POLITICAL ANIMALS: Human politicians really are similar to apes, as this fascinating POLITICO video demonstrates.
POLITICO is now on Snapchat — Watch my first show here on the race to replace Boris Johnson.
Kyiv under threat: Russian forces are targeting Kyiv again, shelling neighborhoods on the city’s outskirts for the first time in weeks.
The grain from Ukraine: U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday the first grain shipment from Odesa could move today, though “crucial” details are still being worked out. Meanwhile, a sanctioned Syrian cargo ship, full of what Ukraine says is stolen barley, has docked in Lebanon.
Saudi keeps winning: Former President Donald Trump is assisting Saudi Arabia’s brand-washing today, with his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., hosting the Saudi-backed LIV Tour. French President Emmanuel Macron is also doing his part: Having hosted Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for dinner at the Elysée Palace this week, a significant upgrade for MBS compared to President Joe Biden’s fist bump earlier this month.
Earth overshoot: You’ve heard of Tax Freedom Day, now the U.N. is promoting Earth Overshoot Day, the moment in the year when the Earth has used up all the resources it can renew in a given year. The bad news: We’re now in overshoot territory for 2022.
Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is in Washington today meeting secretary of State Antony Blinken and speaking at CSIS at 2:30 p.m.
Blinken plans to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — timing is not confirmed.
Kardashians may be fighting off claims they are “climate criminals” — see Globetrotters section below — but they also have more business savvy than Mark Zuckerberg, whose been forced to backtrack on a disastrous overhaul of Instagram.
WHERE TO JOIN GLOBAL INSIDER TODAY: It’s a POLITICO reunion at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs World Review today, from 11 a.m. ET.
Global Insider joins POLITICO’s Europe editor-in-chief Jamil Anderlini and Susan Glasser, POLITICO’s former U.S. editor-in-chief (now with The New Yorker) for a discussion on the world this week with Ivo Daalder. Register here.
BIDEN — XI CALL — TACTICS, TACTICS, TACTICS: Fancy that, a Biden-Xi call starting exactly as bad GDP numbers come out showing the American economy is shrinking (don’t call it a recession!). There were lots of reasons for that call to happen — but it was also a great way to shift attention away from the GDP numbers.
The tactics continued through the call and the readouts of the call.
Beijing’s version of events: “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”
Washington’s readout: “The United States policy (on Taiwan) has not changed.”
What to expect in foreign policy from a Xi Jinping lifetime presidency: by Stimson Center’s Yun Sun. “The world, therefore, should not expect China to be any less assertive or confrontational … Xi will ratchet up China’s activities abroad to put the embarrassment of 2022 firmly behind him.”
Why a China-hosted “World Internet Conference” is nothing of the sort,but still worth paying attention to.
JAPAN — TOKYO’S FIRST FEMALE MAYOR TAKING ON MACHO POLITICS: “Japanese politics is dominated by old men,” Satoko Kishimoto is the most senior female local politician in Japan, a country where women comprise just 2 percent of political leaders.
RUSSIA — HOW PUTIN HAS RAMPED UP HIS POST-INVASION POLICE STATE: Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan describe “a terrifying new force” coursing through Russian society — the expansion and transformation of the Federal Security Service since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead of resembling the late Soviet-era KGB, “it now resembles something much scarier: the NKVD, Stalin’s notorious secret police, which conducted the great purges of the 1930s.”
HEALTH — THE MONKEYPOX MESSAGING MESS: There are several layers to this problem.
The first is that the community known to be most affected (so far) is men who have sex with men: In targeting that community in order to maximize containment, there’s a risk that others downplay their own risk, and that officials don’t take the problem seriously enough.
“If this were 300 really pretty white girls with lesions on their faces, the response would have been much different,” Leo Herrera, a writer and activist, who has been monitoring the German response, told POLITICO.
The second problem is that while vaccines exist, many countries have been slow to release their vaccines, and only now are there talks to expand monkeypox vaccine output. The U.S. has a 15 million vaccine stockpile that exists for a rainy day (presumed to be a bioterrorism attack). Guess what: This is the rainy day.
MIGRATION — MOST REFUGEES FACE EMPLOYMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP RESTRICTIONS: Fifty-five percent of refugees live in countries where they are substantially restricted from holding a job or starting a business — even when the law protects their right to work in theory, thanks to combinations of administrative barriers, travel restrictions, official prejudice and discrimination. The study by the Center for Global Development, Refugees International and Asylum Access measures that gap between law and reality for 51 countries that host around nine out of 10 of the world’s refugees.
The report authors told Global Insider that working rights are critical to reducing the burden on host governments. “One of the most powerful ways to reduce poverty is to just let refugees work,” said study author Bahati Kanyamanza, pointing to studies that have found that refugees tend to complement native workers and create momentum for them to upskill, which helps a national economy to grow.
DEMOCRACY — PROTESTERS STORM IRAQI PARLIAMENT: Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc finished first in 2021 parliament elections, but they’ve been blocked by pro-Iran parties from forming a government. Al-Sadr in June ordered his supporters to leave Parliament, opening the way for Mohammed al-Sudani, a former minister backed by Tehran-aligned parties, to push to become prime minister. That prompted hundreds of protesters to break into the parliament this week — a remarkable act in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
BY THE NUMBERS — UKRAINIANS WANT NO CONCESSIONS: Poll: 84 percent of Ukrainians are against peace with Russia if it involves territorial concessions (up from 82 percent in May), according to a new Kyiv International Institute of Sociology survey. Only 10 percent of Ukrainians are ready for some territorial concessions.
BY THE NUMBERS — DEMOCRATIC LEADER APPROVAL IS TANKING EVERYWHERE: Roughly two-thirds of the world leaders on Morning Consult’s Global Leader Approval Tracker now have approval ratings under 40 percent — and more than a quarter have ratings under 30 percent. Why? You can thank energy prices, and the inflation they help fuel.
TECH— A 50-YEAR GRAND BIOLOGY CHALLENGE MET: London-based DeepMind, which is owned by Google’s parent company, announced it has predicted the structure of almost every protein known to science. And it’s made a 200 million protein database available free to all, which in turn will likely help scientists better understand diseases and create new drugs quicker.
The database was built with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, an international public research institute. Nobel prize-winning chemist Venki Ramakrishnan said: “This computational work represents a stunning advance on the protein-folding problem, a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology.”
TECH — CHINESE PROPAGANDA PROLIFERATION: From July 15-20, Belgian internet users searching “Xinjiang” on YouTube would get recommended videos from Chinese state-controlled media, per a European project to monitor and combat algorithmic disinformation called CrossOver.
The finding coincided with Chinese President Xi’s visit to Xinjiang which was — surprise — the top search result, and a Reuters story on China asking United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to bury a highly anticipated report on human rights violations against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, set to be published in August. POLITICO’s own searching yielded videos from CGTN such as “What’s China’s ‘re-education camp’ in Xinjiang really about?”
ENVIRONMENT — DEEP SEA MINING RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES: One deep-sea region between Hawaii and Mexico contains more copper, cobalt, nickel and manganese than is known in all land deposits combined. Those minerals are key to making solar panels, wind turbines and batteries sustainable. Being able to get them without relying on autocracy or exploiting workers is another bonus.
But the United States is passing up a prime opportunity to get them. While the European Union and 167 countries are working out rules this month governing the mining of deep-sea deposits, the U.S. can’t take advantage of them because it’s never had enough political support to ratify the U.N.’s 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, which governs the use of ocean resources, Jordan Wolman reports.
Case study: Lockheed has two permits from NOAA for exploration in international waters, but hasn’t used them, citing the “lack of international recognition” of its licenses because the U.S. has not ratified UNCLOS.
CONGRESS MEETS WORLD
WILL PELOSI GO TO TAIWAN, OR NOT? It’s still unclear if Pelosi will show up in Taipei any time soon.
The case for the trip: Atlantic Council’s Stefano Stefanini, who went to Taiwan last week with former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, told Global Insider “she cannot not go. China is shooting itself in the foot with strong arm tactics. If Pelosi doesn’t go, the U.S. loses face in Asia.”
The case against the trip, by American Enterprise Institute’s Zack Cooper and German Marshall Fund’s Bonnie Glaser. “We’re approaching a crisis,” per Glaser.
Interesting take: A Pelosi Taiwan visit would be a Trump foreign policy triumph.
U.N. FUNDING: Senate Appropriations Chair’s markup provides full funding for U.N. in 2023 and a $365 million down payment for Washington’s U.N. arrears, which amount to more than $1 billion on U.N. Peacekeeping commitment alone since 2017.
RUSSIAN TERROR: Five House members from both parties introduced a bill to label Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, going further than Senate or a previous House effort.
RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA: U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are demanding the CEOs of Meta, Twitter and Telegram substantially increase efforts to moderate Spanish language content by Russian state media services RT en Español and Sputnik Mundo.
PASSED: Christopher Mayer, former U.K. ambassador in D.C.
KARDASHIAN “CLIMATE CRIMINALS”: That’s the new online label popular among critics of Kylie Jenner’s penchant for 17-minute private jet flights. Emily Aitken dug into the flights tracked by @CelebJets to calculate that fully one-third of all flights less than 20 minutes tracked by the service since May were taken by either Jenner or her sister Kim Kardashian.
CAN A SUPERYACHT BE SUSTAINABLE? The Center for Sustainability and Excellence insists that the answer is yes, and they claim to have created a framework to make superyachts compatible with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. That’s a surprise given the SDGs include eliminating hunger and halving the number of people living in poverty.
CSE’s flaks couldn’t offer Global Insider a copy of the guidelines (perhaps everyone was busy on their superyachts), so we’re left with his world salad from Nikos Avlonas, president of CSE: “We are very excited for this brilliant collaboration with WFR in educating the yachting industry towards sustainability and creating practical tools that could make the difference.”
EMBASSY ROW: President Biden nominated ambassadors to Nigeria (Richard Mills, Jr.) and Maldives (Hugo Yue-Ho Yon). Both are career diplomats.
How many ambassador vacancies now? As we close in on midterm elections, there are still 52 vacancies, including 20 ambassadorships where there is not even a nominee.
Countries still missing a U.S. ambassador include Italy, Ethiopia and Colombia.
A hearing took place for five nominees Thursday: William Duncan (El Salvador), Hugo Rodriguez (Nicaragua), Candace Bond (Trinidad and Tobago), Heide Fulton (Uruguay) and Robert Faucher (Suriname).
SAVE THE DATE
Oct. 21: 54th Annual Meridian Ball, Washington, D.C.
Oct. 3: Oslo Freedom Forum comes to New York City
Oct. 19: Global Ethics Day organized by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
VIDEO — JUSTICE ALITO V. WORLD: Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the Supreme Court’s decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade, is mocking foreign leaders who lamented his opinion rolling back federal abortion protections (video).
Addressing a religious freedom conference in Rome, Alito said of his critics “one of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,” before adding “What really wounded me was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine,” Alito said
Thanks to editor John Yearwood and producer Hannah Farrow.
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