- AFRICA: Somali al Shabaab fighters have seized a small port in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.
- AMERICAS: Cuban and US telecom firms have signed an agreement to establish direct international voice traffic, basically in incoming and outgoing calls.
- ASIA: Lawmakers elected Htin Kyaw to become Myanmar’s first civilian president in decades, a historic moment for the formerly junta-run nation.
- EUROPE: If Britain leaves the EU, it could have a negative impact on the NATO alliance, Lt-Gen Ben Hodges, head of the US Army in Europe has warned.
- MIDDLE EAST: A senior Islamic State militant, Omar al-Shishani, whom the US military tried to kill in last week’s airstrike in Syria has died of his wounds, according to a senior Pentagon official.
- TECHNOLOGY: China wants to have deeper internet security and anti-terrorism cooperation with the US, the nation told visiting FBI Director James Comey.
- Syria: Russia begins military withdraw hours after surprise announcement.
- Russian forces began to withdraw from Syria, hours after a surprise announcement from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would end his nation’s military deployment as suddenly as he started it.
- The Russian Defense Ministry said the first group of warplanes to depart included an unspecified number of Su-34 fighter jets, accompanied by a military transport aircraft.
- Putin’s announcement that Russia’s objectives had been “generally accomplished” after five and a half months of bombing raids, came in a televised meeting on Monday evening with his defence and foreign ministers.
- It is unclear how long the withdrawal of Russian forces will continue—or how many Russian troops and aircraft may remain in Syria.
- The Russian airbase in the province of Latakia and a naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartous will continue to operate.
- Coverage: AP, CNN, Guardian, USA Today, WP, WSJ
- Somalia: Somali al Shabaab fighters have seized a small port in the semi-autonomous Puntland region. (Reuters)
- Zambia: The leader of the country’s main opposition UPND, Hakainde Hichilema, has received the backing from other opposition groups, ahead of this August’s presidential elections. (Xinhua)
- Zimbabwe: Affected by a severe drought, the country now has 4 million people who need food aid, raising the figure from a previous estimate of 3 million. (Xinhua)
- Region: Cuban and US telecom firms have signed an agreement to establish direct international voice traffic, basically in incoming and outgoing calls. (Xinhua)
- El Salvador: President Salvador Sanchez Ceren says he is studying a series of measures to combat street gang violence in the Central American country. (AP)
- Venezuela: The bodies of 14 miners have been found in a mass grave in the country, from among 28 missing after an armed attack. (AFP)
- Region: China, North Korea’s most important ally, has reaffirmed its commitment to fully implement UN sanctions against Pyongyang over its recent nuclear tests and missile launches. (AP)
- Bangladesh: The Islamic State group claimed it killed a Bangladeshi Shiite preacher who was hacked to death this week, a claim the country’s authorities reject. (AFP)
- Korean Peninsula: South Korea warned if Pyongyang conducts any other provocation, North Korea will face harsher reactions from the international community. (Xinhua)
- Myanmar: Lawmakers elected Htin Kyaw to become the country’s first civilian president in decades, a historic moment for the formerly junta-run nation. (AFP)
- Region: At least 45 Kurdish rebels were killed in Turkish air strikes against suspected militant targets in northern Iraq following the suicide car bombing in Ankara. (AP)
- Region: If Britain leaves the EU, it could have a negative impact on the NATO alliance, Lt-Gen Ben Hodges, head of the US Army in Europe has warned. (BBC)
- Region: Macedonia has sent about 600 migrants who crossed the border back to Greece. (Reuters)
- Germany: The founder of the country’s xenophobic and anti-Islam group PEGIDA has been summoned to court on hate speech. (AFP)
- Region: Jordan’s King Abdullah II has arrived in the United Arab Emirates for talks with top officials on how to combat extremism. (AP)
- Iran: The country said it could not force Iranian asylum-seekers to return home from Australia but remained open to voluntary returns. (AFP)
- Syria: A senior Islamic State militant, Omar al-Shishani, whom the US military tried to kill in last week’s airstrike in the country has died of his wounds, according to a senior Pentagon official. (NYT)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: China wants to have deeper internet security and anti-terrorism cooperation with the US, the nation told visiting FBI Director James Comey. (Reuters)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 15MAR: 21,285 (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: 451
- Deaths as of 15MAR: 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 15MAR: 1677 (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 15MAR: 597 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 15MAR: Brazil, Colombia, Suriname, El Salvador, Paraguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Cape Verde, Honduras, French Guiana, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Barbados, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Guatemala, Curacao, Costa Rica, Maldives
- Indication of Viral Circulation as of 15MAR: South Africa, China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
- Deaths as of 15MAR: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (16MAR)
- Egypt: Kingdom of Egypt Proclaimed – 1922
- Japan: Japanese government will hold economic seminars ahead of G-7 summit in May
- Russia and Morocco: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and King Mohammed VI of Morocco will discuss a number of key bilateral questions in Moscow
- Russia and Israel: Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who will be paying an official visit to Russia