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The Daily Brief: Covid-19 Breaks New Records as Surge Continues to Wreck Recently Stabilised Economies

Coronavirus has roared back to life in recent weeks with vaccine shortages, outbreaks in sports leagues, and increased transmissibility of Omicron

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  • The US crossed 800,000 Covid-19 deaths today, the highest death toll of any country in the world.
  • The number is especially tragic because about 200,000 of those lives were lost after vaccines became widely available in the states. 
  • The US National Football League (NFL) is also experiencing a current surge in coronavirus cases; fourteen Cleveland Browns players and Coach Kevin Stefanski recently tested positive for Covid-19 threatening the stability of the NFL’s future schedule.
  • Omicron, the most recent Coronavirus variant, has also been on the rise globally however the World Health Organisation has assured that a regular Covid-19 booster shot should provide immunity against Omicron.
  • However, WHO has also warned that the Omicron variant is showing signs of being a highly transmissible and deadly variant so it is encouraged for governments to continue encouraging immunization, social distancing practices, and mask usage.
  • The UK is also experiencing troubles with Covid-19 as residents itch to ease health restrictions and Omicron pushes the Coronavirus case rate to a record daily high of 78,600.
  • Germany’s condition is not too far behind the UK and US with the German health minister voicing concerns over vaccine stock stating that the country simply does “not have enough vaccines” and is unlikely to have the resources required to continue their vaccine campaign in the first quarter of 2022.

Other Headlines:

South Africa’s Top Court Orders Ex-President Jacob Zuma to Return to Jail

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  • Jacob Zuma, ex-President of South Africa, has been sentenced to return to prison by the Pretoria High Court after being released on September 5th for an undisclosed medical condition.
  • Zuma was imprisoned in July after he turned himself in to police for failing to attend an inquiry into corruption during his presidency.
  • Zuma’s arrest in July sparked widespread violence, looting, and protests leading to the deaths of more than 300 people. 

Lebanese Citizens Move to Cyprus Amidst Economic Crisis

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  • Some 12,000 people from Lebanon have migrated to Cyprus. Among the 12,000, 70% of individuals are between 25 and 40 years of age.
  • 77,000 people left Lebanon in the wake of economic instability.
  • Emigrants to Cyprus cite the power and petrol crises as contributing factors to their decision to leave their homeland.
  • Results from a Gallup poll indicated that 63% of Lebanese would consider permanently leaving Lebanon if the situation became increasingly worse.   

Russian and Chinese Leaders Hold Virtual Meeting

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  • President Vladimir Putin of Russia and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, met via video conference on Wednesday.
  • Both countries met at a time of escalating tensions with the West.
  • President Putin described Russian-Chinese relations as exemplary cooperation.  He also plans to attend the February 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • Russia’s military presence near the Ukrainian border resulted in strained relations with the West, with the Kremlin accusing the West of Russophobia.
  • The strengthening of Russian-Chinese ties is in response to NATO and the US’s “aggressive” rhetoric, according to Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

German Court Imprisons Man Accused of Murder Committed on Russia’s Orders

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  • Vadim Krasikov was accused of murdering Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in August 2019.  
  • The court found Krasikov guilty of the crime committed on August 23, 2019 in Tiergarten park in Berlin, Germany.
  • Khangoshvili was formerly involved in the Chechen rebel forces. The German court believed the Russian Federation ordered Krasikov to shoot Khangoshvili.
  • The German-Russian relationship is already quite strained. The news of two Russian diplomats’ expulsion from Germany comes at a tumultuous time. 
  • Khangoshvili had been seeking asylum in Germany since 2016. He was a commander of Chechen rebel forces from 2000 to 2004, during the war of independence between Russia and Chechnya. 

Hong Kong Building Blaze Injures 13, Traps Hundreds on Rooftop

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  • A fire erupted in the World Trade Center building in Hong Kong on Wednesday. At least 13 people were injured and firefighters rescued many others from the rooftop using ladders.
  • More than 300 people were trapped on the 38-story building’s roof for three hours.
  • 13 people were sent to local hospitals for smoke inhalation treatment, with one semi conscious person.
  • The building is located in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island.
  • The cause of the fire is not known, but a Hong Kong-based newspaper reported that the fire may have started in an electrical switch room on the building’s first floor.

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

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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  • 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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  • 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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Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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  • 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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Pope Francis Apologizes for Indigenous Abuse in Canadian Residential Schools

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  • Pope Francis traveled to the grounds of a former residential school near Alberta, Canada and formally apologized for the Church’s role in the abuse of indigenous people and erasure of indigenous culture.
  • The majority of the schools were run by members of the Roman Catholic Church in the late 1800s and 1900s. Around 150,000 indigenous children were sent to the schools and more than 3,000 are estimated to have died.
  • In his speech, the Pope asked for forgiveness and highlighted the Church’s role in the schools system, stating, “I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated… in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.”
  • Indigenous chiefs, survivors of the residential schools, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were some of the few in attendance for the Pope’s remarks.

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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