ONS: 20 January 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 20, 2015

 

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Polling opened in Zambia’s tightly contested presidential election after a ruling party power struggle following the death of Michael Sata in office last year.
  • AMERICAS: Cuban FM Rodriguez told a group of US senators and congressmen that his country is open to greater diplomatic and trade ties but the delegation did not meet President Raul Castro.
  • ASIA: Indonesia’s parliament approved direct elections for governors and mayors, overturning legislation passed in September.
  • EUROPE: Turkish police arrested 20 people, including former senior officials in the telecoms and science agencies, in a new wave of raids against suspects accused of wire-tapping senior officials.
  • MIDDLE EAST:  A Yemeni cabinet spokesman said the president and rival Shiite rebels are negotiating amid a tense ceasefire.
  • TECHNOLOGY: EU HR for Foreign Affairs and Security Mogherini said the EU may establish a Russian language mass media body targeting a Russian-speaking audience in Eastern Partnership countries

 

TOP STORY

  • Syria: ISIS releases video threatening to kill Japanese hostages.
    • A video posted online purportedly by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group depicted a militant threatening to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours unless the government paid a ransom of USD200 million.
    • The militant linked the ransom demand to a Japanese offer of assistance to enemies of ISIS.
    • PM Shinzo Abe, now on a six-day visit to the Middle East with more than 100 government officials and presidents of Japanese companies, called the threat “unforgivable.”
    • PM Abe vowed to save the hostages, identified by the extremists as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.
    • PM Abe said that the aid would be disbursed as promised and stressed that the money was to help the displaced by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
    • Coverage: AFP, AP, BBC, LAT, NYT, Reuters, WSJ

 

AFRICA

  • Region: Pope Francis announced he will make his first visit to Africa later this year with stops in Uganda and the Central African Republic. (AFP)
  • Egypt: Authorities reopened the Rafah border crossing point with the Gaza Strip for three days to enable patients and students to travel abroad. (Xinhua)
  • Nigeria: The UNSC condemned the recent escalation of attacks by Boko Haram in its first formal reaction to the group. (AP)
  • Zambia: Polling opened in the country’s tightly contested presidential election after a ruling party power struggle following the death of Michael Sata in office last year. (AFP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Region: Cuban FM Rodriguez told a group of US senators and congressmen that his country is open to greater diplomatic and trade ties but the delegation did not meet President Raul Castro. (AP)
  • Bolivia: President Morales said he was interested in repairing and reestablishing ties with the US. (Xinhua)
  • Guatemala: A court sentenced former police official Pedro Garcia Arredondo to 90 years in prison for the killings of 37 people when the Spanish Embassy burned down during the country’s civil conflict. (AP)
  • Peru: President Humala “categorically” denied allegations that his administration’s intelligence services spied on VP Espinoza and his political opponents. (EFE)

 

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: President Ghani presented his new nominees for the Cabinet in his national unity government to the National Assembly. (AP)
  • Australia: Authorities raised the terrorism threat level against the police force to high for the first time. (Reuters)
  • Burma: Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard criticized government policies which impose severe restrictions on the Rohingya community in the Rakhine state. (AFP)
  • Indonesia: Parliament approved direct elections for governors and mayors, overturning legislation passed in September. (Reuters)
  • Nepal: Opposition politicians threw chairs and attacked the parliamentary speaker during a violent general strike that was aimed at blocking the government from pushing through a draft of a new constitution. (AP)

 

EUROPE

  • Azerbaijan: Troops killed an ethnic Armenian soldier in a fresh clash near the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region. (AFP)
  • France: The Paris prosecutor’s office said that four men are facing preliminary charges on suspicion of providing logistical support to gunman Amedy Coulibaly. (AP)
  • Germany: At least 200 police officers raided 13 homes in Berlin and elsewhere in the country in connection with the arrests last week of two suspected members of an Islamic terror cell. (AP)
  • Turkey: Police arrested 20 people, including former senior officials in the telecoms and science agencies, in a new wave of raids against suspects accused of wire-tapping senior officials. (Reuters)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Israel: Defense officials said the country is on high alert for possible attacks from Hezbollah following an airstrike on Hezbollah fighters in Syria. (AP)
  • Israel: Leaders of the country’s 1.7 million Arabs declared a general strike throughout the country in protest at the recent deaths of two Bedouin men in confrontations with police. (AFP)
  • Iran: Russian Defence Minister Shoigu signed a military cooperation deal with Defence Minister Dehqan touted as a joint response to US “interference”. (AP)
  • Palestinian Territories: Unidentified assailants blew up the car of a Hamas security official in Gaza during the night. (AFP)
  • Yemen: A Cabinet spokesman said the president and rival Shiite rebels are negotiating amid a tense ceasefire. (AP)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Communications: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Mogherini said the EU may establish a Russian language mass media body targeting a Russian-speaking audience in Eastern Partnership countries. (TASS)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 21,296 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States)
      • Deaths: 8,429 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK) – Americas
      • Suspected Cases as of 29DEC: 1,091,612 (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, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.) Confirmed Cases: 22,796
      • Deaths as of 29DEC: 169 (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 05JAN: 960 (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 US)
      • Deaths as of 05JAN: 354 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, WHO-3

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21JAN)

  • Global: The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos, Switzerland (to 24JAN)
  • Iran and United States: Anniversary of Iran freeing US hostages – 1981
  • United States and Cuba: United States and Cuban officials to meet in Havana to discuss normalizing ties (to 22JAN)

 

END

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