ONS: 18 February 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 18, 2015

 

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Egypt called on the UN to lift an arms embargo on Libya.
  • AMERICAS: The Colombian Army located and destroyed 902 kilograms of explosives belonging to the FARC.
  • ASIA: The UN reported that the number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan increased 22 percent in 2014.
  • EUROPE: Italian FM Gentiloni outlined for parliament the country’s readiness to play a leading role in de-arming and rebuilding Libya in the event of a UN-brokered cease-fire.
  • MIDDLE EAST: UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said the Syrian government is willing to suspend its aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of Aleppo so that a local ceasefire can be tested.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Australian PM Abbott warned the country that it risks an “explosion of unsolved crimes” if it does not pass a reform on data retention laws.

 

TOP STORY

  • Ukraine: Government pulls back troops as international community decries ceasefire violations.
    • The EU condemned a rebel offensive against Debaltseve as a “clear violation” of an internationally-backed ceasefire.
    • Journalists and monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) tasked with overseeing the ceasefire were prevented by rebels from entering the town.
    • President Poroshenko said that government forces had withdrawn from Debaltseve.
    • US VP Biden “strongly condemned the violation of the ceasefire by separatist forces acting in concert with Russian forces, in and around the town of Debaltseve,” after speaking by telephone with President Poroshenko.
    • French President Hollande is to speak on the phone with his German, Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on the issue.
    • Coverage: AFP, AFP-2, AFP-3, AFP-4, AP, BBC, NYT, WSJ

 

AFRICA

  • Region: Egypt called on the UN to lift an arms embargo on Libya. (AFP)
  • Libya: The Islamist-backed faction in the country’s civil conflict said that it had carried out its first airstrike, targeting opponents in the town of Zintan. (NYT)
  • Nigeria: Boko Haram vowed to make voting impossible in the country’s upcoming presidential election in a new video posted on Twitter. (AFP)
  • South Sudan: A British aid worker was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Juba. (AFP)
  • Tunisia: The Interior Ministry said that militants killed four members of the National Guard in the Kasserine region near the Algerian border. (AP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Region: The US State department said that the US and Cuba will hold a second round of talks on normalizing relations on 27FEB in Washington. (AFP)
  • Colombia: Police seized 260 kilograms of cocaine in the country’s central department of Cundinamarca. (Xinhua)
  • Colombia: The Army located and destroyed 902 kilograms of explosives belonging to the FARC. (EFE)
  • Mexico: US AMB Anthony Wayne condemned attacks on journalists in the country and said it is the government’s responsibility to ensure they are protected. (AP)

 

ASIA

  • Region: Indonesia’s foreign ministry told Australia that “no one responds well to threats” as tensions mount over the imminent execution of two Australian drug smugglers. (AFP)
  • Afghanistan: The UN reported that the number of civilians killed and wounded in the country increased 22 percent in 2014. (AFP)
  • Bangladesh: The country’s war crimes tribunal ordered the execution of a senior Islamist leader after convicting him of atrocities during the country’s 1971 independence war. (AFP)
  • China: Hong Kong’s unpopular Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying called on residents of the city to be more like “mild and gentle” sheep. (AP)
  • India: PM Modi promised to end the country’s status as the world’s number one defense importer, saying he wanted 70 percent of hardware to be manufactured domestically by 2020. (AFP)

 

EUROPE

  • Bosnia: Police arrested six men suspected of supporting the Islamic State group, including two who allegedly were preparing to go to Syria to fight and were arrested at Sarajevo airport. (AP)
  • Greece: The country is expected to bid for extra debt crisis aid from the EU ahead of a closely-watched European Central Bank (ECB) meeting.(AFP)
  • Italy: FM Gentiloni outlined for parliament the country’s readiness to play a leading role in de-arming and rebuilding Libya in the event of a UN-brokered cease-fire. (AFP)
  • Poland: FM Schetyna said the country will comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the country had hosted a secret CIA jail. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: Lawmakers and media reported that five legislators were hurt in a fight that broke out in Parliament, during which lawmakers were attacked with the speaker’s gavel and bell. (AP)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that his country would resist global sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program and might respond to international pressure by cutting back gas exports. (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia: An appeals court upheld a 15-year jail term for a human rights lawyer who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP)
  • Syria: The US decided to provide pickup trucks equipped with machine guns and radios for calling in US airstrikes to some moderate rebels. (WSJ)
  • Syria: UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said the government is willing to suspend its aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of Aleppo so that a local ceasefire can be tested. (Reuters)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: Australian PM Abbott warned the country that it risks an “explosion of unsolved crimes” if it does not pass a reform on data retention laws. (Xinhua)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone 12P (Lam)
    • Location: 345 NM ENE of Darwin, Australia
    • Movement: W at 7 mph
    • Winds: 75 mph
    • Map
  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone 13P (Thirteen)
    • Location: 335 NM E of Willis Island, Australia
    • Movement: SSW at 12 mph
    • Winds: 40 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 22,894 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States)
      • Deaths: 9,177 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK) – Americas
      • Suspected Cases as of 06FEB: 1,172,787 (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, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.) Confirmed Cases: 25,255
      • Deaths as of 06FEB: 181 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
      • Sourcing: WHO, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 16FEB: 983 (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 and the US)
      • Deaths as of 16FEB: 360 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (19FEB)

  • China: Chinese New Year, beginning of Spring Festival (to 25FEB)
  • Japan: The emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to visit (to FEB21)
  • South Korea: Lunar New Year

 

END

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