Morning Consult Global: Death Toll From Turkey-Syria Quake Exceeds 5,100


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February 7, 2023
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Approval of Biden’s Foreign Policy Steady Amid Chinese Balloon Incident

A Morning Consult survey conducted as U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon to be shot down off the eastern seaboard indicates that the incident generated much more light than heat. Despite heavy media coverage, approval of Biden’s handling of foreign policy remained above 40% in surveys conducted Jan. 28-29 and Feb. 4-5, while approval of his handling of national security rose from 42% to 45% during that time period. 


Today’s Top News

  • Thousands of rescue workers in Turkey are working against the clock in freezing conditions to pull survivors from the rubble left behind by a massive seismic event that struck Turkey and Syria. The combined death toll in both countries has already exceeded 5,100, with World Health Organization experts warning it could rise by thousands more, and at least 150,000 people have been left homeless. (The New York Times)
  • The Mexican government said it opposes a possible restart of the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy, which forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed in the United States. The program is currently suspended but the Biden administration may be forced to re-implement it should lawsuits from Texas and Missouri prevail. (Reuters)
  • Russia’s budget deficit reached $25 billion in January amid collapsing oil and gas export revenues and increased military spending to prosecute the war in Ukraine, according to official figures released by the Kremlin. The budgetary hole reflects the blow that sanctions on Russian oil and gas have had on the country’s economy. (Financial Times)
  • Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has formally appointed a council to organize general elections, with the aim of restoring normal order to a country that has no democratically elected institutions and has failed to hold elections since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. Many doubt the commission will be able to organize elections in 2023, as envisioned, and Henry stressed that security will be a necessary first step. (The Associated Press)


Happening today:



  • 10 a.m. EST Two U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrol agents testify on southern border security before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee amid consternation over Title 42 and the “Remain in Mexico” policy. 



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What Else You Need To Know


EU’s Top Diplomat Says Iranian Deal Is Only Way to Stop Tehran’s Nuclear Program

Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal 

Foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell sees no good alternative to reviving the nuclear deal even as the Biden administration shifts focus.


Iran’s ‘ghost fleet’ switches into Russian oil 

Chris Cook and David Sheppard, Financial Times 

Sanctions-busting vessels make sudden shift after introduction of oil price cap and other restrictions.


Brussels response to US green push falls short, says top official

Javier Espinoza and Andy Bounds, Financial Times 

Constant changes to EU subsidy rules create confusion for businesses, says commissioner Thierry Breton.


Japan, China Hold Foreign Minister Call Days After NATO Chief’s Visit 

Mina Pollman, The Diplomat 

Tokyo continues to try to keep relations with Beijing stable even as it deepens military cooperation with NATO and other partners.


South Korea cage match: President Yoon vs. the unions

Steven Borowiec, Nikkei Asia 

Nation’s leader pushes for drastic shake-up of the nation’s labor system.


China says will ‘safeguard interests’ over balloon shootdown

The Associated Press 

China said Tuesday it will “resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests” over the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon by the United States, as relations between the two countries deteriorate further.


EU Parliament planning for possible Zelenksyy visit in days

Raf Casert, The Associated Press 

The European Union’s legislature was preparing plans Monday to host Volodymyr Zelenskyy should the Ukraine president decide to come to Brussels to attend an EU summit later this week.


Third wave of strikes over pension reform keeps pressure on Macron

Tangi Salaün and Dominique Vidalon, Reuters 

Trade unions launched a third wave of nationwide strikes on Tuesday against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make the French work longer before retirement, as the legislation started its bumpy passage through parliament.


Norway looks to donate $7.3 billion in aid to Ukraine

The Associated Press 

Oil-rich Norway is looking to donate 75 billion kroner ($7.3 billion) to Kyiv as part of a five-year support package that would make the Scandinavian country one of the world’s biggest donors to war-torn Ukraine, the Norwegian government said Monday.


UN chief warns of ‘wider war’ as Ukraine conflict intensifies

Al Jazeera 

Antonio Guterres says prospects of ‘further escalation and bloodshed’ in the Russia-Ukraine war keep growing.


UK PM Sunak expected to launch reshuffle to better suit his priorities

Elizabeth Piper and Sinead Cruise, Reuters 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to launch a mini reshuffle on Tuesday, breaking up two departments to better suit his pledge to spur the economy and turn around his party’s fortunes before an election expected next year.


Austria’s About to Give Russia a Soapbox at the OSCE

Amy Mackinnon et al., Foreign Policy 

Vienna will allow sanctioned Russian parliamentarians to attend the next big security meeting on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Latin America

China Confirms Second Balloon Over Latin America

Brian Spegele, The Wall Street Journal 

Beijing filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy over military takedown of previous balloon, calling it an overreaction.


Investigate Bolsonaro for genocide, says Brazil’s Marina Silva

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian 

Exclusive: Environment minister calls for ex-president to be held to account as she prepares to tackle illegal gold miners.


Colombia unveils four-year development plan worth nearly $250 bln


Colombia’s government on Monday presented a $247.1 billion four-year development plan to the country’s lawmakers, laying out details of its projected social and economic investments.


Cuba ministers express willingness to engage with ‘legitimate’ creditors

Michael Stott, Financial Times 

Havana insists it is ready to discuss debt restructuring despite London litigation with Cayman Islands-registered fund.


Chile’s president urges unity amid battle to contain fatal fires

Al Jazeera 

International assistance is arriving as Chile struggles to control hundreds of wildfires that have scorched communities.

Middle East and Africa

The Lone Link for Aid Between Syria and Turkey Is Not Usable After the Quake

Natasha Frost and Raja Abdulrahim, The New York Times

Syria is not able to receive direct aid from many countries because of sanctions, so the border crossing has been a lifeline.


Israeli Military Kills Five Militants Near Jericho as Violence Spreads

Dov Lieber, The Wall Street Journal 

The operation came after two Hamas militants attempted to kill Israelis at a restaurant near Jericho around two weeks ago.


Pope makes final bid for peace, forgiveness in South Sudan

Nicole Winfield and Deng Machol, The Associated Press 

Pope Francis made a final appeal for peace in South Sudan on Sunday as he celebrated Mass before tens of thousands of people to close out an unusual mission by Christian religious leaders to nudge forward the country’s recovery from civil war.


Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov Heads to Mali

Elian Peltier, The New York Times 

Mali said it and Russia will seek to strengthen security and defense ties, in a country where Russia already provides helicopters and mercenaries.

North America

U.S. seeks Chinese balloon remnants, says approach to China will stay calm

David Shepardson et al., Reuters 

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday imposed a temporary security zone in waters off South Carolina during the military’s search for debris from a suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down by a U.S. fighter jet, and the White House said it would keep a calm approach to relations with Beijing.


What the end of the public health emergency means for Title 42 

Myah Ward, Politico

Ahead of the State of the Union, the White House struggles to explain the fate of the policy being used to curb immigration.


Kamala Harris Announces Funding to Address Migration Crisis

Michael D. Shear, The New York Times 

The vice president said private companies had pledged almost $1 billion to support communities in Central America.

Morning Consult