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SnapshotsJun 30, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
China's Security Law Ushers in a New and Uncertain Era in Hong Kong
The passing of China's new Hong Kong national security law marks the start of an uncertain and potentially volatile phase in the city's ongoing political crisis, as pro-democracy forces square-off with newly empowered city authorities backed by Beijing, increasing the risk of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that could also impact foreign institutions. Whether the next period sees tumultuous protests or a stifling of the pro-democracy camp will now depend on how Hong Kong authorities choose to apply their new sweeping powers and how the prosecution of such crimes proceed in the court system. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, for its part, will work to balance the need to maintain public furor against Beijing's ongoing erosion of the city's autonomy with the need to also save its strength for September legislative council elections, where it hopes to gain ground and challenge Beijing-aligned authorities.
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SITUATION REPORTJun 29, 2020 | 22:08 GMT
Hong Kong: Beijing Lawmakers May Consider Life Sentences, Retroactivity for National Security Law 
Hong Kong’s sole representative to China’s National People's Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, said he will inform the committee of public feedback calling for Beijing's proposed national security legislation to carry steeper penalties and be applied retroactively for past transgressions, the South China Morning Post reported June 27. 
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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SnapshotsJun 26, 2020 | 20:08 GMT
With a Raid, Iraq Asserts Its Authority Over Iran-Backed Militias
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is signaling that his new government will keep powerful Iran-backed militias in the country in check after conducting a raid against Kataib Hezbollah, the group linked to numerous attempted attacks against U.S. forces over the past year. On the evening of June 25, Iraqi security forces raided a building belonging to the Iran-backed group, which resulted in the arrests of several Kataib Hezbollah leaders and members, as well as the seizure of multiple rockets. In retaliation, militia members threatened to overrun Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service building where the detained Kataib Hezbollah members were being held, placing Baghdad’s surrounding Green Zone under lockdown. Overnight negotiations between Kataib Hezbollah leaders and the Iraqi government have since resulted in the release of most of the militia members arrested during the raid. The government’s willingness to quickly deescalate the situation indicates Baghdad’s desire to assert its authority over Iran-backed
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AssessmentsJun 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A picture shows the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Kramim in the West Bank on June 18, 2020.
Israel's Annexation Plans Will Leave It in Need of New Allies
Israel's impending annexations in the West Bank will not spark immediate international backlash, but growing pro-Palestine sentiment in the United States and Europe will ultimately leave it politically and economically isolated in the long term. This will lead Israel to seek increased partnerships with countries whose citizens and politicians are less invested in the prospect of a Palestinian state, such as Russia and China, though doing so will come at the risk of further stoking U.S. ire. 
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SnapshotsJun 25, 2020 | 18:08 GMT
The U.S.-EU Trade War Is Poised to Intensify
The U.S.-EU trade war continues to brew and could see Brussels and Washington move forward with more tariffs through the rest of the year, even as both sides reckon with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 24, the U.S. Trade Representative's office published a list for the public comment outlining $4.3 billion worth of European products that could be subject to new tariffs as early as August. This latest escalation is part of its 16-year dispute between Washington and Brussels over government subsidies to the U.S.-based aircraft maker Boeing and its chief European rival, Airbus. Trade negotiations between the United States and European Union have already been virtually non-existent this year, due in part to the pandemic, as well as major disagreements on issues [such as agriculture. Even if they do occur, last-minute trade talks to try to avert the escalation over aircraft subsidies will thus likely fail, as both sides
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AssessmentsJun 25, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
U.S. Naval Update Map: June 25, 2020
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.
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SnapshotsJun 24, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Seeking a Political Win, Trump Takes Aim at Immigration Visas
After weeks of speculation, U.S. President Donald Trump finally issued a presidential proclamation on June 22 outlining visa changes that will significantly impede the ability of U.S. tech companies and universities to attract international talent and investment. Should they become permanent, the changes could place the United States' competitive advantage as a business hub in jeopardy by making U.S. visa programs more difficult for foreigners to access. 
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SnapshotsJun 23, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Details of China's Hong Kong Security Law Confirm Critics' Fears
The Chinese central government is adopting a more rapid and aggressive approach to its proposed national security law in Hong Kong that will erode the city's autonomy from the mainland. On June 20, Chinese state-run media released new details about Beijing's proposed Hong Kong national security legislation following the conclusion of a National People's Congress Standing Committee session. The Standing Committee will now hold a June 28-30 special meeting, raising the possibility of the law's passage before the July 1 anniversary of the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong.  As written, the current draft law grants Beijing a greater supervisory role over national security inside of Hong Kong with measures that were on the more assertive end of the spectrum of potential options.The tough penalties for convictions will also have a chilling effect on unrest in Hong Kong by allowing pro-Beijing forces inside the city to more easily crack down on
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SnapshotsJun 22, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
New U.S. Sanctions Will Keep Syria Firmly in Russia and Iran's Corner
New U.S. sanctions against the Syrian government will likely leave Damascus dependent on Russian and Iranian support, while deterring aid from potential future partners such as China and the United Arab Emirates. On June 17, the United States sanctioned 39 individuals associated with the Syrian government, including President Bashar al Assad and his wife. Washington also indicated that more sanctions were to come in order to force the Syrian government back into U.N.-led peace negotiations.  Countries that have shown interest in providing Syria aid in the past are unlikely to risk incurring potentially powerful U.S. sanctions in pursuit of economically limited reconstruction contracts in Syria, leaving Damascus with Russia and Iran as its primary links with the international community. The sanctions will also exacerbate Syria's already dire economic situation, which is producing dissent from inside Syrian loyalist territories, and increasingly threatens the stability of the al Assad family's hold on the state.
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SnapshotsJun 19, 2020 | 18:29 GMT
A Major Cyberattack Further Stokes Australia-China Tensions
Amid a recent uptick in Sino-Australian tensions, China is continuing to raise the price of Australia's sustained support of a U.S.-led international push to investigate Beijing's role in the COVID-19 pandemic and more broadly confront China. On June 19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country had been targeted by a sustained and wide-ranging cyberattack on government institutions, public services and businesses. Unnamed top officials said the Chinese government is the primary suspect. Australia, however, has shown no signs that it intends to back off from its confrontational diplomatic stance, despite China's continued economic threats and retaliatory actions in recent months. On June 11, Morrison said his government would not be intimidated by Beijing's "coercion" tactics, signaling his political resolve to maintain Australia's current scrutiny of Beijing's involvement in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Hong Kong's political crisis.  
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