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The Daily Brief: EU Sues AstraZeneca Over COVID Vaccine Delays

The European Union is Suing AstraZeneca Over an Alleged Breach of Their Vaccine Supply Contract

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EU Sues AstraZeneca Over COVID Vaccine Delays

Summary:

  • After months of dispute between the European Union and AstraZeneca over COVID-19 vaccine delays, the EU has now sued the pharmaceutical company for breach of their vaccine supply contract.
  • The EU ordered 300 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, with an option to buy 100 million additional doses.
  • The order was meant to be delivered from December 2020 to June 2021, however deliveries of the vaccine repeatedly fell short causing the EU to file a lawsuit against AstraZeneca in Brussels on Friday.
  • Stefan De Keersmaecker, a spokesperson for the European Commission, has stated that the bloc’s decision is “due to the continuous breach of the terms of the contract and to the lack of a reliable strategy by [AstraZeneca] to ensure the timely supply of vaccines in the current circumstances.”
  • Keersmaecker also added that the EU will  not opt to buy an additional 100 million doses from AstraZeneca.
  • AstraZeneca replied in a statement expressing regret at the EU’s decision to take legal action, and maintains that the company “has fully complied with the Advance Purchase Agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court.”
  • In March of 2021 AstraZeneca announced that it was aiming to send 70 million doses of the COVID vaccine to the European Union over the first half of the year, just ⅓ of the original 300 million doses expected to be delivered.
  • Sources:

CNN

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia Invites Qatar’s Emir For Visit

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Jim Mattis, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Former rivals, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, show signs of improving relations as Saudi King Salman sends a letter of invitation to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
  • The Gulf state had land, sea, and air blockades from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt after Riyadh and others cut ties with Qatar in 2017.
  • However, this January the blockading countries began amending ties with Qatar after former United States President Donald Trump conducted a whirlwind of diplomatic activities.
  • It is unclear if the Emir accepted the invitation conveyed by Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah al-Saud.
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Aid Worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Sentenced to an Additional Year in Jail

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MrZeroPage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Iran’s court has sentenced British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to another year in jail just as she completed her prior five year sentence.
  • Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation charity, was given a five year sentence for plotting to overthrow Iran’s government in 2016; her family completely denies all claims stating she was simply visiting relatives in Iran.
  • Antonio Zappulla, the Thomson Reuters Foundation charity’s CEO, stated “Nazanin’s ordeal should have ended on March 7, 2021. Instead, she continues to be held as a political hostage in Tehran, a victim of an international dispute, the decision to jail Nazanin for an additional year must be challenged by the UK government.”
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Three Hour Long Tape of Iranian Foreign Minister Released

Mohammad Javad Zarif MSC 2018
Barth / MSC, CC BY 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons
  • A three hour long tape in which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discusses Iranian politics and internal decisions, has been leaked, stirring controversy and shock. Zarif has stated the original interview was seven hours long, and that the tape was edited for political motives.
  • In the tapes Zarif reveals the following: the Revolutionary Guard has extreme influence in diplomatic decisions, Russia tried to prevent the 2015 nuclear deal to hinder Iran’s relationship with Western countries, General Qasem Soleimani sent Iranian troops to Syria at Russia’s request, and many more internal affairs.
  • The tape has been released before presidential elections, in which there was speculation of Zarif running, and this is believed to be an attempt to prevent his candidacy. The tape also comes amidst ongoing negotiations regarding the return to a nuclear deal.
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US Imposes Sanctions on Two Politicians in Guatemala

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  • The US imposed sanctions on a current member of Guatemala’s Congress and the chief of staff of former Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom for interfering with the “selection process for magistrates to Guatemala’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and Court of Appeals.”
  • The sanctions freeze any US properties, entities or assets that either of the men hold. The sanctions were made in coordination with the United Kingdom in an attempt to fight corruption.
  • The announcement was made hours before US Vice President Kamala Harris’ virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei regarding the influx of migrants at the US border. The sanctions were not mentioned in the meeting.

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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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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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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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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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North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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  • 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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