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To start off, we're looking into:
Libya’s oil fields
The backstory: Libya has been dealing with a civil conflict since 2011, after the overthrow of long-time leader Moammar Qaddafi. It’s dominated by two rival governments, both with international ties and armed militias, based in different parts of the country. Libya is a major global oil supplier, so this divide has led to oilfields being targeted for political reasons and by local protesters.
Last Thursday, one of those governments accused Libya’s Internal Security Agency of kidnapping the former finance minister, Faraj Bumatari, at an airport near Tripoli. To protest this, the El-Zawi tribe shut down oil production at the El Feel, Sharara and the 108 oilfields. The tribe confirmed they’d shut down production and said that they would “escalate the situation” if Bumatari wasn’t freed ASAP.
The development: By Saturday night, though, the situation in Libya began looking better. El-Zawi leader Al-Senussi Al-ahlaiq confirmed that Bumatari had been freed, so protesters ended the shutdown. Click the link here for more.
Huawei's 5G comeback
The backstory: The US has been tightening restrictions on Chinese tech, especially when it comes to telecommunications and US networks. In 2019, the US charged Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou, with stealing trade secrets. On top of that, Western nations raised concerns about Huawei's potential threat to national security. This, alongside ongoing chip export curbs to Chinese companies, cut the company’s access to the chips it needs for its more advanced products.
But, Huawei's put a lot of investment into R&D. In March, Huawei announced breakthroughs in electronic design automation (EDA) tools for chips produced at and above 14-nanometre technology. This basically means it can start designing its own chips, getting around those US sanctions that have been causing all these problems.
The development: Huawei is now reportedly preparing for a major comeback in the 5G smartphone industry by the end of this year. Click the link here for more.
Lionel Messi joins Inter Miami
The backstory: Lionel Messi, the famous Argentine football player, has been making waves in the sports world for a while now. He's achieved lots of success, including four Champions League titles and 129 goals in top club competitions. Messi’s also clinched 10 La Liga titles, two Ligue 1 championships and other prestigious honors, like a Copa América victory and an Olympic gold medal for his national team.
The development: Messi has now officially signed with Inter Miami, a Major League Soccer (MLS) club in the US. This new deal will keep him at the club until 2025, and it’s the first league he’s played for outside of Europe.
Messi's arrival has fans riled up, and they’re eagerly anticipating his debut on July 21 in the Leagues Cup opener against Cruz Azul. To mark this moment, Inter Miami held a grand unveiling event over the weekend and a press conference where Messi and the club's ownership spoke to the media. Click the link here for more.
To end, we'll look into:
Actors join the picket line
A few months ago, the Hollywood writers’ union, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), went on strike, mainly because of issues with residuals (the payments people involved with the project get from repeat showings or reruns) from streaming and other pay concerns. While this strike will end up impacting future TV and movie releases, there hasn’t been a lot of immediate fallout. Certain talk shows and late-night programming have been put on hold, but that’s about it.
On Friday, though, the screen actors’ union, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), started its own strike alongside the writers. This is the first time they’re both on strike at the same time in over 60 years
Click the link here for more.
In other news ...
🌧Torrential rain storms hit South Korea: Recently, flooding and landslides have overwhelmed South Korea, with heavy rainfall expected to continue. At least 37 people have died, and nine are missing. Nine bodies were pulled out from a tunnel in the central city of Osong, where 15 vehicles, including a bus, were trapped after floods rushed in from a nearby river.
🥵Cerberus heat wave brings record temps to Europe: Last week, we covered the growing Cerberus heat wave in Europe, which has only gotten worse since then. Extreme high temps are expected to continue into this week in countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland. Italy is seeing some of the worst of it, with parts of the country reaching record highs and the government issuing a Red Alert for 16 cities, including Rome.
💣Russian landmines affect Ukraine’s counteroffensive: The Ukrainian counteroffensive has been making slow progress in reclaiming Russian-occupied territories. Now, the biggest challenge for the military looks to be Russian minefields. The Washington Post reports that Ukrainian military units are leaving behind tanks and fighting vehicles, choosing to advance on foot in some areas.
🤑Yellen calls for international debt relief: After over a year of negotiations, last month Zambia put out a new agreement restructuring its US$6.3 billion national debt (most of it owed to Chinese lenders), which allowed for the IMF to hand over US$188 million in relief funds under a US$1.3 billion rescue package. Now, US Secretary of State Janet Yellen is pushing for international creditors to boost efforts allowing low-income countries to restructure their debt and actually work out how this restructuring would work.
🧕Iran’s morality police announce new campaign: Last September, the death of young woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” triggered nationwide anti-government protests that upended the country. The morality police ended up pulling back a lot as the unrest unfolded. But, this Sunday, Iranian authorities announced that they would be back with a new campaign to make sure women wear the Islamic headscarf in public.
💬Iraq and Syria hold talks: After the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, a lot of the country’s foreign ties were broken, but Iraq and Syria have been able to maintain their relationship. On Sunday, Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus for the first time since the civil war began. They talked about securing their shared 600-kilometer border from threats, including Islamic State militants, and agreed to cooperate to reduce drug smuggling.
📵Russia banning iPhones: After accusing Apple of providing intelligence to the US government, Russia is moving forward with banning iPhones from being used by government officials. Independent experts have found no evidence of backdoor encryption in Apple devices. While Russian officials haven’t provided any evidence to support these claims, the ban is set to begin on Monday. It won’t affect regular customers in Russia.
🤝John Kerry in China: The US is continuing to try and maintain good relations with Chinese officials. John Kerry is the third senior US official to visit China within weeks, after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Kerry’s visit looks to be helping with a couple of things, such as establishing a better relationship and starting talks about cooperating on climate change. China has also mentioned being open to inviting US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
🌀Hong Kong typhoon: As Typhoon Talim approaches, Hong Kong issued its first T8 signal of the year to remain in effect until at least noon Monday. Some transportation hasn’t been affected, such as Cathay Pacific Airways and trains, but most ferries have stopped transporting for the time being.
🚚First pickup truck EV: Tesla’s new Cybertruck EV pickup looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally unveiled the truck in late 2019, and production was supposed to start by the end of 2021. That timeline didn’t end up working out, but the first Cybertruck finally rolled off the production line on Saturday.
🌊Are the oceans changing color?: Over the past few years, scientists have noticed that the world’s oceans look a lot greener than they did before, a change that’s led to some investigation. Researchers at the National Oceanography Center in Southampton, UK, analyzed data from NASA to figure out what’s going on, and now they believe that this color shift is a sign of ecosystems changing because of climate change. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on; it’s likely the result of changes in the ecosystem from phytoplankton.
🎾Alcaraz wins Wimbledon: For the first time, Carlos Alcaraz has won the Wimbledon men's singles title after ending Novak Djokovic's recent dominance. Djokovic was going for his 5th straight win, but the 36-year-old Serbian was taken down by the 20-year-old Spaniard. Alcaraz also won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year.
👗RIP Jane Birkin: The muse and name behind the Birkin bag, London-born Jane Birkin, has died in her home in Paris at 76 years old. A famous singer and actor in her own right, Birkin’s legacy includes being the name and inspiration behind that Hermès handbag, which was born after she complained to the brand’s CEO about how it was hard to find a leather handbag to fit her stuff during a flight from London to Paris in the mid-80s.
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