Economic Insider

Green trade war: The US and the UK at war

Image Source: Toledo Blade

The quest for a green environment is set to usher in a green trade war like never before.

The Inflation Reduction Act that the U.S. Congress passed last summer was a good idea. People who buy electric vehicles and other products that are good for the environment got tax breaks worth billions of dollars because of the act. This was done to improve the United States’ green economy and fight climate change.

But many European nations are upset that these subsidies will only be available to people who buy U.S.-made products. They think it is a thinly veiled attempt to get a piece of the high-tech manufacturing market in Britain and Europe by getting European companies to move their factories to the U.S.

Welcome to the global race to be the leader in green technology, where the future of the planet and the global economy are linked in a geopolitical game that could be risky.

The U.S. and the European Union have different opinions, but some East Asian countries are also unhappy. Some business people in the U.K. want to know where the U.K. stands in this fight.

Most countries give money to green technology, but Joe Biden’s decision to only give money for cars made in North America scared many allies. People who buy cars made in the United States can now get tax credits of up to $7,500 (£6,000).

What is happening in the U.K.?

We need to know more about where the U.K. fits into this.

Even though it is known that the Business and Trade Secretaries have talked to their U.S. counterparts about their concerns, they need to know more about what they want. For example, grant Shapps, who is in charge of the business in the U.K., says that the country doesn’t need a package of green incentives like the U.S. does because it is “ahead of the game.”

He is also sure that the U.K. will be a part of what could become a split between the E.U. and the U.S. as a result of the green trade war.

He also said that he had talked to John Kerry, who is the climate envoy for the Biden ministry, and that a lot of what the U.S. is doing is good. “The protectionist parts of this new bill, which could affect us, need to be cut back.”

How does the U.S. leadership feel?

Leaders who have talked to their U.S. counterparts about the Inflation Reduction Act say that it was an accident and that the U.S. “forgot” about Europe when they wrote this law, which is an economic “half aggression.”

Some people have said this was meant for China, not Europe. But there’s no doubt that big European manufacturers are changing their minds. Even though the need for net zero does lead to more manufacturing in Europe and North America, one European leader says that there is a red line that shouldn’t be crossed.

People believe that with the green trade war, things could get hard if European export production, investments, and jobs started moving across the Atlantic.

People also worry that “green technologies” won’t be enough to solve the problem. Because the pandemic caused bottlenecks in the supply chain, countries are rethinking how much they depend on East Asia to make their goods, not just China.

Building new places to make microchips in the E.U. and the U.S. costs big tech companies in the west a lot of money. The Europeans call this “strategic autonomy,” and the Americans call it “friend shoring,” which means putting back in place supply chains for friendly countries.

Even though many industries are going through big changes, much money will be moved from where it is now. The green trade war could affect how things are made for the next 100 years.

Some people in the business world in Britain worry that the E.U. and the U.S. will fight over important technologies like microchips, electric cars, and other important technologies. And it’s clear that the “global” that “global Britain” wanted to be a part of after Brexit has changed significantly, which raises some important strategic questions about Britain’s future.

Green trade war?

But now, new tensions are making people wonder how much inflation will go down and worry about where Britain fits into a world that has changed a lot.

A green trade war on the other side of the Atlantic is a huge worry. Joe Biden’s new bill to boost the green economy in the U.S. includes subsidies of £300 billion for buying electric cars, but only if most of them are made in North America. The Inflation Reduction Act also affects a wide range of other manufacturing and production, which has caused some European companies to move their factories to the U.S. Fertilizer companies are scratching their heads and wondering why European leaders don’t make the same rules.

Read Also: Davos is torn over a green trade war

The U.S. says that its new laws will make things hard for China. But the leaders of the E.U. are angry and ready to fight back, possibly with their big subsidies that will probably also include “Buy European” clauses.

UK PM Liz Truss says Administration will Push Through with Plan Amid Criticisms

Prime Minister Liz Truss claims she will push through the project, addressing all the objections various private and public groups have rolled at her, despite the controversy surrounding the UK government’s proposal to promote economic growth.

In an effort to relieve the burden businesses are now under in the wake of the energy crisis, the government would drastically reduce the taxes that firms pay under the program.

Additionally, to pay for the subsidy programs it will offer to companies and individuals, limiting energy costs within six months or more, the UK government will raise its borrowing amounts.

To address the issue, particularly with regard to pension funds, the Bank of England recently took action.

But even as the government was subjected to scrutiny, Truss largely pointed the blame at the crisis in Ukraine and Russia. She said this was responsible for the sharp rise in global inflation.

“We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving, and also deal with inflation, and of course, that means taking controversial and difficult decisions,” said Truss during an interview.

“But I’m prepared to do that as prime minister because what’s important to me is that we get our economy moving.”

Prior to attaining the position of prime minister on September 6 of last year, Truss, 47, was the UK’s foreign minister.

She succeeded Boris Johnson and became the fourth prime minister in barely six years in British politics.

The financial instability that the UK is experiencing, which was made worse by a number of problems like the pandemic, inflation, energy crisis, and climate disaster, can be blamed for the country’s frequent change of leadership.

Read Also: UK Government Spending Plan ‘suggests incompetence’ says Billionaire Ray Dalio

The confidence of people in the government

The finance minister’s plan put the Truss-led administration’s optimistic outlook in jeopardy.

Several domestic and foreign organizations are questioning the competency of Truss in addition to the falling value of the pound and the deteriorating international economic climate.

“The mini-budget was absolutely essential in resetting the debate around growth and focusing us on delivering much better growth outcomes,” explained finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

The Labour party outperformed the Conservatives by 33 points in a recent YouGov survey, which suggests a decrease in support for the Truss administration.

This week’s poll reveals that 21% of respondents favor the Conservatives, while 54% prefer the Labour party.

Due to this, US millionaire Ken Griffin began to worry about the harm it may cause to Britain’s image in international markets.

“It represents the first time we’ve seen a major developed market, in a very long time, lose confidence from investors,” he said.

Adding to the conversation, another billionaire, Ray Dalio, said: “It doesn’t stimulate the economy; productivity is what stimulates the economy over the long run. I would think there would be an understanding of the mechanics of that by the government, and that’s why it’s concerning.”

“Due to the recognition that the big supply of debt that will have to be sold by the government is much too much for the demand. That makes people want to get out of debt and currency. I can’t understand how those who were behind this move didn’t understand that. It suggests incompetence.”

Read Also: As Feds Hike Interest Rates, Senior Citizens Struggle to Keep Up with Prices

The right plan for the government

According to Truss, the government won’t veer from its course because she is confident in the strategy.

If the unfunded tax cuts are adopted, among other things, they should overhaul the childcare, immigration, and financial regulating industries.

The UK Treasury said that on November 23, the government would provide a more thorough explanation for its borrowing and expenditure strategy.

“This is the right plan,” Truss concluded.

Photo Credit: Adrian Dennis

Source: Reuters

White House Summit Aims to Eliminate Hate-Based Violence

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci

US President Joe Biden announced a conference at the White House to discuss hate-related violence.

Biden will invite specialists, crime survivors, and other local leaders to the Summit, which the White House said will be named the “United We Stand Summit,” so they can address the subject in depth. The Summit will allow the country to spotlight those who have been the victims of hate crimes.

For instance, the Summit will pay tribute to mass shootings that have already occurred, such as the massacres at the El Paso Walmart in 2019 and the Orlando gay nightclub in 2016. People who had been the victims of prejudice have died as a result of these incidents. Black people and Mexicans are among the casualties.

During the Summit, Vice President Kamala Harris will also be there and will also speak out against the violence committed by racists and other people. There will also be a presentation that provides data on hate-related violence in the US. In addition, a former neo-Nazi will also take the platform and start a discussion on the subject. Lastly, Biden will address the audience and go through the whole Summit and its goals.

Read Also: Harris Slams Supreme Court Over Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

The Summit and its purpose

The goal of Biden’s administration has always been harmony. Biden promises to bring together individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses under his direction. Many continue to question whether the current president can succeed in his mission.

A few weeks after Biden’s address warning radical Republicans who he views as risks to democracy, the event was also publicized.

“America must choose: to move forward or to move backward. To build the future or obsess about the past. To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness,” the president said.

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies,” he added.

The Summit, according to White House officials, is not politically motivated but instead addresses a problem that must be brought to everyone’s attention since it impacts the entire country. The authorities also said that before highlighting the significance of the Summit, Biden would address the country and underline his message of unity.

Biden believes that a unified nation is preferable to a divided one. This could only mean that violence that aims to divide individuals into groups and propagate hatred across races and origins must be totally destroyed rather than tolerated. Violence motivated by hatred has no place in the US.

Read Also: European Companies Fear Worsening Gas Crisis as Russian Gas Supply Cuts Continue

Identity of America is under threat

Deborah Lipstadt, a special envoy for the Biden administration, claims that a significant portion of Americans believe that the nation’s identity is in danger. Lipstadt collaborates with the White House to track and fight antisemitism.

“Whether they read it online, whether they hear it in the media, whether they hear it from certain politicians – but they believe it. People have to recognize that it’s this panoply of hatreds that constitute this threat to our democracy and threat to our country and to national security and foreign countries as well,” said Lipstadt.

The White House has also strongly urged internet firms to control and keep an eye on hate-based violence in the meantime. In its effort against hate-based violence, the government has partnered with media corporations, including Twitch, Microsoft, YouTube, and Meta. A top White House official also emphasized the significance and impact of social media businesses in resolving a number of problems that the US is now facing.

“Every tech company should be thinking about what they can do,” he said.

Source: NPR

Woman in Pink: Pelosi and Her Attire During Taiwan Visit Conveys a Message

Photo Credit: Famer Rohen/Malaysian Department of Information

Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was sudden. The House Speaker’s plane landed safely at Taipei Songshan Airport on a Tuesday night, free of the usual bustle of people in the island nation. However, Pelosi’s arrival in the country was significant for its citizens.

Among the monotonous suits is the pink jumpsuit Pelosi wore as she walked through the airport in front of Taiwanese luminaries and the media. While Pelosi’s trip has been viewed through a highly political lens, her outfit represents more than her agenda when she made the journey to Taiwan.

Pelosi proclaimed, as was reported that the United States would assist Taiwan as it pursues economic prosperity and market opening internationally. However, her pink outfit’s political message has significance in the event.

Pelosi didn’t change her outfit between flights. In fact, the House Speaker wore the same outfit to Malaysia before going to Taiwan. Her suit is complemented by US politicians’ usual heels and pearls.

Pelosi could have changed her clothes while going to Taiwan, but she didn’t. This simply means that Pelosi intended to wear the pink outfit to convey a specific message.

The suit conveyed confidence and power, but it did not evoke any threats. Instead, it appeared that wearing pink in the presence of Taiwanese officials was a gesture of friendship rather than a protest against China, which has since suspected the speaker of maliciously visiting to worsen conflicts between the two countries.

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Pelosi reminds the public of another strong woman

Many individuals believe that her clothing choices were intended to mimic a woman who was an epitome for many Americans: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton wore a pink outfit to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. ‘Women’s rights are human rights,’ said the then-first lady, a statement that has become firmly entrenched in the fabric of many societies around the world.

Clinton then castigated nations, including China, for threatening women and stated that the cycle of violence and prejudice must be shaken. This type of protest against China is similar to what Pelosi did after her trip to Taiwan when she enraged China.

Clinton’s speech was censored in China. However, Pelosi appears in the same pink outfit as if to inform China that women are willing to stand up to a superpower.

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Pink outfits for Speaker Pelosi

The senior US official has been seen wearing pink clothing on various occasions. She wore a pink suit to an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” pink pumps to a photo op with House Committee Chairs, and a Fuschia dress to the 166th Congress’s inauguration. Pelosi can also be seen wearing a pink blazer on her Twitter profile.

Pelosi, like many other female politicians, rarely replies to inquiries about her clothing choices. However, we can be certain that the House Speaker appreciates the power of clothing projects to the public, including color choice.

Pelosi clearly radiates feminine power whenever she wears pink. This spirit is also demonstrated by a number of women in the political landscape, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wears red lipstick as “war paint,” and Vice President Kamala Harris, who decided to wear an all-white suit to accept her election as the country’s first female Vice President.

Tsai Chi-chang, the deputy speaker of the Taiwan legislature, wore a pink tie when he met with Pelosi the morning after her arrival, indicating how important wardrobe colors are to the public and even politicians.

Pelosi’s choice of a color that denotes feminine power was a clever use of symbolism in clothing, which effectively conveyed her message.

Source: CNN

 

Harris Slams Supreme Court Over Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

United States Vice President Kamala Harris clarified her disagreement to the Supreme Court after overturning the Roe v. Wade decision three months ago. The senior official called the Court an “activist court.”

“We had an established right for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be, the privacy rights to which all people are entitled. And this Court took that constitutional right away, and we are suffering as a nation because of it,” said Harris in an interview.

The Vice President made the remarks amid the criticism the White House is receiving after the Justices outlawed the landmark case. Harris has been vocal about her condemnation of the SC’s decision. With the new decision, the federal right of women to abortion was struck down. According to Harris, the decision only caused harm to several stakeholders, most especially women, who are now deprived of their right to choose.

Ever since the Supreme Court overruled the 1973 ruling, Harris has been traveling across the United States, where she sat down with agencies and groups to discuss the effects of the recent decision with different stakeholders.

“[It has caused me] great concern about the integrity of the court overall, especially as someone who my life was inspired by people like Thurgood Marshall, the work on that court of Earl Warren,” added Harris.

Read Also: Woman in Pink: Pelosi and Her Attire During Taiwan Visit Conveys a Message

Harris has since fought for abortion rights

Back when Harris was vying for the Vice Presidential position, she always expressed her support for abortion rights. Furthermore, when Harris was nominated for the Democratic presidential position three years ago, it was part of her campaign to effectuate change into states imposing strict laws against abortion rights.

“We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding women have agency,” Harris said.

Harris also told the media months ago about her distrust of several justices whom then-president Donald Trump put into position.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade

When the Supreme Court reopened the landmark case challenging the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, many were alarmed of possible attacks against the federal right to abortion. Indeed, the ruling was overruled by a vote of 5-4 in the Supreme Court, triggering pro-choice and pro-life advocates into a frenzy.

Many took to the streets after the decision was announced, denouncing the SC’s position on the matter. Among the officials who expressed their disagreement were President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It’s a sad day for the Court and for the country. It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country. Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” said Biden in a media address.

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“The Court has done what it’s never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized. The Court’s decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences,” the president added.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the media that the ruling is “such an insult, a slap in the face to women.”

“There’s no point in saying good morning, because it certainly is not one. This morning the radical Supreme Court is eviscerating women’s rights and endangering their health and safety,” Pelosi added.

However, the majority of the Court stood by their vote and said: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Source: CNN

Bolsonaro: Lula vows to go after rioters

Image Source: DW

After supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil, broke into Congress, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to punish them.

Fans of the far-right leader who was kicked out also broke into the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.

After hours of fighting, the government took back control of the buildings in Brasilia’s capital on Sunday evening.

The Civil Police in Brasilia says that 300 people have been arrested, and they have promised to find any other criminals.

On Monday morning, heavily armed police officers gathered outside a camp of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters in the city. This camp is one of the dozens set up outside army bases across the country since the October election.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court put Ibaneis Rocha, the governor of Brasilia, on a 90-day leave.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes said he should have ended the noise and not been “painfully silent” during the attack. On Sunday, Mr. Rocha said he was sorry for what had happened.

Pro-democracy marches are being called for by leftist leaders and groups all over Brazil.

A week after Lula was sworn in as president, hundreds of protesters wearing yellow Brazil football jerseys and carrying yellow banners beat the police and trashed the capital of the Brazilian state.

On Sunday night, he went to the Supreme Court building to look at the damage.

The experienced left-wing leader had to declare an emergency before sending in the national guard to restore order in the capital.

He also said that the main street where government buildings are located and the heart of the capital should be closed for 24 hours.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino said that 40 buses that were taking protesters to the capital were taken. He called the invasion a “ridiculous attempt to force [the protesters’] will come”

Bolsonaro fights against the outcome of the election.

Mr. Bolsonaro has often refused to accept that he lost the election in October. Last week, he left the country instead of going to the inauguration, where he would have given the new president the famous presidential sash.

Six hours after the rioting started, the 67-year-old who believed in Florida spoke out against it and denied that he had done anything to encourage the rioters.

He also criticized the security forces, saying that they were “incompetent, bad-faith, or evil” for not being able to stop protesters from getting into Congress.

Protesters broke windows and climbed up and down chairs and benches to get into the Senate chamber.

On social media, it can be seen that protesters pulled a police officer off his horse and beat him up outside the building.

A video shown on national TV shows that hundreds of activists wearing yellow shirts are being held outside the presidential palace.

The suspects’ wrists are tied behind their backs as they are led out of the building.

Since the morning, protesters have been gathering in front of the parliament and along Esplanada Boulevard, which is a kilometre long and lined with government buildings and national symbols.

Even though the protesters tried, it seemed like security was tight in the hours before the chaos. Roads were closed for about a block around the parliament area, and pairs of armed police were at every entrance.

Cars were turned away at access points, and people entering on foot were frisked while their bags were checked.

People who support Bolsonaro set up camps in cities all over Brazil, including some near military bases. The people who support him the most want the military to step in and make stolen elections legal again.

There were no problems on the day he was sworn in because the camps in Brasilia had been taken down. So, the inauguration of Lula seemed to stop their movement.

But what happened on Sunday shows that those predictions were too soon.

Katy Watson, a BBC correspondent in South America, says that some protesters are angry that Jair Bolsonaro lost the election and want President Lula to be arrested again.

In 2017, he was found guilty of corruption and given a sentence of 18 months in prison. On the other hand, his convictions were overturned after he had been in prison for more than nine years.

Politicians in Latin America have spoken out against the violence. Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, said that “fascists were planning to start a coup.” Both Colombia and Mexico promised President Lula their full support.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro, two Democrats in the US Congress, have asked for Bolsonaro to be sent back to Brazil. “The US must stop giving Bolsonaro asylum in Florida,” Ocasio-Cortez said, comparing the rallies to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6. “Fascist groups from other countries are trying to do the same thing in Brazil, almost two years after fascists attacked the US Capitol,” the article says.

Read Also: Brazil congress: What we know

The vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke out against what he called an “attack on democracy and the peaceful transition in Brazil.” He also said that the United States fully supports Brazil’s democratic institutions and that the will of the Brazilian people must not be changed.
Other countries that have spoken out against the rioters include the United Kingdom, China, and Turkey.

Some countries that have spoken out against the rioters are the UK, China, and Turkey.

Brazil congress: What we know

Image Source: NPR

Thousands of sympathizers of far-right ex-president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s presidential palace, Congress, and the supreme court on Sunday, imitating the US Capitol attack two years ago by former President Donald Trump supporters.

According to Brazilian media, security forces retook the three buildings at about 6.30 p.m. local time, three hours after the initial reports of the invasion. On television, images showed hundreds of rioters being led away in handcuffs. According to police, 300 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

After the invaders overran the capital’s security forces, the left-wing president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, ordered a federal security intervention in Brasil, bringing policing under the central government’s control until January 31. He accused police of “incompetence, ill faith, or malice” and promised swift action. Last year, as the president is known, Lula defeated Bolsonaro in electoral run-offs.

On Sunday, Bolsonaro responded to the violence with social media posts defending his record in the office while arguing that the assault on public buildings was excessive.

Lula accused ex-President Bolsonaro and complained about a lack of security in the city, accusing officials of allowing “fascists” and “fanatics” to cause havoc.

Thousands of yellow-and-green-clad protesters ran wild in the city, capping months of tension following the vote on October 30. Bolsonaro, a Trump ally who has yet to accept defeat, promoted the false assumption that Brazil’s e-voting system was prone to fraud, inciting a violent movement of election skeptics. Bolsonaro flew to Florida 48 hours before his tenure expired, missing Lula’s inauguration. The violence in Brazil may compound Bolsonaro’s legal problems. It must also be resolved for US officials contemplating how to deal with his presence in Florida.

The Supreme Court’s Justice Alexandre de Moraes dismissed Ibaneis Rocha, the pro-Bolsonaro governor of the federal district in Brasilia, for 90 days amid outrage that authorities had failed to foil the attack. According to De Moraes, the attacks could only have occurred with public security and intelligence personnel’s consent, or maybe direct involvement.

Democrats in the US Congress, Joaquin Castro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro, have also asked for Bolsonaro’s extradition. “The United States must cease offering Bolsonaro shelter in Florida,” Ocasio-Cortez said, comparing the protests to the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol. “Nearly two years after fascists attacked the US Capitol, fascist movements worldwide are attempting to do the same in Brazil.”

Joe Biden, the US president, condemned the “assault on democracy and the transfer of power in Brazil,” adding that Brazil’s democratic institutions “had the full backing of the United States, and the will of the people must not be compromised.”

The supreme court, whose justice Alexandre de Moraes has been a critic of Bolsonaro and his followers, was looted by the occupants, according to social media photos showing protestors clubbing security cameras and shattering the windows of the modernist institution.

Brazil’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, stated on Twitter that he fired his top security official, Anderson Torres, who had previously served as Bolsonaro’s justice minister. Torres has been arrested, according to the solicitor general’s office.

Rioters will be punished, according to Lula

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil has vowed to punish supporters of the country’s previous leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who stormed Congress.

Supporters of the ousted far-right leader also stormed the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.

After hours of struggle, authorities reclaimed control of Brasilia’s capital’s buildings on Sunday evening.

The Civil Police in Brasilia said 300 people had been arrested, and officials promised to find everyone else involved.

On Monday, heavily armed officers gathered outside a camp of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters in the city, one of several put up outside army sites across the country since the October election.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court suspended Brasilia’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, for 90 days.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes charged him with failing to prevent the disturbance and remaining “painfully silent” in the face of the attack. On Sunday, Mr. Rocha apologized for the events.

Leftist politicians and organizations are organizing pro-democracy protests across Brazil.

Only a week after Lula’s inauguration, hundreds of demonstrators dressed in yellow Brazil football jerseys and banners overcame police and ransacked the capital of the Brazilian state.

On Sunday night, he inspected the damage to the Supreme Court building.

Before deploying the national guard to restore order in the capital, the seasoned left-wing leader was forced to declare an emergency.

He also ordered the closure of the capital’s heart, including the main avenue where government buildings are located, for 24 hours.

According to Justice Minister Flavio Dino, around 40 buses used to carry demonstrators to the capital have been confiscated. The invasion is an “absurd attempt to impose [the protesters’] will by force.”

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Mr. Bolsonaro has frequently refused to acknowledge his defeat in the October election. He left the country last week rather than participate in the inaugural ceremonies, where he would have handed over the renowned presidential sash.

Six hours after the rioting began, the 67-year-old, believed to be in Florida, criticized the violence and denied backing the rioters in a tweet.

He also went after security forces, accusing them of “incompetence, bad faith, or malice” for failing to keep demonstrators out of Congress.

Zelenskyy will Visit the White House

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, will visit the White House and talk with Joe Biden.

The Ukrainian President’s visit highlights the ongoing partnership between Ukraine and the US in the country’s protracted conflict with Russia. Congress, which has expressed support for Ukraine while the conflict continues, will also hear from Zelenskyy. In addition, Biden will declare $2 billion in security assistance for Ukraine and deploy a battery of surface-to-air missiles to support Zelenskyy in his nation’s conflict with a superpower.

Congress is getting ready to vote on a budget plan to provide support for Ukraine and other NATO partners worth $44.9 billion. The US has supported Ukraine with more than $65 billion in aid since the conflict with Russia. However, a senior Biden official indicated that the visit would be more than simply the help the US would deliver to its friend, although it will highlight the financial and military assistance the US will give Ukraine.

“This isn’t about sending a message to a particular political party — this is about sending a message to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and sending a message to the world that America will be there for Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said the official.

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Helping Zelenskyy and Ukraine

The US is keeping an eye on how much assistance Ukraine has received since the war began, retired Marine Colonel Mark Cancian said in an interview. As a result, people can question whether the Ukrainian government spends billions in foreign help effectively, according to Cancian. Cancian acknowledges that it necessitates intense supervision and responsibility. However, better controls from the US side are required to monitor how Zelenskyy and his administration spend the funding provided to them.

“Well, the total amount of aid at this point is $68 billion. I mean, that goes in several different directions, you know? Some of it is to buy weapons. Some of it is humanitarian aid that mostly goes through third parties. And then some of it goes directly to the Ukrainian government. So I think it’s reasonable to expect a high level of oversight and accountability,” Cancian explained.

“You have to keep in mind that most of the US government can’t pass an audit. So you know, we shouldn’t ask them to do – to meet a standard that we can’t meet ourselves. But what we’re really trying to prevent is, you know, some widespread abuse that would affect, you know, large amounts of money and, you know, aid packages and sustainability.”

“Well, the government’s doing a couple of things to track the money and the weapons. The various bills that have provided for the aid have given the government a few million dollars to increase their oversight. The United States tracks the weapons right to the point where we turn them over to the Ukrainians at some base in Poland.

“The United States has a small group in the embassy that works with the Ukrainian government to track the money and the weapons. The government has worked directly with their counterparts, including President Zelenskyy, to get their assurances that the money and weapons are going to the appropriate uses.”

Russia will continue the battle

Small gains and setbacks are evident as the fight goes on. The recent reclaiming of Ukrainian troops’ vital sectors by Ukrainian forces does not bode well for Russia. But, according to analysts, Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue to fight resolutely even if Russia may be losing the battle. Putin, according to them, would not concede defeat.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.

“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario, that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People are very anxious. They believe that what is going on is a disaster,” she added.

“The very fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.

“I think that already everyone, including Putin, realized that even tactical nuclear weapons will not solve the problem for Russia. They cannot just stop [the] military advances of [the] Ukrainian army; it’s impossible. Therefore, tactical weapons cannot decisively change [the] situation on the ground,” Matveev added.

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Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Zelenskyy most recently served as the Person of the Year cover model for Time Magazine. The “spirit of Ukraine” was also added by Time to honor Zelenskyy.

“When he was growing up, his father worked as a systems manager in the copper mines of Mongolia, and the trips to visit him would take eight days on the railroad from their hometown of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, passing all the way through Russia and Siberia,” wrote Time.

“He remembers the journeys fondly—the vast expanses of the Soviet empire rolling by, the glasses of tea served in metal cup holders embossed with the hammer and sickle. It is among the many ironies of his predicament that Zelensky was raised in the empire whose revival he is now fighting to stop.”

“Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the President had stuck around. If that seems like a natural thing for a leader to do in a crisis, consider historical precedent,” it continued.

Photo Credit: President of Ukraine Website

Source: NPR

 

Russia Attacks Ukraine with Bombs on a New Year’s Eve

Russia remains aggressive in its approach against Ukraine as Russian bombers fire missiles in Kyiv and other Ukrainian borders during an early New Year’s Day.

Ukrainians celebrating the holidays hear air raid sirens blowing for the rest of the day. According to the Air Force command of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces countered the attacks and managed to destroy around 45 Iranian-created drones. However, Ukrainians’ spirits did not waver, as eyewitnesses said many citizens went out of their balconies and shouted “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” as the siege continued.

Leader of the Russian forces and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said he would continue his relentless efforts to launch attacks against Ukraine. He said in a speech that the war against Ukraine has already reached its 11th month. And he will continue with the war until he claims victory. Putin’s speech is a far cry from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky’s message of unity, peace, and gratitude. Early on, the Russian forces lost crucial regions within the war zone, significantly reducing Russia’s stakes in the war. As a result, experts said that Russia might lose the war. However, they predicted that Putin would not back down.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.

“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario, that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People are very anxious. They believe that what is going on is a disaster,” she added.

“The very fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.

“I think that already everyone, including Putin, realized that even tactical nuclear weapons will not solve the problem for Russia. They cannot just stop [the] military advances of [the] Ukrainian army; it’s impossible. Therefore, tactical weapons cannot decisively change [the] situation on the ground,” Matveev added.

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Ukraine faced a dilemma over the holiday

Russia’s attack impaired Ukraine and forced many families to stay inside their houses as the New Year came. The curfew started at 7 PM, making public celebrations impossible for Ukrainians. According to Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, when they conducted the initial investigation, there were only minor damages in the capital while there were no casualties. Ukraine’s top military officers said Russia launched 12 air strikes and 31 missiles across Ukraine in just a day.

“Russia coldly and cowardly attacked Ukraine in the early hours of the new year. But Putin still does not seem to understand that Ukrainians are made of iron,” wrote US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink.

Kyiv chief of police Andrii Nebytov posted a photo in his Telegram depicting a drone allegedly from Russia with a Russian print greeting them with a “Happy New Year.” The subsequent investigation done by the police revealed there was at least one person killed as the bombardments happened. Meanwhile, more than a dozen Ukrainians were injured because of the missiles.

“These wreckage are not at the front, where fierce battles are taking place. They are here, on a sports grounds, where children play,” said Nebytov.

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Ukraine and the US

In a recent visit to the United States, Ukrainian President Volodymyy Zelenskky expressed his gratefulness to his Western ally for its continued support in the war. Senior US officials commended Zelenskky for his bravery and openness to cooperate with other international players in the call to end the war, which has already taken thousands of lives. In a White House speech, Zelenskyy highlighted Ukraine’s relationship with the US.

“I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart. Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. We have artillery, yes. Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” said Zelenskyy.

“The world is too interconnected and too interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and at the same time to feel safe when such a battle continues. Our two nations are allies in this battle, and next year will be a turning point, I know it – the point where Ukrainian courage. And American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom, the freedom of people who stand for their values,” the leader added.

“[The speech] connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our feelings that we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now,” Clinton said.

“I also think no one is asking for a blank check. I believe the Ukrainians have proven that they are a good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They’re fighting it themselves. They’re asking us and our allies for the means to not only defend themselves but to actually win,” she added.

Photo Credit: Valentyn Ogirenko

Source: CNBC

 

 

Zelenskyy Delivers an Emotional, Powerful Speech at the US Capitol

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a powerful speech inside the United States Capitol, which awed senior officials in the country.

In a historic speech, Zelenskyy thanked the US for its unending support for Ukraine since the war started in February. Nevertheless, the fight against Russia dragged on, destroying territories and taking thousands of lives. And Zelenskyy, as the leader of Ukraine, said he is eternally grateful for the overwhelming aid given to Ukrainian forces. Zelenskyy admitted that with the support from the US, they had enough artillery to protect their territories. However, they lack the force to monitor the status of critical areas of war.

“I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart. Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. We have artillery, yes. Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” said Zelenskyy.

“The world is too interconnected and too interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and at the same time to feel safe when such a battle continues. Our two nations are allies in this battle, and next year will be a turning point, I know it – the point where Ukrainian courage. And American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom, the freedom of people who stand for their values,” the leader added.

The visit marks Zelenskyy’s first overseas trip for more than 300 days. Zelenskyy emphasized the role of the US in the war, saying that the aid given by its ally would become a “turning point to win on the battlefield.” He assured Congress that the help they have been given will not go to waste and will be put to good use.

“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way. The occupiers have a significant advantage in artillery, and they have an advantage in ammunition. They have much more missiles and planes than we ever have. It’s true, but our defense forces stand,” Zelenskyy explained.

Read Also: House Sales Dip in November

Clinton says speech from Zelenskyy is ‘extraordinary’

After Zelenskyy delivered his speech inside the capitol, many politicians reacted positively, praising the Ukrainian leader for his bravery and gratitude. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Zelenskyy’s speech proved that Ukraine would be a strong ally for the United States. Furthermore, she emphasized that the address would make a mark on the aggression shown by Russia and its newfound ally, Iran.

“[The speech] connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our feelings that we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now,” Clinton said.

“I also think no one is asking for a blank check. I believe the Ukrainians have proven that they are a good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They’re fighting it themselves. They’re asking us and our allies for the means to not only defend themselves but to actually win,” she added.

Zelenskyy’s heroism and Russia’s answer

During his speech, Zelenskyy cannot help but become emotional about the milestone he has achieved in international relations. For many months, his country suffered from Russia’s wrath, sacrificing lives and resources. However, the help from the US provided a brim of hope for Ukrainians as they tread along the war-stricken path. In a symbolic and emotional gesture, Zelenskyy handed Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Ukrainian flag he recovered from a war zone in Bakhmut. Meanwhile, Russia retaliated against the visit, saying it would intensify the war, extending it to Ukraine’s western allies.

“Our heroes asked me to bring this flag to you, to the US Congress, to members of the House of Representatives and senators whose decisions can save millions of people. So, let these decisions be taken. But, let this flag stay with you,” said Zelenskyy.

“What was essentially announced to applauses and sarcastic smirks, was the need to continue the ‘proxy war’ against our country. Till a full victory over us,” said Ambassador Anatoly Antonov in reaction to Zelenskyy’s visit.

“I think everyone understands perfectly well what fate the personnel manning these complexes on the territory of Ukraine can face. The provocative actions by the US are steadily leading to an escalation, the consequences of which cannot even be imagined,” he added.

“As the leadership of our country has stated, the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, taking into account the situation on the ground and the actual realities,” added the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

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Biden says the visit is important

US President Joe Biden emphasized the importance of Zelenskyy’s visit to the US. Biden has since made it clear that he is against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. And now, with the visit and funding, this point has been more pronounced than ever.

“It is purposely attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, destroying the system to provide heat and light (to) Ukrainian people during the coldest, darkest part of the year. So Russia is using winter as a weapon, freezing people, starving people, cutting them off from one another,” explained Biden.

“I think we share the exact same vision and that a free, independent, prosperous and secure Ukraine is the vision – we both want this war to end. However, we understand in our bones that Ukraine’s fight is part of something much bigger,” the president said.

Photo Credit: Politico

Source: CNN

 

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and “the spirit of Ukraine” are titled Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2022.

Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have suffered for months due to the Russian government’s persistent onslaught. In addition, time launched the Person of the Year award to recognize persons who have made significant contributions to society. And, because of Zelenskyy’s leadership throughout the conflict, Time decided to honor him this year.

“When he was growing up, his father worked as a systems manager in the copper mines of Mongolia, and the trips to visit him would take eight days on the railroad from their hometown of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, passing through Russia and Siberia,” wrote Time.

“He remembers the journeys fondly—the vast expanses of the Soviet empire rolling by, the glasses of tea served in metal cup holders embossed with the hammer and sickle. It is among the many ironies of his predicament that Zelensky was raised in the empire whose revival he is now fighting to stop.”

“Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the President had stuck around. If that seems like a natural thing for a leader to do in a crisis, consider historical precedent,” it continued.

Read Also: Putin says Russia’s War Against Ukraine is Far From Over

The Ukrainians and Zelenskyy, highlighted by Time

The cover of Time magazine has a photograph of Zelenskyy. Ukrainians surround his massive image with colorful sunflowers and Ukrainian flags. According to Time, the photograph represented Zelenskyy’s fortitude in the face of Russia’s overwhelming military power. In February, Ukraine’s President refused to flee the nation, instead confronting the problem hard on. Instead, he stayed in his homeland to fight for his people’s territory.

“[Zelenskyy] was adaptable, trained not to lose his nerve under pressure. He knew how to read a crowd and react to its moods and expectations. Now his audience was the world,” wrote Simon Shuster, a Time reporter.

Time emphasized the individuals who participated in the battle more than the nation’s leader. In addition, Time indicated that Zelenskyy recently faced intense pressure in dealing with the conflict. As a result, according to reports, Zelenskyy adopted a stricter and more fierce demeanor, a far cry from his typical chattiness and eccentricity.

“If the choices their President articulated gave moral clarity to an era we’d mostly been scrolling through, it was people who gave it meaning by acting,” added Time.

“Instead of running for their lives, many Ukrainians grabbed whatever weapons they could find and ran to defend their towns and cities against an invading force armed with tanks and attack helicopters.”

The ten candidates probed by Time

Time magazine chose Zelenskyy as Person of the Year from among ten finalists. Other noteworthy names on the list were Chinese President Xi Jinping, US Representative Liz Cheney, Elon Musk, the US Supreme Court, Janet Yellen, Iran protestors, Ron DeSantis, and gun safety activists, among others.

Russia will continue the conflict

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he intends to prolong the conflict. Unfortunately, Russian forces sustained considerable casualties in key Ukrainian districts recovered by their adversary. If the current trend continues, experts believe Russia will lose the war. On the other hand, Putin stated that they would not back down from the struggle. Instead, he anticipates a lengthy conflict that might culminate in a nuclear exchange.

“With regard to the protracted nature of the special military operation and its results, of course, it’s going to take a while, perhaps,” Putin said.

“As for the idea that Russia wouldn’t use such weapons first under any circumstances. Then it means we wouldn’t be able to be the second to use them either. Because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,” he added.

“Nevertheless, we have a strategy. Namely, as a defense, we consider weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons – it is all based around the so-called retaliatory strike.”

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Zelenskyy will fight for the nation

In a lengthy interview with Time, Zelenskyy discussed various topics, including his desire to preserve Ukraine. In the face of adversity, the Ukrainian people, according to Zelenskyy, would always fight for their rights. Furthermore, Ukraine just won the battle of Kherson, marking another decisive victory for Ukrainian forces.

“That was not yet a final point in the fight against evil, but it already determined the further course of events. That is exactly what we are feeling now,” revealed Zelenskyy to the Time reporter.

“The battle to liberate Kherson was over, he announced, and it was reminiscent of history’s great military victories. Like the Allied landing at Normandy on D-Day, which turned the tide of World War II,” said the reporter.

“But his vision of victory now extends beyond the liberation of territory. His intention is to make it the last, even if it takes a lot more Time and sacrifice. It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reached, Zelensky told me,” concluded the reporter.

Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Source: NPR

Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Source: NPR

Putin says Russia’s War Against Ukraine is Far From Over

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said the Ukraine-Russia war would take a while and cited a possible nuclear war between the nations.

Putin appeared at a Human Rights Council meeting held in Kremlin. During the meeting, he said Moscow would continue to fight against Ukrainian forces with all its mechanisms available.

However, he said he would not deploy more military forces. The statement came after many experts predicted that Putin would not back down from the war even amid small crucial losses in some Ukrainian regions.

“With regard to the protracted nature of the special military operation and its results, of course, it’s going to take a while, perhaps,” Putin said.

“As for the idea that Russia wouldn’t use such weapons first under any circumstances. Then it means we wouldn’t be able to be the second to use them either. Because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,” he added.

“Nevertheless, we have a strategy. Namely, as a defense, we consider weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons – it is all based around the so-called retaliatory strike. That is, when we are struck, we strike in response.”

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Putin will not deploy more forces

According to the Russian leader, he will refuse to mobilize more troops as of this moment. However, he stressed the involvement of the United States in moving its nuclear weapons into European soil.

He compared it with Russia not moving its nuclear weapons to another soil, hinting that the US’s move seems unfair. But Putin said that he would not back down in a nuclear confrontation.

“We have not gone crazy. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are. And we have these means. They are in a more advanced and modern form than those of any other nuclear country. This is obvious. But we are not going to brandish these weapons like a razor, running around the world,” he said.

The Russian military forces comprise over 300,000 men, many called during the partial mobilization months ago. Putin revealed that 77,000 of these men currently serve in combat units. Meanwhile, the rest are divided into the defense unit and those under training.

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Russia is not backing down

Putin dismissed all claims that Russia would end the war soon. Instead, he said that the war would take some time. Experts suggest that Putin might fear his loss over the war.

However, Putin do not want to admit to things he lost, which he needed to secure a win the war.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.

“For the first time since the war started, people begin to consider the worst-case scenario. That Russia can lose. And they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People grow very anxious,” she added.

“The fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.

Photo Credit: Ramil Sitdikov

Source: CNN

China Eases Lockdown After Series of Demonstrations

A minor success for the populace comes from the nationwide protests in China, which forced the national government to relax Covid regulations.

In response to more Covid instances, Xi enforced even another shutdown a few weeks ago. The virus led to new cases in many of the country’s economic centers. Xi tightened access across borders as a result of this.

Over 20 cities were impacted, including Shenzhen, Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan, and Shanghai. However, the implementation sparked waves of vengeance among the people subject to the lockdowns. As a result, courageous Chinese people criticized their president and demanded his ouster.

“I feel like everyone’s hard work is paying off,” said one protester.

“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” said an analyst from Nomura.

“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” added SPI Asset Management’s Innes.

Read Also: The Fight Against Antisemitism

A battle in China

The police had to react to the large-scale daily protests. The result is that the two sides have been at odds nonstop for days. So authorities wanted to end the demonstrations. Meanwhile, more demonstrators continued calling on Xi to step down from his position. The government loosened the limitations as a result.

“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a citizen said.

“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.

“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” added a demonstrator.

Read Also: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Snaps Back at Reporter Following a Sexist Question

Lockdowns persist

People are reacting to the news with some celebration, although additional lockdown procedures are still in effect. For instance, Beijing’s public spaces need a 48-hour negative Covid test to be entered.

“It appears that moving away from zero-Covid is pretty much a decentralized process in China: while some localities are easing restrictions, some allegedly still cling to zero-Covid, and still others are waiting and watching,” said Yanzhing Huang, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“There will be no compensations, no apologies, no discovery of the truth, just moving on. What can lock us down can also easily unlock us. How terrifying is this capricious power, and when will it overturn your life again? I don’t celebrate. I just remember those brave friends with gratitude,” said a resident in a video posted on Weibo.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Source: CNN

The Fight Against Antisemitism

While the incident passed decades ago, it seems that antisemitism made its way back into the mainstream, sending fears among Jewish people.

For instance, artist Ye, more popularly known as Kanye West, received criticism from the public after his antisemitic remarks. Meanwhile, many American citizens lambasted former president Donald Trump for meeting with a Holocaust denier.

Besides these, authorities report more crimes committed against Jewish citizens over the years. For example, the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 2021 saw the highest on record regarding harassment, violence, and vandalism against Jews. The organization started to record these events in 1979. And they surmise that 2022 will end the same as last year.

The ADL added that people committed these heinous acts occasionally over the years. For example, in 2018, a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshippers at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue.

Furthermore, two years ago, some hateful people also demonstrated against the Jewish community, like those in Charlottesville, VA. The demonstrators vandalized Jewish schools and community centers and handed out antisemitic flyers.

“Two young Orthodox boys were playing in their yard in California and were shot with red paintballs. And we saw pictures of them. And I mean, it was heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking,” said Emily Snyder from the ADL.

“Jews center in a lot of conspiracy theories, especially around economy or power or greed or whatever. Those are core antisemitic tropes. So when we start to see unrest, we tend to see antisemitic incidents climb,” she added.

Read Also: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Snaps Back at Reporter Following a Sexist Question

Antisemitism in politics

Snyder said many politicians also committed antisemitic acts. And some of them are blatant. For example, Trump met with Ye, who earlier was under fire for his antisemitic comments.

The former leader also met with a Holocaust denier. This led Snyder to believe that antisemitism is very much alive within the larger political sphere in the United States.

“That’s old-school, classic modern antisemitism coming from the 1870s and eighties and nineties into the 20th century,” Jewish Studies professor Joshua Shanes said.

“There’s rhetoric that’s accepted today that simply never would have possibly been accepted a generation ago, not since the 1930s, really, People call it [political correctness], but there’s a benefit to saying it is unacceptable to be openly racist, to be openly antisemitic. And if you are, you will not win political office. But that has gone away.”

“And I used to show it to my students. I’d say, okay, let’s dissect it. What antisemitic myths do you see here? Let’s find them all. I don’t do it anymore because I’m concerned they’ll be persuaded by it,” he added.

Read Also: Putin Does Not Want to Lose the War

The effect

The recent bouts of famous and influential people supporting and conniving with antisemitic individuals sent fear among the Jewish communities. Experts and professors fear that because of this, the hate against the Jewish community will spread.

Deborah Lipstadt, a US special envoy tasked to counter antisemitism, said she fears the phenomenon will normalize violence and harassment directed at the Jews.

“It’s both physical dangers — we just commemorated the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue [shooting], where people were murdered just for going to synagogue,” she said.

“It’s also little kids learning that instead of [being Jewish] being a source of joy, it’s something that can bring you bodily harm.”

“There have always been threats, and there’s always been antisemitism. But it feels like an epidemic right now. And the spread of hate and lies is just happening at lightning speed, and Kanye opened the floodgates a couple of weeks ago with his comments,” added Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA CEO.

Photo Credit: Jeenah Moon

Source: NPR

Putin Does Not Want to Lose the War

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will not back down in its fight against Ukraine, even in the face of potential defeat and military difficulties.

When Russia began to invade Ukraine in February, Putin and his military officers expected the war to go on for months. Instead, Russia received much criticism from neighboring countries, particularly the United States, which condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Moreover, the global community feared the supply chain disruptions caused by the war. Now, Russian analysts revealed that Moscow now fears as the war progressed.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.

“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario, that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People are very anxious. They believe that what is going on is a disaster,” she added.

Putin tried to dismiss several mounting defeats of Russia in the war. For instance, Putin tried disregarding the Russian military’s withdrawal from Kyiv in northern Ukraine. This was followed by a withdrawal from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine.

And more recently, Russia withdrew in several regions in Kherson in southern Ukraine. According to analysts, the latest withdrawal sent grim waves to Russia’s supporters and backers.

“What now to say about Kherson? Yes, I’m not happy either, like many of you. Yes, I also thought that there would be a different solution,” said journalist and politician Andrey Medvedev.

Read Also: White House Lambasts Chinese Government’s Covid Policy

‘Putin is desperate not to lose’

As the war continued, Ukraine claimed small but significant victories. Many analysts, politicians, and commentators slammed Russia for their continued effort to continue its Ukrainian invasion.

This happens despite Russia’s failed attempts at securing victories in several Ukrainian regions. As a result, many believe that Putin is now vulnerable after sustaining many losses in the war.

“The very fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.

“I think that already everyone, including Putin, realized that even tactical nuclear weapons will not solve the problem for Russia. They cannot just stop [the] military advances of [the] Ukrainian army; it’s impossible. Therefore, tactical weapons cannot decisively change [the] situation on the ground,” Matveev added.

Read Also: Calls for Xi Jinping’s Resignation Echoes

Sustaining damage

The war already killed people by the thousands. According to a tally by Ukraine, Russia lost more than 88,000 troops since the war began last February 24.

However, the number is only a rough estimation because there are many unaccounted casualties throughout the war. Meanwhile, Russia tried to discredit the Ukrainian tally by publishing a body count totaling 6,000.

“Of course, if tomorrow, let’s imagine some fantasy that Zelenskyy says, ‘OK, we have to capitulate, we sign all the demands by Russia,’ then, in this case, we can say that Putin can have a little chance to restore his leadership inside of Russia, but it will not happen,” said Stanovaya from R.Politik.

“Every step makes him more and more vulnerable. In fact, in [the] long term, I don’t see a scenario where he could be a winner. There is no scenario where he can win. So in some ways, we can say that he is politically doomed,” Stanovaya added.

Photo Credit: Atlantic Council

Source: CNBC

 

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Snaps Back at Reporter Following a Sexist Question

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hits back at a reporter after the media person threw a gender-based question during a press conference.

Ardern appeared at a joint press conference with Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin. During the press conference, the leaders highlighted the relationship between the two nations.

More importantly, the press conference gave importance to Finland’s contribution to the economic prosperity experienced by New Zealand. However, when reporters started asking the leaders, a reporter asked a question that threw off Ardern.

“A lot of people will be wondering, are you two meeting just because you’re similar in age and, you know, got a lot of common stuff there,” asked the New Zealand-based reporter.

“Or can Kiwis actually expect to see more deals down the line between the two countries—” the reporter added before Ardern answered the question.

“My first question is I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked [former U.S. President] Barack Obama and [former New Zealand Prime Minister] John Key and if they met because they were of similar age,” Ardern answered.

“We, of course, have a higher proportion of men in politics. It’s reality. But because two women meet, it’s not simply because of their gender.”

Read Also: Putin Does Not Want to Lose the War

Ardern highlighted Finland’s contribution

After dismissing the reporter’s seemingly sexist question, Ardern stressed Finland’s contribution. According to the Prime Minister, New Zealand and Finland have much in common.

Furthermore, the nations benefit from each other through exports, and as such, the question thrown at her earlier does not mean anything.

“Finland exports into New Zealand NZ$199 million worth of exports. They have particular technology in companies like Nokia, biofuels, and even basic industrial wares used in our buildings. For example, you won’t be aware that a large number of our elevators come out of Finland and agricultural machinery,” she said.

“New Zealand, on the other hand, trades about NZ$14 million worth. And it’s mostly in wine and beef. There is a huge potential between us… As individual nations, we look for opportunities to build on that economic agreement. So for me, this is timely. Next year, we’re looking to progress that FTA. Our meeting today as a chance alongside the Prime Minister’s high-level trade delegation of significant industry leaders, we leverage the economic opportunities between our two countries.”

“It’s our job to further it, regardless of our gender.”

Read Also: White House Lambasts Chinese Government’s Covid Policy

A negative reaction from public

The reporter’s remarks immediately received backlash from the public. Many described it as sexist and misogynistic. However, when Finland Prime Minister Marin spoke, she said they were having the meeting because they serve as their respective countries’ leaders. And regardless of gender, both must fortify the solid economic connection between Finland and New Zealand.

“He was one sentence away from asking the prime ministers if they met to talk about boys and if their periods have synced up yet,” said one reporter.

“A shame some journalists spoke to [Ardern and Marin] like they are 1950s housewives organizing a coffee morning,” another user Tweeted.

“During our governmental period, there has been the global pandemic, and there’s war now in Europe, there’s an energy crisis, perhaps an economic crisis in front of us. So many things on my plate are more concerning than my free time,” added Marin.

“You are free to discuss and write what you want, but I’m focusing on the issues in our program.”

Photo Credit: Dave Rowland

Source: NPR

White House Lambasts Chinese Government’s Covid Policy

The White House slammed the Chinese government after it imposed strict Covid lockdowns, prompting nationwide protests.

The statement from the White House further supported the protests by Chinese citizens. It said that the government must respect the rights of the citizens to protest peacefully.

According to the US government, the Chinese government’s current strategy is ineffective and impractical. Moreover, it paved the way for rare protests across key regions within the country.

“We’ve long said everyone has the right to protest peacefully, here in the United States and worldwide. This includes in the PRC,” said Biden’s National Security Council.

“We’ve said that zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here in the United States. And as we’ve said, it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to contain this virus through their zero COVID strategy,” it added.

It has been three years since the pandemic hit. And Wuhan already imposed lockdowns during that period as well. Hence, imposing strict Covid lockdowns will pressure businesses and individuals. And this happens while other countries have already lifted their lockdown protocols.

According to the US government, the Chinese administration needs to focus on increasing vaccination rates and making treatment and testing more accessible.

Read Also: Calls for Xi Jinping’s Resignation Echoes

The White House disagrees

The stringent Covid controls of the country helped lower the number of fatalities compared to other countries like the US. However, it also sacrificed the Chinese economy. The strict Covid lockdowns led to more economic troubles in the country. It also disrupted the social lives of individuals.

According to the World Health Organization report, in the US, over 1 million people died of Covid. However, China only recorded 30,000 deaths.

“If you look at the prevalence of vaccinations among the elderly, that it was almost counterproductive, the people you needed to protect were not getting protected, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert in the US.

“It seems that in China, it was just a very, very strict extraordinary lockdown where you lock people in the house but without any seeming endgame to it,” Fauci added.

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Protests erupt across the country

When China declared another lockdown, the people resisted. The announcement led to demonstrations happening nationwide. For instance, people from Beijing, Urumqi, and Shanghai took to the streets and expressed their dissent to the ‘impractical’ approach undertaken by their national government.

Meanwhile, the economy struggles as investors fear the constant clashing between protestors and the police force. Protesters have now called for Xi to resign.

“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a protester said.

“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” said a man.

“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds said in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.

Photo Credit: East Asia Forum

Source: CNBC

Calls for Xi Jinping’s Resignation Echoes

Xi Jinping now faces bouts of criticism following his admin’s reinstitution of widespread lockdown under the zero-Covid policy.

Protests erupted across the country. And other demonstrators echo calls to remove Xi from his leadership. In Shanghai, protesters lit a fire symbolic of the people’s dissent against Xi’s administrative decision.

A couple of weeks ago, the strict Covid measures of the country led to the blockage of firefighters from reaching fire victims. The fire in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, left ten dead. And people blame the death on Covid measures.

Many people disliked the idea of another lockdown. The country went under a strict lockdown for two months over the spring. And the prospect of another lockdown seems unviable to businesses, workers, and citizens alike.

However, Chinese authorities think the lockdown is essential due to the possible adverse effects of a Covid breakout within the nation’s economic hubs. According to the National Health Commission, China recorded 40,052 new local cases. And these could become a jumpstart for Covid to affect the nation again.

“Practices have proven that our Covid measures can stand the test of history. They are scientific and effective. Perseverance prevails,” said a piece published in a Chinese newspaper.

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Demonstrations against Xi

Shanghai demonstrators frequent the streets of the city. The citizens expressed anger over the administration’s consecutive imposition of the lockdown, leading to more economic suffering among businesses and workers.

The incident in Urumqi even more, intensifies the anger. In light of the incident, many citizens gathered for a candlelight vigil. However, authorities intervened, and a clash between the forces began.

“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a man said.

“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” said another demonstrator.

“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.

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The economy is affected

After the lockdown began, the Chinese stock market and the yuan’s value plummeted. According to experts, the negative response might mean investors fear the possible heat between the government and protests across the country.

In addition, the Central Bank of China cut the cash for lenders for the second time this year.

“Cutting the RRR now is just like pushing on a string, as we believe the real hurdle for the economy is the pandemic rather than insufficient loanable funds,” said the analysts from Nomura.

“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” they added.

“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” SPI Asset Management’s Innes said.

Photo Credit:  EAF

Source: CNN

Pelosi Resigns, Vacates Democratic Party Leadership

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her abdication as Democratic Party leader after nearly 20 years in the job.

She announced after Republicans narrowly won control of the Lower House. In the meantime, the Democratic Party seizes control of the Senate. As a result, different parties direct each house. Nancy functioned as a courageous symbol of female political leadership. Pelosi, on the other hand, confirmed her possible resignation in 2018. When she was elected speaker, she told the Democratic Party that she would step aside in 2022.

With Pelosi gone, many Democrats began a frenzy of suppositions about a potential successor. According to sources, party members are expected to vote for New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries. The Democrats, however, will cast ballots on it at the end of the month. Pelosi kept quiet when asked who she would vote for. On the other hand, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorsed Jeffries. Following Pelosi, the two leaders also confirmed their resignations.

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The Pelosi successor

“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for. Of course, I don’t always speak for everybody. Still, I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” said Ohio representative Joyce Beatty.

“Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake because we’ll be in a presidential election. So my decision will again be rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus. But none of it will be very much considered until we see the outcome of all of this. And there are all kinds of ways to exert influence,” she added.

On the other hand, Jeffries did not provide details about a possible Democratic leadership run. Instead, he stated that now was not the right time to respond. Instead, he argues that individuals should first honor Pelosi. Pelosi, as a leader, led and inspired many, including women striving to join the US political scene.

“Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her. And it’s been an amazing experience,” Jeffries said.

Read Also: UK Finance Minister Releases $66 Billion Fiscal Plan

A strong force in US politics

Pelosi made a variety of changes in US politics. In 2007, she took the gavel while standing on the podium surrounded by children. During her tenure, Pelosi emphasized progressive legislation on child care, climate change, and health care. Pelosi vigorously championed these policies for a child to live in a better world.

“I’ve been elected for 26 years. I’ve been doing this for a while. I believe she has been the most effective speaker and leader the House of Representatives has ever had. To me, every moment has been a blessing and an honor to serve with her,” said Tony Cardenas.

“Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilified her. That’s Nancy — always working for the dignity of all of the people,” wrote a White House statement.

Photo Credit: Anna Moneymaker

Source: CNN

UK Finance Minister Releases $66 Billion Fiscal Plan

The UK government made public its $66 billion ($55 billion) spending plan in light of the nation’s financial challenges.

The initiative, according to recently appointed Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt, aims to boost economic activity in the nation. Hunt claims that the scheme will result in spending reductions of £30 billion and tax increases that will raise about £25 billion. The plan also lowers the maximum income tax rate to £125,140 and freezes income tax for two years. These characteristics run counter to the past administration’s budget proposal.

“Unfunded tax cuts are as risky as unfunded spending. So we need a fiscal and monetary policy to work together. That means the government and the Banks working in lockstep. It means, in particular, giving the world confidence in our ability to pay our debts,” Hunt said.

Thankfully, Hunt’s spending habits differ from those of Truss and Kwarteng. The expenditure plan that the previous prime minister and finance minister unveiled in September, which drew harsh criticism from the public, was the primary factor in their resignations. Hunt acknowledges that the current approach will put a pressure on all UK households and companies. However, in his opinion, they were essential to halt the inflation, which currently stands at a 41-year high.

″We must continue a relentless fight to bring (inflation) down, including a rock-solid commitment to rebuild our public finances,” Hunt added.

Read Also: Republican Party Seize Control of Lower House

More changes to come in the UK

More adjustments will come from the administration as the most recent prime minister Rishi Sunak work to combat the nation’s rising inflation. Qualified candidates will receive a n additional 10% of benefits, including tax breaks and state pensions.

The National Living Wage will also receive a raise from the UK government for workers age 23 and over, to £10.42. Hunt added that the windfall tax rate for the energy sector would increase from 25% to 35%. A household would now pay £3,000 instead of £2,500 because of cuts to the household bill subsidy.

Previously, when Truss addressed the UK’s deteriorating economic situation, she also mentioned the likelihood of having to make tough choices for the nation. Truss, on the other hand, made managerial choices that harmed her political career, in contrast to Sunak and Hunt. She was required to resign from her position as a result, and her time as prime minister was incredibly brief.

“We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving, and also deal with inflation, and of course, that means taking controversial and difficult decisions. But I’m prepared to do that as prime minister because what’s important to me is that we get our economy moving,” she said.

Read Also: UK’s Inflation Rate Worsens, the Highest in 41 Years

A tiring fight

Truss gave PM Sunak a significant amount of responsibilities. When Sunak assumed over, he had to make a statement right away to calm down the populace and business community. However, due to his extensive political background, many people believed Sunak would resolve the nation’s economic problems.

“Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis. The aftermath of COVID still lingers. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilized energy markets and supply chains the world over. I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come,” Sunak said after his appointment.

Photo Credit: Public News Time

Source: CNBC

Trump will Run for President in 2024

Donald Trump, a former president of the United States, declared he will run for president in 2024 and seek the Republican Party’s nomination.

This past Tuesday, Trump declared in the presence of his advisors, allies, and key figures. He gave a speech in which he established himself as one of the top candidates to be the Republican Party’s nominee for president. The former top official denied rumors that he will face other nomination rivals in the upcoming months. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has been the subject of discussions about a potential nomination. Trump, though, remains optimistic that he will gain the appointment from the party.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said.

He continued by saying that if the Republicans want to win the presidency in the upcoming presidential elections, they must nominate him. The revelation comes in the wake of the GOP’s disappointing election results, which saw the Democratic Party gain control of several key states. In addition, the Democrats took over the Senate after winning Nevada. However, as they go closer to a majority, the Republicans aim to take the House. However, this is hardly the kind of electoral triumph they envisioned.

“Anyone who truly seeks to take on this rigged and corrupt system will be faced with a storm of fire that only a few could understand. I have no doubt that by 2024, it will sadly be much worse, and they will see clearly what has happened and is happening to our country – and the voting will be much different,” he added.

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Trump making the first move

Trump announced his intention to run for president in 2024 before any other politician. Experts predict that Trump’s declaration will give him an edge over possible opponents who intend to run for president. Additionally, it will help Trump position himself in the eyes of wealthy contributors. While the DOJ is looking into the riots on January 6, Trump is still dealing with legal issues. As Trump pursues the party’s candidacy, this may become an issue.

Mike Pence is another opponent who may challenge Trump. Pence already has a solid reputation in politics due to his experience as the previous vice president of the United States. With Trump around, Pence could find it challenging to win over Trump’s supporters. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, might challenge Trump for the nomination as well. Many Republicans gained confidence in DeSantis’ appeal and impact after the midterm elections, pleasing them by supporting them during the midterm elections.

Read Also: UK’s Inflation Rate Worsens, the Highest in 41 Years

Preparing for the 2024 elections

Trump made plans for a White House comeback after his crushing loss in 2021. He invested a lot of his resources in this situation. The former president formed alliances with other politicians and gained supporters, eventually leading to a presidential campaign.

The road to winning the presidency will be difficult, though. Trump has some campaign-related concerns to handle, including litigation and investigations. He also encounters opposition as he contends that the 2020 elections were fraudulent.

Photo Credit: Alon Skuy

Source: CNN

Republican Party Seize Control of Lower House

After obtaining the required 218 members for a majority, the Republican party seized over the House of Representatives.

Due to this recent occurrence, different parties will head the US Congress’ Upper and Lower Houses. As a part of sweeping the pivotal state of Nevada, the Democratic Party already holds sway over the Senate. Politicians predict that because the opposition party won the Lower House, Biden will find it more complicated to carry out his policies. The GOP will determine the pace of passing the measures put forward because they are in the majority.

The Democratic Party held a slight majority in both Houses before this. This assisted Biden’s efforts to advance his agenda and pass legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act. But today, a rival party takes charge in one of the Houses. Biden will therefore experience more opposition.

“They will no longer be able to do that, because to move through the budget process, you need support within. Essentially among your party, and Republicans and Democrats would not agree to move in such sweeping legislation like that,” said an expert.

Read Also: UK’s Inflation Rate Worsens, the Highest in 41 Years

Pelosi will release a statement following the Republican win

A Nancy Pelosi aide stated that the speaker would reveal her plans when the GOP’s victory over the House of Representatives came about.

“The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. So stay tuned,” her aide said.

Pelosi, however, issued a statement before the scheduled speech:

“This year, House Democrats defied expectations with an excellent performance: running their races with courage, optimism and determination. In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.

“House Democrats are thrilled to have so many terrific new and returning Members to the House, who will reinvigorate our Caucus with their energy, diversity and patriotism. We salute our departing Members for their magnificent leadership, achieving landmark progress on health care, climate action, infrastructure, gun violence, veterans and more that can never be diminished. Unfortunately, at least three critical states are still counting ballots. We are endlessly grateful to those who continue their patriotic work to ensure each vote is counted as cast.”

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Plans of the GOP

The victory in the Lower House will advance the Republican program and strategy. This will act as a vital tool for the Republican Party to win over many supporters. The GOP will make every effort to develop policies in the two years running up to the 2024 elections as the next round of presidential elections approaches.

The GOP will now have a better positioned to form committees to undermine Biden’s reputation and the Democratic Party. The Biden administration will become the subject of an investigation by these committees.

The balance of powers allows Biden to veto legislation from the Lower House. But there are two sides to the coin. Depending on how each party advances its goal, it will vary. Biden would face a public backlash if he unintentionally vetoes GOP laws that help the nation, harming the Democratic Party’s hopes of winning the 2024 presidential election.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Frantz

Source: CNN

Biden and Xi Discuss Issues in G-20 Meeting

During the G-20, US President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping conducted a meeting to discuss critical international community concerns.

The discussion spanned three hours, and the leaders attempted to repair their reportedly disintegrating relationship. According to reports, the two superpowers talked about Taiwan, commerce, and technology. According to a White House statement, Biden stated that he would stay competitive with China regarding investments and international relationships.

“(They) reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won. And underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” said the White House.

Furthermore, China and the United States have begun discussing climate change, health challenges, food security, and debt relief. The White House also announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would go to China. However, they have yet to reveal when he will visit the Eastern powerhouse. Before entering the meetings with China, Biden highlighted the struggle between the US and China.

“As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility. In my view, to show that China and the US can manage our differences. And prevent competition from becoming anything nearing conflict. And to find ways to work together on urgent, global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” said Biden

“In our meeting today, I’m ready to have a candid — as we always did –have a candid and in-depth exchange of views with you,” Xi answered.

Read Also: After a Triumphant Conclusion in Nevada, Democratic Party Gains Senate Majority

Biden and the White House downplaying the conversation

Since then, the White House has voiced skepticism that the summit would result in meaningful changes to the two countries’ existing power dynamics. Instead, as tensions between the two countries persist, analysts expect them to become more candid about their true aims.

“He’ll have that opportunity to sit, to be straightforward and direct. And to hear President Xi be straightforward and direct in return,” said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to Biden.

“Given that China and the US are in a state of near-total rivalry and confrontation, there is not much possibility to anticipate that the major issues can be truly clarified,” said Shi Yinhonh, an international relations professor from Renmin University.

“The Chinese believe the US goal is to keep China down so we can contain it. And the US believes China’s goal is to make the world safer for authoritarian states. Push the US out of Asia and weaken its alliance system,” added Scott Kennedy from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Read Also: Biden Flies to Asia, Discuss Important Global Issues

Making boundaries

According to Xi, China is still prepared to work with the United States to maintain its respectful relationship with its Western counterpart. Xi, on the other hand, has numerous expectations for Biden. The first is to respect China’s political system. Second, avoiding China’s territorial claims over multiple nations, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“I think it’s more, how can we find ways to communicate about those issues where we have deep fundamental differences of perspective or concerns. But we need to be having a continued and ongoing conversation,” said a senior Chinese official.

“I would love to be a fly on the wall to see that conversation. Because I don’t think the US or China has been very precise about its red lines. And I also don’t think either has been very clear about what positive rewards the other side would reap from staying within those red lines,” added Kennedy.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

Source: NPR

After a Triumphant Conclusion in Nevada, Democratic Party Gains Senate Majority

Following the victory in Nevada, Democrats retain their control in the Senate. The Republicans inch closer to controlling the House, though.

In a tight contest in the state, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto edged Republican Adam Laxalt for the Senate. Then, Laxalt held the position of state attorney general. Now, the Democratic Party requires Kamala Harris, the vice president, to cast the deciding vote. As polling places wrap up the State-by-State contests, the control of the House is still contested. The Republicans have seized the momentum, though, for the time being.

The opportunity for the Republicans to take over the Senate opened if they won in Nevada. With Laxalt, who gained the support of former president Donald Trump, the Republicans hoped to defeat Cortez Masto, who ran for re-election. Instead, Cortez was in the lead by a little over 5,000 votes. If Democratic re-election candidate Raphael Warnock defeats Republican challenger Herschel Walker in the runoff election this December, the Democratic Party should acquire a decisive lead over the opposition.

Read Also: Biden Flies to Asia, Discuss Important Global Issues

Nevada and Biden’s joy

Following Nevada’s victory, US President Joe Biden exulted. However, he noted that the party’s current emphasis is on winning the Georgia runoff.

“We feel good about where we are, and I know I’m a cockeyed optimist, I understand that from the beginning, but I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased by the turnout,” the president said.

“And so, I feel good and look forward to the next couple of years. Because we are in a situation where you don’t have to have an even makeup of the committees — so that’s why it is important, mostly, but it’s simply better, the bigger the number, the better,” he added.

According to Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the Senate, the Democratic victory in the Senate gives the party the potential to reject “anti-Democratic, extremist, MAGA Republicans.”

“Oh and one other thing we did, which I cannot forget, we staunchly defended a woman’s right to choose. Because the American people turned out to elect Democrats in the Senate, there’s now a firewall against a nationwide abortion ban threat that so many Republicans have talked about,” Senator Schumer said.

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Taking a key state

The Democratic Party breathed a sigh of relief after flipping Pennsylvania, a crucial state, earlier in the election results tally. Republican Mehmet Oz was beaten by the party’s nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Fetterman defeated Oz, who had earned Trump’s strong endorsement, despite his battle with a stroke that kept him off the campaign trail for a while.

“It’s official. I will be the next US Senator from Pennsylvania. We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down. And I won’t let you down. Thank you,” Fetterman said in a Tweet.

“I’m so humbled. Thank you so much. We launched this campaign almost two years ago and had our slogan; it’s on every one of those signs right now — every county, every vote. And that’s exactly what happened. We jammed them up,” he added in a victory speech.

Experts contend that the Democrats’ backing of the Roe v. Wade decision was important in their victory in the upper House. In addition, researchers saw a rise in registration among young people and women after the Supreme Court reversed the landmark decision. The economy and inflation are other variables contributing to increasing voter registration among newer voters.

Photo Credit: David Swanson

Source: CNN

Democrat Maxwell Frost is the First GenZ Member to Win Congressional Seat

Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democratic candidate, became the first member of Generation Z to snatch a seat in Congress.

The 25-year-old Afro-American won a Congressional seat in Florida’s 10th Congressional District by besting Republican Calvin Wimbish, 72. Frost claims that when the news about his win spread, the US President Joe Biden called him to congratulate him. Furthermore, given Frost’s age, the two discussed how monumental the feat is. At 29, the US president entered politics and became a Senator.

“He asked me if it was the same situation. I said, ‘No, Mr. President, you had me beat on that. I’m already old enough to be sworn in on January 3.’ So, it was great to talk with him. You know, he was elected at a very young age, too, so he understands that experience,” Frost said.

The candidate for representative focused his campaign on combating gun violence. Following a spate of mass shootings across the country, this made waves among Floridians. Frost stated in an interview that he intends to pass the universal background check bill as a protective measure against irresponsible gun sales.

In a Tweet, he wrote, “WE WON! We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to represent my home in the United States Congress.”

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Frost taking a few steps forward

People in their 58s are the most likely to run for a significant public office. To run for the US House, one must be at least 25 years old, 30 for the US Senate, and 35 for the presidential race, according to federal laws. Frost manages to obtain a seat and make history for the GenZs while standing at the front of the line. The Pew Research Center defines Generation Z as people born between 1997 and 2012.

And, while the law allows 25-year-olds to run for the House of Representatives, only a few do. For many, running at a younger age proves a more complex situation. On the other hand, Frost withstood the odds and took a chance. Frost embodies the Afro-Cuban community more than his age, as he serves as the first member of the community elected to Congress.

Read Also: Republicans and Democrats in Tight Race to Gain Control

Serving the people

Frost, born on January 17, 1997, grew up experiencing abuse and violence. His mother is Puerto Rican, and his father is from Haiti.

He said, his community became “ravaged by gun violence. And I’ve experienced how working people and people of color are unjustly marginalized and left behind in our society.”

As he grew older, his background pushed him to fight against gun violence. Frost became a gun control activist following the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2012, he campaigned for him He is the national organizing director for March for Our Lives.

Many politicians, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, have expressed their admiration and support for him. The Congressional Progressive Caucus also backed him.

Photo Credit: Stephen M. Dowell

Source: CNBC

Biden Flies to Asia, Discuss Important Global Issues

Joe Biden, the president of the United States, will visit Asia to meet with allies, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person.

The foreign dignitary prepares for a series of crucial talks with his Asian partners. Biden will put a lot of emphasis on combating China’s intended expansion of influence, the war in Ukraine, and climate change during the trip. As a result of his better-than-expected performance in the midterm polls, Biden anticipates a larger audience.

“It will give Biden a feeling that he has maybe a little bit of wind at his back. Republicans look to have a margin in the House of Representatives. But, still, it was less of a loss than I think many had expected for the Democrats,” said Zack Cooper, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

If Democrats suffered a crushing defeat in the 2022 elections, his backers would be worried. Donald Trump, who dislikes being “too close” with other Asian nations, is likely to run again if the Republican Party controls the House and Senate. Nevertheless, Biden has grown more assured while speaking to the world community due to the Democratic Party’s electoral success.

“So, while the American voters don’t vote on foreign policy issues, there’s no doubt that this result will help Biden in his relations with the rest of the world,” said Ivo Daalder, US NATO ambassador during the Obama administration.

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Biden will meet with Xi Jinping

Biden claims that his meeting with Xi won’t change his stance on Taiwan. Following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, tensions increased. Although there is still work to be done, Biden promised to communicate with Xi. But according to Bonnie Glase, head of the Asia program at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, reconciling with Xi remains a problematic effort.

“They haven’t shown any will to do anything with this administration, in part because they think this administration is implacably hostile toward them,” he said.

However, Biden stated that his visit was to impose some restrictions on the Eastern powers.

“I’ve told them I’m looking for competition, not conflict. And so what I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what each of our red lines is, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interest of China, what I know to be the critical interest of the United States and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another,” the president said.

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Russia attending the G-20

The president will also speak at the G-20 about significant global community problems. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is not anticipated to attend the summit. But according to Biden, he would still advocate for an end to the hostilities between the two nations.

“We will be unapologetic in calling out Russia for its brutal war. And we will also work closely with our partners to address the impacts of the war,” said a Biden official.

“We know the issues that the G-20 faces: the big themes of this meeting are energy security and food security. And those issues both, of course, touch on the war in Ukraine. So even if Vladimir Putin is not there, his spirit is hovering over the G-20,” added Melinda Haring from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery

Source: NPR

Republicans and Democrats in Tight Race to Gain Control

As the nation readies for the midterm elections this Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans make their final-ditch efforts to influence voters.

US President Joe Biden struck Republicans in a speech last week. He also supports the Democratic party’s call for peaceful and “democratic” midterm elections. He accuses former President Donald Trump of endangering the nation’s democracy. Republicans, meanwhile, responded by rapping about how the other party was to blame for the nation’s rising crime and inflation.

Over the weekend, four US presidents visited various states to advocate for their respective political parties. Bill Clinton, president Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama all participated in the campaign. They all want to advance the positions of the parties to which they belong. For instance, former president Trump traveled to Ohio and urged Republicans to support J.D. Vance for the Senate. Experts view Trump’s campaign trail as a prelude to his 2024 White House bid. Trump said voters should “elect an incredible slate of true MAGA warriors to Congress.”

In the meantime, Biden spent his weekend in Pennsylvania with Obama, underscoring the concerns of Trump and the Republicans. Biden talked about the Republican’s role in the upheaval at the US Capitol and the assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul.

“Democracy is literally on the ballot. So this is a defining moment for the nation. And we all must speak with one voice regardless of our party. There’s no place in America for political violence,” said President Biden.

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A last chance for the Democrats and Republicans

Democratic candidates intend to stand their ground in states like New York, Washington, and Oregon. Republicans make efforts to retake the Senate, and they only need to gain five seats. So the parties must influence voters in swing states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. Winning these states could tip the election in that party’s favor. According to current polls, there is a 50/50 chance that the Republicans or the Democrats will win control of the Senate.

Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, predicted that her party would take control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. She emphasized what she perceived as Biden’s inaction on the nation’s economic problems.

“Here’s where the Democrats are: they’re inflation deniers, crime deniers, education deniers,” McDaniel said.

“Look, they’re all about the wealthier getting wealthy. And the wealthier stay wealthy. The middle class gets stiffed. The poor get poorer under their policy,” Biden warned in a speech.

Read Also: Black Voters are Pivotal in the Midterm Elections says Experts

To take the risk

Biden and Obama make one final effort to support Democratic candidate John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race as the campaign period ends. The state is where the Democrats have the best chance of capturing a seat currently held by the GOP. However, in Arizona and Nevada, where they still have a 50% chance of winning the seat, the Democrats are confronted with a different issue. Republicans will take control of the Senate with a majority if they win seats in both states.

“I know the average election rally is just ‘whoop dee doo do vote for me,’ but your life is on the line. For young people in the audience, your life is on the line,” said Bill Clinton.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Source: CNN

Black Voters are Pivotal in the Midterm Elections says Experts

As the United States gears up for this week’s midterm elections, political specialists recommend Democrats mobilize Black male voters.

A recent survey shows that Black voters became less likely to participate in the midterm elections. Voters from various ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds were consulted for the poll. Black male voters proportionally cast votes for Democrats. Black women make up another sizable percentage of the party’s Black voter base. So, encouraging their participation will create ideal circumstances for the democratic party.

But despite statistics showing a sizeable chunk of Black voters favoring the Democrats over the Republicans, voters argue that this trend goes beyond simple statistical trends. Voters like Al Heartley and Donnell Brunson will make their choices based on the candidates’ views on abortion rights and how they relate to and respect the nation’s diversity.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the choice [of] abortion rights …as well as voting rights. Black men have a voice and a perspective. But, you have to acknowledge where I am as a Black person first. To me, that’s what Warnock and Abrams really do,” said Heartley.

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Respecting the Black community

By casting a ballot, citizens are giving elected officials a chance to create change. Therefore, according to Brunson, it is pivotal that politicians have relationships with Black people. In contrast to Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, he openly backs Democrat John Fetterman for the Senate. He believes that politicians struggle to grasp the essence of winning over Black Americans as supporters.

“It’s clear to me that they don’t have minorities or people of color in their inner circle advising them. So they’re assuming what we want. And we want the same things other voters want: jobs, economics, education,” Brunson explained.

“What’s unique about Black male voters is that they were Democratic voters; they were supporting Barack Obama at 90%+ margins,” said Terrence Woodbury, CEO of the polling firm HIT Strategies.

“Now that we’ve seen that decline to 79% or 80%, it is enough to make the marginal difference in states like Georgia, Wisconsin and North Carolina, where they have diverse candidates at the top of the ticket,” the CEO added.

Read Also: Ethiopia and Tigray End 2-year War: ‘Restore Law and Order’

Incite voters to cast ballots

Pollsters advise the Democratic and Republican parties to make a strong final push to attract voters this week. Black people should receive top priority, according to experts. If the parties want a successful outcome in the midterm elections, they should narrow the enthusiasm gap.

“While this election cycle is being defined by democrats, by the threat of the other side. The threat of losing democracy is that Black men are more motivated by the progress Democrats have made,” Woodbury added.

73% of Black men in the US who participated in a survey by HIT Strategies said that since Joe Biden became president, their lives have not improved. Nevertheless, given the administration’s policies, including the child tax credit, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the executive order on police reform, 90% of respondents changed their minds and said things were getting better.

“It’s clear to me that it seems like we’re dealing with a messaging problem and connecting Black men with the progress being made,” Woodbury explained.

Photo Credit: Gallup

Source: NPR

Biden says He Wants a Peaceful Midterm Elections

With the upcoming midterm elections just around the corner, United States President Joe Biden implored the populace.

In the opinion of the senior official, the outcome of the upcoming elections will influence the future of democracy. He issued a strong warning to the nation’s electorate six days before the election. The Democratic Party, which the incumbent president belongs to, was alarmed when many people declared their non-participation in the midterm elections. It would become a challenging issue for the president, and his party should the odds shift in favor of the Republicans.

“We can’t take democracy for granted any longer. Yet, as I stand here today, candidates are running for every level of office in America – for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state who won’t commit to accepting the results of the elections they’re in. That is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. And it’s unlawful. And it is un-American,” Biden said.

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Biden blames Trump

Trump supporters raised numerous issues regarding the results of the presidential election, in which Biden defeated Trump. But according to Biden, the web of lies that Trump’s relentless advertising of the theory that the ruling party rigged the elections has sparked threats to democracy.

“This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans and non-partisan officials just doing their jobs, is the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol and even violence,” Biden added.

“At this moment, we must confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it. American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president refuses to accept the will of the people,” he said.

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Ending violence

The focus of Biden’s speech was on his calls to put an end to violence. The Democratic National Committee sponsored the event, which also affirmed the president’s call for nonviolence. Furthermore, should the Democratic Party defeat the Republicans in the congressional elections, they pledged to the public that they would boost the nation’s financial climate.

Additionally, Biden based his speech on the recent altercation involving Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. According to sources, the attacker allegedly committed the crime because he thought Biden sabotaged the most recent national elections. Biden emphasized the need to forgo violence and turn to a calm, orderly election.

“I believe the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America. But they’re loud, and they are determined,” Biden said.

Supporters of Biden lauded the president for raising the issue. The president’s advisers contend that Biden’s public mention of the incident plays a crucial part in the Democratic Party’s push for dialogue on democracy. The nation’s security and democracy were critical points in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. In light of this, Biden bringing it up before the midterm elections would encourage supporters.

“How can you say that you care about democracy when you deny the existence of a win? The only way you could win is either you win or the other guy cheated. This has not happened since the Civil War. It sounds like hyperbole, but it hadn’t happened since then, as bad as it is now,” Biden said at an event in Florida.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

Source: CNN

Ethiopia and Tigray End 2-year War: ‘Restore Law and Order’

Ethiopia and Tigray decide to end their hostilities after two years – a war causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

In the mutual agreement, both countries consent to halting all violence committed against each other. The South African envoy Olusegun Obasanjo said the meeting between Ethiopia and Tigray went well, agreeing on “orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament.” Further, the countries intend to restore the peace and order of their respective borders and revitalize basic social services. Finally, humanitarian supplies should be left unblocked and provided to all countries’ citizens.

Redwan Hussein, the lead negotiator for Ethiopia, said they would commit to the agreement. He also hopes that the other party to ‘honor’ the agreement. Getachew Reda, the negotiator for Tigray, echoed the same sentiments. He noted the importance of ending the ‘painful’ war between them. According to Redwan, the war, which officially reached two years last Friday, bringing an ‘immense level of destruction.’

Read Also: Bolsonaro Breaks Silence: Showing Cooperation, but not Admitting Defeat

Including others in the Ethiopia-Tigray war

However, Eritrea, which sides with Ethiopia in the war, still needs to respond to the recent development. Since Eritrea was excluded from the peace talks, the parties must see that Eritrea agrees with the new terms. As of the moment, Ethiopia and Tigray await its government’s reply.

Along with Eritrea, the neighboring Amhara region also fights against Tigray forces. However, like Eritrea, Amhara did not partake in the peace talks. This complicates the situation. The agreement’s effectiveness relies on how the forces involved in the long-standing war accept the terms of the deal.

“Amharas cannot be expected to abide by any outcome of a negotiations process from which they think they are excluded,” said the Amhara Association of America chairman, Tewodrose Terfi.

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Reopening services to the afffected

Authorities in Tigray worry about how they could swiftly restart their services, particularly healthcare. The conflict brought irreversible damage to health infrastructure and caused many illnesses to complicate. According to reports, many healthcare facilities have run out of supplies like insulin, therapeutic supplements, and vaccines. Meanwhile, many people have perished due to diseases and starvation. This led human rights investigators from the United Nations to say that the Ethiopian government used starvation as a war weapon.

“We’re back to 18th-century surgery. It’s like an open-air prison. It entirely depends on what the government agrees to. If they genuinely give us access, we can start moving very quickly, in hours, not weeks,” said one source.

The war broke out in November 2020. Initially, it only involved Tigray and Ethiopia. However, as the fight progressed, the tension poured out and involved other regions like Amhara and Afar. In only two instances in the middle of the war, drone strikes and bombs took away the lives of 101 civilians and left 265 injured. Finally, however, the worst came to pass, and the countries wanted to regain their vitality. With the new accord, the countries and neighboring regions should have another chance to restart.

“We need to replicate the victory we got on the battlefield in peace efforts, too. So we are finalizing the war in northern Ethiopia with a victory. We will now bring peace and development,” said the prime minister of Ethiopia.

Photo Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Source: NPR

Bolsonaro Breaks Silence: Showing Cooperation, but not Admitting Defeat

After the tight polls in Brazil last weekend, da Silva emerged as the winner. However, Bolsonaro seems unwilling to concede defeat.

Following days of silence, Bolsonaro appeared on state media to deliver a speech. Speaking in front of reporters at the presidential palace in Brasilia, Bolsonaro said he intends to “continue to fulfill all the commandments of our constitution.” But during the speech, he did not congratulate the winning candidate. Experts contend the incumbent’s speech signaled his cooperation to transfer the power to a new individual, but it did not mean he had already conceded.

Ciro Nogueira, the president’s chief of staff, said they are ready to work with the new administration for the transition face. But, according to Nogueira, they are waiting for da Silva’s signal to start the transition.

“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro authorized me, when it is time, based on the law, to start the transition process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro made no contest with the result of the elections. Instead, he thanked his supporters and slammed critics. However, he did not mention da Silva during the speech, who won the close presidential race with 50.9% total votes.

“I have always been labeled undemocratic and, unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the constitution,” the incumbent said.

Da Silva received the most votes in Brazil’s history, with more than 60 million polls for him. He broke his record in 2006, during which he won as president.

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Bolsonaro showing strength

Experts added that Bolsonaro’s silence might increase people’s fears of a possible protest by his camp. Others claim that Bolsonaro might claim electoral fraud and not work with da Silva for his transition. However, he broke the ice with his speech, sending experts into a frenzy of thoughts, taking into consideration his failure to mention defeat.

“Bolsonaro wants to maintain this illusion that he was wronged, and that’s why he lost. He wants to show strength and in the culture of this movement, admitting you lost is to show weakness,” said Brian Winter, Americas Quarterly editor-in-chief.

“By saying that he’s going to respect the Constitution and by discouraging violence at some of the protests that have been happening, I think that (Bolsonaro) essentially paves the way now for a relatively normal transition,” added Winter.

“Bolsonarismo is a strong opposition force and got even stronger after this election despite Bolsonaro’s loss,” added Bruna Santos, Wilson Institute senior advisor.

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Protesting the election

The speech from Bolsonaro sent waves of reactions from his supporters. Many praised him for his unwillingness to declare his defeat of the race. His supporters protested, and they describe it as “the result of indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process took place.”

“He didn’t recognize the defeat! He didn’t greet his opponent! And he reaffirmed his respect for the Constitution! Let´s go out to the streets, more than ever, safe and certain,” said a supporter.

“Groups of up to 500 protesters, with children on their laps, elderly are participating in it. So the PRF had to act with plenty of caution,” said highway police director Marco Antonio de Barros.

Since Sunday, pro-Bolsonaro supporters have flooded the streets, giving trouble to the police. According to officials, protesters blocked over 267 streets across Brazil.

Photo Credit: Andressa Anholete

Source: CNN

UAE and US Sign Deal to Invest $100 Billion on Clean Energy

The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE) sealed the deal to invest $100 billion to develop 100 gigawatts of clean energy.

The “Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy” (PACE) received approval from the parties during the Adipec energy conference in Abu Dhabi. It includes four general pillars: developing clean energy innovation and supply chains, managing carbon and methane emissions, nuclear energy, and industrial and transport decarbonization.

“The cooperation comes within the framework of the close friendship between the UAE and the United States of America. It affirms the commitment of both sides to work to enhance energy security and advance progress in climate action,” said the UAE.

“Today, President Biden again demonstrated his deep commitment to ensuring a global clean energy future and long-term energy security.  The United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced a robust partnership to ensure the swift and smooth transition toward clean energy and away from unabated fossil fuels,” the White House stated.

According to the American government, the deal represents another milestone for the country’s climate agenda. The countries should complete the plan by 2035. After that, the countries will select an expert group to oversee the operations included in the deal.

The group’s central role is to “identify priority projects, remove potential hurdles, and measure PACE’s progress in achieving its goal of catalyzing $100 billion in the financing, investment, and other support and deploying globally 100 gigawatts of clean energy.”

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A top priority for UAE

The UAE exports massive volumes of oil to the market. However, unlike many nations depending on fossil fuels, the UAE produces oil from non-fossil fuel energy resources. In addition, the country houses the world’s biggest single-site solar power plant. In 2023, the UAE will host the COP 28 climate summit.

CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Sultan Al Jaber, said the company intends to produce the maximum amount of energy with the lowers possible carbon emissions.

“If we zero out hydrocarbon investment due to natural decline, we would lose 5 million barrels per day of oil each year from current supplies. This would make the shocks we have experienced this year feel like a minor tremor,” he added.

“It is not oil and gas, or solar, not wind or nuclear, or hydrogen. It is oil and gas and solar, and wind and nuclear, and hydrogen. But it is all of the above, plus the clean energies yet to be discovered, commercialized and deployed,” the CEO explained.

Read Also: Brazil’s Presidential Election Boils Down to a Polarizing Contest Between Bolsonaro and Lula

A cut on fossil fuel

Policymakers denounce the use of fossil fuels, adding that its abuse would lead to disaster. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said countries should abandon their support in fossil fuel-based energy production. He added that exploration relating to fossil fuels should be highly discouraged.

However, the problem lies with the decline in investments in non-fossil fuel-related productions. In addition, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation would decline.

Photo Credit: Özkan Bilgin

Source: CNBC

Da Silva Triumphs Over Bolsonaro in Nail-Biting Polls

In the Sunday polls, Luiz Inacio da Silva, also known as Lula, won successfully. As a result, he will take office as Brazil’s new president.

Bolsonaro’s bid for a second term ended when da Silva overtook him after months of intense campaigning. As a result, the left-leaning challenger was imprisoned, causing him to leave the political arena years ago. Da Silva defeated his rivals in the first round of the elections a few months ago. However, when he fell short of the required 50% plus votes, it came down to a fight between him and Bolsonaro.

The presidential election in the nation came down to the wire, with Lula winning 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. Many polls predicted a large lead for Lula. But because he was ahead in every poll, he could gain support as the election came to a close. On January 1, the newly elected president will formally assume the position.

Read Also: Pelosi ‘Traumatized’ by Attack on her Husband

A celebration for da Silva supporters

A 33-year-old supporter of the left-leaning challenger, Victor Costelo, expressed his joy at the election’s outcome. After declaring the victor in the official election results, Da Silva’s supporters flooded the streets. Supporters went out, dressed in red, to signify the color of his Workers’ Party. Costelo claimed it gave him hope because he believed in da Silva, and winning the election against an authoritarian presented a better option for the nation.

“I’m really happy. The next four years will be more hopeful for us,” he said.

Photo Credit: Diego Vara

Many of da Silva’s supporters lost hope after the preliminary results were announced, and the government decided to hold a second round. They anticipated better outcomes. Da Silva, however, only received less than 50%, which was insufficient if he wanted to win the presidency.

“We came here expecting to have a party, to get very happy, to have some beers. But now we are going home just to sleep and wait for the next four weeks to see how they go,” said a supporter.

Now that da Silva is finally taking the job, they rejoice. But unfortunately, despite a peaceful election, murders happened during the campaign. Bolsonaro supporters, in one incident, killed four da Silva supporters.

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World leaders congratulate the new president

The political career of Da Silva has been unpredictable. From 2003 to 2010, he was Brazil’s president, serving two terms. But after that, he spent 580 days in prison for graft. The courts’ cases against him were thrown out in 2019, giving him another chance to be the nation’s leader. He eventually won the support of a large number of people, particularly in the left wing. Leaders from around the world quickly congratulated Brazil’s new president.

“I send my congratulations to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his election to be the next president of Brazil following free, fair, and credible elections. I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,” said United States President Joe Biden.

“The people of Brazil have spoken,” said Trudeau.

Photo Credit: Rodrigo Paiva

Source: NPR

Pelosi ‘Traumatized’ by Attack on her Husband

The police in San Francisco captured a man after violently attacking United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi.

The police discovered David DePape, 42, inside the Pelosi home around 2:30 AM. As the suspect confronted Mr. Pelosi, who was seen brandishing a hammer, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said they discovered the suspect carrying a hammer. DePape was planning to attack Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, according to the police.

“Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. So our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid,” said police Chief Officer Scott.

DePape went to the Pelosi home, according to the police, in search of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. But all he got was Paul. “Where is Nancy?” the assailant asked Paul. But Paul remained silent, and at that point, the quarrel got physical. Following a skull fracture and injuries to his hands and right arm, Paul underwent immediate close observation. The doctors in charge of Paul’s procedure gave the public the thumbs-up. Fortunately, they expect a full recovery.

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Identifying the motive

DePape’s accusations include burglary, attempted murder, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, and others. The criminal suspect awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail. According to reports, they established no connections yet between DePape and Pelosi. The attacker seems oblivious about the house speaker’s whereabouts.

Pelosi was in Washington when the crime took place. However, it made her husband more open to attack without Pelosi and her security detail in her San Francisco home. Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s speaker, thanked the authorities for their urgent action and wished for privacy from the media. Meanwhile, the FBI, San Francisco Police, and the United States Capitol Police teamed up to investigate the incident.

The attacker’s ploy is only one of the tens of thousands of threats US lawmakers receive yearly. The US Capitol flags up over 4,000 threats every year. Due to more than 10,000 threats against government officials last year, the Capitol police established two brand-new offices, one in Florida and one in California.

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‘Brokenhearted’ says Pelosi

Using social media, the senior US official expressed her sorrow over the situation. Her complete quote is as follows:

“Sadly, a violent man broke into our family home yesterday morning, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband, Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop. So we are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving.”

“Please know that your prayers and warm wishes are a comfort to our family and helping Paul make progress with his recovery. His condition continues to improve.”

“We are also comforted by these words from the Book of Isaiah: “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

“We thank you for your prayers and warm wishes as well as the work you do to strengthen our Democracy.”

Photo Credit: Jemal Countess

Source: NPR

Brazil’s Presidential Election Boils Down to a Polarizing Contest Between Bolsonaro and Lula

Before the presidential race commences this Sunday, polls show a very tight race between Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Polls still favored the leftist challenger da Silva, more popularly known as Lula. Bolsonaro trailed behind several percent. However, the close numbers suggest that the outcome of Brazil’s presidential election is very uncertain. According to surveys by Quaest and Datafolha, Lula maintains a hold of 52% votes, while Bosonaro got 48%. Three days before that, Lula overtook Bolsonaro with a 6% lead. As a result, experts surmise that a come-from-behind victory might happen for Bolsonaro.

Meanwhile, pollster MDA reported only a 2% lead for Lula. However, all of the polls in the country suggest a win for the challenger. Despite Lula’s record of being jailed on the grounds of graft, he still holds the lead against the incumbent Bolsonaro. Moreover, the charges against Lula were since dropped by the Court, allowing him to gain political traction. Ultimately, it led to him getting another shot at the presidency.

Other pollsters, IPEC and AtlasIntel, say Lula leads by a wide margin. According to IPEC, the leftist challenger leads with 54% vote, while Bolsonaro only got 46%. However, the figures do not include undecided voters. AtlasIntel, the most accurate pollster, showed a 7% lead for Lula.

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Polarization of the country

On Friday night, both the contenders ended their campaign strong. Both attacked each other and bolstered their good intentions for the country. Bolsonaro’s last stop was in Minas Gerais. At the same time, Lula wrapped up his campaign in a region in Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro centered his arguments on the graft cases that involved Lula. Meanwhile, Lula highlighted Bolsonaro’s administration’s incapacity to stave off the pandemic, which caused the deaths of 700,000 Brazilians. Lula served as the country’s president in two terms, from 2003 to 2010. Lula said he helped bolster the economy and the local market during his tenure. In the debate, he said he intends to return to the ‘booming’ times for the country. However, Bolsonaro answered that his current financial and economic programs prove better alternatives than Lula’s.

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Lula vs. Bolsonaro

After the first round of voting, parties and supporters grew wary. Lula led the race but failed to secure the needed 50% plus votes. Hence, the second round included him and Bolsonaro.

“It will be important (to have a second round) because we will have the chance to do a face-to-face debate with the current president to know if he will keep on telling lies,” Lula said.

“We have a second round ahead where everything becomes the same; the (television advertising) time for each side becomes the same. And now we are going to show it better for the Brazilian population, especially the most affected class, the consequence of the ‘stay at home; we’ll see the economy later’ policy,” Bolsonar said at a press conference after the first round ended.

“We don’t want more discord; we want a country that lives in peace. This is the most important election. I am really happy,” Lula added.

“Four years ago, I couldn’t vote because I had been the victim of a lie in this country. And four years later, I’m here, voting with the recognition of my total freedom and with the possibility of being president of the republic of this country again, to try to make this country return to normality.”

Photo Credit: Mariana Greif

Source: CNBC

Sunak: the First Nonwhite UK Prime Minister

With competitors dropping from the race, Rishi Sunak secures the PM position, becoming the first nonwhite individual to take the post.

If Sunak officially takes over the position, he will replace Liz Truss as prime minister. Truss’s unsuccessful attempt to combat the UK’s economic crisis led her to resign. The ruling Conservative Party planned to cast their votes to determine Truss’s fate as the country’s leader. However, before a single member cast a vote, Truss announced her exit.

Sunak presents himself as a safe choice among the candidates, besting Boris Johnson, the former prime minister preceding Truss. Conservative Party members are confident that the centrist and pragmatic politician to lead the country after the chaotic expenditure plan Truss presented to her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng.

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Sunak in British politics

Sunak breaks barriers in British politics. He serves as the youngest prime minister in over 200 years. Moreover, coming of Asian descent, he becomes the first nonwhite to assume the highest position in the UK.

Before Sunak entered national politics, he started a career in banking. He then entered the parliament. However, then-prime minister Boris Johnson saw potential in him, later appointing him as the finance minister, known as chancellor of the Exchequer at the time.

Sunak’s appointment as a senior political leader surprised Sunder Katwala, director of British Future. However, he contends events like that have become common in recent times. Katwala added it started when David Cameron assumed office as prime minister. Then, he began to put ethnic minorities in senior positions in the government.

“British Indian is what I tick on the census; we have a category for it. I am thoroughly British; this is my home and my country, but my religious and cultural heritage is Indian, and my wife is Indian. I am open about being a Hindu,” Sunak said in one interview.

“Ethnic diversity has become a new normal at the top table of British politics. In the last five years, we’ve seen ethnic minority chancellors of the Exchequer, home secretaries, and foreign secretaries at a remarkable pace. Everyone’s got used to that, and everybody thinks you shouldn’t make too much of that,” Cameron said.

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A model in politics

Suppose Sunak successfully resolves UK’s financial turmoil, characterized by high oil prices, rising interest rates, and worsening inflation. In that case, supporters believe he will become a role model in the South Asian community. Many Asians in the UK could use Sunak’s supposed sway, especially if they are looking into entering politics.

Browen Maddox, the chief executive of Chatham House, a London-based think tank, said, “It has forced someone with economic competence to the top of the Conservative field, and it has also forced Labour, the main opposition party, to put together a platform based on a claim to financial coherence, competence, things that Labor hasn’t always been associated with in the past.”

“It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and to be able to give back to the country I owe so much to,” Sunak said.

“The United Kingdom is a great country, but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge. We need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.”

Photo Credit:  The New European

Source: NPR

Jan 6 Committee Subpoenaed Former President Trump

The House Select Committee for the Jan 6 Capitol Riot Hearing served a subpoena for former United States president Donald Trump.

The Committee stated they requested Trump to testify under oath and that Trump must present documents related to the Jan 6 violence by November 4. Trump must come before the Court on or before November 14 to provide his testimony.

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power,” wrote the Committee to Trump.

As stated in the letter, the committee members feel that Trump sought to rig the election and played a significant role in the rioting on Jan 6.

“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any US President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself,” the letter added.

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The answer to the subpoena

The statement met with a rapid response from Trump and his legal team. The judgment is unusual, added Trump’s legal advisor David Warrington. Meanwhile, the former president called the Committee’s statement “a total bust.” However, he did reassure the populace that they would respond to the subpoena following their inquiry.

“We understand that the Committee has publicly released a copy of its subpoena once again, flouting norms and appropriate and customary process. As with any similar matter, we will review and analyze it. And will respond as appropriate to this unprecedented action,” he said.

“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting? Because the Committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to divide further our Country, which, by the way, is doing very badly. A laughing stock all over the World?” Trump said.

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The basics of the Jan 6 riot subpoena

Ignoring the subpoena

To issue a subpoena means legally compelling someone to produce a document or give a courtroom testimony. However, Aziz Huq from the University of Chicago thinks that the Court must uphold the subpoena. In effect, this should force Trump to turn up the document. Trump and his team must thus appear in Court to answer questions.

Not cooperating

The Committee may pursue two significant legal options if Trump refuses to cooperate. One is to find Trump guilty in accordance with a statute from 1857 that allows prosecutors to charge someone with contempt of Congress. The second is to bring a civil action or criminal contempt. Trump may face a $1,000 fine or jail time as a result.

If Republicans win, what happens to Jan 6 hearing

Republicans would have enough power to get the subpoena against Trump withdrawn if they win the November elections. Additionally, they have the authority to invalidate the Jan 6 committee, relieving Trump of the legal issues it raised.

Photo Credit: Jason Andrew

Source: NPR

Truss Called on by Party Members to Resign

United Kingdom Prime Minister Liz Truss faces yet another problem: a threat to her tenure as the nation’s leader.

This marks only Truss’s sixth week in office. However, critics are already feasting the idea of Truss being relieved from her role. Before acting as the UK prime minister, Truss served as a Cabinet minister, holding the position for over a decade. When the UK government ousted her predecessor, Truss assumed office with a lot in mind – the oil crisis on the left and inflation on the right.

The Conservative Party chose Truss to become Boris Johnson’s successor because of her supposed expertise in dealing with state matters. Johnson’s tenure did little to alleviate the UK economy’s downturn. However, due to recent developments, the trust in Truss is now in shambles.

Read Also: UK Government has a New Finance Minister and he already has Plans

Truss and Kwarteng’s replacement

Last Friday, the prime minister sacked her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng. Truss then looked out for a possible candidate to replace Kwarteng. Eventually, she chose Jeremy Hunt, her leadership rival.

Holding the second highest position in the UK government, Hunt announced a reversal in almost all of Kwarteng’s spending policies. Truss and Kwarteng were since battered by entities and investors for their expenditure plans. The plan made huge cuts on income and corporate tax. However, this garnered only rejection from the public. Under Hunt, the UK government scrapped the plans involving corporate taxes, overseas shoppers, and alcohol prices.

The bad change

In Kwarteng’s economic plan, the government subsidizes households so they will not have to pay for the increased gas prices. That is probably one of the setbacks of reversing Kwarteng’s proposal. Initially, the subsidy will last for two years. However, Truss said the period was too long, leading to more government costs.

Hunt affirmed Truss’s projection and reduced the subsidy to 6 months. This means Brittons must brace next spring as the government lets go of its subsidy. Experts predict that inflation would still run rampant during that time, and UK citizens would be highly affected by the price hikes in gas.

Read Also: UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Fires Finance Minister Amid Backlash

Truss stint affects Conservatives

The current status of Truss brings gloom to Conservatives. People’s outlook on the party changed, damaging the party’s ability to sway voters during the next elections. Nevertheless, with two years left, Truss remains confident she will lead the Conservative Party into a triumphant run.

However, despite that, several Conservative legislators call for Truss’s resignation amid the public heat she experiences. In fact, news has spurred collectively questioning of Truss and her ability to lead the country.

“People don’t respect her, they don’t trust her, and the government is now effectively being run by a chancellor who is going against the very thing the prime minister stood on,” said Rainbow Murray, a professor from the Queen Mary University of London.

The prime minister said she apologizes for whatever mishaps her decisions caused when Kwarteng acted as finance minister. However, she added that government would fix the problem in due course, and she wanted to bolster economic growth for the country.

Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons

Source: NPR

UK Government has a New Finance Minister and he already has Plans

The UK government suffers from criticisms after announcing its economic spending plan a couple of weeks ago.

So to save the government’s face, the UK’s new prime minister laid out his new plans. Prime Minister Liz Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng last week and replaced him with Jeremy Hunt. This marks the UK’s fourth prime minister in just three months. Kwarteng served as finance minister in just 38 days, the second shortest in UK politics.

According to Hunt, the UK government would revert its decision on massive government spending and borrowing. Instead, he plans to reverse “almost all” tax measures undertaken by Kwarteng during his tenure.

Hunt projected that the turnaround would raise about £32 billion or $36 billion. The new UK finance minister also made sure to postpone the cuts on income tax.

The UK government promises to help households and businesses amid the oil crisis. However, officials said it would only cap prices until next spring.

“No government can control markets, but every government can give certainty about the sustainability of public finances. The United Kingdom will always pay its way,” Hunt said.

Read Also: UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Fires Finance Minister Amid Backlash

A bad position for the UK

Several weeks ago, many investors and market behemoths condemned the UK government’s spending plan. According to most, the move only exacerbates the nation’s economic downturn. Consequently, it left Truss dealing with critics, ultimately leading her to lose her finance minister.

With Hunt, the opposition Labour Party in the UK said the nation’s problems had been highlighted. Moreover, it leaves UK PM Liz Truss scrambling to save her political career.

According to analysts, the government’s latest stint only made life worse for citizens.

“All the Chancellor’s statement underlines is that the damage has been done,” said Rachel Reeves.

Support from investors

Fortunately, markets calmed as a result of the announcement made by Hunt. Pound’s value hiked by 1.2% to $1.13 after suffering record-loss weeks ago. UK bonds performed relatively well compared to prior weeks, and borrowing costs steeply declined below 4%.

However, investors said they are still cautious about the current developments. Francesco Pesole, a strategist from ING, said Hunt’s economic plans help the government and the nation. Still, it will only be a permanent solution to the damage inflicted by Truss’s prior spending strategy.

In addition, more market factors should also be considered, such as OPEC’s production cuts, worsening inflation, and global supply disruptions.

Meanwhile, Truss faces more heat as people and investors doubt her capacity to continue serving as UK’s prime minister. She and Kwarteng intended to boost the local economy with the spending plan, only to sustain criticisms from reputable institutions. In addition, US President Joe Biden joined other Truss critics and said he disapproves of the plan.

“I disagree with the policy. (It was) up to Great Britain to make that judgment,” Biden said.

Read Also: After Months of Decline, Gas Prices Could Increase

The UK gas problem

Hunt met with the central bank to discuss matters related to the gas crisis. The treasury added it would examine the possible course of action to deal with the crisis better, but many would have to wait as it will take time to make certain a fool-proof plan to maneuver the volatility of the gas market.

“Looking beyond April, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have agreed that it would be irresponsible for the government to continue exposing the public finances to unlimited volatility in international gas prices,” the Treasury said.

Photo Credit: TIme

Source: CNN

OPEC Production Cuts Prompt US President Biden to Rethink its Relationship with Saudi Arabia

United States President Joe Biden is keeping an eye on the development of OPEC+’s decision to cut oil production. The senior official said the decision could fallout with the country’s long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia.

But, according to the White House, the cuts would only disadvantage dependent countries and only helps Russia.

“OPEC is trying to shock and awe with a big production cut number that is going to get people’s attention. And they’re trying to support prices to keep them from falling further,” said Yasser Elguidi from Energy Aspects.

“I am in the process; when the House and Senate come back, there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,” added Biden in an interview.

The president did not detail the consequences and retaliation the country might take against Saudi Arabia. However, Biden made sure to include Congress in the talks and discuss with them the future of US-Saudi Arabi relations with development. The spokesperson of the National Security Council, John Kirby, explained that Saudi Arabia could not deny its major role in the production cut.

“(It is) a short-sighted decision that benefitted Russia at a time when nobody — in any capacity — should be trying to benefit Vladimir Putin,” added Kirby.

Read Also: Data Shows American Workforce is Producing Lesser Output

Saudi Arabia does not want any strafe

While the US is partly blaming Saudi Arabia for OPEC’s decision to cut its oil production, Riyadh denied allegations that it was meant to create tension between America. The Saudi minister of foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubier, said in an interview that Riyadh is only doing it as discussed by the oil-exporting countries in the OPEC.

“The idea that Saudi Arabia would do this to harm the US or to be in any way politically involved is absolutely not correct at all,” he said.

Not a good sign for Democrats

Biden and his Democrat allies have benefited from the downward trend in gas and oil prices, which helped them gain leverage in the upcoming November midterm elections. However, with OPEC’s decision, gas prices are expected to skyrocket, affecting the Democrat’s campaign against inflation. Among US voters, inflation is one of their top priorities.

Saudi Arabia and the United States established connections in the 1940s, strengthening them to secure regional security and energy. However, the US State Department has been raising eyebrows with Saudi Arabia’s recent policies, particularly on human rights.

When Biden ran for the presidency, he told the electorate that he would ensure that Saudi Arabia would be held accountable for all its human rights abuses, citing the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist from the Washington Post.

Read Also: VP Kamala Harris has been Across the Country in Campaign for Abortion Rights

Even so, Biden met with Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman this summer, which drew criticisms among individuals and advocates for human rights. However, Biden stood by his decision and explained that the meeting was essential so the country could deal with its issue concerning gas and oil supply reduction.

Kirby is tight-lipped on how the US government will deal with Saudi Arabia, but he revealed that Biden is getting lawmakers on board once the midterm elections are done.

“He knows that many members have expressed concerns on both sides of the aisle,” said Kirby.

Photo Credit: Susan Walsh

Source: NPR

VP Kamala Harris has been Across the Country in Campaign for Abortion Rights

The public, notably pro-abortionists, harshly denounced the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the historical case of Roe v. Wade.

However, prominent US officials have also voiced their disagreement and sympathized with the public. Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States, is one of them.

Harris has been visiting several states to reiterate her stance in favor of abortion since the ruling was issued months ago. The vice president hosted more than 20 seminars and events, bringing together state lawmakers, medical professionals, activists, religious leaders, civil rights leaders, and attorneys. Harris says that the topic will be her main platform for the November midterm elections while listening to the stakeholders in their congregation.

“Let’s link arms and do what we need to do, including in the next 34 days,” Harris said.

There is only about a month left till the American people cast their ballots for their favorite candidate in the upcoming elections. And the polling data indicate that a sizable portion of voters takes abortion seriously. For instance, a September survey found that around 77% of Democrats were inclined to vote in the next elections in November while considering the abortion issue.

Read Also: OPEC+ says it Will Reduce Daily Oil Production by 2 Million Barrels

The move can help politically

Harris was able to rally support for her cause by demonstrating how passionate she was to defend abortion rights. She also got people to pay attention to the White House’s statements on the subject. In addition, the senior official has visited many states, including Indiana, Florida, and North Carolina, to meet with stakeholders. For that reason, Harris will visit additional states.

The vice president will be able to reach out to as many individuals as possible thanks to her regular, extensive participation, especially those who are affected by the SC’s decision. In addition, the actions Harris is taking will benefit her in the midterm elections in November, according to Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod.

“Her visit to those states will likely lead most of the daily papers in that state, or at least in that area. It makes a lot of sense because this is an issue that will drive turnout and drive a lot of the decisions coming out in the midterm cycle,” she said.

Read Also: Black Entrepreneurship is Barred by a Couple of Issues Widening the Wealth Gap

This is more than politics

Although it could appear that Harris is pursuing a political agenda, many who have observed Harris at the conferences claim that this is not the case.

“I think what is immediately evident when you attend those meetings is that she is very much involved in the conversation,” said Jocelyn Frye from the National Partnership for Women and Families.

“This is not a meeting where she is just reading talking points. She is immersed in what’s going on day-to-day. It was a conversation where she really wanted to learn. She had done her homework,” she added.

Harris served as California’s attorney general and district attorney before deciding to run for a government position and enter the national political scene. Her works include discussions on reproductive rights.

“The issue of fighting for the dignity of women in the health care system was ingrained in me literally from the time I can remember. This is truly an issue that is going to be about what all of our movements have been about, frankly. There’s going to be a need for litigation and legislation; there’s going to be the need for organizing,” Harris said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Source: NPR

Biden says his Administration Will Stifle Hunger in America by 2030

United States President Joe Biden laid out his plans to stifle hunger in the country. The government executive said that included in his programs are plans to extend the child tax credit, increase the minimum wage, and enhance nutrition assistance programs in the US.

Biden did this during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. However, the administration would need to traverse a myriad of hurdles before it can obtain its goal.

While the pandemic is nearing its end, as proven by the lessened restrictions within and outside the country, the economy is still scrambling to get back up. Meanwhile, inflation is a record high, leading to soaring prices of goods.

The average American household struggles to keep up with the steep increase in groceries, gas, and energy.

Ultimately, the climate crisis exacerbates the food crisis as scorching heat and frequent storms damage crops significantly.

However, even with these factors, the Biden administration would continue with its plan, with the goal of ending hunger in America by 2030.

According to Biden, this would be attainable through relentless enforcement of adequate legislation, enforcement of regulations, and fostering public-private partnerships.

Furthermore, the proposal by Biden will primarily strengthen nutrition assistance programs along with the creation of more healthcare programs that cater to specific medical needs of undernourished citizens.

“If you look at your child and you can’t feed your child, what the hell else matters? In America, no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should die of disease that can be prevented,” said Biden.

Read Also: UK Government Spending Plan ‘suggests incompetence’ says Billionaire Ray Dalio

A focus on the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a variety of health issues within the American community. Not only did it take lives, but it has also aided in the proliferation of diet-related diseases and food security issues.

Due to covid, individuals with existing health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, were more likely to receive intensive care than those who don’t.

“So many of you were there to help your fellow Americans who lost their jobs, closed their businesses, faced eviction, homelessness, hunger, loss, control, maybe worst of all, lost hope and dignity,” Biden added.

To impede the problems during the pandemic, the Biden administration spearheaded government assistance programs that alleviated food security problems.

However, now that the pandemic is at its conclusion, pandemic benefits will also go with it, leading experts to worry that food insecurity rates will increase this year.

Partnership with companies and nonprofit organizations

Biden’s strategy significantly depends on the success of its partnerships with nonprofit organizations and private entities. Under the Biden administration, the private sector has contributed more than $8 billion in investment.

For instance, the $250 million aid from John Tyson, the vice president and chief sustainability officer of his company, to allow citizens to have more access to protein products at food banks.

“Some of the most successful government programs focused on health and nutrition are built around collaboration with the private sector. That’s another example of where an event like this could potentially yield some innovation around how we get food to people who need it,” said Tyson.

Read Also: Now that the Queen’s Funeral is Over, Young Brits Think the Country Should Solve Even Bigger Problems

More from the government

While many in the private sector are more than willing to lend a helping hand to the government, others feel that the government needs to do a bigger part of the plan.

“We need urgency and the political will to end hunger, which only the federal government is equipped to truly address. Relying on charities will only dilute that effort,” Josh Protas said, the public policy vice president of MAZON, an anti-hunger group.

“Ultimately, we can’t just outsource our collective responsibility; we can’t foodbank our way to ending hunger,” he added.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci

Source: NPR

UK Government Receives Raps from IMF for its Planned Tax Cuts

Inflationary pressures in the United Kingdom prompted the government to shell out its plan to counter it. However, the plans revealed by the UK government, headed by newly-elected Prime Minister Liz Truss, received criticisms from the International Monetary Fund, the world’s leading financial institution.

The IMF said that the planned substantial tax cuts the UK government wants to enforce would do only more bad than good. The organization added that the cuts would increase inequality and inflation in the country. If enforced, the tax cuts will be the biggest since the 70s.

“We understand that the sizable fiscal package announced aims at helping families and businesses deal with the energy shock and at boosting growth via tax cuts and supply measures,” said the IMF.

“However, given elevated inflation pressures in many countries, including the UK, we do not recommend large and untargeted fiscal packages at this juncture, as it is important that fiscal policy does not work at cross purposes to monetary policy.”

Read Also: As Feds Hike Interest Rates, Senior Citizens Struggle to Keep Up with Prices

The weakening pound alarms the government

Along with the soaring prices of goods and services, the UK government is also facing an unprecedented decline in the value of the UK pound. Furthermore, the government is also borrowing more from other countries in a move to increase subsidies to households and energy companies in the face of energy shortages. The UK government borrowed from several countries, including Italy and Greece.

As a response, the Central Bank of England warns of possible rate hikes following the massive spending and borrowing of the UK government. According to sources, the rates could increase by 6% next spring, a huge jump from the current 2.25%. The hike would balance the loss of the currency and the worsening inflation.

Furthermore, the Bank of England announced that it would undertake stringent measures so the country could “restore orderly market conditions,” pointing out that the current market conditions are dysfunctional.

A reckless gamble

Liz Truss, who succeeded Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, announced the tax cuts days ago. Along with the huge cuts are the easing of corporate taxes, which experts say is a reckless gamble on her part. The UK government would now rely on massive government borrowing to fuel its subsidy program that aims to fund individuals and companies amid increasing energy costs.

The UK treasury also promised that it had plans in the future that would help the condition improve. According to the officials at the treasury, their plans would be laid out this coming November 23.

Read Also: EV Global Sales Surge, IEA says it’s Reaching Records High

However, the IMF did not waste time and called out the UK government and warned that its current plans could increase inequality and likely worsen inflation in the country, which is currently at its record high. The IMF highly advises the government to use the November budget “to consider ways to provide the support that is more targeted and reevaluate the tax measures, especially those that benefit high-income earners.”

After receiving criticisms days ago for its announcement, the UK government shielded its decision. According to Truss, the decision they made was “incentivizing businesses to invest, and we’re also helping ordinary people with their taxes.”

“I don’t really accept the premise of the question at all. The UK has one of the lowest levels of debt in the G7, but we have one of the highest levels of taxes. Currently, we have a 70-year high in our tax rates.”

“We’ve also put in place a package of measures to support consumers with energy prices, to make sure that nobody is having to pay more than £2,500 on their bills.”

Photo Credit: CNN

Source: CNN

UK Government Spending Plan ‘suggests incompetence’ says Billionaire Ray Dalio

The UK government is facing criticisms left and right because of its plan to combat the financial turmoil pressuring businesses and individuals in the country.

Adding to the list is the billionaire investor Ray Dalio, who said that the spending plan of the UK “suggests incompetence.”

“I can’t imagine that this is intended – and if it’s not intended, then it’s an understanding question,” he added.

Dalio made his comments after the public was made known about the fiscal plans of the UK government in an announcement by Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng. According to Truss, the plan should help alleviate the current problem confronting the country.

While the government is hopeful about the plan, many have criticized it. The spending plan announced by the UK government included huge corporate tax cuts.

The International Monetary Fund is also not in jive with Truss’s plan. In a statement, the IMF said:

“We understand that the sizable fiscal package announced aims at helping families and businesses deal with the energy shock and at boosting growth via tax cuts and supply measures.”

“However, given elevated inflation pressures in many countries, including the UK, we do not recommend large and untargeted fiscal packages at this juncture, as it is important that fiscal policy does not work at cross purposes to monetary policy.”

In addition, the Bank of England made efforts to alleviate the backlash the government is confronted with. However, that did not stop Dalio from joining the list of individuals and experts who did not see the benefit of the proposal made by the government under Liz Truss.

Read Also: UK Government Receives Raps from IMF for its Planned Tax Cuts

What Dalio thinks

Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater. The company is considered one of the world’s biggest hedge funds. However, according to Dalio, the plan cannot generate wealth since the spending plan highly relies on government borrowing, and reducing the taxes on corporations lessens the capability of the entities to pay for the incurred debt.

“It doesn’t stimulate the economy; productivity is what stimulates the economy over the long run. I would think there would be an understanding of the mechanics of that by the government and that’s why it’s concerning,” said Dalio.

“Due to the recognition that the big supply of debt that will have to be sold by the government is much too much for the demand. That makes people want to get out of debt and currency. I can’t understand how those who were behind this move didn’t understand that. It suggests incompetence,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UK Treasury assured the public that they have their own strategy to combat the worsening market conditions of the country.

According to their spokesperson, the plan should be detailed this coming November 23.

A professor of public policy and economics from King’s College London, Jonathan Portes, said that the UK government’s fiscal plan is unsustainable.

“It has rightly, I think, been regarded by economists across the political spectrum as unnecessary and damaging.”

Read Also: As Feds Hike Interest Rates, Senior Citizens Struggle to Keep Up with Prices

What the UK government thinks

Liz Truss, the current UK Prime Minister, went in to defend the administration after the criticisms were thrown. She said that the spending proposal ” incentivizes businesses to invest, and we’re also helping ordinary people with their taxes.”

“I don’t really accept the premise of the question at all. The UK has one of the lowest levels of debt in the G7, but we have one of the highest levels of taxes. Currently, we have a 70-year high in our tax rates.”

“We’ve also put in place a package of measures to support consumers with energy prices, to make sure that nobody is having to pay more than £2,500 on their bills.”

Photo Credit: Patrick T. Fallon

Source: CNBC

Poland Procures Defense Machineries from South Korea

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: PAP/Leszek Szymanski

The Ministry of Defense in Poland has announced that they will be purchasing 1,000 tanks. 600 units of artillery and several fighter jets from South Korea. It is part of the country’s intention to replenish its arsenal after donating them earlier. This year when fighting broke out between Ukraine and Russia.

The Polish government has arranged to buy 648 self-propelled howitzers. 960 tanks that are based on the model of South Korea’s K2 and 48 FA-50 fighter jets from their ally. The deal is set to be publicized in Poland later this week. Following extensive negotiations with officials over price paid per unit as well other logistics such as shipping arrangements.

The Defense Ministry is refusing to disclose the price they paid for these new military equipments.

The first batch of K2 tanks is set to arrive this year. The 180 units manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, which have 120mm guns on them. The upgraded tanks will be available starting 2026, where they will be manufactured in Poland.

K9 howitzers arrive to Poland

The K9 howitzers will also arrive to Poland this year. 600 more are promised for delivery in 2024, while there are already 48 howitzers delivered – produced by Hanwha Defense.  In 2025, the machines will be produced in Poland.

The ministry announced that they had made an important purchase to replace the Soviet-era tanks that they relinquished. Then given to Ukraine to aid the country in its war against Russian forces.

Poland’s deal between the South Koreans would “significantly increase Poland’s security. The strength of the Polish Army,” said the Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak in a Tweet.

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

The recent closed deal would be Seoul’s largest arms deal to date, said a South Korean retired general, Chun In-Bum. He added that the artilleries that Poland plans to purchase would be great additions to the Polish military force. “The K9 (howitzer)… is probably the best artillery system in the world, rivaled only by the German system. The FA-50 is a combat version of the T-50. Which has gained a reputation for being the best trainer in the world inventory. The K2 tank in its latest version will be better than anything South Korea has to date,” Chun said.

Visit from last May prompted the purchase

The defense minister of Poland has come to the conclusion that his country needs more arms from South Korea after he visited the country last May.

“We talked about accelerating the deliveries of these weapons to the Polish Army. Why is it important? Because of the war on our eastern border. It is important for the Polish Armed Forces to be equipped with modern equipment, proven equipment, and such is the equipment produced by Korea,” he said after seeing the potency of South Korean weaponry.

Poland and Korea had a lot in common, including the need for strong defense. This similarity, according to the defense minister, is what made him conclude that Poland needs to acquire the weaponry from South Korea.

“Why is Korean equipment proven? Because Korea has the challenge of its northern neighbor, who also conducts an aggressive policy, so our task is to equip the Polish Armed Forces with modern equipment. Equipment that will deter the aggressor. Such equipment is undoubtedly … produced in Korea,” Blaszczak said.

Not the right fit for the European setting

Experts are questioning if the purchased items are the right fit for Poland, with some saying that what they need can’t be found in South Korea and others arguing that there is a gap between the advancements of South Korea and the neighboring countries of Poland.  

Read Also: President Joe Biden is Positive for Covid-19, White House announced

For instance, the K2 tank from South Korea is weaker than Germany’s Leopard 2 battle tanks, said defense analyst Nicholas Drummond.

“Same gun. Same engine and gearbox. But overall less sophisticated with inferior electronic architecture. Not a bad tank. But not class of the field,” added the retired British Army officer.

The production of the planned armories may be affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has caused supply chain disruptions in the Asia Pacific region.

“It is right that Asian countries buy from Korea as these customers can easily be supported in time of war. But supporting European customers in an emergency is likely to be more challenging,” Drummond stated.

Source: CNN

Xi Jinping Travels to Central Asia, a Strategic Move says Experts

Photo Credit: Noel Celis 

China is making a move to reestablish its presence in the greater part of Asia. Chinese Leader Xi Jinping traveled to Central Asia – a thousand days after he was confined in China due to the Covid restrictions.

Sources say Xi will visit Kazakhstan this Wednesday and then Uzbekistan for the regional summit. At the summit, Xi will meet with other political figures, most prominently the leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin. That would mark the first in-person meeting of the two superpower leaders since Putin declared war against Ukraine.

It can be recalled that China had the back of Russia weeks before Putin attacked Ukraine. Xi expressed that China would support Moscow throughout the war. Now that Putin has received raps from world leaders, including the G7, the Russian-Chinese leader meeting would send another wave of controversy regarding the future of the world order.

Xi’s travel would likely boost his appeal for the upcoming elections where the incumbent leader is slated to snatch his third term. If Xi secured the win, China would acknowledge him as one of the most powerful leaders in Beijing for decades.

Steven Tsang, a China Institute director, said that Xi seems confident of his power and influence because he is starting to travel amid the economic downturn the globe is facing and the tensions among the countries involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

“This is somebody who wants to be in control of everything. At the G20 summit, he is one out of 20 and not quite so much in control,” said Tsang.

“[Xi] wants to send the signal that he is in charge and working with friends and partners. The SCO summit in Central Asia, with Putin joining, ticks all the boxes.”

Read Also: United States Records First Death Caused by Monkeypox

This is China’s strategy

Experts are not surprised with what China is currently doing. Central Asia is a strategic place for China, so it is where the superpower wants to establish its dominance first. The move also shows the country’s foreign policy priorities.

“Central Asia has always been the strategic pivot for China whenever conflicts loom in the East Asia side. Every time China gets into tension with Taiwan, Central Asia all of a sudden opens up to be the place that they make grand gestures,” said Niva Yau, a senior researcher from the OSCE Academy in Kyrgyzstan.

China’s thrust to penetrate Central Asia is also motivated by the raps the country has received after the abuse the Chinese government inflicted against the Uyghur Muslims residing in Xinjiang. It has caused other Uyghurs to call out the country and seek help from the United Nations Human Rights Office.

“So China knows that Central Asia is about to be hit by this international pressure, and they need to go there and get reassurance that they are ready for this, or that they are on China’s side. Especially because at these UN votes, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan haven’t been voting along with China the way Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have. I think it’s fairly obvious what’s on the agenda,” Yau added.

Read Also: UK and EU Pours in $500 Billion to Subsidize Energy Among Households, Businesses

The SCO Summit

The Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO) has since committed itself to pull nations to the side of China and Russia. India and Pakistan became members in 2017, and Afghanistan and Iran are slated to become members of the bloc. According to experts, the SCO’s goal is to block the potential influence of the Western superpowers like the United States from gaining more influence and hold over nations in Asia.

However, experts contend that the SCO is shaky now, and its strength is still unlike that of long-existing international congregations like the ASEAN or EU.

“There has actually been some tension at times within the SCO. Russia has tried to advance some of its interests which aren’t always aligned with China’s in the region. I don’t think it’s perfectly set up to be this kind of platform for shaping a new world order,” said a fellow from the China Power Project, Brian Hart.

“But I do think it is an important organization, one that Beijing hopes to continue to support and lead – and one that it does appreciate Russian buy-in on.”

Source: CNN

Highland Park Shooter Received License at 19, Father Claims Not to Be Involved with Plans of the Shooting

Independence Day in Highland Park, Illinois, ended on a bleak note when a gunman opened fire during the parade.

The shooting left 31 victims injured while seven were reported dead in Highland Park

A manhunt followed, leading to the arrest of a 21-year-old suspect who was arrested and charged with seven first-degree killings. The Lake County state attorney also shared that the shooter could face a “dozen more” indictments.

Robert Crimo Jr, the suspect’s father, said he and his son were discussing another mass shooting the day before. The shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Copenhagen shooting they discussed occurred on June 3 when a 22-year-old Dane killed three people and injured many more.

“He goes, ‘Yeah, that guy is an idiot,'” recalled the father. “That’s what he said.”

Robert Crimo III, the Independence Day shooter, also said. The people who commit mass shootings give people more reasons to call for stricter gun policies.

People are criticizing the father for sponsoring Crimo’s firearms owner’s ID card when the killer was 19, according to officials. However, the father insists he was not involved in the mass shooting. 

It is also unclear whether the suspect would have needed to renew his license when he turned 21.

In a lawsuit against the gunman, Crimo’s parents sought the help of attorney Steve Greenberg. Infamous for defending R&B singer and sexual predator R. Kelly.

“I don’t know how much worse it could get then you wake up in the morning and a few hours. You realize that someone that you’ve loved. Nurtured all their lives has done such a terrorific act. Done It to people that you love and respect,” Greenberg told ABC7 on Wednesday.

“This isn’t the parent’s fault. This is the fault of the young man. Who was allowed by the system that’s out there to buy military-grade assault rifles.”

The lawyer also discussed an incident in 2019. Wherein the police were called to investigate a possible threat from Crimo. They involved the seizure of a collection of knives.

“The police investigated. They didn’t perceive there was any great threat . They returned these knives to the family just a few hours later,” said Greenberg. “And there were no other incidents. So we’re three years later now.”

Amid Criticisms, Chief Justice John Roberts Defends SC

Photo Credit: Erin Schaff | The New York Times 

In the face of condemnation for repealing the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts defended the Court, saying that the Court is only functioning under its conception of the Constitution and that the masses should not question its goal simply because they disapprove with its judgment.

According to Roberts, it is folly for people to begin questioning the Supreme Court’s integrity following its contentious overthrow of the Roe decision, which guaranteed women the constitutional right to abortion. Critics should avoid doing so since the Supreme Court simply utilized its authority, though Roberts did not identify any individuals or groups.

“If the Court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” said Roberts during an interview.

When the case was first opened, Roberts stated that they were having difficulty coping with the large number of individuals expressing their displeasure at the possibility of the ruling being overturned. Roberts said it was “gut-wrenching” for the Supreme Court Justices to cross the highways full of barriers and protesters every day. They were not helped by the epidemic or the rigorous lockdown rules.

The barricades and protests began in May when a draft opinion was leaked, indicating that the right to abortion might be revoked. As a result, people gathered in front of the Supreme Court Justices’ homes to air their grievances, in addition to protesting in front of the Supreme Court Halls.

Read Also: Powell says Feds will Carry on with their Task of Thwarting Inflation

Leaks may threaten judicial process

The leak caused a lot of problems for the Justices before even the final text was made public. The Justices are determined to find the perpetrator of the crime, citing it as a grave threat to future High Court legal procedures. According to Justice Neil Gorsuch, officials must apprehend the leaker as quickly as feasible.

“Improper efforts to influence judicial decision-making, from whatever side, from whomever, are a threat to the judicial decision-making process,” added Justice Gorsuch.

Excerpts from the leak appear in Justice Samuel Alito’s final ruling, which effectively forbids abortion beyond 15 weeks. Following the verdict, numerous states promptly enacted abortion laws.

Meanwhile, Justice Roberts did not join the other five justices in reversing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, stating that there was no clear necessity to do so and instead, the Court should adopt a “more measured route.”

Read Also: A Legacy has Ended, What Will Transpire in the Next Few Days Following Queen’s Death

The public is discontent with the Supreme Court

The judiciary is free to operate. That much is correct. However, from the disclosure of the draft to publishing the final ruling, a poll reveals that the public has lost faith in the Supreme Court.

According to Roberts, the Justices’ dissenting personalities are exclusively exercised within the Court’s Halls. He went on to say that the Justices even lunch together after intense deliberations on specific matters. Finally, Roberts said that the hatred is limited to the Court’s walls but not beyond since the justices respect one another.

Source: NPR

Two US Navy Ships Make Their Way to Taiwan Straight, China says its Ready to Respond

Photo Credit: Markus Castaneda

Two Navy warships from the United States have been deployed and have already entered the Taiwan Strait. The move from the US government is the first since the tension between China and US increased after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan over a month ago.

According to the US 7th Fleet based in Japan, “[The USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville were making the voyage through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the deployment of the two warships serves as a message to anyone that the US military will go to regions in so long as international laws allow them.

“These ships (are transiting) through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” the statement from the 7th Fleet added.

Meanwhile, the Chinese military, through the Eastern Theater Command, said it is highly monitoring the ships and is ready to answer any provocation from the vessels.

The Strait where the Navy ships are traveling is a 110-mile stretch of water found between self-ruling Taiwan and mainland China. It is to be noted that China has long laid claim to Taiwan as part of its territory. And in effect, the Strait is part of the internal waters of China.

While this is so, the US said that the straight is part of international waters under international laws, which state that territorial waters are 12 nautical miles from the coastline of a country. Thus, the Strait is not part of the territorial waters of China.

Read Also: Taiwan, US to Bolster Economic Ties Amid Disagreement From China

Beijing is mad

Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said, “The frequent provocations and showing-off by the US fully demonstrate that the US is the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait.”

Ever since Pelosi made her way into Taiwan, China has increased its military presence and activities nearest to the territorial waters of Taiwan. After the House Speaker visited the island nation, Chinese vessels then made their way to the Taiwan Strait along with several warplanes. The military activities are clear manifestations of China’s disagreement with US-Taiwan relations.

Further, the Eastern Command announced that it has started “joint combat-readiness security patrols and combat training exercises involving troops of multiple services and arms in the waters and airspace [around Taiwan].”

The announcement is a response to the second round of visitation of US officials to Taiwan where US Senator Marsha Blackburn expressed her support to the nation and said, “I will not be bullied by Communist China into turning my back on the island.”

“I will never kowtow to the Chinese Communist Party. I will continue to stand with the (Taiwanese) and their right to freedom and democracy. Xi Jinping doesn’t scare me,” she added.

Read Also: Impact of China’s Energy Crisis Will be Felt by the World

An overreaction from China

The heightened pressure from China on Taiwan is an overreaction, says the US ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns.

“We do not believe there should be a crisis in US-China relations over the visit — the peaceful visit — of the speaker of the House of Representatives to Taiwan … it was a manufactured crisis by the government in Beijing,” he said.

“[It is now] incumbent upon the government here in Beijing to convince the rest of the world that it will act peacefully in the future,” added the ambassador.

Meanwhile, China implores that the US halt its military transits as it would only increase tension among the countries involved. Chinese ambassador to Washington Qin Gang said that the US better not escalate the tension, or China would have no other choice but to respond. However, US officials said that it would independently make these decisions as long as it is under the purview of international laws.

“We’ll continue to fly, sail, and operate where international law allows, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation, and that includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” said the US president’s coordinator of the Indo-Pacific, Kurt Campbell.

Source: CNN

Many Afghan Women Deal with Hunger Every Day

Photo Credit: CNN

Shakeela Rahmati is one of many women who painstakingly take daily trips in search of alms. Shakeela lives in a neighborhood situated on the hills above the province of Kabul.

She takes a long walk with other women for three hours to the nearest city. With each trip, the women hope for the best – that they can feed themselves and their children when they return home.

The guarantee of Shakeela and her other companion getting what they hope for is left for chance as it relies on the customers who frequent the bakery where the women station themselves. The bakery is only one of few in Kabul where women are allowed to ask for alms from buyers.

“Sometimes we eat dinner, sometimes we don’t. The situation has been bad for three years, but this last year was the worst. My husband tried to go to Iran to work, but he was deported,” said Shakeela.

Half of Afghanistan faces acute hunger, reported the United Nations. In a report done last May by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), 43% of the country only eats one meal per day, while 90% of the population of Afghanistan listed food as their primal need. According to Afghans, the dismal conditions of the country can be traced back to the initial effects of the Taliban rule, which caused the country significant damage to the economy and government.

The Taliban froze over $9 billion of funds from the central bank, as well as imposed sanctions on trade and foreign affairs. Eighty percent of Afghanistan’s yearly budget comes from the aid of foreign countries, and under Taliban rule, these aids were blocked.

The isolation of Afghanistan under the Taliban rule

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants positive and peaceful relationships with the world,” said the Taliban government in one of its declarations. However, many think that the promise made by the governing Taliban party is not being fulfilled as the current conditions of the country show the opposite.

One year after the Taliban governed the country, much of the funds coming from foreign countries are still frozen. Moreover, the Afghan government is under pressure because of its policies that have marginalized women and minorities. For instance, the government has banned secondary education for girls.

The government has promised to repeal the policy, but until now, it has not been honored yet. To add more salt to injury, Haibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban, said that they would make their own rules. According to experts, this is pushing back on international relations.

“The fact of the matter remains that the United States is trying to find moral justifications for the collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan, by freezing the assets and by levying sanctions on Afghanistan as a whole,” said Abdul Qahar, the foreign ministry spokesperson told the reporters.

“I do not believe that, that any conditions should be stipulated on the release of funds that do not belong to me, that did not belong to the previous administration, that did not belong to the governments before it. This is the collective money of the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

What the US has to say

Even with the clear reluctance of the Afghan government to receive aid from foreign countries, the US still sent $1 bn worth of aid through the World Bank.

“That’s an example of an area where we’re going to want to continue to have pragmatic dialogue with the Taliban. “We’re going to talk to them about humanitarian aid access, about measures that we believe can enhance the country’s macroeconomic stability,” said a senior State Department official.

The funding and continued commitment of the US to help Afghanistan should help its communities. However, many economists and experts say that it is not enough because of the policies imposed by the Taliban, freezing its funds and foreign aid.

“These policies are putting women at risk here. In the name of feminist policies, we are seeing women die of hunger,” said the International Rescue Committee director in Afghanistan, Vicki Aken.

Source: CNN

Second Delegation to Visit Taiwan Draws Opposite Reaction from China, Taiwan

Photo Credit: Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Another group of senior US government representatives visited Taiwan. Just a few weeks after Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House, made a surprise trip to the island nation. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey led the congressional delegation on their trip to Taiwan.

It may be noted that Pelosi’s unexpected visit to Taiwan, where she spoke with the president and lawmakers, caused China to raise an eyebrow. Pelosi’s visit was the first by a US official in the nation in 25 years. China then vented its frustration and increased its military presence and actions close to Taiwan.

According to experts, the visitation hurt relations between Washington and Beijing but will lead to more conflict between China and Taiwan. Since then, China has imposed trade restrictions on Taiwanese imports and exports as a protest against Taiwan’s amiability toward US officials.

And now, in an unexpected move, a number of US Congressmen have addressed both China and Taiwan with another message. An act of solidarity on the one hand and potential dissension on the other.

The five-member group, which includes lawmakers John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, Don Beyer, and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, claims that their trip to Taiwan is an effort to “reaffirm the United States support for Taiwan” and will foster stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Read Also: Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan a ‘Huge Mistake’ says Analysts

The delegation’s purpose for the visit

Senator Markey and his colleagues would meet with Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan to talk about national defense-related issues. The committee on security and trade issues will also be present, along with Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu. The negotiations should strengthen the island’s national defense and foreign policy.

“In such uncertain times, we have to exert more efforts to ensure Taiwan’s peace and stability. We have a moral obligation to actively prevent any unnecessary conflicts. In responding to this greatest challenge, Taiwan showed unbelievable restraint and discretion,” said Sen. Markey.

The foreign ministry of Taiwan expressed happiness about the visit and assured the team of their warmest welcome. The ministry also expressed its gratitude to the group for demonstrating the US’ support for Taiwan amid rising tensions with China.

In a press statement, Senator Markey’s spokesperson said that the five-member block “will meet with elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests, including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investments in semiconductors.”

Read Also: Thousands of Hectares of Forest Damaged by Wildfires, France Needs More Firefighters

China is not happy with the visit

China acted swiftly to respond against the US and Taiwan during Pelosi’s visit. It’s the same as before this time. Liu Pengyu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said, “Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy. [China] “firmly opposes any kind of official ties [between the US and Taiwan. It] “proves that the US does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Straits and has spared no effort to stir up confrontation between the two sides and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

After Pelosi’s visit, China punished Taiwan by limiting trade to and from the country and bolstering its military presence in the region closest to the island. With this new development, it’s possible that this will also happen and perhaps intensify.

What President Tsai has to say

In a statement, President Tsai stated, “Taiwan not only worked closely with our international friends, keeping close tabs on all military movements around us, but also kept conveying to the world our resolve to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan strait.”

“[Taiwan wishes to] further deepen our cooperation with the US and jointly maintain prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In the face of global authoritarian expansionism, Taiwan also wishes to deepen trade relations with like-minded democracies and create a more resilient supply chain.”

Source: CNN

Taiwan, US to Bolster Economic Ties Amid Disagreement From China

Photo Credit: Robyn Beck via Getty Images

US and Taiwan have formally informed the public that trade talks and investment agreements will begin, opening up new economic opportunities for both nations. Washington and Taipei also released statements praising the agreement on their respective websites.

Taiwan was left out of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, leading to the release of the US-Taiwan Initiative of the 21st Century Trade in June. The Biden administration created the IPEF to be present and connect with the nations in the Indo-Pacific region that are vulnerable to Chinese influence. “We’re here today for one simple purpose: the future of the 21st Century economy is going to be largely written in the Indo-Pacific,” Biden stated after the plan was laid out.

The newly-signed negotiations of the two countries would encapsulate eleven areas, including “trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, anti-corruption, SMEs, agriculture, standards, digital trade, labor, environment, state-owned enterprises, and non-market policies and practices.”

According to Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations, the nations would reach a consensus regarding the sanctions and pressures China has placed on Taiwan, which have intensified since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers visited the country.

“Everyone can see that China is engaging in economic coercion [towards] not only Taiwan, the US but also many other countries, [which is] harmful to the world economic order,” stated Taiwan’s trade representative, John Deng.

Read Also: Second Delegation to Visit Taiwan Draws Opposite Reaction from China, Taiwan

China and Taiwan

Despite the Communist Party of China’s lack of influence in Taiwan, Beijing has always asserted Taiwan’s status as a part of its territory. Over seventy years, Taiwan and China had separate governments. The one-China principle should be imposed by Taiwan first before any international economic negotiations, Beijing authorities said in response to the repeated visits of high-ranking US officials to Taiwan. China went on to say that the US should support and uphold the policy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said, “[Beijing has] always opposed the negotiation of any economic and trade agreements with Taiwan that have sovereign connotations and are official in nature.”

When US Speaker Pelosi visited Taiwan, China retaliated immediately by boosting its military presence in the area closest to Taiwan’s territorial waters and conducting more military drills. Beijing has since advised the US not to attempt to connect with Taiwan, but the reality was different.

China consequently imposed trade limitations and outlawed a large number of imports and exports to and from Taiwan. According to a US diplomat, China would use the recent visit of US officials to justify the pressure it applies to Taiwan and its attempts to alter the status quo.

“[China] overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented. [China’s actions could] jeopardized peace and stability across the strait and in the broader region,” said Daniel Kritenbrink, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Furthermore, several experts predicted that China’s trade restrictions could negatively affect world trade.

A senior economist from Capital Economics, Gareth Leather, said, “Taiwan matters far more to the world economy than its 1% share of global GDP would indicate. A further escalation in cross-strait tensions that cut Taiwan’s export off from the rest of the world would lead to renewed shortages in the automotive and electronics sectors and put further upward pressure on inflation.”

Read Also: Factories in China Shut Operations Amid Worst Heat Wave in Decades

Enhancing US-Taiwan trade relations

The Taiwan Trade Representative is still optimistic that the cooperation will “deepen trade relations with the US, enhance Taiwan’s economic competitiveness, bolster foreign investment, and improve Taiwanese businesses’ image” despite pressure from China.

Additionally, it could “increase the chance for Taiwan to join international trade organizations, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).”

According to the US Trade Representative (USTR), both countries will “seek to adopt provisions that promote collaboration on ways to address these harmful non-market policies and practices.”

Source: CNN

Matthew McConaughey speaks at the White House, calls for stricter gun laws

Image Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In light of the recent shootings across the United States. Actor Matthew McConaughey addresses the public in an emotional speech calling for enhanced gun relations. The recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is where McConaughey comes from.

The 22-minute speech features the actor teary-eyed and talking to the public. About how he had to see grieving families from his hometown while they prepared for the burial of their children.

“We heard from so many people: Families of the deceased, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, Texas Rangers, hunters, border patrol and responsible gun owners who won’t give up their Second Amendment rights. They all said, ‘We want secure and safe schools. We want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns.’”

The actor told the country’s lawmakers that they should draft a law increasing the age of individuals who can purchase guns from 18 to 21. He also said that the process should include background checks and other provisions.

McConaughey

McConaughey is well-known for his acting roles like “The Wedding Planner” and the Oscar-winning piece “Dallas Buyers Club.” But more than his primal acting prowess, McConaughey has also been vocal about the matter. He wrote an op-ed to The Austin American-Statesman, titling it “It’s Time to Act on Gun Responsibility.”

“I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children,” he said in the op-ed.

“There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility,” McConaughey added in the writeup. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do. It is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”

Meanwhile, president Joe Biden has since notified Congress to immediately create laws that would control and gatekeep gun ownership and use in the country.

Other politicians, including Sen. Chris Murphy, a well-known advocate on the matter, are working with Sen John Cornyn to push for tighter gun laws and to strengthen security inside schools.

Source: CNBC

Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan a ‘Huge Mistake’ says Analysts

Photo Credit: Sam Yeh | Getty Images 

Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House Speaker, met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen a few weeks ago. The visit prompted Beijing to issue stern warnings, expressing strong opposition to the American diplomat’s arrangement.

The president of Taiwan expressed her happiness at Pelosi’s visit and complimented her for her courage in defending democratic principles. Tsai stated that Taiwan is more than eager to cooperate with the U.S. administration on issues relating to security in its jurisdictions over the Taiwan Straits and the Indo-Pacific area.

The last time a senior U.S. official visited the nation was 25 years ago. China was so incensed by the action that it announced that it would intensify military operations even closer to Taiwan than previously. Beijing added that Pelosi’s visit could be viewed as interfering with China’s domestic affairs.

China has repeatedly cautioned Pelosi not to make the appointment because it views Taiwan as a part of its territory.

Read Also: Trade Areas Blocked by China as Retaliation to Taiwan Only a Small Fraction

Tsai to Pelosi

“Speaker Pelosi is truly one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends,” Tsai said in a ceremony honoring Pelosi with the “Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon.”

“We are truly grateful to you for making this visit to Taiwan to showcase the U.S. Congress’s staunch support for Taiwan,” said President Tsai. She added that Taiwan would maintain and even strengthen its economic connections with the U.S. while also strengthening its supply chain stability with the Western giant.

Pelosi declared during the ceremony that she supports world peace and will find additional methods to improve U.S. trade relations with Taiwan. “The story of Taiwan is an inspiration to freedom-loving people in the U.S. and around the world,” said Pelosi.

“Out of the crucible of challenge, you have forged a flourishing democracy, one of the freest in the world, proudly led by a woman president.”

In a news conference, Pelosi stated that Taiwan’s neighbors should use the island as an example of democracy to stand up to China, whose “one country, two systems” promise did not materialize.

According to Taiwanese law, Taiwanese who have made significant contributions to the nation are awarded the medal Pelosi received. However, the statute also specifies that the honor may be presented to “foreigners to promote diplomatic relationship,” in the case of Pelosi.

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The visit might be a mistake

While both countries’ confidence was increased by the visit, some analysts believe it might have been a mistake. “Conflict is escalating, and it is escalating at a rapid rate. China will not take any reckless steps … [but] this type of confrontation could spark a most unfortunate accident,” said a senior fellow at Yale University, Stephen Roach.

Former U.S. ambassador to China, Max Baucus, concurs with others that the visit might be more detrimental than beneficial. “Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan increases tensions, and unnecessarily,” Baucus said. “I think it’s dangerous. I think it’s reckless.”

The angst of China is far from the declaration of war

Experts claim that this is far from a declaration of war despite China’s ongoing display of rage through increased military presence and activity. A senior analyst at the Eurasia Group said, “However, these PLA exercises are more performative signals than preparations for war; the crisis is not yet the base case, and the chance of kinetic conflict remains very low.”

“The PLA did not interfere with Pelosi’s flight to Taiwan and says its planned exercises are meant as a ‘serious deterrent’ to the U.S. and a ‘serious warning’ to Taiwan,” the analyst further said.

“Future expressions of support for Taiwan by the U.S. and allied officials — including visits, dialogues, and defense cooperation — are now likely to meet harsher responses.”

Regarding whether the White House approves of Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, Biden has been ambiguous.

Source: CNBC

Continuation of Abortion Rights Decided Through Popular Vote in Kansas

Photo Credit: Today

Kansas is now the first state in America to use direct democracy for abortion legislation. After it announced its decision on Tuesday.

The Roe v. Wade decision has been a point of division in the country for many years. With people on opposite sides of the issue fighting hard to preserve their beliefs and principles. After the Supreme Court ruled out the provisions of the landmark case. Which serve as the basis of the federal law that legalizes abortion, the country was divided in factions.

Kansas is the first state to allow its citizens an opportunity for direct democracy. In which they will be able vote on whether or not the recent Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade trump state legislation. This voting also gives authorities insight into what Kansans think of the decision.

The result of the voting could be material to the mid-term elections. It benefits parties, most especially Democrats, who want to tap on the emotional leanings of the populace.

Kansas is one of several states where people from surrounding areas like Missouri. Oklahoma and Texas have traveled in order to access abortion services despite heavy pressure from Republicans. Now, the fate of pregnant women from these states are left to Kansan voters who will be asked. Whether they want to amend their state legislation in accordance to the overturned decision on Roe v. Wade.

Read Also: Manchin-Schumer Bill to Increase Corporate Tax Rates, Gets Full Support from Biden

According to the government: “Because Kansans value both women and children. The constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion. It does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States. The people, through their elected state representatives and state senators. May pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”

“Yes” vote win

If the win will go to the “Yes” faction. It means that the Kansan majority has agreed that the state should amend its constitution legalizing abortion. It “does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”

Abortion will not be totally banned immediately after. However, a “Yes” win would force state legislation to pass laws that prohibit abortion in all phases of pregnancy. Moreover, to challenge the legislation would be more difficult as the law has the confidence of the majority.

“The amendment that is on the ballot will mandate government control over our private medical decisions. Ultimately pave the way for a total ban on abortion,” said a member of the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. Ashley All, that supports abortion rights.

“No” vote win

If the “No” vote wins, abortion processes within the state will remain legal up until 22 weeks. However, even with a victory, it’s possible that legislation could still pass. Restrict access or impose penalties for accessing abortion process – only under tighter scrutiny than before.

Meanwhile, state courts in Kansas currently acknowledge abortion to be legal. Back in 2015, there was a campaign initiated by several lawmakers that bans; however, it was blocked by the courts.

Read Also: Poland Procures Defense Machineries from South Korea

Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides that. All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This was the precedent which urged the Kansas state Supreme Court to rule in favor of abortion three years ago.

Against abortion

It is already given that many people across the US want to favor the legality. However, there are several coalitions like Value Them Both, led by Kansans for Life. The Kansas Catholic Conference and Kansas Family Voice that believes abortion should be banned.

“Kansans want to ensure that moms and babies are protected. So, Kansans are very concerned about this push to make us an unlimited destination,” said Brittany Jones.

According to Jones it took years to prepare the recent amendment to abortion rights.

Source: CNN

Pelosi’s Visit a Boost for Taiwan, China to Engage in Military Activities as Response

Photo Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office

The recent arrival of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan garnered varied reactions from world leaders, with China being the most afflicted by the visitation.

China was quick to respond by issuing messages and manifestations that condemn the move by the US. According to Chinese authorities, Pelosi’s visit will have a “severe impact” on the existing relations of the US and China. Further, China has expressed plans to launch its “air and sea exercises” and drills around Taiwan in the next few days.

The visit is a “major political provocation” says China, and a strike at China’s sovereignty. It marks as the first time in 25 years since a top-ranking US lawmaker visited Taiwan. The Communist Party of China has long laid its claim to Taiwan.

The US ‘stands with Taiwan’

Even with the continuous bouts of warnings from Chinese authorities regarding Pelosi’s visit, the delegation proceeded with the meetings. Pelosi together with other officials sat down with the Taiwan legislature and the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen for a ‘series of high-profile meetings.’

According to Pelosi, their intention is to impress and “unequivocal message” that “America stands with Taiwan.”

“We want Taiwan to always have freedom with security and we’re not backing away from that,” the California Democrat said. She added that she came to praise the Taiwanese for their bravery in upholding their country’s democracy despite pressure from its neighbor.

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

Analysts said that while China addressed its warnings to America, Taiwan will feel receive the worse end of China’s retribution.

Chinese drills and military exercises commence

China has made its condemnation clear to Taiwan and the US by announcing the start of their military procedures around the country. The Eastern Theater Command and Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that it will begin the series of “targeted military operations to counteract the situation.”

The exercises are clearly an escalated form of Beijing’s threat to Taiwan – much more so than before. In the official map of the exercises, analysts said that the activities are closer than before and even cover the territorial waters of Taiwan. The drills will encircle the island completely, including likes and zones in the Taiwan Strait.

China has “gone a lot farther than they ever have before,” said Carl Schuster, who worked at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Center Intelligence before and a former US Navy captain.

“The geopolitical signal being sent is that China can close Taiwan’s air and sea access whenever it wants,” Schuster added.

Read Also: Monkeypox is Now a Global Health Emergency Following Declaration from WHO

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Taiwanese Defense Ministry said that the military activities planned by China would “threaten international waterway, challenge the international order, undermine cross-strait status quo and endanger regional security.”

A setback for Beijing

While China has been keen on sending its warnings to both Taiwan and the US, it is clear that Pelosi visiting Taiwan is a hiccup for China, which had earlier impressed their disagreement with Pelosi’s visit and remarked that is crosses the “red line.”

Hu Xijin, a former editor-in-chief of Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid, said, “Pelosi landed in Taiwan, which of course reflects that our deterrent power is not enough to stop her early offensive.”

“But if you are very frustrated because of this, thinking that we have ‘lost’ and encountered a new ‘national humiliation,’ it’s a bit exaggerated then. Some individuals can think that way, but we must not have such a collective vulnerability,” he added.

Further, the timing could bad for Xi Jinping’s re-election bid in the coming 20th Congress.

“The Chinese tried to to use saber rattling and use the rhetorical war in order to deter Pelosi’s trip, and they went overboard with their threats,” said the director of the China Program, Yun Sun.

“Now Pelosi decided to have the trip and that leaves the Chinese hanging, because they can’t really deliver.”

Source: CNN

Manchin-Schumer Bill to Increase Corporate Tax Rates, Gets Full Support from Biden

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

United States President Joe Biden pushed for a campaign to tax giant corporations and wealthy individuals. Justifying that the motion is also a campaign against income inequality in the country. Surprisingly, the move by Biden was strongly supported by lawmakers.

Early on, Biden and a group of Democrats campaigned for the same in the Senate. But were expectedly discarded by Congress. This is dues to several Republicans and even some Democrats who rejected the proposition to increase tax rates. However, a reversal by Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, breathes life to the cause.

Since the 1940s, the contribution of companies to tax revenue has been low.

The bill supported by Biden would enforce a 15% minimum tax on corporations with at least $1 billion in profits. If the bill becomes law, more than $313 billion will be collected in just a decade.

Time and again, Biden has said that companies should pay a “fair share.”

Taxation and Economic Policy

Research groups in the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy have found. The companies pay less than the corporate tax rates imposed upon them. In fact, some large companies do not pay federal taxes. Last 2017, then-president Donald Trump lobbied and succeeded in reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

When Biden took over, he set his eyes on increasing it. Just last year, Biden proposed to raise the rate to 28%, but it was blocked in Congress.

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

According to one of the main proponents of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The bill would vote on it next week and hopefully discuss pertinent matters. Lower prescription drug prices, tackle the climate crisis with urgency and vigor. Ensure the wealthiest corporations and individuals pay their fair share in taxes, and reduce the deficit.”

“Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying. Lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security. Climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation. Rather than elimination,” Senator Manchin said to the public.

Senator Manchin clarified that while the method is increasing the tax of the wealthy. It is in stark contrast with the Democrats’ version. The bill shall henceforth be called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, said Manchin.

A win for Biden

While the Manchin-Schumer bill is inferior to the multi-trillion-dollar spending bill that Democrats hoped to pass last year. It serves as a start for the Biden administration to gain momentum regarding the matter.

“This is the action the American people have been waiting for. Biden said while calling on the chambers to pass the bill. “This addresses the problems of today — high health care costs and overall inflation. As well as investments in our energy security for the future.”

Further, should the Manchin-Schumer initiative gain the support of the Senate. It will be a positive boost for Biden’s agenda ahead of the November 8 midterm elections. This could be a vantage point in the conclusion of whether or not Democrats will maintain power over Congress.

Read Also: Italy’s Prime Minister Relinquishes Post, Parliamentary Dissolved

Apart from the bill, Biden also gained another feat. As a bill was passed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the US. Boosting the sector is one of the primary goals of Biden’s administration. These happen amid Biden’s low approval ratings due to several Supreme Court decisions that favor the conservative spectrum.

In a statement, Biden said, “This bill will reduce the deficit beyond the record-setting $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. We have already achieved this year, which will help fight inflation as well.”

“And we will pay for all of this by requiring big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. With no tax increases at all for families making under $400,000 a year,” he added.

Source: Reuters

Italy’s Prime Minister Relinquishes Post, Parliamentary Dissolved

Photo Credit: Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA/Bloomberg

Sergio Mattarella, the president of Italy, moved to dissolve the country’s parliament leading to a snap election. The executive decision came immediately after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi relinquished his post.

The country’s election will happen this September 25.

When asked why he pushed for the dissolution of the parliament. Mattarella said that the move was “inevitable” considering the current political landscape of the country.

The president addressed his constituents from his home at the Quirinale Palace. He said that he wanted to thank all his ministers and the former Prime Minister Draghi for their unwavering service to the public.

“The political situation that has been determined has led to this decision,” Mattarella said. “The discussion, the vote. The manner in which this vote was cast yesterday in the Senate made clear. The loss of parliamentary support for the government. The absence of prospects for forming a new majority. This situation made the early dissolution of the chambers inevitable.”

“I have the duty to emphasize that the period. We are going through does not allow for pauses in the interventions that are indispensable to counteract. The effects of the economic and social crisis and, in particular. The rise in inflation, which caused above all by the cost of energy and food. Entails heavy consequences for families and businesses,” he added.

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The exit of Draghi was after the parties in his coalition boycotted a confidence vote. He won in the Senate last Wednesday. The 5-star movement, center-right Forza Italia, and the far-right League were among the parties that boycotted the vote.

Draghi is a phenom in Italy, garnering the confidence of many world leaders. As well as their support, most especially since Draghi stands as a voice against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his siege on Ukraine.

Who is Prime Minister Draghi?

Draghi assumed the Prime Ministerial position last February 2021, leading a cabinet with a wide political spectrum. When he entered the political scene, Draghi was unaffiliated with any party.

The length of time for Italian Prime Ministers serving the cabinet has been relatively low. In just eight years, five Prime Ministers – including Draghi – have handled the position. Before Draghi was Giuseppe Conte, who resigned after several issues spurted relating to his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite a short time in office, Draghi was called “Super Mario”. He saved the euro from falling apart during a debt crisis. He worked harmoniously with the finance minister Daniele Franco so the country could recover billions of euros.

When 5-Star removed its support from the confidence vote, followed by the declaration of the hard-right League and the center-right Forza to withdraw from the government, Draghi had to make his decision. It was noted that Draghi earlier conditioned that he would not lead a government without 5-Star.

With the withdrawal of the three powerful parties in the cabinet, stocks went down by over 2.5%. At the same time, Draghi’s resignation leaves the government on the brink of collapse.

Without a Parliamentary, Italy will not be able to pass reforms and pass its budget for the next Fiscal Year. Further, Covid-19 funds will also be inaccessible. The country would have to wait for the September elections.

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Draghi’s Resignation

Draghi’s resignation poses a lot of risks to Italy. With worsening inflation rates, the Italian government needs a mind like Draghi’s, which has proven to be useful during economic turmoil. The annual inflation in the European Union surged to 9.6% in June.

Inflation is only exacerbated by the wildfires caused by increasing temperatures across the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron supported Draghi calling him “a great European, a trusted partner and a friend of France.”

President Macron commended Draghi and his contribution to the European Union, saying that Draghi was an “unfailing supporter in providing European responses to our common challenges, particularly in the face of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

Source: CNN

Political Crisis May Be Possible Following Economic Hurricane

The world is currently facing two major global economic crises. But the pandemic has not completely loosened its grip on us. Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to pose a significant risk for humanity as well.

The economy remains fragile due both conflicts that continue exporting more violence around globe. While also putting pressure domestically with high unemployment rates among other things

CEO of JP Morgan Chase

“The hurricane is right down the road coming our way,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase. “We just don’t know if it’s a minor one or Superstorm Sandy. You better brace yourself.”

Economic Of The Country

When the economy of a country grows shaky and poverty rates increase, it’s not hard to see how political systems could crumble. This has happened in several developing nations during recent years with worrying consequences for their citizens. Who may suddenly find themselves without access to food programs. Other essentials due an economic crisis that would likely get worse before getting better again.

Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan, comments on America’s economy and how it has been impacted by Federal Reserve efforts to slow down inflation. However, the pandemic outbreaks and Ukraine war have also contributed to the situation.

The current administration has been heavily criticized for its handling of the economy, but it’s not just America that is going through these troubles. All over the world, gas and food prices have increased as well. Businesses are short on staff because there aren’t enough people available to work them at full capacity. This includes restaurants who can no longer affordably operate during peak times with limited crew sizes.

The world is changing at an alarming rate, and countries are struggling to keep up. For example: Colombia has seen huge changes in recent years with citizens hoping for a change in their government. While Sri Lanka continues their own crisis from bad decisions prior to the pandemic, running out of money all together. The Middle East could suffer another political instability if prices continue rising as they have been lately.

The World Food Program has noted that a “seismic hunger crisis” is currently devastating the world. Potentially bringing nearly 50 million people to starvation – which would be more than COVID-19 victims. The magnitude of poverty and hunger can cause great migrations leading political instability into an impending economic hurricane. This looming threat lurks over every country dealing with these problems differently. But all are equally concerned about its potential consequences on their stability as well as how they will respond if necessary or inevitable.

Parents of Victim Lexi Rubio Refused to Meet Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Image Source: CHRON

The parents of the girl who was shot and killed at Uvalde High School in Texas didn’t want to meet with Governor Abbott. They cited his policies as a key reason for declining, but it seems that there may be more going on here than just dislike towards him – it was something their daughter would not have wanted.

The parents of Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, Felix and Kimberly sit down for an interview with ABC News. They reveal they had no interest in meeting Abbott, believing that Lexi would not have accepted the invitation.

“It’s not what Lexi would have wanted,” she emphasized . Kimberly Rubio also revealed that Lexi echoed their stance towards guard control. “There’s no reason for just an average citizen to have these types of weapons. What for? What do you need them for? Is it worth my kid? These kids?”

The ongoing debate over gun control has left many parents in an emotional state. Now, following the tragic school shooting that took place near Houston last week and killed nineteen students plus two  teachers, invaluable lives; they’re calling on legislators to ban AR-15 style weapons. However Florida Executive County Sheriff Felix Rubio believes his department will go against him if he supports restrictions regarding guns which configure lockout law or stand your ground Law

Award Ceremonies

The family of four from Robb Elementary School was attending two award ceremonies, one at 8 am and the other 10:30 am. When they heard about a shooting on campus their first response was to rush back home as quickly as possible so that they could be present when police arrived in order to investigate what happened first-hand.

The shooter, Salvador Ramos, was in the classroom for 77 minutes before officers entered and killed him. During this time period he discharged 315 rounds of ammunition with over 200 shots being fired within just four minute.

Kimberly said that she bore responsibility for not bringing Lexi home after the ceremony and it’s a decision which has weighed heavily on her mind.

“I have enough ‘what ifs’ on my end, so I am not interested in reading about someone else’s mistakes, because I already have to live with my own,” said Kimberly. “It wasn’t done on purpose, but it’s still a mistake because I made it, otherwise she’d be home with me. I left my baby at the school.”

Lexi Rubio always had a passion for softball and her dream was to become an attorney. She wanted to be able to make a difference. “She wanted to make a difference. And I want that for her now. She still can,” said Kimberly Rubio. “As far as, like, bringing my kids back to school next year, yes, we’re terrified. We’re terrified because we didn’t think it would happen here.”

President Joe Biden Makes a Statement Addressing the Latest Mass Shooting

President Joe Biden was set to make a statement to raise the hopes. The morals of the people during the Fourth of July celebration. He like many Americans, soon learned about the tragedy that struck Highland Park when another mass shooting occurred.

“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community. On this Independence Day,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.

In Highland Park, Illinois, a Fourth of July parade was disrupted. When a shooter opened fire, leaving six dead and over 30 wounded.

Biden revealed he “surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter,” . Emphasizing the recently signed gun safety legislation.

“But there is much more work to do,” the President added. “I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”

His Vice President, Kamala Harris, also spoke about the event and pointed to the signed legislation. He saying, “Today’s shooting is an unmistakable reminder that more should be done to address gun violence in our country.”

Later Monday evening, the President held a brief moment of silence to grieve the dead over the Independence Day picnic. Biden also revealed that he spoke with Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

President Joe Biden

Earlier that afternoon, President Joe Biden reemphasized the new gun safety law. The Illinois shooting during remarks that were commemorating the holiday with military families at the White House. He said:

“You all heard what happened today. Each day we’re reminded there’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life.”

The tragedy in Highland Park is only the latest to the challenges in the United States. Causing dissatisfaction among the people. 

A poll recently showed that the majority of the citizens, regardless of their parties. They were unhappy with the state of the country.

Aware of the situation, President Joe Biden attempted to reassure the people. He saying, “I know it can be exhausting and unsettling. But tonight I want you to know we’re going to get through all this.”

He released a statement earlier that day, saying the best days still lie ahead.

“The Fourth of July is a sacred day in our country – it’s time to celebrate the goodness of our nation. The only nation on Earth founded based on an idea: that all people are created equal,” tweeted Biden. “Make no mistake, our best days still lie ahead.”

The Power of Being Politically Aware and Socially Informed

Image source: fairobserver.com. Over the years, among the controversial topics that have become an integral part of people’s conversations are those relating to Politic. As a matter of fact, gone are the days when only those who are associated with or directly involved.  The public office are willing to participate in addressing political issues. In this day and age, being politically aware is not only desirable but imperative.

In retrospect, politics has always been at the forefront of many changes, developments, and breakthroughs in society. Together with only a few other social constructs and branches. It has transformed the lives of millions of people from across the globe. Whether a person likes to admit it or not, their views. Decisions are molded and dictated by courses of action taken by elected representatives. In light of recent happenings, every person must stay informed or at least aware of recent advances in the political world.

Due to the diverse nature of multiple sectors in society, citizens share and perceive their political views differently. As time goes by, public governance tends to impact lives more substantially than ever. This is because the representatives and officials chosen by the people will always have a bearing on the payment of taxes, handling of finances, and putting up infrastructure.

Contrary to what most people think, staying apolitical does more harm than good to society. In a way, those who choose not to get involved in political topics and discussions are sleeping on their rights to advocate for positive change and create a difference. In other words, it is highly encouraged that citizens be more proactive when it comes to political matters. At the end of the day, political awareness is not only about politicians but is also about each and every member of society.

Right to Vote

Out of the available tools in a democratic country, the right to vote is deemed to be the most important of them all. However, exercising this right also entails upholding the duty and responsibility of staying updated with Politically developments and other public issues. There is no better way of choosing public officials and representatives than by keeping abreast of politics.

Through political awareness, one can have more knowledge about what is happening in the world. In fact, this knowledge does not only pertain to issues in the realm of politics but in others as well. By being informed, one is more capable of making better decisions for themselves and the rest of the community members.

For others, politics may appear to be a complicated field to engage in. Moreover, a lot of people may also feel powerless about it and believe that their opinions will not matter. However, there are numerous ways that one can make their voices be heard. Through the collective efforts of individuals from around the world, small changes can very well make a significant impact on a global scale. Therefore, one should not underestimate the power of Politically awareness and involvement. Much of society’s problems can be overcome when everyone carries their fair share of responsibility as private citizens.

References:

https://studybreaks.com/thoughts/5-reasons-political-aware/

https://picante.today/politics/2020/01/29/130817/political-awareness-and-its-importance/

Stephanie Grisham’s Tell-All Book Reveals Trump’s Terrifying Temper

Source: Stephanie Grisham’s official Instagram account. Former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is set to release her much talked about and controversial book titled I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in the Trump White House this coming October 5, 2021The book reveals her personal perspective of the former president during her stint as Press Secretary. As can be expected, the release of the book has been met with much criticism from the Trump camp, accusing Grisham of attempting to make money.

The New York Times obtained a copy of the manuscript and quoted a portion of the book where Grisham wrote, “When I began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras. I began to regret my decision to go to the West Wing.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone

In the manuscript, Grisham also wrote that White House counsel Pat Cipollone was always the target of Trump’s frequent anger. “He didn’t like them telling him that things he wanted to do were unethical or illegal. So he’d scream at them. But then he’d usually listen. And then yell at them again later,” Grisham wrote in the manuscript.

“I should have spoken up more,” Grisham added in what she wrote. After some time, all the members of Trump’s team “eventually wore out their welcome with the president,” she added. “We were bottles of milk with expiration dates.”

Some time in her stint as press secretary, Grisham also shared that Trump asked her to investigate permanently evicting press from the White House briefing room. As a response to the instructions, she looks for other places where members of the press can stay other than the designated briefing room. “Each time the president asked me about my progress on the matter, I let him know I was still working on options,” Grisham added in her manuscript.

Stephanie Grisham’s upcoming book

Following the release of excerpts from Grisham’s upcoming book, Trump released a statement saying, “Stephanie didn’t have what it takes, and that was obvious from the beginning,” Trump said in a statement last Tuesday. He accused her of becoming “very angry and bitter” after a breakup. Trump was referring to Grishma’s relationship with former Trump aide, Max Miller.

“She had big problems, and we felt that she should work out those problems for herself. Now, like everyone else, she gets paid by a radical left-leaning publisher to say bad and untrue things,” the former president added.

“Too bad that sleaze bag publishers continue to report this very boring garbage,” he said in his statement. “We and the MAGA movement are totally used to it. And someday in the not too distant future, we will have our voice back and be treated fairly by the press.”

The office of Melanie Trump also released a statement on Grisham’s upcoming book. It said, “The intent behind this book is obvious. It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House. Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.”

Despite the harsh statements from the Trump camp, Grisham remains focused on the release of her book. She wrote, “This is not, by the way, a book where you need to like me.”

REFERENCES:

  1. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/574235-stephanie-grisham-describes-trump-anger-toward-her-and-others-as
  2. https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/trump-s-terrifying-temper-taste-for-show-tunes-and-call-to-defend-the-size-of-his-penis-1.4686601
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/stephanie-grisham-book/2021/09/27/6589e23c-1cf1-11ec-8380-5fbadbc43ef8_story.html
  4. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/09/13/grisham-dishes-on-melania-494293

Texas School Shooting Strengthens Concern Over Gun Control

Mass shooting has long been a thorn in the country’s side. The United States has witnessed more than 200 already this year (212 to be exact). The tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, makes it the second deadliest school shooting on record. It has prompted many to revive the discussion of gun control.

Despite the alarming number of shootings in 2022. Many are under the impression that gun control measures will go nowhere in Congress. They are also becoming increasingly scarce in most states. Apart from some Democratic-controlled states, the majority have not budged on gun control in the past years. Instead, they moved aggressively to expand gun rights.

“Here I am, in a position where I can do something. Sen. Greg Leding said, a Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arkansas Legislature. “I can introduce legislation, and yet, to know that it almost certainly is not going . To go anywhere is a feeling of helplessness. 

Sen. Leding Unsuccessful

Sen. Leding had been unsuccessful in his push for red flag laws that allowed authorities. They remove firearms from people who were deemed a danger to themselves or others.

After the massacre in Texas that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. Democratic governors and lawmakers across the United States pleaded for the Congress and their legislatures to pass gun restrictions. Republicans called for more effort to address mental health and added security.

Gov. Greg Abbott is among those who have leaned towards mental health struggle talks. Citing the tough gun laws in places like New York and California are ineffective. 

Florida stands out as a Republican-controlled state that took drastic measures after the 2018. Shooting at a high school in Parkland left 14 students and three staff members dead. Lawmakers were prompted to to pass a law with a red flag provision. Lets enforcement officers petition a court to have guns confiscated from people who may be considered a threat.

Democrats are crying to have the law expanded. They allow family members and roommates to make the same requests of the courts. But Republicans have shown little movement to amend the law.

Steve Bannon Surrendered after Being Charged with Contempt of Congress

Source: CNBC

The world turned upside down last year when Democratic President Joe Biden won the elections. beating Donald Trump’s attempt for a second run. The former president did not take the defeat lightly. Refusing to acknowledge the loss and making massive claims of massive fraud despite his lack of evidence. Chaos followed as Trump supporters stormed the Congress building. Several figures were pegged for knowledge of plans, including Steve Bannon.

A one-time top adviser for the former President. Bannon is accused of defying summons to testify his knowledge of plans for the protest on January 6, 2021. According to subpoena documents, Bannon announced on the eve of the riot on his right-wing. War Room podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Bannon was indicted last Friday on one count of refusing to appear for a deposition. One count of refusing to provide subpoenaed documents to a committee investigating the riot. 

On Monday morning, Steve Bannon arrived at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell,”.  He said outside the office. Bannon appeared in the U.S. District Court in the afternoon and stated. He believed the charges were politically driven, vowing to fight against them. “We’re tired of playing defense,” said Bannon. “We’re going to go on the offense on this.”

Bannon also live-streamed his arrival for his first court appearance. “I want you guys to stay focused, stay on the message,” he urged his followers. “Remember: signal, not noise. This is all noise, that’s signal.”

The former White House chief strategist was released on his own recognizance under some court restriction. Bannon will be required to check in weekly, remain at his listed address. They will have to notify the court if he is to travel domestically in the Washington, D.C., area. He was also prohibited from traveling internationally under the condition of the court’s approval. They having surrendered his passport. Bannon is scheduled to return to court for a virtual hearing on Thursday.

Bannon Spoke to Reporters About Steve

Outside the courthouse, Bannon spoke to reporters, vowing to fight the charges. “What we’re doing is taking on this illegitimate Biden regime,”. He told reporters. Bannon also urged support not to “ever let this noise up here take you off message.”

A private citizen on January 6 and during the run-up to the attack on the capitol. Bannon said Trump directed him not to produce documents or give testimony. Might reveal any information that the former president’s lawyers are trying to legally protect. The indictment alleged that Bannon has “not communicated with the Select Committee in any way. Since accepting service of the subpoena on September 24, 2021.”

Steve Bannon was represented by Alabama- based attorney David Schoen. A member of Trump’s legal team during his second impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump himself was impeached by the House on a single charge of insurrection for his role in the January 6. Assault on the capitol and acquitted by the senate.

The White House Announces New Internet Initiative for Low-income American Families

Image Source: TheGuardian. It was reported on Monday by the Biden administration at white house. Twenty internet service providers have agreed to provide subsidized service to low-income customers. A move that would enable millions of homes to get access for free thanks to an existing federal subsidy.

The Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives $30 monthly subsidies ($75 in tribal regions) on internet connection to millions. It was received $14.2 billion of that total.

About 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for 100 megabits per second. Higher speed service thanks to the new commitment from internet providers. They making internet service fully paid for with the government subsidy. If they sign up with one of the providers participating in the program.

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Joe Biden prioritized expanding rural running for president. Low-income areas’ access to high-speed internet as part of his infrastructure plan. As the coronavirus pandemic raged on, he frequently spoke out about the difficulties faced by low-income families.The children could participate in remote learning and finish homework assignments with In accessing dependable wifi.

President Obama Remarks

President Obama remarks at a White House event that if we didn’t know it before, we do now. They honoring the National Teacher of the Year

According to the White House, 80 percent of the US population. Including 50 percent of the rural population, is served by the 20 internet firms. They have agreed to decrease their rates for eligible users. Services provided by participating enterprises on tribal territory are priced at $75 a month. They is the same as the subsidy provided by the federal government.

As part of the initiative to increase access to high-speed internet for low-income households. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with telecom executives, members of Congress, and other stakeholders on Monday.

Providers include Allo Communications, AltaFiber, Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Att, Breezeline. Cox Communications Frontier IdeaTek Cox Communications Jackson Energy Authority MLGC Spectrum (Charter Communications) Starry. Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, Cable and TV.

People in the United States who have incomes of up to or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Who are beneficiaries of any of several government assistance programs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors. Benefit may be eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

China Ready to ‘Work Actively’ to Mediate Between Ukraine and Russia

Photo: Reuters

After weeks of staying in the dark amid the current European crisis, China finally took a stand.

China is ready to “work actively” with countries around the globe to mediate between Eastern Ukraine and Russia. However, President Xi Jinping did not provide specifics. how this would happen and only reiterated his disapproval of the Western sanctions. 

The affairs in Ukraine was “worrisome,”. Beijing was “deeply grieved by the outbreak of war again on the European continent,” said Xi according to a statement. In a video conference call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

China Communication

“China will stay in communication and coordination with France, Germany. the EU and, in light of the needs of the parties involved, work actively together with the international community,”. the statement continued, further saying that all attempts “conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported.” 

Scholz and Macron have announced plans to boost communication coordination with each other for peace negotiations that may begin soon.

Beijing and Moscow have a common interest in provoking the West. But their relationship has been thrown into question after recent events in Ukraine.

While China has not denounced Russia outright or implemented any sanctions on Moscow. it remains neutral amid Russia’s economic turmoil brought about by the international community’s pressure at Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Experts say that Beijing has a very slim margin for intervention. It will likely fear the likelihood of secondary sanctions if it chooses to side with Russia.

China has continuously declined to call the attack on Ukraine a Russian invasion. their officials have repeatedly cited NATO’s expansion towards Russia as one of many grounds for strife.

Xi stressed the necessity to promote peace negotiations and urged the two parties. to “keep the talks going and bring about peace outcomes,” according to the statement. 

President Xi of China once again criticized the United States for its ongoing trade war,.this time during the conference call, cautioning they will “dampen the global economy that is already ravaged by the pandemic.”

President Biden Announces Additional $1 Billion Worth of Military Aid to Support Ukraine

On Wednesday, Ukraine received a major boost in support. When United States President Joe Biden announced it would add $1 billion in military aid to combat the Russian invasion.

The support includes shipments of 36,000 rounds of ammunition. Two harpoon coastal defense systems, and 18 howitzers. 

Read also: Biden Gives the US’ Backing to Finland and Sweden NATO Enlistment

Before the announcement, Biden spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He later announced the support in a statement after the call.

The President

“I informed President Zelensky that the United States is providing another $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine. Including additional artillery and coastal defense weapons. As well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems. The Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,” said Biden. “We also discussed Secretary Austin’s efforts in Brussels today to coordinate additional international support for the Ukrainian armed forces”

Apart from military aid, the President is also sending $225 million for humanitarian assistance to help the victims of war. They will receive safe drinking water, medical supplies and healthcare, food, shelter, and cash to purchase essential items.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba revealed. He spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to thank him for the country’s “crucial military assistance.”

“(I) emphasized that we urgently need more heavy weapons delivered more regularly,” tweeted the Foreign Minister.

With all the support Ukraine has been receiving, Russia’s UN Ambassador. Vassily Nebenzia, accused Western countries of entering a proxy war with Russia.

“I would like to say to the Western countries supplying weaponry to Ukraine – the blood of civilians is in your hands,” he told reporters.

Last May, the Biden administration announced plans to hand Ukraine M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems when they were assured that Kyiv would not use them for targets within Russian territory. President Biden was adamant about the condition, explaining that he did not want to escalate the Ukraine war.

In addition, it was reported last month that the United States was working to develop solutions, including pulling a launcher off a US ship to provide Ukraine with Harpoon missile launch capabilities.

Read also: Biden administration to create 500,000 charging stations for EVs

Biden Gives the US’ Backing to Finland and Sweden NATO Enlistment

Photo: NPR. President Joe Biden announced that Finland and Sweden have full. Total and complete support from the United States for their appeal to join NATO. The Western bulwark was founded during the Cold War as a security foundation. 

Biden, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held a meeting at the White House Rose Garden. Biden said he is dispatching paperwork to Congress on Thursday to aid the ratification of their applications.

“Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger,” said Biden. “And a strong, united NATO is the foundation of America’s security.” 

The move to approve both nations’ appeal for NATO enlistment will create a rare instance of bipartisanship. As Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell give their backing.

“I think the United States ought to be first in line to ratify. The treaty for both these countries to join”. Stated McConnell following speaking with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday. 

The two countries applied for membership in NATO after Russia attacked Ukraine. Still, it is unlikely that they will be accepted due to Turkey’s stance on Kurdish groups. Saying it will dismiss any bid from the two countries because they backed. These organizations that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers a terrorist group. 

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion,” stated Erdogan last week. 

Biden Seemed to Agree

Biden seemed to agree to those worries when he queried the Senate to ratify the two nations. Application “once the perspectives of all allies are addressed, and NATO adopts the accession protocols.” 

Finish leader Niinisto addressed Turkey’s worries about his nation’s appeal to NATO. Stating that Helsinki was “open to discussing all the concerns Turkey. It may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner.” 

He also revealed that some talks had already started and would continue going.

Swedish Prime Minister Andersson described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “watershed moment for Sweden,” a country. That has kept a policy of military impartiality for hundreds of years, even amid the two world wars. 

Andersson stated that she highly regards the bipartisan backing in Washington for her nation’s NATO bid. Like Niinisto stated, her nation discussed with all NATO members, counting Turkey. “On different levels to sort out any issues at hand.”

Biden also tackled concerns that Finnish and Swedish enlistment in NATO might fan the already burning flames in neighboring Russia. Putin is against the expansion of NATO, viewing it as targeted to Russia and its borders. 

New member joining NATO

“New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation,” Biden stated. “In the face of aggression, NATO has not grown weaker or more divided. It has grown stronger, more united.” 

Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s employee and now the Center for a New American Security senior. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, commented in an interview with NPR that the risks Finland. Sweden may experience from Russia are not as extreme.

“I think that Russia is too bogged down with its war in Ukraine. And I think that’s exactly that calculus that Finland and Sweden have. That they see that Russia is distracted, and it gives them this window to make a move,” said Kendall-Taylor.

School Shooting Rampage Raises Political Heat on Texas Governor

The United States was shaken up when another mass shooting occurred. This time at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Taking the lives of nineteen children and two teachers. The school shooting became the second deadliest on record and became the 212th mass shooting in the country in 2022.

Addressing the nation last night, President Joe Biden echoed the sentiments that millions are asking. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why are we letting this happen?” On Wednesday, an early afternoon press conference was held and Gov. Greg Abott. Many officials released detailed information about the tragedy and its perpetrator.

Before listing down victim assistance agencies. Abbott took the time to say this. “It is intolerable and it is unacceptable for us to have in the state. Anybody who would kill little kids in our schools.”

It didn’t take long for someone to break the press conference as former Texas congressman. Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke spoke up and said, “You’re offering us nothing.” An angry guard replied to the former congressman. Telling him he was out of line before suggesting he leave the auditorium. 

“We need to focus not on ourselves and our agendas,” replied the governor. “We need to focus on the healing and hope. Who have suffered unconscionable damage to their lives and loss of life.”

His sentiments were validated when Lt. Governor Dan Patrick joined in and asked. Can we not be a nation that can stand together. At least a day or a week or a month?”

Abbott revealed that on Tuesday morning. Before the shooting, 18-year-old Salvador Romas sent a post that said he would shoot his grandmother. After fulfilling his word, Romas drove to the school but crashed. He continued on foot with his AR-15 assault rifle and a backpack. Although he was confronted by district police officers. The shooter used the back door to enter and kill the children and teachers. Two officers were wounded in the gunfire before a Border patrol agent stopped the shooter.

The issue of loose gun purchasing laws in Texas inevitably came, but the governor countered with blue states New York, Illinois, and Californation that have tough gun laws.

“People who think that maybe we just implement tougher gun laws is going to solve it. Chicago and L.A. and New York disprove that thesis,” said Abbott.

The governor proposed additional school security, but ignored gun control.

Joe Biden Acknowledges Economic Troubles but Says Recession Is Not Inevitable

Photo: United States Studies Centre

When COVID-19 ran rampant in early 2020, the world’s economic state fell into chaos. But countries were able to recover slowly. Although most countries are still in the recovery phase. There is a chance of another economic downturn for the United States.

The country was able to bounce back from the crash two years ago. But its progress may be undone with prices steadily climbing. President Joe Biden acknowledged that the United States is undergoing economic pain with high inflation. Supply chain shortages, and the geopolitical earthquake from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Still, he believes that a recession is not inevitable.

Joe Biden Acknowledged

The President acknowledged that the U.S. economy is going through problems like the rest of the world. But that the country’s problems were “less consequential than the rest of the world has”. Due to its internal growth and strength.

“This is going to be a haul,” said the President at a news conference in Tokyo after holding talks. Also with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday. “This is going to take some time.”

President Joe Biden pointed to Hyundai’s recent announcement that it would be building its first dedicated EV plant. Battery manufacturing facility in the United States as evidence of economic progress. He also praised Samsung’s decision to build a $17 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility in Texas. To help tackle the global shortage of chips that has severely affected American manufacturing.

“When it comes to gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that. God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger, and the world will be stronger. Less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” he also added: “It’s bad. The price of gas at the pump would be a matter of great discussion at my kitchen table. When I was a kid growing up. It’s affecting a lot of families.

President Biden then announced his planned launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. A new trade deal formulated to signal the country’s dedication to the contested economic sphere. The framework is also meant to address the need for stability in commerce following the pandemic and Russia’s invasion. The President also said the framework would increase U.S. cooperation with other nations in the region.

Ahmaud Arbery Trial Starts This Week

Source: ABC

It was February 23, 2020, when 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was confronted and brutally gunned down in Brunswick, Georgia. One year and eight months after his death, the jury selection for the trial against the three men who are accused of killing the young black man has already started.

Despite making headway, a judge clarified that the process might be lengthy and time-consuming. He also shared that it might take more than two weeks before the jury selection is finalized as duty notices have been sent out to 1,000 individuals in Glynn County. Nevertheless, the victim’s mother remains hopeful that the right people will be selected.

Due to the stringent COVID-19 restrictions imposed last year, the trial was put on hold. One of the lead prosecutors who previously handled the case pushed for the trial to be held in front of a grand jury, which was only possible after restrictions were eased starting June of this year. 

The case has captured the interest of the public, with many considering Ahmaud Arbery’s death as a racially charged transgression. It was said that the victim, who was once a football player and is a highly athletic individual, frequently exercises in the area. He was out for an afternoon jog on the day the suspects pursued him. 

In a statement made to police, one of the suspects, Gregory McMichael, claimed that the victim looks like the suspect of a series of break-ins around the neighborhood. This is why he, together with his son, Travis McMichael, took a pistol, hopped on their pickup truck, and went after the young man.

A third suspect, William Bryan, was also arrested after he was identified as the person who captured a cellphone video of the incident. The said video had surfaced in May 2020 and quickly went viral on the internet. 

This sparked outrage, especially within the Black community. People quickly mobilized and showed their solidarity for the young man in the form of Black Lives Matters marches and other forms of protest.

Until now, all three suspects maintained their not-guilty plea. The McMichael’s insist that they were only performing a citizen’s arrest and are acting in self-defense. On the other hand, William Bryan denies conspiring with the other suspects.

The upcoming trial is shaping up to be a long and arduous court battle as it tackles several contentious issues such as racism and the controversial citizen’s arrest law in the state of Georgia.

The outcome of this noteworthy case will undoubtedly set a precedent for the issues mentioned above. For this reason, many people are keeping close tabs on the development of the trial. 

Meanwhile, the victim’s family hopes that justice will be served and that their beloved son will leave a lasting legacy in the fight against racism. Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said in an interview, “This is 2021, and it’s time for a change. We need to be treated equally and get fair justice as human beings because we’ve been treated wrong so long.”

Biden Signs $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill into Law

Source: Reuters

President Joe Biden has signed into law a bill that will put $1 trillion into infrastructure projects to rehabilitate various roads, bridges, rails, water facilities, and other projects while providing union jobs to American citizens. 

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in our Nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness,” reads the bill, which is now officially a law after the US president signed it during a White House ceremony last Monday. The great effort aims to do more than improve infrastructure to US soil. It also looks to provide jobs across the country by dispersing budgets to state and local governments to fix bridges and roads. There will also be an effort to expand broadband internet access to Americans that don’t have direct access to internet lines today.

An estimated $1 trillion will go into these large and long-term projects. Biden says that the passage of this bill is a great way to show that “despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.” “Too often in Washington, the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want. With this law, we focused on getting things done,” Biden explained during his speech during the ceremony. 

The signing ceremony happened on the White House South Lawn amidst the chilly weather with many witnesses and participants. Members of the Democratic and Republican parties were present in what was the beginning of what some have considered one of the most significant bipartisan projects in the last few decades.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will include a $550 billion budget for physical infrastructure, representing the most significant investment in roads and highways in the last several years. More specifically, $110 billion will go to roads, bridges, and other adjacent projects, $39 billion to public transit, $66 to railways, and $65 billion for broadband internet infrastructure. Another $55 billion will also go to efforts to provide clean water.

The infrastructure project came under a lot of pressure in the House after many backs and forth between members of Congress. Ultimately, the bill would get passed in a 228-206 vote. Thirteen Republicans would cross party lines to vote alongside the far majority of Democrats. All thirteen conservative public servants drew much criticism from the members of their party for supporting the bill, including from former President Donald Trump.

President Biden has also announced that he will be appointing former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to supervise the execution of the $1 trillion infrastructure law. The basis for the decision has been the former mayor’s successful efforts to rebuild roads, bridges, and ports after the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Landrieu will serve as a senior adviser and will take account of the coordination of the new law. He will be working through the National Economic Council shared with the White House in a formal statement.

Part of the original plan that Biden drew up for infrastructure investments was an additional $555 billion for clean energy investments. This inclusion is part of his goal to reduce carbon emissions by the United States by 50% in the next fifty years. In addition, part of the fund set for the project is a recycled $200 billion initially meant for COVID-19 efforts but has since gone unused.