ZMI ALPHA:Anadolu Agency’s Morning Briefing – March 15, 2021

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ZMI ALPHA:Anadolu Agency’s Morning Briefing – March 15, 2021

ANKARA 

Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

Coronavirus and other developments in Turkey

Turkey’s president on Sunday expressed his gratitude for healthcare workers on the occasion of March 14, the nation’s Medicine Day.

Turkey reported 13,378 new coronavirus cases, including 852 symptomatic patients, according to the Health Ministry. The total number of cases in the country passed 2.87 million while the nationwide death toll reached 29,489 with 68 fatalities over the past day.

Turkey’s plan to vaccinate workers in the tourism industry is drawing praise from industry leaders.

Also, the country marked the grim 10th anniversary of the Syrian civil war, a conflict that has cost the lives of half a million people and caused the displacement of half of Syria’s population.

For the past 10 years, a major Turkish aid agency has been helping Syrians who have been displaced in their country or forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Border authorities arrested four foreign nationals in southeastern Turkey near the border with Syria on Sunday, security sources said.

Turkish security forces destroyed five terrorist shelters in an operation in eastern Turkey, officials said Sunday.

The Mergabutan Plateau of Turkey has been transformed into a ski resort that has become a favorite of both local and foreign tourists, Turkey’s industry and technology minister said Sunday.

Turkey condemned the decision by the Balkan state of Kosovo to open an embassy to Israel in the flashpoint city of Jerusalem.

The country also voiced “concern” over the Czech Republic’s move to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.

COVID-19 updates worldwide

Following similar moves by other EU countries last week, Ireland suspended the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears of serious blood clots.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca issued a statement reiterating the safety of its COVID-19 vaccine based on scientific evidence amid concerns over reports of people developing blood clots after receiving it.

Fears of a new COVID-19 wave are gaining ground in Bangladesh as infections surged to a nearly three-month high Sunday.

Nurses in northwestern Turkey fighting the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines said they want everyone to follow precautions to reduce the burden on health care professionals.

The coronavirus pandemic has been maintaining its grip on Latin America, with regional countries reporting more deaths and infections.

France registered 26,343 new novel coronavirus cases, bringing its tally to over 4.07 million, health authorities said.

Italy has said it aims to vaccinate at least 80% of its population by the end of September following criticism of the slow pace of its national vaccination campaign and amid a new resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

More than 2.5 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance due to natural disasters, conflict and the coronavirus pandemic, a top official said.

Palestinian health authorities confirmed 15 fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday along with 2,142 infections over the past 24 hours.

Also, the Palestinian government has ordered a five-day lockdown in the occupied West Bank as of Monday amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Other global developments

Ballistic missiles fired from Syrian regime-controlled Kuweires airport in Aleppo have targeted civilian settlements and parking lots for fuel tankers in northern Jarablus and al-Bab districts, with civilian casualties reported, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said early Monday.​​​​​​​

As the Syrian civil war, which cost hundreds of thousands of civilians their lives, hits the 10-year mark, some 300,000 of the hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced in Idlib, northwestern Syria due to the attacks of the Assad regime and its supporters returned to their homes a year after a landmark deal between Turkey and Russia.

Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, is facing possible prosecution for crimes against humanity by inciting and encouraging acts of terrorism against the people of Syria.

Two political parties mainly formed by Turks and migrants are seeking to run in general elections this month in the Netherlands to boost their role in politics amid rising Islamophobia and discrimination in the country.

Hailing “valuable and trusted friend” Turkey for its willingness to host peace talks, Afghanistan on Sunday said the meeting could prove to be a vital step forward in the quest for stability in the war-weary country.

A fire broke out on Sunday at a private school in central Sweden where Muslim children are educated, said media reports.

In a controversial move, Kosovo announced it had opened an embassy to Israel in the flashpoint city of Jerusalem. Kosovar authorities could not attend the official opening due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

At least 34 people were gunned down by security forces during anti-military protests in Myanmar on Sunday. Most of them – 31 – were killed in Hlaing Thar Yar, the most populated township of the commercial capital Yangon.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh said he is optimistic about his country’s future relations with neighboring Egypt.

Turkey’s state-run aid agency has established a printing house for Chad’s Education Ministry to print its own schoolbooks.

Egypt and France conducted a joint naval exercise in the Red Sea, Egyptian military spokesman Tamer al-Refai said.

The 5+5 Joint Military Committee in Libya announced that three tons of explosive remnants of war had been destroyed in part of the country.

As part of military cooperation between Greece and Saudi Arabia, six Royal Saudi Air Force F-15s arrived on the Greek island of Crete this weekend, said a Hellenic National Defense General Staff statement Sunday.

A second round of voting for legislative elections has been held under heightened security in the Central African Republic.

Four airstrikes have targeted the southern Libyan city of Ubari early Sunday, according to a local official.

In a hint of possible trouble in national polls this September, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suffered major losses in Sunday regional elections in two southwestern German states.



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