ONS: 21 March 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 21, 2015

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Liberia confirmed its first new Ebola case in more than a month, squashing hopes the country would soon be officially declared free of the deadly disease.
  • AMERICAS:  A military judge sentenced an army lieutenant to 3½ months in prison for criticizing Nicaraguan armed forces’ role in cracking down on civilian protesters.
  • ASIA:  Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew’s health worsened, as one of the foremost figures of 20th century Asia struggled with severe pneumonia.
  • EUROPE: Ten European nations agreed to cooperation through a “comprehensive strategy that goes beyond common law” in the fight against jihadism.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country’s civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, according to a new report by the Syrian American Medical Society.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Chinese activist group GreatFire, which operates websites that circumvent the country’s censorship, said its online service has come under attack in an effort to shut it down.

 

TOP STORY

  • Asia Region: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean foreign ministers met in attempt to resolve past and present issues preventing cooperation.
    • The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea were in Seoul to hold their first trilateral talks in three years, in hopes of improving regional ties that have been strained by territorial and historical disputes.
    • The meeting brought together South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Chinese and Japanese counterparts Wang Yi and Fumio Kishida. Historical and territorial rows have prevented them from getting together since 2012.
    • Korea and China have accused Tokyo of failing to adequately atone for aggression in World War Two, including its wartime use of sex slaves, known euphemistically as “comfort women”.
    • Analysts say the situation has not been helped by Japan re-interpreting its pacifist constitution to allow it to use force for “collective self-defense”. China accused Japan of using the change to “remilitarize”.
    • The three-way talks will be a stepping stone towards restoring what had been an annual summit of the three countries’ leaders to discuss cooperation, Yun said this week.
    • Coverage: BBC, NYT, Reuters, Yonhap

 

AFRICA

  • Liberia: The country confirmed its first new Ebola case in more than a month, squashing hopes the country would soon be officially declared free of the deadly disease. (AFP)
  • Nigeria: UN Assistant Secretary General Robert Piper said violence by Islamic extremists resulted in staggering levels of misery and hardship, ranging from food shortages to families torn apart by relentless attacks. (AFP)
  • Sudan: Clashes between two ethnic groups left several people dead, with both sides giving conflicting accounts of the clashes. (AFP)
  • Zimbabwe: The US expressed “deep concern” over the abduction of an opposition activist known for his open criticism of President Mugabe. (AFP)

 

AMERICAS

  • Region: The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), expressed concern over increasing tensions between the United States and Venezuela. (EFE)
  • Brazil: Greenpeace held a protest to denounce water bill discounts for more than 530 large companies in Sao Paulo state. (EFE)
  • Cuba: 18 government officials were jailed for between five and 15 years for stealing more than eight million eggs and selling them on the black market. (BBC)
  • Nicaragua: A military judge sentenced an army lieutenant to 3½ months in prison for criticizing the armed forces’ role in cracking down on civilian protesters. (AP)
  • United States:  A man sprayed TSA agents with wasp killer then swung a machete at guards before being shot several times in the New Orleans international. (AP)

 

ASIA

  • Australia: PM Abbott attended a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial to mark the completion of Operation Slipper in Afghanistan. (XIN)
  • Cambodia: US First Lady Michelle Obama called on schoolgirls to stay in school to push for equality and hold their leaders accountable. (AFP)
  • Japan: About 30 percent of people surveyed felt the country’s economy is heading toward deterioration, up 11.3 percentage points from about a year before. (Kyodo)
  • Singapore: Founding father Lee Kuan Yew’s health worsened, the government said as one of the foremost figures of 20th century Asia struggled with severe pneumonia. (AFP)

 

EUROPE

  • Region: Ten European nations agreed to cooperation through a “comprehensive strategy that goes beyond common law” in the fight against jihadism. (XIN)
  • Austria: The number of racist attacks against particular population groups increased in 2014, anti-racism platform ZARA said in its latest report. (XIN)
  • Italy: PM Renzi said he would replace Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi within a few days as he is quitting after being embroiled in a corruption scandal. (Reuters)
  • Turkey: The jailed rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, prepared to announce a new roadmap for peace as expectations grow of a breakthrough in efforts to end a three-decades insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. (AFP)

 

MIDDLE EAST

  • Syria: The US ambassador to the UN said Russia’s vetoes against holding Syria’s government accountable are “extremely disruptive” to the UNSC’s ability to restore peace in the conflict, and have emboldened President Assad to do “almost whatever he wants.” (AP)
  • Syria: UN Chief Ban Ki-moon condemned “heinous” attacks that killed and injured dozens at Kurdish New Year celebrations. (AFP)
  • Syria: Nearly 650,000 are living in besieged communities in the country’s civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, according to a new report by the Syrian American Medical Society. (Guardian)
  • Yemen: President Hadi said suicide bombings that killed at least 142 people at Shiite Huthi mosques were aimed at dragging the country into “chaos, violence and internal fighting”. (AFP)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Censorship: The Chinese activist group GreatFire, which operates websites that circumvent the country’s censorship, said its online service has come under attack in an effort to shut it down. (AFP)

 

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Tropical Cyclone 18P (Nathan)
    • Location:  291 NM ESE of Gove Airport, Australia
    • Movement: W at 10 mph
    • Winds: 63 mph
    • Map
  • Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert WTPS21
    • Location: 315 NM ESE of Nadi, Fiji
    • Movement: S at 32 mph
    • Winds: 81 mph
    • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 24,701 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States)
      • Deaths: 10,194 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK) – Americas
      • Suspected Cases as of 09MAR: 1,231,077 (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, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.) Confirmed Cases: 25,353
      • Deaths as of 09MAR: 183 (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 11MAR: 1060 (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, and the US)
      • Deaths as of 11MAR: 394 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22 MAR)

  • Global: World Water Day
  • Sweden: Snap elections

END

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