World roundup: January 9 2023
Stories from Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Brazil, and elsewhere.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
A new report from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization says that the hole in Earth’s ozone layer is patching up slowly and could be completely closed by 2066. Reductions in atmospheric levels of both chlorine and bromine, the two biggest ozone-dissolving chemical threats, stem from the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which is probably the single biggest environmental success story of my lifetime and is the reason why many people still believe there’s a chance to organize meaningful international action on climate change despite mountains of evidence that seem to indicate otherwise.
As expected, the UN Security Council voted Monday to renew the international humanitarian relief effort running from Turkey into northern Syria for another six months. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Russian delegation voted in favor of the renewal instead of abstaining. Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya was at pains to insist that this vote did not signal a change in Moscow’s longstanding preference that this cross-border operation should be ended and all humanitarian aid to Syria should run through Damascus. Perhaps the Russians are still feeling some holiday cheer, but come July it’s likely their position will have hardened again.