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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Daily Brief

Salman Rushdie Severely Stabbed due to his Publication of the Book “The Satanic Verses”

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Salman Rushdie 2014
  • Salman Rushdie, an author, was severely stabbed in his neck and abdomen on stage by a suspect named Hadi Matar, causing him to be on a ventilator and potentially losing an eye.
  • An Iranian leader back in the 20th century wanted Rushdie killed because of his novel, Satanic Verses, that many Muslims found disrespectful. This led Salman to go into hiding for almost a decade.
  • Translators from different countries reading this book were harshly stabbed to death when the book came out and Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini called for Salman’s execution for three million dollars.
  • The Iranian government has not yet responded to this issue, but many Iranians in the media claim him to be an apostate who later became an atheist.

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

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan

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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

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

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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Odesa pristav
  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

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

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

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

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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North Koreas ballistic missile North Korea Victory Day 2013 01
  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

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

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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Black Sea port of Theodosiya panoramio
  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

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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