World roundup: August 9 2023
Stories from Saudi Arabia, Niger, Ecuador, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
August 9 (or so), 378: A Gothic army annihilates a larger Roman army at the Battle of Adrianople (modern Edirne). Some two-thirds of the Roman soldiers were killed, including Emperor Valens. This virtual eradication of an imperial army opened the door for the Goths to move into the empire for good and contributed to the eventual collapse of the empire in the west.
August 9, 1945: The United States drops its second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, while the Soviet army invades Japanese-occupied Manchuria. Some 80,000 people are believed to have died of causes that can be linked to the bombing. The combination of the atomic bombings and the entry of the Soviets into the war against Japan is credited with convincing Japanese leaders to surrender, though there was and is evidence that they were preparing to do so anyway and the debate over the necessity of the bombings continues to the present day.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
A roadside bomb killed three Syrian soldiers and a journalist in southern Syria’s Daraa province on Wednesday. A second journalist was initially thought to have been killed but subsequently turned out to have survived. There’s no indication as to responsibility, but there are a number of former rebels in Daraa and the province still sees a fair amount of low level violence like this. Islamic State could also have been responsible.
The United Nations’ Bab al-Hawa cross-border humanitarian relief operation is set to resume, after the UN and the Syrian government reached an agreement on reopening the crossing. This operation, which is related to but distinct from the earthquake relief operation we discussed yesterday, was closed down when the UN Security Council failed to renew its mandate last month. The deal will keep Bab al-Hawa open for at least the next six months. The Syrian government had offered to keep Bab al-Hawa open last month under conditions the UN deemed unacceptable; Wednesday’s agreement doesn’t appear to include those conditions and it’s unclear what concessions, if any, Damascus extracted from the UN.
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