?? Global Eyes


? The world swelters.

? The Heat

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out an issue of Global Eyes. I planned to send it out on Monday, but as you may have heard, Europe is a hellish inferno. My apartment is on the top floor of my building and it heats up like a parked car. Yesterday afternoon, and I am not exaggerating, it was 46 degrees in my bedroom. (That’s 115 Fahrenheit, for all of you who calculate the temperature the right and the only way.)

No, I don’t have an air conditioner. I have ordered one. It will be delivered tomorrow. As you can imagine, I didn’t get the best price on it.

In heat like this, you go to a nice, air-conditioned movie, right? Except that I was worried about my cats in the heat. I just wasn’t sure if temperatures that high were even survivable for elderly animals. So I spent yesterday and the day before slowly lifting myself out of the bathtub, rubbing ice into my cats’ fur, then immersing myself again. They liked the ice. Or at least, they didn’t object.

We all survived. But we didn’t get much work done. (Not that the cats do much by way of putting their noses to the grindstone, even on the best of days.)

I am the person this meme mocks. I admit it. I am not tough. I am wilting. I have wilted. The heat has broken me.
  • Heatwaves and fires scorch Europe, Africa, and Asia:

    In summer 2022, multiple heatwaves around the world shattered temperature records and fueled wildfires. Heatwaves struck Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, in June and July 2022 as temperatures climbed above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) in places and broke many long-standing records.

  • “Just hell.” Five countries suffering in Europe’s heat wave:

    Across the Mediterranean, firefighters have struggled to contain blazes, rivers have run dry and thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. So far, more than 230 people have died from heat-related effects in Spain and 238 in Portugal, according to local media reports. The temperatures—the result of a slow-moving high-pressure area, bringing scorching air up from North Africa—are expected to continue this week and move north and eastward toward France, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

  • Blistering drought hits Europe’s food production:

    A swath of Europe is battling soaring temperatures, wildfires and a severe drought, with a new report predicting the parched conditions will shrink crop yields—including in agricultural heavyweight France—at a time when Russia’s blockade of grain from Ukraine is already hurting consumers.

  • A supply chain snarl in the making: The Rhine is inches away from becoming too shallow to transport commodities:

    As Europe bakes in a heatwave, about 14.5 inches of water are now all that’s preventing parts of the continent from being effectively cut-off from supplies of vital commodities. That’s the gap—just under the height of a bowling pin—between the current water level at a key bottleneck on the Rhine in western Germany and the point at which barges can usefully navigate the river. A further drop is forecast for tomorrow.

It’s a little better today, though it’s still way too damned hot. But I’m powering through things today because I guess I can’t just give up working because it’s hot, can I?

?? Ukraine

?? From UK Defense Intelligence:

Russia continues to make minimal gains in its Donbas offensive, with Ukrainian forces holding the line.

On 19 July 2022, the authorities in Russian-occupied Kherson reported that the Antonovskiy Bridge over the Dnieper River had been struck by Ukrainian forces. Social media posts showed apparent battle damage to the bridge’s roadway.

It is highly likely that the bridge remains usable—but it is a key vulnerability for Russian Forces. It is one of only two road crossing points over the Dnieper by which Russia can supply or withdraw its forces in the territory it has occupied west of the river. This area includes the city of Kherson, which is politically and symbolically important for Russia. The lower reaches of the Dnieper present a natural barrier, with the waterway typically around 1000 meters wide. Control of Dnieper crossings is likely to become a key factor in the outcome of fighting in the region.

From the Institute for the Study of War:

  • Calls among Russian nationalist and pro-war voices for Russian President Vladimir Putin to expand Russia’s war aims, mobilize the state fully for war, and drop the pretext that Russia is not engaged in a war reached a crescendo on July 19.
  • US officials reported that Russia plans to annex occupied Ukrainian territory as soon as autumn 2022. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby announced that the Kremlin is beginning to roll out a version of its 2014 “annexation playbook” in Ukraine and is “examining detailed plans” to annex Kherson, Zaporizhia, and all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, citing newly declassified intelligence.
  • Putin could leverage nuclear threats to deter a Ukrainian counteroffensive into annexed Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblastsAfter annexation, Putin may state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to newly annexed territories. Such actions would threaten Ukraine and its partners with nuclear attack if Ukrainian counteroffensives to liberate Russian-occupied territory continue. Putin may believe that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would restore Russian deterrence after his disastrous invasion shattered Russia’s conventional deterrent capabilities, although previous Russian hints at Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons have proven hollow. Ukraine and its Western partners may have a narrowing window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory.
  • Russian military bloggers are increasingly openly criticizing the Russian military for failing to address structural problems with Russian Airborne Forces (VDV), highlighting the VDV’s failure to fight the war as it had trained in peacetime, a failing that played no small role in the general Russian failures during the initial invasion.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to resume offensive operations toward Slovyansk from southeast of Izyum and around Barvinkove.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks to the east of Siversk and had partial success in ground attacks to the east of Bakhmut.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to leverage unconventional sources of combat power to avoid general mobilization.
  • Russian occupation authorities are escalating law enforcement measures to protect administrative control of occupied areas.

What’s behind Zelensky’s public ousting of top officials?

President Volodymyr Zelensky dropped major news on a typically slow Sunday evening, removing from office two of his staunchest allies—Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Security Service Head Ivan Bakanov. Zelensky cited the high number of suspected traitors in their agencies’ ranks as the main reason for his decision.

The accusation isn’t a surprise. There have been signs that Zelensky is after the SBU for failures related to the invasion. … According to Zelensky, more than 60 employees of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Security Service remain in areas recently occupied by Russia and are collaborating with Russians there. On July 16, the State Investigation Bureau said that a top-level Security Service official had been arrested for leaking intelligence and classified information to the Russian special services.

Lavrov says Russia’s military goals not focused “only” on Donbas:

Nearly five months after the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion, Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti and RT that Russia’s military targets now go beyond the so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and include areas where Russian forces have already made gains, including the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and a “number of other territories.”

?? Russia

Anton Dolin: “Putin’s war is against the world, not just Ukraine.”

The war that Putin is waging now against the whole world, not just Ukraine, cannot be won under any circumstances. It just can’t. All the post-Soviet institutions connected with culture, humanism, and the idea of ​​Russia as a democracy—you can forget all that. They will have to be rebuilt, created anew in a new state that will arise after Putin capitulates, falls, disappears, crumbles. I don’t know what will happen to him.

War is always the beginning of the end.

Russia could go nuclear if Ukraine strikes Crimea:

Buoyed by advanced western weapons systems, especially the US-supplied HIMARS, Kiev has been able to target Russian command posts, storage depots, and supply lines at greater distance and with higher precision. The prospect of deploying HIMARS to support the counteroffensive in Kherson prompted former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to threaten “judgment day” should Ukraine strike targets in Crimea.

While one could argue that the west has crossed several Russian red lines before without any consequences, Medvedev’s most recent temper tantrum should not be dismissed so quickly. His use of the phrase “systemic threat” in relation to any attacks on Crimea points to one of the triggers for the use of nuclear weapons in Russia’s military doctrine.

Putin’s Ukraine disaster: The Russian military “is running out of steam.”

On day 147 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military has failed to achieve a breakthrough in the Donbas despite the renewal of major offensive operations in eastern Ukraine.  The Ukrainian forces are holding the line and continue to exact a heavy price from the Russian troops.

No, it’s not:

The Russians are no doubt bloodied and have suffered significant equipment loss, but there is no evidence on the battlefield that they are anywhere near “exhausted.” … Most of the artillery promised by the West has already been delivered and it has not, to date, resulted in even slowing Russia’s advance through the Donbas, much less stopped it.

Erdoğan keeps Putin waiting in awkward moment ahead of Tehran talks:

It was unfamiliar terrain for the Russian leader who has developed a reputation for keeping world leaders waiting, on purpose, sometimes for hours after scheduled talks were due to begin. Some speculated it may have been payback for a 2020 meeting in Moscow that saw Erdoğan wait so long to enter the meeting room that he took a seat.

? Europe

?? It’s down to Sunak and Truss:

Britain’s Conservative Party chose former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss—a fiscal moderate and a low-tax crusader—as the two finalists in an election to replace departing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The result came on the day the divisive, unrepentant Johnson ended his final appearance in Parliament as prime minister with the words “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Sunak and Truss came first and second respectively in a secret vote by Conservative lawmakers. Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt came in third and was eliminated.

?? America must not abandon Europe:

Although Russia’s apologists refuse to acknowledge it, Ukraine marks the front lines of world freedom. Those lines, however, can only be maintained with military strength and political will. Putin’s attempted annexation of Ukraine threatens the European order that arose from the ashes of World War Two. Even beyond Europe, Putin’s undisguised ambition to cobble together a new Russian empire by force constitutes a direct challenge to the US-led global order and the liberal principles on which it is based.

America’s capacious military umbrella has been a boon to free nations on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe and the United States have prospered more from this arrangement than any other that would have obtained in a world deprived of American strength and leadership. By means of its postwar military strength and global activism, the United States has averted the kind of cataclysmic conflict that tends to flare up in international politics. (The fact that the term “postwar” refers to such a long-ago war is itself proof of concept.)

?? Michael Weiss goes on a road trip with Toomas Hendrik Ilves in this excellent analysis of Estonia’s disproportionate defense of Ukraine:

Estonia has donated almost 40 percent of its annual military budget to Ukraine and more than 0.8 percent of its gross domestic product, higher than any other nation per capita. It is a contribution made all the more impressive when one considers that Spain, a much larger and wealthier country, hasn’t given Ukraine a single item of heavy weaponry in 2022. … While French and German leaders wax philosophical about their desired endgame for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of annihilation or suggest that he mustn’t be made to feel “humiliated,” Estonia’s 43-year-old prime minister, Kaja Kallas, states in unambiguous terms that Putin “cannot win” and “cannot even think he has won, or his appetite will grow.”

?? Germany, however, is a disgrace:

The Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, called for peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia and stated that the ongoing conflict should be “frozen.” Kretschmer said that the current public discussion is “one-sided” and stressed that the war would be a significant burden for Germany.

??☢️ Though at least there’s a shy glimmer of sanity emerging from those quarters. Germany leaves door open for extending nuclear power use:

The German government on Monday indicated a potential shift on shutting off the country’s three remaining nuclear power plants by year’s end, saying Berlin would analyze whether leaving those facilities running longer could help boost energy security.

??⛽️ Brussels tells EU to ration gas:

The European Commission today proposed emergency legislation that would allow Brussels to impose 15 percent binding gas consumption cuts on EU countries over the next two years. “The recent escalation of disruptions of gas supply from Russia points to significant risk that a complete and protracted halt of Russian gas supplies may materialize in an abrupt and unilateral way,” the Commission said in a memo accompanying the proposal. “Taking action now can reduce both the risk and the costs for Europe in case of further or full disruption.”

Looming natural gas shortages have the EU scrambling for solutions:

The gas crisis could have repercussions that dwarf even the euro debacle. Recession, unheated apartments, high prices—solidarity within the EU would be subjected to a stress test.

?? Mario Draghi offers to stay as Italy’s prime minister only if coalition partners back reform:

In an address to parliament, Draghi accused members of his ruling coalition of trying to subvert policies while ostensibly professing loyalty. “The only reason I am here  … is because Italians have asked me to stay,” he told the Senate. “But are you ready to rebuild? Are you? This is not an answer you have to give me — but you must answer the Italian people.”

Monique—I’m watching the live feed on several channels as my government, headed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Atlanticist and arch supporter of the EU and Ukraine, will most likely fall in the next few hours.

Personally, I cannot express the level of frustration that I feel at this moment. I have watched and tried to write about foreign influence in Italy by Russian malign actors and how they have found Italian allies and how dangerous this is for Italy, the EU and our Transatlantic relationship.

The downfall of the Draghi government was orchestrated by these powers and it’s clear what the objectives are: weaken Italy, weaken the EU, weaken NATO and begin to bolster an anti-western front within Europe against support for Ukraine. It’s already started.

It doesn’t look much better for Italian domestic affairs either. The forces that will bring down Draghi are the same forces that were unable and unwilling to undertake the reforms that are necessary to fight corruption and build the economy in Italy in the past. They use the information space as does Russia—a tool for controlling consensus and disseminating misinformation and disinformation.

I hope I’m wrong.


??? “Iran has capability to build nuclear bomb but has no decision to do so.”

Noting that Iran’s nuclear capabilities are undeniable, Kharrazi said, “It should be noted that Iran is on the nuclear threshold and this is not something secret. He added “Iran has the capability to build nuclear bomb but it has no decision” to do so.

Enriching uranium to 20 percent was “more difficult” but increasing it to 60 percent was done in two to three days. Therefore, he said, it will not be difficult to enrich uranium to purity of 90 percent. “We’re a screwdriver’s turn away from reaching the 90 percent purity,” Kharrazi remarked.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei has banned production of nuclear arms. The former foreign minister reiterated Iran’s long-held policy, saying nuclear weapon “contravenes” Iran’s religious “beliefs” and its “security exigencies.” However, he added, mastering the nuclear technology and having the capability to build nuclear arms is “deterrent.”

???? Putin, in Tehran, gets strong support from Iran:

Putin won staunch support from Iran on Tuesday for his country’s military campaign in Ukraine, with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei saying the West opposes an “independent and strong” Russia. Khamenei said that if Russia hadn’t sent troops into Ukraine, it would have faced an attack from NATO later, a statement that echoed Putin’s own rhetoric and reflected increasingly close ties between Moscow and Tehran as they both face crippling Western sanctions.

Claire—This really is an axis of evil.

???? Joe Biden’s magical thinking on Iran:

Because Biden lifted, waived, and refused to enforce sanctions, Iran could replenish its hard currency reserves decimated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “maximum pressure” campaign. This has reduced Khamenei’s incentive to bargain sincerely. Too often, partisans blame President Trump’s JCPOA exit for Iran’s nuclear rebound. This is wrong on three counts: First, as a Foundation for Defense of Democracies timeline shows, Iran’s nuclear acceleration occurred only after Biden’s inauguration, and Tehran lost the fear of retaliation. Second, the JCPOA never relieved Iran of its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its Safeguards Agreement. Third, Iranians have agency. They have a proactive strategy. At best, they used Trump’s inartfulness as an excuse, but never a motivation.

???? Syria breaks diplomatic ties with Ukraine:

Syria, a close ally of Russia, has announced it is formally breaking diplomatic ties with Ukraine in response to a similar move by Kyiv. “The Syrian Arab Republic has decided to break diplomatic relations with Ukraine in conformity with the principle of reciprocity,” a Syrian foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday. Late last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv would cut ties after Syria recognized the Russian-backed breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

???? Erdoğan vows to move forward with Syria operation despite Iranian and Russian objections:

Erdoğan vowed today to carry out another military assault against US-backed Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, despite statements of disapproval from major players in the conflict. The Syrian cities of Tel Rifaat and Manbij “have become hotbeds of terrorism,” Erdogan alleged [yesterday], adding that “the time has come to clear” the cities of Kurdish-led forces which have controlled those areas for several years.

Erdoğan’s comments came after the Turkish president met Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ibrahim Raisi in Tehran today. Khamenei [yesterday] cautioned against Turkey’s planned incursion, saying it will harm Turkey and the region while benefiting “the terrorists” whom Erdogan seeks to rout. … Russia, which along with Iran backs the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s government, also signaled disapproval.

?? Eight killed in northern Iraq in shelling blamed on Turkey:

Eight civilians including two children were killed and 23 wounded in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region on Wednesday, when artillery shells hit a park in an attack local officials blamed on Turkey. Mushir Bashir, the head of Zakho region, said the victims were mainly “Arab Iraqi tourists, mostly from central and southern Iraq,” and blamed forces from across the border. “Turkey hit the village twice today,” Bashir told AFP.

?? Sadr demands Maliki quit:

Muqtada Sadr has demanded that Nouri Maliki quit politics following the release of an audiotape in which Maliki threatened violence against Sadr and other parties. Sadr also asked the former prime minister’s political allies within the Coordination Framework, and Maliki’s tribe, Bani Malik, to denounce his statements. …

The leak includes the statement “Iraq is going toward a fierce war, if Muqtada’s project … does not fail,” and that if a war happens, Maliki’s tribe, the Bani Malik, will fight against his enemies. The tape also includes strong attacks against the Sunnis and the Kurds and even the religious seminary of Najaf for their differences with Maliki in the past.


??? All of this happened in China last week:

  • Surprise revolt. For months, Xi Jinping stood firm in clamping down on debt-saddled Chinese developers. Now ordinary people are publicly revolting, with rapidly escalating boycotts on mortgage payments spread across at least 91 cities.
  • Mortgage payment showdown. China’s property market—an industry that accounts for about a quarter of the world’s second-largest economy—is taking a very rapid turn for the worse.
  • Markets sink on contagion fears. Chinese bank stocks suffer their worst week since 2018. Some investment-grade property bonds trade at all-time lows. Iron ore futures drop almost 8 percent in a single day.
  • GDP miss. China’s economy expanded just 0.4 percent in the second quarter, versus an estimated 1.4 percent. Import growth slowed to 1 percent, reflecting weak domestic demand. Exports to the rest of the world remain an important buffer, surging 18 percent in June.
  • Record budget deficit. China’s local governments ramp up spending to boost growth, just as tax-relief plans and falling land sales squeeze their finances. The result is a 600 percent surge in the overall budget shortfall versus last year.
  • Capital outflow concerns. Chinese regulators have been asked to exercise greater caution when reviewing companies’ plans for overseas spending and investment. Higher US interest rates (and a strong dollar?) are the context here.
  • Alibaba summoned. Remember that massive data hack a few weeks ago? Executives from Alibaba’s cloud division were called into meetings with Shanghai authorities in connection the incident. Private cloud providers come under scrutiny.
  • Fuel supplies. Chinese bureaucrats studying the energy outlook are proposing to end a ban on Australian coal—imposed in late 2020 after China-Australia hostilities escalated. China will want to avoid a repeat of last year’s energy shortages.
  • China is not-so-profitable. Wall Street giants including BlackRock and JPM are finding that expanding their China businesses may not bring in the big bucks after all.
  • BYD and Buffett. Speculation swirls that Berkshire Hathaway may sell its 20.49 percent stake in the Chinese carmaker. BYD says nothing about the rumors, predicts a 207 percent jump in net income.

?? Lee Hsi-min calls for sweeping military reforms:

Taiwan’s former defense chief said the island’s military needs urgent, sweeping reforms in the face of what he calls the “existential threat” posed by an increasingly aggressive China. Lee Hsi-min, a retired admiral and former chief of general staff of Taiwan’s armed forces, told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview that Taipei needs to prioritize asymmetric weapons to combat Beijing’s much greater firepower. Instead of conventional weapons such as fighter jets, tanks and warships, Lee said Taiwan should prioritize weapons that are cost-effective and harder for Beijing to destroy, and set up civilian units, mirroring Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Force.

?? Sri Lanka votes. Ranil Wickremesinghe wins amid protests:

Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been elected as president to replace the ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a result that is likely to provoke turmoil among protesters who have been calling for weeks for him to resign. Wickremesinghe, who has been prime minister six times but never president, won a comfortable victory in parliament on Wednesday morning, where MPs voted for the new president in an unprecedented secret ballot. The vote came after protesters forced Rajapaksa from office amid anger over a spiraling economic crisis.

?? Europe’s descent into irrelevance in Asia:

Europe’s economic, financial and political relevance in Asia is in rapid retreat. For all the bravado emanating from across Europe, and from the European Union itself, about the need to maintain influence in Asia, the reality is that the natural forces displacing European influence from the region are ever more powerful and entrenched. Europe is being steadily moved to the margins of Asian politics, economics and finance, a process that will accelerate the Balkanization of the global economy.

?? China won over Southeast Asia during the pandemic:

The global pandemic, which began when the virus causing Covid19 spread beyond China’s borders, could have been a disaster for Beijing’s influence with regional governments. But China found opportunity in adversity. It acted to meet the region’s needs through broad diplomatic and material support, looking outward while the US and its allies were mostly looking inward. China’s ability to respond early, to craft a resonant message, to maintain trade flows, and to show up in person created favorable impressions that have persisted even as the US and others catch up.

? Africa

?? Biden announces US-Africa summit for mid-December:

Biden said the summit will work towards new economic engagement, promote democracy and human rights, advance peace and security, and address challenges such as food security and climate change as well as the pandemic.

??? US says China isn’t doing enough to avert African food crisis:

In remarks Monday at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, [Samantha] Power said that China “in particular stands out for its absence” in humanitarian efforts in East Africa. She said if China exported more food and fertilizer to the global market or to the World Food Program, it would “significantly relieve pressure on food and fertilizer prices and powerfully demonstrate the country’s desire to be a global leader and a friend to the world’s least developed economies.”

?? Mozambique mine attacked:

Precious gem producer Gemfields has reported an attack close to its ruby mine in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, but said operations have not been halted. Attacks by ISIS-linked armed groups in Cabo Delgado have killed thousands of people since conflict broke out in 2017, disrupting multibillion-dollar natural gas and mining projects.

??? Ghana allays fears over Marburg outbreak:

Ghana’s Health Service says more than a third of the people quarantined after an outbreak of the Marburg virus, a relative of Ebola, have been cleared to leave isolation. Authorities quarantined 98 people this week following two deadly cases of the virus in Ghana. It is the first time ever the disease has been confirmed in the West African country, although nearby Guinea recorded a single case last year.

???? Mali expels UN spokesman:

Mali is expelling the spokesman of the UN’s peacekeeping force in the country, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, citing posts he made on Twitter about a diplomatic incident with Ivory Coast that has soured relations with the UN.

? Americas

?? “It has to change.” Small business owners sound off on crushing inflation:

At Gourmet Deli & General Grocery, milk is $7 per gallon right now. “I mean, everything has gone up, from eggs to milk to chicken, steak,” she says. “Oftentimes, we’re out of stock on certain items because we can’t find it. Then, if we do find it, we have to raise the price.”

??? Coming soon: A US$1 trillion US defense budget?

Inflation is affecting the US military, too. Indeed, the defense budget that the Senate Armed Services Committee approved on July 18 calls for US$45 billion more than what the Biden administration requested. The final tally clocks in at an eye-watering US$847 billion.

?????? US, Canada demand trade dispute talks over Mexico’s energy policies:

The United States and Canada on Wednesday demanded dispute settlement talks with Mexico under a North American trade deal, charging that Mexican energy policies were discriminatory and “undermine” international firms and cross-border supplies. The request, first announced by the US Trade Representative’s office, marks the most serious trade fight between Washington and Mexico City since the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade took effect two years ago. If unresolved, it could ultimately lead to punitive US tariffs.

?? At least 234 dead or injured in five days of Haitian gang violence:

Gang violence killed or injured at least 234 people from July 8-12 in Haiti’s Cité Soleil, an impoverished and densely populated neighborhood of the capital Port-au-Prince … The unrest erupted between two rival factions, and the city’s ill-equipped and understaffed police failed to intervene, trapping residents in their homes, unable to go out even for food and water. With many houses in the slums made of sheet metal, residents fell victim to stray bullets. Ambulances were unable to reach those in need.

?? Fired minister accuses Castillo of obstructing justice:

A former Peruvian Cabinet member who was fired on Tuesday after just two weeks in the role has accused President Pedro Castillo of obstructing graft investigations of close allies. Mariano Gonzalez served as minister of the interior, overseeing the national police and had recently appointed a special police squad to ramp up efforts to investigate and capture political allies of Castillo over graft claims. Gonzalez [said] that his firing was tied to his appointment of the special police unit, called it “obstruction of justice,” and also called for Castillo’s resignation.

?? Brazil’s authorities pay no mind to deforestation:

Environmental criminals in the Brazilian Amazon destroyed public forests equal the size of El Salvador over the past six years, yet the Federal Police—the Brazilian version of the FBI—carried out only seven operations aimed at this massive loss, according to a new study.

?? Why hardliners are gaining steam in Latin America:

With the prices of food—and everything else—rising rapidly, people feel their livelihoods strongly threatened. The nasty shock of moving back into poverty after having escaped it temporarily fuels serious resentments. In such a tumultuous state of mind, voting for drastic change is far more appealing than voting for moderates.

In the past 14 national elections in Latin America, the government-backed candidate has lost 13 times. The sole exception is Nicaragua’s artlessly rigged vote in favor of reinstalling its dictator. In no competitive electoral system has the government won. The wave has swept away criminally corrupt governments and adequately competent ones alike.

? Global

?? A first year of discovery:

The first images from the largest and most advanced orbiting optical observatory to date—NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope—will be released on July 12. As one of the scientists who will be using the Webb, Casey Papovich examines how it may help answer deep questions about the nature of exoplanets and the formation of the first galaxies following the Big Bang.

Using famine as a lever:

“Failure to open the ports in Ukraine will be a declaration of war on global food security,” David Beasley, the director of the World Food Program, said in May. More recently, he has said that if they don’t open soon, the world will experience a global hunger crisis in the coming months the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II. Furthermore, food shortages could spark uprisings, instability and mass migration. It is, he says, “a perfect storm in a perfect storm.”

He estimates that 323 million people are at risk of famine. For 49 million people in 43 countries, the threat could soon become existential, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where every second person already doesn’t have enough to eat. And the situation in countries like Senegal, Somalia and South Sudan continues to worsen by the day.

Claire—323 million people. Putin may well succeed in becoming the greatest monster in human history.

?? G-20 ministers debate food, energy prices as global divide worsens:

The foreign ministers of the Group of 20 nations met in Bali on Friday, with the Ukraine war overshadowing their first face-to-face gathering since Russia invaded its neighbor. … While Indonesia, as the president of the G-20 this year, set public health, pandemic recovery, the digital economy and the green transition as major topics for the meeting, food security and rising energy prices in the wake of the war were high on the agenda.

Criminal organizations step up assassinations by drone:

Many criminals who are at risk of being targets of hits have moved to the highest floors of various luxury towers in order to prevent harm to them. In response, hitmen have evolved their methods. …

? The CG Book Club

You’re invited.

? The CCP is disappointed in you

With wavering sanctions, time for EU to see the situation and untie with US:

… In the issue of sanctions against Russia, the EU has played the role of US’ henchman and served US’ purpose of “killing two birds with one stone.” On the one hand, the US takes advantage of the EU to weaken Russia; on the other, it is using Russia to check the EU. Europe has reportedly passed Asia as the largest consumer of US crude oil for the first time in six years. The US has made a great fortune out of the Ukraine conflict, and managed to tie the EU on its chariot. In other words, the US will not only fight until the last Ukrainian, but also hold Europe hostage, while Europe is the typical kind of being sold by the US but counting money for the US [sic].

? Bat of the day

? Today’s plants

Amazing. They sleep and wake up just like us.

Claire Berlinski is the editor of the Cosmopolitan Globalist.

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