ONS: 16 March 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 17, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Amnesty International accused international oil majors Shell and Eni of negligence when addressing spills in Nigeria.
  • AMERICAS: The negotiating teams of the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army guerrillas returned to peace talks in Ecuador after a two-month suspension.
  • ASIA: The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered for their first summit in Australia as the regional neighbors look for closer economic and security links.
  • EUROPE: In Sweden, North Korean FM Ri Yong Ho held talks with PM Stefan Lofven amid reports Sweden could play a role in setting up a proposed summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The Russian military and the Syrian government extended a cease-fire in Damascus’ rebel-held suburbs as long as it takes to allow all the civilians to leave the area.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The US is blaming Russia for an ongoing campaign of cyberattacks it says is targeting the US power grid, water systems, and other critical infrastructure.

TOP STORY

  • Russia: Rift with Europe deepens as both sides prepare to escalate standoff.
    • Russia hit back at punitive measures from the US and UK, as it warned it was prepared to escalate a standoff with the West.
    • Moscow will expel British diplomats in retaliation for a similar move made by London, without specifying how many or any other measures in the deepening crisis between the two countries.
    • Australia, France and Germany joined the UK and US in condemning the attack and pointing the finger at Russia.
    • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hinted that Putin associates in the UK might be targeted in an anti-corruption drive.
    • Coverage: AP, NYT, WP, WSJ

AFRICA

  • Nigeria: Amnesty International accused international oil majors Shell and Eni of negligence when addressing spills in the country. (Reuters)
  • South Africa: South African outrage forced Australia to insist its humanitarian program was non-discriminatory, despite suggestions “persecuted” white farmers could be fast-tracked into the country. (AFP)
  • South Africa: Chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams will announce whether he is reinstating corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma. (Reuters)

AMERICAS

  • Region: The negotiating teams of the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army guerrillas returned to peace talks in Ecuador after a two-month suspension. (Xinhua)
  • Mexico: Mexican authorities arrested 18 people in the abduction of two prosecution agents. (AP)
  • United States: A pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a Miami highway, crushing vehicles beneath massive slabs of concrete and steel, killing at least four people. (AP)

ASIA

  • Region: The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered for their first summit in Australia as the regional neighbors look for closer economic and security links. (AP)
  • Korean Peninsula: South Korea and the US will scale down and shorten annual joint military exercises in light of a diplomatic thaw with Pyongyang. (AFP)
  • Philippines: The country gave official notice to exit the treaty that created the International Criminal Court. (AFP)
  • Vietnam: More than a thousand people marked the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, using the event to talk of peace and cooperation instead of hatred. (AP)

EUROPE

  • Germany: New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Islam did not belong to the country, clashing with Chancellor Angela Merkel who has stressed the need to integrate Muslims. (Reuters)
  • Russia: President Vladimir Putin is urging Russians to cast ballots in election, which he’s certain to win. (AP)
  • Sweden: North Korean FM Ri Yong Ho held talks with PM Stefan Lofven amid reports the country could play a role in setting up a proposed summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. (AFP)
  • Turkey: At least 47 people were detained in the southern province of Adana for plotting a terror attack. (Xinhua)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iraq: A military helicopter with US service members aboard crashed in Anbar province near the Syrian border, with rescue teams responding to the scene. (NBC)
  • Syria: As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in the country’s north and south in recent days. (BBC)
  • Syria: Heavy airstrikes targeted a rebel-held area of eastern Ghouta, killing 10 people in the town of Saqba. (Reuters)
  • Syria: The Russian military and the Syrian government extended a cease-fire in Damascus’ rebel-held suburbs as long as it takes to allow all the civilians to leave the area. (AP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The US is blaming Russia for an ongoing campaign of cyberattacks it says is targeting the US power grid, water systems, and other critical infrastructure. (RFE/RL)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone Eliakim
    • Location: 365 NM NW of St Denis
    • Wind: 65 mph
    • Movement: WSW at 10 mph
    • Map
  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone Fifteen
    • Location: 152 NM NE of Darwin, Australia
    • Wind: 45 mph
    • Movement: SSE at 6 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report                   
  • 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 (17MAR)

  • Afghanistan: UN Political Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) set to expire unless renewed
  • Australia: ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to open (to 18MAR)
  • Libya: Eastern government imposed deadline for nationals of other African countries to leave country
  • United States: St. Patrick’s Day – Unknown
  • United States: The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival begins in Washington, DC (to 15APR)
  • Venezuela: Opposition groups to hold protests against elections scheduled for May

END

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