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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 22/11/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 22/11/2021

Politico – Rym Momtaz / Protest against COVID-19 measures turns violent in Brussels

  • A protest of tens of thousands against coronavirus measures in Brussels turned violent Sunday, as protesters threw objects at police, and officers used water cannons and tear gas to push back the demonstration.
  • According to police estimates, around 35,000 people gathered in front of the Gare du Nord train station for the protest called “Together for freedom” after the Belgian government last week announced stricter measures to combat rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
  • The new rules, which went into effect over the weekend, include compulsory mask-wearing for anyone aged 10 and above for indoor and certain outdoor activities, as well as making home-working mandatory four days a week and limiting the number of people present at gatherings.
  • “We denounce the measures restricting freedom, that haven’t constituted a structural solution for health services,” protest organizers said in a statement.
  • Financial Times / Coronavirus tracker: the latest figures as countries fight the Covid-19 resurgence

Bloomberg – Alberto Nardelli / U.S. intel shows Russia plans for potential Ukraine invasion

  • The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations.
  • That intelligence has been conveyed to some NATO members over the past week to back up U.S. concerns about Putin’s possible intentions and an increasingly frantic diplomatic effort to deter him from any incursion, with European leaders engaging directly with the Russian president.
  • The information lays out a scenario where troops would cross into Ukraine from Crimea, the Russian border and via Belarus, with about 100 battalion tactical groups — potentially around 100,000 soldiers — deployed for what the people described as an operation in rough terrain and freezing conditions, covering extensive territory and prepared for a potentially prolonged occupation. 
  • Two of the people said about half that number of tactical groups was already in position and that any invasion would be backed up by air support.
  • Foreign Policy – Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig / Is Russia preparing to invade Ukraine?

The Guardian / Peng Shuai: WTA says Chinese tennis star’s call with IOC chief is not enough

  • Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not address or alleviate the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) concern about her wellbeing, the WTA said on Monday.
  • The whereabouts of former doubles world number one Peng have been a matter of international concern for nearly three weeks after she alleged that a former senior Chinese government official sexually assaulted her.
  • She appeared at a dinner with friends on Saturday and a children’s tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday, photos and videos published by Chinese state media journalists and by the tournament’s organisers show. But they have done little to quell concerns.
  • “It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a WTA spokesperson said in an email.
  • Foreign Policy – Chloe Hadavas / What’s going on with China’s missing tennis star?

Bloomberg / China’s hypersonic test showed unprecedented capability

  • China fired a missile from a hypersonic weapon as it approached a target during a test in July, the Financial Times reported, adding the Pentagon was surprised because no nation was known to have the capability.
  • A hypersonic glide vehicle launched by China fired the projectile over the South China Sea while moving at five times the speed of sound, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the intelligence.
  • Some military experts believe an air-to-air missile was fired, the newspaper said. Others thought it was a countermeasure that could hurt the ability of missile defense systems to knock out the hypersonic weapon, which can carry a nuclear warhead, in a battle.
  • The Financial Times reported last month that China conducted hypersonic weapons tests on July 27 and again on Aug. 13, raising concern in Washington about Beijing’s advancing military capabilities. China’s Foreign Ministry said the nation had tested “a routine spacecraft” to see if it was reusable.
  • Financial Times – Demetri Sevastopulo, Kathrin Hille and Sylvia Pfeifer / What China’s hypersonic test launch reveals about the global arms race

Today´s further reads:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.


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