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Analysis

USA/Global Tax Reform – Can President Biden deliver on global tax reform? (Euractiv)

Dick Roche writes: When the OECD launched its Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) taxation initiative, the Obama administration, while supportive of the project’s aims, was cautious. The US lead negotiator commented that in the BEPS process every other country wanted the US “to pay for lunch.”

go to Euractiv: Can President Biden deliver on global tax reform? – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean – Blue Homeland: Turkey’s Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean (Euractiv)

Antonia Colibasanu writes: As Turkey’s dreams of joining the European Union have faded, Ankara has shifted its strategy toward the West. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest moves – a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the announcement of a resumption of Turkish energy exploration in the area – are meant to show that he will continue to pursue his neo-Ottoman “Mavi Vatan” (Blue Homeland) doctrine.

go to Euractiv: Blue Homeland: Turkey’s Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Europe/Iraq/Belarus – EU pushes Iraq to stem migrant flights to Belarus (Euractiv, AFP)

Euractiv writes: The European Union said on Thursday (29 July) it was pressing Iraq to help stem the flow of migrants to Belarus who are then smuggled across the border into Lithuania.

go to Euractiv: EU pushes Iraq to stem migrant flights to Belarus – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Slovenia – Slovenian opposition calls for independent probe into Pegasus concerns (Euractiv)

Sebastijan R. Maček writes: Slovenia’s opposition Social Democrats have called on Prime Minister Janez Janša to initiate an independent, voluntary forensic investigation of mobile devices of political leaders, journalists and civil society in the face of the Pegasus surveillance scandal.

go to Euractiv: Slovenian opposition calls for independent probe into Pegasus concerns – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Europe/Cuba – EU urges Cuba to free ‘arbitrarily detained’ protesters (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: The European Union is “very concerned about the repression” of protests in Cuba and urges the government to release all arbitrarily detained protesters, the EU said on Thursday (29 July) in its strongest statement to date on the matter.

go to Euractiv: EU urges Cuba to free ‘arbitrarily detained’ protesters – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Poland/Europe – Polish minister says European rights law breaches constitution (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: Poland’s justice minister on Thursday (29 July) asked its Constitutional Tribunal to examine whether an article of the European Convention on Human Rights breaches the constitution, deepening an international row over the country’s judicial reforms.

go to Euractiv: Polish minister says European rights law breaches constitution – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

France/Europe/Green Solutions – Firms propose green solutions for France’s EU presidency bid (Euractiv)

Clara Bauer-Babef writes: A group of major French companies have sent a letter to Prime Minister Jean Castex  proposing solutions to best support Europe in its energy transition once France assumes the six month rotating EU Council presidency at the start of 2022. EURACTIV France reports.

go to Euractiv: Firms propose green solutions for France’s EU presidency bid – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Europe/Climate Change – EU creates checklist for ‘climate proof’ infrastructure projects (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: The European Commission on Thursday (29 July) published a guide to assess whether planned infrastructure projects are equipped to cope with climate change impacts like floods and heatwaves, a condition that must be met to receive certain EU funds.

go to Euractiv: EU creates checklist for ‘climate proof’ infrastructure projects – EURACTIV.com

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Analysis

Space – Staring at the Sun (NASA)

NASA writes: On April 29, 2015, NuSTAR, Hinode, and Solar Dynamics Observatory all stared at our Sun. 

go to NASA: Staring at the Sun | NASA

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Analysis

Space – Clays, Not Water, Are Likely Source of Mars ‘Lakes’ (NASA)

NASA writes: Where there’s water, there’s life. That’s the case on Earth, at least, and also why scientists remain tantalized by any evidence suggesting there’s liquid water on cold, dry Mars. The Red Planet is a difficult place to look for liquid water: While water ice is plentiful, any water warm enough to be liquid on the surface would last for only a few moments before turning into vapor in Mars’ wispy air.

go to NASA: Clays, Not Water, Are Likely Source of Mars ‘Lakes’ | NASA

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Israel – INSS Presents H. E. President Isaac Herzog with “Strategic Challenges Facing Israel, and Policy Recommendations” (INSS)

INSS writes: At the start of H. E. President Isaac Herzog’s term of office, and following the many global and local developments and changes over the past six months – including a new administration in Washington, President Biden’s decision to try to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, the formation of a new government in Israel, and growing tensions in Israeli society, including clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israeli cities – the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) presented to President Herzog highlights on the main strategic challenges facing Israel and policy recommendations for addressing those challenges.

go to INSS: INSS Presents H. E. President Isaac Herzog with “Strategic Challenges Facing Israel, and Policy Recommendations” | INSS

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Analysis

Turkey – Give War a Chance: Turkish Leader Finesses Political Defeat (BESA Center)

writes: Turks are hungry for fairy tales. Any feel-good news propaganda—including Erdoğan’s “The West, including the Germans, are jealous of us!” tirade—finds millions of receptive listeners in Turkey’s postmodern marketplace of absurdity.

go to BESA Center: Give War a Chance: Turkish Leader Finesses Political Defeat (besacenter.org)

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Pakistan – The Ultra-Conservative Leanings of Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan Raise Eyebrows (BESA Center)

writes: Widely seen as a populist with ultra-conservative leanings, Pakistani PM Imran Khan increasingly appears to reinforce widespread traditionalist attitudes that reject religious tolerance as well as the rights of women and minorities.

go to BESA Center: The Ultra-Conservative Leanings of Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan Raise Eyebrows (besacenter.org)

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Iran – Demonstrations in Iranian Khuzestan Demand an End to the Islamic Regime (BESA Center)

writes: Amid a fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, nightly demonstrations are occurring inside Iran—especially in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan. The protests initially concerned a water shortage and power outages, but have since turned into demonstrations demanding an end to the Islamist regime.

go to East Asia Forum: Demonstrations in Iranian Khuzestan Demand an End to the Islamic Regime (besacenter.org)

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Analysis

Asia – Asia is in a critical position to kick-start global trade reform (East Asia Forum)

Jake Read write: At the G7 summit in June in Cornwall, participants recognised the need to defend and modernise the multilateral rules-based trade system and agreed to get behind urgent, wholescale trade reform. They acknowledged that the rulebook has long been out of date and that the world trade system is in need of repair.

go to East Asia Forum: Asia is in a critical position to kick-start global trade reform (eastasiaforum.org)

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Analysis

China/India – The rise of China and India’s remote humanitarian aid (East Asia Forum)

Lina Gong writes: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many disruptions to humanitarian action since 2020. As traditional donors struggled with domestic COVID-19 responses, emerging donors such as China and India seized the opportunity to increase their humanitarian footprint. Both countries provided humanitarian aid to over 150 countries and international organisations in 2020, with online technical support as one important avenue of their aid activities. Their move to online aid delivery conforms with a general trend in the humanitarian sector towards the greater use of remote humanitarian programming.

go to East Asia Forum: The rise of China and India’s remote humanitarian aid (eastasiaforum.org)

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Analysis

USA/Iraq – What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (Brookings)

Ranj Alaaldin and Adrianna Pita write: The White House meeting between President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was primarily framed around the future of U.S. military forces in Iraq, but in addition to the destabilizing threats of ISIS and Iran-aligned militias, Iraq is also struggling with a deep economic crisis and need for significant political reforms. Ranj Alaaldin details Kadhimi’s efforts to address Iraq’s interconnected crises and how the U.S. is still critical to Iraq’s future.

go to Brookings: What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA/FTC/TechInnovation – Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (Brookings)

Lindsey BarrettLaura MoyPaul Ohm, and Ashkan Soltani write: How does a hundred-year-old agency shift its resources and focus to grapple effectively with Big Tech and some of the biggest policy puzzles of a generation? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has faced this challenge since the dotcom era. As it still scrambles to adjust, the FTC has received harsh criticism in recent years for its approvals of ballooning tech mergers and its seeming inability to deter or avert privacy scandal after privacy scandal. At the same time, popular interest in reining in Big Tech and protecting privacy has mounted. Perched at the intersection of these two issues is a wonky but fundamental problem for the agency: Do the FTC’s longstanding conflict-of-interest rules unnecessarily impede the agency’s ability to attract, retain, and deploy technical expertise that it badly needs?

go to Brookings: Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (Brookings)

Elaine Kamarck writes: Politicians almost always act in their own electoral interest. This sounds bad except that much of the time that means that they are acting in the self-interest of the people who voted for them, representing the views of the majority of their constituents. It is rare that a politician acts against his own self-interest—but then again, Donald Trump is a rare breed of politician. No politician has made it a habit of acting against his own electoral interest like Donald Trump.

go to Brookings: COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (brookings.edu)

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Washington Consensus Reforms/Sub Saharan Africa – Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa (American Economic Association, Brookings)

Belinda Archibong, Brahima Coulibaly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala write: Over three decades after market-oriented structural reforms termed “Washington Consensus” policies were first implemented, we revisit the evidence on policy adoption and the effects of these policies on socio-economic performance in sub-Saharan African countries. We focus on three key ubiquitous reform policies around privatization, fiscal discipline, and trade openness and document significant improvements in economic performance for reformers over the past two decades. Following initial declines in per capita economic growth over the 1980s and 1990s, reform adopters experienced notable increases in per capita real GDP growth in the post–2000 period. We complement aggregate analysis with four country case studies that highlight important lessons for effective reform. Notably, the ability to implement pro-poor policies alongside market-oriented reforms played a central role in successful policy performance

go to American Economic Association: Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa – American Economic Association (aeaweb.org)

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USA – Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (Brookings)

Tracy Hadden Loh writes: The June collapse of the Champlain Towers South multifamily condominium tower in Surfside, Fla. has called into question whether bad governance played a role in the tower’s failure. Was maintenance on the building deferred because the condo board, elected by the unit owners, had a short-term incentive to do so in order to retain power? Or are communities of individual owners, who are not real estate professionals, simply incapable of managing a complex asset like a high-rise building? Are American condominiums a 20th century experiment that have now reached a dangerous reaction point in the lab?

go to Brookings: Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (brookings.edu)

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Kenya – Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (Brookings)

Adan ShibiaEldah Onsomu, and Boaz Munga write: Unlike in much of the developed world, the promise of manufacturing to spur economic growth and jobs in Africa has remained elusive, with most of the continent’s economies facing deindustrialization. This trend is characterized by declining share of manufacturing in gross domestic product (GDP) and wage employment. All is, however, not lost considering emerging structural shifts, with services and other non-manufacturing industries promising economic transformations. These promising nonmanufacturing industries, termed “industries without smokestacks” (IWOSS), demonstrate key features of manufacturing such as high productivity, agglomeration, and job opportunities. The IWOSS sectors are diverse, cutting across financial services, horticulture, information and communication technology (ICT), tourism, transit trade, and wholesale trade. As part of a broader research project, the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative partnered with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) to assess which of these IWOSS might be best poised to unlock jobs in Kenya.

go to Brookings: Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (brookings.edu)

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Global Education – How teacher expectations empower student learning (Brookings)

Niharika Gupta and Sameer Sampat write: In primary school, we were both lucky to have teachers who thought we were brilliant: Ms. Darrow believed Sameer was an excellent student despite average grades, and Ms. Lewis made Niharika feel like she could survive anything. Looking back, neither of us knows why they thought this way, but we’re certain that they both truly felt this way, and their feelings made us believe it as well. Our time with these teachers made us believe in our ability to take on academic challenges, building a base of confidence that we would draw on throughout our lives.

go to Brookings: How teacher expectations empower student learning (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (Brookings)

Anthony BarrTracy Hadden LohAndre M. Perry, and Hanna Love write: In the famous post-Civil War initiative known as “40 acres and a mule,” Union General William T. Sherman promised newly freed Black households the one thing most necessary for sustaining their freedom: land. As Black minister Garrison Frazier told Sherman, freedom means having the ability to “reap the fruit of our own labor.” Unfortunately, Sherman’s promise never came to fruition, as President Andrew Johnson overturned the decision. Over a century and a half later, the unfulfilled promise of land ownership remains just as essential for the descendants of survivors of American slavery who desire economic power for themselves and their communities.

go to Brookings: ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (brookings.edu)

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Sustainable Development/SDGs – Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings)

George Ingram and Helena Hlavaty write: In 2015, all members of the United Nations adopted an ambitious agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. The agenda consists of 17 development goals to be achieved by 2030. This report examines how government donor agencies encompass SDGs in international development cooperation, covering 20 of the 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). It reviews how they propose to incorporate the SDGs at the level of strategy and policy, programs, and reporting of outputs and results. Eighteen of the 20 members (excepting the United States and the European Union) have produced at least one Voluntary National Review (VNR). Although principally aimed at reporting on national progress on the SDGs, some VNRs cover international development cooperation and so are specifically noted. This review is based on how each country presents its engagement with the SDGs and does not assess the extent to which those policies and plans are translated into practice.

go to Brookings: Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – Supporting distressed communities by strengthening regional public universities: A federal policy proposal (Brookings)

Robert Maxim and Mark Muro writes: Forecasters predict the economy will grow significantly in the latter half of 2021 as the U.S. continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. However, if the coming recovery resembles those in the wake of the early-2000s recession and the Great Recession, it will likely be spatially uneven, with some places making a quick recovery while other communities, both urban and rural, face continued economic distress.

go to Brookings: Supporting distressed communities by strengthening regional public universities: A federal policy proposal (brookings.edu)

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Sustainable Development/SDGs – How government donors engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings)

George Ingram writes: In 2015, 193 nations signed on to Agenda 2030 setting forth the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The predecessor Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were a narrower set of eight objectives targeted specifically at enhancing economic and social progress in lower- and middle-income countries—with first-order implications for focusing donor development assistance. In contrast, the 17 SDGs are universal—they cover a broader scope of economic, social, environmental, and political elements of development. They are designed for all countries of the world—in recognition that “sustainable development” is an ongoing process in all countries, no matter their level of economic development.

go to Brookings: How government donors engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (brookings.edu)

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USA/Gaza Crisis – Most Americans, including half of young Democrats, disapprove of Biden’s handling of recent Gaza crisis (Brookings)

Shibley Telhami writes: President Joe Biden’s handling of the crisis that followed Israeli plans to expel Palestinians from their Jerusalem homes in May — which included Hamas firing rockets on Israel and massive Israeli bombings of Gaza, resulting in the death of over 230 Palestinian civilians and 12 Israelis — was notable for the president’s public support for Israel and pinning the blame on Hamas. Biden refused to publicly criticize Israeli actions or even push for an early end of the crisis — to the point that he faced criticism not just from Democratic progressives, but even from usually-reliable pro-Israel Democrats in Congress.

go to Brookings: Most Americans, including half of young Democrats, disapprove of Biden’s handling of recent Gaza crisis (brookings.edu)

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Climate Change/British Air Force – British Air Force aims to be world’s first service with certified zero-carbon aircraft (Defense News)

writes: Britain’s Royal Air Force has set a goal of becoming the first military service in the world to register and certify a zero-carbon aircraft.

go to Defense News: British Air Force aims to be world’s first service with certified zero-carbon aircraft (defensenews.com)

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USA/Space – Space Force launches small satellite to test new sensor possibilities (Defense News)

Nathan Strout writes: The U.S. Space Force launched a new experimental satellite July 29 that will test the possibility of installing large, deployable weather sensors on small satellites.

go to Defense News: Space Force launches small satellite to test new sensor possibilities (c4isrnet.com)

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USA/UK/Defense – Britain inks $200 million contract with Team Tempest for future fighter jet (Defense News)

writes: The British Defence Ministry has signed a £250 million (U.S. $199 million) deal with Team Tempest, a group of companies working on the country’s future combat jet, to provide digital and physical infrastructure to develop the aircraft.

go to Defense News: Britain inks $200 million contract with Team Tempest for future fighter jet (defensenews.com)

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Israel/Germany/Defense – Elta and Hensoldt team up for German ballistic missile defense radar (Defense News)

writes: Germany’s Hensoldt has won a contract to supply new radars to the country’s military, according to a July 26 statement from the sensor specialist, with Israel Aerospace Industries also contributing toward the ultimate goal of modernizing Germany’s ballistic missile defense capabilities.

go to Defense News: Elta and Hensoldt team up for German ballistic missile defense radar (defensenews.com)

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USA/Defense – Sea power panel backs block buy of amphibious ships (Defense News)

writes: A House panel on Wednesday advanced a proposal to authorize the Navy to make a block buy of amphibious ships for one more year, meant to save taxpayer dollars, proponents say.

go to Defense News: Sea power panel backs block buy of amphibious ships (defensenews.com)

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USA/Defense – Lawmakers want answers on US Army plans to protect vehicles from drones (Defense News)

writed: House lawmakers want answers from the Army on its plan to outfit combat vehicles with protection systems capable of countering unmanned aircraft systems, according to the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s markup of the fiscal 2022 defense authorization bill, released July 28.

go to Defense News: Lawmakers want answers on US Army plans to protect vehicles from drones (defensenews.com)

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USA/Defense – US has ‘no plans right now’ to increase LCS presence in Singapore, says Navy chief (Defense News)

writes: The U.S. Navy no longer has concrete plans to increase the number of littoral combat ships deploying to the Indo-Pacific region on a rotational basis, the chief of naval operations has confirmed.

go to Defense News: US has ‘no plans right now’ to increase LCS presence in Singapore, says Navy chief (defensenews.com)

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Australia – See F-35B jets take off at sea for Australian exercise Talisman Sabre (Defense News)

writes: U.S. Marine Corps F-35B jets are carrying out high-end integrated air warfare training with Australian counterparts in the skies above the country and the Coral Sea, as both nations hold a massive multidomain exercise.

go to Defense News: See F-35B jets take off at sea for Australian exercise Talisman Sabre (defensenews.com)

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UK/Defense – British government to nationalize steel components maker in $3.54 million deal (Defense News)

writes: The British government plans to nationalize specialist steel components-maker Sheffield Forgemasters in order to protect the supply chain involving critical defense programs in the nuclear submarine and other sectors.

go to Defense News: British government to nationalize steel components maker in $3.54 million deal (defensenews.com)

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USA/Defense – HASC ‘skeptical’ of Navy plans to mitigate fighter shortfall, transition into future jet (Defense News)

writes: The House Armed Services Committee has reservations about the Navy’s plans to transition from the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet into the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, future fighter jet, though it’s unclear if the committee will take action to force a change in plans.

go to Defense News: HASC ‘skeptical’ of Navy plans to mitigate fighter shortfall, transition into future jet (defensenews.com)

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USA/Kuwait – Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Sabah (US Department of State)

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today in Kuwait City with His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq al Ghanem, and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah to discuss regional security, joint efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and other key issues important to the bilateral relationship.  Secretary Blinken recognized two milestones in the U.S.-Kuwait relationship – the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Shield and 60 years of diplomatic ties – and thanked the Amir for the enduring support that has enabled close cooperation in defense, counterterrorism, trade and investment, security, education, culture, and science.

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Space – Juice takes the heat (ESA)

ESA writes: ESA’s Jupiter Icy moons Explorer, Juice, has successfully completed rigorous thermal tests simulating the extreme coldness of space and the warmth of the Sun at ESA’s test centre ESTEC, in The Netherlands.

go to ESA: ESA – Juice takes the heat

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Uncategorized

Space – Jupiter mission passes space vacuum test (ESA)

ESA writes: ESA’s Juice mission to Jupiter has successfully endured a month of space-like conditions inside the Large Space Simulator, the largest vacuum chamber in Europe.

go to ESA: ESA – Jupiter mission passes space vacuum test

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Arctic/Permafrost/Climate Change – Uranium isotopes may point to fresh water reserves in Pre-Volga region, scientists say (TASS)

TASS writes: Scientific studies into the permafrost thawing will be used to find fresh water in the Pre-Volga region. Specialists from the Laverov Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research (FECIAR, Arkhangelsk) and the St. Petersburg State University have discovered a connection between the rate of uranium isotopes in water and the share of salt in it, FECIAR’s press service told TASS.

go to TASS: Uranium isotopes may point to fresh water reserves in Pre-Volga region, scientists say – Science & Space – TASS

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Russia/Kyrgyzstan/Tajikistan/Afghanistan/Defense – Russia redeploys attack aircraft from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan for drills on Afghan border (TASS)

TASS writes: A wing of Russian Su-25 ground attack aircraft has redeployed from Russia’s Kant integrated airbase in Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan for the joint drills of Russian, Uzbek and Tajik troops at the Kharb-Maidon training ground 20 km from Afghanistan, the press office of the Central Military District reported on Thursday. “A wing of Su-25 aircraft has redeployed from the airfield of the Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan to the Gissar aerodrome in Tajikistan to participate in the trilateral exercise that will run at the Kharb-Maidon practice range in the Khatlon Region on August 5-10,” the press office said in a statement. During the drills, the crews of Su-25 close-support aircraft will hunt for a notional enemy’s camouflaged bases, deliver missile and bomb strikes against targets and practice the elements of dodging the fire by the enemy’s man-portable air defense systems, the statement says. The Russian assault aircraft will also provide fire support for motor rifle and armored units in the course of eliminating outlawed armed gangs on mountain and desert terrain, the press office specified. The Russian military contingent in the drills will mostly comprise units of Russia’s 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan. The Russian troops in the drills will include over 1,000 personnel and about 200 items of armament and military hardware. The troops will practice repelling intrusions by armed gangs and eliminating radical terrorist groups, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported.

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Russia/Georgia/Defense – Kremlin raises red flag about ‘any covert steps against Russia’ during drills in Georgia (TASS)

TASS writes: NATO is not hiding who is the alliance’s key adversary and it’s important that the scenario of the Agile Spirit 2021 drills that kicked off in Georgia involving 12 member-states and three partner nations does not imply any hidden agenda against Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. “Obviously, as far as we are concerned, it is essential that the scenarios of such drills do not imply any covert steps against our country. Still, the scenarios of the drills are drawn up in NATO and the alliance is not hiding who the key foe is for them,” Peskov said, commenting on Azerbaijan’s participation in these exercises. Azerbaijan is a sovereign country and Russia appreciates its partner ties with Baku, Peskov stressed. “Azerbaijan is a sovereign state. We value our ties with Azerbaijan. These are partnership relations and there is a shared political will to further cultivate these relations,” the Kremlin spokesman pointed out. NATO’s Agile Spirit 2021 drills kicked off on July 26. The alliance’s drills involve over 2,500 troops from Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Germany, Georgia, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the United States, Turkey, Ukraine and Estonia. More than 1,500 troops are from Georgia and another 700 personnel are from the US.

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Russia/China/Defense – Russian, Chinese troops to hold joint drills in China’s north in August (TASS)

TASS writes: The Russian and Chinese troops will hold joint drills in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China in the first half of August, Spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry Wu Qian announced on Thursday. “Based on the consensus reached between China and Russia, the Russian Armed Forces will take part in the drills West/Interaction-2021 that will run in China at the beginning and in the middle of August,” the spokesman said. The drills will run on the premises of the army training base in the town of Qingtongxia, the spokesman specified. Russia and China will set up a joint command center. Both sides will send over 10,000 troops to participate in the joint maneuvers that will also involve aircraft and artillery, he said. The drills aim to strengthen and develop a comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and China, maintain regional peace and stability and demonstrate the resolve to fight terrorism, the Chinese Defense Ministry’s spokesman stressed.

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Russia/Defense – Russian Defense Ministry signs contract on first 10 S-500 air defense systems — source (TASS)

TASS writes: Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Almaz-Antey on shipment of the first batch of the S-500 Prometey air defense systems, a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS. “The Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with VKO Almaz-Antey on shipment of over 10 Prometey systems to the Aerospace forces. Serial shipments will begin in the first half of 2022,” the source said. The source also disclosed that “state trials of the S-500 currently proceed at a proving ground in southern Russia.” The trials are expected to wrap up in late 2021. According to the source, the current variant is ground-based. “If necessary, it can become a naval one,” he added.

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Russia/Google – Moscow court fines Google over $40,000 for refusing to localize users’ data in Russia (TASS)

TASS writes: The Magistrates’ Court in Moscow has fined Google 3 mln rubles ($40,975) for refusing to localize its users’ data in Russia, a representative of the court’s press service told TASS.

go to TASS: Moscow court fines Google over $40,000 for refusing to localize users’ data in Russia – Business & Economy – TASS

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Russia/Afghanistan – Russia’s regional clout to strengthen further amid post Afghan exit turmoil, says envoy (TASS)

TASS writes: Moscow’s powerful regional clout amid the current situation in Afghanistan will expand even further following the pullout of US troops from that country, Special Russian Presidential Representative for Afghanistan and Director of the Second Asian Department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov told an online briefing on Thursday.

go to TASS: Russia’s regional clout to strengthen further amid post Afghan exit turmoil, says envoy – World – TASS

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Russia/Syria – Russian-Syrian intergovernmental commission to meet in August in Syria, Ambassador says (TASS)

TASS writes: A meeting of the Russian-Syrian Intergovernmental Commission on trade-economic and scientific, and technical cooperation is scheduled for August in Syria, the republic’s ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad told TASS on the sidelines of the international economic summit Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2021. “The Intergovernmental Commission will be held, most likely, in August in Syria. We’re now awaiting the exact date to hold the Intergovernmental Commission from the Russian side,” he said. At the end of June, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who is a co-chair of the commission, told journalists that there are plans to sign an agreement between Russia and Syria to facilitate trade and economic relations at the next meeting. According to him, above all, the document will involve the interaction in the sphere of industry, energy, and the restoration of Syria’s infrastructure.

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Russia/USA/Afghanistan – Russian-US dialogue on Afghanistan developing positively, senior diplomat says (TASS)

TASS writes: Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov noted that Russian and US interests in the Afghan settlement generally coincided

go to TASS: Russian-US dialogue on Afghanistan developing positively, senior diplomat says – Russian Politics & Diplomacy – TASS

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Analysis

Iran/Saudi Arabia – Tehran, Riyadh gradually mending ties following meditation efforts (IRNA)

IRNA writes: Holding bilateral negotiations as well as announcements by Iranian officials are some of the signs showing that relations are getting improved between Tehran and Riyadh. The two sides cut their ties in 2016. The relations remained severed until last year when Donald Trump was defeated in US presidential election by Joe Biden. After Biden took over the White House in January this year, he made changes in US Mideast policies, including cutting the number of American military forces in West Asia. With these changes happening and progress being made in talks over the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Saudi officials changed course too. 

go to IRNA: Tehran, Riyadh gradually mending ties following meditation efforts – IRNA English

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Analysis

Iran/Iraq – Iran exports to Iraq up 54% in 3 months (IRNA)

Head of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi addressing a meeting in Kermanshah on Thursday, said that the figures indicate that 95 percent of bilateral trade was exports from Iran to Iraq, which amounted to over 7.4 billion dollars in last Iranian year (March 21, 2020 to March 21, 2021).

Sanjabi noted that Iran imported commodities worth 131 million dollars in the same period.

According to the official, petrochemical products and oil materials with 2.7 billion dollars had the largest share of the Iranian exports to Iraq.

Industrial products with 1.75 billion dollars, agricultural and food industries with 1.74 billion dollars, and mineral materials with 1.2 billion dollars were exported to the neighboring country in the last Iranian year, he noted.

Iran plans to increase the volume of export to 20 billion dollars in the current and next Iranian calendar year, he said, adding that given the 40-64 billion dollars potential in Iraq’s market, Tehran hopes to attain the big share of export in the near future.

He further urged the Iranian authorities to pave the ground for exporting technical commodities and IT services to Iraq.

Referring to the fact that 47 percent of Iran’s export to Iraq is carried out through Kermanshah province, he said that the chamber of commerce is ready to negotiate with the Iraqi side to develop export of products being manufactured in Kermanshah and hold professional exhibitions.

He also welcomed setting up a joint industrial town in Ghasr-e Shirin city in Kermanshah province.

Kermanshah province located in western Iran, has two border points and five border markets in the joint borderline with Iraq. Around three billion dollars of goods are being exported from border points of Kermanshah per annum.

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Analysis

USA – Is the US Economy Running Out of Slack? (Project-Syndicate)

WILLEM H. BUITER writes: Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on labor markets, there is a spirited debate over whether the US economy is close to returning to its full potential. If it is, the US Federal Reserve is at risk of falling behind the curve.

go to Project-Syndicate: Is the US Economy Running Out of Slack? by Willem H. Buiter – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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Analysis

Inequality – How can we close inequality gaps in the global COVID-19 recovery? (WEF)

writes: The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging market and developing economies. Our latest global growth forecast of 6 percent for 2021 is unchanged from the previous outlook, but the composition has changed.

go to WEF: COVID-19: how can we make the global recovery more equal? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Analysis

Artificial Intelligence/TechInnovation – Is artificial intelligence ready for the great rehiring? (WEF)

writes: After a year that witnessed unemployment reach levels unseen since the Great Depression, the Great Rehiring is upon us – and AI is likely to play a significant role in it. Employers, especially those who need to hire rapidly and in large numbers, are turning to AI-driven technologies such as resume-screening programsautomated interviews, and mobile hiring apps to rebuild their workforces. To the millions of employees who were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, these technologies can mean a fast track back into the workplace. And to the businesses whose doors were shuttered by the pandemic, these technologies are an efficient path back to profitability.

go to WEF: Is artificial intelligence ready for the great rehiring? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Analysis

Global Health – How can the world end viral hepatitis by 2030? 5 experts explain (WEF)

writes: More than 1.1 million people die from hepatitis B and C every year. An estimated 296 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B, but only 2% of those are receiving treatment. For hepatitis C, which is curable, only 21% of the 58 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease are diagnosed, and fewer than two-thirds of those are on treatment.

go to WEF: How can we end viral hepatitis by 2030? 5 experts explain | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Analysis

TechInnovation – European Investment Fund puts $30M in Fabric Ventures’ new $120M digital assets fund (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: Despite their rich engineering talent, Blockchain entrepreneurs in the EU often struggle to find backing due to the dearth of large funds and investment expertise in the space. But a big move takes place at an EU level today, as the European Investment Fund makes a significant investment into a blockchain and digital assets venture fund.

go to TechCrunch: European Investment Fund puts $30M in Fabric Ventures’ new $120M digital assets fund | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Coralogix logs $55M for its new take on production analytics, now valued at $300-$400M (TechCrunch)

Ingrid Lunden writes: Data may be the new oil, but it’s only valuable if you make good use of it. Today, a startup that has built a new kind of production analytics platform for developers, security engineers and data scientists to track and better understand how data is moving around their networks is announcing a round of funding that underscores the demand for their technology. Coralogix, which provides stateful streaming services to engineering teams, has picked up $55 million in a Series C round of funding.

go to TechCrunch: Coralogix logs $55M for its new take on production analytics, now valued at $300-$400M | TechCrunch

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Uncategorized

TechInnovation – Connected car insurance startup Flock raises $17M Series A led by Chamath Palihapitiya (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: Cast your mind back to that scene in Minority Report where all those autonomous cars are whizzing through the city. The more practically-minded of you may well have gone: “Yeah, but what about the insurance…?”.

go to TechCrunch: Connected car insurance startup Flock raises $17M Series A led by Chamath Palihapitiya | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Japanese sneaker platform SODA raises $56.4M, accquires rival Monokabu (TechCrunch)

Catherine Shu writes: Just half a year after leading SODA’s Series B, SoftBank Ventures Asia is raising its bet on the Tokyo-based sneaker resell platform. The early-stage venture capital arm of SoftBank Group announced today it has returned to lead SODA’s Series C, which currently totals $56.4 million.

go to TechCrunch: Japanese sneaker platform SODA raises $56.4M, accquires rival Monokabu | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Zuckerberg is turning trillion-dollar Facebook into a ‘metaverse’ company, he tells investors (TechCrunch)

Lucas MatneyTaylor Hatmaker write: Following the quarterly release of Facebook’s earnings numbers where the company’s CFO takes time to walk analysts through the nitty gritty of the company’s financials, CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a moment to zoom out and wax on the company’s future goals, specifically calling out his ambitions to turn Facebook into “a metaverse company.”

go to TechCrunch: Zuckerberg is turning trillion-dollar Facebook into a ‘metaverse’ company, he tells investors | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – INKR draws in $3.1M to make more comics accessible to worldwide audiences (TechCrunch)

Catherine Shu writes: INKR is a digital comics platform that crosses cultural and language divides, enabling creators to reach global audiences with its proprietary localization technology. Previously bootstrapped, the company announced today that it has raised $3.1 million in pre-Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures, with participation from manga distributor TokyoPop founder and chief executive Stu Levy.

go to TechCrunch: INKR draws in $3.1M to make more comics accessible to worldwide audiences | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Personalized menopause platform Vira Health raises £1.5M from LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: A new trend is emerging in the world of startups and, to many, it couldn’t have come too soon. Why are there so few women in senior roles? Women going through menopause are commonly known to drop out of leadership roles, for instance. In the UK, menopause is responsible for about 14 million lost working days and 1 million premature career exits, according to research. Indeed, we only just reported on the new startup Peppy which is addressing this in employee health.

go to TechCrunch: Personalized menopause platform Vira Health raises £1.5M from LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Spotify’s Clubhouse rival, Greenroom, tops 140K installs on iOS, 100K on Android (TechCrunch)

Sarah Perez writes: Spotify’s recently launched live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom, has a long road ahead of it if it wants to take on top social audio platforms like Clubhouse, Airtime, Spoon and others, not to mention those from top social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. To date, the new Greenroom app has only been downloaded a total of 141,000 times on iOS, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. This includes downloads from its earlier iteration, Locker Room — an app Spotify acquired to make its move into live audio.

go to TechCrunch: Spotify’s Clubhouse rival, Greenroom, tops 140K installs on iOS, 100K on Android | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Ford expects semiconductor rebound, new vehicle demand to increase 2021 profits (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Despite semiconductor shortages peaking during the second quarter of 2021, Ford says it delivered better-than-expected operating results by leveraging strong demand for new vehicles, like its Bronco SUV, according to its most recent earnings report.

go to TechCrunch: Ford expects semiconductor rebound, new vehicle demand to increase 2021 profits | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup reservations surpass 120,000 (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Ford and its F-150 pickup, the automaker’s best-selling vehicle, have consistently inspired brand loyalty from pickup truck owners. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, Ford has a 54.3% loyalty rate. Now as the automaker moves to electrify its fleet, it seems to be bringing in fresh buyers.

go to TechCrunch: Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup reservations surpass 120,000 | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Facebook warns of ‘headwinds’ to its ad business from regulators and Apple (TechCrunch)

Taylor Hatmaker writes: Facebook posted its second quarter earnings Wednesday, beating expectations with $29 billion in revenue. The world’s biggest social media company was expected to report $27.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 50% increase from the same period in 2020. Facebook reported earnings per share of $3.61, which also bested expectations. The company’s revenue was $18.6 billion in the same quarter of last year.

go to TechCrunch: Facebook warns of ‘headwinds’ to its ad business from regulators and Apple | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Globally, 225 million people are estimated to suffer from moderate or severe visual impairments, and 49.1 million are blind, according to 2020 data from the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science journal. A Japanese startup that was incubated at Honda Motor Company’s business creation program hopes to make navigating the world easier and safer for the visually impaired.

go to TechCunch: Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger (TechCrunch)

Tage Kene-Okafor writes: Cairo and Dubai-based ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, Swvl said Tuesday. The deal will see Swvl valued at roughly $1.5 billion.

go to TechCunch: Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – The Lilium electric jet will use batteries manufactured by Germany’s Customcells (TechCrunch)

Aria Alamalhodaei writes: Electric air taxi startup Lilium has tapped German manufacturer Customcells to supply batteries for its flagship seven-seater Lilium Jet.

go to TechCrunch: The Lilium electric jet will use batteries manufactured by Germany’s Customcells | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Casey Teske Tackles Wildfire in the Field and the Office (Esri)

Ryan Lanclos writes: Casey Teske sees her mission statement as this: Understand fire. It’s that simple, and that complicated. For Teske, a fire management analyst for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Branch of Fire Management who has extensive experience in both fighting wildfires on the ground and understanding the science of its actions, that breadth of understanding is key. It’s the reason she’s often the bridge between those who fight a tactical wildfire battle in the field and those who analyze the behavior of the blaze in the office.

go to Esri: Casey Teske Tackles Wildfire in the Field and the Office (esri.com)

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Analysis

Japan/Defense – Japan signals more robust security posture in new defence white paper (The Strategist)

 and  write for The Strategist: Japan’s new defence white paper, Defense of Japan 2021, affirms Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s continuation of his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s proactive contribution to regional peace and security.

go to The Strategist: Japan signals more robust security posture in new defence white paper | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Analysis

Australia/Defense – An Australia DARPA would need to do development as well as research (The Strategist)

 and  write: In a recent ASPI report, Robert Clark and Peter Jennings argued for the establishment of an Australian version of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Conceptually, it’s a very good suggestion. However, we need to think deeper about how to take advantage of Australia’s pools of private capital, which are among the largest in the world due to compulsory superannuation. The problem isn’t just about overcoming current budget allocation issues in universities. We need to industrialise innovation and marry it to our strategic purposes.

go to The Strategist: An Australia DARPA would need to do development as well as research | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Analysis

Australia/Defense – Reforming Defence is about the mission and urgency—not lengthy corporate documents (The Strategist)

writes: Changing Defence only matters if you care about Australia’s security and understand what’s happening in the world. Organisational reform and cultural change in the Defence Department and the Australian Defence Force have a long, painful history. The most recent iterations are the ‘Pathway to Change’ reform program, the first principles review and the new transformation strategy. There’s the Brereton inquiry report and its broader consequences and resulting actions—both internally for Defence and the ADF, and at a whole-of-government level through the prime minister’s establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator to address the potential criminal matters the inquiry raised.

go to The Strategist: Reforming Defence is about the mission and urgency—not lengthy corporate documents | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Analysis

Water Disputes/Middle East – Water disputes will compound instability in the Middle East (The Strategist)

writes: The Middle East is one of the driest regions in the world. The scarcity of water has often been touted as a source of national and interstate disputes in the area. Some scholars have predicted for some time the possibility of deadly national altercations and regional clashes over the distribution of water resources in parts of the region. Although no full-blown war has erupted so far, two current episodes illustrate this point: public protests in the Iranian province of Khuzestan and the growing discord between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over water dispensation from the Nile River. With climate change causing more droughts, the potential for conflict over water cannot be underestimated.

go to The Strategist: Water disputes will compound instability in the Middle East  | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Vietnam – Bad news for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (The Interpreter)

MILTON OSBORNE writes: The release of recent research from the Netherlands adds an additional insight into what is happening in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, the country’s all-important food producing region that contributes some fifty per cent to its agricultural GDP. In a stark conclusion the research cites 2050 as the Tipping Point when the delta will no longer be able to cope with salt water intrusions, a phenomenon that is already causing the los of productive land.

go to The Interpreter: Bad news for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Analysis

Africa/Europe/Mozambique – Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique (The Interpreter)

DAVID BREWSTER writes: In recent days, military advance teams from South Africa and Botswana began to deploy to northern Mozambique to support governments forces in their fight against a growing Islamist insurgency. They will join Rwandan combat troops and military training contingents from Europe and the United States. But there is little cause for optimism. There is a significant risk that current regional support for Mozambique will not achieve its objectives and that a larger international military coalition will be required to quell the fighting.

go to The Interpreter: Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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China/USA – Far more world leaders visit China than America (The Interpreter)

NEIL THOMAS writes: In April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga became the first foreign leader to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House. Suga’s trip marked the return of leader-level travel to Washington after the Covid-19 pandemic. Suga told reporters that his team was so excited to meet their American counterparts that “we ended up not even touching our hamburger steak.”

go to The Interpreter: Far more world leaders visit China than America | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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India/Cyber – India: A very colonial hangover (The Interpreter)

EDMOND ROY writes: In the 1830’s Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay set about drafting a piece of legislation that would outlive not just him but also the empire that gave him the license to do so. Indeed, it’s a cruel irony that Macaulay’s world view, long discredited in the former colony, has found an almost sacrosanct following within successive independent Indian governments.

go to The Interpreter: India: A very colonial hangover | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Europe/Lebanon – People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon (ECFR)

Carmen Geha writes: The magnitude, nature, and timing of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion could not have been worse for Lebanon’s faltering economy, pandemic-plagued hospitals, and crushed revolution.

go to ECFR: People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)

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Analysis

Indonesia – Indonesia must act on illegal gold mining or fall for fool’s gold (East Asia Forum)

Muhammad Beni Saputra writes: Indonesia’s illegal gold mining problems reveal deeper issues with local level corruption and economic inequality. In Sumatra, gold miners have complained about inconsistencies in the police’s tough security measures to eradicate mining. While there was a harsh crackdown on individual miners — with some ending up in jail — most oligarchs behind the lucrative business remain untouched.

go to East Asia Forum: Indonesia must act on illegal gold mining or fall for fool’s gold | East Asia Forum

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Analysis

Techno Democracies/Semiconductors – Biden looks to techno-alliances to chip in on semiconductors (East Asia Forum)

Tian He writes for East Asia Forum: The Biden administration has proposed an ambitious plan to build an alliance of techno-democracies to counter the rapid rise of China as a technology superpower. This strategy is quietly taking shape in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as US President Joe Biden sets out to rebuild the semiconductor sector in the United States.

go to East Asia Forum: Biden looks to techno-alliances to chip in on semiconductors | East Asia Forum

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Analysis

USA/TechInnovation – Now is the time for a federal cloud modernization moonshot (Brookings)

Bill Whyman writes for Brookings: Now is the time to launch a Federal Cloud Modernization “moonshot” to modernize all practical legacy civilian IT systems within a decade. COVID vividly demonstrated the importance of our IT systems to a resilient and robust economy. Yet from security breaches to delayed tax processing, the weaknesses of government IT systems are well known.

go to Brookings: Now is the time for a federal cloud modernization moonshot (brookings.edu)

 

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Ethiopia – How the UN can solidify Ethiopia as an African success story (Brookings)

Abigael AjumaMichael E. O’Hanlon, and Adam Twardowski write for Brookings: The tragic conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray province continues as of this writing. About four hundred thousand are suffering acute hunger as a result, and ten times that number need aid — to say nothing of the lives being put at direct risk from the fighting as well. Essentially a power struggle between local Tigrayan leaders and the national government, the conflict shows few signs of rapid resolution. Devising a compromise outcome is difficult in such circumstances. Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest country by population and most impressive recent economic success story (measured in terms of sustained growth rates) is now at serious risk, at a time when COVID-19 further compounds the dangers associated with large camps for displaced persons and weakened public health care systems that could result from warfare.

go to Brookings: How the UN can solidify Ethiopia as an African success story (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Cities – Slums, sprawl, and skyscrapers (Brookings)

Somik V. LallMathilde Lebrand, and Hogeun Park write: These three words are probably the most used in popular and policy discussions of city development. The squalor of slums, unsustainability of sprawl and sterility of skyscrapers are the proverbial Achilles heel of community leaders and urban planners. They call for livable neighborhoods with a vibrant mix of homes, shops, offices, and local amenities.

go to Brookings: Slums, sprawl, and skyscrapers (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Global Education – A structured learning approach to support scaling: Guidelines for how to do this in practice (Brookings)

Patrick Hannahan and Lydia Wilbard write: You don’t have to look far to find mentions of “adaptive learning” or “multistakeholder collaboration” in the global education sector. Donors typically ask for the programs they fund to be adaptive and collaborative, implementers try to embrace flexible and inclusive approaches, and researchers tinker to learn about the most effective ways to do these things. But what do they look like in practice?

go to Brookings: A structured learning approach to support scaling: Guidelines for how to do this in practice (brookings.edu)

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Uncategorized

Israel/GCC Countries/Middle East – The emergence of GCC-Israel relations in a changing Middle East (Brookings)

Omar H. Rahman writes: The development of open, friendly relations between Israel and some Gulf Arab states has emerged as a significant new dynamic of the 21st century Middle East.

go to Brookings: The emergence of GCC-Israel relations in a changing Middle East (brookings.edu)

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USA – The pandemic hurt low-wage workers the most—and so far, the recovery has helped them the least (Brookings)

Nicole Bateman and Martha Ross write: The recession associated with the COVID-19 pandemic announced itself in spring 2020 with head-spinning job losses: 22 million lost jobs within two months, a shock that is hard to overstate. But aside from a brief winter setback due to surging COVID-19 cases, the U.S. economy has, fortunately, gained jobs each month since this initial hemorrhage. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced the economy added an expectations-beating 850,000 jobs in June, and wages also rose. This is unreservedly good news, but the economy is still down 7 million jobs, long-term unemployment is up, and many workers and families continue to struggle.

go to Brookings: The pandemic hurt low-wage workers the most—and so far, the recovery has helped them the least (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

India/Integrated Military Commands – A Process-led Approach towards Integrated Military Commands (Delhi Policy Group)

Lt. Gen. Anil Ahuja (Retd.), PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM & Bar , Brig. Arun Sahgal (Retd.), Ph.D. write: The discussion on the creation of theatre commands to meet India’s national security needs is generating a heated debate, some of which is ill-informed and brings no credit to the immense professionalism inherent in each service, nor to the larger strategic community. Ironically, displays of fractured thinking and lack of mutual understanding between the services is playing out in a country that established a Joint Services Academy (Wing) within two years of independence (01 Jan 1949) and the National Defence Academy (NDA) in December 1954, the first tri-service military cadets’ academy in the world. Even in terms of in-service training, India has well-honed joint training institutions, where officers of the three services train together as they pursue their careers – as Majors (and equivalent) at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC); as Colonels (and equivalent) at the War Colleges; and as Brigadiers (and equivalent) at the National Defence College.

go to Delhi Policy Group: A Process-led Approach towards Integrated Military Commands (delhipolicygroup.org)

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India/Maritime Security Coordination/Defense – Understanding India’s Maritime Security Coordination Needs (Delhi Policy Group)

Commodore Lalit Kapur (Retd.) writes for Delhi Policy Group: Media reports on July 13, 2021 spoke of the Government of India appointing a National Maritime Security Coordinator, with the post being tenable by a retired or serving Vice Admiral.  This generated considerable debate, particularly in social media, tinged with the belief that keeping this post outside the ambit of theatre commands being considered simultaneously would weaken them.  The belief was based on an inadequate understanding of the need or what the job actually entails. 

go to Delhi Policy Group: Understanding India’s Maritime Security Coordination Needs (delhipolicygroup.org)

 

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Analysis

China/India/Defense – China’s Type 003 Aircraft Carrier and India’s Options (Delhi Policy Group)

Delhi Policy Group writes. Even as a motivated debate about the utility of aircraft carriers continues in India, reports based on satellite imagery showed that China was moving full speed ahead with construction of its third ship of the type.  Having commissioned Liaoning (Type 001) in September 2012 and followed with Shandong (Type 002) in December 2019, China is now building the much larger Type 003, an entirely new design.  Reports also indicate that construction of a second ship of this class expected to start later this year, to be followed by the nuclear propelled Type 004

go to Delhi Policy Group: China’s Type 003 Aircraft Carrier and India’s Options (delhipolicygroup.org)

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Analysis

India/Cyber Deterrence Strategy – Towards a Cyber Deterrence Strategy for India (Delhi Policy Group)

Lt. Gen. Deependra Singh Hooda (Retd.),PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM & Bar writes: In 2013, Thomas Rid wrote a book titled Cyber War Will Not Take Place. He argued that an offensive act has to meet certain criteria in order to qualify as an act of war: it has to be instrumental; it has to be political; and, most crucially, it has to be violent, or at least potentially violent.” He stated that there is no cyber offense that meets all three criteria.”

go to Delhi Policy Group: Towards a Cyber Deterrence Strategy for India (delhipolicygroup.org)

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Analysis

US Dollar – The Future of the US Dollar and a World in Debt (The Chicago Council on Global Affairs)

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs writes: With today’s global interconnectedness, geopolitical competition, unprecedented government spending, and money-printing to spur economic recovery, the US dollar is facing an uncertain future. Today’s reality calls back to a secret meeting at Camp David in 1971 when President Richard Nixon broke the link between the dollar and gold. This signaled the end of the Bretton Woods era of international economy and the beginning of American retrenchment in world affairs. Fifty-years later, former Undersecretary of Commerce Jeffrey Garten and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman discuss the “Nixon Shock,” the impact it carries on today’s dollar, and the Biden administration’s future engagement with the world. 
go to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: The Future of the US Dollar and a World in Debt | Chicago Council on Global Affairs (thechicagocouncil.org)
SPEAKERS
Jeffrey Garten, Thomas Friedman
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Analysis

China/Asia Pacific – Confronting China’s Rise to Regional Dominance (The Chicago Council on Global Affairs)

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs writes: A panel of experts from the United States, Japan, and South Korea discuss a coordinated trilateral response to China’s growing power in the Asia-Pacific region.

go to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Confronting China’s Rise to Regional Dominance | Chicago Council on Global Affairs (thechicagocouncil.org)

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USA/China – International Relations Scholars and the Public on US-China Policy (The Chicago Council on Global Affairs)

CRAIG KAFURA writes: The US-China relationship has taken a sharp turn towards confrontation in recent years, and President Biden’s administration has thus far continued many of his predecessor’s China policies. Part and parcel of the course correction and subsequent policy continuity: the widespread backlash the PRC has faced in numerous countries.

go to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: International Relations Scholars and the Public on US-China Policy | Chicago Council on Global Affairs (thechicagocouncil.org)

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USA/India – Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi (US Department of State)

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today, where they discussed efforts to deepen the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Modi discussed regional challenges and a growing range of cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts, climate change, shared values and democratic principles, and regional security, including through U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Quad consultations.

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Germany – ifo Employment Barometer Down (July 2021) (Ifo)

Ifo writes: German companies are slowing their plans to hire new staff somewhat. The ifo Employment Barometer fell to 102.4 points in July, down from 103.8 points in June. The German labor market is continuing to recover, albeit at a slower pace.

go to Ifo: ifo Employment Barometer Down (July 2021) | Facts | ifo Institute

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Germany – ifo Export Expectations Fall Slightly (July 2021) (Ifo Institute)

Ifo writes: Sentiment among German exporters has worsened somewhat, with the ifo Export Expectations in manufacturing falling to 24.5 points, down from 25.0 points in June.  Overall, however, German exports continue to perform very well.

go to Ifo: ifo Export Expectations Fall Slightly (July 2021) | Facts | ifo Institute

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Analysis

Germany – ifo Index Declines (July 2021) (Ifo Institute)

Ifo Institute writes: Sentiment in the German economy has clouded over. The ifo Business Climate Index for Germany fell to 100.8 points in July, down from 101.7 points in June (seasonally adjusted). Companies evaluated their current business situations as somewhat better, but their expectations for the coming months were significantly less optimistic. Supply bottlenecks and concerns over newly rising infection numbers are weighing on the German economy.

go to Ifo Institute: ifo Index Declines (July 2021) | Facts | ifo Institute

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Space – Bright Rays and Dark Shadows in a Nearby Galaxy (NASA)

NASA writes: From 156 million light-years away the heart of active galaxy IC 5063 reveals a mixture of bright rays and dark shadows coming from the blazing core, home of a supermassive black hole.

go to NASA: Bright Rays and Dark Shadows in a Nearby Galaxy | NASA

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Earth from Space – Shoring up the Corn Belt’s Soil Health With NASA Data (NASA)

NASA writes: After the corn harvest last fall, Illinois farmer Paul Jeschke planted a fraction of his fields with cereal rye: 60 acres of the 4,500 he farms with his wife, nephew and brother-in-law, tucked behind a pasture, out of neighbors’ sight. That way they could experiment with cover crops, Jeschke explained, and no one could view potential failures.

go to NASA: Shoring up the Corn Belt’s Soil Health With NASA Data | NASA

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Space – Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch (NASA)

Jennifer Harbaugh writes: Two additional secondary payloads that will travel to deep space on Artemis I, the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, are ready for launch.

go to NASA: Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch – Artemis (nasa.gov)

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Space – Rocket tanks of carbon fibre reinforced plastic proven possible (ESA)

ESA writes: Building on earlier studies, MT Aerospace in Germany has demonstrated a novel design of a small scale tank made of a unique carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) that is not only leak-proof with liquid hydrogen, but also compatible with liquid oxygen, without the use of a metal liner.

go to ESA: ESA – Rocket tanks of carbon fibre reinforced plastic proven possible

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Space – First test of Europe’s new space brain (ESA)

ESA writes: On 26 June 2021, ESA’s OPS-SAT space lab became the first spacecraft to be monitored and controlled using the EGS-CC – proving that this software of the future is ready to be extended across current and future missions flown from Europe.

go to ESA: ESA – First test of Europe’s new space brain

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Tunisia – Experts react: What’s next after Tunisian president’s parliamentary freeze? (Atlantic Council)

Karim Mezran, Haykel Ben Mahfoudh, Alia Brahimi, Andrew G. Farrand, Alessia Melcangi, Emadeddin Badi, Alissa Pavia write: On July 25, Tunisian President Kais Saied took drastic measures to bring “peace” to Tunisia and “save the state” from a political system that he claims is plagued by corruption and unfit to handle the current economic and health crises facing the country. President Saied invoked Article 80 of Tunisia’s constitution to sack Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and freeze parliament. By invoking Article 80, which entitles the president to take the necessary measures to halt any imminent “danger threatening the integrity of the country,” Saied assumed full powers under the executive branch. In a publicly broadcast speech, President Saied said he would name a new prime minister within the next thirty days—a deadline which Saied said can be extended until the “situation settles down.”

go to Atlantic Council: Experts react: What’s next after Tunisian president’s parliamentary freeze? – Atlantic Council

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TechInnovation/New Commercial Space Revolution – Remote Sensing and Sensibility (CSIS)

Kaitlyn Johnson, Lindsay R. Sheppard write for CSIS: The third episode of Tech Unmanned focuses on a new commercial space revolution in remote sensing and earth observation satellites. Previously solely the domain of the intelligence community and military, remote sensing has exploded in the private sector through different types of sensors and data, as well as the applications of the data collected. Kaitlyn and Lindsey talk with Kari Bingen, Chief Strategy Officer at Hawkeye360, and Dr. Mariel Borowitz, Associate Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, about this technological revolution and its impact on national security.

go to CSIS: Remote Sensing and Sensibility | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)

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Trans Pacific Partnership/USA – To TPP or Not to TPP: That Is the Question (CSIS)

William Alan Reinsch writes: The Biden-Harris administration continues to wrestle not only with the ghost of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but with its reincarnation in the form of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The TPP was not originally an American idea. It began with New Zealand and several other countries in the region during the George W. Bush administration. The United States was invited to join the negotiations, and the Obama administration eventually decided to do so, after far more agonizing than the decision deserved or needed.

go to CSIS: To TPP or Not to TPP: That Is the Question | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)

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Tunisia – A Coup in Tunisia? (CSIS)

Will Todman writes: On Sunday July 25, Tunisian president Kais Saied invoked emergency powers, fired the prime minister, and suspended parliament for 30 days. Saied declared that he would govern alongside a new prime minister. In a televised address, he said the measures would remain in place “until social peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the state.” Tunisia, long hailed as the only success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, now faces its most dangerous political crisis since the revolution a decade ago.

go to CSIS: A Coup in Tunisia? | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)

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Environmental and social sustainability challenges – Major international legal report backs growing institutional investor focus on achieving positive sustainability impacts (UNEP)

UNEP writes: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) has today released a new report, A Legal Framework for Impact, commissioned by The Generation Foundation, the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The report provides the first ever comprehensive analysis of how far the law requires or permits investors to take deliberate steps to tackle sustainability challenges in discharging their duties, described as investing for sustainability impact.

go to UNEP: Major international legal report backs growing institutional investor focus on achieving positive sustainability impacts (unep.org)

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Chemicals/Waste – How composting can reduce our impact on the planet (UNEP)

UNEP writes: Every year, across the world, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted, says the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Food Waste Index.

go to UNEP: How composting can reduce our impact on the planet (unep.org)

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Ecosystems/Biodiversity – Six things you can do to bring back mangroves (UNEP)

UNEP writes: Don’t be fooled by their modest appearance: mangroves are important players in some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. They provide a defense between land and sea, absorb carbon, contribute to economic and food security, and are home to some of the most rare and colourful species.

go to UNEP: Six things you can do to bring back mangroves (unep.org)

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China/Afghan Taliban – China hopes Afghan Taliban breaks away from all terror groups: FM Wang Yi (Global Times)

Al Jazeera writes: China hopes that the Afghan Taliban will make a clear break with East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and all other terrorist organizations, resolutely crack down on them and remove obstacles to regional security, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said while meeting the Taliban delegation from Afghanistan in Tianjin on Wednesday. 

go to Global Times: China hopes Afghan Taliban breaks away from all terror groups: FM Wang Yi – Global Times

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China – Anti-foreign sanctions law likely to be included in HK Basic Law Annex III (Global Times)

Cui Fandi and Chen Qingqing write: The recently enacted Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law is likely to be included in the Hong Kong Basic Law Annex III at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, from August 17 to 20 in Beijing, sources confirmed with the Global Times on Wednesday.

go to Global Times: Anti-foreign sanctions law likely to be included in HK Basic Law Annex III – Global Times

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China – SW China’s Chengdu set to issue nation’s first heavy ozone pollution alert (Global Times)

Global Times writes: Chengdu, capital city of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, is set to issue the nation’s first alert for heavy ozone pollution on Thursday. 

go to Global Times: SW China’s Chengdu set to issue nation’s first heavy ozone pollution alert – Global Times

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China – Conference on High-Quality Development and International Cooperation of Chinese Cities held in Beijing (Global Times)

Global Times writes: On July 24, the Conference on High-Quality Development and International Cooperation of Chinese Cities was held in Beijing. Guided by the 14th Five-Year (2021-25) Plan, the conference discussed the promotion of high-quality development in areas of industrial restructuring, green industry, scientific and technological innovation, reform of state-owned enterprises, and opening up of cities. The conference was held by Global Times. Representatives from many cities that have made remarkable achievements on high-quality development, hundreds of well-known entrepreneurs, economists and experts attended the conference.

go to Global Times: Conference on High-Quality Development and International Cooperation of Chinese Cities held in Beijing – Global Times

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Philippines – Why is Duterte still riding high despite recession, COVID? (Al Jazeera)

Ted Regencia writes: When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, a meandering and profanity-laden spiel that broke the record for a speech that clocked in at two hours and 45 minutes, he faced headwinds few of his predecessors had encountered. Duterte acknowledged as much in his speech when he said that his “dreams and visions of a better life for all Filipinos” had run into some “unforeseen events”, referring to COVID-19 and the lockdown that stalled his plans.

go to Al Jazeera: Why is Duterte still riding high despite recession, COVID? | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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China – China is building a 2nd base for nuclear missiles, say analysts (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: Analysts at the Federation of American Scientists say China is building a second field of silos for launching nuclear missiles in a development that could constitute “the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever”. The United States-based researchers made the discovery after analysing commercial satellite images, and said on Monday that the field – located near the city of Hami in Xinjiang province – may eventually include about 110 silos.

go to Al Jazeera: China is building a 2nd base for nuclear missiles, say analysts | Nuclear Weapons News | Al Jazeera

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India – Parched villages in India coal-mining hubs hunt for scarce water (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: As a child, Fagu Besra swam in gurgling streams and drank “sweet and cold water” from the wells in his village of Pundi in eastern India. Today, none is left. As in so many parts of coal-rich Ramgarh district in Jharkhand state, mining of the polluting fossil fuel has sucked much of the water from once-plentiful sources.

go to Al Jazeera: Parched villages in India coal-mining hubs hunt for scarce water | Climate Change News | Al Jazeera

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Armenia/Azerbaijan – Armenia says 3 soldiers killed in gun battle with Azeri forces (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: Armenia has said three of its soldiers were killed and two wounded in border clashes with Azerbaijani forces in some of the heaviest fighting between the two neighbours since last year’s six-week war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

go to Al Jazeera: Armenia says 3 soldiers killed in gun battle with Azeri forces | Conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Climate Change – Thousands of scientists warn climate tipping points ‘imminent’ (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: Thousands of scientists have repeated calls for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, warning that several tipping points are now imminent. The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on Wednesday that governments had consistently failed to address “the overexploitation of the Earth”, which they described as the root cause of the crisis.

go to Al Jazeera: Thousands of scientists warn climate tipping points ‘imminent’ | Climate News | Al Jazeera

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Ethiopia – Somali region says hundreds ‘massacred’ by Afar militia (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: The local government in Ethiopia’s Somali region says militia from the neighbouring region of Afar attacked and looted the town of Gedamaytu, also known as Gabraiisa, the latest flare-up in a local boundary dispute that adds to broader tensions in the country.

go to Al Jazeera: Ethiopia: Somali region says hundreds ‘massacred’ by Afar militia | Ethiopia News | Al Jazeera

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West Bank – Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: A Palestinian man has been killed in Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank, the scene of confrontations between protesters and Israeli forces for weeks, Palestinian officials said. Shadi Omar Lotfi Salim, 41, was shot dead late on Tuesday near the flashpoint Palestinian village of Beita, the Palestinian health ministry said.

go to Al Jazeera: Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in occupied West Bank | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Tunisia – Tunisia tries to reassure as Ennahdha presses for early elections (Al Jazeera)