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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

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 The situation in Hong Kong continued to escalate. A 70-year-old man died yesterday, after being hit in the head with a brick during clashes between protesters and police the day before, and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping advocated for an even tougher police response to the protests. The protesters who had occupied the Chinese…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Mexico Mexican officials are still insisting that this week’s brutal massacre of Mexican-American women and children could’ve just been a case of mistaken identify amidst a gang war—which is probably politically more palatable than the idea that cartels attacked a religious family that spoke out about them. Authorities are still investigating what actually happened. U.S….

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Happy Halloween! IS IS named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qorashi as its new leader—and thus gave Western militaries a new target. Western analysts don’t seem to know who Qorashi is (and his name may actually be an alias to conceal his identity), but the “Hashimi” part suggests that he’s descended from the Prophet Mohammad’s Banu Hashimi…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Coming Up This Week The Swedish Academy will announce this year’s Nobel Prize winners today, and award the prizes on Thursday. Pres. Trump thinks he deserves one “for a lot of things,” but also complained that the system is rigged against him. The U.S. and China resume trade talks on Thursday and Friday in Washington….

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Afghanistan SecDef Esper confirmed that Pres. Trump ordered an escalation in U.S. strikes on the Taliban after talks with them broke down last month: “The president did want us to pick up in response to the heinous attacks that the Taliban and others conducted throughout Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly met with the…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

U.S. The Economist had a good opinion piece that explains why it’s a big deal that Pres. Trump may have pressured a foreign leader to investigate a rival’s son. In short: “In a country as corrupt and vulnerable as Ukraine the link between American support and investigating the Bidens—you give us dirt on Joe and we’ll…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Coming Up This Week Tuesday is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and China has massive celebrations planned. MilitaryTimes is eagerly watching a parade on Tuesday that will show off China’s ever-modernizing arsenal of next-generation weaponry—perhaps including the Dongfeng 41 nuclear-capable missile that can reach the U.S. in under five minutes. Because…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Impeachment The White House released an unredacted rough transcript from Pres. Trump’s call with Ukrainian Pres. Zelensky, from which everyone saw what they wanted to see: Pres. Trump says it proves he put “no pressure” on Zelensky, and Fox agrees. The Washington Post says it’s a “devastating indictment of our president.” Zelensky himself told reporters yesterday that “nobody pushed…