Not all conditions met in Afghanistan agreement
International | Base closures and prisoner releases occur while Taliban attacks escalate
by Mindy Belz
Posted 7/16/20, 05:07 pm
AFGHANISTAN: The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it has closed five military bases and reduced the size of its troops stationed in the region to 8,600 as part of an agreement reached with the Taliban in February. The Afghan government, which was not a part of the talks leading to the agreement, has begun phased release of Taliban prisoners under pressure from the Trump administration.
While the deal is “conditions based” on a reduction in violence, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Taliban attacks are escalating. The Taliban launched attacks in more than 20 provinces in the past two weeks, and an attack on Monday killed at least 11 Afghan intelligence officers and wounded 60 people in Samangan.
BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to test positive for the coronavirus, after an initial diagnosis on July 6. Bolsonaro said he is not experiencing symptoms and is taking the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine at the recommendation of a military doctor. Brazil is the second-worst-hit country in the world after the United States, which continues this week to see record-setting daily highs for new cases.
INDIA: Officials are reimposing lockdowns in Bangalore, Bihare, and other areas hard-hit by the coronavirus, as confirmed cases near 1 million. Nearly a dozen states are trying localized lockdowns called “containment zones.”
BANGLADESH: Prolonged seasonal flooding has forced more than 1 million people from their homes in the delta nation of 160 million.
SUDAN: In a series of legislative reforms, the country abolished its apostasy law, which carried the death penalty for leaving Islam. Other changes grant women the ability to travel abroad with their children without consent from a male relative and decriminalize alcohol consumed by non-Muslims.
GLOBAL: The world will be home to 8.8 billion people in 2100, 2 billion fewer than current UN projections, shaped by declining fertility rates and aging populations. The number of children under age 5 is forecast to decline by more than 40 percent by 2100, while the number of people over age 80 will more than quadruple.
BELGIUM: Sidelined in work and social life by COVID-19, Polish emigre Luiza Chrzanowska turned her traveling choir into a walking ensemble singing for locked-in nursing home residents in Brussels.
I’M WATCHING Flannery, due out via virtual cinema on Friday.
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