- AFRICA: Ugandans thronged to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, even as a partial blockade of social media fueled fears of political violence.
- AMERICAS: US President Barack Obama will announce the dates of a historic visit to Cuba in the coming weeks, a powerful sign of the thaw between the former Cold War foes.
- ASIA: China has “challenged” reports that it deployed advanced surface-to-air missiles to a disputed island in the South China Sea, but any militarization would be a concern, Australian FM Julie Bishop said.
- EUROPE: EU leaders are to try for an agreement with Britain on reforms, amid hopes they can seal a deal which will convince the country to stay in their bloc.
- MIDDLE EAST: Strikes by a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group killed at least 15 civilians, including three children, in northeast Syria.
- TECHNOLOGY: The Islamic State’s Twitter outlet has stalled amid a stepped-up digital crackdown against the extremist group, who have long relied on the site to recruit and radicalize new adherents.
- Turkey: Two attacks within 24-hours incite Turkish airstrikes, threats.
- Turkey has vowed to retaliate against the perpetrators of a powerful blast in the capital Ankara that left at least 28 people dead and 61 injured.
- Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu said a Kurdish militant from Syria carried out the car bombing that hit a military convoy in Ankara a day earlier, vowing to expand Turkey’s war on terror and warning Western allies against collaborating with the country’s sworn enemies.
- The Turkish military says it has launched airstrikes in northern Iraq hours after the Ankara attack.
- Authorities had detained nine people in connection with the attacks and were trying to identify others.
- An additional bomb detonated by remote control hit security forces traveling in a military vehicle on a road linking Diyarbakir, killing six.
- Coverage: AP, BBC, CNN, Guardian, NYT, WP, WSJ
- Region: Kenya’s army said it had killed the intelligence chief of the Shebab insurgents and 10 other commanders in an air strike in Somalia. (AFP)
- South Sudan: Gunmen in the country opened fire on civilians sheltering inside a UN base, according to residents. (AFP)
- Uganda: Ugandans thronged to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, even as a partial blockade of social media fueled fears of political violence. (DPA)
- Region: US President Barack Obama will announce the dates of a historic visit to Cuba in the coming weeks, a powerful sign of the thaw between the former Cold War foes. (AFP)
- Canada: Canadian F-18 fighter jets have flown their last raids against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, as PM Justin Trudeau pledged.
- Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro ramped up gasoline prices for the first time in two decades and devalued the bolivar currency in a bid to salvage the economy from crisis. (AFP)
- Region: China has “challenged” reports that it deployed advanced surface-to-air missiles to a disputed island in the South China Sea, but any militarization would be a concern, Australian FM Julie Bishop said. (Reuters)
- Region: Publishers from around the world have urged Hong Kong authorities to demand China release five of the city’s booksellers. (AFP)
- India: The Indian Supreme Court said it was concerned about law and order after a student leader whose arrest has sparked major protests and attacks. (AFP)
- Pakistan: Taliban gunmen killed at least nine Pakistani policemen in twin attacks overnight in the northwest Mohmand district. (AFP)
- Region: EU leaders are to try for an agreement with Britain on reforms, amid hopes they can seal a deal which will convince the country to stay in their bloc. (DPA)
- Region: Austria defended its toughened line on migrants, saying its unilateral measures were necessary because of a lack of EU “solidarity”, in particular from France. (AFP)
- Russia: Russian security services said they have detained 14 people suspected of forging documents for people wanting to fight with ISIS in Syria and jihadis coming into the country. (AFP)
- Spain: China urged the country to “safeguard the legal rights and interests” of employees of Chinese megabank ICBC, following their arrest by Spanish authorities on suspicion of laundering tens of millions euros. (AFP)
- Iran: Thousands of parliamentary candidates have launched their election campaigns ahead of the country’s 26FEB parliamentary vote. (AP)
- Syria: Strikes by a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group killed at least 15 civilians, including three children, in the country’s northeast. (AFP)
- Syria: The Syrian army backed by heavy Russian aerial bombing said it had captured the town of Kansaba of the coastal province of Latakia. (Reuters)
- Syria: Doctors Without Borders said more than 60 health facilities in the country supported by the charity were attacked last year, with a dozen completely destroyed. (AFP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Communications: The Islamic State’s Twitter outlet has stalled amid a stepped-up digital crackdown against the extremist group, who have long relied on the site to recruit and radicalize new adherents. (Reuters)
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Winston
- Location: 138 NM NNW of Niue
- Winds: 120 mph
- Movement: W at 2 mph
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Uriah
- Location: 859 miles SSE of Diego Garcia
- Winds: 143 mph
- Movement: SSW at 9 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: 153km SE of Tobelo, Indonesia
- Magnitude: 6.0
- Depth: 10 km
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 18FEB: 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 18FEB: 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 18FEB: 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 18FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 18FEB: 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 18FEB: Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
- Deaths as of 18FEB: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (19FEB)
- Nothing to Report