ONS: 11 March 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 12, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Rival supporters clashed in Freetown after results from Sierra Leone’s presidential election indicated a runoff would be needed with no candidate set to secure the 55 percent required to win outright.
  • AMERICAS: Trump will make the first visit of his presidency to Latin America next month, traveling to Peru for a summit meeting of Western Hemisphere nations where he will convene with a group of leaders who have criticized his statements and policies on immigration.
  • ASIA: The Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjeom, located on the demarcation line separating the two Koreas, is one of the likely venues for the agreed-upon summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, a South Korean official said.
  • EUROPE: The talks between the EU and the US on Trump’s imposition of controversial tariff on steel and aluminum imports seem to have got into a standoff, as top EU trade official puts the blame on the US side.
  • MIDDLE EAST:  Kurds living in the northern Syrian city of Afrin have accused Turkey of waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
  • TECHNOLOGY: In a new video on his StarTalk YouTube channel, Neil deGrasse Tyson took on Flat Earthers — those who believe the Earth is flat — and blamed the conspiracy theory’s rise on “free speech” and a “failed educational system.”

TOP STORY

  • China’s Lawmakers Abolish Presidential Term Limit
    • China’s rubber-stamp lawmakers have passed a historic constitutional amendment that abolishes term limits and will enable Xi to rule indefinitely.
    • Ruling Communist Party proposed the amendment last month and there was never any doubt it would pass as parliament is packed with loyal party members who would not have opposed the proposal.
    • The political job that matters most is the general secretary of the Communist Party. The party controls the military and domestic security forces, and sets the policies that the government carries out. The presidency lacks the authority of the American and French presidencies.
    • Revising part of the Constitution is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee from the overall and strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, said Xi, when joining NPC deputies in a panel discussion on Wednesday.
    • The congress is due to elect Mr. Xi to a second presidential term later in the coming week. Lawmakers are also expected to approve a government-restructuring plan designed to expand party control over state agencies and strengthen Mr. Xi’s grip on all levers of power.
    • Coverage: LAT, NYT, REU, WSJ, XIN

AFRICA

  • Ethiopia:  The government said nine civilians were mistakenly killed and 12 injured by soldiers in the southern part of the country in an operation to sniff out rebels. (XIN)
  • Kenya: At least six people including five children died after they fell into a pit latrine in the coastal city of Mombasa. (XIN)
  • Sierra Leone: Rival supporters clashed in Freetown after results from Sierra Leone’s presidential election indicated a runoff would be needed with no candidate set to secure the 55 percent required to win outright. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Region: Trump will make the first visit of his presidency to Latin America next month, traveling to Peru for a summit meeting of Western Hemisphere nations where he will convene with a group of leaders who have criticized his statements and policies on immigration. (NYT)
  • Region: Trump said he rejected a demand from President Nieto that Trump say Mexico would not have to pay for a proposed US border wall. (REU)
  • Colombia: Former leftist guerrillas face their first electoral test as a political party in congressional voting also seen as a measure of the strength of the country’s factions two months before presidential elections. (AP)
  • Cuba: The people will go to the polls in a one-party vote that marks the penultimate step in a political process that will culminate next month with the selection of the Communist-ruled island’s first non-Castro leader since the 1959 revolution. (REU)

ASIA

  • Region: The Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjeom, located on the demarcation line separating the two Koreas, is one of the likely venues for the agreed-upon summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, a South Korean official said.  (YON)
  • China: Any trade war with the US will only bring disaster to the world economy, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said, as Beijing stepped up its criticism on proposed metals tariffs by Washington amid fears it could shatter global growth. (REU)
  • South Korea: The US will likely remain the largest overseas market for South Korean defense products for at least the next five years, a local think tank said. (YON)
  • South Korea:  Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon sent a letter to his US counterpart to urge Washington to exempt the country from stiff steel tariffs that could seriously impact exports. (YON)

EUROPE

  • Region: The talks between the EU and the US on Trump’s imposition of controversial tariff on steel and aluminum imports seem to have got into a standoff, as top EU trade official puts the blame on the US side. (XIN)
  • Region: Britain is to raise the Sergei Skripal poisoning case with its Nato allies, a defence minister has revealed. (IND)
  • Region: The EU and Japan urged the US to grant them exemptions from metal import tariffs, with Tokyo calling for “calm-headed behavior” in a dispute that threatens to spiral into a trade war. (REU)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Qatar: The country has filed a complaint to the UN Security Council over the violations of air and sea spaces by the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain. (XIN)
  • Syria: Kurds living in the northern city of Afrin have accused Turkey of waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing. (SKY)
  • Syria: Over the last week in Afrin, the siege of heavily populated areas has tightened and the death toll has risen – 220 dead and 600 injured civilians – but the international media gives it scarcely any mention. (IND)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: In a new video on his StarTalk YouTube channel, Neil deGrasse Tyson took on Flat Earthers — those who believe the Earth is flat — and blamed the conspiracy theory’s rise on “free speech” and a “failed educational system.” (Time)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • 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)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 05MAR: 2,143 (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 05MAR: 750 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2.

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (12MAR)

  • Azerbaijan: President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) George Tsereteli to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan (to 13MAR)
  • Gabon: Renovation Day – 1968
  • Mauritius: National Day – 1968
  • Mauritius: President Ameenah-Garib Fakim to step down
  • United Kingdom: Commonwealth Day – 1958
  • Switzerland: UN special rapporteur to Myanmar to present her report on human rights in the country to the UN Human Rights Council
  • Tunisia: State of emergency to be extended by seven months

END

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