ONS: 18 March 2017

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 19, 2017

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Gunmen opened fire in the capital of Libya as hundreds of people demonstrated against the presence of militias in Tripoli.
  • AMERICAS: The Canadian government formally apologized to three Canadian men of Arab descent who said they had been tortured in Syria.
  • ASIA: Pakistan heightened concerns among journalists when it asked Facebook and Twitter to ferret out individuals posting religiously offensive material, promising to prosecute them on blasphemy charges.
  • EUROPE: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ramped up demands for another secession referendum.
  • MIDDLE EAST: More than 40 people including women and children have been shot dead aboard a boat carrying Somali refugees in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen.
  • TECHNOLOGY: A leading Russian bank says it was targeted by hackers who created a fake cyber trail to suggest extensive links with businesses owned by Trump.

TOP STORY

  • German-US Relations: Merkel and Trump Hold Tense Meeting at the White House
    • US President Trump and German Chancellor Merkel made a show of working together, as they stood side by side in the East Room of the White House.
    • The two leaders share different views on trade, Russia, and immigration, leading to some uncomfortable moments at a joint news conference, in which they took pains to downplay differences.
    • Near the start of the news conference, Trump pressed Merkel for Germany to meet NATO’s military spending target.
    • Merkel reiterated her country’s commitment to the 2% military spending goal.
    • Trump reiterated his claim that his phone had been wiretapped by quipping that he and Merkel has something in common, as her cell phone had previously been tapped by the National Security Agency.
    • Merkel emphasized the need for trade deals that fairly benefit both countries.
    • Trump shared an awkward moment with Merkel apparently declining to shake her hand, a traditional gesture in such settings.
    • Coverage: CNN, CNN-2, NYT, Reuters, WP, DW, LAT

AFRICA

  • Region: Ethiopia and Djibouti expressed desires to strengthen their bilateral relations by signing agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance. (Xinhua)
  • Ghana: President Nana Akufo-Addo defended his controversial decision to appoint a 110-minister government, calling it a “necessary investment.” (AFP)
  • Libya: Gunmen opened fire in the capital as hundreds of people demonstrated against the presence of militias in Tripoli, where armed groups are key power brokers. (AFP)
  • Mauritania: The Senate rejected a contentious constitutional amendment on its own abolition and the alteration of the country’s flag to better represent those who battled for independence from France. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Canada: The government formally apologized to three Canadian men of Arab descent who said they had been tortured in Syria. (Reuters)
  • Colombia: The largest rebel group has handed over 140 weapons to UN observers as part of an historic peace agreement. (AP)
  • United States: Trump provoked a rare public dispute after an explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Britain’s spy agency had secretly eavesdropped on him at the behest Obama during last year’s campaign. (NYT)
  • United States: A laptop containing encrypted floor plans and evacuation protocol for Trump Tower, was stolen from a Secret Service agent’s car, and could not be traced or erased by officials remotely, leaving the information at risk of being discovered. (CNN)

ASIA

  • Korea, North: The DPRK and Russia have signed a protocol on the export of labor to each other’s countries. (Xinhua)
  • Korea, South: Chey Tae Won, chairman of the conglomerate, SK Group, was questioned by prosecutors investigating former President Park Geun Hye. (Kyodo)
  • Pakistan: The government heightened concerns among journalists when it said it had asked Facebook and Twitter to ferret out individuals posting religiously offensive material, promising to prosecute them on blasphemy charges. (AP)
  • Philippines: Troops killed at least 10 Muslim militants in two days of ground and air offensives against their southern province hideouts. (DPA)

EUROPE

  • Region: German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that he expected Ankara to stick to a deal reached between the EU and Turkey last year to stem the flow of migrants. (Reuters)
  • Albania: The country’s politics featured strong debates following a US report that stated that the country remained a significant source for marijuana, as well as a transit route for cocaine and heroin. (Xinhua)
  • France: Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon continued to lose support in an opinion poll that showed centrist Emmanuel Macron likely to win the presidential election. (Reuters)
  • United Kingdom: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ramped up demands for another secession referendum. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: The country is questioning a provision of its nuclear deal with world powers in a way that could lead to confrontation with the US. (RFE/RL)
  • Saudi Arabia: King Salman returns home after a two month-long tour of Asia that took him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and China. (Reuters)
  • Syria: Russian sappers found more than 120 explosive devices and two ammunition deposits since beginning the demining of a historical area of Palmyra. (TASS)
  • Syria: Rebel fighters and their families began leaving Homs under an evacuation deal with the government that is expected to be the largest of its kind. (Reuters)
  • Yemen: More than 40 people including women and children have been shot dead aboard a boat carrying Somali refugees in the Red Sea off the coast. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: A leading Russian bank says it was targeted by hackers who created a fake cyber trail to suggest extensive links with businesses owned by Trump. (AP)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Etna volcano, Dukono, Sabancaya, Bagana
    • BBC film crew and tourists were pelted with molten rock and superheated steam
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases as of 27MAR16: 28,646 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 27MAR16: 11,323 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 10MAR: 4,519 (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela)
        • Suspected Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 349,936
      • Confirmed Cases as of 10MAR: 629 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Puerto Rico)
        • Confirmed Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 152,250
      • Deaths as of 10MAR: 1 (Brazil)
        • Deaths (01JAN16-31DEC16): 172
        • Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 16FEB: 1,917 (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 16FEB: 684 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 10MAR:  American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire (Netherlands), Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montserrat, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Netherlands), Sint Maarten, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United States of America, Vietnam, United States Virgin Islands, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).
      • Outbreak Terminated as of 10MAR: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Gabon, Isla de Pascua (Chile), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
      • Locally Acquired Without Vector Borne Transmission as of 10MAR: Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States of America.
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (19MAR)

  • Argentina and the United Kingdom: Anniversary of South Georgia flag crisis, setting off Falkland Island war – 1982
  • Europe Region: Japanese PM Abe to visit Germany, France, Brussels, and Italy (to 22MAR)
  • Myanmar: Philippine President Duterte to visit (to 20MAR)
  • Nepal: Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) multinational training exercise to be held, sponsored by USPACOM (to 04APR)

END

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