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Global Markets: Biden defends Afghanistan pullout

WINNIPEG – The following is a glance at the news moving markets in Canada and globally.

– In a speech delivered on Monday, United States President Joe Biden defended his administration’s decision to pull armed forces out of Afghanistan, whose government went on to collapse in the face of the Taliban. In his speech, Biden said the decision was “the right one for America,” and added, “How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight … Afghanistan’s civil war, when Afghan troops will not?” A Taliban spokesperson said on Tuesday it has declared “amnesty” across the country and asked women to join its government, but organizations such as the United Nations are very skeptical.

– U.S. experts are expected to recommend a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine for Americans eight months after their second shot later this week, according to anonymous sources as reported by the Associated Press. Federal officials had been looking at offering booster shots as early as fall, citing rising cases in the Delta variant and data from Israel and other nations suggesting that the vaccine’s protection against serious illness declined after a few months.

– The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Tuesday retail sales fell in July by 1.1 per cent, compared to a 0.7 per cent rise in June. The drop in retail sales in July was mostly driven by fewer motor vehicle sales as a global shortage of semiconductors has hampered production for vehicles as well as refrigerators and microwaves.

– The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has declared an official shortage at the Lake Mead reservoir for the first time on Monday. Starting in October, water apportionments to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be reduced. Meanwhile, 10 governors of western states have urged President Biden to provide drought assistance beyond existing programs.

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