ONS: 22 February 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 22, 2015

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Nigerian forces backed by air strikes seized the town of Baga from Boko Haram, a significant victory in an offensive against the insurgency.
  • AMERICAS: The mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, who was detained and charged with plotting to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government, will appeal the “baseless” allegations, his lawyer said.
  • ASIA: Ashton Carter headed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to review plans to withdraw US forces in a volatile area that has long preoccupied American commanders.
  • EUROPE: Greece rushed to finalize a list of reform proposals that it must submit to its Eurozone partners by the end of the following day, to unlock an extension of its bailout program.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Almost 600 Turkish soldiers carried out a successful night operation in Syria to repatriate troops guarding an IS-surrounded Turkish enclave.
  • TECHNOLOGY: First Vice President Diaz-Canel said Cuba will cooperate on cybersecurity as Washington eased technological restrictions against it.

TOP STORY

  • Ukraine: Prisoner swap, heavy arms withdraw bolster shaky peace process.
    • Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists exchanged dozens of prisoners, in a step towards implementing an internationally brokered peace deal.
    • A senior pro-Russian rebel commander said separatist forces were due to begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the front lines, a sign rebels may be prepared to halt their advance as part of an internationally brokered peace deal.
    • Ukrainian officials say Russia-backed separatists violated a troubled cease-fire a dozen times during the night with artillery and rocket attacks and an attempt to storm a Ukrainian encampment.
    • The US and its European allies discussed harsher sanctions against Moscow, while President Obama evaluated the US’s next steps in dealing with the conflict, US Secretary of State Kerry said.
    • Coverage: AP, Guardian, Reuters, Reuters-2

AFRICA

  • Nigeria: Nigerian forces backed by air strikes seized the town of Baga from Boko Haram, a significant victory in an offensive against the insurgency. (Reuters)
  • Rwanda: In Kigali, the German FM praised the country’s investments in infrastructure, information technology and membership to the East African Community, saying it makes the country attractive to foreign investors. (XIN)
  • South Sudan: Gunmen abducted at least 89 boys, some as young as 13, from their school in oil-rich Upper Nile State, the United Nations said. (Reuters)

AMERICAS

  • Canada: Cuba freed Cy Tokmakjian after more than three years in jail, resolving a case that had strained Cuban-Canadian relations and alarmed foreign investors. (Reuters)
  • Peru: President Humala said that he was recalling the ambassador from Chile and would not accept “unfriendly acts” amid suspicions of spying. (Reuters)
  • United States: Workers at the country’s largest refinery joined a nationwide oil refinery strike as the union representing them pushed for a new contract. (XIN)
  • Venezuela: The mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, who was detained and charged with plotting to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government, will appeal the “baseless” allegations, his lawyer said. (AFP)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: Ashton Carter headed to Helmand Province to review plans to withdraw US forces in a volatile area that has long preoccupied American commanders. (AFP)
  • Australia: PM Abbott admitted “the system” let the public down by failing to protect it from the “monster” who carried out a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe. (AFP)
  • China: The country summoned India’s ambassador over PM Modi’s visit to a disputed border region in the Himalayas. (AP)
  • Korea, North: Indonesia invited Marshall Kim Jong-un to an international meeting to be held in Jakarta in April, although his attendance has yet to be confirmed. (Yonhap)
  • Myanmar: Four people including a journalist and local aid worker were injured as rebels attacked a Red Cross vehicle carrying casualties. (DPA)

EUROPE

  • Germany: The government turned down a request from its NATO and EU partner Lithuania for so-called Boxer tanks. (DPA)
  • Greece: The country rushed to finalize a list of reform proposals that it must submit to its Eurozone partners by the end of the following day, to unlock an extension of its bailout program. (DPA)
  • Hungary: Authorities cracked down on NGOs, drawing concerns for the strength of democratic values in the country. (WaPo)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: US Secretary of State Kerry arrived in Geneva for renewed talks with his Iranian counterpart, after warning “significant gaps” remain as a key deadline approaches. (AFP)
  • Iraq: Thousands of troops amassed in preparation for a major offensive in Tikrit, for what officials and commanders said would be an essential step toward Mosul. (WaPo)
  • Syria: Almost 600 Turkish soldiers carried out a successful night operation in the country to repatriate troops guarding an IS-surrounded Turkish enclave. (AFP)
  • Syria: Swedish tabloid Expressen says Swedish journalist Joakim Medin was released from a week-long captivity in the country. (AP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Cybersecurity:  First Vice President Diaz-Canel said Cuba will cooperate on cybersecurity as Washington eased technological restrictions against it. (XIN)

WORLD

  • Cyclones: Nothing to report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
      • Cases: 22,894 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States)
      • Deaths: 9,177 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK) – Americas
      • Suspected Cases as of 06FEB: 1,172,787 (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: 25,255
      • Deaths as of 06FEB: 181 (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 16FEB: 983 (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 and the US)
      • Deaths as of 16FEB: 360 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (23FEB)

  • Cote d’Ivoire : United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to host a Ministerial Conference on statelessness in West Africa (to 26FEB)
  • Guyana: Republic Day
  • Korea Region: Hwang Joon-kook, Seoul’s chief negotiator for the six-way dialogue on the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue, to visit Moscow for talks on N. Korea (to 25FEB)
  • Russia: Motherland Defenders’ Day – 1919
  • Tajikistan: Tajik National Army Day
  • United States and Japan: Frank Rose, assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance, will visit (to 27FEB)

END

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