21 December 2020 Military News
- USS Port Royal Seizes Suspected Narcotics US Navy 21 Dec 2020 -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), deployed to U.S. Fifth Fleet and operating in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), interdicted a shipment of more than 1100 lbs. (521 kg) of suspected narcotics from a dhow in the international waters of the North Arabian Sea Dec. 18.
- Wisconsin National Guard assists with vaccine rollout Army News 21 Dec 2020 -- A small team of Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard supported the distribution of the state's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.
- WVNG helps process, deliver COVID-19 vaccine Army News 21 Dec 2020 -- The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) shifted its focus to receiving and delivering the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine across the Mountain State.
- New York National Guard begins COVID-19 vaccinations Army News 21 Dec 2020 -- Almost 1,000 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were vaccinated against COVID-19 Dec. 17-20 as part of a Department of Defense (DOD) pilot program at 16 locations worldwide.
Defense Policy / Programs
- US Guided-Missile Submarine Enters Persian Gulf Ahead of Soleimani's Death Anniversary Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Tension between the US and Iran has been high since the US assassinated top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, in Iraq on January 3, 2020.
- USS Georgia Transits Strait of Hormuz US Navy 21 Dec 2020 -- The nuclear-power Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) along with the guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) transited the Strait of Hormuz entering the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 21.
- Acting Secretary of Defense Miller Travels to Air Bases in the United Kingdom DoD 21 Dec 2020 -- Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller travelled to Royal Air Force bases Mildenhall and Lakenheath in the United Kingdom on Monday, December 21.
- DOD Awards $4.8 Million Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity to a Calibre Scientific Subsidiary, Anatrace, to Increase Domestic Production Capacity of COVID-19 Testing Reagents DoD 21 Dec 2020 -- On Dec. 20, 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract to Anatrace Products, LLC. to support increased testing demands for COVID-19.
- Pfizer, Moderna Produce COVID-19 Vaccine DoD News 21 Dec 2020 -- The COVID-19 vaccine distribution had a strong week last week, with 2.9-million doses initially coming from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna, Operation Warp Speed chief operating officer, said in a media briefing today.
- Saudi, U.S. Forces Conduct Joint Aviation Integration Exercise in Arabian Gulf US Navy 21 Dec 2020 -- The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) conducted a robust combined joint air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise in the Arabian Gulf Dec. 17-18.
- USS Winston S. Churchill Completes International AOMSW Exercise CENTCOM 21 Dec 2020 -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) participated in the bilateral joint and combined air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise with Royal Saudi Armed Forces in the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 17-18.
- Saudi, U.S. Forces Conduct Joint Aviation Integration Exercise in Arabian Gulf CENTCOM 21 Dec 2020 -- The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) conducted a robust combined joint air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise in the Arabian Gulf Dec. 17-18.
- Department of Defense Codifies National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual in Regulation DoD 21 Dec 2020 -- The Federal Register published the final rule titled "National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM)" (32 CFR part 117) today.
- Seizing and defending islands: U.S. Marines, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force strengthen integrated capabilities during exercise Forest Light USMC News 21 Dec 2020 -- With MV-22 Ospreys and CH-47 aircraft operating overhead, U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers manned machine guns, managed interlinked sensor screens, and provided targeting information for long-range fires assets in preparation to defend against an amphibious assault and enable a fast-hitting counterattack into enemy-held territory.
- Commerce Department Will Publish the First Military End User List Naming More Than 100 Chinese and Russian Companies US Dept. of Commerce 21 Dec 2020 -- The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding a new 'Military End User' (MEU) List, as well as the first tranche of 103 entities, which includes 58 Chinese and 45 Russian companies. The U.S. Government has determined that these companies are 'military end users' for purposes of the 'military end user' control in the EAR that applies to specified items for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to the China, Russia, and Venezuela when such items are destined for a prohibited 'military end user.'
- Expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board President of Russia 21 Dec 2020 -- Vladimir Putin visited the National Defence Control Centre where he took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board.
- Putin signs decree to transform Northern Fleet into military district TASS 21 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree equaling the Northern Fleet to a military district from 2021, according to the document posted on the government's legal information web portal on Monday.
- President Vladimir Putin Calls for Urgent Response to Western Missiles Deployment at Russian Borders Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Russia has repeatedly detected the presence of NATO warships, including vessels with cruise missiles, in close proximity to Russia's territorial waters which has soured the already tense relations between Moscow and the bloc.
- Shandong aircraft carrier group enters S.China Sea for exercises via Taiwan Straits: PLA Navy Global Times 21 Dec 2020 -- The Shandong aircraft carrier group on Sunday sailed through the Taiwan Straits and entered the South China Sea for exercises, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy confirmed on Monday.
- Chinese aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Straits People's Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Straits on Sunday to conduct training in relevant waters of the South China Sea, according to a spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
- Aircraft carrier Shandong sails through Taiwan Strait for training in South China Sea PLA Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- The Chinese PLA Navy's aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait and headed to the South China Sea for trans-regional maneuver training on December 20, according to Senior Captain Liu Wensheng, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Navy.
- Xi signs order to publish regulations on military professional education PLA Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), has signed an order releasing trial regulations on military professional education for armed forces.
- Japan's cabinet endorses record military budget Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- Japan's cabinet has ratified a record-high budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in April, including another military spending hike to counter China and a stimulus for its pandemic-hit economy.
- Japan Increases its Defence Budget to Record $52 Billion for Stealth Jets and Long-Range Missiles Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Over the past years, Japan has been successfully strengthening its military forces amid China's growing military power. At the moment, Japan is among the world's top ten countries in terms of military spending, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has continued that policy even if it requires more funding.
- Turkey launches naval exercises in eastern Mediterranean amidst tensions Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- Turkey has staged naval drills in the eastern Mediterranean amidst tensions with the European Union over the announcement of sanctions against Ankara earlier this month.
- Wales to play part in delivering new British Army vehicle UK MOD 21 Dec 2020 -- A Cardiff-based business has been awarded a £20m contract to provide components for a new armoured fighting vehicle.
- Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 21 Dec 2020
- Philippines Again Leans Toward US After Soft-Pedaling on South China Sea Issue Radio Free Asia 21 Dec 2020 -- The Philippines in 2020 signaled a stronger stance against Beijing on the South China Sea as it drifted slowly back to the ambit of long-time ally the United States and as other Southeast Asian nations pushed back on China's expansive claims to the disputed waterway, analysts said.
- Iran 'strongly refutes' Pompeo's 'irresponsible' remarks on embassy attack Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- Iran has dismissed "irresponsible" remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding a recent rocket attack against the US embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, saying the accusations are meant to stoke tensions and that Washington's military presence is the "source of instability" in the region.
- Iran Strongly Denies Alleged Involvement in Most Recent Baghdad Green Zone Attack Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Iran refutes the accusations made by the US alleging the involvement of Iran-backed groups in the Sunday rocket attack on the Green Zone in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
- US Blames Iran-Backed Militias for Baghdad Rocket Attack VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- The United States has blamed Iran-backed militias for a rocket attack Sunday on the heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital.
- Pompeo Says 'Iran-Backed' Forces Behind Most Recent Baghdad Green Zone Attack Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused "Iran-backed militias" of carrying out the Sunday rocket attack on the Green Zone in Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
- Return to 'path of meaningful negotiations', UN envoy urges Israelis, Palestinians UN News 21 Dec 2020 -- Addressing the UN Security Council on Monday, the UN envoy for the Middle East Peace Process urged Israelis, Palestinians, regional States and the broader international community to "take practical steps to enable the parties to re-engage" in the peace process.
- Malian refugees return to Burkina Faso camp nine months after violent attacks UN News 21 Dec 2020 -- Scores of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso have returned to a camp in the northeast of the country nine months after armed attacks and threats forced them to flee to a neighbouring town, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Monday.
- Rights Groups Sound Alarm Over Safety of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- Humanitarian organizations are sounding the alarm on the safety of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia's Tigray region as reports of attacks and forced deportations emerge.
- Pakistan Implicitly Warns of Destructive 'Final Battle' if Attacked by India VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- Pakistan on Monday cautioned rival India against any military aggression, saying it could spiral into a mutually destructive "final battle" between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors.
- Former Senior Libyan Intelligence Officer and Bomb-Maker for the Muamar Qaddafi Regime Charged for The December 21, 1988 Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 US Dept. of Justice 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, Attorney General William Barr, Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers, and Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, announced new charges against a former Libyan intelligence operative, Abu Agela Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi, aka, "Hasan Abu Ojalya Ibrahim" (Masud), for his role in building the bomb that killed 270 individuals in the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988.
- Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks at the Pan Am 103 Press Conference US Dept. of Justice 21 Dec 2020 -- Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
- US Charges New Suspect in 1988 Pan Am Bombing VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- Outgoing U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced criminal charges against a new suspect in the 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan Am airliner that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- Joint UN-INTERPOL operation disrupts firearms supply to terrorist networks in West Africa and Sahel UN News 21 Dec 2020 -- An international operation coordinated jointly by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the international police organization INTERPOL has disrupted trafficking networks that supply terrorist groups across West Africa and the Sahel, the UN agency reported on Monday.
- China dismisses Trump's cyberattack accusations as 'farce, politically-motivated' Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- China has dismissed as a "farce" and "politically-motivated" accusations by US President Donald Trump that Beijing has been involved in a massive cyberattack in the United States.
- Pre-Election Violence in CAR Sends Hundreds Fleeing to Cameroon VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- Cameroon says hundreds of Central African Republic (CAR) civilians have fled across the border in the past few days to escape election-related violence. Bangui is holding elections later this month and those fleeing into Cameroon say sporadic clashes are already breaking out.
- Russia, Rwanda deploy troops to CAR amid pre-election tensions Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- The Central African Republic (CAR) has declared that Russia and Rwanda have deployed hundreds of troops to the nation following an alleged military coup plot ahead of this week's key presidential and legislative elections.
- Rwanda Deploys Military Forces to CAR Amid Suspected Coup Plot, Defence Ministry Says Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Rwanda has deployed military forces to the Central African Republic (CAR) where the authorities accused former President Francois Bozize of planning to conduct a military coup on the eve of the country's general elections with the help of armed rebel groups.
- Central African Republic Says Russia Deploys Troops In Face Of Coup Threat RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- The Central African Republic says Russia and Rwanda have deployed hundreds of troops in the deeply unstable country amid an alleged coup bid ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections.
- Foreign Ministry statement regarding OPCW response to Russia's request for technical assistance to clarify the situation around Alexey Navalny Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 21 Dec 2020 -- On October 1, we sent a request to Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW and head of its Technical Secretariat, for technical assistance under Clause 38 (е) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
- Navalny Says He Duped Russian Agent Into Confessing Poison Plot RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny says he duped a Russian agent into revealing how the country's Federal Security Service (FSB) poisoned him with Novichok.
- Navalny's Underpants Smeared With Poison, Would-Be Assassin Reveals VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- A Russian agent involved in the cleanup of the near-fatal nerve-agent poisoning of Alexei Navalny in August has revealed in an inadvertent confession how the Russian activist's underpants were smeared with the toxin Novichok by an intelligence unit from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
- Russia says US starting 'hybrid war' with pipeline sanctions, denies role in cyberattacks Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- Moscow has denounced US sanctions targeting a pipeline project for the transfer of Russian gas to Western Europe as "a hybrid war."
- Kremlin Sees US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 as Start of Hybrid War Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- The Kremlin sees US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, expected to pump gas from Russia to Europe, as a sign of a hybrid war, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
- President Putin to Head Russia's New State Council Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- The powers and role of the State Council, the advisory body to the Russian head of state, have been increased following this summer's national vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution.
- Putin orders special services to better protect Russian security Global Times 21 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday demanded the country's intelligence agencies better safeguard national security.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 21, 2020 PRC MofA 21 Dec 2020
- Acting Secretary Wolf Addresses The Chinese Threat At Heritage Foundation DHS 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf delivered remarks at a virtual event hosted by the Heritage Foundation detailing the enduring threat from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and DHS's strategy to confront it.
- Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf Remarks As Prepared: Homeland Security And The China Challenge DHS 21 Dec 2020
- Additional Restrictions on the Issuance of Visas for People's Republic of China Officials Engaged in Human Rights Abuses US Dept. of State 21 Dec 2020 -- China's authoritarian rulers impose draconian restrictions on the Chinese people's freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and the right to peaceful assembly. The United States has been clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses like these are not welcome in our country.
- US Issues Visa Restrictions on Chinese Officials Suspected of Rights Abuses VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. State Department has issued additional visa restrictions on Chinese officials suspected of human rights abuses.
- China opposes US discriminatory provisions against Chinese companies Global Times 21 Dec 2020 -- China firmly opposes US' intention to sign the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act into law, which will contain clauses that clearly work against Chinese companies, in spite of the active efforts of the Chinese regulatory authorities and the US to carry out auditing and supervision cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday.
- UK picks new diplomatic fight with China over recruitment of local staff as Sinophopbia intensifies Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- The alleged recruitment of members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by UK diplomatic missions has triggered alarm in the British national security apparatus, exacerbating Sinophobia in the process.
- 'Forced labor' rumors abuse Xinjiang workers' rights: officials reject West's slandering at rare Beijing press conference Global Times 21 Dec 2020 -- At a rare press conference held in Beijing on Monday, Xinjiang regional government officials and ordinary citizens were bombarded with a flurry of tough questions from foreign media outlets over so-called "forced labor" and "re-education camps." They answered with facts, statistics and personal stories.
- Rules issued on security review of foreign investment People's Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- The newly released rules on China's security review of foreign investment will effectively restrain national security risks while actively promoting and protecting foreign investment, analysts said on Sunday.
- China issues white paper on energy People's Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- China on Monday released a white paper on the country's energy development.
- China Announces Plans to Allow International Access to Giant Radio Telescope VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- China has announced it will allow access by international scientists to its massive radio telescope — the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, in southwestern Guizhou province. It is now the largest and only instrument of its kind in the world following the recent collapse of a Puerto Rico-based observatory.
- China aircraft carrier group sails through Taiwan Strait for South China Sea drills Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese aircraft carrier group has sailed through the Taiwan Strait on its way to routine military drills in the South China Sea, a day after a US warship transited the waterway as part of provocative movements meant to boost its military presence near Chinese territorial waters.
- PLA chides US Navy for transits in Taiwan Straits People's Daily 21 Dec 2020 -- Frequent transits by warships from the United States Navy recently have seriously jeopardized peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and given encouragement to separatist groups in Taiwan, a spokesman for the Chinese military said.
- North Korea's Food Production Down Five Percent in 2020 Radio Free Asia 21 Dec 2020 -- North Korea's 2020 food harvest is projected to be five percent lower than last year, with bad weather hitting rice and corn output, adding to the risk of food shortages that are expected to worsen in the spring of 2021, a South Korean report said.
- Iran Nuclear Deal Parties Ready to Address Potential US Return VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- The remaining signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal Monday expressed "their readiness to positively address" the potential return of the United States to the agreement.
- P4+1 foreign ministers issue joint statement on JCPOA IRNA 21 Dec 2020 -- Foreign ministers of China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as members of the joint JCPOA commission, issued a statement at the end of their meeting on December 21.
- Iran, P4+1 highlight UNSCR 2231 implementation IRNA 21 Dec 2020 -- Foreign ministers of Iran and P4+1 (the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) in a statement on Monday stressed the fact that the UNSCR 2231, remains a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy that contributes to regional and international security.
- FMs of Iran, P4+1 stress the need to preserve JCPOA ISNA 21 Dec 2020 -- Foreign ministers of Iran and the P4+1 (UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) in a joint statement on Monday stressed the necessity of full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all parties.
- Iran nuclear chief: Tehran accepts no condition for US return to nuclear deal Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the Islamic Republic will accept no condition for the return of the United States to the nuclear deal that Tehran clinched with world powers in 2015 and from which Washington unilaterally withdrew in 2018.
- China, Russia foreign ministers: US should rejoin Iran nuclear deal unconditionally Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- The foreign ministers of China and Russia say the United States should return to a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers "unconditionally" at an early date and lift sanctions against Iran as well as third-party entities and individuals.
- All JCPOA parties must preserve deal, fully implement commitments: Joint statement Press TV 21 Dec 2020 -- The remaining member states to a groundbreaking nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have reiterated their commitment to preserving the agreement and stressed their respective efforts in this regard.
- UK's Raab Warns Iran's Expansion of Nuclear Program Will Undermine JCPOA Progress in 2021 Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday cautioned Iran against moving forward with the expansion of its nuclear program as it would undermine possible progress on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) next year.
- Tehran Says IAEA Briefed About Ongoing Construction at Fordow Nuclear Facility Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Tehran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the construction at the Fordow nuclear facility, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.
- Iran's Atomic Agency Head Points to Flaws in Financial Aspects of Law on Nuke Programme Activation Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- The Iranian legislative authorities have not thought through the financing of the recently-passed bill on the activation of the country's nuclear programme, Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said on Monday.
- Additions of Cuban Military-Owned Companies to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List US Dept. of State 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added three Cuban military-owned companies to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List).
- Treasury Identifies Cuban State-Owned Businesses for Sanctions Evasion US Treasury 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified three entities controlled by the Cuban military with strategic roles in the Cuban economy. Two of the entities, Financiera Cimex S.A. and Kave Coffee, S.A., are subsidiaries of the third entity, the large Cuban government enterprise Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A., and use their Panamanian incorporation to subvert international trade restrictions.
- Another Pashtun Rights Activist Arrested In Pakistan RFE/RL Gandhara 21 Dec 2020 -- Pakistani police have arrested another member of a civil rights movement campaigning for the country's ethnic Pashtun minority amid an apparent crackdown on the group.
- US Considers Legal Immunity for Saudi Crown Prince Accused in Assassination Plot, Report Claims Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- The US government is considering granting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman legal immunity from a lawsuit that has named him in an assassination plot, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
- Former Kurdish MP Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- A Turkish court in the southeastern Kurdish city of Diyarbakir sentenced a former member of parliament Monday to more than 22 years in prison on terror-related charges.
- Turkey Poised for Reset in Relations With Israel VOA 21 Dec 2020 -- Relations between Israel and Turkey could be on the verge of a breakthrough, with a Turkish presidential adviser confirming bilateral talks and that full diplomatic relations could be restored by March. Relations between the once close allies all but collapsed with Turkey withdrawing its ambassador in 2017, amid escalating tensions.
- France Gives UK 'Few More Days' to Discuss Brexit Agreement as Johnson Says Gov't Ready for No-Deal Sputnik 21 Dec 2020 -- Earlier in the day, the Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, rejected the idea of calling for an extension to the Brexit transition period because of the coronavirus crisis and urged the Prime Minister to prove he can "get Brexit done" with his promised "oven-ready deal".
- Pashinian Cuts Short Visit To Armenian Border Region Amid Protests RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- Anti-government protesters have forced Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to cut short a visit to the southeastern province of Syunik, amid mounting anger over last month's cease-fire deal with Azerbaijan.
- Analysis: Scandals Increase Tensions Ahead Of Controversial Elections In Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are holding elections on January 10, the results of which will inevitably be unpopular with segments of the two countries' populations before and after election day.
- Wife Of Jailed Azerbaijani Banker Loses Final Appeal Against Britain's 'Unexplained Wealth Order' RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- The wife of the jailed former boss of Azerbaijan's biggest bank, who spent more than $21 million over a decade in London's Harrods department store, has lost her final appeal against a court order to reveal the source of her money.
- Ethnic Parties Dominate First Vote In Bosnia's Mostar In 12 Years RFE/RL 21 Dec 2020 -- Dominant nationalist Bosniak and Croat parties emerged with the most votes in the first local elections in 12 years in Bosnia-Herzegovina's ethnically divided city of Mostar, according to preliminary results from the December 20 vote.
- The United States Sanctions a Nicaraguan Police Chief, a Member of the Nicaraguan Judiciary, and Another Member of Ortega's Inner Circle US Dept. of State 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on Marvin Ramiro Aguilar Garcia, Walmaro Antonio Gutierrez Mercado, and Fidel de Jesus Dominguez Alvarez, pursuant to Executive Order 13851, "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua." These three individuals enable and benefit from the Ortega administration's corruption and abuse of the Nicaraguan people.
- Treasury Sanctions Three Nicaraguan Officials Supporting Ortega Regime US Treasury 21 Dec 2020 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Vice President of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court of Justice, Marvin Ramiro Aguilar Garcia; a Deputy of the National Assembly, Walmaro Antonio Gutierrez Mercado; and a Chief of the Nicaraguan National Police in Leon, Fidel De Jesus Dominguez Alvarez, in an effort to target government officials that continue to assist the Ortega regime's effort to undermine Nicaragua's democracy.
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