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The Daily Brief: UK Approves First Covid-19 Antiviral Pill

The UK has approved an oral antiviral drug made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that fights mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.

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CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The UK has approved an oral antiviral pill made jointly by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that will be administered as a capsule to fight against Covid-19.
  • This is the first oral antiviral medicine to be approved for Covid-19, allowing it to be given outside a hospital setting. It will be sold under the name Lagevrio in the UK.
  • The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated that the drug is “safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death” in mild to moderate cases.
  • Clinical studies done by Merck showed that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalizations or death by 50% for mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.
  • According to MHRA, the drug prevents the virus from “multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.”
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting at the end of the month to discuss the drug.
  • The drug is most effective when taken within the early stages of infection, with the MHRA recommending it be taken within five days of a positive Covid test.
  • The World Health Organization warned that Europe could hit half a million deaths this winter, with much of Europe seeing spikes in infection rates.

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OPEC+ Maintains Production Levels Amidst Pressure From US

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Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR , via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) has decided to maintain their level of oil production, even amidst pressure from the US to boost output in order to meet demands.
  • Demand is higher due to reduced Covid-19 restrictions, but OPEC+ is set on gradually increasing oil production by 400,000 barrels per day each month, and nothing more.
  • President Joe Biden blamed OPEC+ for their explanation against an increase in production, stating that “The idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is not right,”

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One Year Later and Civil War Continues to Ravage Ethiopia

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  • On November 4th, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, ordered what was supposed to be a swift military takeover of those who supported the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region of Tigray, Ethiopia. 
  • One year since the war began, Ethiopia is now facing a humanitarian crisis, with reports of thousands killed, humanitarian aid and food being denied to those in need, and numerous human rights violations from both sides of the conflict. 
  • With TPLF gradually gaining momentum and continuing to inch towards the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Ahmed has urged civilians to take up arms and fight TPLF fighters; a move that has shocked many as Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and noted his detest for war. 
  • Both sides have been condemned internationally and are urged to a ceasefire as the conflict continues to spiral out of control. 

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US Based Russian Analyst Indicted For Lying to FBI 

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  • 43-year-old Russian national, Igor Danchenko was taken into custody Thursday on five counts of making false statements to the FBI in relation to the Trump and Russia investigation. 
  • Danchenko is considered a key player in the 2017 Steele dossier, which is a collection of reports that contained claims and allegations that Trump and those in his inner circle conspired with Russia to win the 2016 US presidential elections. 
  • The FBI claims that after the Steele dossier was released, Danchenko was interviewed several times and lied during those interviews.
  • Danchenko is the 3rd person arrested in relation to the Trump-Russia probe since FBI investigator John Durham was appointed special counsel in 2019. 

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British MP Owen Paterson Steps Down Amid Lobbying Controversy 

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  • British Parliamentarian, Owen Paterson, has resigned after the House of Commons, Standard Committee suggested Paterson be suspended for 30 days after they found that he used his position to promote two companies that paid him three times his annual parliamentary salary. 
  • Paterson denies any wrongdoing and that all decisions he made were with the public’s health and safety in mind. 
  • On Wednesday, prior to Paterson’s resignation, British PM, Boris Johnson, and his conservative party voted against the Standards Committee’s suggested punishment but later reversed their decision in less than 24 hours in the wake of the immense backlash. 
  • Paterson stated he will continue to be a public servant but “outside the cruel world of politics.”

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Over 40 Countries Pledge To Stop Using Coal at COP26 Climate Conference

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Adrem68, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

  • On day five of the UN COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, UK, over 40 countries, including Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, have pledged to stop investing in new coal power generators and intend to phase out coal use by the 2030s for larger economies and the 2040s for smaller economies. 
  • Many organizations have also signed pledges with major banks to stop financing the coal industry in the future.
  • China and the US, the world’s largest coal-dependent nations, have declined to sign the pledge.
  • Scientists believe coal power is the highest contributor to climate change with 37% of the world’s electricity coming from coal in 2019. 

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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