Timeframe: 30th July – 5th August 2021
Mansib Khan, Musarrat Sarwar Chowdhury, Sabyasachi Karmaker, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
1. Economics & Business
Messi joins PSG: Argentina star now officially in Paris
Last week, Lionel Messi left FC Barcelona after financial rules imposed by Spain’s La Liga made it fiscally impossible for the troubled club to follow through on his five-year contract agreement. Messi signed a two-year deal with PSG, with an option for a third, that will net him an annual salary of $41 million-plus bonuses and a reported $30 million signing fee. Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaifi says the world will be “shocked” by the financial revenues generated by the club’s signing of the global soccer superstar.
Afghanistan: Taliban take 10th provincial capital as Ghazni falls
The Taliban have taken the strategically important city of Ghazni, the 10th provincial capital to fall to the militants in less than a week. Ghazni is on the major Kabul-Kandahar motorway, linking militant strongholds in the south to the capital Kabul. Taking Ghazni is thought to increase the likelihood that the Taliban could eventually aim to take Kabul itself. Almost a third of the country’s 34 provincial capitals are now under Taliban control.
The insurgents have moved at speed, seizing new territories almost daily, as US and other foreign troops withdraw after 20 years of military operations. In Ghazni, a provincial council member told the BBC that the Taliban had taken most of the city, with only a police base on the outskirts of Ghazni controlled by the Afghan security forces.
3. Significant Corona Update
Global markets continue to bounce back in spite of delta breakthrough infections
As delta breakthroughs constrain re-opening plans, markets around the world recover expecting Q3 to show a moderating influence of inflation while fueling growth. As supply chain constraints are resolved and vaccination drives to speed up, central banks expect to taper off stimulus. Delta breakthroughs show that vaccination infections do not prevent the viral load (carried in noses) from transmitting both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, with the latter more likely to have cases requiring hospitalization. The CDC has recommended but not mandated masks to be worn outdoors, while the Biden administration mandates vaccination among federal employees. The WHO has requested Germany and OECD nations to forgo booster shots in order to contribute to the COVAX initiative re-vitalized by renewed commitments from the Biden administration
4. Science & Technology
Apple pushes back against child abuse scanning concerns in a new FAQ
In a new FAQ, Apple has attempted to assuage concerns that its new anti-child abuse measures could be turned into surveillance tools by authoritarian governments. “Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM [child sexual abuse material] stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government’s request to expand it,” the company writes.
Apple’s new tools, announced last Thursday, include two features designed to protect children. Apple is notified if CSAM is detected, and it will alert the authorities when it verifies such material exists. The plans met with a swift backlash from digital privacy groups and campaigners, who argued that these introduce a backdoor into Apple’s software.
Source: The Verge
5. RMG/ Agriculture
‘Reality check’ climate-change report shines a spotlight on Africa’s agriculture potential
PCC Report reveals how “highly exposed” African agriculture is to climate extremes. Africa could provide global food security if climate change exposure was managed. It seems almost incongruous to talk about the opportunity that exists in ensuring the world’s food security by bolstering Africa’s agricultural output when the very pressing and public crisis of climate change could be its undoing.
Source: Relief Web
6. Social and Education
Poland bans foreign-owned media in an effort to clamp down on opposition media while disinformation operations continue to spread anti-vaccination messages
The Polish ruling coalition has clamped down on foreign-owned TV channels in an effort to curtail the freedom of the US-owned broadcaster as the authoritarian regime plans to acquire adverse media by its own parliamentary members. In a separate development Facebook and Google has shut down an anti-AstraZeneca disinformation campaign from a Russian ad agency, showing covid misinformation and anti-vaccination sentiment continues to be driven by great power politics between the US and the EU against both Russia and China
Greece faces ‘disaster of unprecedented proportions’ as wildfires ravage the country
Greece is facing a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions, as 586 wildfires burn in all corners of the country. Firefighters continue to battle blazes across the Mediterranean nation, which is experiencing one of its worst heatwaves in decades. In the last few days, there have been 63 organized evacuations. Greece’s second-largest island, Evia, has been at the center of the storm of fires that have ravaged the country. According to local officials, more than half of the island has burned.
8. Expert Opinion
During the pandemic, a new variant of capitalism has emerged -Larry Elliott
During the pandemic, a new variant of capitalism has emerged. Spending is up. The world has been fighting a war against Covid, and in wartime the power of the state always increases- writes the Guardian’s economics editor.
Source: The Guardian
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