The Atlas Newsletter - Volume 2

The Atlas Newsletter returns to you for weekly international updates!

Good morning everyone,

The newsletter returns for it's second week. Your feedback last week was widely appreciated and I wanted to address some of the things brought up.

In regard to longer form content, the specific premise of this iteration of the newsletter is to keep things short and sweet, highlighting the biggest story of the week and some of the other newsworthy events, including some we've covered on the website. A wrap-up, if you will. That being said, we do have several more newsletters planned which will be able to be subscribed to for specific reading material. For example, we plan on having several individual newsletters based each on a respective region of the globe for a more personalized reading experience with more in-depth writings.

Don't forget to add us to your email list so as to avoid us landing in your spam folder and so you can stay up to date on the latest developments on new newsletters. Regardless, we wouldn't be here without you guys and we love reading the feedback you give us, so if there's anything you'd like more or less of, be sure to let us know!

With that in mind, it's just another day at the office. Let's get to the news:- Joshua Paulo, Sebastien Gray, & the Atlas team


Thursday, February 2nd, 2023: A few days ago Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed to American media that the military was actively monitoring a suspected Chinese “spy balloon” after it entered the American mainland near Montana. The next few days sent the nation into a firestorm of speculation and hysteria as details remained cloudy and questions arose over the government's handling of such a blatant incursion onto sovereign airspace. 

The Pentagon stated they had been tracking the balloon along with their Canadian counterparts after it passed over the Aleutian Islands near Alaska. American defense officials told the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press that there is “very high confidence” that the Chinese ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) balloon flew over sensitive military sites to collect information, particularly those containing Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Analysts and officials have downplayed the intelligence risk posed by the balloon, as imaging obtained by it could be done significantly better by using satellites, leading to speculation that the incursion was to test the United State's response. The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement confirming the balloon is from China, but said that it was a civilian research airship used for “meteorological purposes'' with the balloon being accidentally blown into American airspace. 

The Pentagon also added that “out of an abundance of caution, we have taken additional mitigation steps” to “protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information,” but did not go into detail as to what that means. On February 4th, President Biden gave the green-light to the U.S. Air Force, which then launched two highly advanced F-22 Raptors, callsign Frank 01 and 02, to shoot down the balloon after it drifted off the American coastline near the Carolinas. Navy and Coast Guard ships retrieved the wreckage for examination as divers continue to comb a seven mile debris field.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cancelled his upcoming trip to China over the incident, signaling major American anger with the Chinese government. It should be noted that this is not the first time such an event has occurred, with a 2nd balloon spotted over Latin America, reports of these balloons over several East Asia countries, and even reports suggesting this may have happened during the Trump administration. 

Regardless, the incident is certainly one of the largest diplomatic tests between the United States and China in recent years. Most notable of all, it highlights the extreme distrust and concern in the West over China's power ambitions.


February 5th, 2023 - Europe has voted to ban Russian Diesel, two days after the G-7 has instated their price cap on Russian crude oil. The move is yet another attempt by Europe to halt any sort of energy dependency on Russia. Several nations have faced an energy crisis as gas supplies from Russia slow or halt. Though Russian diesel doesn’t make up a huge portion of Europe’s diesel supply, it is forcing them to other alternatives that are much, much farther away, stretching supply lines much farther. 

February 5th, 2023 - After being faced with weeks of protests, the French government has announced a small concession in a bill that would raise the retirement age in the nation from 62-64. The concession is that those who began working between the ages of 20-21 may retire at 63. If the change is accepted by parliament. Debates on the whole proposal begin on Monday February 6th. The bill itself is wildly unpopular with the French populace, with almost 70% of people being against it, and millions protesting it. 

February 6th, 2023 - Azerbaijan has once again cut off gas supplies to the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh. Azerbaijan has maintained a blockade of the region since December 12th, and during that time has cut off gas on several occasions. Artsakh is supplied through one pipeline, which though it originates in Armenia, travels through now Azeri-held territory. During the winter months when temperatures are below freezing, the lack of gas needed for heating can be very dangerous. 

Middle East

February 2, 2023 - It was announced that on January 15th France, in cooperation with her allies, seized a shipment of Iranian weapons that were bound for Yemen. Iran regularly supplies the Houthi rebels. Thousands of guns, anti-tank missiles, and loads of ammunition were found aboard what appeared to be an Iranian fishing vessel. 

February 2nd, 2023 - Israel’s Settler population in the contested West Bank has crossed over 500,000 people, hitting 502,991 on January 1st. The report was released on February 2nd by the pro-settler group The groups director, Baruch Gordon, said that while this is an important milestone in settlement building, he believes it to be just the beginning as the Netanyahu administration makes settlement building one of its top priorities. 

January 31st, 2022 - Hungary is proposing that Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in mediation between Ukraine and Russia during the present war. The proposal was announced by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto when in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart. "Turkey is the only nation so far that has been successfully mediating in negotiations", he said, largely referring to Turkeys efforts in securing a deal for Ukraine to export grain through the black sea. 


February 5th, 2023 - A UN helicopter operating in the DRC was struck by gunfire, killing its pilot. The co-pilot managed to land at the Goma Airport. If the source of the gunfire is known, it has not yet been released. Well over 100 militia/rebel groups operate in the DRC’s East, and MONUSCO, the UN’s mission in DRC, has been growing increasingly unpopular. 

January 31st 2023 to present - Pope Francis is presently in Africa, having landed in the capital of DRC, Kinshasa, on January 31st. The mass he held the following morning was attended by over a million people. While he was welcomed with smiles, his reason for visit does not bring smiles. He has spent much of his time hearing testimonies from residents of the DRC’s war torn East. On February 3rd he left the DRC, and headed for South Sudan. 

February 2nd, 2023 - Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, announced that once Sudan forms a civilian government, Israel intends to sign a peace agreement with them. Presently, Sudan is ruled by the military, who has stated their intention to transfer power to a civilian government in a number of months. 

The Americas

February 2nd, 2023 - El Salvador has opened one of the worlds largest prisons, the "Terrorism Confinement Centre" in Tecoluca. Under President Nayib Bukele El Salvador has made leaps and bounds in cracking down on organized crime, drastically dropping the nations crime rates, in particular homicide. In the last year El Salvador has arrested 62,000 people connected to gangs, and the new prison, capable of holding 40,000 people, will help relieve pressure from the very full jail system. The prison features several patrol zones, 19 watchtowers, and electrical fencing, which according to President Bukele makes it "impossible to escape". 

February 4th, 2023 - Brazil has sunk their decommissioned aircraft carrier, the Sao Paulo, to the dismay of several environmental groups. The carrier, a French Clemenceau class, was purchased by Brazil from France in 1998. It was purchased for 12 million USD, but would have needed an 80 million dollar refit, which never took place. It was sunk 350km off Brazil’s coast, despite claims by environmental groups that it would interfere with marine life and potentially harm fishing areas. Though the ship contained over 9 tons of asbestos in it’s paneling, Brazil’s Navy said the sinking will not pose any environmental harm. 

(Photo - Getty Images)

Asia and Oceania

February 1st, 2023 - The military government of Myanmar, which seized power in a coup on February 1st 2021, has announced the extension of their declared state of emergency by 6 months. The military had previously announced that elections, which cannot take place in a state of emergency, would take place in August. No new date has been given for elections, which many foreign observers believe would not be legitimate should they actually take place. 

February 6th, 2023 - After sharply deteriorating relations, the first meeting in three years between Australian Trade Minister, Don Farrell, and Chinese Commerce Minister, Wang Wentao, has provided a small but noticeable upturn. The two met virtually for 90 minutes, however Farrell accepted an invitation from Wentao and will head to Beijing to meet in person "in the near future". At the core of their discussions were tariffs China has placed on certain Australian products. Australia seeks their removal.  

Our Partners

The Atlas News has partnered with WRMFZY to bring you guy's some awesome merch and other goodies.

More to come!

Join the fastest-growing news company in the world. Covering geopolitics, conflict, terrorism, crime, business, wall-street, underreported stories, and places in the world you've never heard of. Comments, twitter-style brief updates, long-form articles, full podcasts, and documentaries.Join 30,000+ members today on the Atlas News App.

Atlas News

What do you think of todays Atlas Newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


If you'd like to get involved in anyway with Atlas News, please reach out to us with your experience or ideas. If you're a solid fit, we'll be in touch. – The Atlas News Team

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2022 Atlas News.