- AFRICA: Ugandan election officials said they were expecting presidential and parliamentary polls to pass off peacefully.
- AMERICAS: The EU will grant USD 10.7M to finance research about the Zika virus, the bloc’s Ambassador to Brazil Joao Gomes Cravinho said.
- ASIA: Four US F-22 stealth fighters flew across South Korea in a show of force following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.
- EUROPE: British officials have entered the final phase of negotiations to change the UK’s relationship with the EU, the day before the European summit begins.
- MIDDLE EAST: UN convoys delivered aid to thousands of besieged Syrians, but hopes for lasting peace dimmed as Turkey called for ground operations in Syria.
- TECHNOLOGY: Apple CEO Timothy Cook called a court order to unlock a San Bernandino shooter’s iPhone for the FBI an “unprecedented step” on the part of the US government and that Apple would not comply.
- South China Sea: Reports indicate China placed anti-aircraft missiles on islands.
- China has positioned anti-aircraft missiles on Woody Island, part of the disputed Paracels islands in the South China Sea, Taiwan said.
- The Pentagon has evidence that the Chinese military has deployed surface-to-air missiles in the South China Sea, a US official said.
- Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the US Pacific Command, said the deployment of missiles to the Paracels would not be a surprise but would be a concern, and be contrary to China’s pledge not to militarize the region.
- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sought to downplay such reports, accusing the media of hyping the issue and saying more attention should be paid to the “public goods and services” provided by China’s development of its maritime claims.
- Taiwan said its military would “pay close attention” to subsequent developments on Woody Island and urged “relevant parties … to refrain from any unilateral measure that would increase tensions.”
- Coverage: AP, LAT, NBC, NYT, Reuters, USA Today
- Kenya: The country will build a special prison to house “violent and extremist” offenders to keep them from influencing other prisoners, President Uhuru Kenyatta said. (Reuters)
- Libya: US President Barack Obama said the US will continue to try to prevent Islamic State from establishing a foothold in the country. (Reuters)
- Uganda: Ugandan election officials said they were expecting presidential and parliamentary polls to pass off peacefully. (AFP)
- Region: The EU will grant USD 10.7M to finance research about the Zika virus, the bloc’s Ambassador to Brazil Joao Gomes Cravinho said. (Xinhua)
- Venezuela: Lawmakers in the country’s opposition-controlled legislature approved an amnesty for jailed foes of President Nicolas Maduro, who pledged to veto the bill. (AFP)
- United States: In California, the FBI is investigating a cyber attack that has crippled the electronic database at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for days. (Reuters)
- Region: China cautioned Australia as Sydney contemplates buying a fleet of submarines from Japan. (Reuters)
- India: Delhi police carried out fresh raids in several Indian cities as they stepped up a search for students in a controversial sedition case after the arrest of a student leader that has sparked mass protests. (AFP)
- Korean Peninsula: Four US F-22 stealth fighters flew across South Korea in a show of force following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests. (AFP)
- Korean Peninsula: China urged all parties involved in the Korean nuclear issue to resume talks amid looming UN sanctions against Pyongyang. (Xinhua)
- Region: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe is making progress in tackling the migrant crisis and praised Chancellor Angela Merkel for sticking to “long-sighted” policies despite criticism. (Reuters)
- Region: British officials have entered the final phase of negotiations to change the UK’s relationship with the EU, the day before the European summit begins. (BBC)
- Russia: Russian state security service says it has charged seven people with terrorism in the country’s Ural mountain region. (AP)
- Turkey: A soldier was killed and two others wounded in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Diyarbakir province. (Xinhua)
- Iran: Russia will sign this year a contract to supply a batch of its Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighter jets to the Islamic Republic. (Reuters)
- Israel: Israeli Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the military has “effective deterrence” against the militant Hezbollah group. (AP)
- Syria: UN convoys delivered aid to thousands of besieged Syrians, but hopes for lasting peace dimmed as Turkey called for ground operations in the country. (AFP)
- Yemen: A suicide bomber attacked a military camp in the country’s south, killing at least nine soldiers, military and medical sources said. (AFP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: Apple CEO Timothy Cook called a court order to unlock a San Bernandino shooter’s iPhone for the FBI an “unprecedented step” on the part of the US government and that Apple would not comply. (NYT)
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Winston
- 145 NM NW of Niue
- Winds: 103 mph
- Movement: E at 6 mph
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Uriah
- 838 miles SE of Diego Garcia
- Winds: 120 mph
- Movement: W at 12 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 17FEB: 6,244 (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: 175
- Deaths as of 17FEB: 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 17FEB: 1638 (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 17FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 17FEB: 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 17FEB: Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
- Deaths as of 17FEB: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (18FEB)
- Canada: Louis Riel Day – 1844
- Europe Region: EU leaders will hold a summit in Brussels (to 19FEB)
- Gambia: Gambia Independence Day – 1965
- Sierra Leone: Armed Forces Day
- Uganda: Uganda national elections
- Ukraine: Anniversary of 2014 Ukrainian revolution – 2014