Beryl Smashes Records as it Roars Through Caribbean, and Other Headlines of the Day

Beryl Smashes Records as it Roars Through Caribbean, and Other Headlines of the Day

The Daily News Brief

July 3, 2024 9:47 am (EST)

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Welcome back to today’s edition of the Daily News Brief, CFR’s flagship morning newsletter summarizing the top global news and analysis of the day. Written by Catherine Osborn and edited by Mariel Ferragamo, with support from Diana Roy.

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Editor’s Note: We’re signing off for the week, with no Daily News Brief tomorrow or Friday, July 45, for Independence Day.

Top of the Agenda

Beryl Roars Through Caribbean, Smashing Record for Earliest Hurricane of Its Size

Hurricane Beryl is churning toward Jamaica after leaving what Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell called “unimaginable” and “total” destruction on two of the country’s islands. “We have to rebuild from the ground up,” he said. Beryl has broken records as the earliest storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to reach first a category 4 and then a category 5 classification. After peaking in strength yesterday, it was moving west early this morning as a Category 4 storm, prompting officials to issue flood alerts in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. A recent study found that rising ocean temperatures make such rapid growth of major Atlantic storms more likely.

Surveying the damage yesterday, Mitchell said that Beryl was a direct result of global warming and criticized “the countries that are responsible for creating this situation” for sitting “idly by.” The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in May predicted “above-normal hurricane activity” in the Atlantic basin this year. (AP, NYT, Nature, NOAA)

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“Zero storms before Beryl achieved 65 [miles per hour] of intensification before July. Forget about the location in the Atlantic, this is anywhere in the Atlantic,” Guy Carpenter’s Kieran Bhatia tells the Miami Herald. “It’s like redefining what is typical behavior. It’s really eye-opening.”

“We are desperately ill-prepared for what we’re already experiencing and what’s ahead,” CFR expert Alice C. Hill said at this Local Journalists Workshop. “We are seeing bigger floods, bigger wildfires, higher winds. And our infrastructure, our buildings, are not built to withstand that.”

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Pacific Rim

Indonesia Opens Doors on First EV Battery Plant

The joint venture by South Korean firms is the first such plant in Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s investment minister said. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of nickel and has aimed to capitalize on those resources to boost its role in the global electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. China’s battery giant CATL has agreed to develop an around $6 billion EV ecosystem in Indonesia, but has been slow to move forward. (Nikkei

U.S./China: A deportation flight carrying 116 Chinese nationals traveled from the United States to China over the weekend, the first such flight since 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said yesterday. It follows a surge in undocumented Chinese nationals apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. In recent years, China has resisted accepting such flights; this one came after renewed engagement between Washington and Beijing. (WSJ, AP) 

South and Central Asia

China Backs Kazakhstan’s Efforts to Join BRICS

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday endorsed Kazakhstan’s bid to join the BRICS group—named after its original members Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Chinese state media reported. Xi is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit. (Nikkei, RFE/RL)

India: Authorities are investigating a stampede at a religious event that killed 121 people yesterday, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state said today. (Hindustan Times)

Middle East and North Africa

Thousands Flee Southern Gaza After New Evacuation Order

Israeli forces bombed several areas of the southern Gaza Strip yesterday as thousands of Palestinians fled areas around Khan Younis following an Israeli evacuation order. The New York Times reported yesterday that several former and current top Israeli military officials want a cease-fire in Gaza in order to free hostages and regroup ahead of a potential land war against Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Meanwhile, twelve former U.S. officials who resigned over U.S. policy in Gaza released a joint statement saying Washington’s posture has damaged U.S. credibility and “put a target on America’s back.” The White House and State Department did not immediately comment. (Reuters, NYT

This Backgrounder by CFR’s Kali Robinson explains rising tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

Egypt: Cairo replaced its finance minister and several other cabinet members in a shakeup today. The former finance minister had been in office since 2018. Newcomer Ahmed Kouchouk, previously the deputy finance minister, is a former World Bank economist who has been highly involved in the country’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. (AP)

This In Brief by CFR’s Noah Berman explores whether Egypt’s economic overhaul can stave off a crisis

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sudan Militia Begins Offensive in Southern Agricultural State, Opening New Front in War

Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have attacked and looted towns in their push into the state of Sennar, prompting at least sixty-two thousand people to flee in recent days, the UN International Organization for Migration said. The fighting in an important food-producing state is expected to worsen Sudan’s already dire hunger crisis. (WSJ)

This In Brief by CFR’s Mariel Ferragamo and Diana Roy detail the extent of Sudan’s humanitarian catastrophe.

Africa/China: Chinese EV manufacturers Neta Auto and Xpeng Motors are expanding their international growth strategy in Africa in a shift amid trade tensions with Europe. Neta aims to enter twenty African markets in the next two years, while Xpeng announced last month it will start selling two EV models in Egypt. (Nikkei)


UN Panel Concludes Gershkovich Is Wrongfully Detained, Calls for Immediate Release

Russia detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich despite a “striking lack of any factual or legal substantiation” and should release him “immediately,” a UN expert panel said yesterday. Their findings add to global denunciations of Russia’s March 2023 detention of Gershkovich and subsequent trial for espionage charges. (AP)

Brussels/China: European Union officials are drawing up options to impose import duties on low-cost goods purchased on Chinese web retailers such as Temu and Shein, three unnamed sources told the Financial Times. Temu said it was open to policy adjustments as long as they were fair. (FT)


CSIS: Satellite Images Show Suspected Chinese Spy Facility in Cuba

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said the previously unreported facility in Cuba is likely linked to Chinese efforts to build up surveillance capacities on the island. Its report contains details on four such sites. A Cuban foreign ministry official denied Havana was hosting Chinese military interests. A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the reports but said they were closely monitoring the issue, and added that China “is going to keep trying to enhance its presence in Cuba and the United States is going to keep working to disrupt it.” (CSIS, Reuters)

This episode of the Why It Matters podcast breaks down the secret, complex world of spying

U.S. Campaign 2024

Judge Delays Trump’s Sentencing in Manhattan Criminal Case After Immunity Ruling

The judge in a trial that convicted former President Donald Trump for falsifying business records delayed his sentencing from July 11 to September 18, around two months before election day. The judge, responding to a request from Trump’s legal team, said he needed to study how Monday’s Supreme Court ruling protecting broad presidential immunity could affect the conviction. (NYT)

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