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The Daily Brief: Reflection and Joy Brought by Eid-ul-Adha Celebrations Around the World

Reflection and Joy Brought by Eid-ul-Adha Celebrations Around the World

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Mehr News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha has begun as millions across the globe celebrate Prophet Abraham’s faithfulness to Allah and the conclusion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
  • Eid-ul-Adha is a 3 day celebration and one of 2 major Islamic holidays, the other being Eid-ul-Fitr.
  • Muslims around the world attend Eid prayers, visit friends and family, eat delicious food, and dress up in new clothes to celebrate Eid. 
  • Eid celebrations bring joy to many, however they are also a time for reflection as much of the Muslim world faces conditions in which they are unable to properly celebrate the holiday.
  • The delta variant of Covid-19 continues to surge around the globe, severely limiting interactions and pushing many countries to restrict Eid prayers and subsequent celebrations.
  • Mauritania, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia have completely banned collective Eid prayers as precautionary measures against Covid-19. 
  • Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan will hold Eid prayers under tight restrictions in order to limit the spread of Covid-19.
  • The crisis-hit economy of Lebanon serves to stifle most Eid celebrations, leaving large festivities for a privileged few. 
  • Palestinians that have suffered repeated violence and loss in the conflict between Gaza and Israel welcome Eid with grieving hearts.
  • Afghanistan suffers similar conditions as their Eid celebrations are marked with increased Taliban activity, repeated armed conflict, a third wave of Covid-19, and high political tension regarding US troop withdrawal.
  • Eid provides a moment of respite for countless Muslims around the world as they are given an opportunity to escape from the harsh conditions they may be presented with in favor of a joyous holiday. 

Sources:

Al Jazeera

Reuters

Reuters

Daily Sabah

Tweets:

Other Headlines:

Lebanon’s Crashing Economy Leaves Many Desperate For Basic Needs

Shahen books, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Lebanon’s financial crisis has caused intense food and medicine shortages leaving much of the country in economic despair.
  • The crippled economy coupled with the nation’s failing political system has been a cause for great frustration for Lebanese citizens as many protest the government’s handling of the crises.
  • Nearly 50% of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line and plunging currency rates have rendered most salaries incapable of covering basic living costs.

Tweets:

US Claims China is Behind Massive Microsoft Cyber Attack 

  • The Biden administration accused China’s Ministry of State Security of working with criminal hackers to launch numerous cyber attacks including the Microsoft Exchange email hack.
  • The U.S. and it’s Western allies have only strongly condemned the Chinese government and have yet to place any formal sanctions on the Eastern country.
  • China denies all claims; a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that the claims were nothing but “groundless accusations” and that China “firmly opposes and combats cyberattacks and cyber theft in all forms.”

Tweets:

SKM Leader Starts Fast Unto Death in Hopes that Police will Release Arrested Farmers 

  • Sardar Baldev Singh Sirsa, Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader, began his fast with only lemon and water and stated he would not eat until the five farmers arrested in a sedition case were released from jail.
  • Farm activists have continued to protest discriminatory farming laws that the BJP placed in early August and are now in Delhi outside of the Parliament building where more than 30,000 police personnel have been deployed.
  • Despite Mumbai’s deadly monsoon Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union, stated “Our protests will begin from Thursday onwards for all days of the monsoon session. In our meeting with the police, they told us that we need to reduce the number of people and they won’t allow us near the Parliament. We have told them to give us a place outside the Parliament whether it’s Jantar Mantar or another area.”

Tweets:

Mumbai Faces Deadly Monsoon Which Has Already Claimed Dozens of Lives

  • Intense monsoon rain in Mumbai has caused numerous building walls to collapse and a landslide to occur resulting in more than 30 people losing their lives.
  • The coastal city of Mumbai is expected to have heavy rains for at least the next five days forcing many to prepare for possible emergency circumstances.
  • Monstrous rains have also caused multiple power outages in the city leaving many without electricity and heat.

Tweets:

Spyware Used to Monitor Thousands of Phones, Including Khashoggi’s Wife

  • A spyware called Pegasus, sold by an Israeli firm called NSO Group, was found in the phone of Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée as well as thousands of others. The technology is frequently used to spy on activists and journalists.
  • Khashoggi was a US-based Saudi critic who was murdered in Turkey in 2018. The spyware is able to access text messages, calls, emails, and the phone’s microphone and camera. It was used to monitor people in Khashoggi’s inner circle before and after his death.
  • NSO states that their technology is meant to fight terrorism and is only available to intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and the military. The company stated that they were “not associated in any way with the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Tweets

Claude Joseph Steps Down as Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister

Ministry of Communication, Haiti, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Claude Joseph, Haiti’s interim Prime Minister, has announced that he will be resigning. Ariel Henry will be taking office; he was appointed two days prior to Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s death, but was never sworn in.
  • After Moise’s death, Joseph took power and became the face of the crisis. He will remain as part of the government as foregin minister, his former post.
  • The Core Group, which includes ambassadors to Haiti from the EU, UN, US and other major countries, agreed that Ariel Henry is the rightful Prime Minister. Henry will announce his new government that will lead until elections can be held.
  • The lack of elections in Haiti and the asssasination have left political turmoil and fear of further violence.

Tweets

Delta Variant Causes Surge in Infections and Drop in Global Markets

Banc de Sang i Teixits, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • The CDC reported that more than 97% of deaths and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 are among the unvaccinated. The Delta variant has increased the average number of Covid-19 cases from two weeks ago by more than 100%.
  • The Delta variant has particularly struck California, which has an infection rate of more than 500% since early June. Almost every state is facing an increase in cases.
  • In Japan, a state of emergency has been declared days before the Olympic Summer Games. Around 99% of cases in Indonesia are the Delta variant. Africa has seen more than one million new cases in just this month.
  • On Monday, the DOW, S&P 500, and NASDAQ dropped 2.1%, 1.6%, and 1.1%, respectively. The decline in the DOW was the biggest of this year, largely due to rising Covid-19 cases. European markets faced even steeper declines.

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.

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The Daily Brief: Tokyo 2020 off to a Shaky Start

Tokyo 2020 off to a Shaky Start

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Dick Thomas Johnson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympics have now begun, a year after their scheduled start date of July 23, 2020.
  • The 2020 Olympics were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and then met with scandal after scandal causing 4 organizers to be dismissed from their positions.
  • The latest dismissal was issued to opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi one day before the Olympics was scheduled to begin.
  • Kobayashi was discharged due to the emergence of a 1990’s video in which he appears to joke about the Holocaust.
  • Beyond organizational changes, Tokyo 2020 is also destabilized by the rapid uptake in coronavirus cases. 
  • The Covid-19 delta variant has drastically increased the global case count and heightened health concerns. 
  • At least 18 Olympic athletes have publicly dropped out of the global event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Despite these setbacks Tokyo 2021 has persevered, giving athletes a chance to showcase their hard work and talent in front of a global audience.
  • This grand event also allows athletes to express their beliefs to an audience of billions. Several athletes have already taken this chance to kneel ahead of their matches to protest racial inequality.
  • Sources:

CNN

BBC

  • Tweets:

Other Headlines:

Death Toll Rises in China Floods as Social Media Unites to Help Survivors

Chase Chesser, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Central China has suffered extreme flooding in recent days causing streets, homes, and cars to be engulfed in water 1 yard deep.
  • Subways in Zhengzhou province were submerged in water for hours, trapping passengers and killing 12 people.
  • Weibo users united to gather resources and support for victims of the floods which have killed at least 33 people, caused another 8 to go missing, and gave rise to $190 million worth of economic damage.

Tweets:

Iran Opens New Oil Terminal Allowing Bypass of Strait of Hormuz

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran has opened a new oil terminal that allows them an alternative to the Strait of Hormuz, which is a narrow strip of water that transports around 20% of the world’s crude oil.
  • The new oil terminal required around $2 billion and two years to complete. It is expected to reduce transportation and insurance costs for oil tankers, as well as several days of sailing time.
  • There have been confrontations between the US and Iranian military in the Strait of Hormuz, as well as attacks on some Iranian vessels, adding to the significance of this new terminal. Rouhani stated, “This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports.”
  • The strait has been a source of controversy due to Iran threatening to close it after the US placed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear agreement. US President Joe Biden is working to reenter the nuclear agreement.

Tweets

UK Faces Food and Labor Shortages Due to Covid

Christopher Corneschi, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • UK supply chains are suffering from food and gas shortages due to the rise in Covid-19 cases causing workers to stay at home. Major supermarket chains and other industries are also facing a staffing shortage because of the pandemic. 
  • BP, a British oil and gas company, announced that they are experiencing fuel issues and are temporarily closing a handful of sites. The company attributed the issue to a shortage of truck drivers because workers are staying at home due to Covid.
  • Around 50,000 new cases are reported daily in the UK, and a new NHS Test and Trace service notifies people via a “ping” if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person, leading to this crisis being named a ‘pingdemic’.

Tweets

Hong Kong Police Arrest Five Union Members for Sedition 

Studio Incendo, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Hong Kong police have arrested five authors of children’s books, stating that their stories of wolves and sheep have incited hatred against the Chinese government and are the basis for sedition.
  • Steve Li, a senior superintendent of the national security department stated the content of the books was “stirring hatred” and “inciting violence.”
  • The arrest of the authors was made under a colonial-era law targeting sedition.
  • A title of one of the books “Defenders of the Sheep Village,” narrates the story of wolves wanting to occupy a village of sheep, who use their horns for defense – police say the story is connected to the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.

Tweets:

Norway Remembers Victims on 10 Year Anniversary of Extremist Attack

Julian-G. Albert, CC BY 2.0 by via Wikimedia Commons
  • A vigil was held in Oslo, Norway where thousands of people gathered to remember a national tragedy that took the lives of 77 people, including several teenagers in a bomb attack and gun rampage by a right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Brevik.
  • Brevik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum possible term a year after the attack.
  • Memorials commemorating the victims of the attack were held throughout the country, including a service at Oslo Cathedral which rang church bells as thousands gathered. 
  • Jens Stoltenberg, who was prime minister at the time of the attack condemned Brevik as an extremist who used violence for political motives, and not one who respected democracy.

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.

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The Daily Brief: Spy Software ‘Pegasus’ Accused of Targeting World Leaders

Spy Software ‘Pegasus’ Accused of Targeting World Leaders

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Blogtrepreneur, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The Israel-based NSO Group responsible for developing Pegasus software has been accused of spying on journalists, activists, and even world leaders.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, King Mohammed VI of Morocco and three current prime ministers — Imran Khan of Pakistan, Mustafa Madbouly of Egypt, and Saad Eddine El Othmani of Morocco are all a part of the group of 15 world leaders said to be targeted by Pegasus.
  • None of the leaders are willing to provide their phones for forensic testing, however thirty-seven other phones have been identified to have signs of a breach.
  • Many attribute the ease of breaching privacy to the fact that all personal information is now easily accessible in one device, the phone.
  • The NSO Group completely denies allegations and states that all of their customers are carefully assessed to prevent the misuse of their service.
  • Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the NSO Group including Facebook who claims the firm hacked their branch application Whatsapp.
  • Sources:

https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/07/21/pegasus-spyware-scandal-emmanuel-macron-among-14-heads-of-states-identified-as-possible-ta

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57910355.amp

  • Tweets:

 

Other Headlines:

First Ever Hijabi Referee, Sara Gamal, Makes Olympic History

  • 32-year-old Sara Gamal will take the court in Tokyo as the first hijabi basketball referee in the Olympics.
  • Gamal’s breakthrough first happened in 2017 when she effectively ended the ban on Islamic headscarves in the International Basketball Federation as they changed their rules regarding headgear.
  • Gamal stated “In the past, many thought they would never be able to take charge of international games, and that they would only be restricted to local matches…But now I’m happy to have played a part in making the difference…Veiled referees now have every reason to believe that they can take their careers to the international level. Many have called me to say they were encouraged to follow suit.”

Tweets:

Permafrost Thawing in Russia Due to Extreme Heat

Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Extremely hot summer temperatures in the Russian Arctic are thawing permafrost, causing massive wildfires in northern Siberia and showing the dramatic effects of climate change.
  • The fires release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. In the last three years, the fires have accelerated, creating uncertainty for the villagers’ livelihood.
  • The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is having structural problems due to permafrost melting, which causes a change in the slope and bends several of the braces. It is one of the world’s largest pipelines, and an oil spill would be nearly impossible to clean up.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the thawing of permafrost could lead to “very serious social and economic consequences.” Russia recently passed a law requiring businesses to report greenhouse gas emissions.

Tweets

Lebanon Close to Trying Political Figures for Beirut Explosion

Mehr News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Judge Tarek Bitar sought to lift the immunity of political figures in order to investigate and try them for the Beirut blast earlier this month. His initiative is reported to be supported by dozens of MPs.
  • Parliament may transfer the case to the Supreme Council, which deals with matters of impeachment. Currently the case is under a special judicial body, which many people are critical of because it shields the officials from prosecution.
  • The list of those being tried is as follows: caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, former Public Works Ministers Ghazi Zeiter and Youssef Finianos, and former Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk.
  • The explosion in Beirut in August 2020 killed more than 200 people and injured more than 5,000 people. The explosion was caused by hundreds of tonnes of explosive ammonium nitrate that was unsafely stored, allegedly with the officials’ permission.

Tweets

Women Soccer Players Kneel at Day One of Tokyo Olympics

Dick Thomas Johnson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Tokyo Olympics kicked off day one with Britain’s women soccer players taking a knee in their match against Chile. In similar fashion, the US and Swedish women soccer players did the same in their match,
  • The players took a knee against discrimination and racism in the midst of recent relaxed rules allowing players to express their opinions in a non disruptive manner.
  • The rise of Covid-19 cases in Japan raised concerns about the hosting of more than 11,000 athletes and staff. Some athletes and attendees of the Olympic games have contracted Covid, leading senior officials to discuss the cancellation of the games if infections increase.

Tweets

Tesla Will Most Likely Restart Acceptance of Bitcoin Payments 

  •  Tesla will restart the acceptance of bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases, according to Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
  • Musk had stated the decision to suspend bitcoin use in May on Twitter, citing the concern of “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining.”
  • Since Tesla’s suspension of bitcoin, Beijing expelled crypto miners – many of whom travelled to North America for mining.
  • The United States is home to some of the cheapest sources of power, which are more often renewable sources of energy – it is estimated that bitcoin mining in the U.S. is more than 50% powered by renewables, a reason Musk cited for continuing bitcoin use.

Tweets:

Tunisia President Announces Army Takeover to Handle COVID Crisis

Brahim Guedich, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied has announced Wednesday that the military health department will take over management of the COVID-19 health crisis, as the nation grapples with a resurgence with overwhelmed hospitals and limited supplies.
  • Tensions between Mr. Saied and Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi have led to the announcement with Mr. Mechichi accusing the Health Minister of making “criminal” decisions that led to overcrowding and slow vaccinations.
  • Tunisia has received aid from Europe and Arab countries, including three million vaccine doses and field hospitals – the nation is suffering its worst financial crisis and on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • Out of 11.6 million residents, only 940,000 residents have been vaccinated – the death toll from COVID-19 infections has reached 18,000.

Tweets:

Death Toll in South Africa Riots Rises to 276

Hilton1949, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • The death roll from riots in South Africa has risen to 276 as the nation witnessed a week of violence, protest, and criminal activity.
  • Police are investigating 168 cases of murder as poverty and inequality fueled the ongoing unrest – South African society continues to grapply with inequities nearly three decades after the apartheid in 1994.
  • While authorities have curtailed the violence, the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand equivalent to 1.37 billion U.S. dollars.
  • While noxious smoke, looting, and vandalism of homes and businesses became rampant during the riots, several volunteers came forward to help clean remaining debris off the streets and other areas heavily damaged by the violence.

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.

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The Daily brief: Billionaire Jeff Bezos Heads To Outer Space

Billionaire Jeff Bezos Heads To Outer Space

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Summary: 

  • Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos embarked on an eleven minute trip to space and back on Tuesday, making him the second billionaire in a week to undertake such a trip.
  • Bezos traveled on a rocket that was developed by his company, Blue Origin, crossing the boundary known as the Karman Line.
  • Accompanying Bezos was his brother, Mark Bezos, an 82 year old aviator enthusiast named Wally Funk and 18 year old student Oliver Daemen. 
  • Bezos picked July 20th as the launch date because of the symmetry with the June 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Mission Landing on the moon.
  • The recent private expeditions into space represent the emergence of space travel tourism.
  • Last week, Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson flew to outer space, financed through his company, Virgin Galactic. 
  • Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX seek to connect thrill seekers with space travel, with plans for additional launches and even a moon landing later this year.

Sources:

Tweets:

Afghan Rockets Land Near Presidential Palace During Muslim Holy Festival of Sacrifice

  • Three rockets landed near the Afghani presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday.
  • The explosions occurred during prayers services for Eidul Adha, the Muslim holy festival of sacrifice.
  • President Ashraf Ghani continued with the congregational prayers, despite the explosions nearby.
  • The Islamic State Group (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tweets

Presidential Elections in Peru Lead to Win By Left WIng Former Teacher 

  • Elections in Peru have designated Pedro Castillo, a rural leftist and former elementary school teacher as president-elect – Castillo defeated right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who often represented Peruvian elite.
  • Mr. Castillo won the election by a margin 44,000 votes; this led to the third loss for Ms. Fujimori, who in the past has accused the president-elect of electoral fraud and illegitimacy although she accepted his victory on Monday.
  • A teacher of 25 years living in a poor Andean region, Mr. Castillo will be the first left-wing President of Peru in more than a generation and also the first to have lived most of his life as a “campesino” or peasant.
  • While his election has deeply divided the Andean nation, Mr. Castillo called for collective unity and promised greater outcomes for Peru’s poorer sectors of society – he popularized the phrase “no more poor in a rich country” as the pandemic crushed the economy of Peru, leading to a poverty rate of almost one-third the nation’s population.
  • Tweets:

Britain Deploys Two Warships in Asian Waters

  • Britain has said it will deploy two permanent warships in Asian waters on Tuesday as it strengthens ties with Japan, a close ally of the United States – the ships will be sent to territories where China is viewed as an increasing threat, vying for territorial power along with the U.S. and Japan.
  • U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace has stated the warships will be a new move towards increased security cooperation between the U.K. and Japan.
  • The deployment is a sign of Britain’s growing regional engagement – the warships will be deployed after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and escort ships sail to Japan in September.
  • The Queen Elizabeth and accompanying ships will enter Japan through the South China sea in parts that are claimed by China and South East Asian countries.

Ben and Jerry’s Announces Its Withdrawal of Markets in the West Bank

Opacitatic, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Ben and Jerry’s has announced it will withdraw its sales from Israeli-occupied territories stating that the sale of its products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was “inconsistent with our values.”
  • The Vermont-based popular ice cream brand has had a reputation for being politically vocal on controversial issues – it has endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement and supported criminal justice reform systems – their latest support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which seeks to put economic and political pressure on Israel, is viewed as one of the most contentious.
  • The decision was met by anger by several prominent Israelis, with Prime MInister Bennett calling the company’s decision “morally wrong,” stating there would be “severe consequences” from the decision – Israel’s Foreign Minister called the move “a disgraceful capitulation.”
  • The BDS Movement praised the decision, stating it was a “decisive step towards ending the company’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and violation of Palestinian rights.”

Tweets

Immense Flooding Drowns Streets and Subway System in Central China

  • Unusually heavy rains have caused widespread flooding in central China, causing entire neighborhoods to be filled with water 1 yard deep.
  • The city of Zhenghzou’s subway system has become inundated with water, leaving at least 1 person dead and 2 others missing.
  • Henan province issued their highest level weather warning and evacuated over 10,000 people in response to the record rainfall. 
  • Tweets:

Largest Active US Wildfire Burns Through More Than 340,000 Acres of Land

  • The Oregon Bootleg fire is currently the largest wildfire in the US having scorched through an area greater than the city of Los Angeles. 
  • The fire, which has only been 30% contained, is one of at least 83 wildfires currently plaguing the US as the country struggles with hot and dry weather intensified by climate change.
  • The Bootleg fire, named after the neatby Bootleg Spring, has destroyed more than 160 homes and caused at least 2,000 people to evacuate. 
  • Tweets:

Mali Interim President Targeted With Knife Attack at Eid Prayers

  • Mali’s interim President Assimi Goita was targeted with a stabbing attempt at the Grand Mosque in the capital of Bamako after Eid-ul-Adha prayers. 
  • The attacker was immediately subdued by nearby security forces and Goita was moved to a safe location.
  • Later on Tuesday Goita spoke to the public announcing that he was “very well” and that such events are “part of being a leader”
  • 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.

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The Daily Brief: Palestinians Call Out Aggression At Al Aqsa Mosque

Raid by settlers deemed provocative and dangerous

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Summary: 

  • Al Aqsa was the site of aggression yet again when Isreali worshippers entered the Al Aqsa complex to commemorate the Day of Mourning.
  • The 1,300+ worshippers were escorted by the Israeli police, who cleared the area of Palestinian worshippers using tear gas and rubber bullets.
  • Members of the Knesset, the Isreali Legislature, accompanied the settlers into Al Aqsa.
  • Muslim worshippers inside the prayer halls were blocked from leaving, in order to allow the Isreali settlers to walk through.
  • Al Aqsa Mosque holds significance for both Muslims and Christians, and the regulation of use is both complicated and sensitive.
  • The Palestinian Authority has referred to the incident as an excursion that threatens the delicate agreement of worship at the Al Aqsa Complex.
  • The violence occurs on the eve of Eidul Adha, the Muslim holy festival commemorating the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son at God’s commandment.

Sources:

Tweets:

South African President Calls for Calm Following Civil Unrest

  • Portions of South African have been besieged by looting and violence over the last week.
  • The rioting began as the result of former President Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment, due to his failure to appear at court hearings related to corruption charges.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged unity and calm in the wake of the violence, informing the public that the government has stabilized the situation and is investigating the perpetrators.
  • This level of countrywide civil unrest has not been seen since the apartheid days of South Africa. 

Tweets:

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Leaves Hospital After Four Days 

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had to be hospitalized last Wednesday after 10 days of persistent hiccups.
  • Since being stabbed in the intestines on the campaign trail in 2018 the 66 year-old president has had several operations and continuous complications.
  • Bolsonaro has been released from the hospital after treatment for an intestinal obstruction which did not require surgery.
  • The Brazilian President affirmed that he will be back to work in his office Monday.

Tweets:

Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos is Heading to Space on the New Shephard Rocket 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Shephard_-_Upright_View.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

  • The Amazon billionaire will be flying in space in an 11 minute 2,300-mile journey.
  • Bezos is heading to space just nine days after Richard Branson became the first man sent to space in a rocket he funded.
  • Bezos’ brother, Mark Bezos; Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot; and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen will be the only three people accompanying him on the New Shepherd rocket which has yet to be flown with a crew.

Tweets:

  • Researchers analyzed data that showed a relationship between alcohol use and cancer development from 2010 to 2020.
  • 741,300 cancer cases from 2020 were attributed to alcohol use, where men represented the majority of cases.
  • Heavy drinkers, those who consume 2 to 6 drinks or 20 to 60 grams of ethanol alcohol a day, were seen in 39.4% of alcohol-attributed cancer cases.
  • The study’s author Harriet Rumgay, a doctoral student at WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated “We urgently need to raise awareness about the link between alcohol consumption and cancer risk among policy makers and the general public… Public health strategies, such as reduced alcohol availability, labelling alcohol products with a health warning, and marketing bans could reduce rates of alcohol-driven cancer.”

Tweets:

Oil Producers Reach Agreement to Produce More Oil Post-Pandemic

Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • An agreement to increase oil production was made Sunday by major world oil producers in an effort to decrease inflation and rising gas prices due to pandemic lockdowns.
  • The pact was made by OPEC Plus and reconciles a dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – a standoff that blocked an earlier agreement, causing oil prices to skyrocket reaching an all time high in July.
  • With pandemic lockdowns lessening oil demands, OPEC Plus had withdrawn millions of barrels from the market with the goal of restoring supplies in April 2022; as world economies reel from the pandemic, the demand for oil supplies has increased along with fuel and gas prices – some analysts expect the agreement to bring down these prices.
  • The deal calls for 23 oil producing nations led by Saudi Arabia and including Russia to increase oil production by 400,000 barrels a day equivalent to increasing the world’s supply by approximately 2% – the nations are the source of roughly 40% of crude oil for the world.

Tweets:

https://twitter.com/JavierBlas/status/1416727113172934657   https://twitter.com/anasalhajji/status/1416722260598083590 

Investigation on U.S. Diplomats in Austria Ensues After Diagnosis of Havana Syndrome

Bjen78, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • Authorities in Austria are investigating reports of a mystery illness experienced by U.S. Diplomats in the city of Vienna, known as Havana Syndrome.
  • Victims of the illness have experienced a wide range of symptoms including sudden vertigo, nausea, headaches, and other physical sensations – some traumatic brain injuries have been reported alongside debilitating headaches and other health issues years later.
  • Havana Syndrome was first detected in late 2016 in Cuba, with cases reported in China, Russia and other countries across the globe – in April, two separate incidents occurred near the White House affecting National Security Council staffers.
  • Since President Biden took office, about two dozen U.S. intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government officials in Vienna have reported symptoms similar to Havana Syndrome. 

Tweets:

India and China Face Heightened Tensions Amid Stalemate

United States. Central Intelligence Agency., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • A high level meeting between officials of India and China was held Wednesday, to address unprecedented military buildup on the border of both countries, that have led to the possibility of outbreak of war.
  • Approximately 200,000 troops have built up on both sides of the Himalyan border – however Wednesday’s meeting did not lead to a resolution that would break the year-long stalemate between the two nuclear-armed countries.
  • Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi stated that “relations between India and China are still at a low point.”
  • Several clashes between soldiers from both sides erupted last year, escalating tensions and leading to the silent buildup of troops, artillery, and infrastructure despite no official declaration of war.

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.

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The Daily Brief: Afghan Government and Taliban to Hold Talks in Doha Amid Increasing Violence

Negotiators for the Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban have met in Doha for high stakes talks regarding growing conflict in the country.

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Hariva, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • A senior delegation of the Afghan government, including former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, met with several Taliban representatives in Doha to discuss increasing conflict in Afghanistan.
  • Negotiations continued for hours on Saturday and are set to resume on Sunday when the Afghan government believes that they will “definitely have a final result of all the work they have done.”
  • Negotiators hope to conclude talks by 9/11 which is when the US government will conclude pulling out troops from the country.
  • Armed conflict between the military and Taliban has plagued Afghanistan for years, however US troop withdrawal has heightened tensions and increased violence substantially.
  • Representatives for both the Taliban and Afghan government have stated that the solution to conflict in Afghanistan lies in dialogue.
  • Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem claims that the Taliban has “repeatedly confirmed its readiness for dialogue and negotiations” and believes that problems can “only be solved by dialogue”.
  • Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan government’s High Council for National Reconciliation, hopes that the negotiations will be “important steps to continue the peace process, to prevent the killing of the people”.

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Other Headlines:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Bids Farewell to White House Ahead of Expected Retirement This Fall

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  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received what is likely to be her last official welcome to the White House as she looks to retire from her long held position in the fall.
  • Merkel has now worked with 4 US presidents, four French Presidents and five British Prime Ministers over the course of her historic career as Germany’s first female chancellor.
  • Chancellor Merkel and President Biden communicated with each other in a friendly and warm manner with Biden even telling Merkel that he will “truly miss” seeing her at summits.
  • With Merkel looking to exit her position as Chancellor, US-German relations are entering a new age in which both countries appear concerned over growing disagreements regarding the Nord Stream pipeline project.

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DACA Ruled Illegal by US Federal Judge

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  • Judge Andrew Hanen, a US federal judge, has ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created by former US President Barack Obama, is illegal. Hanen also stated that no new applicants should be enrolled in the program.
  • Hanen said the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but since there are around 650,000 people already enrolled in the program, there should be no deportations or criminal actions taken against current DACA recipients.
  • US President Joe Biden has tried to protect and strengthen the program. Former US President Donald Trump tried to end the DACA, but the US Supreme Court blocked his bid.
  • DACA is a program that protects immigrants who came to the US unlawfully as children from deportation, and enables them to apply for a driver’s license, work authorization, and social security number.

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Man Killed in Protests Held in Iran Over Water Crisis

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • Protests are being held in different cities across Iran in response to the current water crisis. The drought has hurt households, farmers, the livestock industry, and caused power blackouts for the past few weeks.
  • Protests have included fires, blocked roads, and security forces shooting bullets to disperse crowds. One person has been killed, and many arrested during the protests.
  • Average precipitation is down by at least 50% this year, leaving dams unable to provide for the country. Iran has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with its economy suffering, inflation higher than 50%, and high unemployment rates.

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Former Haitian Official Emerges as Key Suspect in Presidential Assassination

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  • Former Haitian Justice Ministry official Joseph Felix Badio has emerged as a key suspect in the assasination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise. An arrest warrant has been issued.
  • Badio gave the order for the assassination to mercenaries, according to Colombia authorities. He was fired from Haiti’s administration in May for serious breaches in professional conduct.
  • President Moise was assassinated ten days ago in his private residence. Twenty six Colombians and two Haitian Americans have been implicated in the incident.

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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 Daily Brief: Hijab Ban Extends To European Companies

Euro Court Rules All Religious Symbols Are Subject To Prohibition

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Summary: 

  • The European Court of Justice has ruled that head scarves (hijabs) may be banned in the workplace, at the discretion of the company.
  • The Court said that a company may choose to promote an atmosphere of neutrality and ban all visible forms of religious affiliation.
  • Companies must demonstrate a need to preserve a neutral workplace before enacting any such ban, such as customer demand or strong need by the employer.
  • The ban would apply to any visible faith representations, including head scarves, crucifixes and kippahs. 
  • The ruling was prompted by the case of two German women who were told to remove their hijab in their places of work.
  • The court acknowledged that the ruling may disproportionately affect those groups where visible faith representations are mandatory, as in the hijab.
  • European nations will have to individually wrestle with how the ban comports with freedom of religion and freedom of thought. 

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Public Hajj Resumes On Smaller Scale

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=hajj&title=Special:MediaSearch&type=image

  • Up to 10,000 worshippers have been permitted to participate in Hajj this year.
  • Only residents of Saudi Arabia will be permitted to attend.
  • Worshippers will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing while observing the rites of pilgrimage.
  • Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and Muslims are encouraged to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

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Floodwater Continues to Devastate Western Europe

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  • Hundreds of people are still missing as the death toll during the unprecedented European floods rises to 125 people.
  • Thousands of homes have been destroyed or deemed at risk by authorities due to the floods leaving many families homeless.
  • Malu Dreyer, the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, stated “Climate change isn’t abstract any more. We are experiencing it up close and painfully.”

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Taliban Kills Journalist Danish Siddiqui While He Covered Clashes in Afghanistan 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Danish_Siddiqui.jpg

  • Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters journalist covering the fight between Afghan forces and the Taliban, was killed in what is being called a Taliban crossfire.
  • Siddiqui was near the main market area of Spin Boldak where Afghan security forces attempted to regain control when the Taliban began firing, taking the lives of Siddiqui as well as a senior Afghan officer.
  • Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement that “Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

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The Delta COVID Variant is Overwhelming the U.S. Forcing a Rise in Coronavirus Cases 

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  • New coronavirus cases are up 10% since last week as the Delta variant sweeps the U.S. as only half of the population is fully vaccinated.
  • Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Nevada are currently experiencing a full outbreak and all states have seen an increase to new case numbers.
  • Vaccine hesitancy along with many Republican-controlled states prohibiting the enforcement of mask mandates has led to the highly contagious variant spreading rapidly.
  • Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated “I think now is our moment to really double down on our vaccination efforts and our other prevention interventions.”

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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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