ONS: 19 December 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 19, 2014

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: UNSG Ban Ki-moon arrived in Liberia on the first stop of a visit to West African countries affected by Ebola for a first-hand assessment.
  • AMERICAS: In the US, a report by the Government Accountability Office said the federal government is not fully prepared to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or large-scale natural catastrophe.
  • ASIA: The Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with the US after US President Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the sale of up to four Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan.
  • EUROPE: Russian FM Lavrov said that US legislation authorizing sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could undermine relations between Moscow and Washington for a long time.
  • MIDDLE EAST: In Iraq, US-backed Kurdish forces broke a months-long siege by Islamic State on Mount Sinjar, opening a passage for thousands of civilians trapped there.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The US said a cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on North Korea was a serious national security matter and the Obama administration was considering a proportional response.

 

TOP STORY

  • Pakistan: Military steps up offensive against militants, challenge bail for Mumbai attack planner.
    • Pakistani jets and ground forces killed at least 59 militants in a series of offensives in Khyber agency.
    • Army COAS GEN Sharif signed death warrants of six “hard core terrorists” convicted and sentenced to death by military courts.
    • Local media reported that at least eight militants were killed in US drone strikes along Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
    • A Pakistani government prosecutor said he will challenge a court order granting bail to the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
    • A CIA report released by Wikileaks said that the removal of senior Taliban leaders has had little impact on the organization.
    • Coverage: AP, BBC, BBC-2, BBC-3, CNN, CNN-2, LAT, NYT, Xinhua, Xinhua-2

 

AFRICA

  • Region: Countries in the Gulf of Guinea expressed concern at the steep increase in piracy in the region. (AFP)
  • Liberia: UNSG Ban Ki-moon arrived in Monrovia on the first stop of a visit to West African countries affected by Ebola for a first-hand assessment. (AFP)
  • Mali: The chief of the most powerful Tuareg tribe in the north of the country died, signaling a change of leadership as Tuareg separatists are locked in peace talks with the government. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: The Central Bank announced new measures to curb currency speculation as part of an effort to defend the naira amid the collapse in global oil prices. (AFP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Region: US President Obama signed a law allowing sanctions against senior Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of protesters during anti-government demonstrations. (Reuters)
  • Haiti: Opposition groups marched through Port-au-Prince to the National Palace to demand the resignation of President Martelly. (EFE)
  • United States: A report by the Government Accountability Office said the federal government is not fully prepared to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or large-scale natural catastrophe. (AP)

 

ASIA

  • Region: Chinese premier Li Keqiang is to sign agriculture and transport agreements on a visit to Thailand. (AFP)
  • China: The Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with the US after US President Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the sale of up to four Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan. (Reuters)
  • Korea, South: The constitutional court banned the far-left Unified Progressive Party in an 8-1 decision and ordered the forfeiture of all of its five seats in parliament. (AFP)
  • Sri Lanka: The main opposition party promised to address international concerns over war crimes and normalize relations with India and Western nations if they won January presidential polls. (AFP)

 

EUROPE

  • Belgium: At least 1,000 protestors against austerity and a massive EU-US free trade deal gathered at the main EU buildings in central Brussels. (AFP)
  • Cyprus: The IMF said it would not release USD108 million in bail-out money after parliament voted to hold a key foreclosure law from taking effect at the end of December. (AP)
  • Russia: FM Lavrov said that US legislation authorizing sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could undermine relations between Moscow and Washington for a long time. (AFP)
  • Spain: A ruined businessman drove a car carrying gas cylinders into the front of the ruling Popular Party’s headquarters in Madrid. (AP)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iraq: US-backed Kurdish forces broke a months-long siege by Islamic State on Mount Sinjar, opening a passage for thousands of civilians trapped there. (BBC)
  • Israel: The military reported that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck the south of the country in the first such attack since September. (AP)
  • Kuwait:  Local media reported that a court jailed three Arab supporters of the Islamic State jihadist group, in a first for the Gulf emirate. (AFP)
  • Syria: The Guardian reported that US counter-terrorism officials backed negotiations with two prominent jihadi clerics in a failed attempt to save the life of Peter Kassig. (The Guardian)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Cybersecurity: The US said a cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on North Korea was a serious national security matter and the Obama administration was considering a proportional response. (Reuters)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Mount Gamalama, Indonesia
    • Eruption and ash cloud prompting airport closure. (AFP)
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 17,145 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United States)
      • Deaths: 6,928 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 13NOV: 885,926 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, 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.)
      • Deaths as of 13NOV: 153 (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 17DEC: 938 (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 and the U.S)
      • Deaths as of 17DEC: 343 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (20DEC)

  • China and Macau: Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled to visit Macau
  • Panama: Anniversary of US Operation Just Cause in Panama – 1989

 

END

 

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