Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 3:26 PM

China has imposed a lockdown across the Xinjiang region, reports The New York Times. Chinese authorities have cited coronavirus as the rationale for the shutdown, but the region has long been repressed by Beijing through a variety of harsh measures. Members of the Uyghur minority have expressed skepticism about the propriety of the lockdown, with spokesman Dilxat Raxit saying that, “During the epidemic, China has strengthened its prevention and control tactics against Uighurs.”

Two opposition politicians were jailed yesterday in Belarus, reports The Wall Street Journal. To analysts, their arrests confirm that President Alexander Lukashenko intends to stay in power after an August 9 election widely decried as rigged.

Margaret Hunter, the wife of former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), was sentenced yesterday to eight months of home confinement for misusing campaign funds, reports The New York Times. One of the prosecutors noted that the couple “admitted to the same charge – conspiracy,” but that Mrs. Hunter was less culpable and more willing to cooperate than her husband.

The British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is testing “an antibody-based” coronavirus vaccine, writes Reuters. If the drug is safe and effective for participants, then AstraZeneca will proceed towards late-stage studies.

With the help of an RNC official named Elliott Broidy, the Chinese government lobbied the Trump administration in 2017 to extradite a Chinese businessman living in Manhattan, according to The Wall Street Journal. The businessman, Guo Wengui, had published what the Journal described as “salacious and unproven allegations” against high-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party. He is the subject of ongoing bribery investigations in China.

California is enduring one of the worst wildfires in its history, reports NPR. The blaze arose after more than 11,000 bolts of lightning struck arid land, and now the largest fires remain mostly uncontained despite the efforts of 13,700 firefighters and the Air Force Reserve. At least six people have died and a million acres of land have been scorched, and more lightning is expected in the next few days.

The insurance company for whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid declined to renew his policy, reports The New York Times. Zaid represented, among others, the government whistle-blower whose worries about President Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine led to impeachment. “By taking this decision, Hanover is sending a horrible message that is being echoed by the Trump administration, that whistle-blowers are not legitimate and do not deserve protection,” Mr. Zaid told The Times.

Jacob Blake, the Black man whom Wisconsin police shot on Sunday, is paralyzed from the waist down, according to ABC 5 Eyewitness News. Doctors are uncertain whether the paralysis will be permanent.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Greece and Turkey to de-escalate their territorial dispute today, reports Deutsche Welle. The neighboring countries both claim a potentially oil-rich area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, although Germany and the European Union agree that the area belongs to Greece. “What we now need absolutely and immediately are signals of de-escalation and a readiness for dialogue,” said Maas.

In talks with Britain, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said it was “outrageous and absurd” that the UK continues to support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to Haaretz.

A small German port may be affected by American sanctions for cooperating with a Russian pipeline, reports The New York Times. The pipeline offshore is being constructed by Gazprom, a Russian state-owned gas company, and it will deliver natural gas to Germany when complete. Residents of Sassnitz worry that their port will become a barren “international pariah” if the U.S. imposes sanctions on Gazprom.

Hong Kong is taking increasingly harsh measures to implement its new national security law, writes The New York Times. Pro-democracy activists are learning to encrypt their messages, change their names on social media and even contort their faces to “render useless… iPhone’s facial recognition software.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tia Sewell shared TikTok’s lawsuit against the U.S. government to prevent the U.S. government’s impending ban on the app.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast called “The State of the US-China Relationship” featuring Scott R. Anderson, Tarun Chhabra, Elsa Kania and Rob Williams.

Timothy Meyer and Todd M. Tucker argued that the next president can and should implement a carbon tariff under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows the president to “adjust the imports” of products like carbon that “threaten to impair national security.”

James M. Blake warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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