First of all, I want to say hello to all of the new people! In recent weeks, I've seen people sign up from Texas, France, the Netherlands, Spain, New Jersey, Virginia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Australia, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Croatia, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Belgium, and the Czech Republic.
That is precisely the kind of international community I hope to build through this newsletter, and I am so glad you're all here! If anything is happening in your country or state that you would like to see covered in this newsletter, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. And in case you missed them, our first two interviews were from Slovenia and Hungary.
Secondly, I'm excited to announce a bit of personal news. I will join National Journal in September as their foreign policy and defense correspondent. Most of their work is behind a paywall, so you'll have to subscribe to read my future articles!
I'm very excited to return to D.C. and cover Congress.
Some of you have asked what this will mean for this newsletter, and the answer is nothing. I'll continue to send out these dispatches every week. I've been dreaming about Lazo Magazine for years, and I plan to use this platform to share international stories that go under the radar.
This project is, of course, a labor of love. But if you enjoy it and want to see it grow and be sustainable, please consider subscribing for $2 a month or $22 per year. The first 20 people to subscribe will get a little gift from me.
Currently, many of you subscribe to the free version, but few have upgraded to a paid subscription. I want to keep all the content free for the public, but I would like to start paying other writers and editors, launch a website, and grow in 2022. The more of you sign up for $2 a month, the quicker we can do that. 🙏 🙏
I'll be back with more interviews next week. I am so excited about the people I have lined up!
What I'm reading:
• On Monday, the first anniversary of fraudulent elections in Belarus, the United Kingdom imposed new economic sanctions on Belarus's financial, trade, and aviation sectors. Mikhail Gutseriev, a Russian billionaire who invests in Belarus, will have his UK-based assets frozen. The U.S. and Canada also imposed new sanctions.
• A Belarussian court formally dissolved PEN Belarus, a human rights organization that champions writers.
• The Latvian government declared a state of emergency on its border with Belarus, which has been using migrants and asylum seekers as a weapon against its Baltic neighbors.
• Poland will shut down its controversial Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party (Pis), announced just days before an EU deadline threatened to impose financial sanctions on Warsaw if it didn't shut down the chamber. The Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the chamber lacks guarantees of independence and impartiality. You can read the ruling here.
• Poland’s ruling coalition collapsed this week after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki dismissed the leader of a smaller partner party over disagreements on tax policy and a controversial media law, Politico Europe reports.
• The media law passed after a lot of chaos in Poland's parliament. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized the law and a separate piece of legislation restricting restitution for Holocaust survivors and others who owned property confiscated during the Communist era in Poland.
• Bulgarian performer Slavi Trifonov, whose anti-establishment political party placed first in July’s snap election, is having difficulty forming a coalition. It's looking increasingly likely that there will be a third Bulgarian election. But first, Boyko Borissov's GERB party, which placed second, could also get a chance to form a government.
• Two citizens of Myanmar were arrested in New York and charged with conspiring to injure or kill Myanmar’s ambassador to the U.N., who denounced the February military coup in his country and expressed support for the pro-democracy movement.
• Russia plans to build 51 more pieces of military infrastructure on the Kuril Islands (that's in the country's far east), according to the state news agency.
• China demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador to Beijing and said it would recall China’s envoy to Vilnius after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in the country.
• A militant leader in Ethiopia announced that his group, the Oromo Liberation Army, has entered a military alliance with the Tigrayan rebel forces and is heading towards the country’s capital. The conflict in Tigray spreads to other countries parts of Ethiopia, the Associated Press reports.
• A report from Amnesty International outlines the “severity and scale” of sexual crimes Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have committed in the Tigray region, which amount “to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”
• Sudan will hand former President Omar al-Bashir over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) along with other officials wanted for the conflict in Darfur, AFP reports.
• Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani traveled to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to rally pro-government forces against the Taliban. The BBC reports that he is talking to ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and ethnic Tajik leader Atta Mohammad Noor about defending the city.
• Iran’s Foreign Ministry urged the Taliban to secure the safety of Iran’s diplomats and staff at its consulate in Herat, an Afghan city which the Taliban allegedly captured, Reuters reports.
• The BBC also released a new investigation into the Russian mercenaries the Wagner Group's activities in Lybia.
• Russia plans to give Tajikistan $1.1 million to build a new outpost on the Tajik-Afghan border, Reuters reports.
• Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is visiting Morocco for the first time since the two countries renewed their relationship under a U.S.-brokered deal.
•The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) is raising concerns over a Covid-related U.S. policy known as Title 42 that permits the expulsion of some asylum-seekers and migrants by flying them to southern Mexico. According to the UN, Mexican authorities are deporting asylum-seekers to their home countries, raising serious concerns about the treatment of vulnerable migrants needing humanitarian protection.
As always, you can send comments, complaints, corrections, et al, to: email@example.com.