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Interior Thoughts

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Interior Thoughts AUSTRALIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/81d62805-bef8-41fd-9c0c-ed93ea461226.png"] Almost everyone ranks the Amazon, the Sahara and Siberia as among the world’s greatest, most gigantic and most remote wildernesses. Many might forget to add one of the planet’s vastest untouched regions, though – the Australian Outback. The Outback covers nearly two...

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The Morning After

NEED TO KNOW The Morning After ETHIOPIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/bf55b5d2-7db8-404a-b87b-c88a42597d29.png"] The war between Ukraine and Russia has understandably garnered much attention over the past year. While that carnage has unfolded, however, another bloodbath recently was to end in the Horn of Africa. Approximately 600,000 people died in the two-year-long war that...

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The Virtual Front

NEED TO KNOW The Virtual Front RUSSIA/ UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2aaf5c8d-a4e6-42cf-9dd9-f761d6bfed83.png"] In the 1990s, many world leaders failed to understand the threat that cyberattacks posed to their governments, societies and economies, argued journalist Matt Potter in a recent interview with ABC News. Today, the war between Russia and Ukraine has...

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Twixt the Bear and the Dragon

NEED TO KNOW Twixt the Bear and the Dragon MONGOLIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d44c27c0-8811-4785-9bf7-c8eb1cb78277.png"] In Mongolia, Dulamsuren Demberel worries about her family’s budget. The price of coal has increased by 40 percent in recent months as post-pandemic inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have roiled energy markets. Nomadic herders like...

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The Celtic Conundrum

NEED TO KNOW The Celtic Conundrum IRELAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7cea72cc-1559-4005-a6ad-f3350418bc77.png"] Three years after the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, officials in Brussels, London and Dublin still haven’t fixed the rules governing the border between Northern Ireland, a member of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland...

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Rags to Riches

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Rags to Riches BOTSWANA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/17159046-9205-41d2-a989-0e0218ccc942.png"] Sprawling, landlocked, relatively lightly populated Botswana enjoys a higher gross domestic product per capita than neighboring continental economic powerhouse South Africa. As the South African newspaper the Daily Maverick explained, Botswanans earn around $9,200 on average annually, compared with South Africans...

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A Reformer’s Fumble

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW A Reformer’s Fumble SLOVAKIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/def5a447-d17d-4b18-8656-a0934b7c83eb.png"] Thirty years ago, the former communist country of Czechoslovakia split in two. The event was called the “Velvet Divorce” because it was an amicable divorce between two nations whose association dated back to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in...

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Oiling the Hinges

NEED TO KNOW Oiling the Hinges MIDDLE EAST [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7000f0bb-c02b-4438-87c6-002be2c0dfc6.png"] Natural gas is changing the Eastern Mediterranean. It could also shake up the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. As the Middle East Institute outlined in a recent report, governments in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa have been struggling to develop...

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The Exile and the Mob

NEED TO KNOW The Exile and the Mob BRAZIL [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/b4df2610-e790-44f6-bec1-f859c705ae8b.png"] The former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, might finally be planning to return to his native country after decamping for Florida in late December, shortly before his successor, the now incumbent Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,...

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The Forever Pandemic

NEED TO KNOW The Forever Pandemic CHINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/198e41ed-dcee-4398-8f9e-af928160f105.png"] China recently lifted mandatory quarantining for visitors, ending three years of travel restrictions designed to prevent Covid infections. The move was the latest easing of anti-Covid measures in the country, which was rocked last month by protests against lockdowns, as...

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The Balancing Act

We were unable to deliver your newsletter Friday due to a technical issue with our email delivery platform. We apologize for the inconvenience! [featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW The Balancing Act KAZAKHSTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d52e63cf-06bb-47d0-b573-377bff5ae37c.png"] Kazakhstan recently memorialized the first anniversary of Bloody January, the term for the four days of civil unrest...

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Power, Corruption and Fireworks

NEED TO KNOW Power, Corruption and Fireworks CZECH REPUBLIC [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/4e23e22d-26c3-4ed5-88d4-a441c2b9d079.png"] Andrej Babis is a billionaire agricultural magnate and former Czech prime minister who is currently a leading candidate for the presidency of his central European country when the first round of voting starts on Jan. 13. At the same...

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Breathing Politics

NEED TO KNOW Breathing Politics BRAZIL [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/b4df2610-e790-44f6-bec1-f859c705ae8b.png"] On Jan. 1, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as the new president of Brazil. A week later, supporters of his opponent, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, stormed Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidential Palace to try to...

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Buying Power

NEED TO KNOW Buying Power EUROPEAN UNION [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/597ff6f5-aa2a-4913-81c8-7a38f364a41b.png"] Belgian authorities have arrested a vice president of the European Parliament and jailed her, detained almost a dozen others and raided parliamentarians’ apartments and offices, seizing $1.6 million in cash. All this is part of a major scandal known as “Qatargate”...

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A Difficult Hand

NEED TO KNOW A Difficult Hand PHILIPPINES [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/76f74898-7b3b-4fc1-b7d7-88cadfea2fdf.png"] Controversially tough-on-crime Rodrigo Duterte is no longer president of the Philippines. But, in an echo of protests that occurred when Duterte was in power between June 2016 and June 2022, demonstrators recently took to the streets of the Filipino capital,...

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Theme Park Politics

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Theme Park Politics BENIN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2f9461ee-c4e6-4b8e-a1ae-3fd929fd2dfa.png"] Al Qaeda and Islamic State extremists are gaining a foothold in Africa as the Russian-Ukrainian war, the pandemic and economic woes preoccupy the rest of the world. Benin in West Africa is among the hardest hit. Jihadist attacks in Benin increased...

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The Prodigal Leader

NEED TO KNOW The Prodigal Leader ISRAEL [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/a7853464-ef94-4b48-96b9-d7badbef5e55.png"] Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel again in late December, his sixth time in the job. His coalition, widely described as the country’s most hardline and right-wing government ever, contains a self-described “anti-Arab” party and is quickly moving to...

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Cry For Me

NEED TO KNOW Cry For Me ARGENTINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/76e4f41e-d963-4fc8-b435-ba5bf19812a5.png"] The throngs that crowded Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities after the South American country’s World Cup victory testified to a vibrant country that can field world-class athletic teams, as a photo essay in the Atlantic portrayed. But the unorganized...

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Won’t Back Down

NEED TO KNOW Won’t Back Down IRAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/aa73e799-3df4-4d8a-8ec5-35a9feeb2bb4.png"] The Iranian government’s crackdown on free speech and the free flow of information has led protesters who are challenging the country’s Islamic clerics to smuggle Starlink satellite dishes into the country. Manufactured by a subdivision of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s...

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A News Year

NEED TO KNOW A News Year WORLD [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/486ddb7e-3777-4543-ab44-3536360a3ce9.png"] The New Year will begin with two pressing crises that could upend the international order: the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, and the coronavirus pandemic in China. As the Economist noted, Ukraine has a fighting chance against Russia in 2023....

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