ONS: 15 March 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 16, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: In Chad, the government and unions signed a deal to end a strike over austerity measures that paralyzed the public sector for more than six weeks.
  • AMERICAS: Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, is shutting down due to the economic and reputational damage inflicted by its role in the global tax evasion debacle.
  • ASIA: President Rodrigo Duterte and Filipino officials can still face investigation by the International Criminal Court for his controversial anti-drug war until his decision to withdraw from the tribunal takes effect after a year, rights groups said.
  • EUROPE: North Korean FM Ri Yong Ho is visiting the country, in possible preparations for the Scandinavian country to host a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The UN warned that a US-induced half-billion-dollar funding shortfall for the UN relief agency for Palestinians risks cutting critical services that could “push the suffering in disastrous and unpredictable directions.”
  • TECHNOLOGY: The new interactive BBC iReporter game – aimed at youngsters aged 11 to 18 – challenges children to make their own decisions and identify “fake news.”

 

TOP STORY

  • United Kingdom: Rhetoric against Russia steps up; Moscow prepares response.
    • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stepped up Britain’s war of words with Russia by accusing the Kremlin of glorying in the poisoning of the double agent Sergei Skripal.
    • Russian state-funded RT television editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan says British PM Theresa May is to blame if British media are kicked out of Russia over the poisoning of an ex-spy.
    • Russia will expel UK diplomats “soon”, FM Sergei Lavrov said, in response to the expulsion of 23 Russian envoys by Britain.
    • The White House says it “stands in solidarity” with “its closest ally” the UK and supports its decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
    • For US allies and some congressional lawmakers, Trump’s initial response was another befuddling example of the president appearing to soft-pedal in the face of Moscow’s provocations.
    • Coverage: AP, AP-2, BBC, BBC-2, Guardian, Reuters

 

AFRICA

  • Chad: The government and unions signed a deal to end a strike over austerity measures that paralyzed the public sector for more than six weeks. (AFP)
  • Libya: Libyan navy seized a foreign tanker for smuggling fuel off the coast of Zwara, some 120 km west of the capital Tripoli. (Xinhua)
  • Senegal: At least eight people were killed when a military helicopter crashed in the country’s southern Fatick region. (AP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Region: Mexican prosecutor Santiago Nieto says he was dismissed for investigating bribes Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht financed for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012 campaign. (WSJ)
  • Region: Brazilian President Michel Temer intends to call US President Donald Trump to complain about plans for US tariffs on imports of foreign steel and aluminum — and warned of WTO action. (AFP)
  • Panama: Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, is shutting down due to the economic and reputational damage inflicted by its role in the global tax evasion debacle. (Reuters)

 

ASIA

  • Region: Bangladesh declared a day of mourning for those who died in the crash of a plane from Dkaha as it was landing in Kathmandu, Nepal. (WP)
  • Region: Pakistan recalled its top diplomat in India for consultations after allegations of harassment of Pakistani diplomatic staff in New Delhi. (AP)
  • Malaysia: Sources indicate the country’s parliament will be dissolved on 28-30MAR to make way for general elections that must be held by AUG2018. (Reuters)
  • Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte and government officials can still face investigation by the International Criminal Court for his controversial anti-drug war until his decision to withdraw from the tribunal takes effect after a year, rights groups said. (AP)

 

EUROPE

  • Slovakia: President Andrej Kiska supports PM Robert Fico’s offer to resign on condition that his party be allowed to pick the next government leader. (Reuters)
  • Sweden: North Korean FM Ri Yong Ho is visiting the country, in possible preparations for the Scandinavian country to host a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP)
  • Turkey: FM Mevlut Cavusoglu’s 19MAR visit to Washington was postponed, following the US decision to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: The country will build a new chemical weapons “defense center” to protect itself from growing threats from Russia and North Korea. (BBC)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: The UN warned that a US-induced half-billion-dollar funding shortfall for the UN relief agency for Palestinians risks cutting critical services that could “push the suffering in disastrous and unpredictable directions.” (AP)
  • Region: Iranian naval forces appear to have deliberately halted their provocations of US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf in recent months. (AP)
  • Region: Israeli tanks shelled Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians set off bombs along the border fence, with no casualties reported. (AFP)
  • Syria: The Russian military extended a “humanitarian pause” in fighting for two days in a part of the eastern Ghouta enclave, just outside of Damascus. (AP)
  • Syria: The International Committee of the Red Cross said a convoy of 25 aid trucks entered the northern pocket of the besieged eastern Ghouta neighborhood. (Reuters)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The new interactive BBC iReporter game – aimed at youngsters aged 11 to 18 – challenges children to make their own decisions and identify “fake news.” (BBC)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone Linda
    • Location: 334 NM NNE of Brisbane, Australia
    • Wind: 40 mph
    • Movement: SSW at 4 mph
    • Map
  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone Fourteen
    • Location: 383 NM NNW of Port Louis, Mauritius
    • Wind: 40 mph
    • Movement: SW at 5 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 22DEC: 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 22DEC: 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 22DEC: 101 (Brazil, Ecuador)
        • Deaths (01JAN16-31DEC16): 172
        • Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
    • 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)

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (16MAR)

  • Kazakhstan: The foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey to meet in Astana
  • United States: Foreign Ministers of Japan, South Korea, and the United States to meet in Washington

 

END

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