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The Daily Brief: Biden Administration Pulls Out Last Troops in Afghanistan After Longest War in U.S. History

President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday, standing with his decision on pull-out of all U.S. troops following the Taliban takeover earlier this month.

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President Joe Biden visits Arlington National Cemetery

The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • President Joe Biden met his set deadline of August 31st as the last United States troops stationed in Afghanistan left this week through military C-17 planes, according to the Pentagon. 
  • The departure of all troops signifies the end of America’s longest war that killed thousands of US troops and Afghani citizens, but leaves the country at a very vulnerable time as thousands of Afghani’s attempt to flee following the Taliban takeover. 
  • President Biden backed his decision in an address delivered Tuesday, stating the decision wasn’t just about Afghanistan, but also about “ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”
  • “We no longer had a clear purpose in an open ended mission in Afghanistan.” Biden also stated. “After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refuse to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should’ve ended long ago.” 
  • Biden announced that the U.S. wasn’t done fighting ISIS-K, as the Pentagon continues investigations on the extremist group after a recent drone strike which killed 13 American troops and 10 Afghani citizens. 
  • The U.S. also works with evacuations and relocations of allies and remaining American citizens in Afghanistan. 
  • The decision has been met with criticism on how the withdrawal of troops was handled and not waiting until all Americans were evacuated, called an “morally indefensible decision.”
  • A Taliban spokesperson recently stated their happiness for “the liberation and independence of Afghanistan from the American occupation.” U.N. officials warn, however, that “a larger crisis is just beginning.” 

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OTHER HEADLINES:

Caldor Fire Spreads to Lake Tahoe, Forcing Thousands of Evacuations

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Photo courtesy of Peter Buschmann, United States Forest Service, USDA. Some additional editing by W.carter., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Caldor Fire in California continues to spread, risking burning down thousands of homes in the Lake Tahoe area. 
  • More than 400 fire engines and thousands of firefighters were dispersed to South Lake Tahoe to contain the fires growing rapidly. Tens of thousands have been evacuated after an evacuation notice went on Monday. 
  • The Caldor Fires is the second largest in California history, as it has already burned over 190,000 acres, destroyed hundreds of properties and injured five. 
  • The United States Forest Service stated closures of all California national forests while over 15,000 wildfires ravaged all over the state. Some scientists noted that the increased wind conditions due to global warming play a part in the ongoing crises. 

Tweets:

Mississippi Highway 26 Washed Away, Killing Two People and Injuring 10 Others

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Charlie Deets charliedeets, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Part of Highway 26 washed away Monday as a result of rain from Hurricane Ida near Lucedale, Mississippi.
  • The heavy rain created a 50 feet long and 20 feet deep hole that swallowed seven cars, killing two people and injuring 10 others, three of whom were critically injured.  Highway 26 connects Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • An estimated 10 to 13 inches of rain fell in the area since Hurricane Ida began.
  • The storm leaves close to 60,000 residents without power.

Tweets:

China Tightens Online Gaming Bans for Minors

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Gamingforfun365, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) restricted minor video gamers to only one hour of gaming between 8PM and 9PM on Fridays, weekends, and holidays this week.
  • This restriction is tighter than the 2019 limits for children, which allowed 90 minutes of weekday game time and three hours on weekends.
  • An NPPA spokesperson stated the tighter controls were enacted in response to concerns from parents that children’s gaming habits affected their schoolwork.

Tweets:

The Trial of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes to Begin this Week

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Tali Mackay at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of health technology company Theranos. 
  • Holmes is on trial for the misrepresentation of her company’s blood testing capabilities in light of an October 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation.
  • Holmes has pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal fraud brought against her and her former COO and romantic partner, Ramesh Balwani.
  • The pandemic and the birth of Holmes’s first child delayed the trial.

Tweets:

Turkish President and UAE Leader Hold Phone Call, Easing Tensions

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kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • A phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan took place on Monday in a sign of easing tensions between the two regions. Another round of talks is expected to take place next week.
  • Turkey and the UAE have been hostile for many years because of conflicts in Libya, Turkey’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, eruption of the Arab uprisings, and other issues.
  • The lira rose to its highest amount in about a month due to speculation of improving ties between the two countries and the possibilities of investment and economic opportunity in Turkey.

Tweets:

Drone Attack in Saudi Airport, Houthi Rebels Blamed

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hdptcar from Bangui, Central African Republic, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Abha airport in Saudi Arabia intercepted a drone attack, and the shrapnel injured eight people and damaged a civilian aircraft. Another drone was intercepted earlier in the day and shrapnel hit parts of the airport without causing casualties.
  • The attacks were blamed on Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which are currently battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. A few days prior, a Saudi-back military base in Yemen was hit with missiles and drones, killing 30 people.
  • No one has officially claimed responsibility for any of the attacks. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the war in Yemen since 2014.

Tweets:

Indian Ambassador Meets with Taliban Leader

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Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • India’s Foreign Ministry has announced that Deepak Mittal, India’s ambassador to Qatar, met with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, a Taliban leader, in Doha. The meeting was requested by the Taliban.
  • The meeting discussed the safety of Indian nationals still remaining in Afghanistan, and the possibility for Afghans to travel to India. According to the foreign ministry, the Taliban stated that these issues would be positively addressed.
  • The foreign ministry stated that Mittal conveyed the message that “Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.” Prior to the meeting, Stanekzai expressed interest in the Taliban having economic ties with India.

Tweets:

Paris Restricts Speed Limit to 30 km/hour to Reduce Pollution and Accidents

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Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Paris has instituted an almost universal speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour (less than 19 miles per hour) in an effort to reduce pollution and increase safety. It is debated whether this will actually be effective in reducing emissions.
  • In a further effort to disencourage driving in the city, authorities are taking away almost half of the parking spaces available on public roads. Walking, biking, and public transportation are alternatives that the government is trying to promote.
  • A public consultation was held late last year with almost 6,000 people. Parisian City Hall conducted a poll that showed 59% of residents in favor of the new measure.

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

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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