ONS: 20 December 2012

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 20, 2012

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: The UNSC is expected to vote on a resolution allowing the deployment of an African force in Mali to prepare an offensive against al Qaeda linked militants.
  • AMERICAS: Venezuelan VP Maduro said President Chavez, recovering from cancer surgery, should be fit to be sworn in for a new term on 10JAN13 as scheduled.
  • ASIA: Afghan president Karzai said he welcomes the withdrawal of nearly half of the UK’s troops from Afghanistan next year.
  • EUROPE: Russian President Putin said Russia-Georgia relations must be normalized.
  • MIDDLE EAST: UN human rights investigators said the fighting in Syria has turned into a conflict between the country’s various religious groups in recent months.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Facebook said it is halting a test of placing ads in “apps” that synch to the social network, renewing questions on how it will boost revenues from members using smartphones or tablets.

TOP STORY

  • Libya: Resignations and expanding circle of blame in wake of Benghazi report
    • Members of the Senate and House foreign affairs committees are set to question Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is in charge of policy, and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who is in charge of management, at back-to-back congressional hearings.
    • The US State Department said the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security had resigned from his post and three other officials had been relieved of their duties.
    • The report singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation.
    • The report and the comments by its two lead authors suggested that Clinton, who accepted responsibility for the incident in a television interview about a month after the Benghazi attack, would not be held personally culpable.
    • Coverage: CNN, LaT, The Guardian, Reuters, WaPo

AFRICA

  • Algeria: French President Hollande said during a state visit that he recognizes the “suffering” inflicted on the Algerian people during French colonial rule. (AFP)
  • Central African Republic: Rebels rejected international calls to pull back from towns they have seized recently, saying they will not do so until the government opens talks with them. (AFP)
  • Mali: The UNSC is expected to vote on a resolution allowing the deployment of an African force in Mali to prepare an offensive against al Qaeda linked militants. (AFP)
  • Nigeria: A group of 30 gunmen who stormed a residence where expatriate workers were staying kidnapped a French citizen after killing two people. (AFP)
  • Rwanda: The UN tribunal for Rwanda handed a 35-year jail term to a former minister found guilty of genocide, in the court’s final trial ruling. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Dominican Republic: Anti-narcotics agents seized nearly 10 tons of drugs and arrested over 3,200 suspected drug traffickers this year. (Xinhua)
  • Nicaragua: A court found 18 Mexicans guilty of money laundering and drug trafficking after they crossed the border in trucks stuffed with USD9.2 million and bearing the Televisa broadcaster’s logo. (AFP)
  • Panama: A cocaine-laden semi-submersible vessel that sank early this month in Caribbean waters will not be refloated due to the cost and possible risks. (EFE)
  • United States: President Barack Obama said the sudden boom in US oil and natural gas production could eventually lead to a shift in relations with the Middle East. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: VP Maduro said President Chavez, recovering from cancer surgery, should be fit to be sworn in for a new term on 10JAN13 as scheduled. (Xinhua)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: President Karzai said he welcomes the withdrawal of nearly half of the UK’s troops from Afghanistan next year. (AP)
  • Afghanistan: The US Army is seeking the death penalty against a soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn attack. (AP)
  • China: A top official said the economies of China and the US have become “interdependent and inseparable.”(AP)
  • Indonesia: Suspected Muslim militants killed three police officers and wounded three others. (DPA)
  • Philippines: The government and communist rebels agreed on a nationwide truce to help restart peace talks. (AP)

EUROPE

  • Region: Russian President Putin said Russia-Georgia relations must be normalized. (Xinhua)
  • Region: The EU welcomed Russian President Putin for the 30th EU-Russia summit. (AFP)
  • Greece: The country’s third-largest lender Eurobank reported a net loss of 1.095 billion euros over the first nine months of 2012, after writing off six billion euros to help the country reduce its sovereign debt. (AFP)
  • Italy: PM Monti is set to back a centrist coalition and could still be appointed to the government after the vote. (AFP)
  • Spain: Thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the regional parliament in Madrid to protest planned cuts to the health budget. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Israel: HRW said Israeli army attacks on journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip during November military operations violated the laws of war. (AP)
  • Palestinian Territories: A senior Palestinian official said Israel will be “held accountable” for its settlement building, after Israel pushed forward plans for more than 5,000 new settler homes. (AFP)
  • Syria: UN human rights investigators said the fighting in Syria has turned into a conflict between the country’s various religious groups in recent months. (DPA)
  • Yemen: President Hadi ordered restructuring in the country’s divided armed forces and removal of the former president’s relatives from military and security posts. (Xinhua)
  • Yemen: Security authorities seized a large shipment of mortar shells in the port of Mukalla. (Xinhua)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Social Media: Facebook said it is halting a test of placing ads in “apps” that synch to the social network, renewing questions on how it will boost revenues from members using smartphones or tablets. (AFP)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Kamchatka Volcano, Russia
    • Ongoing eruption of ash and lava. (UPI)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21DEC)

  • Iran: Military Drill Velayat 91 held.
  • Romania: Parliament is expected to vote on the PM’s new cabinet.
  • Scotland: Anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing – 1988.

END

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