While Joe Biden (and every other world leader except for Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, apparently) is heading to Scotland for COP26, I'm taking the weekend off to enjoy Halloween parties and holiday markets and the joys of actually living somewhere and building a community.
I'll be back next week with more newsletter content. I'm interested in covering the current diplomatic dispute between Algeria and Morrocco and what's going on in Guinea months after President Alpha Condé was captured by the country's armed forces.
What would you like me to write about? Who should I speak with?
I am open to your suggestions. Please send story tips or recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget 👇👇
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What I'm writing:
• I wrote about U.S. security policy in the Black Sea region, which one former Department of Defense official told me is "Europe's most contested domain."
• I wrote about Washington's response to the coup in Sudan, and what policy options are available during an "epidemic of coups." This one is unlocked so you can read it without a subscription.
What I'm reading:
• German police shut down a group of right-wing vigilantes who were patrolling the border with Poland looking to stop migrants from crossing into the country, Reuters reports.
• The E.U.’s top court told Poland it must pay a fine of €1m a day for failing to suspend a controversial disciplinary chamber, the BBC reports.
• According to a letter seen by Politico Europe, Poland is asking EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to investigate Russia's state-backed Gazprom for market manipulation and abuse of dominance on energy markets.
• Speaking of which, Gazprom asked Moldova to change its free trade deal with the EU and delay agreed energy market reforms in exchange for cheaper gas, according to the Financial Times.
• Moldova’s Foreign Minister, Nicu Popescu, said Russia is threatening gas supply in Europe’s poorest state, the BBC reports.
• Russia’s intelligence agency launched another campaign to pierce thousands of U.S. government, corporate, and think-tank computer networks, Microsoft officials and cybersecurity experts warned, according to a New York Times report.
• Amnesty International will close its offices in Hong Kong due to Hong Kong’s national security law and concerns for staff safety, the Guardian reports.
• Pakistan’s government released 350 activists from the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) religious group, the country’s interior minister said, according to Al Jazeera.
• Uzbekistan held an election in which President Shavkat Mirziyoyev faced almost no real competition, Al Jazeera reports.
• Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Afghanistan’s neighbors – including Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – they should refuse to host U.S. or NATO military forces, Reuters reports.
• China will finance the construction of an outpost for a special forces unit of Tajikistan’s police near the Tajik-Afghan border, Reuters reports.
• Sudan’s military leadership seized power and military chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan declared that “this is a new Sudan," the New York Times reports.
• Sudan’s security forces have detained prominent pro-democracy figures and critics of the military coup, the Associated Press reports.
• The United Nations Security Council expressed solidarity with the Sudanese people and called for the release of detained officials. The statement went through several revisions to address objections from Russia, which did not want to condemn the military takeover as initially proposed, Al Jazeera reports.
• The annual ASEAN summit began without Myanmar, after the country's military refused to send a representative to the three-day meeting in protest over the bloc’s exclusion of Myanmar’s top general Ming Aung Hlaing, Al Jazeera reports.
• The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed with China to upgrade their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Reuters reports.
• Israel's Defense Ministry’s higher planning council approved 2,800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation yet of Israeli settlement construction, the Associated Press reports.
• U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with representatives of Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), set up by opponents of army rule, the White House said in a statement.
• The U.S. has “few credible options” to respond if China were to seize a set of islands administered by Taiwan in the South China Sea, according to a report entitled the Poison Frog Strategy from the think tank the Center for a New American Security. The report examines a scenario in which Chinese forces invaded the Pratas islands, capturing the 500 Taiwanese troops based there and establishing a military outpost.
• Journalist Spencer Akerman's Substack has a horrific account of CIA torture in Guantanamo Bay.
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