It all seems peaceful out there, quiet even… Yes, it is quiet. Too quiet.
That’s because, like the sane people you are, you’ve turned off CNN and you’re relying on the news to come to you when you need it. That time is now, and that news is here. Read on and you’ll learn about all sorts of things you missed that are vitally important to… well, to someone.
– China, Hong Kong, prisons, sanctions, USA, reprisals, posturing. This is all a matter of life and death for a lot of people living in Hong Kong and rather more watching from China and Taiwan, but the grim truth of the matter is there’s not much anyone can do to prevent China’s use of Hong Kong to provoke outrage from the rest of the world and as an object lesson for their own people.
– Japan, Olympics. If you care, you already know and are probably streaming events at four in the morning. If you don’t care, we’ll go straight to the next item just for you.
– A massive, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan, one eighth of which is committed to climate change and coastal resilience programs, has been negotiated by a bipartisan committee and is heading for a vote in the Senate, where it is expected to pass by a solid margin. Missing are several key provisions for fighting climate change which were a major part of Biden’s election platform (a surprise for those who thought his entire platform was “I’m not Trump”).
– An internal CDC report, leaked to the Washington Post, shows that we have known for two months that the Delta Variant of COVID-19 is at least as deadly as the primary strain, spreads much faster, and can in some cases infect the vaccinated. While vaccination prevents most serious symptoms, it does not stop the carrier from spreading the infection. Meanwhile, CDC guidance recommends school reopenings, and half the country is still resisting wearing masks, as last year’s eviction moratorium expires while the House of Representatives goes on vacation.
– A huge fire engulfed the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo, destroying part of the institution’s vast collection of moving pictures, many of which were unique.
– An Iranian-made suicide drone struck a Japanese-owned, Liberian-flagged oil tanker run by an Israeli corporation (if you can follow all that) in the Gulf of Oman, in a targeted strike that killed the ship’s captain and a bodyguard. Iran has denied involvement; other nations are planning retaliation. Meanwhile, Israel is condemning the EU’s decision to send a representative to the office-taking of Iran’s new ultra-hardline president.
– Vitaly Shishov, a Belarusian charity organizer who ran an organization dedicated to helping Belarusian refugees in Kiev, Ukraine, was found hanged in a city park. Shishov was reported missing by friends, who told authorities he had been followed during his morning runs.
– In consequence of the sudden American withdrawal from Afghanistan, and following an official Taliban announcement that “No one wants a civil war in Afghanistan”, Taliban forces armed with captured American weaponry and equipment have overrun several provinces, and the unprepared Afghani military is reportedly retreating in disarray. Massive civilian casualties (plus one U.N. peacekeeper that we know about) are accompanying the military advance, though this is disputed by the Taliban. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani claims that the Taliban has not severed ties with terror groups, a charge that the Taliban also denies.
– In Myanmar, the leader of the military junta has named himself Prime Minister on the six-month anniversary of the successful coup. Meanwhile, students and citizens across the country are continuing to take part in protests, but the size of the demonstrations is decreasing in exact proportion to the number of citizens being detained by the government. The Taliban had no comment.
– Donald Trump said something, but nobody really cared because he’s not president. I mention this because the update is getting very depressing, and even if you don’t need something to smile about, I do.
– In the northern Sinai, Egyptian anti-terror forces reportedly wiped out an ISIL tunnel complex, capturing or killing nearly a hundred militants and destroying munitions and vehicles enough to arm ten times as many. The Taliban disputes this.
– Volcanoes, plagues, wildfires and, in Alaska, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake, prompting tsunami warnings. I’m now officially too depressed to continue. The Taliban has denied all responsibility for these natural disasters, though I’m not entirely convinced.
– THIS JUST IN: Epstein is still dead, though the Taliban probably denies this too.
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