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The Daily Brief: The Taliban Seize Control of Kabul in Swift, Shocking Victory

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Afghan President Flees as Taliban Gain Control of Kabul and U.S. Embassy Evacuates  

Summary:

  • President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country to either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan as the Taliban advanced and gained control of Kabul, seizing the presidential palace in a shocking and swift victory over the nation as U.S. troop withdrawal comes to completion.
  • The rapid return of the Taliban has ushered chaos and turmoil in the country, with thousands of foreigners, Afghan officials, and locals who worked with U.S. troops seeking to flee the country.
  • A top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan has left the embassy, and the American flag has been taken down as the embassy has fully evacuated.
  • As thousands of Afghans seek to flee Afghanistan, the Biden administration is prioritizing the evacuation of American personnel from the country, limiting flights to the United States by Afghans who worked alongside the U.S. 
  • President Biden has been heavily criticized for the swift removal of American troops, with officials in his administration admitting they overestimated the power of Afghan troops – Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated the fall of the country happened quicker than anticipated.
  • Hundreds of Afghans in the U.S. protested Taliban take over of the country outside the White House in Washington DC.
  • Human rights activists are expressing concerns over security of rights for Afghan women and girls, with new changes already unfolding, despite Taliban claims of granting women Islamic rights.
  • Many Afghans sought to withdraw their life savings in an attempt to flee the potentially brutal rule by the insurgents – those in deep poverty who had fled the countryside assuming safety of the capital remained in parks and streets.
  • Commercial flights were suspended after spontaneous gunfire at the Kabul airport – the U.S. embassy warned Americans to shelter in place and not come to the airport.
  • The U.S. had engaged in negotiations with the Taliban under the presidency of Donald Trump that limited direct military action against them and provided a way for them to gain strength.

Sources

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/15/taliban-continues-advances-captures-key-city-of-jalalaba

https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/afghanistan-taliban-us-troops-intl-08-15-21/index.ht

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-asia-58219963

https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-taliban-kabul-bagram-e1ed33fe0c665ee67ba132c51b8e32a

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-putting-her-life-at-risk-ilhan-omar-slams-aipac-over-aggressive-campaign-ads-1.10111511

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Other Headlines:

Death Toll in Haiti Rises to 1,300 People After 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits

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  • A state of emergency by the Haitian government was declared after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated the country, and led to a climbing death toll of 1,300 people and 5,700 injured.
  • The earthquake destroyed and damaged approximately 27,000 homes and has overwhelmed hospitals, while also blocking roads to deliver essential supplies.
  • Although less damaging than the earthquake of 2010, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said medical aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene were among the urgent needs for victims.
  • The quake has also added to the burden of the country’s problems as it reels back from the 2010 earthquake, faces political turmoil involving the president’s assassination, COVID, and food insecurity.
  • The Haitian Prime Minister has urged Haitians to band together in solidarity in wake of the tragedy – the U.S. and other countries including Colombia and Chile are deploying resources and aid to assist victims.

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8/15/2021

Prime Minister Trudeau Calls Snap Election in Hopes of Winning Majority

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  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a snap election with voting set to occur on September 20th, two years before the original election date. The New Democratic leader, Jagmeet Singh, believes “It’s not the right time to have an election.” 
  • Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon and Trudeau met on Sunday, where he requested that Parliament be dissolved, which she approved.
  • Canada has an overall positive regard to the government’s handling of the pandemic, including vaccine distribution and job support programs. Trudeau is currently governing with the opposition party in the majority, but the government’s handling of Covid is expected to give Liberals a majority government in this election

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US and New South Wales Struggle with Rising Infections

  • The United States is approaching 200,000 daily Covid cases, with numbers increasing for the past week. The last time cases hit this number was January, and hospitals are struggling now as they did then.
  • The recent surge in infection has particularly hit younger populations, with hospitalization rates for people in their 30s increasing by 300% this past month. The US Food and Drug Administration approved vaccine booster shots for immunocompromised people, and the CDC unanimously recommended the additional dose.
  • New South Wales is currently facing “the worst situation Australia’s been in,” according to State Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Australian Defence Force soldiers have been deployed to enforce lockdown measures, such as keeping people within 5km of their home.

Tweets

Fuel Tanker Explosion in Lebanon Kills 28

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  • A fuel tank explosion in Northern Lebanon killed at least 28 people and injured 79 on Sunday. The explosion took place as the Lebanese army was distributing gasoline to residents after confiscating a hidden fuel storage tanker.
  • It is unclear whether gunfire or someone igniting a lighter was the cause of the explosion. Hospitals were already low on essentials before the explosion, and there is a chance they will have to shut down now.
  • Lebanon is currently facing a severe economic crisis, coupled with a fuel shortage. The situation worsened after the central bank ended subsidies for fuel products this week. 
  • The Lebanese army has also been deployed to force petrol station owners to sell their fuel, instead of trying to make price increases with the end of subsidies.

Tweets

Flash Floods in Turkey Kill Dozens

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  • Turkey is facing flash floods along the coast of the Black Sea that have already killed 62 people. Rescue teams have been sent out to search for missing people in areas where there is a lot of infrastructure damage.
  • Ships have been sent to help evacuations, and Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu stated that the government had “delivered 20 tonnes of food yesterday and today by helicopter alone.”
  • Wildfires have been devastating Turkey’s southern coastal regions. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, and electricity is out in dozens of villages.

Tweets

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

Credit Suisse Found Guilty for Involvement in Money Laundering Scheme

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800px Credit Suisse Zurich
  • Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court found Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, guilty for its involvement in a money laundering scheme involving a Bulgarian drug trafficking gang.
  • The bank is being fined 21 million Swiss francs ($22 million) due to its poor monitoring and implementation of anti-money laundering rules. More than 12 million francs worth of assets are also being confiscated due to their connection with the criminal group.
  • Credit Suisse has denied any wrongdoings and stated that it has been “continuously testing its anti-money laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time, in accordance with evolving regulatory standards.”
  • This case originated from actions taken by a former employee in 2007 and 2008, and two other Bulgarian citizens’ actions in 2005 and 2009. Some of their sentences and fines were suspended due to the amount of time passed since the crimes took place.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Chlorine Gas Leak in Jordan Port City Kills Thirteen People

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Port Of Aqaba City
  • A gas leak in Aqaba, Jordan killed at least thirteen people and injured more than 250. A storage container carrying between 25 and 30 tonnes of chlorine gas fell as it was being exported to Djibouti, releasing the gas.
  • A video of the incident on state TV shows the container being dropped onto the deck of the ship and a yellow colored gas spreading through the air as people try to evacuate. The accident seems to be a result of the crane malfunctioning.
  • If chlorine is inhaled at high levels, it can cause life-threatening damage. A nearby beach in Aqaba was evacuated as a safety precaution, and residents who live in the nearest residential area, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, were advised to stay inside and close windows.
  • Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh traveled to Aqaba and visited some of the injured at the hospital. He also formed a team led by the interior minister to investigate the incident.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russian Missile Sets Ukraine Shopping Center on Fire

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781px Nevsky Centre Shopping Mall in Russia
  • A busy shopping center in Ukraine was set on fire by Russian missiles on Monday, killing at least thirteen people and injuring dozens. The total number of casualties is still unknown.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that “The number of victims is impossible to imagine” and that there could have been up to 1,000 people in the mall.
  • The attack came during the G7 summit, where world leaders condemned recent atrocities and promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in a joint statement. President Zelensky spoke to the leaders at the summit and stated that he wants the war to end before winter.
  • NATO has decided to increase the number of troops in its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000, more than eightfold. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated this move is part of the “biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”
  • The United States has announced that it will provide Ukraine with advanced medium and long-range air defense capabilities.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

World Watches as the United States Supreme Court Abolishes a Woman’s Right to an Abortion

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  • The United States’ top justices voted to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion, a law that had been in place for over 50 years.
  • The closely watched decision was heralded by some and derided by others, depending on their position on the controversial concept of a woman’s right to choose for her own body.
  • With the abolition of the constitutional right, it is expected that many states in the U.S. will implement near total bans of abortion rights, while other states such as California, Oregon and Washington have reaffirmed their commitment to preserve the right to an abortion.
  • Planned Parenthood, the advocacy face for abortion rights, is mobilizing around the country to bolster and increase services in those states that will preserve the right, and engage voters in those states that plan to abolish the right.

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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

The EU Approves Ukraine for Candidacy

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Munster Stadtweinhaus Beflaggung Ukraine und EU 2022 0219 scaled
  • The EU has finally approved the application of Ukraine to become a candidate country for admission to the 27- country organization. Ukraine will now join the official candidate list, which already includes Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. 
  • The US is expected to provide an additional $450m in security assistance to Ukraine. Which includes four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. 
  • The EU and Norway have agreed to cooperate and provide the EU’s 27 countries with gas from Western Europe’s biggest provider. The EU imports roughly ⅕ of its gas from Norway compared to the 40% it was receiving from Russia. Currently, Russia has been cutting gas supplies to countries refusing to pay for it in roubles. 
  • Melbourne is considering utilizing its largely vacant $200m Center for National Resilience building to house hundreds of refugees fleeing war-torn Ukraine and Afghanistan. The center will only be able to temporarily house about 500 refugees from Afghanistan and about 200 from Ukraine. 
  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after receiving and welcoming the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States. 
  • Nike joined other leading Western brands by formally making a full exit from Russia, three months after suspending its operations. Telecoms equipment maker Cisco is also planning to wind down business in Russia and Belarus as well.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

US Supreme Court Expands Gun Carrying Rights Causing National Outrage 

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Open Carry of a 9mm Browning Hi Power in Eagle Colorado scaled
  • The US Supreme Court expanded gun carrying rights after a New York law denied the plaintiffs Robert Nash and Brandon Koch from carrying a concealed weapon in public, despite them having licenses for recreational gun ownership. 
  • The US court ruled that the New York law requiring residents to prove “proper cause” to carry a concealed weapon is unconstitutional. Justice Clarence Thomas, who represented the 6 justices who ruled in favor of the decision, stated that Americans have the right to carry “commonly used” firearms in public for personal defense. 
  • This decision comes amid an intense national debate over gun violence, and could possibly challenge the  outcome of similar regulations in other states, such as California and New Jersey, and affect a quarter of Americans by allowing more people to carry guns legally. 
  • Three liberal justices, Elena Kahan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer, were against the majority decision, and Justice Breyer noted that “since the start of this year alone (2022), there have already been 277 reported mass shootings – an average of more than one per day.”
  • While the National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the judgment, President Biden stated that he was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s decision and that the ruling “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should trouble us all.” 
  • New York Mayor Eric Adams also agreed with Biden and stated that he would review other ways to restrict gun access by restricting the application process for buying guns and looking into bans of firearms at specific locations. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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