ONS: 21 December 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 21, 2014

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Tunisians are going to the polls Sunday to freely elect their president for the first time in the country’s history.
  • AMERICAS: US President Barack Obama says he unconditionally condemns the murder of two police officers shot in broad daylight on Saturday in New York City.
  • ASIA: Up to seven police and five militants were killed after insurgents attacked security checkpoints in Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province overnight, police said on Sunday morning.
  • EUROPE: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the establishment of an interdepartmental commission on humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Jordan executed 11 men convicted of murder by hanging on Sunday, the interior ministry said, ending an informal eight-year moratorium on the death penalty.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Obama administration has sought China’s help in recent days in blocking North Korea’s ability to launch cyber-attacks.

TOP STORY

  • Cuba: Thaw in relations with US leaves diplomatic, national identities in flux.
    • Cuban President Raul Castro has hailed a recent US move to normalize bilateral relations but stressed Havana would not change its political system.
    • US President Barack Obama says he does not expect the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba to bring overnight change on the island, a quick end to the US economic embargo or the likelihood that he will soon visit the communist nation.
    • President Obama’s Cuba policy switch forces Cuban exile groups to adapt.
    • Cuban opposition leaders from the island joined Cuban American politicians and activists Saturday, pledging to oppose President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with the communist nation and dispute the notion that their community is split by a generational divide.
    • Coverage: AP, AP-2, AP-3, BBC, NYT

AFRICA

  • Egypt: The US has delivered 10 Apache helicopters to the country in recent weeks after lifting part of a freeze on aid to the North African nation, a U.S. official said Saturday. (AFP)
  • Egypt: General Mohammed Farid el-Tohamy, the country’s powerful intelligence chief, was removed and replaced by his deputy. (AP)
  • Ghana: Delegates began voting on Saturday in Kumasi, north of the Ghanaian capital, to elect new leadership for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). (Xinhua)
  • Tunisia: Tunisians are going to the polls Sunday to freely elect their president for the first time in the country’s history. (Reuters)

AMERICAS

  • Ecuador: President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. (AFP)
  • United States: President Barack Obama says he unconditionally condemns the murder of two police officers shot in broad daylight on Saturday in New York City. (AP)
  • Venezuela: Tighter new US sanctions against Venezuela are aimed to foment violent unrest to try to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, his defense minister said Saturday. (AFP)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: Up to seven police and five militants were killed after insurgents attacked security checkpoints in the northern Jawzjan province overnight, police said on Sunday morning. (Xinhua)
  • Australia: Defense Minister David Johnston was thrown out of PM Tony Abbott’s cabinet on Sunday, a month after he embarrassed the government with comments critical of government-owned ship builder ASC. (Reuters)
  • India: Three people were killed and four others injured Sunday morning in a bomb blast at a bus station in Imphal, capital of the northeast Indian state of Manipur. (Xinhua)
  • North Korea: The country comes under scrutiny Monday 21DEC at the UN Security Council in the first-ever meeting on its dismal rights record. (AFP)
  • South Korea: A diplomatic delegation has asked the government for permission to visit North Korea following an invitation from the DPRK. (Yonhap)

EUROPE

  • Region: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the establishment of an interdepartmental commission on humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. (Sputnik)
  • Russia: Russian authorities convinced Facebook to shut off a page inviting people to attend a rally in support of an opposition politician, drawing ire from Internet users Sunday. (AFP)
  • Spain: Thousands of people have been protesting in Spanish cities against a new law that sets hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. (AP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Qatar and Egypt have accepted an initiative by its king to mend tense relations between the two nations. (WSJ)
  • Jordan: The country executed 11 men convicted of murder by hanging on Sunday, the interior ministry said, ending an informal eight-year moratorium on the death penalty. (AFP)
  • Syria: Kurdish fighters advanced Saturday in the contested northern town of Kobani after heavy clashes with ISIS, a Kurdish official and an activist group said. (AP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The Obama administration has sought China’s help in recent days in blocking North Korea’s ability to launch cyber-attacks. (NYT)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: 157km WNW of Tobelo, Indonesia
    • Magnitude: 6.6
    • Depth: 34 mi
    • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 18.603 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United States)
      • Deaths: 6,915 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 13NOV: 885,926 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, 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.)
      • Deaths as of 13NOV: 153 (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 17DEC: 938 (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 U.S)
      • Deaths as of 17DEC: 343 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22DEC)

  • China: Egyptian President Sisi to meet with President Xi (to 25DEC)
  • Kazakhstan and Ukraine: Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will pay an official visit to Ukraine
  • Nicaragua: Inter-oceanic canal groundbreaking
  • Russia: Turkish FM Undersecretary Sinirlioglu to visit Moscow  to discuss the Middle East and Syria
  • Vietnam: 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam People’s Army. Possible military parade
  • Zimbabwe: National Unity Day – 1997

END

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