AFRICA: Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress party endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a second term in an election next year.
AMERICAS: An increasing number of Venezuelans are seeking asylum in other countries as they flee economic collapse at home, the UN said.
ASIA: In Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani offered peace talks to the Taliban as the Kabul Process summit opened.
EUROPE: Jan Kuciak, the investigative journalist shot dead in Slovakia, was working on a story about the activities of Italian mafia in his country and their links to people close to Slovakian PM Robert Fico.
MIDDLE EAST: China demanded solid evidence supporting information about a possible connection between North Korea and Syria’s chemical weapons.
TECHNOLOGY: German people will acquire a legal right to fast internet under a proposed coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats.
Syria: Russia’s role as peace guarantor called into question.
A second attempt at implementing a ceasefire in Syria’s rebel-held Eastern Ghouta has begun after Russia’s partial truce failed to stop an ongoing onslaught in the area.
Despite the ceasefire, Syrian government forces and allied militias gained ground in clashes with rebels.
Russian FM Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will continue to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to defeat what he called the “terrorist threat.”
Lavrov also said that rebels were responsible for ensuring that a “humanitarian pause” in the Eastern Ghouta area delivers relief for devastated civilians.
The US said Russia has violated its commitments as guarantor of the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile and preventing the Assad government from using them.
Angola: Interior Minister Angelo Veiga Tavares urged Angolan police to fight corruption, impunity, money laundering, terrorism and illegal immigration. (Xinhua)
Kenya: A national alert on mouth and foot disease across the country to help curb its spread. (Xinhua)
Nigeria: The country’s ruling All Progressives Congress party endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a second term in an election next year. (Reuters)
Nigeria: At least 13 people were killed in clashes between Christian and Muslim youths in Kaduna state. (AFP)
Region: An increasing number of Venezuelans are seeking asylum in other countries as they flee economic collapse at home, the UN said. (AFP)
Region: Dominican President Danilo Medina said 900 soldiers will be immediately deployed to secure the borders, especially the boundary with Haiti. (EFE)
United States: Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. (WP)
Region: South Korea summoned the Chinese ambassador to lodge a complaint over a Chinese military aircraft entering the South’s air defense territory. (Reuters)
Afghanistan: President Ashraf Ghani offered peace talks to the Taliban as the Kabul Process summit opened. (Reuters)
Afghanistan: At least 30 people, including 19 police officers, were kidnapped and six police killed by insurgents in separate incidents in Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces. (AP)
Indonesia: The Indonesian Survivors Foundation refused to participate in what it says is a flawed government-organized “reconciliation” meeting between former Islamic militants and victims. (AP)
Korean Peninsula: South Korea and the US will start in early APR2018 a joint military exercise postponed until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. (Reuters)
Region: Turkey sharply criticized France and the US for arguing a ceasefire in Syria should apply to its military operation against Kurdish militia. (AFP)
Region: Jan Kuciak, the investigative journalist shot dead in Slovakia, was working on a story about the activities of Italian mafia in his country and their links to people close to Slovakian PM Robert Fico. (AP)
France: The French economy grew by a faster-than-expected 2.0 percent in 2017, as investment and output picked up in the fourth quarter. (AFP)
Russia: Jailed opposition activist Andrei Pivovarov says his imprisonment is intended to keep him out of action during the MAR18 presidential election. (RFE/RL)
United Kingdom: The issue of Northern Ireland’s border is being used to try and frustrate Brexit, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. (Reuters)
Region: Lebanese PM Saad Hariri is in Saudi Arabia for his first visit to the kingdom since his now-reversed resignation from Riyadh late last year. (AP)
Iraq: International aid agencies say Iraqi authorities are increasing pressure on refugees in Anbar province to return to their homes ahead of national elections in MAY2018. (AP)
Israel: The country aims to eliminate the use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030. (UPI)
Israel: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem reopened after Israeli officials suspended a plan to impose taxes on church properties in the holy city. (AP)
Syria: China demanded solid evidence supporting information about a possible connection between North Korea and the country’s chemical weapons. (EFE)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Technology: German people will acquire a legal right to fast internet under a proposed coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats. (Reuters)
Cyclones: Nothing to Report
Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
Earthquakes: 111km SW of Porgera, Papua New Guinea
Suspected Cases as of 22DEC: 61,613 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, and Venezuela)
Suspected Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 349,936
Confirmed Cases as of 22DEC: 123,087 (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin (French part), and Venezuela)
Confirmed Cases (01JAN16-31DEC16): 152,250
Deaths as of 22DEC: 101 (Brazil, Ecuador)
Deaths (01JAN16-31DEC16): 172
Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
Cases as of 19FEB: 2,143 (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 19FEB: 750 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)