ONS: 13 February 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 14, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Over a dozen international and regional rights groups said Egypt’s MAR2018 presidential election does not meet the “minimum requirements” for a fair and free vote.
  • AMERICAS: The Inter-American Human Rights Commission warned Venezuela’s democratic institutions and human rights situation have undergone “marked deterioration” under President Nicolas Maduro.
  • ASIA: In South Korea, Choi Soon-sil, an old friend of former president Park Geun-hye, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power.
  • EUROPE: France will introduce a mandatory “national service” for all young people, confirming a campaign pledge by President Emmanuel Macron.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The US urged its coalition partners to refocus their efforts on the eradication of the Islamic State group from Iraq and Syria.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Hackers stole more than USD 17M from Russian banks using the Cobalt Strike security-testing tool in 2017.

TOP STORY

  • South Africa: President Zuma refuses to resign, prompting crisis.
    • The country’s ruling African National Congress formally asked President Jacob Zuma to resign after he refused to do so earlier, reports say.
    • Unless Zuma decides to resign soon, the ANC will have to order its lawmakers in parliament to approve a motion of no confidence in the president.
    • The ANC decision followed 13 hours of tense deliberations and one, short face-to-face exchange between Zuma and his presumed successor, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
    • Pressure for Zuma to resign as president has been mounting since December, when Ramaphosa replaced him as head of the party.
    • Zuma’s recent years in office have been mired in a series of high-profile corruption scandals and accusations of mismanagement
    • Coverage: BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, WP

AFRICA

  • Egypt: Over a dozen international and regional rights groups said the country’s MAR2018 presidential election does not meet the “minimum requirements” for a fair and free vote. (AP)
  • Egypt: Egyptian security forces killed 10 militants and arrested 400 suspects, including foreigners, in a continuing crackdown in Sinai. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: A man, Haruna Yahaya, involved in the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok has been jailed for 15 years. (AFP)
  • Rwanda: The country’s media watchdog ordered a US-owned Christian radio station shut for three months after a “vile” sermon against women. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Region: The US prosecutors believe Venezuela’s former oil czar Rafael Ramirez received bribes as part of an alleged multibillion-dollar graft scheme in Venezuela’s oil industry. (AP)
  • Haiti: President Jovenel Moise strongly condemned UK charity Oxfam, after it emerged its staff hired prostitutes while delivering aid in 2011. (BBC)
  • Venezuela: The Inter-American Human Rights Commission warned the country’s democratic institutions and human rights situation have undergone “marked deterioration” under President Nicolas Maduro. (AFP)

ASIA

  • Region: UK defense minister Gavin Williamson says his country will sail a warship through the South China Sea to assert the right of free passage amid Chinese claims to virtually the entire strategic waterway. (AP)
  • Region: Thailand and the US downplayed the presence of a Myanmar military officer at the opening of the largest annual joint military exercise in Southeast Asia. (AP)
  • Region: India warned Pakistan that it would “pay” following a deadly attack by militants on an army camp in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. (Reuters)
  • China: The country is requiring importers of US industrial chemical, styrene monomer, to post deposits in preparation for possible anti-dumping duties. (AP)
  • South Korea: Choi Soon-sil, an old friend of former president Park Geun-hye, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power. (BBC)

EUROPE

  • France: The country will introduce a mandatory “national service” for all young people, confirming a campaign pledge by President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
  • Germany: German authorities say 12,285 people applied for asylum in the country in JAN2018, a 15 percent drop from JAN2017. (AP)
  • Sweden: Uzbek asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov pleaded guilty to terrorism charges as his trial opened over an APR2017 Stockholm truck attack that killed five people. (AFP)
  • United Kingdom: British aid organization Oxfam faced fresh pressure over an ignored “culture of sexual abuse” involving aid workers in some the organization’s offices. (Reuters)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: The US urged its coalition partners to refocus their efforts on the eradication of the Islamic State group from Iraq and Syria. (AP)
  • Region: The Israeli military trial of a Palestinian teenager charged after a viral video showed her hitting two soldiers in the occupied West Bank began behind closed doors. (AFP)
  • Region: A decision by the US to continue to fund the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia will affect Turkey’s decisions, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said. (Reuters)
  • Iraq: The country appealed to attract international investors to help rebuild after defeating the Islamic State group, offering hundreds of projects and touting extensive legal guarantees. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: Hackers stole more than USD 17M from Russian banks using the Cobalt Strike security-testing tool in 2017. (Reuters)
  • Technology: Google will allow other companies to buy access to its artificial intelligence chips through its cloud-computing service. (NYT)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone Gita
    • Location: 259 nm SE at Suva, Fiji
    • Wind: 140 mph
    • Movement: W at 13 mph
    • Map
  • Cyclones: Tropical Storm Sanba
    • Location: 403 nm SE of Manila, Philippines
    • Wind: 40 mph
    • Movement: WNW at 18 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia
    • Ash eruption 1.5 km into the atmosphere. (APP)
  • 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 05FEB: 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 05FEB: 750 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2.

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (14FEB)

  • Global: Valentine’s Day – Unknown
  • Bahrain: Anniversary of popular uprisings – 2011
  • Bulgaria and Montenegro: Feast of Saint Tryphon – Unknown
  • Lebanon: Rafic Hariri Memorial Day – 2005
  • Libya: Supreme Court to make its ruling on the suspension of the draft constitution
  • North Korea: Generalissimo Day – 2014

END

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