EUROPE

According to the global CBRNE Defence Market Analysis and Forecast for 2020, the military segment is projected to grow at a fast pace e.g. the United Kingdom plans to equip their fleet with 10 nuclear and radiological detection vehicles. The Netherlands also plans to increase the operational lifespan of their 12 armoured vehicles for CBRNE reconnaissance. According to the latest weekly tally of a WHO’s report, most new cases of coronavirus worldwide (46%) are still reported in Euope despite the decline in cases that followed "the strengthening of public health and social measures" in the region. Indeed, although the number of new cases decreased, the tally of deaths rose "substantially" in Europe over the last week to reach more than 29,000 deaths. The sharpest rise in coronavirus cases was recorded in Austria, with a 30% increase in new cases in a week. WHO also noted that the United Kingdom was the first country in the region to record more than 50,000 deaths.

Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of using white phosphorus during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh after several soldiers were admitted to the hospital in Yerevan with wounds that are typical of a chemical or phosphorus weapon. Furthermore, France calls for international supervision to implement a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, after a deal was signed earlier this month between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan without the participation of the Minsk Group.

THE AMERICAS

According to the global CBRNE Defence Market Analysis and Forecast for 2020, North America is projected to see the highest growth at present the region is generating the highest revenue, witnessing an increase in the number of developments related to CBRNE defence. A UK-funded programme began demining Falkland Islands in 2009, and on 14 November 2020, The Falklands was finally declared landmine free, almost 40 years after the conflict. The United States has successfully intercepted and destroyed a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its latest test of a sea-based missile defense system, on November 17. The United States recorded 1 million COVID-cases in a week on 19 November, the highest level ever reported.

Biopharmaceutical companiy Pfizer will ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 20 November to allow emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine. Making the company and its German partner, BioNTech, the first coronavirus vaccine developers to submit their shot for review by U.S. regulators. The FDA is expected to issue a decision within weeks. Moderna, another COVID-19 shot developer is also highly likely to seek FDA authorization.

Latin America accounts for 1 of every 3 COVID-19 related deaths, according to John Hopkins University’s tally.

Mexico has become the fourth country, behind The US, Brazil and India, to hit 100.000 COVID-19 deaths.

ASIA

Taiwan’s ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) is frequently intruded by the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA). According to the Minister of National Defense, Yen Teh-fa, a total of 276 PLA aircrafts have entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ since the beginning of the year. Taiwan’s Deputy Chief of Defense staff has also noted that there have been drone intrusions in Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ.

The Philippines is reportedly set to be the first buyer of India-Russia cruise missile. This move is suspected to unnerve Beijing, given the current border stand-off with New Delhi and other territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea.

The Thai cabinet has decided to extend the state of emergency until January 15. Meanwhile, India still holds the second-highest number of total cases worldwide, but its rate is decreasing. South Korea is seeing a slight rise in cases as the country is battling its 3rd wave. On 23 November, another daily rise of more than 200 new cases was reported, only a day after tightening social distancing rules. Whereas Japan reported 2159 new daily cases on 22 November, topping 2000 cases for a fifth day.

North Korea’s announcement of developing a COVID-19 vaccine has again focused attention on Pyongyang’s purported biological weapons program. Nevertheless, according to Stimson Center policy-paper, North Korea does not possess an advanced BW program as shown by official public records from US and South Korea.

On 8 November, an exploding landmine killed a North Korean officer and maimed another soldier, the latest of dozens of casualties caused by mines laid to deter citizens from illegally crossing the country’s border with China.

MIDDLE EAST

Saudi Arabia reserves the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons if Iran cannot be stopped from making one. Tehrain has been working on the use of nuclear power for decades. Additionally, several people wounded in a bomb-attack at a Remembrance Day ceremony attended by foreign diplomats in Saudi city of Jeddah, on 11 November. A Greek consulate employee and Saudi security officer were reported to have been hurt. On November 13, there was reportedly a “sea-launched missile” strike near the central prison in Idlib, Syria. The Israel Defense Forces uncovered and disarmed a number of explosive devices that had been planted inside Israeli-controlled territory in the southern Golan Heights, near the Syrian border, on 17 November. Four rockets struck inside a heavily fortified area in Baghdad housing foreign embassies including that of the United States, on 17 November, signalling an apparent end to a temporary halt in attacks by Iran-backed militias targeting Washington’s presence in the country. The Turkish government will impose weekend curfews, although partial, between 10 am and 8 pm. This comes as an effort to help curb the current surge in COVID-19 cases. However, health experts are advocating for a total lockdown, fearing that the situation will escalate and be worse than it was in the spring. WHO issues a warning of a deadly second-wave of of COVID across the Middle East. The concern was raised after many countries in the region have lowered their guard after complete-lockdowns imposed earlier in the year. Over 3,6 million people have been infected by the pandemic, the virus has killed over 76.000 people in nine-months. At least four policemen have been confirmed dead and 15 others, including 10 civilians, injured as a car bomb exploded next to a police base in Almar district of the northern Faryab province, on November 8, in Maimana, Afghanistan. On 9 November, a roadside mine blast wounded two civilians in Kabul. On November 13, a suicide car bomb blast at the western entry gate of Kabul killed three soldiers, wounding four others. The attack on the army checkpoint follows weeks of violence, including an attack by gunmen earlier this month, killing 22 people, mostly students of the Kabul University. The assault was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.

AFRICA

Covid-19 has had a great impact on landmine-clearing efforts in Western Sahara. Rockets from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region hit the capital of neighbouring Eritrea on Saturday, 14 November, the latest indication that Ethiopia’s internal conflict is spreading beyond its borders. The United States government announced an additional USD $3 million for humanitarian demining projects in Zimbabwe on 18 November. Nine trucks were petrol-bombed on N3 and R103, Gauteng, South-Africa, on 19 November. COVID cases in Africa surpassed 2 million, According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on 20 November. Southern Africa is the worst hit in the region with 22.300 deaths and 85.100 cases. North Africa recorded 66.300, East Africa 249.200, West Africa 200.00, whilst Central Africa refgistered 63.500 cases.

OCEANIA

News from Pfizer and BioNTech that they have had promising results from COVID-19 clinical trials of a vaccine is encouraging, which makes it possible that some doses will be available to New Zealand in the first part of 2021. Australia’s Victoria state, once hard-hit by the pandemic, has reported no COVID-19 cases in 3-weeks for the first time since February. As of 20 November, there are only two active cases remaining across the state.