Council on Foreign Affairs – Daily news brief, Dec. 14, 2022

Top of the Agenda

International Backers Plan New Infrastructure, Military Aid for Ukraine

At a conference in Paris yesterday, donor nations pledged to provide Ukraine (AP) more than $1 billion worth of financial aid and donations of health, food, and other supplies. The support aims to meet Ukraine’s humanitarian needs and help repair infrastructure damaged by Russia’s ongoing bombardment. The conference was attended (NYT) by representatives of multinational organizations and some fifty countries.
In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told attendees that power outages are affecting around twelve million Ukrainians as winter arrives. Separately, U.S. officials said Washington is preparing to send Ukraine a Patriot missile defense system, while European Union (EU) finance ministers are set to approve around $19 billion in loans to Ukraine today.  

“The gathering in Paris extended far beyond the governments in North America, Europe and East Asia that have been mainstays of efforts to buoy Ukraine’s military, economy, government and people,” the New York Times’ Catherine Porter and Liz Alderman write. 
“[Transatlantic] tensions over the war in Ukraine have relaxed since the U.S. midterm congressional elections but could ramp up again if Europe continues to fall behind the U.S. when it comes to providing financial and military support for Kyiv. Europe cannot afford a rift on this issue while Ukraine’s–and its own—security is on the line,” CFR’s Liana Fix and the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Jeffrey Mankoff write. 
Pacific Rim

China to Stop Tracking Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases

A health official said that instead of generalized virus tracing, authorities will focus on reporting in target areas (SCMP) such as homes for the elderly, schools, and health-care facilities. 

Fiji: The country is counting votes (Reuters) after holding its third democratic election since current Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama came to power in a 2006 coup. Observers predicted a tight race between Bainimarama’s party and a coalition led by another ex-coup leader, former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.
South and Central Asia

Russia Replaces Iraq as India’s Top Oil Supplier Russia became India’s top oil supplier

(Reuters) last month as other countries turned away from Russia’s discounted crude. For an article visualizing trends to watch in 2023, CFR’s Manjari Chatterjee Miller examines shifting India-Russia relations

India/Pakistan: Pakistan’s interior minister accused Indian intelligence services (Express Tribune) of being behind a bombing in Lahore last year and of “fanning terrorism” in Pakistan. 
Middle East and North Africa

Emirati Firms to Build $6 Billion Port in Sudan

The Sudanese government and a group of companies from the United Arab Emirates signed a preliminary agreement (Sudan Tribune) to build a port on the Red Sea. 

Qatar/Brussels: A Belgian investigation found that the Qatari government offered (FT) EU lawmakers free World Cup tickets and free trips to Qatar in an effort to soften their criticism of the country’s treatment of migrant laborers. This Backgrounder looks at the kafala migrant labor system.
Sub-Saharan Africa

South African Lawmakers Vote Against Impeaching Ramaphosa 

Support from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress party helped block a bid (NYT) to open impeachment proceedings against him for graft charges. 

Ethiopia: An Ethiopian man sued Facebook’s parent company (WaPo), Meta, in Kenya’s High Court, saying that his father was killed after being targeted by hateful posts on Facebook. He said he had tried without success to get the posts removed.

EU Lawmakers Reach Preliminary Deal on World’s First Emissions Tariff

The new tax will hit imports (Reuters) from carbon emissions–heavy industries such as steel and cement. Negotiators are due to decide on its start date this weekend. For Foreign Affairs, Isabel Estevez, Joseph Stiglitz, and Todd Tucker discuss how to fight climate change through trade.

Top Court in Barbados Strikes Down Laws Criminalizing Gay Sex

The ruling makes Barbados the third Caribbean nation (AP) to repeal such laws this year. 

Peru: At least six people have died in countrywide protests (CNN) supporting ousted former President Pedro Castillo Terrones, Peru’s ombudsman said.
United States

Crypto CEO Hit With Fraud, Conspiracy Charges 

One of the federal prosecutors who issued the charges against cryptocurrency businessman Sam Bankman-Fried called his dealings (CNN) “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”
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