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Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing
Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.

What can be done by Europe or others to help the 1.7 million Afghan refugees that are now being expelled from Pakistan back into Afghanistan?

Well, sorry to say the answer is not very much can be done. We are delivering humanitarian aid to some extent, and the UN is there to Afghanistan, but to take care of or to help substantially 1.7 million people that are expelled from Pakistan is going to be very difficult. Relationship with the Taliban regime is virtually non-existent, so it's one of these tragedies that are happening at the same time as we have the Gaza War and the Ukraine War.

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An Afghan man works in a poppy field in Nangarhar province in 2016.

REUTERS/Parwiz/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Afghans' fewer poppies, Trump's lead in key states, Lake Titicaca’s lower water level, New Delhi's smog, Japan's new frigates, Swifties' tents

95: Once the world’s top opium supplier, Afghanistan has slashed its cultivation of opium poppies by a whopping 95%, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The drop follows a Taliban edict banning opium cultivation.

5: Former President Donald Trump is leading in five of six battleground states in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College. The numbers indicate that Biden is trailing among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The president remains ahead in Wisconsin by the smallest of margins: two percentage points.

29: Over the past seven months, Lake Titicaca’s water level at the Peru-Bolivia border has fallen 29 inches to near-record lows. According to scientists, climate change is exacerbating this year’s El Nino phenomenon, layering heat on top of heat in South America’s largest freshwater lake.

471: In more bad environmental news, primary schools in New Delhi have been closed through Nov. 10 due to high pollution levels. On Sunday, the capital recorded an Air Quality Index reading of 471, a level considered hazardous.

12: The Japanese Ministry of Defense will acquire a total of 12 new Mogami class frigates over the next five years. The vessels will be used to defend the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

5: Die-hard Taylor Swift fans have been camped out in tents for 5 months for a chance at front-row seats to the singer’s Eras Tour concerts in Buenos Aires on Nov. 9, 10, and 11. Some Bad Blood has been reported between the tent dwellers and locals who say the Swifties should get jobs rather than spend days waiting for their idol – but despite the potentially Delicate situation, fans appear able to Shake it Off.

Scores of foreign passport holders trapped in Gaza started leaving the war-torn Palestinian territory on Nov. 1 -- some are seen here waiting at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt.

Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto

Hard Numbers: Egypt accepts Gazan evacuees, Debating a 70-hour work week, Pushing voters buttons with warplanes, Afghan refugee arrests

400: On Wednesday, Egypt allowedmore than 400 people, injured Palestinians and foreign nationals, to enter the country from Gaza. These were the first refugees allowed across the border, and Egypt will face international pressure to accept many more. Egypt’s government, fearing the long-term burden that large numbers of refugees might impose, will continue to resist.

70: Indian software billionaire NR Narayana Murthy kicked off a furious debate within his country with a recent comment that India’s young people should work 70 hours per week. (Mr. Murthy is the father-in-law of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.)

43: Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday it had detected 43 Chinese warplanes and seven naval vessels near the island in a single 24-hour period. There are many reasons why Beijing is unlikely to launch a war anytime soon, but it does hope to persuade Taiwan’s voters to elect a new president in January who has a more cooperative relationship with Beijing than the outgoing incumbent has had.

1.7 million: On Wednesday, authorities in Pakistan began nationwide arrests of Afghan refugees who lack permission to remain in the country as the deadline passed for undocumented Afghans to leave. There are some 1.7 million undocumented Afghans still in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s government hopes the arrests will spur more to leave on their own.

Afghanistan's captain Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates the team's victory against Pakistan in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on Monday.

ANI via Reuters

Afghanistan’s cricketers inspire nation with World Cup dream

The streets of Kabul erupted in joy Monday night as Afghans celebrated their national team’s massive upset victory against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup. It’s a brief moment of elation amid the crushing crises that have immiserated millions since the US withdrawal.

The stunning eight-wicket win against one of the sport’s most celebrated sides put Afghanistan in a four-way tie for a knockout stage berth. They face an uphill climb for a shot at the trophy, though: The mighty South African and Australian teams are sure to put Afghan bowlers and batters through their paces, and they’ll have to beat both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as well. If they manage to pull it off, waiting in the knockout stages is thus-far undefeated India, playing at home to roaring crowds.

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An Afghan woman stands next to her house after a recent earthquake in Chahak village in the Enjil district of Herat province, Afghanistan. Three deadly quakes have plagued the region this month.


Hard Numbers: Quake hits Afghanistan again, Venezuela’s opposition field narrows, Oz rejects “The Voice,” antisemitic attacks on the rise

3: A third earthquake has struck western Afghanistan just a week after earlier quakes flattened villages in the region and killed thousands. The 6.3-magnitude tremor hit near the city of Herat on Sunday, killing at least one and injuring scores. The ruling Taliban government says survivors of this month’s deadly earthquakes are desperate for food, medicine, and shelter.
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An Afghan man stands on the debris of damaged houses after the recent earthquake, in the district of Zinda Jan, in Herat, Afghanistan October 9, 2023.


Hard Numbers: Thousands killed in Afghan quake, Thais caught in the fighting, RFK’s new approach, China claims to hit economic targets, US wealth gap grows

2,400: At least 2,400 people have died in Afghanistan following Saturday’s 6.3-magnitude quake near the western city of Herat, the country’s third largest. While the search for survivors continues, the devastating tremor brings new hardship to an area already hard hit by the economic crisis. The World Bank estimates that two-thirds of Afghan families are at risk of losing their livelihood.

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People protesting in Parliament Square in London

The Islamic State’s rise in Afghanistan

In 2017, the Trump administration declared that the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq had been defeated. But a new UN report released this week claims that there are between 5,000-7,000 fighters across the Levant. And many more – around 11,000 – are ready to fight but remain locked up in northern Syria, according to the UN.

At the group’s peak around 2015, it’s estimated that there were around 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. Still, the latest report suggests that the group has been able to regroup and recruit.

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Afghan women demonstrate in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan

Hard Numbers: Afghan women protest, gunman kills two in New Zealand, Eastern Europe seeks import ban extension, Phoenix melts

50: In Afghanistan, where women’s rights have been increasingly restricted since the Taliban returned to power in 2021, 50 women dared to protest in Kabul on Wednesday. The demonstrations were a response to the Taliban closing beauty salons, further restricting the public spaces accessible to women.

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