Your Thursday Briefing

Kissinger’s fucking dead.

The EU’s top court has ruled that government offices across the bloc can prohibit their employees from wearing visible signs of religious belief, which I assume will be carried out equally between Jewish people and Muslim people.

Slovakian truckers will block the main border crossing with Ukraine tomorrow, joining Polish protests that complain that Ukrainian truckers offer cheaper prices for their services and can transport goods within the EU, rather than just between Ukraine and the EU, and that their governments should do something about that. Slovakia is also extending its ban on Ukrainian agricultural commodities due to the financial issues it is causing farmers.

Turkish businesses have stated their intention to keep tapping into China’s market, in digital platforms, telecommunications, renewable energy, electric vehicles, cloud technology, and the defence industry, after 50 Turkish representatives visited the Supply Chain Expo. The Turkish ambassador notably said that they can help China trade with the EU, as Turkey has a free trade agreement with the EU but China does not.

Iran has confirmed that it is receiving Su-35 fighter jets, Mi-28 attack helicopters, and Yak-130 jet trainers from Russia.

China’s manufacturing PMI hit 49.4 in November, down slightly from 49.5 in October; under 50 means contraction. This is about in line with global manufacturing PMI, which decreased to about 50 recently.

China and Turkmenistan have pledged to expand security cooperation, deepen counterterrorism cooperation, and jointly combat the “three forces” - separatism, terrorism, and religious extremism in Xinjiang and Central Asia, after a meeting between Vice-Primier Ding Xuexiang and President Berdimuhamedov.

An irrigation dam in Ghana reached maximum capacity and overspilled due to heavy rains, with hundreds of households affected by the downstream flooding. This comes a month after a spillage from the Akosombo Dam displaced 30,000 people.

Angola has officially opened its new Luele diamond mine, the biggest in the country and one of the biggest in the world, doubling the country’s annual production. Experts warn that factors like high US interest rates (the US is 55% of world demand), weak post-pandemic recovery, and lab-grown diamond competition will reduce the revenue generated by diamonds, however.

Between 2021 and 2023, the US government conducted “counterterrorism” operations in 78 countries, down from 85 between 2018-2020, and yet you fucking tankies won’t give Biden a fair shot.

The Mississippi’s water levels are falling to the extent that grain barges have to carry less and less grain as there is insufficient draft - similar to what is occurring in the Amazon and Panama Canal. Higher transport costs are lowering the competitiveness of American soy and corn, leading Argentina Brazil to increasingly make gains.

Gang warfare in Haiti is spreading throughout the country, while the Kenyan police deployment continues to be delayed, as a Kenyan court recently extended orders blocking the deployment of police officers. Obviously, police have typically been very good at solving this kind of thing in the past and will likely fix the fundamental issues that caused the gang warfare to become an issue in the first place.

Venezuela has experienced nine consecutive quarters of economic growth, with extraction of oil and natural gas expanding 13% in Q3 2023.

Latin America’s largest open-pit coal mine, El Cerrejon in Colombia (nicknamed “the monster” by locals), sprawls 69,000 hectares or 100,000 football pitches and produces 20 million tons of coal every year, generating $256 billion for Swiss company Glencore. Germany is importing millions of tons of coal from El Cerrejon for its energy needs after the Ukraine War started. The new Supply Chain Act, in effect since the start of 2023, requires companies to monitor human rights across their global supply chains; the locals would very much say that human rights are not being respected here.