Saudi Arabia: Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will visit and meet with his counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
  • Serbia: The Serbian Orthodox Church will elect a new patriarch.
  • United States: NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance is scheduled to land on Mars.
  • Yemen: The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the country.

 

END

16FEB21 Global Overnight Overwatch Report

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Two people accused of leading Christian-dominated militias in widespread attacks against Muslims in the Central African Republic pled not guilty to all charges against them at the International Criminal Court.
  • AMERICAS: The Organization of American States expressed “concern” over Ecuador’s recent presidential election and called on the country’s electoral authorities to “provide guarantees of certainty and transparency”.
  • ASIA: Police in Myanmar charged ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with violating Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law which could result in her indefinite detention without a trial.
  • EUROPE: The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the complaint against German authorities over their refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered a 2009 bombing on oil tankers in Afghanistan which resulted in the death of some civilians.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran and Russia are holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean to make maritime trade more secure in the region, according to Iranian state media reports.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: South Korea said North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer networks of pharma company Pfizer in an attempt to obtain information on the company’s coronavirus vaccine.

 

Top Story

  • Iraq: Rocket attack strikes US coalition forces.
    • US-led coalition forces in the country were targeted by a rocket attack near a military air base at the Erbil International Airport.
    • The rocket attack killed one foreign civilian contractor and injured one US service member, making it the deadliest such attack in almost one year.
    • The attack was claimed by a little-known group called the Guardians of Blood Brigades militia, which is reportedly believed to be a pro-Iranian group.
    • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “outraged” by the attack and pledged to hold accountable those responsible for it.
    • Reporting: NYT, Reuters, BBC, AP, WaPo

 

Africa

  • Region: French President Emmanuel Macron urged the G5 Sahel countries to increase their anti-terror operations and said that Paris will also intensify its efforts to “decapitate” terrorist groups in the region. (AFP)
  • Central African Republic: Two people accused of leading Christian-dominated militias in widespread attacks against Muslims in the country pled not guilty to all charges against them at the International Criminal Court. (Reuters)
  • DR Congo: President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Sama Lukonde Kyenge as the country’s new Prime Minister. (VOA)
  • Nigeria: Newly-appointed World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned against vaccine nationalism. (BBC)

 

Americas

  • Bolivia: Former President Evo Morales said he will hit the campaign trail to support his party’s candidates in the country’s upcoming regional elections. (DPA)
  • Colombia: Pharma company Pfizer delivered to the country its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines. (AP)
  • Ecuador: The Organization of American States expressed “concern” over the country’s recent presidential election and called on the country’s electoral authorities to “provide guarantees of certainty and transparency”. (AFP)
  • Peru: Veteran diplomat Allan Wagner was appointed as country’s sixth foreign minister in less than a year. (AFP)
  • United States: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress will create an independent commission to investigate last month’s deadly storming of the Capitol. (AP)

 

Asia  

  • Region: South Korea’s military detained a North Korean national who crossed the heavily fortified border between the two countries with the possible intention of defecting to Seoul. (Reuters)
  • Region: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accused Australia of shirking its responsibility for canceling the passport of a dual New Zealand-Australian citizen with alleged links to the Islamic State who was arrested in Turkey. (AFP)
  • Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an apology to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. (AP)
  • Bangladesh: A court sentenced five members of the Ansar Ullah Bangla Team militant group to death for the 2015 murder of a US blogger critical of religious extremism. (Reuters)
  • Myanmar: Police charged ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with violating Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law which could result in her indefinite detention without a trial. (AP

 

Europe

  • France: Parliament is set to vote on a proposed bill aimed at battling Islamist extremism, but which critics say breaches religious freedom. (AFP)
  • Germany: The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the complaint against the country’s authorities over their refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered a 2009 bombing on oil tankers in Afghanistan which resulted in the death of some civilians. (NYT)
  • Russia: State prosecutors asked a court to fine opposition politician Alexei Navalny $13,000 for slandering a WWII veteran, a charge that Navalny calls politically motivated. (Reuters)
  • Spain: Police stormed a barricaded building in the town of Lleida to arrest rapper Pablo Hasél, who was sentenced to jail on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of supporting Kurdish militants, as the Foreign Ministry summoned the US Ambassador to Ankara. (WaPo)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran and Russia are holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean to make maritime trade more secure in the region, according to Iranian state media reports. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia: The government will cease conducting business with foreign companies whose regional headquarters are outside the country starting in 2024, according to state media reports. (AFP)
  • Yemen: The UN warned Tuesday that a Houthi rebel advance on the government’s last northern stronghold of Marib could endanger millions of civilians. (AFP)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Cybersecurity: South Korea said North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer networks of pharma company Pfizer in an attempt to obtain information on the company’s coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)

 

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes
    • Vanuatu
      • Location: 90 km W of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
      • Magnitude: 6.2
      • Depth: 10 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 16FEB21)
      • Confirmed cases: 109,210,284
      • Total recovered cases: 61,410,226
      • Deaths: 2,409,902
      • Countries with confirmed cases: 192 
      • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (17FEB21)

  • Global: The UN Security Council will hold a briefing on a proposed global ceasefire amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Global: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development commission will hold its annual session.
  • Global: The UN will hold a virtual briefing on the equitable international distribution of coronavirus vaccines. 
  • Global: The Defense Ministers of NATO member-states will hold a meeting. (to 18FEB)
  • Global: The Athens Energy Dialogues will be held virtually and will feature senior ministers from Greece, Serbia, Egypt, and other countries. (to 18FEB)
  • Americas: Inter-American Development Bank President Mauricio Claver-Carone will speak at a virtual event organized by the think tank CSIS.
  • Europe: The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine will hold a virtual meeting.
  • Europe: European Council President Charles Michel will attend a Visegrad Four leaders meeting in Poland.
  • Europe: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan to discuss the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
  • Europe: The European Central Bank’s Governing Council will hold a non-monetary policy meeting.
  • Colombia: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign is expected to begin.
  • Germany: A court ruling could be made in the trial of Abu Walaa, who is suspected of being the leader of the Islamic State’s branch in the country.
  • Japan: The country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, using Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, will begin.
  • Kosovo: Independence Day – 2008
  • Kyrgyzstan: Parliament will begin discussions on drafting a new constitution.
  • Latvia: Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets will visit and meet with counterpart Edgars Rinkevics.
  • Libya: The 10th anniversary of the ousting of Muamar Gadaffi.
  • Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained by the country’s new junta post-coup, could potentially be released by the police.
  • Russia: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit and meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. (to 18FEB)
  • Rwanda: The terrorism trial of “Hotel Rwanda” protagonist, Paul Rusesabagina, could potentially be held.
  • Syria: Russia, Turkey, and Iran will discuss the situation in the country in an Astana format meeting. 
  • Uganda: Finance Minister Matia Kasaija will reportedly meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss the president’s order to suspend the EU-founded democracy and human rights NGO the The Democratic Governance Facility. 

 

END