the Context


The conservative People's Party (PP) and the left-wing Podemos party, which together hold 192 seats in Spain’s 350-seat parliament following December's election, confirm they will vote against Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez’s candidacy to form a new government.

United Nations Security Council

The United Nations Security Council adopts the toughest sanctions on North Korea in twenty years due to continued efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council formally designates Lebanon's Hezbollah militia a terrorist organization. The GCC member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The move deepens tensions between Saudi Arabia and its chief regional rival.

European migrant crisis

The European Union launches a new aid program worth an initial 700 million euros (US$760 million) to address the growing refugee crisis in Greece. EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides says the so-called Emergency Assistance Instrument will be used to help migrants trapped in Greece and, if needed, in other countries on the migration route front lines. Approval by a majority of EU members is required. The next EU meeting is scheduled for Monday.

The $760 million plan would be the first emergency humanitarian program to alleviate suffering inside the 28-country bloc’s borders.

South China Sea disputes

Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says Chinese coast guard ships that were sighted two weeks ago near the disputed Jackson Atoll in the northeast Dangerous Ground are no longer there today. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said ships were dispatched to the area in late 2015 to salvage a fishing vessel that posed a risk to navigation. Chinese ships, “... persuaded fishing boats to leave the waters in an effort to ensure safety conditions for normal navigation," Hong said. In addition to China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei also lay claim to the Spratly Islands waters.

2016 Sumatra earthquake

The Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia (BMKG) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issue tsunami warnings, after an undersea 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes southwest of Sumatra, in the Indian Ocean.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Indonesia, killing an unconfirmed number of people. The country has issued a tsunami warning, the National Meteorological Agency reported.


Iraqi engineers warn that the Mosul Dam could collapse at anytime, resulting in a catastrophic flash flood that could kill up to one million people along the Tigris, with the major Iraqi cites of Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra and Baghdad all at risk. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad has urged American citizens to leave the area.

Iraqis who built dam say structure is increasingly precarious and describe government response as ‘ridiculous’


Mining company Samarco agrees to pay $4.4bn reais (£804m) in compensation to victims of the Bento Rodrigues dam disaster in Brazil.

The owners of a Brazilian mine that suffered a dam burst, setting off a deadly mudslide, have agreed to pay 4.4bn reais (£804m) in damages.

Libyan Crisis (2011–present)

The Tunisian Army kills five suspected ISIL militants near the town of Ben Gardane after they infiltrated across the border from neighboring Libya.

Tunisian security forces killed five Islamist militants after they infiltrated across the border from neighbouring Libya, authorities said on Wednesday.

War in Afghanistan (2015–present)

Nine people are killed in an attack on the Indian consulate In Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

In the fourth attack since 2007, heavily-armed terrorists, including suicide bombers, today struck the Indian Consulate in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, killing nine persons including an Afghan security personnel and causing damage to the chancery.

Spillover of the Syrian Civil War

Jordan says an overnight raid on an ISIL cell in the city of Irbid has left seven militants and one security officer dead, with five others injured. Those killed were planning to blow up civilian and military targets in the country, according to the General Intelligence Directorate (GID).

Jordan says a raid in the city of Irbid that left seven suspected jihadist militants dead foiled attacks being plotted by so-called Islamic State.

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Two Palestinian teenagers, from the nearby village of Qaryout, got into a Jewish settlement and stabbed an Israeli settler at his home in the Eli settlement near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. They were stopped and killed by the army. The injured settler was taken to a hospital.

Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian teens who had attacked an Israeli settler at his home in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the military said, as a wave of heightened violence entered its sixth month.


One Chinese national is killed and three others injured in a possible militant attack on a Chinese-invested company in Laos, the official Xinhua News Agency reports.

One Chinese national was killed and three wounded in a "militant" attack in Laos, state media said on Wednesday, in what was at least the second confirmed attack in the country involving Chinese workers this year.