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SPOTLIGHT: VENEZUELAN POLITICAL CRISIS INTENSIFIES

Stories about Venezuela's toilet paper shortage are no laughing matter, especially when people are also struggling to access basic food supplies and medicine, and face soaring crime rates and rolling blackouts.


But rather than work together to help alleviate the crisis, President Nicolas Maduro and the political opposition, which controls the legislature, are at each other's throats. Opponents are pushing for a referendum to oust the president. Maduro is using his influence over the Supreme Court to fight back. The high court annulled several parliamentary rulings in recent months. It also denied the opposition the two-thirds "supermajority" it won in December's elections by blocking three lawmakers from taking their seats.


On Friday, the legislature took matters into its own hands and reinstated the missing lawmakers, bypassing the Supreme Court. Furious, Maduro accused his adversaries Monday of carrying out "a parliamentary coup" against the judiciary. He upped the ante Tuesday by threatening to block funding to the legislature. "We can't use public monies on institutions that disregard the law," Maduro said.


The tit-for-tat is doing nothing, sadly, to improve the plight of everyday citizens. Conditions are so dire that an increasing number of young women are opting for sterilization, according to news reports. Desperate times indeed.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Hurricane Earl is expected to churn toward northern Guatemala or southeastern Mexico later today after making landfall in Belize this morning.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama turns 55.


LONDON KNIFE ATTACK

Police are trying to determine what motivated a 19-year-old man to carry out a knife attack yesterday that killed one woman and injured five other people in London's Russell Square.


INDIA OVERHAULS TAX SYSTEM

India passed a bill to revamp its tax system — one of the world's most complex. The Goods and Services Tax would streamline a patchwork of central and state taxes into one unified economic zone, making it one of the most important economic measures the country has taken since it opened its markets in 1991, The Indian Expressreports.


— ON THIS DAY

How about a bit of Satchmo today? Check out your 57-second shot of History here.


TURKEY DETAINS 20 ISIS MEMBERS

Turkish news agency Dogan reports that police took into custody 20 suspected members of the Islamic State terror group while conducting simultaneous raids on 22 addresses this morning in the southern city of Adana.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

The End Of The End Of The World — La Rabida, 1968


POKEMON GOES TO LATIN AMERICA

Thousands rushed to download the viral app Pokémon Go in Chile yesterday, when it was finally made available, and in Argentina, the "little monsters" are showing up everywhere, La Nación reports.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

"When Voluspa Jarpa got her hands on piles of court papers and declassified CIA documents linked to Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, she saw an opportunity to make art," Ivanna Soto writes for Argentine daily Clarin. Take a tour of her cryptic exhibition in Buenos Aires by reading the full article, Artist Turns CIA Papers Into "Mosaic" Of U.S. Role In Latin America.


AIRSTRIKES HIT ALEPPO HOSPITALS

Six hospitals in and around the Syrian city of Aleppo were hit by airstrikes in just a single week (July 23 to 29), reports NBC News citing Physicians for Human Rights, a U.S.-based rights group.


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

OLYMPIC ADDITIONS

The International Olympic Committee approved the addition of five sports to the program of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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