Council on Foreign Relations -Daily news brief Sept. 20, 2022

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UN General Assembly Weighs ‘Interconnected Crises’

World leaders begin their annual addresses (NYT) to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today amid what the United Nations has described (Al Jazeera) as time of “complex and interconnected crises.” This year’s session will focus on the war in Ukraine and climate change. In addition, Western governments are expected to urge Iran to commit to rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal. The leaders of China, India, Ethiopia, and Russia will not attend. U.S. President Joe Biden will speak tomorrow. 

The United States, African Union, and European Union (EU) will hold a conference today to discuss food insecurity and rising prices. On Thursday, the UN Security Council is due to hold a session on the topic of Ukraine and impunity. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said last week that he doesn’t expect dialogue (NPR) between Russian and Ukrainian delegations.

“More than two hundred days into the war [in Ukraine], the circumstances beckon a strong voice at the United Nations rather than impunity for Russia, which has inflicted wanton destruction on Ukraine’s infrastructure and civilian homes, death and injury upon tens of thousands of civilians, and havoc on Ukraine’s economy,” CFR’s David J. Scheffer writes. 

“[Western leaders] will face some pushback from leaders of the developing world in Africa, Asia and the Middle East who have grown weary of how the conflict [in Ukraine] has taken away attention from some of the major crises these regions are facing, from climate to food insecurity and humanitarian suffering,” the New York Times’ Farnaz Fassihi writes. This Backgrounder explains the role of the UN General Assembly.
Pacific Rim

U.S. Auditors Arrive in Hong Kong to Inspect CompaniesTheir findings will determine (Nikkei) whether Chinese companies will be forced to delist from U.S. stock exchanges. On The President’s Inbox podcast, Evan Greenberg discusses U.S. economic relations with China

China: The Chinese public expressed outrage (WaPo) against China’s zero-COVID policy on the social media platform Weibo after a bus crash killed twenty-seven people headed to quarantine.
South and Central Asia

Waterborne Diseases Cause Deaths in Wake of Pakistan FloodingTwelve people across two districts of Sindh Province died of malaria and gastroenteritis within a day, Dawn reported

Myanmar/Russia: To decrease dependence (Bloomberg) on the dollar, Myanmar will use the barter system and rubles to buy Russian fertilizer and oil, a spokesperson for Myanmar’s military government said.
Middle East and North Africa

Iranian Protests Grow Over Woman’s Death in Police CustodyDemonstrators and police clashed in Iran’s largest cities (FT) yesterday following the death of a Kurdish Iranian woman who had been accused of dressing immodestly. 

Palestinian territories: A bystander was killed (Haaretz) and seven people were wounded after Palestinian authorities conducted a raid in the West Bank to arrest operatives of Hamas, the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip.
Sub-Saharan AfricaUganda Declares Ebola OutbreakAuthorities declared the outbreak (WHO) after Ebola was identified in a twenty-four-year-old man. The deaths of six people in the same area are suspected to be related to the virus. This Backgrounder looks at the Ebola virus

South Africa: Authorities announced a plan to procure more power (TimesLIVE) for the national grid following electricity shortages that led to rolling power cuts (RFI) on Sunday.

EU Court Rules Against Indiscriminate Data RetentionAn EU court ruled (Reuters) that governments can only hold citizens’ personal data if there is a genuine threat to national security, as opposed to collecting data indiscriminately.  

Ukraine: Ukrainian troops recaptured (The Guardian) the town of Bilohorivka from Russian forces, meaning Russia no longer holds total control of the Luhansk region, a local official said. For Foreign Affairs, Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage discuss Vladimir Putin’s next move in Ukraine.

Ecuador Reaches Deal to Restructure $4.4 Billion in Chinese DebtEcuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said the deal will save his country (WSJ) $1 billion between 2022 and 2025.

Mexico: An earthquake hit Mexico’s western coast, killing one person (BBC). It occurred on the anniversary of two other deadly quakes, one in 2017 and one in 1985. 
United States

Texas Authorities Open Criminal Investigation Over Transfer of MigrantsA Texas sheriff said the forty-eight asylum seekers that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent (NBC) to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last week were in the country legally (NPR) and lured to the island on false pretenses.
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