Key Storylines

  • AFRICA: Zambia’s former First Lady Esther Lungu was questioned over ownership claims of ultramodern housing units in Lusaka.
  • AMERICAS: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the price tag for one of his flagship infrastructure projects, known as the Mayan Train, could reach up to $20 billion.
  • ASIA: Defense chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific gathered in Sydney this week to bolster their connections against a backdrop of China’s increasing influence in the region.
  • EUROPE: Russian energy giant Gazprom drastically cut gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to about 20 percent of its capacity.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran is investigating a claim of a near-miss in its airspace between two Pakistani passenger jets due to human error by air traffic controllers.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: A European court upheld a broadcast ban imposed on Russian news channel RT France.

Top Story

  • Global: Xi, Biden to Hold Talks Amid New Tensions and Strained Relations on Thursday.
    • US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to talk on Thursday with Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine expected to be key agenda items.
    • The talks between the two leaders have been in the works for weeks, but the possibility of a visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added strain to US-China relations.
    • US officials have stressed that the Xi call would be a continuation of the administration’s efforts to maintain open lines of communication to ensure that the relationship does not veer into unintended conflict.
    • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “no individual and no force should underestimate the resolve, the will and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
    • Biden’s aides say he is close to a decision on whether to scrap some of the tariffs President Donald Trump imposed on roughly $350 billion in Chinese imports.
    • Thursday’s call will be the fifth between the two leaders as new tensions and strained relations continue in the near future.
    • Reuters, AP, Bloomberg, MFAWSJ, The Week

Africa

  • DR Congo: The UN secretary general’s office said any attacks on peacekeepers may constitute a war crime after two UN bases were assaulted in the country’s east. (BBC)
  • Kenya: Two of the four presidential candidates made good their threats to skip a televised presidential debate on Tuesday night that was organized by media owners ahead of next month’s elections. (BBC)
  • Somalia: Nine people died following a suicide explosion in the coastal town of Marka. (BBC)
  • Sudan: Security forces killed one person while dispersing anti-coup protesters in Khartoum. (BBC)
  • Zambia: Former First Lady Esther Lungu was questioned over ownership claims of ultramodern housing units in Lusaka. (BBC)

Americas   

  • Canada: Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church should accept institutional blame for the harm done to Indigenous people in residential schools that tried to wipe out native cultures. (Reuters)
  • Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the price tag for one of his flagship infrastructure projects, known as the Mayan Train, could reach up to $20 billion. (Reuters)
  • Panama: Protesters angry at the high cost of living ended their three-week blockade of major roads as negotiations between the government and the demonstrators continued. (AFP)
  • United States: The president of a union representing federal air traffic controllers said the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must do a better job of ensuring adequate staffing to oversee the nation’s airspace. (Reuters)
  • Venezuela: Sources confirmed an oil spill from a joint venture by state oil company PDVSA was detected in an environmentally sensitive area in the far east of the country. (Reuters)

Asia 

  • Region: Defense chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific gathered in Sydney this week to bolster their connections against a backdrop of China’s increasing influence in the region. (AP)
  • Australia: Inflation rose farther, increasing the likelihood of the central bank next week hiking interest rates for a fourth consecutive month. (AP)
  • China: Beijing warned that Washington would “bear the consequences” if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. (AFP)
  • Philippines: A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the northern island of Luzon killing four people, damaging buildings, and sending strong tremors through Manila. (Reuters)
  • Singapore: The city-state extended a short-stay visa for Sri Lanka’s deposed president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (AFP)

Europe

  • Germany: The government plans to reduce incentive payments for buyers of electric cars and end incentives for buying plug-in hybrids at the end of this year. (AP)
  • Netherlands: Farmers resumed protests at government plans to reduce nitrogen emissions by dumping manure and garbage on highways and setting fires alongside roads. (AP)
  • Russia: Gazprom drastically cut gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to about 20 percent of its capacity. (AFP)
  • Ukraine: Troops struck the strategic Antonivskyi bridge, which is essential for Moscow to supply its forces occupying the country’s south. (AP)
  • United Kingdom: Around 40,000 railway workers staged a walkout a month after the largest strike in 30 years as the country battles its worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Afghanistan: Amnesty International issued a report stating that the lives of women and girls are being destroyed by a “suffocating” crackdown by the Taliban since they took power nearly a year ago. (AP)
  • Iran: The government is investigating a claim of a near-miss in its airspace between two Pakistani passenger jets due to human error by air traffic controllers. (AFP)
  • Iraq: Rockets hit the vicinity of the Turkish consulate in the northern city of Mosul causing damage but no casualties. (AFP)
  • Jordan: Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh called for continued support as its burden of hosting Syrian refugees is growing. (Xinhua)
  • Lebanon: Parliament passed long-awaited amendments to the banking secrecy law to unlock a potential 3 billion USD financial assistance package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Xinhua)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: A European court upheld a broadcast ban imposed on Russian news channel RT France. (AFP)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report.
  • Hurricanes:
    • Tropical Storm Frank
      • Location: 12.2 N, 104.9 W
      • Wind: 40 mph
      • Movement: W at 9 mph.
      • Map
  • Earthquakes:
    • Luzon, Philippines
      • Magnitude: 7.1
      • Depth: 10.0 km
      • Map
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 27JUL22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (28JUL22)

  • Event: US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to hold a telephone call as tensions escalate over the planned visit to Taiwan by US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
  • Event: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers to meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. (to 29JUL22)
  • Event: Heritage Foundation to hold a discussion on lessons learned from the war in Ukraine.
  • Asia: US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland is on travel to Japan and the Republic of Korea. (to 28JUL22)
  • Canada: Pope to continue his trip to the country. (to 30JUL22)
  • Ethiopia: UN Human Rights Council Commission, tasked with investigating human rights violations committed in the country’s Tigray region, to continue its visit. (to 30JUL22)
  • Guinea-Bissau: French President Emmanuel Macron to visit following stops in Cameroon and Benin earlier in the week.
  • Russia: Moscow to hold preliminary court hearing to begin dissolving Israeli-backed Jewish Agency inside Russia.
  • South Korea: Indonesian President Joko Widodo to arrive in Seoul for talks with South Korean President Yoon Seok Yeol.
  • United States: House Foreign Affairs Committee to hold hearing on ‘Countering Gray Zone Coercion in the Indo-Pacific’.
  • United States: House Committee on Foreign Affairs to hold closed members briefing on ‘Iran Nuclear Negotiations’.
  • United States: Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold two nominations hearings, to include considerations for US Ambassador postings to El Salvador, Iceland, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.
  • Vietnam: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to meet in Ha Long (to 29JUL22)

END