AFRICA: Heavy gunfire was heard in the Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville, with a government official saying police were battling militia fighters.
AMERICAS: In Colombia, the National Liberation Army (ELN), freed an ex-governor held captive since 2013, in a new boost to peace efforts.
ASIA: About 8,000 US and Filipino troops began annual military exercises to last two weeks against a backdrop of tension over China’s greater assertiveness in the South China Sea.
EUROPE: Azerbaijan’s defense ministry says three of its troops have been killed in the past 24 hours in fighting with the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
MIDDLE EAST: In Iraq, three suicide bombers targeted Iraqi forces in the Baghdad area and the country’s south, killing at least 10 people.
TECHNOLOGY: South Korea plans to spend over USD 87B over the next 10 years to develop supercomputers having a better capability than Google’s Go-playing computer program AlphaGo.
Panama Papers: Anonynous leak points to massive global financial fraud.
The anonymous leak of a vast trove of documents and other data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over widespread tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight.
The Panama Papers show how 140 politicians from more than 50 countries, including 72 current or former heads of state, have links to Mossack Fonesca, a Panamanian law firm. ‘
The documents show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax while operating beyond reproach for 40 years and never charged with criminal wrong-doing.
Tax authorities in Australia and New Zealand are probing local clients of Mossack Fonesca for possible tax evasion with other jurisdictions likely to follow suit.
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained the documents from a confidential source, then shared the files with other media organizations.
Liberia: A five-year-old boy tested positive for Ebola in the second flare-up to hit West Africa in recent weeks. (Reuters)
Nigeria: The army arrested the leader of Islamist militant group Ansaru, a splinter faction of Boko Haram. (Reuters)
Republic of Congo: Heavy gunfire was heard in the capital Brazzaville, with a government official saying police were battling militia fighters. (AP)
Region: Drug trafficking will not stop being a problem for countries across Latin America, given the scale of production, trafficking and consumption in the region, warned UN regional representative Antonio Mazzitelli. (Xinhua)
Colombia: The National Liberation Army (ELN), freed an ex-governor held captive since 2013, in a new boost to peace efforts. (AFP)
Colombia: The navy said it had seized more than a tonne of cocaine and a semi-submersible “narco sub” in operations on the country’s Pacific coastline. (AFP)
Venezuela: Past opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, said they have “almost” half of the four million votes needed to try and end Nicolas Maduro’s presidency via a recall referendum. (EFE)
Region: Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in as the first woman chief minister of Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua)
Region: Vietnam’s coast guard in a rare move has seized a Chinese vessel for allegedly intruding in its waters. (AP)
Region: About 8,000 US and Filipino troops began annual military exercises to last two weeks against a backdrop of tension over China’s greater assertiveness in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
Palau: The drought-stricken country could dry up completely this month, officials warned as they appealed for urgent aid from Japan and Taiwan, including shipments of water. (AFP)
Korean Peninsula: South Korea conducted a large-scale live fire exercise on the East Sea, in the coastal county of Goseong, which borders North Korea. (AFP)
Region: The first migrants to be deported from Greece as part of a new controversial EU plan to tackle the migration crisis have landed on Turkish soil. (CNN)
Region: Azerbaijan’s defense ministry says three of its troops have been killed in the past 24 hours in fighting with the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. (AP)
Germany: The first Syrians arrived in Germany from Istanbul under a controversial EU-Turkey migrants pact. (AFP)
Netherlands: Hundreds of police raided about 100 premises in a swoop on drug gangs in the country’s south, arresting thirty-nine suspects with more expected. (AFP)
Region: Israel’s military says it has demolished the West Bank homes of three Palestinians who killed and wounded Israeli security officers in February. (AP)
Iraq: Aircraft from a US-led coalition destroyed the Turkish consulate compound in Mosul which has been occupied by Islamist State militants since June 2014, the Turkish foreign ministry said. (Reuters)
Iraq: Three suicide bombers targeted Iraqi forces in the Baghdad area and the country’s south, killing at least 10 people. (AFP)
Syria: Demands for President Bashar al-Assad to step down restrict perspectives for political settlement in this country, said Russian Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Technology: South Korea plans to spend over USD 87B over the next 10 years to develop supercomputers having a better capability than Google’s Go-playing computer program AlphaGo. (Xinhua)
Suspected Cases as of 25MAR: 34,915 (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: 1,568
Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 82 (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, French Guiana, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador)
Cases as of 29MAR: 1698 (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 29MAR: 609 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 31MAR: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Dominica, United States Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Bonaire, Curacao, Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Gabon, Maldives, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa
Outbreak Terminated as of 31MAR: Micronesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, French Polynesia
Locally Acquired Without Vector Borne Transmission as of 31MAR: United States of America, France, Italy, Argentina, New Zealand