Global Review – 19th August

The Taliban spill first blood – ‘35 killed in Jalalabad’

Some 35 people have died during protests against the Taliban in Jalalabad, according to reports from Sky TG24. The Italian TV station quotes  eyewitnesses saying that “the people in Nangarhar province took to the streets with the old flags of Afghanistan. To stop them, the Taliban shot and killed 35people.” Official sources say the toll is of three dead and several injured.

Chaos at Kabul airport amid scramble to evacuate

More chaotic scenes have been reported outside Kabul international airport as the Taliban militants controlling access to the airport fired shots into the air to disperse approaching crowds. Taliban fighters around the airport are not permitting Afghans without documents to enter. The US military has also fired shots in the air to contain the crowd at Kabul airport. According to Sky News, at least 17 people were injured in the fracas. A British Parachute Regiment Officer revealed mothers threw their babies over the airport barbed wires to British servicemen as they were being beaten by the Taliban, who earlier had confronted British troops in nearby roads.

In other developments:

  • The Europan Union, the US and United Kingdon have expressed deep concern about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. In a declaration signed also by 18 countries, they called “on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection”.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Twitter he had called an extraordinary virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers this Friday to continue the close coordination and discussion on the common approach for Afghanistan.
  • US President Joe Biden spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the situation in Afghanistan and agreed with him to hold a virtual summit of G7 leaders next week to discuss a common strategy and approach.
  • In an extraordinary debate in the House of Commons, Johnson said that the British government intends to judge the intentions of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • The International Monetary Fund has said Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the lender’s resources. This was due to “lack of clarity within the international community” over recognising a government in Afghanistan.

Germany: SPD overtakes the Greens and pressures CDU-CSU

According to the latest survey, the German Social Democrats have surpassed the Greens and are very close to the CDU-CSU union. According to the survey, Olaf Scholz’s party now has 21% (+2) of the preferences against 19% of the Greens (-1), while Armin Laschet’s conservatives remain at 23%. In this scenario, the Union and the SPD could nominate the next chancellor.

China: Xi against ‘excessive’ incomes, but the rich must give more

China will focus on moderate wealth for all, rather than wealth for the few, encouraging the richest to give more back to society. President Xi Jinping yesterday reaffirmed the need to promote “common prosperity”. Income inequality among the 1.411 billion Chinese has increased in recent decades: the richest 10% of the population earned 41% of national income in 2015, up from 27% in 1978. Half of the low-income population has seen its share drop to around 15%, from around 27% in 1978.

Canadian court wraps up ‘Lady Huawei’ extradition hearings

After nearly 1,000 days, a Canadian court has wrapped up the new round of hearings to examine the possible extradition to the United States of Meng Wanzhou, also known as ‘Lady Huawei’. The woman, the financial director of Huawei, was arrested in December 2018 on a mandate from the United States, who would like to try her for banking fraud and conspiracy for alleged business relations of her company, through a subsidiary, with Iran. Sentence is expected on October 21. If extradited to the US for trial and found guilty, Meng could face over 30 years in prison.

Kelly called a predator as sex abuse trial begins

American R&B singer R. Kelly was described as a ‘predator’ by the prosecution on the first day of the ongoing trial against him in New York for sexual abuse. The 54-year-old, best known for his hit “I believe I can fly”, is facing charges of extortion, child sexual exploitation, kidnapping and corruptionbetween 1994 and 2018. If found guilty of all charges by the jury, he faces 10 years in prison. The singer has pleaded not guilty.

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