- AFRICA: In Congo, security forces fired warning shots to try to disperse hundreds of protesters marching in capital Brazzaville against lifting presidential term limits.
- AMERICAS: Canadian PM-elect Justin Trudeau said Canadian fighter jets would withdraw from fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
- ASIA: In Australia, Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders was shouted down by protesters as he helped launch the anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance political party in Perth.
- EUROPE: Ten EU leaders and Balkan countries will meet in Brussels on Sunday to hold talks on the “unfolding emergency” involving migrants in the western Balkans.
- MIDDLE EAST: Iraq’s ruling alliance and powerful Shi’ite militias have urged PM Haider al-Abadi to request Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants.
- TECHNOLOGY: Google has taken a stake in a Chinese artificial intelligence startup aiming to develop smart wearable technologies.
- Syria: President al-Assad makes surprise visit to Moscow, confers with Putin.
- President Bashar al-Assad of Syria flew to Moscow for an unannounced visit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to discuss their joint military campaign and a future political transition in Syria.
- This is the embattled Syrian leader’s first known trip abroad since 2011.
- The talks centered on coordinating military action in Syria against terrorist extremist groups, and the continuation of supporting offensive actions of the Syrian armed forces.
- Putin said Russia was ready to help find a political solution and hailed the Syrian people for standing up to the militants “almost on their own,” saying the Syrian army had notched up serious battlefield success in recent times.
- The trip may also mark a new stage in Russia’s efforts to roll out a diplomatic plan alongside its military intervention in Syria; an illustration that Russia deals with Mr Assad, and that for now at least Mr Assad has to be part of any interim solution.
- Coverage: BBC, CNN, NYT, Reuters, WP, WSJ
- Republic of Congo: Security forces fired warning shots to try to disperse hundreds of protesters marching in capital Brazzaville against lifting presidential term limits. (Reuters)
- Eritrea: EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for greater respect for human rights in the country, a major source country of refugees. (Reuters)
- Libya: Authorities will permit questioning of two suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. (BBC)
- Region: Exports from Latin America and the Caribbean will contract by 14 percent in 2015, due to “strong falls in the prices of raw materials and lower international demand”. (Xinhua)
- Canada: PM-elect Justin Trudeau said Canadian fighter jets would withdraw from fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. (AFP)
- Peru: Justice Minister Gustavo Adrianzen resigned, two days after Congress said it might censure him, following the firing of a graft prosecutor investigating the first lady. (AFP)
- Afghanistan: About 15 Taliban militants and six security force members were killed during clashes as Taliban briefly seized a district in the province of Herat. (Xinhua)
- Australia: Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders was shouted down by protesters as he helped launch the anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance political party in Perth. (AFP)
- Philippines: The Abu Sayyaf Group had freed a local mining executive after holding him captive for almost six months in the jungle of Sulu. (Xinhua)
- Philippines: Three leftist rebels were killed and two government soldiers were wounded in a clash in the country’s north. (Xinhua)
- Region: Ten EU leaders and Balkan countries will meet in Brussels on Sunday to hold talks on the “unfolding emergency” involving migrants in the western Balkans. (DPA)
- Britain: The country will start to issue a two-year multiple-entry visa for Chinese tourists beginning in 2016. (Xinhua)
- The Netherlands: The country registered a record number of asylum seekers in September as the flow of migrants to Europe continues to surge. (AFP)
- Romania: Former president Ion Iliescu is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity during a bloody anti-government protest 25 years ago. (AP)
- Iraq: The country’s ruling alliance and powerful Shi’ite militias have urged PM Haider al-Abadi to request Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants. (Reuters)
- Israel: PM Benjamin Netanyahu will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on the current security situation facing his country. (DPA)
- Syria: At least 19 people were killed in several bombings on the outskirts of Damascus and northern Syrian province of Idleb. (EFE)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: Google has taken a stake in a Chinese artificial intelligence startup aiming to develop smart wearable technologies. (AFP)
- Cyclones: Tropical Depression Koppu
- Location: 362 NM S of Taipei, Taiwan
- Wind: 28 mph
- Movement: E at 8 mph
- Cyclones: Typhoon Champi
- Location: 145 NM SSW of Iwo To, Japan
- Wind: 86 mph
- Movement: N at 3 mph
- Hurricanes: Hurricane OLAF
- Location: 890 NM SE of Hilo, Hawaii
- Wind: 143 mph
- Movement: WNW at 11 mph
- Hurricanes: Tropical Storm Patricia
- Location: 220 NM ESE of Puerto Escondido, Mexico
- Wind: 40 mph
- Movement: WSW at 5 mph
- Earthquakes: 35km NE of Port-Olry, Vanuatu
- Magnitude: 7.1
- Depth: 127 km
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Cases: 28,490 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
- Deaths: 11,312 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 20OCT: 573,708 (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, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
- Confirmed Cases: 23,875
- Deaths as of 20OCT: 63 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
- Cholera – Tanzania
- Cases as of 20OCT: 971
- Deaths as of 20OCT: 13
- Sourcing: WHO
- Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
- Cases as of 20OCT: 1595 (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 20OCT: 571 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22OCT)
- Greece: French President Francois Hollande to visit (to 23OCT)
- Pakistan and United States: President Barack Obama has invited Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif for a meeting at the White House