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The Daily Brief: Heavy Rains Bring Deadly Floods to Western Europe

Heavy Rains Bring Deadly Floods to Western Europe

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1280px Flood of the Rhine River 2018

Spielvogel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • Record rainfall in western europe has caused rivers to swell and burst their banks leading to large scale flooding across Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
  • At least 70 people have been killed due to the intense flooding and more than a thousand remain unaccounted for.
  • The western German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were hit the hardest by the downpour and subsequent flooding from nearby rivers.
  • Hundreds of firefighters, emergency responders and soldiers are working to rescue victims and evacuate towns hit hardest by the floods.
  • Dozens of homes and cars have been destroyed by the water torrents leaving hundreds stuck under debris and rubble.
  • Environmental activists and politicians have pointed to climate change as the cause for the flooding. 
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the flooding “catastrophic” and said that she is “grieving those who have lost their lives”. She also assured Germans that their “government – federal, regional and community – collectively will do everything under the most difficult conditions to save lives, alleviate dangers and to relieve distress.”
  • Sources:

BBC

NYT

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COVID-19 Surges in Africa, Overwhelms Healthcare System

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  • Africa is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, leading to a 43% increase in coronavirus related deaths in one week according to the World Health Organization.
  • The new Delta variant has spread on the continent, with hospitals lacking intensive-care units and oxygen supplies; fatalities from COVID-19 have risen from 4,383 the week of June 28 – July 2 to 6,273 the week of July 5 – 11.
  • WHO regional director for Africa stated hospitals have reached a “breaking point” in the countries most impacted by the virus, as a shortage of healthcare workers, poor infrastructure and lack of resources have led to the inability to care for severely ill patients.
  • WHO officials also warned South Africa of a devastating COVID-19 surge following several days of looting and political unrest – a rise in COVID-19 related deaths have been fueled by vaccine shortages and public fatigue with loss of precautionary measures.

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Lebanon PM-Designate Quits as the Country Faces a Political Deadlock

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Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Months of continued political deadlock have led to the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, plunging the nation into a deeper crisis as it faces social, economic, and political turmoil.
  • Mr. Hariri was selected to form a new government after the previous one resigned following the massive explosion in Beirut that left hundreds dead – yet, after months of disagreement over appointment of cabinet members and ministers with President Michel Aoun, the PM-designate has given up the task.
  • Lebanon is suffering one of the worst financial contractions since the mid-1800s – a currency collapse has led to rising inflation, coupled with food, medicine, electricity and fuel shortages.
  • The international community is refusing to provide Lebanon with aid until a new government is formed with a crackdown on corruption – foreign minister of France has called the failure to form a new government “yet another terrible incident.”

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Cuban Government Eases Import Duties After Widespread Protests

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Emmanuel Huybrechts from Laval, Canada, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Following intense anti-government protests in Cuba against food and medicine shortages, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz removed import duties on food brought into the country by travellers.
  • Cuba saw widespread and record breaking protests on Sunday. People were angry with the handling of the pandemic, electricity outages, and limiting of civil liberties. More than 200 people were arrested for protesting, and one person was killed.
  • Those who relied on relatives outside of Cuba to help get them food and medicine were struggling with the import duties. As of now, up to 10kg of medicine and a small amount of food can be brought into Cuba without taxes.
  • Cuba’s economy is severely struggling with the lack of tourism and the pandemic. Many wait in long lines to buy food or medicine. Cuba blames the economic hardships on US trade sanctions.

Tweets

Leaked Kremlin Documents Show that Russia Helped Trump in 2016 Election

Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • In what looks to be leaked Kremlin documents according to the Guardian, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized an operation to assist former US President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
  • A meeting with Putin and other government officials took place in January 2016 where it was decided that Trump as the US President would be most beneficial to Russia’s objectives.
  • Putin’s signature is seen to be approving three spy agencies to support Trump in the election. Independent experts believe the leaked papers are authentic, but it has not been officially established.
  • The papers also described Trump as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”. Hillary Clinton, the main rival in the 2016 election, was not explicitly mentioned in the papers.

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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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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 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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