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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 – WEST AFRICA COUPS
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov met with the junta in Burkina Faso yesterday to discuss possible military cooperation. The meeting suggests Burkina Faso is moving closer to Russia after it expelled French troops in February. Neighboring Mali, also under military rule, already hosts paramilitary organization Wagner group forces. Reuters reports.
Anti-French sentiment is a common feature of the wave of military coups in West Africa. Most recently, Niger’s junta ordered police to expel the French ambassador yesterday. Militaries have come to power by weaponizing resentment of France’s colonial legacy. Speaking about the latest coup in Gabon, Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who chairs E.C.O.W.A.S., said, “My fear has been confirmed in Gabon that copycats will start doing the same thing until it is stopped.” Ishaan Tharoor reports for the Washington Post.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – CHINA
China released a map this week that reiterated its claim to over 90% of the South China Sea, further heightening tensions with countries like the Philippines. Laura Bicker reports for BBC News.
China has told India to “stay calm” and not “overinterpret the issue” after China released a map showing the north-eastern Arunachal Pradesh state and the disputed Aksai Chin plateau as China’s territory. Unidentified sources have reportedly said that Chinese President Xi Jinping canceled his participation at the forthcoming Group of Twenty summit in India because of the map controversy. BBC News reports.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Palestinian leadership has made relatively modest requests in exchange for supporting a U.S.-brokered deal establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Palestine wants Israel to return control over small areas of the West Bank and tear down some illegal Israeli communities there. Establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia could give impetus to a regional easing of tensions with Israel. Dion Nissenbaum and Summer Said report for the Wall Street Journal.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba yesterday sharply criticized leaks from Western officials who say the counter-offensive is progressing too slowly, saying they should “shut up.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said, “Ukrainians have exceeded expectations again and again … We need to trust them.” Tom Balmforth reports for Reuters.
Ukrainian forces penetrated the “first line” of Russian defenses in the Zaporizhzhia region, the military claimed yesterday. Tim Lister, Olga Voitovych and Sana Noor Haq report for CNN.
About 200 Ukrainian soldiers have completed training to use the U.S. M1 Abrams tanks, the first ten of which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in mid-September. Lara Seligman reports for POLITICO.
A Ukrainian drone struck a Russian town where one of the country’s largest nuclear plants is located, Governor Roman Starovoit said. “There are no casualties,” Starovoit added. There was no damage reported to the power station. Reuters reports.
Authorities in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine held elections yesterday in a bid to consolidate their authority. Russia does not fully control any of the four areas where elections are being held. Yohannes Lowe and Helen Sullivan report for the Guardian.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday announced that Ukraine has developed new long-range weapons. “The range of our new Ukrainian weapons is now 700 kilometers [435 miles],” Zelensky said.
The Biden administration asked Saudi Arabia to identify which parts of its security forces reportedly killed migrants along the border with Yemen. Identifying which Saudi security elements are implicated would help establish whether the United States provided weapons or training to those units. The Saudi government has said the Human Rights Watch report is “politicized and misleading … launched repeatedly for suspicious objectives.” Missy Ryan, Sarah Dadouch, John Hudson, and Karen DeYoung report for the Washington Post.
The Biden administration “has not blocked chip sales to the Middle East,” the Department of Commerce clarified yesterday after it was reported that NVIDIA and Advanced Micro Devices sales to the region would be subject to export license requirements. Stephen Nellis reports for Reuters.
The United States imposed sanctions on Moscow-based company Intellekt that allegedly supported North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, the U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday. The sanctions have been coordinated with South Korea and Japan. Richard Vanderford reports for the Wall Street Journal.
China has criticized the Biden administration after it approved a military transfer to Taiwan under a program usually reserved for assisting sovereign nations, a move China says “severely violates the one-China principle.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “China deplores and firmly opposes it.” Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
Twenty-seven percent of tests performed on clothing at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in May indicated links to cotton from China’s Xinjiang region, despite bans because of concerns over forced labor. Katherine Masters reports for Reuters.
Former President Trump yesterday pleaded not guilty to accusations of trying to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Trump also sought to sever his case from other defendants. Trump’s court filing shows he has waived arraignment due to take place on Sep. 6. Kate Brumback reports for AP News.
Joseph Biggs, a member of the far-right Proud Boys convicted of seditious conspiracy in relation to his actions during the Jan. 6 attack, was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Zachary Rehl, president of the group’s Philadelphia branch, received 15 years in prison. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly agreed to prosecutors’ proposal to apply a terrorism enhancement in calculating their sentences. Byron Tau reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Border Patrol arrested around 91,000 migrants crossing the southern border in August, setting a new monthly record. Families were the single largest demographic group crossing the border in August. Crossings have risen by over 30 percent for two consecutive months after falling sharply in May. Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti report for the Washington Post.
The Biden administration yesterday proposed a broad expansion of firearms background checks intended to close loopholes involving gun shows and internet sales. Unlicensed private sellers in many states can sell at gun shows, out of their houses, and online without a criminal and mental health background check. Under the proposed rules, however, anyone profiting from selling firearms must obtain a federal license and conduct background checks. Glenn Thrush reports for the New York Times.
Chad Christopher Stark of Texas and Joshua Russell of Ohio pleaded guilty to threatening elections officials in separate criminal cases, the Justice Department announced yesterday. The two cases are part of the Department of Justice’s Election Threats Task Force, launched in June 2021, which has charged 14 threat-related cases and secured nine convictions. Piper Hudspeth Blackburn reports for CNN.