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NewsFix: Friday August 20, 2021

NewsFix: Friday August 20, 2021

Morning all,

A year ago today, Alexey Navalny was poisoned by the nerve agent, Novichok. Days later, he was flown to Berlin in a medically induced coma.

Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pays a last official visit to President Putin and the Kremlin.

Until tomorrow,



  • The UN has also alleged around 14 million people face severe hunger in Afghanistan. They country’s total population is almost 40 million. According to Axios, UNICEF has also warned a million children under the age of 5 “are at risk of becoming severely malnourished by end of 2021”.

Biden’s bad week

President Biden is expected to address the situation in Afghanistan for a second time this week, as he faces widespread criticism for his handling of the withdrawal.

  • CNN said this week amounted to “some of the most dire days” in Biden’s presidency.
  • The Economist described the situation as “a grave blow to America’s standing,” adding “much of the blame lies squarely with Joe Biden”.

Below is a really helpful overview on the political dynamics in Afghanistan.

More tragedy

  • One of the young men who fell from a US military plane earlier this week has been identified as Zaki Anwari, a promising young footballer who played for the country’s national team.
  • An Afghan boy - who fled to the UK with his family only last week - died after falling from the ninth floor of a hotel in Sheffield. Sky News reported the family had arrived to the UK just four days prior.

Bad call?

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is facing increasing calls to resign, over his handling of the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan.

Raab was on holiday while Kabul fell, and reports circulated that a call he was advised to make was passed to a junior minister.

It has now emerged the call was never made, according to BBC News.

What was the call supposed to be about? Evacuating Afghan interpreters who helped British military.

Worth noting


German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a last official visit to President Putin in Moscow today.

*Here is a fascinating read about the pair’s complex relationship.

“There were personal slights too, such as an incident in 2007 when Putin allowed his labrador Koni to approach Merkel, who has a fear of dogs. “I understand why he has to do this – to prove he’s a man,” she told a group of reporters after. “He’s afraid of his own weakness.”
Merkel rolls her eyes in Putin's face - GIF on Imgur


OnlyFans - the popular where people can pay to see content - will introduce a ban on “sexually explicit” content from October.

Worth noting: Nude photos will still be able to be uploaded. The site has an estimated 130 million users, and its most popular content is pornography.

Why are they making these changes? The company has been under increasing pressure following reports of underage content being uploaded to the site. The company acknowledged the move comes after pressure from its banking partners.

Bigger picture: The BBC News report on this suggests the company made the announcement ahead of a BBC investigation.

“Thursday's announcement comes after BBC News approached the company for its response to leaked documents and concerns about its handling of accounts posting illegal content.”


A Polish Olympic athlete auctioned off her silver medal in an effort to raise funds for a baby who urgently needs heart surgery.

According to CNN, half of the required $383,000 had already been raised, but the efforts had a happy outcome for everyone. A Polish supermarket chain paid the rest of the required funds, and returned the medal to Maria Andrejczyk.



One year since Alexey Navalny - Russia’s most prominent opposition figure - was poisoned. A flight Navalny was on had to make an emergency landing, and days later he was flown to Berlin for treatment while in a coma. The German government said there was “unequivocal evidence” Navalny was poisoned by the chemical nerve agent, Novichok.


A fascinating investigation linked Russian FSB agents to the poisoning with damning evidence.

Where is Navanly today?In jail.  He has been there since February for “violating the conditions of a suspended sentence” regarding charges of embezzlement. The ‘violation’ stems from the fact he was in Germany receiving medical treatment.

Have you read? Navalny wrote a piece published in Thursday’s Guardian, calling on the west to take action against oligarchs.

Worth noting: Given Navalny was treated in Berlin and it was the German government who said he was undoubtedly poisoned by Novichok, it is interesting that Chancellor Merkel is visiting President Putin on the one year anniversary.


Sabbaya - a documentary about the struggle to free women who were kidnapped by ISIS - releases in cinemas across Ireland and the UK today.

The Guardian described it as “extraordinary,” and here is another really helpful review.

“The Yazidis are a Kurdish ethnic minority whose homes in the Sinjar province in northern Iraq were attacked by Daesh. With fathers and brothers murdered, often before their eyes, thousands of women were then forced to convert to Islam and taken captive, transported to Mosul, Raqqa and onto the Al-Hol camp. It is these “sabaya”, a term used by Daesh to describe Yazidi women that they have taken as sex slaves, that Resho and Ziyad spend countless days, and many, many nights attempting to free with the help of infiltrators within the camp.”