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The Daily Brief: World Experiences Deja Vu As COVID Stubbornly Persists

Countries scramble to contain fast spreading Delta Variant

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Summary: 

  • Covid continues to paralyze a return to normality across the world.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. has strongly recommended vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors.
  • Examination of COVID positive tests suggests that the viral load for vaccinated and non vaccinated individuals is similar. 
  • The high viral load raises concerns about the high transmission of the variant.
  • More and more athletes are testing positive at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Wuhan, China is again experiencing rising rates of COVID positive tests, with all 9.3 million city residents expected to be tested.
  • Countries such as Kenya have postponed in-person meetings as the variant spreads unchecked.

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New Rules Placed On China IPOs

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  • Chinese companies seeking to raise money in the U.S. will have to go through additional hurdles before clearance by the SEC.
  • Companies will have to give broader disclosure of investors.
  • The administrative requirements are in part to ensure greater transparency about companies that are in actuality based in China but operated offshore.
  • The ultimate goal is to protect US investors from holding shares in companies that may be subject to government oversight by China.

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Iran Suspected In Attack Against MV Mercer Street Tanker

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  • A tanker operated by an Israeli company was attacked on Thursday.
  • Two people were killed by the drone initiated attack.
  • Iran is suspected in the maritime incident, in which two people were killed.
  • Iran has yet to respond on its culpability.

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Tokyo Olympics: USA Leading in Medal Count, China Leading in Golds

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Carine06 from UK, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • China has won the most gold medals so far at 19, with Japan and USA trailing closely. The United States has won the most medals overall at 41, with China one medal away from catching up.
  • Women’s soccer has reached the semifinals, with the USA facing off against Canada and Sweden against Australia.
  • In the men’s Tennis semifinals, Alexander Zverev lost to Novak Djokovic in a surprise twist. Djokovic was bidding to win a Golden Slam, which requires four grand slams and an Olympic gold medal in one year.
  • Three USA fencing athletes wore pink masks to stand against sexual assault, while their teammate who is being investigated for sexual assault, Alen Hadzic, wore a black mask. 
  • Germany’s gymnastics team has opted for more modest uniforms amidst Norway’s beach volleyball uniform controversy.
  • A man was arrested by the Hong Kong police for booing during the Chinese national anthem inside a shopping mall.
  • Track and field athletes from Nigeria staged a protest after they were declared ineligible to compete due to non-compliance of the Out of Competition Testing (OCT) requirement.

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President Duterte Restores Agreement Allowing US Troop Presence in Philippines

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PCOO EDP, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte decided to keep the The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), allowing US troops to conduct war drills and combat exercises between US and Philippine forces. 
  • Presence of US troops is even more significant given China’s proximity and recent disputes in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin thanked the President for restoring the agreement in a joint press briefing.
  • Duterte stated last year that he was going to terminate the agreement, but continued to push back the date of termination. Defense secretaries from both countries stated the importance of strengthening ties and cooperation between the two countries.

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Hong Kong Sentences Protester to Nine Years in Prison Under New Security Law

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Thomas Au, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Hong Kong charged Tong Ying-kit to nine years in prison under the new security law, setting the harsh tone for future cases. The law enables a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
  • Ying-kit waved a flag last year stating “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”. He also rode a motorcycle into police officers during a protest. He was given six and a half years for the flag’s message and eight years for “deliberate challenge against the police”.
  • According to China, the law is to help stabilize Hong Kong, but critics believe it is an easy way to punish activists. The law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.

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Four Deaths in Turkey as Wildfires Continue

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Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Thousands of firefighters are fighting wildfires in Turkey, which have killed four people and injured more than fifty people. Around twenty neighbourhoods, villages, and hotels have been evacuated.
  • The fires occurred in coastal towns that feature resorts popular among tourists. Mehmet Oktay, the mayor of Marmaris, has not ruled out potential sabotage for the cause of the fire. Turkey has launched investigations into the fires’ cause, and many believe it is arson.
  • Around fifty different fires have been reported in Turkey, with most of them contained. However, around 1,500 acres of agricultural land have been destroyed, and more than 1,000 animals killed.

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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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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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