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The Daily Brief: The World Rings In The New Year Amidst Omicron Surge

Many New Years’ celebrations around the world were either cancelled or scaled back as the COVID variant, Omicron, continues to surge throughout the world.

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Summary: 

  • With Omicron continuing to break records for the number of new daily cases across Europe, many planned New Years’ celebrations around the world were scaled back, cancelled, or held with no restrictions. 
  • Sydney, Australia rang in the New Year with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Opera House and allowed tens of thousands of spectators to watch as long as they had purchased tickets in advance. 
  • Large New Years’ celebrations were called off in London, Paris, Japan, China, South Korea, and Kuala Lumpur. 
  • Forgoing an elaborate fireworks display, London opted to televise their New Years’ celebration by showing Big Ben ringing in the new year for the 1st time since 2017. 
  • Although many large celebrations were cancelled, the skies across the globe were still filled with fireworks as many people set off their own fireworks to celebrate the New Year. 
  • In the US, the New York Times Square New Years’ celebration still occurred although the crowd was reduced to just a quarter of its usual size, and vaccinations and masks were required for all attendees. 
  • Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, attracted large crowds with its extravagant fireworks display. 
  • South Africa, the 1st country to warn the world about the Omicron variant, lifted its midnight curfew after 2 years with officials announcing that their country was officially past the peak of the new Omicron surge. Business owners and citizens rejoiced as they celebrated the New Year throughout the night. 
  • Many New Years’ messages from world leaders paid respect to those that lost their lives from COVID in 2021 and encouraged citizens to get vaccinated or boosted to help with COVID hospitalizations. 

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Putin and Biden Speak Over Phone Amid Ukraine Tensions

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White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • US President, Joe Biden and Russian President, Vladimir Putin spoke for the 2nd time this month for over 50 mins on Thursday as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to rise. 
  • Putin warned that the US would be making a “colossal mistake” should they decide to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. 
  • Biden urged Putin to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine because the US and its allies will be forced to respond decisively should Russia invade Ukraine. 
  • Both leaders believe the call ended positively although no major breakthroughs occurred. 
  • The call sets the stage as diplomatic parties from both countries are set to meet next month on January 10th, 2022 to discuss the situation further.

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Casualties in Pro Democracy Demonstrations in Sudan

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  • Violence persists after the October 25th coup in Sudan, killing four people.
  • The individuals were killed during nationwide protests against the military rule.
  • The Sudanese Security Forces have taken responsibility for the casualties.
  • The demonstrators are calling for elections free of military involvement.

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Colorado Wildfires Continue to Decimate Parts of Boulder County

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  • Boulder County, Colorado remains the epicenter of devastating wildfires.
  • Thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes, with the towns of Louisville and Superior hardest hit.
  • Officials estimate that nearly 1000 homes have been destroyed.
  • The Marshall and Middle Fork Fires have ravaged many suburban areas of Colorado.

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Rohingya Refugees Accepted into Indonesia

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  • A boat carrying about 100 Rohingya refugees has been rescued by the Indonesian navy.
  • The boat had been spotted earlier in the week but the government of Indonesia had initially refused to accept the migrants.
  • International humanitarian organizations had decried Indonesia, calling on the country to take in the refugees.
  • The Indonesian government relented but adverse weather conditions delayed rescue operations.

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Mexico Announces Plans to Offer Digital Currency In Two Years

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  • The Office of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced plans to offer use of digital currency by 2024.
  • The country’s Central Bank has expressed interest in broadening and modernizing the payment options for transactions in the country.
  • Nearly a quarter of financial transactions in Mexico are made in cash.
  • The currency in question would be backed by the issuing entity, as opposed to having the backing of a physical commodity.

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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Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, Faiza is a mother of two with a degree in Psychology and Paralegal Studies. She is passionate about lending her voice to those who are disadvantaged.

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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