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The Daily Brief: Tokyo 2020 off to a Shaky Start

Tokyo 2020 off to a Shaky Start

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Monument of Olympic Rings

Dick Thomas Johnson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympics have now begun, a year after their scheduled start date of July 23, 2020.
  • The 2020 Olympics were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and then met with scandal after scandal causing 4 organizers to be dismissed from their positions.
  • The latest dismissal was issued to opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi one day before the Olympics was scheduled to begin.
  • Kobayashi was discharged due to the emergence of a 1990’s video in which he appears to joke about the Holocaust.
  • Beyond organizational changes, Tokyo 2020 is also destabilized by the rapid uptake in coronavirus cases. 
  • The Covid-19 delta variant has drastically increased the global case count and heightened health concerns. 
  • At least 18 Olympic athletes have publicly dropped out of the global event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Despite these setbacks Tokyo 2021 has persevered, giving athletes a chance to showcase their hard work and talent in front of a global audience.
  • This grand event also allows athletes to express their beliefs to an audience of billions. Several athletes have already taken this chance to kneel ahead of their matches to protest racial inequality.
  • Sources:

CNN

BBC

  • Tweets:

Other Headlines:

Death Toll Rises in China Floods as Social Media Unites to Help Survivors

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Chase Chesser, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Central China has suffered extreme flooding in recent days causing streets, homes, and cars to be engulfed in water 1 yard deep.
  • Subways in Zhengzhou province were submerged in water for hours, trapping passengers and killing 12 people.
  • Weibo users united to gather resources and support for victims of the floods which have killed at least 33 people, caused another 8 to go missing, and gave rise to $190 million worth of economic damage.

Tweets:

Iran Opens New Oil Terminal Allowing Bypass of Strait of Hormuz

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Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran has opened a new oil terminal that allows them an alternative to the Strait of Hormuz, which is a narrow strip of water that transports around 20% of the world’s crude oil.
  • The new oil terminal required around $2 billion and two years to complete. It is expected to reduce transportation and insurance costs for oil tankers, as well as several days of sailing time.
  • There have been confrontations between the US and Iranian military in the Strait of Hormuz, as well as attacks on some Iranian vessels, adding to the significance of this new terminal. Rouhani stated, “This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports.”
  • The strait has been a source of controversy due to Iran threatening to close it after the US placed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear agreement. US President Joe Biden is working to reenter the nuclear agreement.

Tweets

UK Faces Food and Labor Shortages Due to Covid

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Christopher Corneschi, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • UK supply chains are suffering from food and gas shortages due to the rise in Covid-19 cases causing workers to stay at home. Major supermarket chains and other industries are also facing a staffing shortage because of the pandemic. 
  • BP, a British oil and gas company, announced that they are experiencing fuel issues and are temporarily closing a handful of sites. The company attributed the issue to a shortage of truck drivers because workers are staying at home due to Covid.
  • Around 50,000 new cases are reported daily in the UK, and a new NHS Test and Trace service notifies people via a “ping” if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person, leading to this crisis being named a ‘pingdemic’.

Tweets

Hong Kong Police Arrest Five Union Members for Sedition 

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Studio Incendo, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Hong Kong police have arrested five authors of children’s books, stating that their stories of wolves and sheep have incited hatred against the Chinese government and are the basis for sedition.
  • Steve Li, a senior superintendent of the national security department stated the content of the books was “stirring hatred” and “inciting violence.”
  • The arrest of the authors was made under a colonial-era law targeting sedition.
  • A title of one of the books “Defenders of the Sheep Village,” narrates the story of wolves wanting to occupy a village of sheep, who use their horns for defense – police say the story is connected to the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.

Tweets:

Norway Remembers Victims on 10 Year Anniversary of Extremist Attack

Julian-G. Albert, CC BY 2.0 by via Wikimedia Commons
  • A vigil was held in Oslo, Norway where thousands of people gathered to remember a national tragedy that took the lives of 77 people, including several teenagers in a bomb attack and gun rampage by a right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Brevik.
  • Brevik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum possible term a year after the attack.
  • Memorials commemorating the victims of the attack were held throughout the country, including a service at Oslo Cathedral which rang church bells as thousands gathered. 
  • Jens Stoltenberg, who was prime minister at the time of the attack condemned Brevik as an extremist who used violence for political motives, and not one who respected democracy.

Tweets:

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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