AFRICA: The UN launched a program to support the Libyan Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior to strengthen policing and rule of law in Libya.
AMERICAS: Venezuela will hold a snap presidential election on 22APR at a time when most top challengers have been barred from running.
ASIA: The International Criminal Court has begun a preliminary examination of a complaint against Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte that accuses him of crimes against humanity.
EUROPE: France will unveil a bill to boost military spending, notably amid demands by NATO and the US.
MIDDLE EAST: In Syria, the US launched rare air strikes to thwart an attack on allied Kurdish and Arab fighters, killing up to 100 pro-government fighters.
TECHNOLOGY: Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security, said Russia successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several US states prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Korean Peninsula: High-level leaders arrive on eve of Olympics.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to have lunch with a senior North Korean delegation that includes the sister of leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim Yong-nam would be the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.
US VP Mike Pence is pushing South Korea to adopt a more hawkish stance toward the North, as he arrived in the country ahead of the Winter Olympics.
North Korea held a military parade attended by leader Kim Jong-un, a day before the opening of the Winter Olympics in the South.
The parade is being held to mark the day Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, formed the Korean People’s Army.
North Korea said its representatives had no plans to meet Pence.
Region: The Gambia was readmitted to the Commonwealth, the voluntary association of mostly former territories of the British Empire. (AFP)
Guinea: Police arrested at least 50 people following an arson attack that killed five children after last weekend’s local elections. (AFP)
Libya: The UN launched a program to support the Libyan Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior to strengthen policing and rule of law in the country. (Xinhua)
Namibia: President Hage Geingob reshuffled his cabinet, announcing that VP Nickey Iyambo asked to retire on medical grounds. (Xinhua)
Region: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said he is willing to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement if renegotiation fails to produce a deal he can accept. (AFP)
Honduras: The UK sold spy equipment to the country shortly before a disputed general election led to a violent crackdown on opposition protesters and activists. (Guardian)
Venezuela: The government will hold a snap presidential election on 22APR at a time when most top challengers have been barred from running. (NYT)
Australia: PM Malcolm Turnbull said he will deliver a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse. (BBC)
Bangladesh: Opposition leader Khaleda Zia was sentenced to five years in jail for corruption, sparking clashes between protesters and police. (BBC)
Maldives: President Abdulla Yameen sent envoys to friendly nations such as China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to brief them on the nation’s political crisis. (Reuters)
Philippines: The International Criminal Court has begun a preliminary examination of a complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte that accuses him of crimes against humanity. (NYT)
South Korea: The number of confirmed cases of norovirus at the Winter Games has doubled in just two days as Olympic officials struggle to track the source of the outbreak. (NYT)
Region: Turkey dismissed France’s claims over civilian losses in Ankara’s ongoing Syria operation, labelling them “unfortunate” and “baseless” accusations. (AFP)
France: President Emmanuel Macron’s government is unveiling a bill to boost military spending, notably amid demands by NATO and the US. (AP)
Greece: The country made another tentative return to markets with a seven-year-bond, its first sale of the sort since the start of the economic crisis. (AFP)
United Kingdom: A survey found one in five British parliamentary workers had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the past year. (AP)
Region: Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet at a yet-undecided date in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria. (AP)
Region: Russia and Turkey agreed to strengthen military and security coordination in Syria. (RFE/RL)
Region: Israel named Amir Weissbrod as the new ambassador to Jordan, bringing to an end a months-long spat sparked by a deadly shooting. (AFP)
Iran: The US secretly reached out to the country in DEC2017 to propose creating a direct channel to negotiate the release of prisoners held by each side. (WSJ)
Syria: The US launched rare air strikes to thwart an attack on allied Kurdish and Arab fighters, killing up to 100 pro-government fighters. (BBC)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Technology: Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security, said Russia successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several US states prior to the 2016 presidential election. (NBC)
Technology: US authorities indicted 36 people for stealing more than USD 530M million from victims across the world in a massive operation known as the Infraud Organization. (CNN)
Suspected Cases as of 20JAN: 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 20JAN: 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 20JAN: 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 05FEB: 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 05FEB: 750 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)