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AssessmentsJan 7, 2021 | 23:00 GMT
A pharmacist receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Miramar, Florida, on Dec. 14, 2020.
The Road to Global COVID-19 Vaccination Will Be Rife With Risks and Setbacks
The United States and Europe will overcome the slow and problematic rollout of COVID vaccination campaigns in the coming months, but concerns about new strains of the virus will likely push governments to adjust protocols in order to speed up distribution. Changing the timing of doses, skipping a dose or combining vaccines are all high-risk endeavors in that they would disrupt data collection and analysis of vaccine efficacy in ongoing studies. But such vaccine protocol changes may nonetheless be deemed necessary to increase vaccination rates as policymakers scramble to quickly secure herd immunity and bring an end to the pandemic. Vaccination rates, however, will still likely hit a roadblock once skeptics from broader swaths of the population begin to defer immunization in successive vaccination waves. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 6, 2021 | 21:37 GMT
North Korea: Kim Highlights Economic Failures in Party Congress Opening Speech
In his opening speech at the eighth congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un admitted that his five-year economic plan had fallen far short of its goals, and noted the need to address the country’s many “external and internal challenges,” Reuters reported Jan. 6, citing the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
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AssessmentsJan 6, 2021 | 19:01 GMT
Peruvians wearing masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 wait outside a bank to collect government aid bonuses in Iquitos, Peru, on June 15, 2020.
Peru's Economy Gets a Wake-Up Call. Will Its Leaders Listen?
Peru is a rare emerging market country that has time to address long-term issues without putting immediate growth at risk -- but only if it takes advantage of that grace period to act. Peru’s primary economic headwinds include reduced growth momentum, with concerns about the country’s long-term financial prospects and political stalemates delaying crucial economic reforms. Such headwinds could hamper fiscal deficit reduction if Peru cannot legislate tax increases or resist spending pressure. In addition, global GDP growth will determine the demand for commodities and metals prices.
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SnapshotsJan 5, 2021 | 19:34 GMT
A sign advises people to follow COVID-19 restrictions on Jan. 5, 2021, in Falmouth, the United Kingdom. In a televised address on Jan. 4, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the country was entering its third lockdown since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
The Next Wave of COVID-19 Lockdowns Emerges in Europe
The United Kingdom’s decision to tighten its COVID-19 lockdown measures and introduce a new relief package for businesses is a preview of similar decisions that governments in continental Europe will introduce in the coming days. The lockdown measures will result in low, or even negative, economic growth in Europe in the first quarter of 2021, which will worsen governments’ fiscal deficit and sovereign debt levels. On Jan. 4, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced stricter social distancing measures for England and Scotland, respectively, to cope with the rising number of COVID-19 infections. Then, on Jan. 5, the U.K. government announced a 4.6 billion pound ($6.2 billion) aid package for companies hardest hit by the tighter lockdown measures across the country. 
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AssessmentsDec 30, 2020 | 21:25 GMT
A poster showing six Russian intelligence officers charged with carrying out global cyberattacks is displayed before a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on Oct. 19, 2020, in Washington D.C.
SolarWinds Will Spur Biden Into Action on State-Backed Cyber Threats
The recent SolarWinds hack will prompt U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to increase Washington’s cyber resources and, potentially, its offensive capabilities in order to better deter against future cyberattacks by Russia, as well as other state actors. This intensified focus on state-backed cyber threats will likely include more U.S. investments into cyber defense over the next four years. The Biden White House will also continue to deploy sanctions against assailant countries, though such sanctions will likely be narrow in scope for fear of stoking aggressive retaliatory measures against U.S. entities and causing significant economic damage to countries like Russia and China that are essential to the global economy. 
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SITUATION REPORTDec 29, 2020 | 19:27 GMT
Russia: Poisoned Opposition Leader Receives Ultimatum to Return From Germany
The Russian government has opened a probe against opposition leader Alexei Navalny following his failure to respond to a demand by Russia’s prison service to return from Germany, where he has been recovering after being poisoned in a suspected assassination attempt by Russian security services, Agence France-Presse reported Dec. 29. 
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On SecurityDec 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
FBI and first responders work on the scene after an explosion in Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 25, 2020. According to initial reports, a vehicle exploded downtown in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
The Nashville Bombing and the Risk of Copycat Attacks
Investigations into the Dec. 25 bombing near an AT&T facility in Nashville are exploring the suspect’s potential links to conspiracy theories surrounding 5G wireless technology. Regardless of the assailant’s actual motive, the widespread disruption caused to telecommunications networks in Tennessee and nearby states, as well as growing online speculation of the attack’s connection to 5G conspiracies, will likely contribute to an uptick in threats against other communications infrastructure. Organizations operating in the telecommunications industry are potential targets and should thus prepare for an increase in threat activity. 
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