AFRICA: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga are holding their first meeting since last year’s contested election.
AMERICAS: FARC pulled out of Colombia’s presidential race after its candidate, Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londono, suffered a heart attack.
ASIA: China accused US President Donald Trump of damaging global trading by hiking steel and aluminum tariffs, as Japan and South Korea also expressed alarm.
EUROPE: The EU said “dialogue” with Washington was the bloc’s “prime option” as it seeks exemption from US President Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs.
MIDDLE EAST: An emergency aid convoy crossed front lines into the besieged rebel enclave of Syria’s eastern Ghouta, but air strikes resumed after an overnight pause.
TECHNOLOGY: Suspected North Korean hackers blitzed Turkish financial institutions and a government organization last week, seeking intelligence for a future heist.
North Korea: Leader Kim and US President Trump to meet in May.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are to meet in person by MAY2018, it has been announced.
Analysts fear Trump’s understaffed administration may lack the expertise to successfully turn a political spectacle long sought by Pyongyang into a meaningful opportunity to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe attributed the diplomatic overture to the pressure of sanctions coordinated by the US, Japan and South Korea.
While South Korea is “optimistic” about continued talks, it will proceed with joint military exercises with the US.
In South Korea, people greeted the news of a meeting between Kim and Trump with relief.
Both Russia and China welcomed the new, positive signals after months of deteriorating relations between North Korea and the US.
DR Congo: PM Bruno Tshibala confirmed an election to replace President Joseph Kabila remains on course for late DEC2018. (Reuters)
Gabon: French water and waste giant Veolia is seeking World Bank arbitration after the country cancelled its contract, as Libreville has accused the firm of polluting the country. (AFP)
Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga are holding their first meeting since last year’s contested election. (Reuters)
Region: A lawsuit filed in the US alleges Glencore, Lukoil and other energy trading firms funneled bribes to corrupt Venezuelan oil officials in exchange for rigged oil purchase and sale contracts. (AP)
Colombia: FARC pulled out of the country’s presidential race after its candidate, Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londono, suffered a heart attack. (AFP)
Mexico: The country needs to improve the rule of law in order to better combat financial crimes, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya said. (Reuters)
Region: China accused US President Donald Trump of damaging global trading by hiking steel and aluminum tariffs, as Japan and South Korea also expressed alarm. (AP)
Afghanistan: A suicide bomber blew himself up in the capital, Kabul, killing at least seven people in an attack aimed at crowds gathered to commemorate a Shi’ite political leader. (Reuters)
Afghanistan: The Taliban assaulted an army outpost in a remote region of northern Takhar province, killing 10 local policemen and wounding nine. (AP)
Japan: Japanese police are investigating as possible suicide the death of an official at a finance ministry bureau that handled a land deal at the heart of a cronyism scandal threatening PM Shinzo Abe’s popularity. (AFP)
Region: The EU said “dialogue” with Washington was the bloc’s “prime option” as it seeks exemption from US President Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs. (AFP)
Region: Russia was not involved in the attempted murder of an ex-spy and is willing to help with a UK inquiry, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov said. (BBC)
Slovakia: President Andrej Kiska faces a “serious political crisis” triggered by the shooting deaths of investigative journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova. (AP)
Turkey: Turkish prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 92 teachers and 94 others suspected of links to the alleged network behind a failed 2016 coup. (Reuters)
Israel: Nearly 5,000 Israeli and US soldiers have been training for a simulated missile attack on the country, with the exercise dubbed “Juniper Cobra 18.” (Xinhua)
Syria: Doctors and nurses in the Eastern Ghouta enclave have run out of several life-saving items and a massive medical re-supply is critically urgent, Doctors Without Borders said. (AFP)
Syria: An emergency aid convoy crossed front lines into the besieged rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta, but air strikes resumed after an overnight pause. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Technology: Suspected North Korean hackers blitzed Turkish financial institutions and a government organization last week, seeking intelligence for a future heist. (WSJ)
Ash eruptions continued, similar to eruptions earlier in the week. (Kyodo)
Global Disease Outbreaks:
Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
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 05MAR: 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 05MAR: 750 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)