ONS: 15 May 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on May 16, 2016

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: The army of the Democratic Republic of Congo recruited and supplied arms to a Ugandan Islamist group responsible for killing hundreds of civilians.
  • AMERICAS: The leader of the FARC rebel group invited Colombia’s former president, Alvaro Uribe, for a personal meeting to bolster peace talks.
  • ASIA: Australian police filed criminal charges against five men who allegedly planned to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.
  • EUROPE: Macedonia announced it legalized medicinal marijuana, which will be available in pharmacies across the country by the end of the month.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Egyptian courts sentenced 152 people to prison terms for their participation in protests against the government’s decision to sell islands to Saudi Arabia.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The US federal government will adopt a policy of scanning prospective employees’ social media posts as part of the security clearance process.

TOP STORY

  • Venezuela:  President Maduro vows to strengthen the military and economy to fend off coup
    • In response to ongoing popular protests against him, President Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency.
    • Maduro accused national opposition groups and the United States of collaborating to destabilize the country and carry out a coup d’etat.
    • On Saturday, crowds of opposition members gathered in Caracas to demand a recall referendum to remove the president from power.
    • Maduro announced plans for military exercises to counter “foreign threats” against the nation and his authority.
    • Maduro also promised to strengthen the national economy, going so far as to threaten to seize non-operational factories and jail their owners.
    • The United States warned that the country may now be on the brink of disintegration.
    • Coverage: NYT, WSJ, Chicago Tribune, BBC, Guardian, AFP, AP, Reuters-1, Reuters-2, EFE

AFRICA

  • Region: Senegal and Gambia prepared to begin bilateral talks aimed at ending a three-month border blockade that has created shortages of essential daily items for both countries. (AFP)
  • Region: The UN reported that the Congolese army recruited and supplied arms to an Ugandan Islamist group responsible for killing hundreds of civilians. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: International talks ended with participants agreeing that a “global approach” comprising hard and soft power is needed to counter Boko Haram. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Region: Guatemala accused the Belizean army of using excessive force to arrest a Guatemalan national accused of illegal gold mining. (BBC)
  • Colombia: The leader of the FARC rebel group invited the country’s former president, Alvaro Uribe, for a personal meeting to bolster peace talks. (Reuters)
  • Dominican Republic: The country prepared for presidential, legislative, and municipal elections. (EFE)

ASIA

  • Australia: Police filed criminal charges against five men who allegedly planned to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. (Reuters)
  • China: 32 Taiwanese citizens charged with telecommunications fraud and deported from Malaysia to mainland China in APR16 have confessed to their crimes. (Xinhua)
  • Japan: Protesters demanded the closure of all US military bases on Okinawa island. (Xinhua)

EUROPE

  • Macedonia: The Health Ministry announced that medicinal marijuana will be available in pharmacies across the country by the end of this month. (Xinhua)
  • Spain: Residents of Sesena were allowed to return home after being displaced for more than 30 hours by toxic smoke from a fire in a tire dump. (AP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Egypt: 152 people were sentenced to prison terms of between two and five years for their participation in last month’s protests against the government’s decision to sell islands to Saudi Arabia. (NYT)
  • Syria: The Islamic State briefly overran the Al-Assad hospital complex in Deir al-Zour, killing 35 pro-government fighters and taking medical staff hostage. (Reuters)
  • Syria: In response to advances by both government and opposition forces, the Islamic State declared a state of emergency in its self-declared capital city, Raqqa. (Independent)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that the federal government will soon adopt a policy of scanning prospective employees’ social media posts as part of the security clearance process. (WSJ)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Pavlof, Alaska, US
    • Summary: Available observations indicate that the volcano is not presently erupting, but seismic activity is above background levels and the volcano remains in a restless state and may begin erupting with little or no warning.
    • Aviation advisory: Orange
    • Sourcing: USGS
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases as of 27MAR: 28,646 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 27MAR: 11,323 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 13MAY: 78,214 (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, Panamá, 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: 8,396
      • Deaths: 12
        • Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 82 (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, French Guiana, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 26APR: 1,728 (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 26APR: 624 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 05MAY: Cabo Verde, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Bonaire (Netherlands), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, United States Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Maldives, American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Tonga.
      • Outbreak Terminated as of 05MAY: Gabon, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Isla de Pascua (Chile).
      • Locally Acquired Without Vector Borne Transmission as of 05MAY: United States of America, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, and Portugal.
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (16MAY)

  • Global: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (ITU) – 2005
  • Azerbaijan and Armenia: Leaders of both countries, as well as diplomats from the US, Russia, and France; to meet in Vienna for truce talks
  • China: Anniversary of mass protests for freedom in Tiananmen Square – 1989
  • China: Anniversary of Cultural Revolution beginning – 1966
  • China: Mozambique President Jacinto Nyusi to visit (to 21MAY)
  • China: French FM Jean-Marc Ayrault to visit (to 17MAY)
  • Congo: Liberation Day (AFDL Anniversary) – 1997
  • Cuba and the United States: Diplomats to meet in Havana for third round of talks on thawing ties
  • Libya: European, American and African diplomats to hold talks on Libya in Geneva
  • New Zealand: Tripartite Economic Alliance summit to be held in Auckland with municipal and business leaders from China and the United States
  • Russia: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyn Xun Phc to visit (to 20MAY)
  • South Korea: Indonesian President Widodo to visit (to 18MAY)

END

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