ONS: 26 January 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 27, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: The African National Congress leader Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa had entered a new era under his leadership, a sign that Jacob Zuma’s days as president are numbered.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuela expelled the Spanish ambassador to Caracas, Jesús Silva Fernández, accusing him of interfering in its internal affairs.
  • ASIA: North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year which was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of UN sanctions, intelligence sources said.
  • EUROPE: The Netherlands’ spy service broke into a powerful Russian hacking group and may be sitting on evidence relating to the breach of the US Democratic National Committee.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara could extend its current military operation in northwest Syria all the way east to the border with Iraq.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Britain should take a serious look at cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because of the way they can be used by criminals, PM Theresa May said.

 

TOP STORY

  • United States: Trump ordered firing of special counsel in JUN2017, says report.
    • US President Donald Trump described as “fake news” a report that he ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller in JUN2017, but backed down when his own lawyer threatened to resign.
    • This is the first report of the president attempting to fire Mueller.
    • Trump argued at the time that Mueller could not be fair because of a dispute over golf club fees that he said Mueller owed at a Trump golf club in Sterling, Virginia.
    • The president also believed Mueller had a conflict of interest because he worked for the same law firm that was representing Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
    • White House counsel Don McGahn refused to comply with Trump’s request, telling senior White House officials that firing Mueller would be “catastrophic” for Mr. Trump’s presidency.
    • Trump recently said he was “looking forward” to being interviewed by Mueller in the investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates.
    • Coverage: AP, BBC, CBS, USA Today

 

AFRICA

  • Region: At least 30 African refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of Yemen in a boat heading toward Djibouti operated by smugglers who are reported to have fired on passengers. (Reuters)
  • Ivory Coast: Authorities seized around 600 kg of elephant tusks and 600 kg of pangolin scales, ready to be sent to Vietnam and other Asian countries. (Reuters)
  • Mali: A landmine explosion blew up a civilian passenger vehicle in the village of Boni, killing 26 people and wounding several others. (Reuters)
  • South Africa: The African National Congress leader Cyril Ramaphosa said the country had entered a new era under his leadership, a sign that Jacob Zuma’s days as president are numbered. (Reuters)

 

AMERICAS

 

  • Region: Members of Venezuela’s government and opposition leaders will meet next week for another round of talks in the Dominican Republic. (Reuters)
  • Brazil: A Brazilian court approved the seizure of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s passport, after an appeals court upheld his corruption conviction. (Reuters)
  • Honduras: Newly appointed national police chief, Jose David Aguilar Moran, helped a cartel leader deliver nearly a ton of cocaine, according to a confidential security report. (AP)
  • Venezuela: The government expelled the Spanish ambassador to Caracas, Jesús Silva Fernández, accusing him of interfering in its internal affairs. (BBC)

 

 

 

ASIA

  • Region: North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year which was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of UN sanctions, intelligence sources said. (Reuters)
  • Region: ASEAN leaders joined India to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India ties. (AP)
  • Australia: Tens of thousands of people marched across the country in an Invasion Day protest calling for a rethink of the national day they say is offensive to indigenous people. (AFP)
  • East Timor: President Francisco Guterres dissolved parliament, ending a months-long stalemate with upcoming new elections. (AFP)
  • South Korea: A fire in a Miryang city hospital which did not have a sprinkler system killed at least 37 people and injured more than 70. (Reuters)

 

EUROPE

 

  • Region: The Netherlands’ spy service broke into a powerful Russian hacking group and may be sitting on evidence relating to the breach of the US Democratic National Committee. (AP)
  • Region: Russia could cause “thousands of deaths” by crippling UK infrastructure, UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson warned. (BBC)
  • Region: Neutral Switzerland said it was “politically impossible” to sign in the foreseeable future a new treaty binding it closer to the EU. (Reuters)
  • Czech Republic: The country is voting in a presidential election pitting pro-Russian incumbent Milos Zeman against pro-European Jiri Drahos in a vote that may play an important role in Europe’s divide between east and west. (Bloomberg)
  • Poland: The country will not make any concessions with the EU over judicial reforms, said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party. (Reuters)

 

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

  • Region: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara could extend its current military operation in northwest Syria all the way east to the border with Iraq. (Reuters)
  • Region: Turkey reported 14 Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army rebels killed, with 130 people wounded following Turkey’s incursion into Syria’s Afrin region. (Reuters)
  • Syria: Terrorists in the country were found to be in possession of radio-electronic equipment made in Europe, the Russian military said. (Xinhua)

 

 

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: Britain should take a serious look at cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because of the way they can be used by criminals, PM Theresa May said. (Reuters)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Mount Mayon, Philippines
    • More lava spilled from Mount Mayon, sending up columns of ash over farmland and towns as more than 74,000 people are staying in dozens of emergency shelters. (AP)
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 20JAN: 61,613 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, and Venezuela)
        • Suspected Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 349,936
      • Confirmed Cases as of 20JAN: 123,087 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin (French part), and Venezuela)
        • Confirmed Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 152,250
      • Deaths as of 20JAN: 101 (Brazil, Ecuador)
        • Deaths (01JAN16-31DEC16): 172
        • Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 20JAN: 2,123 (Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), France, Tunisia, Italy, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Malaysia, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Iran, Algeria, Austria, Turkey, The Philippines, Germany, China, South Korea, and the US)
        • Deaths as of 20JAN: 740 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (27JAN)

  • Global: International Holocaust Remembrance Day – 2005
  • Armenia: Feast of Saint Sarkis – Unknown
  • Georgia: Feast of Saint Nino – Unknown
  • Monaco: Saint Devota’s Day – 1924
  • Russia: Day of Lifting the Siege of Leningrad – 1944
  • Serbia: Feast of Saint Sava – Unknown
  • Turkmenistan: Day of Fatherland Defenders – Unknown

 

END

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