ONS: 24 December 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 25, 2015

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA:  Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his country has “technically” won the war against Boko Haram though suicide bombers remain a threat, in remarks issued days before his self-imposed deadline to defeat the jihadist group expires.
  • AMERICAS: Former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango said the FARC rebel group and Mexican drug cartels share an alliance worth tens of billions of dollars, particularly with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel.
  • ASIA: A bombing this month in Pakistan that killed 25 civilians and injured 70 others at a used clothing market has again put the spotlight on a Sunni extremist organization that analysts say has global terror ambitions.
  • EUROPE: French authorities have conducted more than 2,700 police raids under a nationwide state of emergency instituted after last month’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Japanese officials declined to comment about  a reported ransom demand for a Japanese freelance journalist who has been missing since this summer.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for federal homeland security officials to investigate computer hacking into systems controlling US infrastructure.

TOP STORY

  • Thailand:  A court sentenced two Myanmar migrants to death for the murder of two British backpackers.
    • The case raises questions about police competence and the treatment of migrant workers in Thailand.
    • Both defendants withdrew their confessions several weeks after testifying, citing they had been beaten and coerced into admission by Thai police.
    • Human Rights Watch called the verdict “profoundly disturbing,” citing the defendants’ accusations of police torture that were never investigated and questionable DNA evidence linking them to the crime.
    • The killings tarnished the image of Thailand’s tourism industry, which was already struggling from a coup just months earlier in May 2014 and then imposed martial law.
    • Coverage: (AP, AFP, Reuters, NYT)

AFRICA

  • Libya: Italy, France, Britain, and the United States are set to launch airstrikes against an Islamic State stronghold. (DPA)
  • Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari said his country has “technically” won the war against Boko Haram though suicide bombers remain a threat, in remarks issued days before his self-imposed deadline to defeat the jihadist group expires. (AFP)
  • Rwanda: The government will appeal a British court’s refusal to extradite five men accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide to face charges in Kigali. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Colombia: Former President Andrés Pastrana Arango said the FARC rebel group and Mexican drug cartels share an alliance worth tens of billions of dollars, particularly with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel. (UPI)
  • Guatemala: Anti-narcotics agents intercepted a high-speed boat overnight, seizing 656kg of cocaine and arresting the four men on board. (AFP)
  • Paraguay: Some 100,000 residents in the country have been evacuated due to the rising waters just days before Christmas celebrations. (Xinhua)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: US aircraft carried out two attacks in Sangin, a southern district overrun by Taliban insurgents this week, officials said, as the battle for the strategic province of Helmand continued. (Reuters)
  • Pakistan: A bombing this month that killed 25 civilians and injured 70 others at a used clothing market in a tribal region has again put the spotlight on a Sunni extremist organization that analysts say has global terror ambitions. (VoA)
  • Philippines: Communist insurgents have attacked military convoys bringing aid to victims of a recent typhoon, killing one soldier in the latest ambush. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • Belgium: Authorities have announced the arrest of a ninth suspect linked to last month’s Paris attacks. (UPI)
  • France: Authorities have conducted more than 2,700 police raids under a nationwide state of emergency instituted after last month’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. (NYT)
  • Russia: The leader of the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan said that over 640 people are fighting among the militants of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. (Tass)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran:  Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the recent nuclear deal could serve as an opportunity for enhanced cooperation with its Gulf neighbors. (Xinhua)
  • Syria: Japanese government officials declined to comment about a reported ransom demand for a Japanese freelance journalist who has been missing since this summer. (AP)
  • Yemen: The leader of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels has played down prospects of a UN-brokered peace deal and urged supporters to resist pro-government forces intent on recapturing the capital. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Data Breach: Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for federal homeland security officials to investigate computer hacking into systems controlling US infrastructure. (AP)

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 as of 20DEC: 28,637 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 20DEC: 11,315 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 18DEC: 607,961 (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: 35,019
      • Deaths as of 18DEC: 77 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
    • Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
      • Cases as of 23DEC: 1621 (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 23DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (25DEC)

  • Christianity: Christmas Day

END

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