- AFRICA: Niger began its first-ever presidential run-off, with incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou on track for a second term after his main challenger was flown from jail to a Paris hospital and with the opposition boycotting the vote.
- AMERICAS: Venezuelan Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez said that the massacre of a number of miners in the southeastern town of Tumeremo was sparked by disputes among paramilitary units attempting to exercise political and economic control over the mining region.
- ASIA: Diplomatic sources said China pressed Japan not to broach Beijing’s disputes with regional neighbors in the South China Sea at the upcoming Group of Seven summit to be held in Japan in May, arguing that touching on the issue would hamper efforts to improve bilateral relations.
- EUROPE: Protestors voicing their support for migrants took to the streets of European capitals, the day after the EU and Turkey sealed a deal designed to tackle the continent’s biggest migration crisis since World War II.
- MIDDLE EAST: An American service member who was part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group was killed in northern Iraq.
- TECHNOLOGY: Bangladesh formally sought assistance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down the cyber crooks who stole 81USD million from its central bank’s US account.
- Europe: In the latest scheme to confront the refugee crisis, the 18MAR EU-Turkey deal comes into force with a variety of obstacles ahead
- The deal says that for every Syrian migrant sent back to Turkey, one Syrian already in Turkey will be resettled in the EU.
- The EU would also accelerate disbursement of 3EUR billion already pledged in support for refugees in Turkey and provide a further 3EUR billion by 2018.
- The UN’s refugee agency said big questions remained about how the deal would work in practice while human rights organizations claimed it was a “dark day for Europe,” questioning the legality of the deal with respect to international refugee law.
- Protestors voicing their support for migrants took to the streets of European capitals.
- Hours before the deal came into force, the Greek government said it will not be able to start sending refugees back to Turkey from Sunday.
- Giorgos Kyritsis, Greece’s government coordinator for migration policy, said, “A plan like this cannot be put in place in only 24 hours.”
- Coverage: BBC, Guardian, Independent, AFP, Reuters
- Region: The Kenyan military claimed to have killed 21 Islamic insurgents in a firefight in neighboring Somalia. (AFP)
- Burundi: Authorities said a second mass grave said to contain at least five corpses killed during protests against President Nkurunziza’s third term since APR15 was discovered at Mutakura in the capital Bujumbura. (Xinhua)
- Niger: The country began its first-ever presidential run-off, with incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou on track for a second term after his main challenger was flown from jail to a Paris hospital and with the opposition boycotting the vote. (AFP)
- Nigeria: The country’s electoral body INEC cancelled a re-run of disputed elections in six local government areas in the volatile southern oil-rich Rivers state because of irregularities. (AFP)
- Zanzibar: The semi-autonomous archipelago went to the polls amid ramped-up security in a re-run of disputed elections that have been boycotted by the main opposition party. (Reuters)
- Colombia: A member of the clergy said guerrillas of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, are about to release Cpl. Jair de Jesus Villar, the soldier they kidnapped 03FEB. (EFE)
- Cuba: Dissidents called on US President Barack Obama to tackle the Havana government over repression and to urge “radical change” during his visit. (AFP)
- Venezuela: Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez said that the massacre of a number of miners in the southeastern town of Tumeremo was sparked by disputes among paramilitary units attempting to exercise political and economic control over the mining region. (EFE)
- Region: Diplomatic sources said China pressed Japan not to broach Beijing’s disputes with regional neighbors in the South China Sea at the upcoming Group of Seven summit to be held in Japan in May, arguing that touching on the issue would hamper efforts to improve bilateral relations. (Kyodo)
- Region: Nepal’s Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli flew to China, determined to secure access to the sea via China and to court Chinese investment in large infrastructure projects such as hydropower and airports. (Kyodo)
- Kazakhstan: Voting began in snap elections to Majlis (lower house of national parliament), where the governing party is expected an easy win. (AP)
- Laos: Polling stations across the South-East Asian nation opened with nearly 4 million citizens aged 18 and over eligible to cast ballots for national and provincial legislatures. (Xinhua)
- Tibet: Tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans went to the polls to elect a new leader tasked with sustaining their struggle for greater autonomy in their Chinese-ruled homeland as the Dalai Lama retreats from the political frontline. (Reuters)
- Azerbaijan: A top official with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) welcomed Azerbaijan’s recent release of some civil-society activists and journalists and called for the release of more people believed imprisoned for political reasons. (RFE/RL)
- Spain: The country’s acting prime minister rejected stepping aside to ease the political deadlock that has made it impossible for parties to form a government three months after a general election. (AP)
- Turkey: Following a series of bombings in the country and ahead of Kurdish New Year festivities, the umbrella group of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issued a statement condemning attacks on civilians. (DPA)
- Egypt: The state-run news agency said militants attacked a checkpoint south of northern Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish, killing thirteen policemen. (AP)
- Iraq: An American service member who was part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group was killed in the northern sector. (AP/Reuters)
- Syria: Russian officials said Russia and the United States held consultations at the US center in Amman, focusing on the ceasefire and humanitarian deliveries to Damascus province, the worst affected region. (Interfax)
- Yemen: According to military and Houthi officials, at least 90 combatants were killed in violent clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemeni government in the southwestern city of Taiz. (EFE)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Cybertheft: Bangladesh formally sought assistance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down the cyber crooks who stole 81USD million from its central bank’s US account. (Reuters)
- Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone 15S (Emeraude)
- Location: 919 NM ESE of Diego Garcia
- Winds: 80 mph
- Movement: SSEE at 2 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: 77 mi ENE of Codrington, Barbuda
- Magnitude: 6.0
- Depth: 20 mi
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Suspected Cases as of 20MAR: 21,285 (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: 451
- Deaths as of 20MAR: 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 20MAR: 1690 (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 20MAR: 603 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 20MAR: 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 20MAR: South Africa, China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
- Deaths as of 19MAR: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21MAR)
- Global: 10th anniversary of the first tweet – 2006
- Congo: The Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver the verdict in the case of former Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
- Cuba and United States: US President Barack Obama will visit Cuba (to 22MAR)
- Namibia: Independence Day – 1990
- Baha’i: Baha’i New Year