“That thieving little man in his bunker”
Russian dissident Alexei Navalny calls out President Vladimir Putin
RUSSIA: A Moscow judge ordered opposition politician Alexei Navalny to begin serving more than 2 ½ years of a six-year-old conviction that the European Court of Human Rights found unlawful. Navalny, determined to mount a campaign against President Vladimir Putin despite the cost, gave a withering speech in court calling the president “this thieving little man in his bunker.”
MYANMAR: Hospitals and medical departments across Myanmar (formerly Burma) have staged work stoppages to protest Monday’s military coup—a takeover that upends the charade behind a decade of democratic reform.
IRAN: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it could be “a matter of weeks” before the Iranian regime has enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon. In a departure from protocol, Israel’s Mossad leader, Yossi Cohen, will meet in Washington this month with President Joe Biden to discuss.
CHINA: The latest stories from Xinjiang province are harrowing, and, I warn you, graphic. But escaped Uyghur women now in the West are revealing in ever more horrifying detail the government campaign against them, including systematized rape, torture, and forced sterilization (footage here). “They didn’t spare any part of my body,” said one.
TURKEY: Islamic State (ISIS) continues to utilize logistical hubs in Turkey to raise and transfer funds, according to a January report from the U.S. Treasury Department. Financial gain may help explain why residents in northeastern Syria believe Turkish occupation and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad are “but two faces of the same coin.”
IRAQ: Bartending is dangerous work in Baghdad, but a little Peaky Blinders decor and an exclusive clientele helps. Also, this Syrian War–surviving bar owner (name withheld) has learned one really important lesson: “Earn before you spend.”
AFGHANISTAN: The complete withdrawal of U.S. troops by May 2021 is in question after a special inspector general’s report made clear the Taliban has increased attacks inside the country. The Biden administration says the Taliban has failed to live up to commitments made in an agreement reached last year with the United States.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC is in trouble, with food shortages and closure of critical supply routes.
NIGERIA: At least one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped seven years ago has escaped. Her father, a Muslim who sent two daughters to the mostly Christian school, in 2014 met with a U.S. congressional fact-finding team visiting Nigeria. The second daughter escaped captivity four years ago, reports Emmanuel Ogebe of the U.S. Nigeria Law Group.
INDIA: The governor of Madhya Pradesh has proposed a draconian new anti-conversion law. The bill is similar to a recently enacted law in Uttar Pradesh state that requires the district magistrate to approve religious conversions, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
MARS: NASA’s newest Mars rover, Perseverance, is scheduled to land on the red planet on Feb. 18. “It’ll be a Wright brothers moment for us,” said Bob Balaram of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
COVID-19: “Another vaccine can now join the fight,” said British scientists as early reports from phase 3 clinical trials show the controversial Russian Sputnik V vaccine with a 91.6 percent efficacy against COVID-19.
Global numbers on the coronavirus—103,972,191 cases 2,255,496 deaths 57,777,017 recovered
Remember when experts talked about the population explosion? No longer.
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