- AFRICA: The military headquarters in Nairobi said Kenyan ground forces killed an al-Shabaab explosives expert and 19 other Islamists in southern Somalia.
- AMERICAS: Colombia’s president pressured FARC rebels to respect a 23MAR deadline for a peace deal to end a half-century conflict, warning time was short as tensions rose over the negotiations.
- ASIA: China removed Xiao Gang, the head of its securities regulator, from his post, and appointed Liu Shiyu to take on the role.
- EUROPE: French President Francois Hollande warned that an EU member state could be sanctioned if the extreme-right came to power there — and could even be suspended from the bloc.
- MIDDLE EAST: Western powers rejected a Russian bid at the United Nations to halt Turkey’s military actions in Syria, as France warned of a “dangerous escalation” in the nearly five-year conflict.
- TECHNOLOGY: Chinese President Xi Jinping made a rare, high-profile tour of the country’s top three state-run media outlets, telling editors and reporters they must pledge absolute loyalty to the party and closely follow its leadership in “thought, politics and action.”
- Brexit: PM David Cameron returns to London with a deal granting Britain ‘special status’ in the EU.
- Prime Minister David Cameron clinched a deal giving Britain “special status” in the EU, hoping it will be enough to keep his country in the bloc as campaigning begins for a crucial in-out referendum.
- Their legally binding decision granted Britain an explicit exemption from the founding goal of “ever closer union”, offered concessions on the welfare rights of migrant workers and safeguards for the City of London financial center.
- PM Cameron is expected to announce that the EU referendum will be held on 23JUN.
- Coverage: Telegraph, Independent, USA, AFP, Reuters
- Region: The military headquarters in Nairobi said Kenyan ground forces killed an al-Shabaab explosives expert and 19 other Islamists in southern Somalia. (Xinhua)
- Morocco: The country decided not to host the 2016 Arab League meeting, saying it wanted to avoid giving a false impression of unity in the Arab world. (Reuters)
- Uganda: European Union observers criticized the country’s elections, saying the electoral commission lacked transparency and accusing the police of using heavy-handed tactics in detaining an opposition candidate. (AFP)
- Argentina: The court-appointed mediator said the country reached a deal with one of the creditors that won a judgment in a US court over bonds the South American country defaulted on in 2001. (EFE)
- Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos pressured FARC rebels to respect a 23MAR deadline for a peace deal to end a half-century conflict, warning time was short as tensions rose over the negotiations. (AFP)
- Haiti: The country’s provisional president said he’s committed to meeting deadlines that will ensure his caretaker government lasts for no more than 120 days to comply with a recently negotiated accord. (AP)
- Region: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held comprehensive talks with visiting Nepalese Prime Minister Sharma Oli in the national capital. (AP)
- Afghanistan: National forces pulled out of bases in Musa Qala, a strategic district of the southern province of Helmand, after months of heavy fighting with Taliban insurgents. (Reuters)
- China: The government removed Xiao Gang, the head of its securities regulator, from his post, and appointed Liu Shiyu to take on the role. (Reuters)
- China: IMF’s chief Christine Lagarde said the country needs better policy communication with financial markets during its economic transition. (Xinhua)
- Indonesia: Police arrested five more people with suspected links to the 14JAN terrorist attack in downtown Jakarta. (EFE)
- Region: French President Francois Hollande warned that an EU member state could be sanctioned if the extreme-right came to power there — and could even be suspended from the bloc. (AFP)
- France: Authorities issued an expulsion order for hundreds of migrants living in a huge swath of the Calais camp, demanding that they remove their makeshift homes and possessions within four days. (AP)
- Turkey: Syrian journalist and activist Rami Jarrah was released from detention, after being held for three days. (DPA)
- Region: Lebanon’s prime minister urged Saudi Arabia to reconsider a decision to suspend USD 3 billion in military aid in protest against Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group supporting Syria’s regime. (Reuters)
- Iraq: Sunni Arab tribesmen battled militants of the Islamic State group in their Fallujah stronghold for a second day in a major blow to the jihadists. (AFP)
- Syria: Western powers rejected a Russian bid at the United Nations to halt Turkey’s military actions in the country, as France warned of a “dangerous escalation” in the nearly five-year conflict. (AFP)
- Syria: President Barack Obama in a telephone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the Ankara government and Kurdish YPG forces to “show reciprocal restraint” in the country’s northern sector. (Reuters)
- Syria: Aleppo’s rebel zones prepare for total siege. (AFP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- State Media: Chinese President Xi Jinping made a rare, high-profile tour of the country’s top three state-run media outlets, telling editors and reporters they must pledge absolute loyalty to the party and closely follow its leadership in “thought, politics and action.” (AP)
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Winston
- Location: 111 NM E of Suva, Fiji
- Winds: 184 mph
- Movement: W at 11 mph
- Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Uriah
- Location: 1180 miles SSE of Diego Garcia
- Winds: 40 mph
- Movement: SSW at 4 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 20FEB: 6,244 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
- Confirmed Cases: 175
- Deaths as of 20FEB: 0 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
- Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
- Cases as of 20FEB: 1638 (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 20FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 20FEB: Brazil, Colombia, Suriname, El Salvador, Paraguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Cape Verde, Honduras, French Guiana, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Barbados, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Guatemala, Curacao, Costa Rica, Maldives
- Indication of Viral Circulation as of 20FEB: China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
- Deaths as of 20FEB: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21FEB)
- Global: International Mother Language Day
- Bolivia: A vote on a new constitution that would enable the re-election of Bolivian President Evo Morales and a term lasting until the year 2025
- Ireland: Ireland Republic Day – 1922
- Tunisia: Tunisia state of emergency extended to this date