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The Daily Brief: Taliban seize control of Cities in northern Afghanistan

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Provincial Capitals in Northern Afghanistan Come Under Taliban Rule as U.S. Forces Continue to Exit

Summary:

  • The Taliban have seized control of four major provincial cities in Northern Afghanistan, including Taleqan, the capital of the northeastern province of Takhar, and Kunduz, a city of high military strategic value.
  • The recent city takeovers have demonstrated a defeat of the Afghan security forces and government to counter the Taliban military offense.
  • Although the Taliban have released photos, videos, and other materials that claim military takeover of the cities, the Afghan government denies the Taliban claims of sovereignty over the provinces.
  • At least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 40 were wounded on Saturday in Kunduz as heavy military fighting occurred between Afghan security forces and the Taliban.
  • President Biden has been briefed, and U.S. officials are monitoring the situation; however, Mr. Biden has not reevaluated his decision to withdraw U.S. troops and end the U.S. combat mission by the end of the month, in light of the recent Taliban victories, according to senior administration officials.
  • The violence and turmoil caused by the recent withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops have shocked many, with some fearing that the capital city Kabul could fall.
  • The U.S. launched airstrikes against Taliban positions in an attempt to combat the insurgents – the Taliban have accused the U.S. of bombing civilian places including a high school and hospital.
  • In a speech defending U.S. withdrawal, President Biden stated the U.S. took sufficient measures to empower the Afghan government and army and they should be able to face the military struggles themselves.
  • A top NATO general under President Bill Clinton has called the recent events “a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan, and a consequence of American misjudgements and failures.”

Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/08/asia/afghanistan-taliban-kunduz-intl/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/08/us/politics/taliban-afghanistan-united-states.html

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/08/1025909600/taliban-seizes-2-more-provincial-capitals-in-afghanistan

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-capture-government-buildings-afghan-city-kunduz-2021-08-08/

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Students in Gaza Celebrate Passing Final Exams Despite War

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  • Approximately 80,000 students took academic final exams in the occupied Palestinan territories, with a pass percentage of 71 according to data from the education ministry.
  • Students in the Gaza strip have faced insurmountable challenges this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and 11-day offense of Israeli military attacks on civilian residences and structures.
  • The pandemic made remote teaching almost impossible due to the lack of resources and internet access many Palestinians face living in poor conditions.
  • Students describe the 11-day offense as a living “nightmare,” with frequent airstrikes and violence making it difficult to study – several students have also recounted stories of trauma from the war, including enduring loss of loved ones and family members.
  • Families celebrated student academic achievements with sweets, flowers, and fireworks.

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U.S. Senate Moves Ahead to Pass Infrastructure Bill

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  • The U.S. Senate has taken more steps to move towards passing the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill that will serve as an investment to improve roads and bridges.
  • Republicans and Democrats worked together to form painstaking negotiations and compromises that ultimately earned a 69-28 vote.
  • The legislation is a top priority for President Biden and passage of the bill would entail a major victory for him and bipartisan lawmakers who drafted the bill.
  • A total of 18 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats to advance the bill -Republican senators opposing the bill cite concerns over the national debt.

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Olympics Update: Highlights and Closing Ceremony

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  • Team USA finished the Olympics with the highest number of gold and total medals, with 39 and 113 medals, respectively.
  • China had 38 gold medals, and only lost its lead on the last day of competition. The US has had the highest medal count since 1966.
  • Japan hosted the closing ceremony on Sunday in Paris, with an audience filled with empty seats. Athletes from each country marched with their flags to begin the ceremony.
  • US President Joe Biden thanked the athletes from Team USA “for showing what we can do together as one America and as one team.”
  • These Olympics will be remembered with Simone Biles pulling out of events to prioritize her mental health and Belarusian sprinter refusing to return to her home country and finding safety in Poland, among many other historic moments.
  • In terms of competition highlights, India won its first medal after 41 years, age-defying skateboarders set new records, athletes used their platform to take a stand on social justice issues, high jumpers from Italy and Qatar shared a gold medal, and countless more historic events.
  • Covid-19 made an unfortunate backdrop to this delayed Olympic games, and that competition has not finished yet.

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Sudan Recalls Ambassador to Ethiopia

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  • Sudan has recalled Ethiopian Ambassador Gamal al-Sheikh. Sudan’s foreign ministry announced in a statement, “Ethiopia will improve its position if it considered what Sudan could do … instead of completely rejecting all of its efforts.”
  • A spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called relations between Sudan and Ethiopia “a little bit tricky” especially after the “Sudanese army incursion into Ethiopian territory.”
  • Last year, Sudan deployed troops to Ethiopia’s border, increasing tensions between the two countries. The decades-long dispute is over fertile agricultural land that both countries believe to be within their own borders.

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Food Crisis in North Korea as Floods Worsen

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  • Floods in North Korea have destroyed at least 1,000 homes and evacuated thousands. Many miles of roads and bridges have been damaged.
  • North Korea faced typhoons last year, creating a food situation dependent on this year’s crop harvest. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has confirmed that North Korea faces a food shortage and that agricultural land has been destroyed.
  • Heavy rains are expected in the next few days as well, worsening the floods. The country cut itself off from international imports, increasing the food crisis and economy. 
  • US secretary of state Antony Blinken and South Korean foreign minister Chung Eui-yong discussed potential aid to North Korea.

California Battles Second Largest Wildfire in States’ History

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  • California is battling the second largest wildfire in its state history in the town of Greenville, called the Dixie Fire. Firefighters are working to contain eleven major fires in the state.
  • Thousands of people have been evacuated, and only around 20% of the fires have been contained. More than 5,000 firefighters are working against the Dixie Fire. This fire started on July 13th, and winds have carried the problem to Montana and Oregon.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom of California stated, “we need to acknowledge just straight up these are climate-induced wildfires”.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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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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