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Top Story:  Russian doctors block Navalny's transfer to Germany.

Views expressed in this geopolitical summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Accessed on 21 August 2020, 1913 UTC, Post 485.

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Russ Roberts
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Top of The World

In the news today 

Russian doctors block Navalny's transfer to Germany

Alexander Murakhovsky, chief physician of the Omsk Ambulance Hospital No. 1, intensive care unit where Alexei Navalny was hospitalized speaks to the media in Omsk, Russia, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.
Credit: Evgeniy Sofiychuk/AP
A plane with German specialists and equipment landed in Russia on Friday to transport opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a Berlin medical facility, as per his family's request. But Russian doctors are barring Navalny’s release, saying he is too ill to be moved. Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption activist and fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was admitted to an ICU in the Siberian city of Omsk on Thursday after allegedly being poisoned. He remains in a coma.
Navalny's supporters are denouncing the doctors' medical verdict and are calling it a ploy by the authorities to “stall and wait” until the suspected poison no longer is traceable in his system. Navalny’s family and friends are pleading for his release.

What The World is following

Florida officials have approved the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. The move is an effort to combat insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus. Scientists suggest they have had previous successful GMO mosquito projects in the Cayman Islands and Brazil, but critics worry about potentially changing the balance of nature.
And, Belarusian authorities detained a leader of the striking factory workers on Friday after daily demonstrations protesting the controversial reelection of the country's authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko. Investigators on Friday also summoned three leading opposition activists for questioning as part of a criminal probe. Leaders in the European Union are threatening sanctions against Belarus over the election and violent treatment of protesters. The US on Thursday called on the country's leaders to engage in a dialogue with the opposition council.

From The World 

Virtual schooling poses extra challenges for English-language learners

Hossanna Pacheco, bottom left; her mother Mireya Pacheco, top left; sister Mireyari Pacheco; and sister Nefthali Pacheco at their home in Los Angeles.
Credit: Matt Rogers/The World
The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for schools providing special instruction for English-language learners — and the burden has fallen on parents who often don’t have the language skills to help their children.

WeChat users in the US rankled by potential ban on the app

People walk past a Wechat Pay sign at the Tencent company headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, Aug. 7, 2020.
Credit: David Kirton/Reuters
Millions of people who rely on WeChat for personal and professional reasons could soon face restrictions when they try to use the app. In early August, the Trump administration issued an executive order that takes aim at WeChat.
Under the order, which several sources described as vague and unclear, anyone based in the US would be prohibited from engaging in “any transaction that is related to WeChat” starting in late September.
Although the order doesn’t explicitly call for an outright ban, many WeChat users are on edge about losing an app they’ve likened to a lifeline to China.

🎧 Podcast 

The wrong apocalypse — Future wars

Things That Go Boom logo.
Why did the US Navy reinstate celestial navigation as part of its curriculum a few years ago? Well, you can’t hack a sextant. In the seventh episode of the third season of "Things That Go Boom," our partner podcast from PRX, host Laicie Heeley, looks at some of the vulnerabilities that come with an overreliance on high-tech defense systems.

Bright spot

British inventor Edd China and his Edd's Electric Ices truck have broken a Guinness World Record title for fastest electric ice cream van after reaching speeds of 73.921 mph on an airfield in Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Apparently, China isn't a stranger to unusual world records: In 2006, he nabbed the title for "fastest office," clocking in at 87 mph. But China's ice cream truck came with some environmental motivation after he learned that some London boroughs were banning ice cream trucks over emissions. Here's to getting your ice cream...faster.
A screen grab of a Guinness World Records YouTube video.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this newsletter.

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