World roundup: January 20 2023
Stories from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and elsewhere
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
Earlier this week the United Nations released a list of nine countries (Comoros, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Lebanon, Sao Tome and Principe, Somali, South Sudan, and Venezuela) whose UN dues are in arrears to the point where their voting rights in the UN General Assembly are at risk. UN rules stipulate that a country’s UNGA vote can be suspended if it owes two years’ worth of dues or more. Exceptions are sometimes made, and in this case the Assembly already voted to let Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia retain their voting rights through the end of the current UNGA session. The other six countries have had their voting rights suspended and will have to pay up to get them back. For the most part this is purely a symbolic penalty but it is somewhat embarrassing and most countries in this situation do wind up paying their back dues.
A drone strike targeting the US military base in southern Syria’s Tanf region wounded two Syrian rebel fighters on Friday. There’s been no claim of responsibility but generally attacks on Tanf have in the past been carried out by militias affiliated with the Syrian government and Iran. That said, these seem like they may have been fairly rudimentary drones and Islamic State is also still hanging around in the Syrian desert. The US military may retaliate for this attack at some point but I haven’t seen anything to that effect as yet.