ONS: 20 August 2017

by TRG Alerts Admin on August 21, 2017

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Two protesters were killed and 13 others wounded in Togo when security forces opened fire to break up demonstrations against the ruling Gnassingbe family dynasty.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuela invited governments from across the Americas that have taken a position on its political processes to gather for high-level talks.
  • ASIA: Australian police charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year, inspired by Islamic State and intending to divide the Muslim community.
  • EUROPE: Britain will issue a cluster of new papers this week to outline its strategy positions in divorce talks with the European Union, ranging from regulation of goods to data protection.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the top foreign policy priority for his new government was to protect the nuclear deal from being torn up by the US.
  • TECHNOLOGY:  A crackdown by US internet and social media companies on neo-Nazi and white supremacist material has sparked warnings in America that the web’s grand promise of free speech is on the rocks.

 

TOP STORY

  • Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to retake Tal Afar, one of the last big towns in the country held by Islamic State.
    • The operation comes six weeks after Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, was liberated.
    • Iraqi warplanes have bombarded IS positions in the city for several days, in preparation for ground operations.
    • IS fighters “have no choice but to surrender or get killed,” PM Haider al-Abadi said in a televised speech.
    • Iraqi forces are backed by the US-led international coalition.
    • Tal Afar, about 150 km east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key IS supply route.
    • Aid groups have warned the operation could trigger a humanitarian crisis as a stepped up campaign of airstrikes and troop buildup has already forced tens of thousands to flee, according to the UN.
    • Coverage: AFP, AP, BBC,  DPA, NYT, WSJ, Xinhua-1, Xinhua-2

 

AFRICA

  • Region: Zimbabwean state media said the wife of President Robert Mugabe has returned home from South Africa despite calls that she would be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting a young model at a luxury hotel in Johannesburg. (AP)
  • Region: According to Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, Chadian Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke will start a three-day visit to Sudan on Monday, seeking further cooperation in various fields. (Xinhua)
  • Togo: Two protesters were killed and 13 others wounded when security forces opened fire to break up demonstrations against the ruling Gnassingbe family dynasty. (Reuters)

 

AMERICAS

  • Chile: According to police, hooded attackers set on fire 18 trucks loaded with food products in the Araucania region. (EFE)
  • US: Thousands of anti-racism demonstrators flooded the streets of Boston, dwarfing a gathering of white nationalists in the city and triggering scuffles with police. (AFP)
  • Venezuela: The country invited governments from across the Americas that have taken a position on its political processes to gather for high-level talks. (Xinhua)

 

ASIA

  • Region: North Korea warned that the US will be “pouring gasoline on fire” by conducting an annual war game in the South next week.  (AFP)
  • Australia: Police charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year, inspired by Islamic State and intending to divide the Muslim community. (Reuters)
  • Australia: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for developers to incorporate safety features into their projects to prevent militant attacks with vehicles and other weapons as he announced new plans to protect the public. (Reuters)
  • Philippines: The head of the Catholic Church called for an end to the deaths following a brutal week in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. (AFP)

 

EUROPE

  • Region: A Frenchman sentenced in absentia for a scam that tricked dozens of French banks and businesses out of millions of euros has been arrested in Ukraine. (RFE/RL)
  • Germany: Secretary General of the country’s CSU party, Andreas Scheuer, sharply criticized the nomination of ex-chancellor Gerhard Shroder to the board of directors of Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft. (TASS)
  • UK: Britain will issue a cluster of new papers this week to outline its strategy positions in divorce talks with the European Union, ranging from regulation of goods to data protection. (Reuters)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: The Syrian army and allied Hezbollah retook several areas from Islamic State (IS) militants in western Qalamoun. (Xinhua)
  • Iran: President Hassan Rouhani said that the top foreign policy priority for his new government was to protect the nuclear deal from being torn up by the US. (AFP)
  • Palestine: FM Riyad Al-Maliki welcomed Egypt’s closer ties with Hamas, calling on the Islamist group to bring an end to the rift between the Palestinian factions. (Reuters)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Communications: A crackdown by US internet and social media companies on neo-Nazi and white supremacist material has sparked warnings in America that the web’s grand promise of free speech is on the rocks. (AFP)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Depression Fifteen
    • Location:
    • Wind: 35 mph
    • Movement: W at 21 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Remnants of Harvey
    • Location: 135 mi N of northern tip of Guajira Peninsula Colombia
    • Wind: 35 mph
    • Movement: W at 22 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Tropical Storm Kenneth
    • Location: 1105 mi WSW of the southern tip of Baja California
    • Wind: 70 mph
    • Movement: W at 17 mph
    • Map
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • 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)
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 18AUG: 73,943 (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 18AUG: 67,483 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin (French part), and Venezuela)
        • Confirmed Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 152,250
      • Deaths as of 18AUG: 51 (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)
      • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
        • Cases as of 12AUG: 2,066 (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 12AUG: 720 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 27JUL:  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, Panamá, 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 27JUL: 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 27JUL: 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 (21AUG)

  • Latvia: Anniversary of the restoration of the Republic of Latvia – 1991
  • Morocco: Youth Day / King Mohammed VI’s Birthday – 1963
  • Philippines: Ninoy Aquino Day – 2004
  • South Korea: US and South Korea to begin military exercises
  • Syria: Anniversary of the Ghouta chemical attack – 2013
  • United States: Hawaii joins the United States – 1959

 

END

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