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Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China Chinese markets reopened after the extended Chinese New Year holiday, and proceeded to crash because of worries about the Wuhan coronavirus’s effect on the economy: the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 7.7%. Pres. Xi spoke before a special meeting of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee about the outbreak. He tried to make it…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Global Conflict ACLED published its annual report on the global conflicts that its analysts think will make headlines in 2020. It provocatively included the U.S. on the list because of the risk of political protests turning violent this election year. An introduction to the ACLED report is pasted below; you can read the whole thing here,…

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

Iran Iranian Pres. Rouhani claimed Iran “will never seek nuclear weapon[s]”—“with or without the nuclear deal.” That makes it sound like he’s trying to walk back some of the concerns Iran raised by creeping past nuclear deal limits, and get back on friendlier terms with EU countries now formally accusing Iran of violating the deal….

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

Mexico U.S. Attorney General  Barr met with Mexico’s Pres. AMLO yesterday to discuss the idea of designating drug cartels as terrorist organizations. AMLO has resisted the idea, since a designation would infringe on his autonomy in Mexico, and it sounds like Pres. Trump actually listened: he put the idea on hold today, at Mexico’s request,…

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

LME Spot Prices *       Aluminum: $1,785/ton*       Copper: $5,854/ton*       Gold: $1,463.80/oz Coming Up This Week *       The UK is hosting NATO heads of state Dec. 3rd and 4th. Pres. Trumpis going, even though he considers NATO obsolete.*       House Democrats gave Pres. Trump until Friday to decide…

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…