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HEADLINES

Brussels, 28.02.2020 as at 06h30

 

TOP STORIES

CORONAVIRUS

The number of new coronavirus cases in the world rose to 82,560, including 2,813 deaths, across 50 countries and territories by 1700 GMT on Thursday (AFP/Naharnet) more

Le nombre de personnes infectées par le nouveau coronavirus en France a connu une “augmentation sensible” jeudi, passant à 38 cas confirmés “à 19 heures” (18H00 GMT) contre 18 la veille. (AFP/LNC) plus

The first case of the novel coronavirus in the Netherlands was detected on Thursday, in a patient who had travelled to northern Italy. (AFP/Gulf News) more

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking its total — the highest in the world outside China — to 2,022. (AFP/CNBC) more

Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case […] in sub-Saharan Africa. (AFP/France 24) more

L’Afrique du Sud a ordonné jeudi le rapatriement de quelque 130 de ses citoyens de la ville chinoise de Wuhan. (AFP/VoA) plus

Virus enigma: Experts ask why Africa seems to have few cases (France 24)

 

SYRIA

At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed as violence escalates in Syria’s Idlib province after an air strike blamed on Damascus, with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg condemning “indiscriminate” attacks by the Assad regime and Russia. (AFP/Jakarta Post) more

The United Nations on Thursday called for urgent action in northwest Syria, warning that “the risk of greater escalation grows by the hour.”(AFP/Outlook) more

The United States on Thursday demanded that the Syrian regime and ally Russia end their “despicable” operation in Idlib province and vowed to support Ankara. (AFP/Gulf News) more

The United States called Thursday on Turkey to learn from clashes in Syria who its true friends are and drop its purchase from Russia of a major missile defense system. (AFP/France 24) more

“All known” Syrian government targets are under fire by Turkish air and land support units, Turkey’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said separately on Friday. Turkey has decided to “respond in kind” to the attack by the Syrian government, Altun added. (Reuters) more

The Russian defence ministry accused Turkey of violating a peace deal for Syria’s Idlib by supporting rebels with artillery fire and drones. (AFP/Naharnet) more

Turkey has decided to no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe. (Reuters) more

Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm that Turkey has blocked access to social media following allegations of an attack on Turkish troops in Idlib. (Netblocks) more

At least three Syrian soldiers were wounded by Israeli helicopter fire near the annexed Golan Heights late Thursday, the official Sana agency reported. (AFP/ Al Arabiya) more

 

EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

UK: The number of people moving to the UK long-term from countries outside of the EU is at its highest level on record, according to the Office for National Statistics. The latest estimates suggested that in the year up to September 2019, immigration from non-EU countries reached 379,000 – the highest since records began 45 years ago. Net migration – the balance between the number of people entering and leaving the country – sits at 250,000, which is its highest since 2004. (Talk Radio) more

KOSOVO: Kosovo’s new Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced on February 27 that the country will partially and conditionally remove the 100% tariffs imposed on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina starting from March 15. (BNE) more

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHERN AFRICA

IRAN: A new Swiss payment mechanism allowing food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to be sent to Iran without stumbling over US sanctions has officially taken effect, Bern said Thursday. (AFP/Radio Farda) more

ISRAEL: La Cour suprême d’Israël a autorisé jeudi les couples de même sexe et les hommes célibataires à recourir à la gestation pour autrui (GPA). (AFP/ Le Figaro) plus

 

AFRICA

TCHAD-NIGERIA: Trois Tchadiens membres du personnel d’un hôpital –le médecin-chef, un infirmier et leur chauffeur– kidnappés il y a quatre mois par le groupe jihadiste Boko Haram dans l’ouest du Tchad, sont apparus dans une vidéo non datée authentifiée jeudi par les autorités. (AFP/Africa Radio) more

GUINEA BISSAU: Opposition leader Umaro Sissoco Embalo swore himself in as the new president of Guinea-Bissau on Thursday, defying a bitter ongoing row about the outcome of elections nearly two months earlier. (AFP) more

GUINEE CONAKRY: Des affrontements ont opposé jeudi des manifestants aux forces de l’ordre en Guinée, où des urnes ont été détruites et où l’armée est en état d’alerte à trois jours d’un référendum et de législatives que l’opposition entend boycotter et empêcher. (AFP/Africa Radio) plus

SOMALIE-KENYA: Le Kenya “viole la souveraineté” et “l’unité de la Somalie”, pays qui est prêt à prendre “toutes les mesures nécessaires” pour les défendre, a averti jeudi l’ambassadeur somalien à l’ONU, Abukar Dahir Osman, lors d’une réunion du Conseil de sécurité. (AFP/Africa Radio) more

 

ASIA/PACIFIC

CHINA-US: The United States on Thursday demanded that China immediately free Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. (AFP/France 24) more

JAPAN-LEBANON: Japan’s vice minister of justice is traveling to Lebanon this weekend to try to make the case that fugitive ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn should stand trial in Japan. (Reuters/ Globe and Mail) more

 

AMERICAS

LATIN AMERICA: Protesters across Latin America faced rampant violence and state repression as millions took to the streets to protest inequality, corruption and impunity in 2019, Amnesty International said Tuesday in its annual report on the region. (AFP) more

COLOMBIA: Landmines and protests promoted by armed groups involved in drug trafficking are major obstacles to the eradication of coca, the base ingredient in cocaine, according to a Colombian anti-narcotic police chief. (Reuters/Devidcourse) more

GUATEMALA: Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Thursday signed into law new rules that increase government oversight of non-profit groups operating in the Central American country, despite international pressure that he veto the bill.(Reuters/ Last Minute) more

CUBA: Communist-run Cuba will deliver its verdict in a closely watched case against Jose Daniel Ferrer, one of the country’s leading dissidents, on March 12, his wife told Reuters on Thursday, the day after his trial. (Reuters) more

VENEZUELA: Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly on Thursday authorized its leader Juan Guaido to take control of around $80 million in assets frozen outside the country due to sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro. (AFP) more

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HEADLINES

Brussels, 27.02.2020 as at 18h30

 

TOP STORIES

CORONAVIRUS

 

Des plans d’urgence avec financement immédiat sont prêts à être déployés, notamment par le Fonds monétaire international, pour venir en aide aux pays qui ne parviendraient pas à faire face à une épidémie du nouveau coronavirus, a indiqué jeudi le porte-parole de l’institution. (AFP/Le Figaro) plus

Plusieurs nouveaux cas de coronavirus ont été détectés jeudi en Espagne dont l’un se trouve dans un état “grave”, ont indiqué les autorités qui cherchent à remonter la piste de premiers cas de contagion sur le sol espagnol. (AFP/L’Orient Le Jour) plus

Greece cancelled all carnival festivities planned for the weekend as 2 new coronavirus cases were found in Thessaloniki and Athens, raising the total to 3 […]. (AFP/The Straits Times) more

Israel confirmed that a man who had recently returned from Italy had tested positive for coronavirus and said it was barring entry to non-Israelis who had visited Italy in the past 2 weeks. (Reuters/National Post) more

Iran has banned Chinese citizens from entering the country, […] amid the spread of the new coronavirus across the Islamic Republic that had killed 26 Iranians. (Reuters) more

Iraq announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the capital Baghdad, taking nationwide infections to 6 and raising concerns about the capacity of the dilapidated health system to respond. (AFP/France 24) more

La Chine, berceau du nouveau coronavirus, où l’épidémie semble enfin s’essouffler, craint à présent de voir la pneumonie virale revenir par les pays étrangers touchés à leur tour par la maladie. (AFP/Notre Temps) plus

Virus enigma: Experts ask why Africa seems to have few cases (AFP/France 24)

African countries prepare for a coronavirus pandemic (Atlantic Council)

Coronavirus: le pétrole en chute libre perd plus de 4% (AFP/Le Soir)

SYRIE: Turkey and Russia are discussing opening Russian-controlled air space in Syria’s Idlib region for armed and unarmed drones, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying, but he added that problems over the issue persisted. (Reuters) more

3 soldats turcs ont été tués dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie où Ankara et les forces du régime de Damas se font face, a indiqué Erdogan, estimant toutefois que la situation prenait une tournure “favorable”. (AFP/L’Orient Le Jour) plus

An Israeli drone struck a car in a Syrian village in the Golan Heights, killing a civilian […]. (Reuters/US News) more

Jihadistes et rebelles ont repris aux forces du régime une ville stratégique de la province d’Idleb, infligeant un revers au régime de Bachar al-Assad dans son offensive dévastatrice contre cette région du nord-ouest du pays en guerre. (AFP/RTL) plus

 

EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

EU-UK: Britain said it wanted “legally binding” obligations on access to the EU financial market, coupled with arrangements for maintaining trust as rules evolve. (Reuters) more

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier noted Britain’s negotiating mandate published earlier but, making clear sharp divergences ahead of talks starting next week, said the bloc would stick to the political declaration agreed last year. (Reuters/Yahoo) more

FACTBOX-What Britain wants from the EU on trade (Reuters)

RUSSIA successfully test-launched its Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile from a military vessel for the first time early last month, the TASS news agency said on Thursday, citing 2 military sources. (Reuters) more

TURQUIE-UE: L’UE a sanctionné 2 ressortissants turcs impliqués dans des forages illégaux d’hydrocarbures en Méditerranée […]. (AFP/Connaissance des Energies) plus

 

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHERN AFRICA

LIBYE: Plusieurs roquettes ont été tirées sur le seul aéroport fonctionnel de la capitale libyenne Tripoli, dernière attaque en date contre cet aéroport qui a provoqué une brève suspension des vols, ont indiqué les autorités aéroportuaires. (AFP/L’Orient Le Jour) plus

ISRAEL and OPT: Israel approved nearly 1,800 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, the country’s right-wing Defence Minister announced, 4 days ahead of a general election. (AFP/The Times of Israel) more

MAROC: Après l’ouverture de 6 consulats et l’organisation d’une compétition de la Coupe d’Afrique des Nations, le Maroc organise pour la première fois vendredi un forum diplomatique au Sahara occidental, avec une douzaine d’Etats insulaires du Pacifique. (AFP/H24) plus

IRAQ: Iraq’s parliament adjourned a session to approve a new cabinet proposed by Prime Minister-designated Mohammed Allawi […]. (Reuters/Business Insider) more

IRAN-USA: The USA granted a license to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions with Iran’s sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalization of a Swiss humanitarian aid channel. (Reuters) more

ALGÉRIE: The son of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been acquitted in a high-profile corruption case in which a prominent businessman was sentenced to prison […]. (AFP/Arab News) more

TUNISIA’s new government was sworn in Thursday after winning a parliamentary confidence vote that broke four months of post-election deadlock. (AFP/Ipotnews) more

 

AFRICA

AU/EU: The African Union chief highlighted “differences” over topics like international justice and gay rights at a meeting with the EU intended to deepen the partnership between their continents “Certainly, we have our differences. (Devdiscourse) more

SAHEL: La force française Barkhane a “mis hors de combat” une trentaine de jihadistes dans la zone “des 3 frontières”, aux confins du Mali et du Niger, poursuivant le ratissage de cette zone réputée abriter le groupe Etat islamique au Grand Sahara (EIGS), a indiqué jeudi l’état-major. (AFP/L’Orient Le Jour) plus

L’Union africaine (UA) a annoncé qu’elle s’apprêtait à déployer 3.000 soldats au Sahel, pour tenter d’enrayer la progression du jihadisme et la dégradation de la sécurité dans la région. (AFP/Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes) plus

KENYA: The USA warned that extremists may be plotting an attack against a major hotel in Nairobi, urging its citizens to be cautious. (AFP/Yahoo) more

Kenyan police are calling on residents of the country’s northeast, along the border with Somalia, to do more to help them combat al-Shabab militants. (Voa News) more

GUINÉE: La Haut-Commissaire de l’ONU aux droits de l’Homme a appelé jeudi la Guinée à veiller à ce que les élections à la fin de la semaine se déroulent de manière “transparente”, afin d’éviter des “troubles supplémentaires”. (AFP/Africa Radio) plus

NIGERIA: La police nigériane a libéré 24 bébés et 4 adolescentes enceintes d’une maternité illégale dans la ville pétrolière de Port-Harcourt, à Woji Port-Harcourt, au sud du Nigeria […]. (AFP/Sahel Intelligence) plus

AFRIQUE DU SUD: Les téléphones portables de la ministre sud-africaine de la Sécurité d’Etat, en charge des services d’espionnage du pays, ont été piratés par des inconnus, a indiqué son entourage, en évoquant une brèche “inquiétante”. (AFP/Africanews) plus

 

ASIA/PACIFIC

AFGHANISTAN: An Afghan government delegation is going to Doha to make “initial contacts” with the Taliban […] days before the signing of a historic deal in Qatar to withdraw US troops. (AFP/France 24) more

INDE-TURQUIE: Erdogan a dénoncé les “massacres” commis selon lui par les hindous contre les musulmans en Inde, où des violences intercommunautaires ont fait 33 morts à New Delhi ces derniers jours. (AFP/Le Figaro) plus

The SOUTH KOREAN and U.S. militaries announced that they were postponing their annual joint drills due to concern about a viral outbreak that has infected soldiers in both countries’ armed forces. (The Diplomat)

 

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