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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – U.K.
Artificial intelligence chatbots integrated into businesses’ systems pose a threat as research increasingly shows that they can be tricked into performing harmful tasks, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre warned today. Raphael Satter reports for Reuters.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.K. House of Commons has referred to Taiwan as an “independent country,” the first time Parliament has used this language. “Taiwan possesses all the qualifications for statehood, including a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states — it is only lacking greater international recognition,” the Committee said in a report. The move comes just as U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visits China. Stuart Lau reports for POLITICO.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Senior military officers in Gabon announced they were seizing power and “putting an end to the current regime” today. The announcement comes just after President Ali Bongo Ondimba declared an election win for a third term in office. The officers said the election results have been canceled, the government suspended, and the country’s borders closed until further notice. Declan Walsh reports for the New York Times.
India has lodged a “strong protest” with China over a new map that shows the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and the disputed Aksai Chin plateau as Chinese territory. “We reject these claims as they have no basis,” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, adding that the map “only complicates the resolution of the boundary question.” BBC News reports.
Saudi Arabia has offered to resume financial support to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to secure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s support for open ties with Israel. The offer demonstrates Saudi Arabia’s interest in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, as it forestalls criticism that it would abandon the Palestinians by doing so. Saudi aid to Palestine dropped from $174 million in 2019 to zero in 2021 following criticism of incompetence and corruption. Dion Nissenbaum and Summer Said report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Guatemalan electoral authorities have suspended President-elect Bernardo Arévalo’s Seed Movement political party in a move that could block legislators from taking their seats in Congress. Arévalo, running an anti-corruption campaign, won by a landslide earlier this month. The suspension has fuelled fears of democratic backsliding in Guatemala. Santiago Pérez reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration announced it would send Ukraine an additional $250 million in weapons and ammunition yesterday. Ukraine has received over $43 billion from the United States since last year’s full-scale invasion. Tara Copp reports for AP News.
Ukraine launched several dozen drones as part of its largest drone attack on military targets across Russia since the full-scale invasion. Most drones were shot down. Four military aircraft were disabled in a strike on the Pskov air base, over 400 miles from Ukraine. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Russia conducted a “massive” attack on Kyiv last night, deploying drones and missiles, head of the Kyiv city military administration, Serhii Popko, said. “Kyiv has not experienced such a powerful attack since spring,” Popko wrote on Telegram. At least two people were killed. Aruzhan Zeinulla and Olga Voitovych report for CNN.
The impact of the sanctions on Russia, rising prices, and government spending on the defense industry is bringing the effects of the war home for many Russians. Economists warn that the ruble’s devaluation could fuel a price surge over the next 3 to 6 months. Recent surveys show that 19 percent of respondents began reducing purchases of essential items such as toothpaste and food in July, compared to 16 percent in June. Catherine Belton, Jeff Stein, and Robyn Dixon report for the Washington Post.
Russia will not investigate the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin and nine others per international rules. Russia informed Brazil’s aircraft investigation authority that it would not investigate the wreck of the Brazilian-made Embraer jet under international rules “at the moment.” Brazil’s Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents had said it would join a Russian-led investigation if invited. Some Western governments suspect the Russian government is behind the attack. Allison Lampert, Gabriel Araujo, and Valerie Insinna report for Reuters.
Over a dozen migrants from Uzbekistan are being investigated by the FBI following reports that they crossed the border into the United States with the help of a smuggler linked to the self-styled Islamic State militant group. According to National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson, no specific ISIS plot has been uncovered. Some counterterrorism officials say the incident demonstrates U.S. vulnerability to terrorists crossing the southern border under the guise of seeking asylum. Katie Bo Lillis, Evan Perez, Priscilla Alvarez, and Natasha Bertrand report for CNN.
President Biden met with Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves yesterday to discuss stalling the surge of migrants entering the United States. The Biden administration hopes to work with Costa Rica to develop ways for migrants to apply for protection close to their home countries rather than traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border. The State Department will send over $12 million to Costa Rica to deal with migration. The Biden administration also plans to send around $24 million designated for policing and expanding crime prevention programs. Zolan Kanno-Youngs reports for the New York Times.
Meta has removed one of the most significant Chinese influence campaigns from its platforms in its “biggest single takedown of a single network we have ever conducted,” the head of Meta’s security team for global threats, Ben Nimmo, said. Meta removed 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 Facebook pages, 15 Facebook groups, and 15 Instagram accounts linked to the Chinese campaign. Other accounts on TikTok, X, LiveJournal, and Blogspot are part of the campaign. The Chinese campaign’s effects were limited due to poor spelling and bad grammar. Sheera Frenkel reports for the New York Times.
U.S. B-1B bombers were deployed for joint drills with South Korea and Japan today. South Korea’s defense ministry said the bombers flew as part of the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercises in South Korea. Separately, the bombers flew in joint drills with 12 Japanese fighters. Hyunsu Yim reports for Reuters.
Wisconsin Senate Republicans yesterday fought to oust Meagan Wolfe, the nonpartisan Elections Commission administrator. Wolfe became a target of right-wing attacks fueled by falsehoods and former President Trump’s grievances about the 2020 election in the state. The attempt to oust Wolfe comes even though a Republican-led review found no evidence of significant fraud. The incident is sowing further distrust in the election process. Neil Vigdor reports for the New York Times.
Judges overseeing former President Trump’s criminal cases are being forced to balance freedom of speech issues with justice, as Trump appears to flout restrictions on his criticism of the processes. Judges must deter efforts to intimidate individuals involved in the cases while not restricting Trump’s freedom to campaign for election. Trump has used strong rhetoric, including calling special counsel Jack Smith “deranged” and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis “Phoney Fani.” Byron Tau reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) has reintroduced the Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, which limits the ability of major defense contractors and foreign governments to hire former Defense Department officials as lobbyists. The legislation would impose a four-year ban on defense contractors employing senior Pentagon officials, among other measures. Legislation seeking to crack down on defense contractor influence rarely succeeds in Congress. Brad Dress reports for The Hill.