ONS: 24 March 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 24, 2016

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: In Congo, incumbant Denis Sassou Nguesso was declared the winner of presidential elections, extending his 32 years in power in a vote the opposition says was marked by “massive fraud”.
  • AMERICAS: Colombian peace negotiators missed the deadline for a final accord but talks will continue in Havana to end Latin America’s longest war.
  • ASIA: South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it took seriously North Korea’s claim to have successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine as it means Pyongyang’s constant readiness to fire missiles.
  • EUROPE: Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect for November’s Paris attacks, will no longer fight extradition to France, his lawyer said.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi armed forces started an offensive against Islamic State in the first stage of an operation aimed at liberating the city of Mosul.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Obama administration is expected to blame Iranian hackers for a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks in 2012 and 2013 on several US banks and a New York dam.

 

TOP STORY

  • Europe: Belgian investigation continues as EU meets in Brussels.
    • Belgium was told by the EU to remedy gaps in its border security just weeks before suicide bombers attacked Brussels killing 31 people and wounding about 300.
    • Authorities now believe a second suspect was involved in the Brussels train bombing.
    • EU interior and justice ministers are due to hold a crisis meeting in Brussels to discuss their response to the bombings.
    • Europol chief Rob Wainwright warned that the threat of Islamic State attacks on continental soil is greater than previously thought, as police continued to hunt accomplices in an attack that traumatized this city just two days ago.
    • The rift between Turkey and the EU was exacerbated in public when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that Ankara had informed Belgian and Dutch authorities that one of the Brussels attackers — later identified as Brahim El Bakraoui — had been expelled as a foreign fighter from Turkey.
    • Coverage: BBC, CNN, LAT, USA Today, WP

 

AFRICA

  • Region: Defense ministers and officials of 27 African and Arab countries began a two-day meeting in Egypt that will explore military and counter-terrorism cooperation. (AFP)
  • Congo: Incumbant Denis Sassou Nguesso was declared the winner of presidential elections, extending his 32 years in power in a vote the opposition says was marked by “massive fraud”. (AFP)
  • Congo: The country has set a goal of cutting the 20,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in the country in half by the end of the year,  much more drastic than the UN’s recommendation of 1,700. (AP)
  • Libya: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said some 800,000 migrants in the country are hoping to cross to Europe. (AFP)

 

AMERICAS

 

  • Region: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has warned that Washington is developing a plan to restore dominance in Latin America. (Xinhua)

 

  • Region: US President Barack Obama will tackle one of the most troubled periods of US history with Argentina, visiting a memorial to victims of the country’s murderous US-backed dictatorship. (AFP)
  • Colombia: Colombian peace negotiators missed the deadline for a final accord but talks will continue in Havana to end Latin America’s longest war. (Reuters)

 

ASIA

 

  • Region: South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it took seriously North Korea’s claim to have successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine as it means Pyongyang’s constant readiness to fire missiles. (Xinhua)

 

  • Region: Indonesia admitted one of its patrol boats fired on two Taiwanese fishing vessels in the Strait of Malacca, but insisted it was an act of self-defense. (AFP)
  • China: The country has released a Christian human rights lawyer detained after representing churches whose crosses were demolished by government officials. (AFP)
  • Japan: A group of five Japanese journalists has accused PM Shinzo Abe’s government of pressuring broadcasters to reduce criticism of its policies. (AP)

 

EUROPE

 

  • Bosnia and Herzegovnia: UN judges at The Hague are to deliver their verdict in the case of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who faces multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. (BBC)
  • Bulgaria: The US embassy has warned its citizens to avoid a busy transport hub in the capital Sofia because of a potential threat against an unspecified bus line. (Reuters)

 

  • France: Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect for November’s Paris attacks, will no longer fight extradition to the country, his lawyer said. (Reuters)

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

  • Iran: The UN Human Rights Council voted to renew its agreement with a special rapporteur to continue monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in the country. (LAT)

 

  • Iraq: Iraqi armed forces started an offensive against Islamic State in the first stage of an operation aimed at liberating the city of Mosul. (Reuters)
  • Syria: The Islamic State group called on the 15,000 or so civilians still living in Palmyra to leave the famed ancient city as Syrian pro-government forces closed in. (AFP)
  • Syria: US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow for talks on the Syrian crisis with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov amid a diplomatic push to end the five-year conflict. (AFP)

 

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: The Obama administration is expected to blame Iranian hackers for a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks in 2012 and 2013 on several US banks and a New York dam. (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 as of 24MAR: 28,639 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 24MAR: 11,316 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 24MAR: 21,285 (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: 451
      • Deaths as of 24MAR: 0 (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 24MAR: 1698 (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 24MAR: 609 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 24MAR: Brazil, Colombia, Suriname, El Salvador, Paraguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Cape Verde, Honduras, French Guiana, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Barbados, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Guatemala, Curacao, Costa Rica, Maldives
      • Indication of Viral Circulation as of 24MAR: South Africa, China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
      • Deaths as of 24MAR: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2

 

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (25MAR)

  • Bangladesh: Bangladesh Independence Day / Bangladesh Liberation War begins – 1971
  • Belgium: US Secretary of State Kerry to visit Brussels to offer condolences
  • Greece: Greek Independence Day – 1821
  • Saudi Arabia: Anniversary of Saudi King Faisal assassinated – 1975
  • Turkey: Two Turkish opposition journalists accused of espionage and trying to overthrow the government in a case that has caused global concern are due to go on trial
  • Christianity: Good Friday

 

END

 

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