Situation Room (Long War)
You can follow in detail your progress so far, both politically and physically. Countries will have the appropriate color depending on their panic level. UFOs and current mission sites will also be visible on this screen. Furthermore, your current story objectives will be shown in the panel below the screen, where you can consult them at your leisure.
When EXALT comes into play, you will be able to launch covert operations just like in vanilla, though beware - if you wrongly accuse a country of harboring their HQ, the country will leave the Council with immediate effect and the aliens will build a base there. It will also add 50 research points to the aliens' total research, making it a very costly option to gain access to more alien bases and resources.
A little shield represents the country's ability to defend itself from the alien incursions. Fulfilling council requests from that country fills the shield and increases that country's ability to resist panic increases caused by alien activity and helps protect any satellites overhead from detection by alien scouts.