Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Oct. 21, 2022

Top of the Agenda

Truss’s Departure Kicks Off Another UK Leadership Contest

Lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party in the United Kingdom (UK) will hold a preliminary vote (FT) on Monday to choose candidates to succeed Liz Truss, who announced her resignation yesterday. Party members will then choose from the final two candidates in an online poll next Friday. The victor will become the UK’s fourth prime minister in four years and take the helm of a country rattled by inflation and market turmoil under Truss’s six week tenure. Ex–finance minister Rishi Sunak, who opposed Truss’s controversial tax cuts, is expected to stand for the role. Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, an immigration hard-liner, and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson could also join (The Economist) the race. Markets have calmed after Truss’s second finance minister reversed her budgetary plans, but the Conservative Party still trails the opposition Labour Party by around 30 percent in opinion polls.

“Truss’s implosion after six tumultuous weeks raises an almost universal question. When economics goes badly, how does politics react?” CFR’s Sebastian Mallaby writes for the Washington Post. “Just as the Greek debt crisis ushered in the left-populist Syriza government in 2015, so the food- and energy-price shocks from Ukraine have generated fresh political upsets.” “The Conservatives should not be allowed to continue without a new mandate from voters. The British people, not MPs or the 170,000 members of the Conservative party, must now choose their political future,” the Financial Times editorial board writes.
Pacific Rim

U.S. Weighs Expanding China Tech Ban to Quantum Computing, AIThe Joe Biden administration is discussing how to extend new export restrictions targeting China’s chip industry to include quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, Bloomberg reported. CFR’s Edward Alden looks at Washington’s widening war on Chinese tech

Vietnam: The country’s health ministry recorded a case of bird flu (VnExpress) in a human for the first time in eight years.
South and Central Asia

Pakistan’s Former Premier Banned From Holding Office for Five YearsThe Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified former Prime Minister Imran Khan for making false statements (Dawn) in a speech. Khan’s lawyers vowed to appeal the decision in court. 

Malaysia/Myanmar: The UN refugee agency called on Myanmar’s neighbors (UNHCR) to accept asylum seekers from the country amid reports that Malaysia deported 150 people (Reuters) to Myanmar last month.
Middle East and North Africa

EU Agrees to Sanction Iran for Drones Used by RussiaEuropean Union (EU) countries agreed to sanction entities (Al Jazeera) that supply the Iranian-made drones reportedly being used by Russia in Ukraine. Iran has denied providing Russia with drones. 

France/Syria: France repatriated forty children and fifteen women (Al Jazeera) from Syrian camps populated by family members of suspected fighters in the self-declared Islamic State. The move came after the European Court of Human Rights condemned France for refusing to accept two women who sought to return to the country.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Chadian Security Forces Kill at Least Sixty During Anti-government ProtestsSecurity forces in the city of Moundou and the capital, N’Djamena, opened fire (AP) on protesters demonstrating against a two-year extension of power for military leader Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno. 

Somalia: The government signed an oil-production agreement (Bloomberg) with U.S. company Coastline Exploration. International energy firms have not worked in Somalia in over thirty years due to an ongoing civil war.

Germany Drops Opposition to Gas Price Cap in EU Energy TalksGermany dropped its opposition (Politico) to a temporary European Union (EU) ceiling on natural gas prices amid an energy crisis. EU ministers will discuss details next week. 

Venezuelan Opposition Weighs Dropping Its Claim to Be Interim GovernmentOpposition parties claimed to be the rightful government of Venezuela in a failed plan to oust President Nicolás Maduro in 2019. While the United States and more than fifty other countries supported their claim, abandoning it could pave the way (FT) for Washington to reduce sanctions on Venezuela. 

Brazil: The mayor of the southern city of Chapecó, a meatpacking hub, is being investigated (Reuters) for allegedly telling employers to pressure workers to vote for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s upcoming presidential election. The probe comes during a wave of similar behavior by employers. This In Brief looks at what’s at stake in Brazil’s election.
United States

CDC Advisors Recommend COVID-19 Shots for Regular Vaccination SchedulesAn independent panel that advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously voted (Politico) for COVID-19 vaccines to be offered in regular child, adolescent, and adult vaccination schedules. This In Brief discusses what happens when COVID-19 becomes endemic.
Friday Editor’s Pick

An investigation by The Guardian reveals how a Swiss chemical giant attempted to suppress evidence linking its widely marketed weedkiller to Parkinson’s disease.
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