11 December 2020 Military News
- Centcom Commander: Middle East Refugee Camps Rife for Extreme Ideology DoD News 11 Dec 2020 -- The consequences of not tackling the problem of Middle Eastern internally displaced persons and refugees is going to produce enormous long-term extremism for the region and the world, the commander of U.S. Central Command said.
- US Confirms Airstrike on Afghan Taliban Amid Peace Talks VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. military in Afghanistan said Friday that it had carried out an overnight airstrike against Taliban insurgents in defense of government security forces.
- USS Gabrielle Giffords Interdicts Over $100 Million in Drugs US Navy 11 Dec 2020 -- The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 407 seized an estimated 2,810 kilograms of suspected cocaine, Dec. 5.
- Connecticut Guard delivers more than 102,000 test kits Army News 11 Dec 2020 -- The Connecticut National Guard delivered 102,280 COVID-19 antigen tests to 212 locations throughout the state this week.
- 24/7 Guard coordination center key for domestic ops success Army News 11 Dec 2020 -- Large television screens illuminate an otherwise darkened, underground facility, as National Guard members and civilians assess and monitor homeland response developments and provide up-to-date information for decision-makers.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Statement From HHS and DOD on FDA Emergency Use Authorization of a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate DoD 11 Dec 2020 -- "Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Pfizer for its COVID-19 vaccine, the first authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States."
- Air Force, DOD Leaders Discuss Cutting-Edge Innovations DoD News 11 Dec 2020 -- Leaders from the Defense Department's Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force spoke today about DIU and AFWERX collaborative projects. AFWERX is a program for entrepreneurs within the Air Force intended to circumvent bureaucracy and engage innovation.
- US Senate Passes 2021 Defence Bill Authorising Sanctions on Nord Stream 2, Turkey Over S-400 Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- The key legislation, approved annually, funds the Department of Defence and sets military policy. It has already been approved by the House of Representatives with only 40 Republicans backing Trump and voting against the bill.
- Pro Rata Vaccine Distribution is Fair, Equitable DoD News 11 Dec 2020 -- While COVID-19 vaccines roll out in limited supply, distribution is determined in direct proportion to the nation's adult population 18 years and older. The pro rata method was approved Nov. 6, 2020, by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
- Defending Against Large Drone Swarms Is Focus of Playbook From Naval Postgraduate School Researchers US Navy 11 Dec 2020 -- The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, stunned the world with a dazzling light show made up of a record-breaking 1,218 drones, all dancing in harmony. In the Department of Defense (DOD), though, the display reinvigorated interest in counter-swarm tactics research, for drones and swarming tactics can have applications in all warfighting domains.
- Kearsarge Completes Fast Cruise Before Contractor Sea Trials US Navy 11 Dec 2020 -- The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed a fast cruise Dec. 11, 2020 in preparations for contractor sea trials and operations at sea and after a nearly one-year hiatus following the ship's maintenance availability period.
- Newest U.S. Navy Submarine Visits Newest Brazilian Submarine Base US Navy 11 Dec 2020 -- The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792) is operating in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations and conducted a brief stop for logistics in Rio de Janeiro Dec. 10-15.
- Vertical Lift Modules Raise Bar for Storage Options on F-35 Line US Navy 11 Dec 2020 -- New storage solutions are delivering big benefits on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft modification line at Fleet Readiness Center East, with everyone from aircraft maintenance professionals to program leadership noticing improvements in safety and efficiency.
- NATO supports Afghan forces with hundreds of tons of pharmaceutical supplies NATO 11 Dec 2020 -- Between November and early December 2020, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has operated several chartered flights from NATO Allies and partners to Afghanistan, transporting hundreds of tons of pharmaceutical supplies to the Afghan national army and police. These consisted of pain relievers, vitamins, antibiotic pills and ointments, polio vaccine, hand sanitizer, IV fluids and other critical medicines. All of these supplies will help Afghan forces improve their standard of care and reduce the risk of harm and infection to service personnel. Additional flights are scheduled to be operated through the end of the year.
- Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said that NATO's DNA is values and foresight NATO 11 Dec 2020 -- Addressing a virtual audience at an event organised by the Atlantic Council on Friday (11 December), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană emphasised values and adaptation as key for future success of the Alliance.
- Russian Fighter MiG-31 Intercepts US Spy Plane Over Bering Sea, Defense Ministry Says Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- Russia's MiG-31 intercepted US RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Bering Sea, the national defense control center said Friday.
- Winter logistic support for plateau border troops comprehensively improved PLA Daily 11 Dec 2020 -- Various new-type logistic equipment and materials deployed by the Chinese PLA provides an all-round guarantee for the training and living of front-line service members.
- China, EU hold 11th security and defense policy dialogue PLA Daily 11 Dec 2020 -- The 11th China-EU defense and security policy dialogue was held via video link on December 10. The dialogue was co-chaired by heads of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China's Central Military Commission and the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response at the European External Action Service.
- Coast guard takes delivery of new missile corvette, patrol boat CNA 11 Dec 2020 -- President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday touted Taiwan's indigenous ship program as the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) took delivery of a new missile corvette and a patrol vessel during a ceremony in Kaohsiung.
- Defence Secretary's speech on defence reform UK MOD 11 Dec 2020 -- Defence Secretary's speech at the RUSI Conference covering the Integrated Review, the spending review settlement and other issues for defence.
- Massive Type 31 frigate building hall unveiled in Rosyth UK MOD 11 Dec 2020 -- A vast building hall for the Royal Navy's next-generation Type 31 frigates has been unveiled in Rosyth.
- Fifth hunter-killer submarine named Anson UK MOD 11 Dec 2020 -- Anson, the Royal Navy's latest Astute Class attack submarine, has officially been named in a virtual ceremony at BAE Systems' Barrow-in-Furness shipyard today.
- Given gaps, inconsistencies, Syria's declarations on chemical weapons programme not considered 'accurate and complete' UN News 11 Dec 2020 -- Outstanding issues related to Syria's initial declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile and programme cannot be considered "accurate and complete", the head of the world body monitoring States' implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention told the Security Council on Friday.
- Disrespect: Erdogan Slams Possible US Measures Over S-400s Amid Reports That Sanctions Are Imminent Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- The US has long threatened Turkey with economic measures over its purchase of Russian air defence systems, demanding Ankara ditch them. Turkey, however, has vehemently refused to do so, calling the purchase its sovereign right to improve the country's defences. Washington so far has failed to make good on its threats.
- Trump pushes for last-minute sale of four sophisticated drones to Morocco Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- US President Donald Trump's outgoing administration is in talks with Morocco to provide the kingdom with at least four sophisticated large aerial drones, as it just agreed to a rapprochement with Israel, under pressure from Washington.
- AFLCMC delivers final F-15SA to Royal Saudi Air Force US Air Force 11 Dec 2020 -- The final F-15SA advanced fighter aircraft were delivered Dec. 10 to the Royal Saudi Air Force – a key milestone supporting the National Defense Strategy imperative to strengthen alliances and attract new partners.
- 11 December 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 11 Dec 2020
- Indonesia Moving Navy Combat Squad HQ to Tiny Remote Islet VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Indonesia's plan to site its naval combat squad headquarters on a tiny outpost far from Jakarta shows a commitment to push back against Chinese vessels that pass offshore as part of a festering maritime sovereignty dispute, analysts in the region say.
- Yemen condemns US sanctions on five Houthi Ansarullah officials as "American terrorism" Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on five Yemeni citizens and members of the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen, with the popular group denouncing the move as "an act of American terrorism" against the war-wracked Arab country.
- Yemen: food insecurity a 'ticking timebomb', warn aid agencies UN News 11 Dec 2020 -- UN humanitarians issued a fresh alert on Friday for war-torn Yemen, warning that time is running out to avoid famine in the country. Out of two million children who need treatment for acute malnutrition, 360,000 are at risk of dying if they do not receive medical care, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.
- Supporting the OPCW in its work to investigate chemical weapons use UK FCDO 11 Dec 2020 -- Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on the Middle East (Syria)
- IDF Admits Conducting Operations in Syria, Claims to Have Slowed Iran's Alleged 'Entrenchment' There Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- Syria has suffered from hundreds of airstrikes in recent years, but in most cases no one has claimed responsibility for them. Local media blame Israel for the attacks, but Tel Aviv has officially acknowledged its involvement only in a few of the strikes, while leaving the rest without comment.
- On Progress Toward Peace US Dept. of State 11 Dec 2020 -- "The agreement reached yesterday between Israel and Morocco to normalize relations is another remarkable step toward peace."
- Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi Welcomes Normalisation of Ties With Morocco Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has welcomed the renewal of relations between his country and another Arab country – Morocco, brokered by US President Donald Trump and his team.
- Netanyahu Hails 'Warm Relationship' as Israel and Morocco Establish Full Diplomatic Ties VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Israel and Morocco have agreed to normalize ties, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in the past four months. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold a phone conversation with Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Friday, with President Trump on the call. As part of the deal, the U.S. agreed to recognize Morocco's control of the Western Sahara.
- US Proclamation Giving Morocco Sovereignty Over Disputed Region Draws Backlash in Africa VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- African analysts and political parties are expressing alarm over the sudden U.S. announcement recognizing Morocco's sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
- UK Refuses to Support Trump on Morocco's Claim to Western Sahara as Polisario Front Vows to Fight On Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- The Western Sahara is a huge area of desert bordering the Atlantic Ocean, sandwiched between Morocco and Mauritania. In 1975 the Spanish abandoned the former colony and Morocco laid claim to it.
- Russia rejects US decision on Western Sahara Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- Russia has rejected US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Moroccan "sovereignty" over Western Sahara — as part of a normalization deal between Morocco and the Israeli regime — as a violation of international law.
- FM spox: Iran advises Turkey not to base foreign policy on illusions IRNA 11 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in a message referred to summoning Turkish ambassador to Iran on Friday, saying he was told that it is not logical to base foreign policy on illusions.
- Iran Foreign Ministry summons Turkish envoy over meddling remarks IRNA 11 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Turkish envoy to Tehran Derya Örs has been summoned over interventionist and unacceptable remarks made by President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his trip to Baku.
- Iran summons Turkey's ambassador over Erdogan's 'meddlesome' remarks Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- Iran has summoned Turkey's Ambassador Derya Ors to formally complain about remarks made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which Tehran views as 'unacceptably meddlesome' with regard to the issue of the separation of Azerbaijan.
- Erdogan not informed he was undermining Azerbaijan's sovereignty: Zarif Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for reciting a poem about the separation of Azerbaijan, which he says the Turkish leader has misunderstood.
- Iran Protests Turkish President's Reciting Of 'Meddlesome' Verses RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey's ambassador on December 11 to protest remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Azerbaijan.
- Libyan Women Seek Greater Participation in Peace Talks VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Libyan women played an influential role in the country's popular protests that led to the downfall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime in October 2011.
- Myanmar's Military Sentences Three Soldiers to 20 Years for Rape in Rakhine Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- A Myanmar military tribunal Friday sentenced three privates to 20 years for raping an ethnic Rakhine grandmother during army operations in her village in war-torn Rakhine state in June, the lawyer for the victim told RFA.
- Police in Myanmar's Rakhine Turn Away Villagers Seeking Help in Case of Abducted Relatives Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- Family members of villagers kidnapped by government soldiers in Myanmar's Rakhine state were turned away by police this week after trying to file a missing persons report, their second attempt to call for accountability following the villagers' disappearance in March.
- Turkey slams EU's 'biased and illegal' approach, sanctions threat Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- The Turkish foreign ministry has slammed the European Union's approach towards Turkey's persisting dispute with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean as "biased and illegal," calling on the Western bloc to instead act as an honest broker.
- Macron Warns Against Destabilisation as Turkey Rejects New EU Sanctions Over Maritime Dispute Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- At a European Council meeting on Thursday EU leaders ruled to impose additional sanctions against Turkey over its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
- Ethiopia: UN refugee agency calls for 'unfettered access' to Tigray UN News 11 Dec 2020 -- Amidst "disturbing reports" from Ethiopians fleeing to Sudan, the UN refugee agency called on Friday for "unfettered access to Tigray in order to reach people in need".
- UN Alarmed Over Forced Return of Eritrean Refugees to Embattled Tigray Region VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations voiced alarm Friday over the forced return of Eritrean refugees to camps they fled from in Ethiopia's embattled Tigray region.
- Ethiopian Refugees Prevented from Fleeing to Eastern Sudan VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations refugee agency reports fewer Ethiopian refugees are arriving in eastern Sudan because of the many obstacles they encounter while trying to flee the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region.
- Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on Mexico's Proposed Legislation US Dept. of Justice 11 Dec 2020 -- Attorney General William P. Barr gave the following statement in response to Mexico's proposed legislation.
- State Department Terrorist Designation of Ashraf al-Qizani US Dept. of State 11 Dec 2020 -- The Department of State has designated Ashraf al-Qizani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(a)(ii)(B) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
- Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on a new set of US sanctions Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 11 Dec 2020 -- Regrettably, the US authorities have decided to celebrate Human Rights Day, which is marked on December 10, by adopting new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities.
- Work Resumes On Controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, Gazprom Says RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- Work has resumed in Baltic Sea waters off the German coast on the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline, project managers said in a statement on December 11.
- One Year After Pipeline Dispute, Russia Resumes Construction VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Russia resumed construction on a gas pipeline to Germany on Friday, one year after the United States opposed the joint international project because of possible threats to Europe's energy security, project managers said.
- The Week In Russia: (Not) Denials And (Not) The '90s RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- The Kremlin issued a strenuous nondenial of a report linking lucrative sweetheart deals to President Vladimir Putin's purported former son-in-law, drawing comparisons with a decade he disdains. A top-secret "doomsday plane" was stripped of equipment by thieves. And new sanctions underscored the cost, in terms of image at least, of Putin's reliance on Ramzan Kadyrov.
- Man Who Worked At Local Research Institute For 10 Years Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets, Sell Them In China US Dept. of Justice 11 Dec 2020 -- A former Dublin, Ohio, man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 11, 2020 PRC MofA 11 Dec 2020
- US Curbs on China Tech Giants Likely to Remain Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- Of all the issues that U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will face when he takes office in January, the conflicts with China over technology and cybersecurity may be among the hardest to resolve.
- Wang Yi urges rebuilding framework for healthy devt of China-US ties Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday stressed that it is necessary for China and the US to rebuild the strategic framework for the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations, calling for a resumption of dialogue, cooperation and trust.
- China-EU deal expected before year's end, as trilateral game with US intensifies on trade and diplomacy Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- The 35th round of negotiations for the China-EU investment agreement - a landmark deal closely binding the economic interests of China and Europe - concludes on Friday and is expected to be signed at the end of 2020 before Joe Biden formally takes his oath as US president in January.
- Top Chinese Diplomat Says Beijing Will Focus on Deepening Ties With Russia in 2021 Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced Friday that a stronger strategic partnership with Russia would be his country's foreign policy priority next year.
- Hong Kong Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Charged Under Security Law VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Hong Kong's political crackdown continued Friday as Jimmy Lai, media tycoon and founder of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, was charged under the new national security law for "foreign collusion."
- Jimmy Lai faces charges under national security law, sets an important 'gauge' for other similar cases Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- Anti-government media tycoon in Hong Kong Jimmy Lai, who is considered a "modern-day traitor" for his notorious acts and deeds in instigating one of the most violent and chaotic riots in the city in 2019, is scheduled to appear at a local court Saturday as he was formally charged under the national security law for Hong Kong.
- Those losing freedom colluded with foreign forces: Chinese FM on Jimmy Lai's case Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- When asked about whether the case of Jimmy Lai signaled crackdown on freedom of speech and free press using the excuse of national security, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that it's not China, but some other countries that arbitrarily crack down on Chinese individuals, institutions and enterprises in the name of "national security."
- Update: HK anti-govt figure Lai charged under national security law; 'severe sentence' highly likely Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- Anti-government media tycoon in Hong Kong Jimmy Lai, deemed as a "modern-day traitor" for his notorious acts and deeds in instigating one of the most violent and chaotic riots in the city in 2019, was officially charged under the national security law for Hong Kong, and the local police confirmed with the Global Times that the case will be heard on Saturday morning at a local court.
- Hong Kong Lawmaker Ousted by China Seeks Political Asylum in US Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- Baggio Leung, who was elected to Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) amid a wave of popular support for next-generation opposition candidates in 2016 and stripped of his office following a decree from Beijing, has arrived in the United States to seek political asylum after fleeing a crackdown on dissent in his home city.
- Hong Kong Media Magnate Jimmy Lai Charged With 'Colluding With Foreign Forces' Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- Hong Kong police have charged pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai with "collusion with foreign forces" under a national security law imposed on the city by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from July 1.
- Top CPC meeting stresses industrial chain self-reliance, tech strength in 2021 Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- At a meeting on Friday, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau called for overall reform and opening-up, enhancement of national strategic technologies, an increase in the self-reliance capability of industrial chains and the formation of a powerful domestic market.
- China's gender imbalance may take decades to resolve Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- China is faced with a huge gender imbalance, with the male population exceeding the female population by more than 30 million, data from China's National Bureau of Statistics shows. The imbalance in the post-2000s and population of marriageable age are even more urgent.
- China's Gender Imbalance Reaches Almost 20 Percent Among Young People Under 20 Sputnik 11 Dec 2020 -- China has almost 20 percent more men than women among young people under the age of 20, the latest data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday showed.
- Can China Become Self-reliant in Semiconductors? VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. added China's biggest computer chipmaker SMIC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies last week, a move that will further widen the gap between China's chip technology and the rest of the world.
- China not likely to resume pork trade with Germany over COVID-19 and swine fever concerns Global Times 11 Dec 2020 -- Germany, one of the biggest pork suppliers in Europe, is reportedly continuing talks with China in hopes to resume pork trade between the two countries, after its products were banned from entry to the Chinese market after the discovery of African swine fever (ASF), according to a report by Reuters.
- Court overrules CTiTV appeal; CTi News on cable TV to close down CNA 11 Dec 2020 -- Chung Tien Television (CTiTV) will have to close down its cable news channel from midnight Friday upon the expiration of its six-year broadcast license, following a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court to overrule an appeal by the company.
- Iran's Efforts at Intimidation Must Not Be Rewarded US Dept. of State 11 Dec 2020 -- "The United States condemns the law recently approved by Iran's Majles and Guardian Council, which is nothing more than the regime's latest ploy to use its nuclear program to try to intimidate the international community."
- Zarif warns: No one can talk about our beloved Azerbaijan IRNA 11 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message reacted to the recitation of a piece of poetry by the Turkish President Recep Teyyep Erdogan and said no one can talk about our beloved Azerbaijan.
- IAEA only authorized to monitor, verify Iran's nuclear work under JCPOA: Envoy Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is authorized to only monitor and verify Iran's voluntary measures in accordance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, says the Iranian permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, stressing that the agency has no right to assess the Iranian nuclear work.
- Khaf-Herat railway, east to west link with regional and international function IRNA 11 Dec 2020 -- The inauguration and operation of the Khaf-Herat Railway play a crucial role in advancing Iran's economic battle with the global arrogance as it significantly helps the country to consolidate its footsteps in the field of the regional economy.
- With Trade Dipping, Turkey Works to End Isolation VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Turkish exporters say they have become a casualty of what analysts describe as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's aggressive foreign policy. Turkey's relations with its Saudi partners suffer as a result of Ankara's push to exert its influence in the Mediterranean and in Africa. Exporters say they are being shut out of Middle Eastern markets — prompting Turkey to start changing its approach.
- US, EU sanctions on Turkey would damage both sides: Erdogan Press TV 11 Dec 2020 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the sanctions by the United States and the European Union (EU) against Turkey, saying they would harm both sides and would be to no one's benefit.
- Lebanon: UN-backed tribunal sentences Hezbollah militant in Hariri assassination UN News 11 Dec 2020 -- The UN chief on Friday took note of five concurrent life sentences handed down to a Hezbollah militant, convicted in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, fifteen years ago.
- Time Running Out on Britain-EU Trade, Security Deal VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- European Union leaders say the most likely outcome after months of fractious haggling with London is that Britain will leave the bloc at the end of the year without a trade and security deal — an upshot that will have serious economic repercussions on both sides of the English Channel and could poison relations between the EU and the British for years to come.
- Protesters Block Yerevan Streets As Pressure Builds On Armenia's Prime Minister To Step Down RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- Opposition activists have blocked several streets in Yerevan as pressure continues to build on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian amid opposition calls for him to step down over last month's cease-fire deal with Azerbaijan.
- Kyrgyzstan 'Ready To Closely Work' With U.S. After 'Meddling' Accusation RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry appears to be trying to calm simmering tensions with the United States after a senior official criticized the top U.S. diplomat in Bishkek for his statements on the Central Asian nation's problems with corruption.
- Lawmakers From Georgia's Ruling Party Begin New Parliament Without Opposition RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- Lawmakers of Georgia's ruling Georgian Dream party have started the new parliamentary session amid a boycott by opposition members who insist that October 31 parliamentary elections were rigged.
- 25 Years Later, Turkmenistan Reaps Zero Benefits From 'Positive Neutrality' RFE/RL 11 Dec 2020 -- The 12th of December is a holiday in Turkmenistan known as Neutrality Day, with this year marking 25 years since the UN officially recognized the authoritarian Central Asian state as a neutral country.
- Villagers From Thai Deep South Protest China-Backed Special Economic Zone Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- People from villages in Thailand's insurgency-stricken Deep South are opposing government plans to build a multi-billion-dollar, China-backed industrial zone in their district, saying they fear the 6,600-acre project would harm the environment and disrupt their lives.
- Cameroon's Ruling Party Scores Landslide Victory in Regional Elections VOA 11 Dec 2020 -- Cameroon's ruling party scored a landslide victory in the country's first regional elections, winning nine of the country's 10 administrative regions. The victory has triggered fears the party will not relinquish some powers to regional governments – a promise made to end the ongoing separatist crisis in two western regions. Central government officials are promising to reduce their grip on power.
- Statement from the Press Secretary The White House 11 Dec 2020 -- "This week, the United States designated Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern for severe violations of religious freedom."
- Myanmar NGOs Urge Reform of Defamation Laws Used to Silence Critics Radio Free Asia 11 Dec 2020 -- Over 50 civil society organizations in Myanmar called this week for a reform of six defamation laws used by the government and army to silence dissident voices in the country, urging that complaints against critics be pursued as civil rather than criminal cases.
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