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The Daily Brief: WHO Warns of “Tsunami” Of Covid Cases

WHO General Director stated his concern with the rise in Covid cases, urging individuals to get vaccinated

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  • The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of a “tsunami” of Covid cases in various countries. 
  • “I’m highly concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible [and] circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases,” Ghebreyesus released in a statement Wednesday. 
  • Around 900,000 cases are being reported daily from a combination of Delta and Omicron being the most common variants. 
  • The Omicron strain remains the dominant variant in various countries, already showing “consistent evidence” in causing a greater number of cases and spredage compared to the Delta variant.  
  • Ghebreyesus also warned of “immense pressure on exhausted health workers, and health systems on the brink of collapse” with the increase of hospitalizations. 
  • 2,000 flights have been cancelled globally with reinforced restrictions and mask mandates in many countries.  
  • WHO aims for 40% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, urging individuals to receive the vaccine in order to reach 70% by July 2022. 

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Police Search Pro-Democracy News Organization, Arrest Four

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  • Stand News in Hong Kong was searched by 200 police this Wednesday, with four board members arrested under a national security law enacted a year prior.
  • Law enforcement seized materials belonging to the news website and arrested members under the suspicion of publishing provocative materials against the government.
  • Stand News is one of the largest pro-democracy newspapers in Hong Kong, going against the government’s ongoing mission to stifle dissent. 

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Putin Requests Call with President Biden

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  • President Joe Biden accepted Putin’s request for a call to discuss various topics.  The US and Russian Presidents will speak on Thursday.
  • President Biden accepted the request, continuing the administration’s trend of diplomatic engagement with other nations.
  • According to an administration official, President Biden’s call agenda includes the two nations’ bilateral discussions planned for January 10 and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and NATO-Russia meetings that will take place on January 12 and 13.
  • The US will prioritize diplomacy with Russia, but is prepared for a harsh response to further Russian aggression or invasion against Ukraine, according to a senior administration official. 
  • Thursday’s call is the second time the two leaders will interact directly this month.

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Authorities Warn of an ‘Icemageddon’ in Alaska

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  • Alaska, the coldest state in the US, reached a record hottest day in December on Sunday.  The temperature was 19.4 degrees Celsius (67 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Despite this record high temperature in Kodiak (an island), temperatures in other areas in Alaska are plummeting to record lows, such as -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in Ketchikan.
  • The extreme weather conditions resulted in warnings of an ‘Icemageddon’ as torrential rain and snow befell the area.
  • The snowfall in the area that quickly turned to ice when the torrential rains started resulted in power failures and workplace and road closures.

Public Shaming Through the Streets in China

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  • Four offenders accused of smuggling people across Chinese borders paraded through the streets in the Guangxi province on December 28.
  • Cameras caught southern China police leading the public shaming parade.
  • The men were wearing hazmat suits and face shields while holding up signs with their names and photos with their faces on them.
  • There were mixed reactions on social media platforms regarding the public shaming exercise.  
  • Supporters of the activity claimed such measures reinforced epidemic control and protected the borders, while others found it should not be repeated again.

Content Moderator Sues TikTok

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  • Candie Frazier, a content moderator for TikTok, is suing the company, claiming the social media platform does not provide sufficient psychological support to content moderators who must view graphic videos for up to 12 hours per day. 
  • Frazier’s complaint claims she developed PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) as a result of the disturbing content she is subjected to at the workplace.
  • The lawsuit was filed last week as a proposed class action suit.  
  • TikTok reported in September that it has 1 billion users. 
  • The company’s spokesperson declined comment, citing TikTok is refraining from commenting on litigation that is in-progress.

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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

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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Daily Brief

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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