ONS: 21 December 2017

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 22, 2017

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: The UN warned that if fighting continues in South Sudan, famine will spread and, by early next year, almost half the population of 11 million will face starvation.
  • AMERICAS: In Venezuela, the constitutional assembly stripped three opposition parties of the right to participate in next year’s presidential election.
  • ASIA: North Korea called a US accusation that it was behind, a major ransomware attack, a “grave political provocation” and vowed to retaliate.
  • EUROPE: In Spain, the people of Catalonia went to the polls in a closely watched regional election following a controversial independence referendum.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The UN said food security in the Middle East is quickly deteriorating because of conflict in several countries in the region, especially Syria, Yemen, Iraq.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The UN expressed concern about the decision in the US to roll back net neutrality, since it could lead to small and independent voices being drowned out on the web.

TOP STORY

  • Australia: SUV plows into shoppers in Melbourne, injuring several.
    • An SUV plowed into a crowd on a busy street in central Melbourne, injuring at least 14 people, in what the police called “a deliberate act.”
    • Police named a 32-year-old man of Afghan descent with history of mental health issues as the driver, but declined to say there were terrorist motivations.
    • A second man, 24, was arrested after being seen filming the incident, had bag of knives with him, but was not confirmed to have any connection to the driver.
    • Police said “a number of people were treated at the scene for a range of injuries and have been transported to hospital.”
    • Coverage: ABC, BBC, CNN, NYT, WP

AFRICA

  • Somalia: The country released without charge former minister and fierce critic Abdirahman Abdishakur, who was arrested for alleged treason. (Reuters)
  • South Sudan: The UN warned that if fighting continues in the country, famine will spread and, by early next year, almost half the population of 11 million will face starvation. (AP)
  • Uganda: Ugandan lawmakers voted on the controversial constitutional amendment bill for the removal of the presidential age limit of 75 years amid tension. (Xinhua)

AMERICAS

  • Region: A UN report indicates poverty in Latin America is once again on the rise, driven in part by economic crises in Venezuela and Brazil. (Xinhua)
  • Honduras: The country’s left wing opposition urged days of intensified protests to challenge President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s electoral victory. (AFP)
  • Mexico: The governor of Nuevo Leon state, Jaime Rodriguez, requested a leave of absence to run as an independent candidate for president next year. (Reuters)
  • Peru: President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski appeared before Congress, arguing he had been “convicted in advance” over potential impeachment. (BBC)
  • Venezuela: The constitutional assembly stripped three opposition parties of the right to participate in next year’s presidential election. (AP)

ASIA

  • Region: China convicted 85 people, including 44 from Taiwan, of running phone scams in Kenya and Indonesia that targeted Chinese people. (AP)
  • Afghanistan: Up to 1,600 militants loyal to the Islamic State group were killed in the country over the past nine months. (Xinhua)
  • Korean Peninsula: South Korean soldiers fired 20 warning shots, as a North Korean soldier defected across the border. (AP)
  • North Korea: The country called a US accusation that it was behind a major ransomware attack was a “grave political provocation” and vowed to retaliate. (AP)
  • Philippines: A ferry carrying 251 passengers sank off the province of Quezon, killing at least four people. (NPR)

EUROPE

  • Region: Ukraine’s state security service SBU detained a government official on suspicion of working in the interests of Russia. (Reuters)
  • Region: Russia considers US sanctions imposed on Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov “illegal” and “unfriendly.” (RFE/RL)
  • Spain: The people of Catalonia went to the polls in a closely watched regional election following a controversial independence referendum. (BBC)
  • Turkey: Turkish police detained at least 55 people suspected of links with the Islamic State group in Istanbul and the western city of Izmir. (Xinhua)
  • Ukraine: The US approved an export license for the country to buy light weapons and small arms from US manufacturers. (RFE/RL)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu described the UN as a “house of lies” ahead of a vote on a draft resolution calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Reuters)
  • Region: The UN said food security in the Middle East is quickly deteriorating because of conflict in several countries in the region, especially Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. (Reuters)
  • Syria: A new round of peace talks – backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey – kicked off in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. (AFP)
  • Syria: Russia extended lease of a naval base at Tartus for 49 years following the announcement of a partial pullout of Russian troops from that country. (AP)
  • Yemen: The number of suspected cholera cases in the country has reached one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The UN expressed concern about the decision in the US to roll back net neutrality, since it could lead to small and independent voices being drowned out on the web. (Reuters)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Storm Kai-Tak
    • Location: 292 NM SE of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    • Movement: WSW at 10 mph
    • Wind: 35 mph
    • Map
  • Cyclones: Tropical Storm Tembin
    • Location: 615 NM SE of Manila, Philippines
    • Movement: W at 15 mph
    • Wind: 40 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 15DEC: 61,585 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, and Venezuela)
        • Suspected Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 349,936
      • Confirmed Cases as of 15DEC: 123,081 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin (French part), and Venezuela)
        • Confirmed Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 152,250
      • Deaths as of 15DEC: 101 (Brazil, Ecuador)
        • Deaths (01JAN16-31DEC16): 172
        • Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 19NOV: 2,103 (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 19NOV: 733 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22DEC)

  • Indonesia: Mother’s Day – 1953
  • United States: Deadline for Congress to pass spending bills and avoid government shutdown
  • Vietnam: People’s Army Day – 1944
  • Zimbabwe: National Unity Day – 1987

END

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