ONS: 18 March 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 19, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Libya’s eastern-based army arrested 16 al-Qaida-linked foreign militants in the southern city of Kufra as they were trying to infiltrate into the country, said the army in a statement.
  • AMERICAS: Donald Trump slammed the FBI as he hailed the firing of a veteran Bureau agent as a “great day for democracy,” a move his attorney said he hoped would bring an end to a probe into alleged collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia.
  • ASIA: Southeast Asian leaders and Australia’s prime minister called on North Korea to end its nuclear program urged UN countries to fully implement sanctions.
  • EUROPE: Russians headed to the polls in elections set to hand President Vladimir Putin a historic fourth Kremlin term, as the country faces increasing isolation over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s state media says the country’s foreign minister was briefly hospitalized due to severe illness.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Facebook Inc faced new calls for regulation from within US Congress and was hit with questions about personal data safeguards after reports a political consultant gained inappropriate access to 50 million users’ data starting in 2014.

TOP STORY

  • Turkey and its Islamist-backed forces have taken Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria
    • Turkish forces and Turkish-backed Islamist forces have taken full control of the centre of the Syrian-Kurdish city of Afrin.
    • Turkey launched its military offensive against US-backed Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin on January 20, supported by FSA rebel factions.
    • As the Turkish operation intensified, more than 200,000 civilians fled the Kurdish-majority city in less than three days, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
    • The operation exacerbated rifts between Turkey and the US, which has allied with the YPG to fight the Islamic State in parts of Syria.
    • Coverage: BBC, CNN, TEL, WP

AFRICA

  • Egypt: Mostafa al-Asar’s lawyer said he had barely started work on a documentary critical of President Sisi when police arrested him and charged him with publishing “fake news”. (REU)
  • Libya: The country’s eastern-based army arrested 16 al-Qaida-linked foreign militants in the southern city of Kufra as they were trying to infiltrate into the country, said the army in a statement. (XIN)
  • Senegal: The government has closed more than a dozen schools linked to a man the Turkish government considers a terrorist, underlining Turkey’s growing influence in predominantly Muslim West Africa. (AP)

AMERICAS

  • United States: Donald Trump slammed the FBI as he hailed the firing of a veteran Bureau agent as a “great day for democracy,” a move his attorney said he hoped would bring an end to a probe into alleged collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia. (AFP)
  • United States: The Commerce Department said it will begin accepting requests on Monday for product exclusions from Trump’s new steel and aluminum import tariffs, but it could take up to 90 days for the agency to make determinations. (REU)
  • Venezuela: A coalition of Venezuelan opposition groups organized rallies across the country on Saturday to protest May 20 presidential elections it considers fraudulent and to demand “free and transparent” elections at a future date. (AFP)

ASIA

  • Region: Southeast Asian leaders and Australia’s prime minister called on North Korea to end its nuclear program urged UN countries to fully implement sanctions. (AP)
  • Korea: Officials wrapped up three days of talks with Swedish counterparts with no indication their efforts cleared the way for a mooted nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AFP)
  • Philippines: President Duterte urged other nations to follow his move to quit the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly drug war. (AFP)
  • Sri Lanka: President Maithripala Sirisena announced he is lifting a nationwide state of emergency imposed 12 days ago to quell anti-Muslim riots, in which three people died and hundreds of shops were destroyed. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • Russia: Citizens headed to the polls in elections set to hand President Vladimir Putin a historic fourth Kremlin term, as the country faces increasing isolation over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions. (AFP)
  • Russia: More than 97,000 ballot stations opened in Russia and abroad for the presidential election, Central Election Commission head Ella Pamfilova said. (TAS)
  • United Kingdom: A number of people have been injured and a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven into a nightclub in Gravesend. (GUA)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: State media says the country’s foreign minister was briefly hospitalized due to severe illness. (WP)
  • Israel: The military said it destroyed a tunnel built by the Hamas militant group. (WP)
  • Syria: The main rebel group in the southern pocket opposition-held eastern Ghouta told Reuters it was negotiating with a UN delegation about a ceasefire, aid and the evacuation of urgent medical cases. (REU)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: Facebook Inc faced new calls for regulation from within US Congress and was hit with questions about personal data safeguards on Saturday after reports a political consultant gained inappropriate access to 50 million users’ data starting in 2014. (REU)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 20JAN: 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 20JAN: 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 20JAN: 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 (19MAR)

  • Argentina: Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers to meet in Buenos Aires (to 20MAR)
  • Christmas Island: Labor Day – Unknown
  • Finland: Equality Day – 2007
  • Libya: Commemoration of the Victory over Gaddafi – 2011
  • Mexico: Benito Juárez – Unknown
  • Netherlands: International Court of Justice to hear arguments in Bolivia’s suit against Chile to recover coastline lost in a 19th-century war
  • United States: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit (to 22MAR)

END

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