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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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