ONS: 21 January 2018

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 22, 2018

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: US Vice-president Pence and Egyptian President Sisi pledged a united front against terrorism in the Middle East.
  • AMERICAS: US Republican and Democratic lawmakers remained in a stand-off over spending and immigration after the federal government partially shut down.
  • ASIA: In Myanmar, hundreds of political prisoners have been released from jails in amnesties; prison reform, however, has been put on the back burner under the new government.
  • EUROPE: European leaders will be out in force at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to defend multilateralism before Trump arrives to deliver his “America First” message.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the Syrian conflict in a telephone call, in particular ways to bring stability to the country’s north.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Facebook said that it planned to prioritize high-quality news on the social network by allowing its users to rank news sources that they see as the most credible and trustworthy.

TOP STORY

  • Turkey begins attack on US-allied Kurds in Syria.
    • Turkish ground forces pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province after Turkey launched artillery and air strikes on a US-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border. Kurds say they repulsed the attacks.
    • Turkey aims to create 30 kilometre (19 miles) “safe zone” as part of its operation in Afrin province, broadcaster HaberTurk said citing Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
    • Afrin is controlled by a Syrian Kurdish militia that Turkey views as part of the Kurdish insurgency in its southeast. The militia forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main US ally against the Islamic State group in Syria.
    • The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Kurdish militia and Turkish forces have clashed on the northern and western edges of Afrin, but that Turkish troops have failed to advance.
    • The YPG issued a statement calling the Turkish attack “barbaric.” “We have no choice but to resist,” the YPG statement said. “We call upon all of our young people to meet in the ranks of resistance, taking the resistance spirit of our sacrificial martyrs as an example.”
    • Coverage: CNN, NYT, REU, USN, WSJ

AFRICA

  • Egypt: Pence and Sisi pledged a united front against terrorism in the Middle East as the highest-level American official to visit the US ally in nearly a decade began a trip through the region. (NYT)
  • Somalia: President Mohamed Abdullahi sacked the mayor of the capital Mogadishu and appointed his information minister to replace him. (REU)
  • Tunisia: Anger that drove the Arab spring is flaring again: Riots in Tunisia echo the events of 2011, when unrest swept the Middle East. (GUA)

AMERICAS

  • Brazil: The contest to replace Temer in October is shaping up to be a turbulent, bitter affair, with Brazilian voters confronting starkly different choices. (NYT)
  • United States: Republican and Democratic lawmakers remained in a stand-off over spending and immigration after the federal government partially shut down, which cast a shadow over the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. (XIN)
  • United States: Two US Army pilots were killed in a helicopter crash in the California desert during a routine training exercise. (XIN)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: Gunmen dressed in army uniforms who stormed Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel battled Afghan Special Forces for 13 hours in an overnight siege that left at least five people dead. (REU)
  • Indonesia: A measles outbreak is feared to have killed about 100 malnourished people in Indonesia’s Papua, highlighting a health crisis in the country’s easternmost province. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: Hundreds of political prisoners have been released from jails in amnesties before democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi’s party took power for the first time. Prison reform, however, has been put on the back burner under the new government. (REU)

EUROPE

  • Region: European leaders will be out in force at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to defend multilateralism before Trump arrives to deliver his “America First” message. (REU)
  • Cyprus: The country gears up for a presidential election next week with incumbent Nicos Anastasiades favourite to win as he pledges a fresh push to reunify the divided island after talks collapsed last year. (GUA)
  • Germany: The country’s divided Social Democrats will hold a crunch vote on whether to pursue a coalition deal with Merkel’s conservatives, or plunge the nation into political turmoil. (AFP)
  • Turkey: Ground forces pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province, media cited the prime minister as saying, as Ankara stepped up artillery attacks on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border. (REU)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: A delegation of Qatari businessmen will visit Kuwait to boost bilateral trade ties. (XIN)
  • Lebanon: Lebanon is campaigning to get at least five times more women elected to parliament this spring in its first vote in nearly 10 years, the country’s first women’s affairs minister says. (AP)
  • Syria: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the Syrian conflict in a telephone call, in particular ways to bring stability to the country’s north. (REU)
  • Syria: The military and militia encircled a big grouping of the Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist organization in eastern Idlib, and liberated from militants the Abu Duhur airport. (TAS)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Facebook said that it planned to prioritize high-quality news on the social network by allowing its users to rank news sources that they see as the most credible and trustworthy. (NYT)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
  • Earthquakes: 76km S of Putre, Chile
    • Magnitude: 6.3 mww
    • Depth: 110.8m
    • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 20JAN: 61,613 (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 20JAN: 123,087 (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 20JAN: 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 20JAN: 2,123 (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 20JAN: 740 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2.

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22JAN)

  • Bolivia: Plurinational State Foundation Day – 2010
  • Cayman Islands: National Heroes’ Day – 2003
  • France: PACE 2018 Session opens in Strasbourg (to 26JAN)
  • Japan: Tokyo to hold first evacuation drill in preparation for a possible missile attack from North Korea
  • Myanmar: Repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh set to begin
  • Portugal: Former Angolan vice-president Manuel Vicente to stand trial on corruption charges in Lisbon
  • Switzerland: UN convenes part one of a conference on disarmament, in Geneva (to 30MAR)
  • Ukraine: Unity Day – 1919

END

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