ONS: 15 December 2011

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 15, 2011

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Tunisian President Marzouki requested a six-month truce from protests
  • AMERICAS: New Dimensions of the Colombia Drug Trade reported that cocaine no longer predominates the Colombian economy
  • ASIA: US House of Representatives voted to freeze aid to Pakistan
  • EUROPE: British PM Cameron dismissed calls to renegotiate an EU treaty
  • MIDDLE EAST: Human Rights Watch released a report alleging that Syrian officials sanctioned killings
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Pentagon announced a $9 million research arm, PRODIGAL, which seeks to oust military personnel who leak information  

TOP STORIES

  • Iraq: US formally ended Iraq War
    • Panetta announced the end of the US military mission at a ceremony in Baghdad
    • Gen Lloyd Austin, commander of US forces in Iraq, attended the ceremony
    • According to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the US must withdraw all troops by the end of 2011
    • Fewer than 200 Americans will remain to serve in the diplomatic mission
    • Senator McCain criticized Obama, saying history would look at the move with “scorn and disdain”
    • Coverage: Xinhua, WSJ, AP, CNN
  • Myanmar: Opium production increased
    • Production increased for the fifth consecutive year
    • Opium sold for $305 in 2010 and $450 in 2011 per kilogram
    • The price increase enticed farmers to opium production
    • Coverage: AP, DPA

AFRICA

  • Congo, DR: Opposition leader Tshisekedi’s party called for mass protests to protect his alleged victory. (AFP)
  • Libya: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon defended NATO against criticism that accused the alliance of overstepping the UN mandate. (Reuters)
  • Libya: NTC asked the UNSC to unfreeze assets of two banks: Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank. (AP)
  • Tunisia: Newly elected President  Marzouki requested a six-month political truce and a moratorium on protests. (Reuters)

AMERICAS

  • Region: A government source said Venezuela will extradite Maximiliano Orozco, one of the region’s most-wanted drug traffickers, to the US. (Reuters)
  • Region: Mexican FM Espinosa told the US Senate the Merida Initiative has not provided adequate results, citing underfunding as the root cause. (EFE)
  • Colombia: A new report, New Dimensions of the Colombia Drug Trade, indicated cocaine no longer fuels the country’s economy. (Miami Herald)
  • US: The Obama administration quietly pushed to sell armed drones to key allies, but faced resistance from US lawmakers. (WSJ)

ASIA

  • Region: Six armed North Korean border guards fled across the Chinese border. (AFP)
  • China: A satellite image of China’s first aircraft carrier was captured while the vessel was undergoing sea trials in the Yellow Sea. (AFP)
  • Korea, South: Iron Hawk-II surface-to-air missile, designed to counter DPRK ballistic missiles and fighter jets, was displayed at a ceremony in the Agency for Defence Development headquarters. (AFP)
  • Pakistan: The White House endorsed legislation passed by the US House to freeze aid to Pakistan. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • Region: British PM Cameron brushed aside calls to negotiate a new EU treaty. (AFP)
  • Region: Interior Minister Dacic said Serbia would introduce stricter controls at its border crossings to impede asylum seekers moving from Serbia to the EU. (Xinhua)
  • Cyprus: Parliament passed several laws introducing an austerity package demanded by the EU. (Xinhua)
  • Turkey: The US House passed a resolution urging Turkey to protect religious freedom. (AP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat informed the Quartet that direct peace talks could resume if Israel stops settlement activities. (Xinhua)
  • Egypt: Egyptians headed to the polls again in an election to choose the first post-revolution parliament. (AFP)
  • Iran: Amnesty International recorded a “dramatic rise” in secret executions of drug offenders. (DPA)
  • Lebanon: Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement expressed commitment to the role of UNIFIL. (Xinhua)
  • Qatar: Abdul Salam Zaeef, a former Taliban envoy, indicated he had no knowledge  of insurgent plans to set up a Taliban office in Qatar. (AP)
  • Syria: HRW released its 88-page report detailing how dozens of military commanders and officials authorized or gave direct orders for widespread killings. (AP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Cybersecurity: The Pentagon awarded $9 million in research grants in order to develop cyber strategy that tracks “insider threats.” (DangerRoom)
  • Cybersecurity: Japanese game developer Square Enix said that servers containing data on 1.8 million customers had been hacked. (AFP)
  • Technology: LinkedIn announced Polls, a new feature that’s designed to get a quick read on an issue. (Mashable)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Depression 27W (Twentyseven)
    • Location: 15 NM SW of Palau
    • Winds: 30 knots
    • Movement: W at 20 knots
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report
  • Earthquakes: South of Kermadec Islands
    • Magnitude: 6.3
    • Depth: 34.1 km
    • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (16DEC)

  • Colombia: Anniversary of Colombia’s two main rebels announcing armed pact – 2009.
  • Mexico: Anniversary of 50 Central American migrants kidnapped in southern Mexico – 2010.
  • Venezuela: Regional elections held.

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