ONS: 20 September 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on September 20, 2014

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Tunisian President Marzouki announced he will stand for re-election in November, in a key vote almost four years after a revolt that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
  • AMERICAS: The Mexican army pledged to cooperate in an investigation into the deaths of 21 gang suspects after a witness claimed that soldiers executed them, contradicting official reports they died in a shootout.
  • ASIA: The governing center-right National Party won New Zealand’s general election against the center-left opposition bloc.
  • EUROPE: NATO’s top military commanders are meeting in Lithuania to discuss relations with Russia as the warring sides in Ukraine agreed to pull back troops under a new peace plan reached overnight in Belarus.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Syrian troops have started a wide-scale offensive on a key rebel-held city northeast of the capital Damascus, the state-news agency SANA reported.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Chinese Cyberspace Administration has closed nearly 1.8 million accounts on social networking and instant messaging services since it launched its anti-pornography campaign in April.

 

TOP STORY

  • Global ISIS: Forty-nine Turkish hostages who had been held for months in Iraq by Islamic State militants were returned to Turkey after what Turkey said was a covert operation led by its intelligence agency.
    • The semiofficial Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that Turkey had not paid ransom for them or engaged in a military operation.
    • Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, a renowned jihadi ideologue who was released by Jordan in June after serving a five-year sentence on terror charges, has urged the Islamic State group to release British aid worker Alan Henning, saying Islam forbids harming non-Muslims who work with relief agencies.
    • 45,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey over the past day, fleeing an advance by Islamic State fighters who have seized dozens of villages close to the border, Turkish Deputy PM Kurtulmus said.
    • At least 18 Islamic State fighters were killed in clashes with Syrian Kurds overnight as the militant group took control of more villages around the town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
    • Belgian prosecutors have in recent months foiled several attacks planned by radicalized former fighters in Syria or sympathizers with the Islamic State militant group, local media reported.
    • The Australian government will introduce tough new legislation in parliament next week to tackle terrorism, in the aftermath of the biggest crackdown in the country’s history.
    • Coverage: NYT, AP, AFP, Reuters, Itar-Tass

 

AFRICA

  • Sierra Leone: The country began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt. (AFP)
  • Somalia:  At least two people were killed when members of terrorist group al-Shabaab riddled the car of a senior government official with bullets, security officials said. (DPA)
  • Tunisia: President Marzouki announced he will stand for re-election in November, in a key vote almost four years after a revolt that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. (AFP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Canada: S Korean PM Park departed for a state visit to Ottawa where she will meet with PM Harper. (Yonhap)
  • Mexico: The army pledged to cooperate in an investigation into the deaths of 21 gang suspects after a witness claimed that soldiers executed them, contradicting official reports they died in a shootout. (AFP)
  • Mexico: Authorities struggled to restore services and calm residents five days after Hurricane Odile knocked out power, water and phone service along the Baja Peninsula, sparking widespread looting in the resort area of Los Cabos. (AP)

 

ASIA

  • New Zealand: The governing center-right National Party won the general election against the center-left opposition bloc. (XIN)
  • Philippines: Two suspected leftist rebels were killed in a clash with government troops in the southern part of the country, the military said. (XIN)
  • S Korea: FM Choi said his country will do its best to ratify a free trade deal with Australia as quickly as possible. (Yonhap)
  • Sri Lanka: Over 240 political party members from 32 countries in Asia had gathered to attend the 8th General Assembly of International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), aimed at looking for new ways to promote connectivity in the region, an official said. (XIN)

 

EUROPE

  • Italy: PM Renzi came under increasing scrutiny as media interest grew in a bankruptcy fraud probe of his father, who has spoken out to defend his innocence. (AFP)
  • Lithuania: NATO’s top military commanders are meeting in Vilnius to discuss relations with Russia as the warring sides in Ukraine agreed to pull back troops under a new peace plan reached overnight in Belarus. (AFP)
  • Vatican: Security has been tightened in Saint Peter’s Square after intelligence services intercepted a possible plan to attack the Vatican, Italian media reported Saturday, increasing fears Pope Francis could be in danger. (AFP)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: The negotiations between Iran and six world powers on the former’s nuclear program were held in a “good and constructive” atmosphere in New York on Friday, the senior Iranian negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. (XIN)
  • Lebanon: An Israeli drone crashed on Lebanese territory close to the Israeli border, a military source said. (AFP)
  • Syria: Regime troops have started a wide-scale offensive on a key rebel-held city northeast of the capital Damascus, the state-news agency SANA reported. (XIN)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • China: The Cyberspace Administration has closed nearly 1.8 million accounts on social networking and instant messaging services since it launched its anti-pornography campaign in April. (XIN)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Storm 16W (Fung-wong)
    • Location: 370 mi SW of Taipei, Taiwan
    • Movement: NNW at 8 mph
    • Winds: 52 mph
      Map
  • Hurricanes: Tropical Storm Polo
    • Location: 185 mi SSE of Baja California, Mexico
    • Movement: NW at 7 mph
    • Winds: 50 mph
    • Map
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 4784 (Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, DR Congo)
      • Deaths: 2400 (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 24JUL: 837 (Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Italy, Iran, France, Germany, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, UAE, United Kingdom, Egypt, US, Yemen)
      • Deaths as of 24JUL: 291 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (21SEP)

  • Global: International Day of Peace
  • Philippines: SME Ministerial Meeting for APEC members (to 25SEP)
  • Russia: The Russian opposition to hold a Peace March in Moscow

 

END

 

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