John Davison and Naline Malla / Reuters
Syrian government air strikes on rebel-held areas near Damascus killed at least 31 people on Wednesday, and insurgents bombarded the capital with rockets that killed at least 13 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The Associated Press / New York Times
Taliban insurgents dressed in police uniforms and driving in a police car attacked a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province on Wednesday, killing 14 police officers, an Afghan official said.
The Associated Press / New York Times
A two-day truce agreed on between Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in a Syrian border town and militant and rebels groups there went into effect on Wednesday, a Lebanese TV station and activists said.
Scott Cendrowski / Fortune
China’s slowing economy and a yuan devaluation are also creating problems for the e-commerce giant. The quick takeaway from Alibaba’s quarterly earnings announced this morning: Alibaba may not always shine in a slowing Chinese economy.
Pete Sweeney and Lu Jianxin / Reuters
China’s yuan hit a four-year low on Wednesday, falling for a second day after authorities devalued it, and sources said clamor in government circles to help struggling exporters would put pressure on the central bank to let it drop lower still.
National Security & Strategy
Noah Browning / Reuters
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed five al Qaeda fighters in eastern Yemen on Wednesday, officials said, as Islamist militant groups claimed a string of attacks in the war-torn country.
Phil Helsel / NBC News
A hacker group claiming to be affiliated with the terror organization ISIS on Tuesday posted what it said was the personal information of hundreds of members of the military and government personnel, and urged terrorists to carry out attacks.
Ian Lee and Jason Hanna / CNN
An image posted online appears to show that ISIS captive Tomislav Salopek of Croatia has been beheaded, the SITE Intelligence Group said Wednesday.
Helene Cooper / New York Times
Navy fighter jets roar off this nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in support of Iraqi troops approaching Ramadi, a city in Anbar Province overrun by Islamic State fighters in one of the worst defeats for the American-led coalition.
Nicole Hasham / Sydney Morning Herald
Australia should not attend global talks in Paris refusing to budge on its greenhouse gas emission pledge, the UN’s scientific body on climate change has said, ahead of expected international pressure on the Abbott government to do better.
Chelsea Harvey / Washington Post
Last September, the remote community of Point Lay on Alaska’s North Slope became the focus of headline news when a staggering 35,000 walruses crowded onto the shore nearby. And now, some scientists are saying a similar event could happen this summer — in fact, any time now.
Christopher Johnson and Dmitry Zhdannikov / Reuters
World oil demand is expanding at its fastest pace in five years thanks to rebounding economic growth and low prices, but global oversupply will last through 2016, the West’s energy watchdog said on Wednesday.
Ryan Dube / Wall Street Journal
The three industrial boilers at the state-owned Codelco mine high in the mountains here once consumed 67,000 barrels of diesel a year to turn out shiny copper sheets for export. Now, the job is powered by nearly 3,000 solar panels that take advantage of the Atacama Desert’s cloudless blue sky.
Jethro Mullen and Brian Todd / CNN
Does melting snow on the roof of buildings signify a major increase in North Korea’s uranium enrichment activities? The security analysis firm IHS believes it probably does, highlighting satellite imagery of the country’s main nuclear complex in a new report. The analysts say they think North’s Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear center now has a second hall housing a large number of active centrifuges, a type of device used for uranium enrichment.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are concluding. Final negotiating rounds will focus on the contentious issue of Investor-State Dispute Settlement, a means of settling legal disputes between foreign investors and host nations through a neutral arbitration process. Known as ISDS, this process encourages foreign investment by establishing a standardized, impartial system of arbitration designed to provide safeguards to foreign investors.
Recently, commentators have dubbed Puerto Rico as “America’s Greece.” While both Greece and Puerto Rico have major debts that cannot be repaid due to struggling domestic economies, the easy comparison leaves out important details about the debt crisis in Puerto Rico. With a more complete understanding of the situation in Puerto Rico, possible solutions become easier to identify.
In ASP’s Understanding the Iran Nuclear Deal event, ASP board member Adm. William J. Fallon, USN (Ret.), award winning author Dr. Trita Parsi, Harvard graduate and AL-Monitor writer Laura Rozen were hosted by ASP. The event was moderated by ASP CEO BGen. Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.). The panel discussed the Iran Nuclear Deal and how this can be one step of many in improving the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran.
On Tuesday, August 4th Business Council for American Security Chairperson Dante Disparte spoke to the BBC World Business Report about the latest development in the Puerto Rican debt crisis. Puerto Rico missed a $58 million bond payment on Monday, sending the island territory into default for the first time. In his interview, Disparte mentioned several of the issues contributing to Puerto Rico’s debt troubles.
On July 31st, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi extended the nation’s state of emergency for another two months. With two large-scale terror attacks against foreign nationals since March, President Essebsi and the legislative body have taken a firmer role against terrorist threats. Along with placing the nation under a state of emergency, the government has recently passed an anti-terror law and proposed establishing an “anti-terror” wall to tackle insurgent forces.
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American Security Project
Since 2009, there have been a succession of substantial natural gas finds in the Levantine Basin, under the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Cyprus. How to regulate, tax, and export the gas continues to be controversial in Israeli politics. However, the strategic benefits of using energy resources to more closely tie Israel with its long-hostile neighbors are too compelling to ignore. This report analyzes the risks and opportunities involved in such an endeavor.