ONS: 29 February 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 1, 2016

KEY STORYLINES

  • AFRICA: Kenyan police are on high alert following intelligence reports that Islamist militants Al-Shabaab are planning to carry out suicide terror attacks on the country’s airports in late February or early March.
  • AMERICAS: Colombia has expressed concern over the presence of fighters from the ELN, or National Liberation Army, in areas traditionally held by the FARC rebel group.
  • ASIA: Senior Chinese diplomats held talks with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo over a response to North Korea’s recent long-range rocket launch and nuclear test, and are willing to have high-level talks to enhance the bilateral relationship.
  • EUROPE: A United Kingdom report says Brexit would negatively affect millions as a decade of uncertainty would hit “financial markets, investment and the value of the pound”.
  • MIDDLE EAST: French FM Jean-Marc Ayrault called for a new meeting of a UN-backed task force overseeing a fragile Syrian ceasefire “without delay” to evaluate a range of breaches.
  • TECHNOLOGY: China’s cyberspace watchdog said it had ordered the closure of a microblog account of a former property tycoon, known for his bold remarks on China’s economic policy, for “spreading illegal information”.

TOP STORY

  • North Korea: Detained American confesses in state-run press conference.
    • Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student detained in the country, confessed in a highly orchestrated press conference to the “very severe and pre-planned” crime of trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel in Pyongyang.
    • It is not known if the student was forced by the DPRK to speak.
    • Warmbier was arrested while visiting the country with Young Pioneer Tours, an agency specializing in travel to North Korea.
    • “The actual offense here doesn’t really matter. It’s a case of North Korea using another hostage to push back against American sanctions,” said Jang Jin-sung, a former North Korean government official who now lives in South Korea.
    • North Korea has held several Americans in recent years, accusing them of illegal entry, spying, spreading Christian beliefs and other antistate crimes.
    • Coverage: AP, CNN, NYT, USA Today, WP, WSJ

AFRICA

  • Region: The Malian government and former armed groups have agreed to a forum on peace and national reconciliation in Mali between 27MAR and 30MAR to put a closure on the Algiers peace process. (Xinhua)
  • Region: The first summit of heads of state and government of countries contributing to the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia was held in Djibouti. (Xinhua)
  • Kenya: Police are on high alert following intelligence reports that Islamist militants Al-Shabaab are planning to carry out suicide terror attacks on the country’s airports in late February or early March. (Xinhua)
  • Somalia: The Africa Union condemned a terror attack by Al-Shabaab militants in Baidoa in which 30 civilians were killed and 42 others injured. (Xinhua)

AMERICAS

  • Colombia: The country has expressed concern over the presence of fighters from the ELN, or the National Liberation Army, in areas traditionally held by the FARC rebel group. (BBC)
  • Cuba: The government announced fresh measures to keep the Zika virus out of its borders. (Xinhua)
  • Mexico: Five states have been put on alert after a truck carrying a container of potentially dangerous radioactive material was stolen. (AFP)

ASIA

  • Region: Senior Chinese diplomats held talks with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo over a response to North Korea’s recent long-range rocket launch and nuclear test, and are willing to have high-level talks to enhance the bilateral relationship. (Kyodo)
  • Region: China’s military chief of its southern region, Gen. Wang Jiaocheng, said the army is preparing to defend its sovereignty over the islands of the South China Sea. (EFE)
  • Region: The Philippines urged China to respect a forthcoming ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague on a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
  • Korean Peninsula: South Korean firms pleaded for urgent help from Seoul, saying they had lost more than $663 million since the Kaesong industrial complex was closed. (AFP)

EUROPE

  • Region: A United Kingdom report says Brexit would negatively affect millions as a decade of uncertainty would hit “financial markets, investment and the value of the pound”. (Guardian)
  • Region: The EU is expected to hold discussions about whether Russia has fulfilled the Minsk agreement on Ukraine and there will not be an automatic extension of sanctions against Moscow, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said. (Reuters)
  • Region: Austria hit back at “absurd” criticism of its tougher migrants policy, after coming under fire from Germany and Greece where a bottleneck is building due to Vienna’s measures. (AFP)
  • France: Authorities began bulldozing the southern half of the “Jungle” migrant camp in the northern port city of Calais. (AFP)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran: Two leading conservative clerics, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi and Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, have lost their seats on the country’s top supervisory body, results from last week’s election confirmed today. (AFP)
  • Syria: The UN warned that thousands may have died of starvation during sieges affecting nearly half a million Syrians. (AFP)
  • Syria: The UN prepared to deliver aid to thousands of civilians in the country as a fragile ceasefire entered its third day largely intact despite accusations of violations. (AFP)
  • Syria: French FM Jean-Marc Ayrault called for a new meeting of a UN-backed task force overseeing a fragile ceasefire “without delay” to evaluate a range of breaches. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Technology: China’s cyberspace watchdog said it had ordered the closure of a microblog account of a former property tycoon, known for his bold remarks on China’s economic policy, for “spreading illegal information”. (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 29FEB: 28,639 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
      • Deaths as of 29FEB: 11,316 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, BBC
    • Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
      • Suspected Cases as of 29FEB: 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 29FEB: 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 29FEB: 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 29FEB: 587 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
    • Zika Virus
      • Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 29FEB: 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 29FEB: South Africa, China, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Gabon, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia
      • Deaths as of 29FEB: 3 (Colombia) (AFP)
      • Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (01MAR)

  • Japan: U.S. Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose will hold meetings in Japan
  • Switzerland: Republic Day – 1889

END

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