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Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China Hong Kong instituted some extreme measures to block the further spread of the coronavirus outbreak from mainland China, including stopping all trains and flights to Wuhan, banning all official visits to mainland China, and extending school cancellations through Feb. 17th. Hong Kong has already seen five cases of the virus. Australia and France reported…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong Hong Kong police allowed a demonstration by the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front—for the first time since August—and an estimated 800,000 protesters turned out for it (police say they only counted 183,000 attendees). Either way, it’s the largest rally in Hong Kong in months. Afghanistan Afghanistan’s election commission met with stakeholders about results…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China The U.S. House passed “the Uighur bill” 407-1. The bill would require the U.S. president to condemn discrimination against Muslims in China, call for the closure of “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, and impose sanctions on a member of China’s politburo for the first time (in this case, Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo). China denounced…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Afghanistan The Asia Foundation released results from its annual “Survey of the Afghan People,” which found that Afghans are more optimistic than they were last year about some things: e.g., 36.1% think the country is “going in the right direction,” vs. 32.8% last year. The biggest changes in respondents’ reasons for optimism appeared in questions…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong Hong Kongers are voting for district councilors today, and it’s shaping up to be the largest election in the territory’s history. The media are characterizing it as a referendum on Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her handling of the ongoing political crisis, although Lam isn’t on the ballot, and election results won’t affect…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Turkey & Syria It sounds like yesterday’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Erdogan went great…for Erdogan. Erdogan told reporters that he’d returned Trump’s letter warning him not to be a “tough guy” or a “fool,” and Trump let him get away with his usual talking points, including asking the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gülen and…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Commodity Prices Gold: $1,463/oz LME Copper: $5,951/ton LME Aluminum: $1,827/ton Coming Up This Week China celebrates Singles Day—the biggest shopping frenzy of the year—today. Alibaba has already sold $24 billion worth of goods in just the first nine hours of the day, and is on track to blow way past last year’s record haul of…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong Junius Ho, a rambunctious pro-China politician in Hong Kong, was stabbed in the chest by a man who poised as a supporter to get close to him for a picture. Ho survived, and is currently probably in better shape, who was whisked away for questioning. Ho was likely targeted for his outspoken pro-Beijing…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Saudi As expected, Saudi Arabia formally announced its Saudi Aramco IPO today, setting plans in place for a domestic listing in December—followed by other potential listings thereafter. Crown Prince MBS’s $2 trillion valuation target isn’t certain: in fact, analysts now say Aramco is worth no more than $1.5 trillion—Iran’s attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure likely…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong China hinted at forthcoming changes to “perfect” how the Chief Executive of Hong Kong is appointed and removed. It’s not clear what exactly that means: perhaps Beijing is preparing to evict Carrie Lam, or maybe it’s just looking for ways to exert more control over the territory and shut down opposition movements. Meanwhile,…