ONS: 20 March 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 20, 2013

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib beheaded a French hostage in retaliation for France’s intervention in Mali.
  • AMERICAS: The Pentagon banned the use of 60 mm mortar rounds until safety inspections can be conducted after a shell explosion killed at least seven Marines.
  • ASIA: Malaysian prosecutors charged eight Filipino men, connected to a Philippine Muslim separatist group, with terrorism-related offenses following an armed siege in Borneo.
  • EUROPE: Serbia and Kosovo are set to meet for the seventh round of EU-brokered talks with autonomy for Serbs in northern Kosovo remaining the largest hurdle in negotiations.
  • MIDDLE EAST: President Obama began his first trip to Israel in his presidency amid protests and tight security measures, including in the Palestinian territories.
  • TECHNOLOGY: South Korean police reported a number of major broadcasters and banks had their computer networks come under an organized attack.

 

TOP STORY

  • Afghanistan: The government and the US military reached an agreement on a plan to pull US forces out of Wardak province.
    • President Karzai demanded troops leave the province after allegations of murder, intimidation and other atrocities.
    • The withdrawal will begin in the Nerkh district, where the ANSF will take over security duties from the military and Afghan Local Police.
    • While US troops are set to leave under the agreement, the future of special force operations in the critical province remained unclear.
    • Coverage: AP, BBC, Reuters, AFP

 

AFRICA

  • Ivory Coast: An Amnesty International report stated the arms transfers that perpetuated the country’s decade-long political crisis continue to destabilize the country and fuel rights abuses. (AP)
  • Mali: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib beheaded a French hostage in retaliation for France’s intervention in the country. (Reuters)
  • Rwanda: The government refused to issue entry visas to two members of a UN panel who had accused it of arming rebels in the DRC. (Reuters)
  • Sudan: President al-Bashir announced he will step down in 2015 after more than 20 years in power after toppling an elected government in a 1989 coup. (AP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Bolivia: The UNODC said the country plays a key role in the anti-drug fight, contradicting a US State Dept. report, which called the country’s anti-drug program a “failed strategy.” (Xinhua)
  • Costa Rica: Drug control police confiscated 470 kg of cocaine being transported in a small Ecuadorian boat. (Xinhua)
  • Mexico: Troops killed 10 in a shootout with gunmen after conducting a routine inspection of a town in a mountainous region near Mexico City. (AFP)
  • United States: The Pentagon banned the use of 60 mm mortar rounds until safety inspections can be conducted after a shell explosion killed at least seven Marines. (AP)

 

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: An unknown number were killed in protests in the southern province of Helmand against the alleged burning of a Qur’an. (DPA)
  • India: The government toughened its stance on Sri Lanka, pushing for a strong resolution against its neighbor, demanding an investigation of war crimes. (AFP)
  • Korea, North: Reports suggest the country could face additional sanctions beyond the UNSC sanctions imposed earlier this month. (UPI)
  • Malaysia: Prosecutors charged eight Filipino men, connected to a Philippine Muslim separatist group, with terrorism-related offenses following an armed siege in Borneo. (AP)

 

EUROPE

  • Region: Serbia and Kosovo are set to meet for the seventh round of EU-brokered talks with autonomy for Serbs in northern Kosovo remaining the largest hurdle in negotiations. (DPA)
  • Cyprus: The head of the country’s powerful Orthodox Church offered to put all of the churches considerable assets at the government’s disposal to help solve the crisis. (AFP)
  • Italy: President Napolitano will begin negotiations with parliamentary leaders and has the power to call fresh elections if a stable coalition cannot be negotiated. (AP)
  • United Kingdom: Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne is expected to deliver another austerity budget, despite calls from the opposition to reconsider the policy. (AP)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iraq: An al Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in Baghdad that killed 52 people and wounded over 200. (AFP)
  • Israel: President Obama began his first trip to the country in his presidency amid protests and tight security measures, including in the Palestinian territories. (BBC)
  • Kuwait: The government will grant citizenship to 4,000, hoping to resolve the problem of stateless people who live within the country. (AFP)
  • Lebanon: Two mortar shells and at least one rocket fired in fighting on the Syrian border landed in the eastern part of Bekaa province after repeated warnings against territorial incursions. (AFP)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Cybersecurity: South Korean police reported a number of major broadcasters and banks had their computer networks come under an organized attack. (AFP)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcanoes: Mt. Lokon, Tomohon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
    • Erupted spewing ash and volcanic material nearly 2000 km into the air.
    • Xinhua

 

 TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21MAR)

  • Global: UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
  • Europe: Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller will be in Vienna, Austria to discuss conventional arms control issues with Allied delegations at the OSCE.
  • Europe: Moscow will host Russia-EU joint meeting to review Russia-EU relations with special emphasis on cooperation in energy, trade, industry, transport, science and education (to 22MAR).
  • Baha’I Faith: Naw Ruz, New Year, corresponds to traditional Persian New Year, celebrated in Islamic Iran.
  • Canada: AtlSecCon13, the first security conference in Eastern Canada will begin in Halifax, Nova Scotia (to 22MAR).
  • Palestinian Territories: President Obama will visit Palestine, including a possible visit to Bethlehem; Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad plans to resign after his visit.
  • Turkey: PKK rebels are expected to withdraw from positions on Turkish soil according to a statement made by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

 

END

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