- AFRICA: Tanzania is holding its most tightly contested general elections, as a new opposition coalition tries to end the governing party’s 54-year grip on power.
- AMERICAS: Argentines prepare to vote for a new president with outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez’s candidate the favorite to win despite deep divisions over her brand of leftist populism, which has driven up inflation and shackled the economy.
- ASIA: An influential Communist Party newspaper said China should join the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership at an appropriate time as its broad aims are in line with Beijing’s own economic reform agenda.
- EUROPE: European Union and Balkan leaders hold emergency talks on Europe’s refugee crisis amid threats from three frontline states to close their borders if northern EU countries stop accepting migrants.
- MIDDLE EAST: According to a US diplomat, Washington is cutting economic aid for the Palestinian Authority, partly because of “unhelpful actions” by the Palestinians.
- TECHNOLOGY: As American tech giants extend their global reach, fears are growing on their side of the Atlantic over trade barriers some see as “digital protectionism.”
- Syria: President al-Assad reportedly said he was ready to take part in presidential elections until Saudi Arabia and the United States agreed to increase support to so-called moderate rebels.
○ President Bashar al-Assad told Russian lawmakers in Damascus that he was ready to take part in presidential elections if the Syrian people support the idea.
○ After Secretary of State John Kerry met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the two agreed to increase support to Syria’s moderate opposition while seeking a political resolution of the four-year conflict.
○ According to Russian state-owned Sputnik news, the Free Syrian Army proposed Moscow to hold talks on a conflict resolution.
○ Russia said it was ready to provide air support for Western-backed moderate rebels battling both jihadists and President al-Assad as Moscow presses on with its diplomatic offensive over the conflict.
○ However, Syria’s Western-backed opposition rejected a Russian offer to assist them against the Islamic State jihadist group and dismissed Moscow’s call for new elections.
○ In a New York Times Op-Ed, former President Jimmy Carter, said “[Assad] will not end the war by accepting concessions imposed by the West, but is likely to do so if urged by his allies.”
- Ivory Coast: Presidential elections took place with the incumbent Alassane Ouattara, campaigning on restoring stability, widely tipped for re-election. (AP)
- Republic of the Congo: Voting began for a referendum to determine whether longtime President Denis Sassou Nguesso can seek a third term in office following deadly clashes in the oil-producing country. (AFP)
- Tanzania: The country is holding its most tightly contested general elections, as a new opposition coalition tries to end the governing party’s 54-year grip on power. (BBC)
- Argentina: Polls set to open for a new president with outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez’s candidate the favorite to win despite deep divisions over her brand of leftist populism, which has driven up inflation and shackled the economy. (Reuters)
- Colombia: Citizens set to head to the polls in local elections whose winners could be tasked with implementing a peace agreement which the government hopes to sign with FARC guerrillas by March. (AFP)
- Colombia: After her exile in 1989, Imelda Daza of the leftist Patriotic Union has returned to run for governor, testing the bounds of a political opening in a more peaceful era. (WSJ)
- Haiti: Citizens lined up as polls opened for tense national elections that citizens hope could tilt the poor Caribbean country toward a more prosperous and equitable future. (AP)
- Region: South Korean navy fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol boat near the rivals’ disputed maritime border. (Reuters)
- China: An influential Communist Party newspaper said the country should join the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership at an appropriate time as its broad aims are in line with Beijing’s own economic reform agenda. (Reuters)
- Myanmar: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged the government to take action against people using religion to stir tensions as campaigning intensifies for landmark polls next month. (AFP)
- South Korea: A man died of complications from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the first death linked to the virus in the country for more than three months. (Reuters)
- Region: European Union and Balkan leaders hold emergency talks on Europe’s refugee crisis amid threats from three frontline states to close their borders if northern EU countries stop accepting migrants. (Reuters)
- Poland: Citizens began voting in a parliamentary election that is expected to shift power from a centrist and pro-market party to a socially conservative and eurosceptic party that favours more welfare spending to help the poor. (Guardian)
- Ukraine: Authorities delayed local elections in the strategic port city of Mariupol. (AFP)
- Region: Israel said one of its citizens, probably a member of the country’s Muslim Arab minority, had illegally flown to Syria by using a paraglider to cross the Golan Heights. (BBC)
- Israel: According to a US diplomat, Washington is cutting economic aid for the Palestinian Authority, partly because of “unhelpful actions” by the Palestinians. (AFP)
- Israel: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended a U.S.-brokered plan to install video surveillance at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Cross-border Industry, Privacy and Antitrust: As American tech giants extend their global reach, fears are growing on their side of the Atlantic over trade barriers some see as “digital protectionism.” (AFP)
- Cyclones: Typhoon Champi (Final Warning)
○ Location: 876 NM NW of Wake Island
○ Wind: 63 mph
○ Movement: NE at 25 mph
○ Map: N/A
- Hurricanes: Hurricane Olaf
○ Location: 599 NM E of Hilo, Hawaii
○ Wind: 98 mph
○ Movement: NE at 9 mph
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Turrialba Volcano, Cartago Province, Costa Rica
(30 miles E of San José)
○ According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), the volcano spewed gas and vapor and launched ash 800 meters into the air. The eruption lasted for 30 minutes. (Tico Times)
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
○ Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
■ Cases: 28,512 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
■ Deaths: 11,313 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
○ Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
■ Suspected Cases as of 23OCT: 575,281 (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: 24,388
■ Deaths as of 23OCT: 63 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
○ Cholera – Tanzania
■ Cases as of 25OCT: 971
■ Deaths as of 25OCT: 13
○ Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
■ Cases as of 25OCT: 1599 (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 25OCT: 574 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (26OCT)
- Global: International Organization for Migration (IOM) conference on migrants and cities to be held in Geneva (to 27OCT)
- Belarus and Russia: Foreign Ministers hold negotiations in Moscow (to 27)
- Indonesia and United States: Indonesia’s Joko Widodo will visit Washington