ONS: 28 February 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 29, 2016

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: The European Union fears Mediterranean migrant smuggling gangs are reviving a route from Egypt, putting thousands of people to sea in recent months as they face problems in Libya and Turkey.
  • AMERICAS: Colombian police dismantled in the northwestern city of Medellin a gang that trafficked arms from the United States to guerrillas of the National Liberation Army, or ELN.
  • ASIA: Some 22 Taliban militants were killed in fierce fighting in the northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan over the past 24 hours.
  • EUROPE: Switzerland will vote in a fresh referendum on whether foreign criminals should be automatically deported even for minor offences, after a far-right push to tighten the rules.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by Islamic State militants on the capital’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib.
  • TECHNOLOGY: The United States offered a firm commitment to “prevent arbitrary and indiscriminate collection” of European citizens‘ data under a new deal to protect trans-Atlantic data transfers.

TOP STORY

  • Iran: Reformists make gains in elections.
    • Millions crowded polling stations on Friday to vote for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, which selects the country’s highest authority, the supreme leader. Both bodies have been in the hands of hardliners for years.
    • The election was the first since a nuclear deal with world powers and the outcome could affect Mr. Rouhani’s chances of re-election in 2017.
    • Early results gave Mr Rafsanjani, a moderate Conservative, and Mr Rouhani respectively the most votes for the assembly, which is composed of mostly elder and senior clerics.
    • Reformists want better relations with the outside world and more freedoms at home.
    • The polls were seen by analysts as a potential turning point for Iran, where nearly 60 percent of its 80 million population is under 30 and eager to engage with the world following the lifting of most sanctions.
    • Coverage: AP, BBC, CNN, FT, Reuters, WSJ

AFRICA

  • Egypt: A court decision revoking the medical license of a surgeon at a state-run hospital in connection with the 2013 death of a girl after she was subjected to an illegal operation despite the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) has been welcomed by medical experts and members of the public. (Gulf News)
  • Egypt: The European Union fears Mediterranean migrant smuggling gangs are reviving a route from the North African country, putting thousands of people to sea in recent months as they face problems in Libya and Turkey. (Reuters)
  • Nigeria: Major roads to and from Maiduguri in the northeast have been re-opened, nearly three years after they were shut because of Boko Haram attacks. (AFP)

AMERICAS

  • Colombia: Police dismantled in the northwestern city of Medellin a gang that trafficked arms from the United States to guerrillas of the National Liberation Army, or ELN. (EFE)
  • Dominican Republican: Egypt will extradite a Frenchman to the country for allegedly aiding the escape of two pilots sentenced in a drug case. (BBC)
  • Ecuador: The Foreign Ministry announced it will lift visa requirements beginning Tuesday for Chinese tourists who stay for no more than 90 days. (Xinhua)

ASIA

  • Afghanistan: A policeman was killed and another 30 were detained during a joint operation between troops and US forces last week against police suspected of supporting Taliban insurgents in embattled Helmand province. (Reuters)
  • Afghanistan: Some 22 Taliban militants were killed in fierce fighting in the northern Baghlan province over the past 24 hours. (Xinhua)
  • China: Despite bumper harvests, the nation had a shortfall of between 20 million and 25 million tons in the amount of grain it produced and consumed in 2015, according to a senior official. (Xinhua)

EUROPE

  • Croatia: The Interior Ministry confirmed the country would introduce a quota for migrants and would allow only 580 of them to cross its border a day, just like Slovenia. (Xinhua)
  • Ireland: The general election in the republic is set to produce a hung parliament after the poor performance in the poll of the existing coalition. (BBC)
  • Russia: Six people – most of them rescuers – were killed in a new explosion in a mine in the north where 26 miners went missing after an accident three days ago. (AFP)
  • Switzerland: The country will vote in a fresh referendum on whether foreign criminals should be automatically deported even for minor offenses, after a far-right push to tighten the rules. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iraq: Officials say security forces repelled an attack by Islamic State militants on the capital’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib. (AP)
  • Israel: Palestinian president’s spokesman described Iran’s delivering funds to Palestinians as a “flagrant intrusion into internal Palestinian and Arab affairs.” (Xinhua)
  • Syria: The country’s fragile ceasefire entered its second day with battle zones across the country largely quiet for the first time in five years despite some sporadic breaches. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Privacy: The United States has offered a firm commitment to “prevent arbitrary and indiscriminate collection” of European citizens‘ data under a new deal to protect trans-Atlantic data transfers. (DPA)

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 28FEB: 28,639 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 28FEB: 11,316 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 28FEB: 18,080 (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: 376
      • Deaths as of 28FEB: 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 28FEB: 1638 (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 28FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 28FEB: 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 28FEB: South Africa, China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
      • Deaths as of 28FEB: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (29FEB)

  • Haiti: Anniversary of Jean Aristide removed as President following a coup – 2004
  • Singapore and United States: U.S. Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose to meet with officials of foreign and defense ministries in Singapore
  • United States and Pakistan: 6th “Ministerial level Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue” in Washington, DC

END

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