ONS: 23 December 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 23, 2014

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Algerian local media reported that the army killed the head of the Jund al-Khilafa jihadist group behind the beheading of a Frenchman in September.
  • AMERICAS: The US State Department envoy who negotiates detainee transfers from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is to resign.
  • ASIA: Australian PM Abbott warned of a heightened level of “terrorist chatter” in the aftermath of the Sydney siege and said an attack was considered likely.
  • EUROPE: The Ukrainian Parliament voted 303-8 to revoke the country’s “non-aligned nation” status, which prevents states from joining other military alliances.
  • MIDDLE EAST:  Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naim said in an interview with the Middle East Economic Survey that OPEC will not cut oil production even if the price drops to USD20 a barrel.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Apple Inc pushed out its first-ever automated security update to Macintosh computers to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.

TOP STORY

  • North Korea: Country’s Internet stability compromised as South Korea plans to increase cyber-defense.
    • Key North Korean websites were back online after an hours-long shutdown that US computer experts described as sweeping and progressively worse.
    • The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the US government was responsible for the Internet shutdown.
    • The South Korean military plans to set up a new team in charge of cyber operations in January under the wing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
    • Additional internal documents from South Korean nuclear reactors were disclosed on the Internet, marking the fifth such posting since 15DEC.
    • South Korean prosecutors requested the US help in their investigation of the cyberattack against the country’s nuclear power plant operator.
    • Coverage: AFP, AP, BBC, CNN, Reuters, Xinhua, Xinhua-2

AFRICA

  • Algeria: Local media reported that the army killed the head of the Jund al-Khilafa jihadist group behind the beheading of a Frenchman in September. (AFP)
  • Egypt: Security officials said that suspected Islamic militants blew up and set fire to a natural gas pipeline outside el-Arish. (AP)
  • Liberia: Early results for the country’s most high-profile Senate race give former soccer star George Weah a significant lead over rival Robert Sirleaf. (AP)
  • Madagascar: At least one person was killed and five injured after violent demonstrations over persistent power outages in the eastern city of Toamasina. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Colombia: The army announced that a soldier who went missing last Friday after a clash with FARC guerrillas in southwestern Cauca province was kidnapped by the rebels. (EFE)
  • United States: The State Department envoy who negotiates detainee transfers from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is to resign. (NYT)
  • Venezuela: Bolivian President Morales said that the Group of 77 and China criticized US sanctions against a number of Venezuelan government officials. (TASS)

ASIA

  • Australia: PM Abbott warned of a heightened level of “terrorist chatter” in the aftermath of the Sydney siege and said an attack was considered likely. (BBC)
  • Bangladesh: The country’s war crimes court sentenced a former government minister to hang for genocide during the 1971 war against Pakistan. (AFP)
  • Burma: A woman protesting against a controversial Chinese-backed copper mine was shot and killed in clashes with police. (AFP)
  • Pakistan: The leader of banned sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is set to be released. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • France: PM Valls called for “vigilance” after the country was hit by three attacks, sparking fears of possible copycat action. (AFP)
  • Germany: A powerful business leader slammed a growing anti-Islam movement in the country, the country needed more immigration to remain competitive. (AFP)
  • Greece: MPs failed to elect a president in a second vote in parliament, bringing an early general election a step closer. (AFP)
  • Italy: Parliament adopted the government’s 2015 budget with 307 votes to 116. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: Parliament voted 303-8 to revoke the country’s “non-aligned nation” status, which prevents states from joining other military alliances. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Region: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naim said in an interview with the Middle East Economic Survey that OPEC will not cut oil production even if the price drops to USD20 a barrel. (AFP)
  • Syria: The UN reported that nearly 300 cultural heritage sites have been destroyed, damaged or looted in the country since its conflict broke out in 2011. (AFP)
  • Yemen: Five small bombs hit the center of Sanaa killing one militia member and wounding two others. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Cybersecurity: Apple Inc pushed out its first-ever automated security update to Macintosh computers to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines. (Reuters)

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: 18.603 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United States)
      • Deaths: 6,915 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 13NOV: 885,926 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, 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.)
      • Deaths as of 13NOV: 153 (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 17DEC: 938 (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 and the U.S)
      • Deaths as of 17DEC: 343 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (26DEC)

  • Global: Arms Trade Treaty to come into force
  • Christianity: Christmas Eve
  • Europe Region: Peace talks between Ukraine, Russia & Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be held in Minsk, Belarus (to26DEC)
  • Iraq: Military drill to be held (to 25DEC)

END

 

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