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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 20 May 2020

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FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

China Calls Australian Claim Of World Health Organization Vindication 'A Joke'

The war of words between China and Australia continues as the World Health Assembly adopts a draft resolution into the review of the origins of COVID-19.

While the Australian government has claimed the resolution as vindication for its call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of COVID-19, Beijing has hit back saying that the claim was ‘a joke’.

Relations between the two countries has continued to deteriorate, with China suspending beef imports from Australia, in what it claims is unrelated to recent comments by Chinese officials alluding to a boycott of Australian beef, wine and universities.

Numerous countries, including the US, supported Australia’s call for the inquiry. (See Point 6 Below)

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The Daily Quick-Look for 20 May 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours and why they matter. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

*BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

1. US/CANADA – Security (Health): US/Canada Border Closure Extended to 21 June

BLUF: Canada and the United States have agreed to extend a ban on non-essential travel between the two nations by another 30 days as part of the fight against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. Trudeau said the border is a source of vulnerability, so the agreement will be extended by another 30 days. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April. (Al Jazeera. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: While countries, particularly in Europe, are seeking ways to create ‘travel bubbles’ with neighbouring countries to reignite economies, the US and Canada continue their cautious approach. The two north American countries share the largest land border in the world. While Canada sends 75% of its exports to the US, the US in comparison sends 18% of exports to Canada.

2. UK – Security (Health): UK COVID-19 Death Toll Highest In Europe, Second Behind US

BLUF: The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll has reached nearly 43,000, underlining the country’s status as the worst-hit in Europe and raising more questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the crisis. New figures for England and Wales brought the death toll to at least 42,990, a Reuters tally showed, including earlier data from Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well recent hospital deaths in England. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The death toll is now the highest in Europe, overtaking Italy, and second highest globally behind the US. Boris Johnson had himself been placed into intensive care after contracting COVID-19. While Johnson has stated that the government is following scientific advice, political opposition has claimed that he was slow to introduce testing and provide PPE to health workers.

3. NIGERIA – Security: Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Foiled Terror Attack In Yobe State

BLUF: An unconfirmed number of Boko Haram fighters have been killed in an airstrike by the Air Task Force of the Operation Lafiya Dole on the outskirts of Dapchi town in Yobe State. Two of the gun trucks used by the terrorists were also destroyed. The Operation according to a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, followed credible intelligence that the terrorists riding in five vehicles, had launched attack on the town. (The Nation. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Despite the global pandemic situation, Nigeria has been successful in pressing Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group in the northeast border region of the country. Boko Haram has been responsible for numerous attacks in the country, as well as neighbouring countries. Persistent military operations have seen the militant group be placed on the back foot, as African nations have struggled to contain the threat of Islamic militants.

4. SWITZERLAND – Political: WHO Chief Says He Will Keep Leading Virus Response After Trump Threat

BLUF: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) head said on Tuesday he would keep leading the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding and quit the body. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus defended the agency’s role after the United States again withheld full support for a resolution on the pandemic. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Trump has been a vocal critic of the WHO, particularly over what he has perceived as their downplaying of China’s handling of COVID-19 and the effects it has had around the world. China has used this opportunity to openly show its support for the WHO and to support other countries. However, China has condemned the US and other countries for their support of Taiwan’s re-admittance as an observer to the WHO.

5. CHINA – Security: EasyJet Hack: Chinese Hackers ‘Suspected To Be Responsible’ For Cyber Attack

BLUF: The easyJet hack, which saw nine million customers have their personal information compromised, could have been conducted by Chinese hackers, according to a report. The “highly sophisticated” attack appeared to be part of a series of attacks by suspected Chinese hackers, which target the bulk theft of travel records and other data. (The Independent. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The Chinese embassy did not respond to a request for comment regarding the issue. Suspicion of Chinese hackers involved in the attack had come from the tools and techniques that match a Chinese hacking group.

6. AUSTRALIA – Political: China Calls Australian Claim Of WHO Vindication ‘A Joke’

BLUF: The Chinese Embassy in Australia said it was "nothing but a joke" for Australia to claim that a World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution that calls for an inquiry into the coronavirus was a vindication of Canberra's push for a global review. "The draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly is totally different from Australia's proposal of an independent international review," a Chinese embassy spokesman said in an emailed statement. "To claim the WHA's resolution a vindication of Australia's call is nothing but a joke." (Channel News Asia/Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Diplomatic relations between China and Australia have significantly deteriorated, following Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of COVID-19, which sparked an immediate backlash by China. The war of words has seen Australia referred to as ‘gum on the shoe of China’ by Chinese state media, as well as threats of economic boycott that was followed by the suspension by China of Australian beef exports. China had officially commented that this was unrelated to Australia’s call for the inquiry, which had been backed by numerous countries; including the US.

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The reporting period for this Daily Quick-Look is the previous 24 hours (unless stated otherwise). This Daily Quick-Look is comprised of reports from agencies around the world, and are referenced where possible. Deciport LLC is in no way associated with any agency listed. This Daily Quick-Look is for information purposes only. This Daily Quick-Look is not intended for planning purposes. The comments that comprise the 'Why It Matters' do not represent the opinions, viewpoints or assessment of the agency from which the linked source report originated, and is intended to add context for the reader as part of a summary.

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