Global Overnight Overwatch Report – 10 August 2020

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Germany, France and Italy reportedly plan to push ahead with a bid to use EU sanctions to stem the continuing supply of arms to the war-torn country.
  • AMERICAS: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they were open to restarting coronavirus aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans’ financial distress.
  • ASIA: China has sanctioned 11 Americans in retaliation for similar measures imposed by Washington, including on Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey, but did not sanction any members of President Donald Trump’s administration.
  • EUROPE: Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya refused to concede Belarus’ presidential election after results handed incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory, saying the election had been rigged and that protests which turned bloody on Sunday would continue.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Protests demanding the resignation of Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun are planned for today as well, with three more ministers announcing their resignations from the country’s embattled government, including the Justice Minister.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, who covered the country’s “Hirak” protests throughout last year, was sentenced to a three-year prison term for “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity”.

 

Top Story

  • China: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested.
    • Hong Kong police have arrested seven people, including media tycoon and high-profile critic of the Chinese Communist Party, Jimmy Lai, on charges of violating Beijing’s new national security law related to the territory.
    • The offices of Lai’s outspoken pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper have also been raided by the police, who accuse it of colluding with foreign forces.
    • The others arrested include his sons Timothy Lai and Ian Lai and several senior executives at the company which publishes the newspaper, in what is being seen as the most high-profile arrest so far under China’s new national security law for the territory.
    • The arrests also mark the first time the new law has been used against the media, which has stoked fears that Chinese authorities will increasing suppressing press freedoms.
    • Reporting: Reuters, AP, WSJ, DPA, BBC, NYT

 

Africa 

  • Libya: Germany, France and Italy reportedly plan to push ahead with a bid to use EU sanctions to stem the continuing supply of arms to the war-torn country. (DPA)
  • Mauritania: President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani appointed a new government after the names of several former government ministers appeared in a report on the financial dealings of ex-leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AFP)
  • Niger: A group of gunmen of unknown affiliation attacked and killed a group of aid workers, resulting in the deaths of two of the country’s citizens and six French aid workers. (BBC)

 

Americas 

  • Ecuador: The navy is surveilling a massive Chinese fishing fleet operating near the protected waters of the Galapagos Islands, where the presence of the Chinese fleet has raised concerns over its environmental impact. (Reuters)
  • Peru: A group of indigenous people angry over the government’s response to the pandemic assaulted a settlement for oil workers deep in the Amazon, triggering a clash with police that left three natives dead. (AFP)
  • United States: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they were open to restarting coronavirus aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans’ financial distress. (Reuters)

 

Asia 

  • Region: Taiwan’s government said Chinese air force jets briefly crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait and were tracked by Taiwanese missiles, as US health chief Alex Azar visited the island. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: Peace talks between the Taliban and the government are expected to begin within days after the Loya Jirga approved the release of hundreds of Taliban prisoners accused of brutal attacks including on foreigners. (AFP)
  • China: Beijing has sanctioned 11 Americans in retaliation for similar measures imposed by Washington, including on Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey, but did not sanction any members of President Donald Trump’s administration. (Bloomberg)

 

Europe

  • Belarus: Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya refused to concede the country’s presidential election after results handed incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory, saying the election had been rigged and that protests which turned bloody on Sunday would continue. (Reuters)
  • Germany: The centre-left Social Democrats party has chosen Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as its candidate for next year’s election which is expected to be when longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats party retires. (DPA)
  • Spain: Protesters called for an end to the country’s monarchy after the sudden departure of former king Juan Carlos from the country this week amid a corruption scandal. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Region: Iran has rejected as “unrealistic” a call by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the United Nations to extend an international arms embargo on Tehran that ends in October. (Reuters)
  • Lebanon: Protests demanding the resignation of President Michel Aoun are planned for today as well, with three more ministers announcing their resignations from the country’s embattled government, including the Justice Minister. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: The country’s Houthi rebels said floods in the territories they hold have left over 130 people dead and caused significant damage to more than 260 homes. (Deutsche Welle)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Media: Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, who covered the country’s “Hirak” protests throughout last year, was sentenced to a three-year prison term for “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity”. (AFP)

 

World 

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Storm Jangmi
      • Location: 48 nautical miles South of Chinhae, South Korea
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: N-NE at 23 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Storm Mekkhala
      • Location: 332 nautical miles S-SW of Taipei, Taiwan
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: N at 10 mph
      • Map
    • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
    • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
    • Volcanoes:
      • Sinabung, Indonesia
        • Second eruption in two days, ash spewed as high as 5,000 meters into the air
        • Source
      • Global Disease Outbreaks:
        • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
          • Confirmed Cases as of 10AUG20: 19,876,302
          • Total Recovered Cases as of 10AUG20: 12,127,599
          • Deaths as of 10AUG20: 731,570
          • 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 26JUL20: 63
          • Probable Cases as of 26JUL20: 4
          • Deaths as of 26JUL20: 31
          • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (11AUG20)

  • Europe: The 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Sevres between Turkey and Allied Forces after WWI.
  • Chad: Independence Day – 1960
  • China: The Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, will end its 21st session.
  • China: The government to publish inflation figures for July.
  • Czech Republic: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit. (to 12AUG)
  • Egypt: Senate elections are expected to begin.
  • India: The country’s main opposition Congress party holds a meeting which could potentially lead to new leadership of the embattled party.
  • Malawi: Rwandan President Paul Kagame to visit and meet with President Lazarus Chakwera.
  • Russia: German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass to visit and meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
  • Trinidad & Tobago: Parliamentary elections will be held.

Global Overnight Overwatch Report – 09 August 2020

Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: At least eight gunmen have been killed in a combat operation by police in the northwestern Nigerian state of Katsina, a police spokesman reported.
  • AMERICAS: President Donald Trump signed executive orders partially restoring enhanced unemployment payments to the tens of millions of Americans who lost jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • ASIA: Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the new Sri Lankan prime minister after a landslide victory for the ruling party in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections.
  • EUROPE: Russia reported 5,189 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its nationwide tally 887,536 cases, the fourth largest caseload in the world.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Riot control police needed to enact special formations to push protesters out of the center of Lebanon’s capital Beirut and regain control of the area.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: Realme, a low-cost Chinese smartphone maker, has secured a leading position in Asia’s emerging markets, with the company’s sales growing 157 percent year on year.

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Top Story

  • Belarus: With elections approaching, the government increases the crackdowns of the opposition.
    • Voting has started in Belarus, where five-term President Alexander Lukashenko is facing his toughest challenge in years from opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
    • Law enforcement detained the campaign chief of presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and two other campaign staff members were summoned to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption for questioning and have gone missing.
    • Lukashenko says the opposition protesters are working with foreign backers, including a group of 33 suspected Russian mercenaries detained in July and accused of plotting “acts of terrorism.”
    • EU member states France, Germany, and Poland, issued a joint statement before the election, stating “great concern.” About more than a thousand people have been reportedly detained in protests throughout Belarus in recent weeks.
    • Reporting: BBC, RFE, Reuters, DPA,

 

Africa

  • Libya: The chairman of the National Oil Corp (NOC) warned against the risk of a disaster at the country’s oil ports due to a growing military presence with storage tanks held at capacity for months due to a blockade. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: At least eight gunmen have been killed in a combat operation by police in the northwestern state of Katsina, a police spokesman reported. (Xinhua)
  • South Africa: The nation’s central bank governor has defended its response to the COVID-19 economic downturn in Africa’s most industrialized country in the face of more calls from politicians and trade unionists to increase its rate cuts and buy up more government bonds. (FT)

 

Americas 

  • Brazil: The nation surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 deaths and three million cases of infection, crossing the grim milestone after President Jair Bolsonaro said he had a “clear conscience” on his response to the outbreak. (AFP)
  • United States: Protesters returned to the streets of Portland, Oregon, as violent demonstrations have continued in the city that had hoped for a decrease in violence after federal agents and city police tried to diminish the unrest. (AP)
  • United States: Seven months after the United States and China signed a preliminary agreement to reduce trade tension, Beijing’s purchases of US agricultural goods have yet to achieve the deal’s target. (AFP)
  • United States: President Donald Trump signed executive orders partially restoring enhanced unemployment payments to the tens of millions of Americans who lost jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reuters)

 

Asia

  • Australia: The nation’s second-most populous state, Victoria, recorded its deadliest day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Sunday, with 17 people dying, although new infections showed signs of easing. (Reuters)
  • South Korea: The nation’s economic sluggishness has eased on diminishing negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a state-run think tank reported. (YNA)
  • South Korea: The nation’s death toll from heavy rain, which continued over the past seven days, rose to 30, with 12 missing and eight wounded as of 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters. (Xinhua)
  • Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn as the new prime minister after a landslide victory for the ruling party in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. (DPA)

 

Europe

  • Armenia: Former National Police Chief Vladimir Gasparian threatened two RFE/RL (Azatutyun.am) journalists and obstructed their work on a report about government plans to dismantle private houses illegally constructed near Lake Sevan by attempting to run over them in a car. (RFE)
  • Czech Republic: Three children were among 11 people killed in a fire at an apartment block that police believe was arson. (Telegraph)
  • Germany: A resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the country entered its third day as authorities confirmed another 24 hours with more than 1,000 cases. (DPA)
  • Russia: The nation reported 5,189 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its nationwide tally to 887,536 cases, the fourth largest caseload in the world. (Reuters)

 

Middle East

  • Egypt: The nation confirmed 167 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections in the country to 95,314, the Health Ministry reported. (Xinhua)
  • Lebanon: Riot control police needed to enact special formations to push protesters out of the center of Beirut and regain control of the area. (TASS)
  • Saudi Arabia: The state oil group Aramco reported a 73.4% fall in second-quarter net profit, a steeper drop than analysts had expected, hit by lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemical margins, as the pandemic hit demand. (Reuters)

 

Tech & Communications

  • Telecommunications: Realme, a low-cost Chinese smartphone maker, has secured a leading position in Asia’s emerging markets, with the company’s sales growing 157 percent year on year. (FT)

 

World 

  • Cyclones:
    • TROPICAL STORM ELIDA
      • Location:15.8N 104.1W
      • Movement: WNW
      • Wind:40 mph
    • TROPICAL STORM JANGMI
      • Location:25.4N 126.3E
      • Movement: N
      • Wind:40 mph
    • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
    • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
    • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
    • Global Disease Outbreaks:
      • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
        • Confirmed Cases as of 09AUG20: 19,660,500
        • Total Recovered Cases as of 09AUG20: 11,948,058
        • Deaths as of 09AUG20: 727,258
        • 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 26JUL20: 63
        • Probable Cases as of 26JUL20: 4
        • Deaths as of 26JUL20: 31
        • Sourcing: WHO

 

Tomorrow’s Outlook (10AUG20)

  • Trinidad and Tobago: General elections
  • China: The National People’s Congress Standing Committee to meet in Beijing.
  • Asia-Pacific/Europe: South Korean Foreign Minister Kyung-wha Kang to visit Germany, meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
  • Eurasia/MENA: COVID-19 related flight ban from Russia to Turkey to end.
  • MENA: COVID-19 law granting Israeli government expanded powers to enforce lockdown measures to go into effect.
  • Morocco: Morocco’s state of emergency to begin and will continue through September 10.
  • Nigeria: Government to offer savings bonds after COVID-19 related suspension
  • Pakistan: The government to lift remaining COVID-19 related restrictions.