- AFRICA: The US and Italy warned the Islamic State group is expanding its reach, threatening to seize Libya and launch attacks in western countries.
- AMERICAS: The legalization and sale of marijuana in Colorado since 2014 has reduced the operations of Mexican drug cartels by “up to 70 percent.”
- ASIA: In Afghanistan, a total of 46 militants were killed and an Islamic State radio station was destroyed after US-led coalition airstrikes in Paktika and Nangarhar provinces.
- EUROPE: The EU will unveil plans for key changes in Britain’s membership, including a “red card” system for parliaments to block laws made by Brussels.
- MIDDLE EAST: UN envoy Staffan de Mistura was set to press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to ease the suffering of ordinary Syrians after declaring the official start of indirect peace talks.
- TECHNOLOGY: The FBI has launched a Facebook page in Farsi to solicit tips on the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nine years ago.
- Zika Virus: Countries prepare as outbreak is declared a ‘global health emergency.’
- The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects an international public health emergency, a rare move that signals the seriousness of the outbreak and gives countries new tools to fight it.
- Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Castro said mandatory reporting of cases will go into effect, as the Zika virus outbreak is proving to be worse than believed because most cases show no symptoms.
- South Korea said it would adopt measures to avoid the possible spread of the Zika virus.
- Thailand should not worry about the Zika virus, its public health ministry, despite being the worst-hit country in Southeast Asia.
- Drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur announced it is launching an effort to research and develop a vaccine to prevent the Zika virus.
- Coverage: AP, DPA, NYT, Reuters, Reuters-2
- Region: The US and Italy warned the Islamic State group is expanding its reach, threatening to seize Libya and launch attacks in western countries. (AFP)
- Region: Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and his Cote d’Ivoire counterpart Alassane Ouattara met in Addis Ababa to normalize diplomatic ties. (Xinhua)
- Burkina Faso: Judicial actors met to discuss ways to reinforce the country’s legal framework to be able to apprehend all terrorism suspects. (Xinhua)
- Nigeria: Nigerian separatists have hijacked a merchant ship and threaten to blow it up with its foreign crew if authorities do not release a detained leader agitating for a breakaway state of Biafra. (AP)
- Tanzania: President John Magufuli has condemned the killing of a British conservationist while he chased suspected poachers, saying five people have been arrested. (AFP)
- Region: The World Health Organization said a surge in serious birth defects in South America was “strongly suspected” of being caused by the Zika virus and constituted an international health emergency. (AFP)
- Region: The legalization and sale of marijuana in Colorado since 2014 has reduced the operations of Mexican drug cartels by “up to 70 percent.” (EFE)
- Brazil: The country has warned pregnant women to stay away from the Summer Olympics after the World Health Organization declared an international emergency over the Zika virus. (AFP)
- Region: Japan confirmed it has readied itself for a possible test-firing of a rocket or ballistic missile by North Korea by deploying both ground and sea-based antimissile interceptors. (Xinhua)
- Region: China’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei arrived in Pyongyang, to hold discussions with the North Koreans on the nuclear issue. (Reuters)
- Afghanistan: A total of 46 militants were killed and an Islamic State radio station was destroyed after US-led coalition airstrikes in Paktika and Nangarhar provinces. (Xinhua)
- Thailand: More than 100 people have been arrested in a crackdown on abuses in the country’s multi-billion dollar seafood industry, officials say. (BBC)
- Region: The EU will unveil plans for key changes in Britain’s membership, including a “red card” system for parliaments to block laws made by Brussels. (AFP)
- Cyprus: Authorities have in the last two years prevented 18 foreign nationals from heading to Syria and possibly joining the Islamic State. (AP)
- France: Five people were arrested outside the city of Lyon with plans to stage attacks on nightspots and leave for Syria. (AP)
- Ukraine: German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence to rein in pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine. (AFP)
- Jordan: King Abdullah says his country is at “boiling point” because of an influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. (BBC)
- Syria: UN envoy Staffan de Mistura was set to press President Bashar al-Assad to ease the suffering of ordinary Syrians after declaring the official start of indirect peace talks. (AFP)
- Syria: Russia has agreed that two Syrian rebel Islamist groups will participate in peace talks on an individual basis but refused to legitimize the opposition. (Reuters)
- Yemen: Government forces pushed their way into the mountains northeast the rebel-held capital, recapturing major military posts that overlooking roads to Sanaa. (Xinhua)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Communications: The FBI has launched a Facebook page in Farsi to solicit tips on the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nine years ago. (AP)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: 120km WNW of L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand
- Magnitude: 6.2
- Depth: 382.4 km
- Volcanoes: Karymsky, Russia
- Ash eruption three kilometers into the air, placing airlines on an “orange” warning to avoid the area. (Express)
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 02FEB: 951 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
- Confirmed Cases: 21
- Deaths as of 02FEB: 0 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
- Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
- Cases as of 02FEB: 1633 (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 02FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (03FEB)
- Mozambique: Mozambique’s Heroes’ Day