ONS: 27 February 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 27, 2013

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Egyptian opposition parties announced that they will boycott the April elections announced by President Morsi due to concerns over transparency.
  • AMERICAS: Former US Senator Hagel (R-NE) was confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense despite strong objections from Republicans.
  • ASIA: North Korea warned the US mainland was well within range of the country’s missile and nuclear technology.
  • EUROPE: Pope Benedict XVI gave his final address to Catholic pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, discussing the difficulties facing the church and his decision to resign.
  • MIDDLE EAST: The US is weighing the possibility of providing direct, non-lethal assistance to the Free Syrian Army as a way to increase pressure on the regime.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The Pentagon unveiled a plan to enable DoD employees to use smartphones and tablets to share classified and protected data.

TOP STORY

  • Iran: P5+1 negotiations on the country’s nuclear program held in Kazakhstan ended with without any breakthroughs.
    • Negotiators agreed to hold additional meetings in Istanbul in March and Kazakhstan in April.
    • Western powers offered to scale back international sanctions if Iran scaled back its nuclear activity.
    • Diplomats claimed the tension created by Iranian presidential elections would make significant concessions impossible.
    • Coverage: AFP-1, AFP-2, Reuters, NYT, WaPo

AFRICA

  • Egypt: Opposition parties announced they will boycott the April elections announced by President Morsi due to concerns over transparency. (AFP)
  • Libya: A former PM under the Gaddafi regime is in critical condition after being tortured in prison, according to his lawyer. (AFP)
  • Somalia: AU and government troops wrested the town of Burhakaba from Islamist control, a crucial victory in efforts to open up the main highway from Mogadishu to Baidoa. (AFP)
  • Tunisia: Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, said the party would give up control of the key interior, justice, and defense ministries. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Mexico: Elba Esther Gordillo, the head of the powerful teachers’ union, was arrested for alleged embezzlement of USD160 million of union funds. (AP)
  • Panama: President Martinelli ruled out the possibility of running for reelection, saying that it is a necessary move for democracy to mature in the country. (Xinhua)
  • United States: Former Senator Hagel (R-NE) was confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense despite strong objections from Republicans. (AP)
  • Venezuela: A new survey showed an overwhelming majority of citizens continue to support President Chavez and 57% support Vice President Maduro, his likely successor. (Xinhua)

ASIA

  • China: The country’s first aircraft carrier docked at its permanent base at the northern port of Qingdao, home to the country’s Northern Fleet. (AP)
  • Indonesia: Fishermen rescued over 100 Rohingya found drifting in a wooden boat off of the country’s west coast, seeking asylum from the violence in Myanmar. (AFP)
  • Korea, North: The government warned the US mainland was well within range of the country’s missile and nuclear technology. (AFP)
  • Vietnam: A reporter was fired from his position at a state-run newspaper after publishing a blog post critical of the head of the Communist Party. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • Armenia: The number of foreign citizens seeking asylum grew eight-fold last year, most of whom were Syrians fleeing the country’s civil war. (Xinhua)
  • Russia: President Putin called on the military leadership to deliver a “drastic” upgrade in the armed forces over the next three years to avoid tipping the “strategic balance.” (AP)
  • Turkey: Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan announced PKK fighters would withdraw from the country by August under a draft peace plan. (Reuters)
  • Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI gave his final address to Catholic pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, discussing the difficulties facing the church and his decision to resign. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iraq: A Shiite politician said the country would suffer the fallout from foreign countries’ policies of arming Syrian rebels and compared the act to a declaration of war. (Reuters)
  • Israel: An EU report stated the country’s settlement policy in Jerusalem is aimed at blocking a two-state solution. (AFP)
  • Jordan: A government official claimed after a recent surge of Syrians fleeing across the border, the number of refugees in the country had jumped to 418,529. (AP)
  • Syria: The US is weighing the possibility of providing direct, non-lethal assistance to the FSA as a way to increase pressure on the regime. (AP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Military Tech: The Pentagon unveiled a plan to enable DoD employees to use smartphones and tablets to share classified and protected data. (Reuters)

WORLD

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Cyclone 17S (Rusty)
      • Location: 80 mi NE of Port Hedland, Australia
      • Movement: Moving N at 4 kts
      • Winds: 109 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Cyclone 18S (Eighteen)
      • Location: 247 SE of Cocos Island
      • Movement: NE at 5 mph
      • Winds: 35 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report
  • Volcano: Shiveluch Volcano, Petropalovsky, Kamchatsky, Russia
    • Spewing ash up to a height of four miles

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (28FEB)

  • Global: Pope Benedict XVI will officially resign today.
  • Asia: Asia Energy Security Summit in Bangkok (to 01MAR).
  • Middle East: Anniversary of the end of the Gulf War – 1991.
  • Kenya: The Group of Concerned Kenyans has planned a peace rally at Uhuru Park and has invited all the presidential aspirants, President Kibaki and retired President Moi.
  • Pakistan: A mechanism for talks with the Taliban would be worked out at the JUI-F-convened All Parties Conference (APC) starting in Peshawar.
  • Russia: French President Hollande will visit Russia to meet with Putin.
  • Somalia: International Conference on Somalia in London.
  • Syria: Friends of Syria meeting in Rome.

END

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