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  • Cindy McCain endorses Biden for president in rebuke of Trump news

    Democrat Joe Biden said Tuesday that Cindy McCain plans to endorse him for president, a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump by the widow of the GOP's 2008 nominee. Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain's family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. McCain's backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with the GOP president and give the former vice president a boost in Arizona, a crucial swing state that McCain represented in Congress for 35 years.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:55:32 -0400
  • Firefighter who died in blaze was on elite Hotshot crew news

    A California firefighter killed while battling a blaze in the mountains east of Los Angeles was identified Tuesday as a member of an elite Hotshot crew dedicated to fighting wildfires. Charles Morton, 39, a San Diego native, was a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service and a squad boss for the Big Bear Interagency Hotshots in San Bernardino National Forest, officials said. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said Morton was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:31:21 -0400
  • They said it: Leaders at the virtual UN, in their own words news

    Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts you might not have heard — the voices of leaders speaking at the first all-virtual U.N. General Assembly leaders meeting who might not have captured the headlines and the airtime on Tuesday, the first day of the 2020 debate. “Our eyes are focused with hope and faith on scientists and researchers who are working on vaccines and drugs to stop the pandemic.”

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:57:09 -0400
  • Global Surgical Loupes and Cameras Industry

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:43:00 -0400
  • U.S. House passes China forced labor bill near unanimously

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:37:10 -0400
  • Brexit: Boris Johnson clears crucial Commons hurdle in bid to push through Internal Market Bill news

    The Brexit legislation enabling Boris Johnson to alter key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement cleared a major Commons hurdle on Tuesday night. The Internal Market Bill cleared its committee stage after an amendment tabled by the Government to head off a Tory backbench rebellion was accepted without the need for a vote. Mr Johnson was last week forced to agree to give MPs a vote before ministers can use powers related to Northern Ireland which would breach the divorce deal and international law. While the legislation will return to the Commons next week, ministers intend to delay its final stages in the House of Lords until after a crunch EU summit in mid-October where they hope to sign off on a trade deal. This would likely mean that the Bill would not return to the Commons again until December, just weeks before the transition period ends.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:23:36 -0400
  • CIA assessed Putin likely directing Russian effort to discredit Biden, say officials news

    The CIA assessed in late August that Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials are "probably" directing a Russian operation to intervene in the election by discrediting Joe Biden, current and former intelligence officials told NBC News. The assessment was first reported by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. Two of the officials said the CIA assessment analyzed the activities of Andreii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker who has provided information to the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:23:00 -0400
  • Trump blames China for coronavirus and touts Middle East deals in U.N. speech news

    In a speech delivered remotely due to the pandemic, Trump warned the world to punish China for failing to contain the pandemic, which has killed about 200,000 Americans and nearly 1 million around the world. “The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump told the annual U.N. General Assembly in a pre-recorded speech from the White House. Trump claimed, without evidence, that the U.S. has succeeded in the fight against COVID-19 and predicted that 2021 would be the “best year ever.”

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:19:03 -0400
  • Saudi Arabia to lift ban on Mecca pilgrimage amid virus news

    Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said Muslims will be allowed to perform the smaller, year-round pilgrimage starting Oct. 4 as the kingdom gradually begins lifting restrictions that had been in place on Islam's holiest site for the past seven months due to the coronavirus. State media reported the government plans to allow up to 6,000 visitors a day at the sprawling Grand Mosque in Mecca, which will be open to Saudi citizens and residents only during this first phase. Before visitors can enter the mosque to pray or perform the “umrah” pilgrimage, they will have to apply and reserve a specific time and date through an online application that is launching Sept. 27 to avoid crowding and maintain social-distancing guidelines.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:16:52 -0400
  • Saudi Arabia says any nuclear deal with Iran must preserve non-proliferation

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:16:12 -0400
  • Trump, Biden fight to define campaign's most pressing issues news

    “I will fill that seat,” Trump responded before launching into an extended riff on his plans to quickly nominate a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. During a swing through Wisconsin a few hours earlier, there were no big crowds for Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaign is strictly following protocols to combat the coronavirus. The battle over the future of the Supreme Court was largely missing, too, with Biden far more eager to talk about the pandemic, health care and the economy.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:04:50 -0400
  • NFTE World Series of Innovation Challenges Open to Young Social Entrepreneurs news

    Small teams from around the globe competing for a $21,600 prize pool Get started at York, NY, Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- How do we create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world? How do we speed recovery from the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19? The young people competing in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) World Series of Innovation this fall have some big ideas about that and so do the leading global companies sponsoring the nine innovation challenges that launched last week.Now entering its eleventh year, the NFTE World Series of Innovation, presented by Citi Foundation, has grown into a global online competition that attracts thousands of young people from dozens of countries, helping them learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while developing entrepreneurial skills such as opportunity recognition, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.Teams competing in this challenge cycle are being asked to come up with innovative ideas for products, services, policies, or initiatives that could advance one or more of the UN SDGs. The prize pool totals $21,600 and nine different challenges are being offered: * Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge, SDG 7: empower school communities to help speed the transition to clean energy. * Citi Foundation COVID Recovery Challenge, SDG 10: help grow the income of those hit hardest by the COVID-19 economic crisis: the lowest-earning workers. * EY Educational Equity Challenge, SDG 4: help drive racial equity across education. Solutions could range from making equity a focus to dismantling barriers such as the digital divide. * Mary Kay Textiles Upcycle Challenge, SDG 12: create a "circular economy" that reduces waste by promoting clothing and textile reuse or repurposing. * Mastercard Gateway for the Unbanked Challenge, SDG 9: help the unbanked make and receive payments, providing a gateway to improved financial access. * Moody's Foundation Climate Action Challenge, SDG 13: empower individuals or communities to take action on the problem of climate change. * Moody's Foundation Peace & Justice Challenge, SDG 16: promote progress on equal justice and create stronger institutions for all. * PayPal Environmental Justice Challenge, SDG 1: build the resiliency of vulnerable communities most at risk from impacts of climate change and other disasters. * PIMCO Zero Hunger Challenge, SDG 2: help food banks increase access to healthy food by reducing waste, improving mobility, or creating more equitable food systems.“Providing young entrepreneurs a platform that elevates their ideas and voices is essential," says Florencia Spangaro, Director of Programs at the Citi Foundation. "We are proud to continue partnering with NFTE as part of the global Pathways to Progress initiative, enabling young people to develop their entrepreneurial skill sets and create solutions that generate positive impact in their communities.”NFTE president and CEO, Dr. J.D. LaRock, adds, "In these uncertain times, more young people are embracing entrepreneurship as way to take ownership of their futures. Competitions such as the NFTE World Series of Innovation not only provide opportunities for learners to develop their entrepreneurial mindset, but also to see how their passions for social and environmental justice can drive innovation. That's empowering for young people. It's also inspiring for us. We are seeing an emerging generation of impact entrepreneurs."The World Series of Innovation challenges are open to youth who are at least 13 years old but not more than 24 years old as of December 31, 2020. The submission period is open, and entries can be submitted now through 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 14, 2020. Prizes will be awarded in 2021. For full details on the challenges, sponsors and prizes, visit NFTE Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ignites the entrepreneurial mindset with unique learning experiences that empower all students to own their futures. Research shows the entrepreneurial mindset—a set of skills including initiative, self-reliance, adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration—leads to lifelong success. Empowered by the entrepreneurial mindset and equipped with the business and academic skills NFTE teaches, program alumni are prepared to thrive. NFTE works with schools and community partners across the U.S. and alliances with global youth development organizations bring NFTE programs to additional young people in ten countries around the world. NFTE has served well over a million students since its founding. Learn more at Citi FoundationThe Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit Attachment * 2020-NFTE-World-Series-of-Innovation CONTACT: Joanne Lessner Lambert & Co for NFTE 212-222-7436 Joe DiBennedetto Lambert & Co for NFTE 616-258-5762

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:36:00 -0400
  • Trump lashes China as UN warns against 'Cold War' news

    US President Donald Trump cast blame on China over the coronavirus pandemic in an address on Tuesday before the United Nations, whose chief warned against a new "Cold War" between the two powers.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:17:31 -0400
  • In UN speech, Duterte defends drug war but tempers tone news

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte defended his drug crackdown, dismissed criticism from human rights advocates and underscored his country's claims in the South China Sea as the sometimes aggressive critic of the United Nations addressed its annual gathering of world leaders for the first time Tuesday. “The Philippines values the role that the United Nations plays in its fight against the pandemic,” Duterte said in a prerecorded video, the meeting's format this year because of the pandemic.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:02:41 -0400
  • China's Xi, Russia's Putin push back at Trump during annual UNGA news

    China's Xi Jinping responded to President Trump's comments about the coronavirus and warned that China will not "engage in zero sum game."

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:02:00 -0400
  • Trump attacks China over Covid 'plague' as Xi urges collaboration in virus fight news

    * US president uses speech to denounce China, UN and WHO * Beijing has ‘no intention to fight a cold war’ – Chinese leaderDonald Trump and Xi Jinping offered starkly contrasting responses to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, with the US president blaming Beijing for unleashing a “plague” on the world – and his Chinese counterpart casting the fight against the virus as an opportunity for international cooperation.In his recorded video address to the annual UN general assembly, Trump unleashed a rhetorical assault on China which seemed pitched at a domestic audience.Speaking as the US death toll from Covid-19 passed 200,000, Trump promised a “bright future” but said the world “must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world: China.”Trump also took the opportunity to attack the World Health Organization – falsely describing it as “virtually controlled by China” – and again incorrectly claiming that the international body had said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.The UN general assembly has itself been remade by the pandemic, reduced to a virtual event for the first time in its 75-year history, but sharp differences over the international response to coronavirus – and the contrasting world orders being offered by China and the US – were on clear display.Trump promised to distribute a vaccine and said, “We will defeat the virus, and we will end the pandemic” and enter a new era of prosperity, cooperation and peace.The US president also reprised his criticism of the UN, arguing that it should focus on what he described as “the real problems of the world” such as “terrorism, the oppression of women, forced labor, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution, and the ethnic cleansing of religious minorities”.China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun immediately hit back, saying: “The world is at a crossroads. At this moment, the world needs more solidarity and cooperation, but not confrontation.”That message of co-operation was repeated throughout tXi’s speech, in which the Chinese leader posed as the UN’s friend and offered extra cash to find a Covid vaccine, vowing Beijing has “no intention to fight either a cold war or a hot one with any country”.Xi said: “We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation. We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game. Unilateralism is dead.”Echoing the sentiments of the UN secretary general António Guterres, Xi called for a global response to the epidemic, co-ordinated by the WHO – from which Trump has withdrawn and his presidential rival Joe Biden has promised to rejoin.In another implicit rebuke to the US, Xi sought to portray China as the country embracing modernity.He said: “Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization, or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance, goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: the world will never return to isolation.”Trump tried to broaden his attack on China’s handling beyond Covid by condemning China’s carbon emissions record as well as its dumping of plastic.He said: “Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it.” He made no mention of China’s human rights record.But Xi seemed prepared for Trump’s unlikely line of attack, saying China was on course to reach zero carbon emissions by 2060. He added China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.The Chinese leader also signalled his intention to boost China’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement – from which Trump has withdrawn.When his turn came, Emmanuel Macron berated both superpowers for the paralysis of the UN security council in the face of the pandemic and the climate emergency.In a 48-minute speech – more than three times his allotted time – the French president said the council’s members “haven’t been able to come together as we would have wished because two of them have preferred a display of their rivalry to collective efficiency”.Macron also rejected the US claim to have revived UN sanctions on Iran, saying the Trump administration’s policy of “maximum pressure” had failed.In his own speech, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, relished the fact that the US won the support of only the Dominican Republic on the 15-member security council for its effort to “snap back” UN sanctions.“This is a victory not just for Iran but for the global community,” Rouhani said. “The United States can impose neither negotiations nor war on us.”In his opening address, Guterres tried to galvanise the 193-member assembly to acknowledge the world was at a 1945 moment, requiring unprecedented co-operation to prevent the world splitting into two competing empires.Warning that “we are moving in a very dangerous direction,” Guterres said: “Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture. A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide. We must avoid this at all costs.”But he also nailed his political colours to the mast, saying the populists and nationalists had failed to tackle Coronavirus, and again urged world leaders to follow the science, and to recognise that the coronavirus was only a dress rehearsal for the challenges ahead.Guterres won support from the Russian president Vladimir Putin, who proposed a high-level conference to spread research on a coronavirus vaccine and called for the WHO to be given greater powers.The first leader to speak was Jair Bolsonaro, who used the occasion to deny that he had mishandled his country’s coronavirus crisis, and to claim that Brazil had been wrongly portrayed as an environmental villain.Even as fires continue to rage in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands, Bolsonaro claimed Brazil had been the victim of a “misinformation campaign”.Brazil has seen more than 137,200 coronavirus deaths – second only to the US – and Bolsonaro has faced accusations of catastrophically mismanaging the crisis by dismissing its severity and undermining containment measures.In a speech which also seemed directed more to a domestic audience, Bolsonaro once more questioned the need for lockdown measures, and blamed the press for “politicizing” the disease, which has infected 4.6 million Brazilians.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:43:02 -0400
  • Facebook Busts China-Linked Disinfo Campaign That Snared U.S. Users news

    Facebook booted a China-linked disinformation campaign that hyped up the People’s Republic to audiences in Southeast Asia and the U.S., according to a company investigation released on Tuesday.In a Tuesday press conference, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said the network focused mostly on regional issues to audiences speaking Chinese, Filipino and English.The network briefly strayed into U.S. politics with posts both criticizing and supporting President Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.Pro-China Conspiracy Campaign Attacks COVID DrugmakerThe inauthentic network centered around a cluster of “55 Facebook accounts, 11 Pages, 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts,” according to Facebook. In sample content released by Facebook, a fake news outlet dubbed “South China Sea Outpost” criticized American warnings about predatory Chinese state-owned enterprises. Cached copies of the South China Sea Outpost’s since-deleted page show it focused mainly on repackaging links to legitimate news outlets from regional media outlets.In another example of the network’s activity shared by Facebook, one poster copy-pasted content from Democratic activist and fundraiser Scott Dworkin which criticized President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.American politics was mostly a sideshow for the network, with “almost no engagement around this content,” according to Gleicher. Of the network’s 133,000 followers, less than 3,000 were based in the U.S.The network, traced by Facebook to operators in China’s Fujian Province, focused mostly on regional issues in the South China Sea and around the Philippines, including protests in Hong Kong, China’s expansive territorial claims, U.S. naval activity in the South China Sea, promoting the authoritarian Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and news about Filipino expatriate workers, according to Facebook.Leaked Documents Show Russian Trolls Tried to Infiltrate Left-Wing MediaThe suspension follows previous China-linked takedowns by both Facebook and Twitter focused on spreading pro-Beijing propaganda on social media platforms banned in China.In late 2019, Twitter suspended a large network of inauthentic Twitter accounts focused on criticizing protests against mainland rule in Hong Kong. More recently, both Twitter and Facebook have found China-linked disinformation networks spreading propaganda about China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and criticizing the Trump administration and its handling of the virus.While U.S.-related content in Facebook’s most recent takedown appeared to be minimal, the subject of Chinese interference in the 2020 election and whether it represents a greater threat than Russia has proven controversial within the Trump administration.In August, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence listed China, along with Russia and Iran, as three countries seeking to meddle in the upcoming presidential election. China, counterintelligence chief William Evanina wrote, "prefers that President Trump—whom Beijing sees as unpredictable—does not win reelection" and “has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States."But when FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress this week about Russia’s “very active efforts” to sow discord in the U.S. electorate before November, President Trump unloaded on Wray for failing to hype the threat from China.“But Chris, you don’t see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia. They will both, plus others, be able to interfere in our 2020 Election with our totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam,” Trump tweeted.Facebook also announced that it had taken down a separate disinformation networks, linked to Philippines security forces, that was focused on “domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, [a] pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” according to Facebook.The network was uncovered by the Filipino news outlet Rappler, which has faced mounting security threats and legal challenges for its investigations into, and coverage, of the Duterte administration.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:19:33 -0400
  • In Biden, China Sees an 'Old Friend' and Possible Foe news

    President Donald Trump has brought China's relations with the United States to their lowest point in years. Joe Biden could prove, from the Chinese vantage point, to be a tougher and more complex challenge.Biden, according to analysts in China, could do more damage than Trump by pursuing a more coherent strategy to counter China's global agenda.Biden has vowed that if elected, he would take a harder line on climate change and China's crackdowns on ethnic minorities and Hong Kong. To China's leadership, he is the candidate more likely to restore strong ties with U.S. allies and mobilize other nations to pressure China more effectively."Biden would make the hard lines more effective and more efficient," said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. "He might resort to more sophisticated and coordinated tactics against China."Trump, who has once again made China a pillar of his campaign, repeatedly claims that he is the tougher of the two candidates where Beijing is concerned. He has launched a costly trade war against China, taken aim at its rising technology industry and repeatedly blamed it for the spread of the coronavirus.He has also alienated leaders in Europe and Asia and showed a willingness to overrule his own purported security concerns to strike deals that help U.S. companies, as he appears to have done to allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States.In China's hawkish quarters, in fact, there are some who believe that Trump's "America First" presidency has, on the whole, benefited China by reducing American global leadership. A popular meme that has circulated for months mocks him as "Build-the-Country Trump," a pun on a revolutionary name that suggests that Trump has done more to make China -- and not the United States -- great again.In public, Chinese officials have not taken sides or commented on the two candidates' prospects. Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, and other officials have also rejected claims that Beijing is seeking to influence or otherwise interfere in the presidential election.Many of those same officials have come around to the idea that China will very likely face a harsher political environment in the United States, regardless of who wins. The leadership in Beijing now understands that both Democrats and Republicans want to do more to constrain China, analysts said, creating a challenge to the ambitions of China's leader, Xi Jinping, to expand the country's economic and geopolitical might.Biden is no stranger to China's leaders, including Xi. As a senator, he played an important role in China's accession in 2001 to the World Trade Organization -- a point that Trump has repeatedly used to attack Biden.The Chinese leadership views Biden largely through its experience of the Obama administration, when relations were also strained under Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao. The disputes back then centered on cyberespionage and China's military buildup in the South China Sea.President Barack Obama hoped nonetheless to make progress on other fronts, including combating climate change and curtailing the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. He gave Biden, his vice president, the role of cultivating Xi, then China's leader-in-waiting.During a visit to China in 2013, Biden worked with Xi to ease military tensions and warned him against expelling U.S. journalists based in China. Xi, standing in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, called Biden "my old friend."As a candidate, Biden's rhetoric has shifted dramatically, vowing to "get tough on China," in step with a broader bipartisan shift in sentiment in recent years. Last week, he called China a "serious competitor," though not an opponent, a term he has used to describe Russia.During a Democratic debate in February, Biden said that as vice president he had spent more time with Xi than any other world leader up to that point and understood the nature of the man he would be dealing with, if elected."This is a guy who doesn't have a democratic -- with a small d -- bone is his body," Biden said at the debate. "This is a guy who is a thug."Chinese officials are accustomed to China-bashing during election season in the United States."In the current atmosphere, whoever is weak on China will lose points," said Wei Zongyou, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.Yet, Beijing worries that Biden's rhetoric is not just bluster, and that if elected, he would work more forcefully to penalize China on human rights issues than Trump, although his administration has recently imposed sanctions on a number of Chinese officials and companies. Biden has denounced China's repression of Muslim Uighurs as genocidal and vowed to meet with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.Trump, who rarely speaks out on rights issues, expressed support for Beijing's crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang in a private meeting with Xi, according to John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser. The president has yet to meet the Dalai Lama.Some experts in Beijing are concerned about Biden's pledge to craft new trade agreements to counter China's economic influence in Asia and elsewhere. They also worry he could better mount a global defense of democratic values than the administration has, isolating or constraining Beijing."I am under no illusion that Biden would be better," said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.He added that Biden could feel pressure to act even more forcefully toward China, raising the risk of a military confrontation, something that Trump has been averse to.In Beijing, Trump is viewed in some ways as favorable because of his transactional approach, despite the sharp deterioration in relations since the coronavirus pandemic.The Communist Party has also benefited from images of chaos and division that have emerged from the United States under Trump. That has allowed the propaganda organs to highlight the strengths of China's authoritarian system in curbing the coronavirus outbreak."From the party's point of view, Trump is a rolling advertisement for how bad democracy could be," said Kevin Rudd, the former prime minister of Australia, who maintains close ties to Chinese officials.Rudd said Chinese leaders see Trump as a "genuinely negative force" when it comes to preserving U.S. alliances in Asia and beyond.Trump, who, according to Bolton, asked Xi to help his campaign, is now asserting that Beijing wants him to lose because of how he has pressured China on trade and technology.The director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William R. Evanina, echoed that in an assessment last month, citing Beijing's growing criticism of the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the United States' closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston. He and other administration officials have not provided any evidence of Chinese officials using social media or other means to support Biden.Some Chinese experts have expressed hope that Biden, if elected, might pursue a more traditional model of diplomacy, seeking to find common ground with Beijing on issues such as climate change or public health.Chinese leaders have long pushed for that kind of collaborative approach, although officials from both U.S. parties are increasingly frustrated by years of seemingly fruitless discussions."If Biden takes office, China and the United States will still maintain conflicts and contradictions on some issues, but there will be an aspect of more cooperation," said Jia Qingguo, a professor and former dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University.In China's strictly controlled political debate, a "pox on both houses" sentiment prevails online, with no clear favorite emerging. Nationalist voices routinely assail the Trump administration for its policies, although the government has toned down some of the outrage and made repeated calls for dialogue as tensions with the United States have soured badly.No matter who wins in November, China's leaders seem to recognize that opposition to Beijing's agenda has mounted across the political spectrum in the United States.If Biden prevails, he might find it challenging to undo many of the Trump administration's actions against China, leaving Beijing facing the same panoply of disputes it does today."The broader atmosphere is tough or even unfriendly to China -- everyone can see that clearly," Wei at Fudan University said. "The relationship between China and the United States will not return to the past."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:54:41 -0400
  • What a gift: Russia offers UN staff free virus vaccines news

    What do you do when Vladimir Putin offers you Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine, for free? United Nations staff in New York and around the world are now facing that choice, after the Russian president offered Tuesday to provide them the Sputnik-V vaccine in a speech to this year’s General Assembly marking the body’s 75th birthday. Only results from small early studies on the Russian vaccine have been published, raising concerns among some scientists that it isn’t ready yet for widespread use — and prompting worldwide memes about potential bizarre side effects.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:49:00 -0400
  • 'Our 1945 moment': UN faces fears of a 'great fracture' at general assembly news

    Amid prerecorded speeches, secretary-general issues warning over US-China rivalry at an unprecedented moment“Today, we face our own 1945 moment,” the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said as he opened the UN’s 75th general assembly, to a thinly populated chamber of socially distanced diplomats.Guterres meant the historical reference as a call to action inspired by the generation who had survived the second world war and sought to build a new world. A similarly concerted effort, he said, would be needed to defeat Covid and the pandemics that may follow, and the climate emergency.But the veteran Portugese politician acknowledged that 1945 was also the starting point of the cold war, and he warned about a new standoff, with the rapidly escalating US-China rivalry taking the world in “a very dangerous direction”.“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture – each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” Guterres said.The new cold war was apparent at the opening of this year’s UN general debate, with the leaders of major powers sniping at each other in their pre-recorded video messages. In fact, it felt very like the old cold war.It was not the winners in the battle against coronavirus who had pride of place on the opening day of speeches. Otherwise New Zealand, South Korea and Germany would open the proceedings.Instead it was the victors of the second world war, who established control of the new UN in the wreckage of 1945 and have not released their grip since, who set the tone. Four of the five permanent members of the UN security council, who hammered their veto-wielding power into granite 75 years ago, spoke in the opening session.Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin presented their widely divergent views of the world within the first 90 minutes. Emmanuel Macron berated both the US and China for the diplomatic impasse at the UN, in a speech that, at 48 minutes, was more than three times longer than the official limit. Boris Johnson, representing the fifth member of the permanent five, had been given a speaking slot on Saturday, near the end of the general debate, a harsh measure of the UK’s ebbing influence.It was a long way from the first UN general assembly, held in the Methodist Central Hall in London, the embodiment of hope of better times amid the rubble of the blitz. Three-quarters of a century later, the permanent home of the UN in New York was unusually quiet and its reservoir of hope was running low.In other years, midtown Manhattan ground to a halt to allow presidents, prime ministers and their entourages to criss-cross its grid on their way to brief hotel room summits. This year the traffic flowed easily. The world’s leaders were present only in their pre-recorded messages played on two giant screens in the general assembly hall.Guterres was one of only two speakers to deliver their speeches in person (the other being Volkan Bozkır, a Turkish diplomat serving as the president of the general assembly). Facing the hall, where each country was represented by just one or two diplomats, sitting well apart, he delivered a pugnacious call to action in desperate times.“People are hurting. Our planet is burning,” the former prime minister said. “We must be guided by science and tethered to reality. Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse.”There was no doubt who Guterres was talking about. The first two world leaders to speak were Jair Bolsonaro and Trump, neither of whom has been accused of being “tethered to reality” in the present crisis.In their speeches, both claimed to have made astounding progress against both the coronavirus and the climate emergency, though both have repeatedly told their own people that neither is a serious problem. Both have overseen catastrophic responses to the pandemic (the US death toll was confirmed as passing 200,000 virtually as Trump’s video message was being played) and large areas of their countries have gone up in smoke.Trump’s speech was a barnstorming seven minutes, less than half than the time he was allotted, and in a tone just short of yelling, and at about twice his normal speed.The International Crisis Group’s chief UN analyst, Richard Gowan, suggested he looked like “a man who suddenly realised on starting his speech that he urgently needed a pee”.An alternative explanation was that he was speaking fast so his speech could be repackaged as a campaign video – which it was within minutes by the Republican party.Most of Trump’s seven minutes were dedicated to a ferocious attack on Beijing, and its responsibility for releasing the “China virus” on the world. Amid the litany of complaints aimed at China, however, Trump made no mention of the mass incarceration of the country’s Muslims and the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong.The president’s bluster left space for Xi and Putin to act like the grown-up super powers in the room, with reassuringly turgid speeches urging peace and multilateralism.Xi made news, declaring that China’s carbon dioxide emissions would peak by 2030 and the country would reach carbon neutrality by 2060. And he displayed munificence, donating $100m to UN funds.In his video message, Putin offered free vaccinations to UN staff, claiming his country’s Covid vaccine was “reliable, safe and effective”. Coming from a former KGB officer widely believed to have approved the use of polonium-210 and Novichok nerve agent against his country’s enemies, the offer of free injections had a sinister resonance.It was a reminder that, despite the withdrawal of Trump’s America from global leadership on the UN stage, the understudies for the role at this point in history have very limited appeal of their own.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:46:07 -0400
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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:43:00 -0400
  • Jailed Morocco journalist probed by court on rape charge news

    A Moroccan journalist and human rights activist held by authorities for weeks on charges of undermining state security, receiving foreign funding and rape, appeared before an investigating judge in Casablanca on Tuesday. Omar Radi's hearing focused on the charges of “indecent assault with violence and rape” based on a complaint filed by a woman, according to his lawyer, Miloud Kandil. “Radi has denied the allegation of rape and maintained his innocence throughout the hearing,” Kandil told The Associated Press.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:41:33 -0400
  • Europe 'will not compromise' with US over Iran sanctions: Macron news

    French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Europe would not compromise with the United States over Washington's move to reactivate sanctions on Iran, warning the so-called snapback could undermine the UN Security Council and increase Middle East tensions.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:31:56 -0400
  • UK MPs agree compromise for contentious Brexit bill news

    British lawmakers formally agreed Tuesday to give themselves a veto over whether London can breach the Brexit divorce treaty in a compromise with the government unlikely to assuage EU concerns.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:27:23 -0400
  • Some Dems, not yet Biden, talk of expanding Supreme Court news

    The prospect that President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans will fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat before the year is out has ignited a call for major changes on the court, including expanding the number of justices. Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey said on Twitter that if Republicans don't allow the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election to select the next justice, “we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.” While some progressives are urging presidential nominee Joe Biden to embrace reforms including adding justices to the court, he has so far resisted embracing such a major change.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:08:11 -0400
  • China, top global emitter, aims to go carbon-neutral by 2060 news

    Chinese President Xi Jinping says his country will aim to stop adding to the global warming problem by 2060. Xi's announcement during a speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly is a significant step for the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Citing the Paris Agreement that he and former U.S. President Barack Obama helped forge in 2015, Xi said his country would raise its emissions reduction targets with “vigorous policies and measures.”

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:59:52 -0400
  • 'Desperate for ammunition': Trump accused of turning UN speech into election rally after railing against China over Covid news

    ‘The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions’

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:56:04 -0400
  • Israeli kibbutz tweaks its name to honor Ginsburg news

    An Israeli kibbutz has changed its name to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a weeklong tribute to the Jewish American judge. Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, or The Judge's Heights, is named after Julian Mack, an early 20th century Jewish American judge. The kibbutz in northern Israel said this week it was temporarily tweaking its name to Ramat Hashofetet.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:45:28 -0400
  • Iran strikes defiant tone at UN under crushing US sanctions news

    Grappling with a weakened economy and the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak, Iran's president delivered a defiant and fiery speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly as he insisted it would be the United States that surrenders to Iran's resilience. Hassan Rouhani spoke in a prerecorded speech to the virtual summit just days after Iran’s currency plunged to its lowest levels ever against the U.S. dollar due to crippling U.S. sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump, who pulled the U.S. out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:44:45 -0400
  • Putin vaunts Russian coronavirus vaccine at UN news

    President Vladimir Putin in a speech at the United Nations on Tuesday boasted of Russia's creation of the world's first coronavirus vaccine, though it has not completed large-scale clinical trials.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:42:27 -0400
  • Court, COVID, race are topics for first Trump-Biden debate news

    President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face off on the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic and race and violence in the nation's cities next week when they meet for their first presidential debate. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates on Tuesday announced the six topics for the first face-to-face event scheduled for Sept. 29 in Cleveland. The topics were selected by the debate's moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, and will each be the subject of 15-minute “blocks” in the debate.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:31:52 -0400
  • Barilla Foundation Continues Commitments in "Fixing the Business of Food" to Support Alignment of Businesses with Sustainable Development news

    Alongside the 75th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN), an independent foundation that works on proposing concrete actions to solve issues around global food systems, will host its second "Fixing the Business of Food" event — a joint initiative in partnership with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Santa Chiara Lab – University of Siena (SCL) and the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI).

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:00:00 -0400
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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:36:00 -0400
  • State auditor: UC wrongly admitted well-connected students news

    The University of California “inappropriately admitted" at least 64 wealthy, mostly white students over the past six years as “favors to donors, family, and friends," according to an audit released Tuesday that found hundreds more questionable cases of students accepted to the top UC schools. Among them were a student whose family was friends with a member of the Board of Regents, the child of a major donor and an applicant who babysat for a colleague of a former admissions director, according to the report from the California State Auditor. “This is a significant problem that the university needs to deal with,” State Auditor Elaine Howle said in a telephone interview.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:23:50 -0400
  • Russia's Putin says strengthen WHO, proposes conference on coronavirus vaccine

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:18:17 -0400
  • Brazil victim of 'brutal disinformation' on Amazon: Bolsonaro news

    President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in his address to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, claiming Brazil was the target of a "brutal" and "shady" international campaign to discredit it.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:11:21 -0400
  • WRAPUP 3-At U.N., Trump demands action against China over virus, Xi urges cooperation

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:07:26 -0400
  • Russia touts nuclear-powered icebreaker as proof "the Arctic is ours" news

    The 570-foot-long "Arktika" is designed to smash Putin's Russia a path of "sovereignty" through ice 9 feet deep in the sensitive northern region.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:51:21 -0400
  • Russia touts nuclear-powered icebreaker as proof "the Arctic is ours" news

    The 570-foot-long "Arktika" is designed to smash Putin's Russia a path of "sovereignty" through ice 9 feet deep in the sensitive northern region.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:51:21 -0400
  • 'Unfathomable': US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000 news

    The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, by far the highest in the world, hitting the once-unimaginable threshold six weeks before an election that is certain to be a referendum in part on President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis. “It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher, eight months after the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation, with its state-of-the-art laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medical supplies. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:41:14 -0400
  • Ranked choice voting in Maine a go for presidential election news

    Ranked choice voting will be used for the first time in a presidential race in the U.S. under a ruling Tuesday by the Maine Supreme Court, which concluded that a GOP-led petition drive intended to prevent its use came up short. The Supreme Judicial Court concluded the Maine Republican Party failed to reach the threshold of signatures needed for a “People’s Veto” referendum aimed at rejecting a state law that expands ranked choice voting to the presidential election. “This is a powerful moment for ranked choice voting supporters: Voters will, for the first time, use ranked choice voting to elect the highest office in the country,” said Rob Richie, president and CEO of FairVote, which advocates for the voting reform.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:33:00 -0400
  • Israelis gird for more virus restrictions amid 2nd lockdown news

    Israelis were bracing for more coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, days after the start of a second countrywide lockdown, as health officials sounded the alarm over a feared deluge of new patients and hospitals were ordered to open additional COVID-19 wards. Israeli Cabinet ministers were meeting to discuss tightening already severe restrictions that have shut down much of the country, which is facing one of the world's worst outbreaks, adjusted for its population of 9 million. Schools, malls and hotels, among other sectors of the economy, have been ordered closed for three weeks, with strict restrictions on movement and gatherings, albeit with some exceptions.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:21:34 -0400
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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:16:00 -0400
  • Trooper who faced firing in Black man's death dies in crash news

    Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth was pronounced dead Tuesday following a brief hospitalization, Warren Lee, chief investigator for the Ouachita Parish Coroner's Office, told The Associated Press. Hollingsworth had been airlifted to Shreveport early Monday after crashing his personal vehicle on Interstate 20 near Monroe. Hours before, Hollingsworth had received word that State Police intended to terminate him following an internal investigation into the May 2019 death of Ronald Greene, a case that has drawn mounting scrutiny and become the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:03:35 -0400
  • WRAPUP 1-Euro zone rebounds from recession but clouds gather

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    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:01:03 -0400
  • Bolsonaro to world: Brazil is victim of environmental smear news

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defended his administration’s record protecting the Amazon rainforest, telling the United Nations’ virtual meeting of global leaders on Tuesday that his country has been wrongly portrayed as an environmental villain. As the first speaker in the U.N. General Assembly's general debate, in keeping with tradition for the Brazilian leader, Bolsonaro said the South American nation’s agribusiness sector has succeeded in boosting agricultural exports to feed a growing global population, which has made it a target. “We are victims of one of the most brutal disinformation campaigns about the Amazon and the Pantanal wetlands,” Bolsonaro said.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:57:43 -0400
  • Putin is 'probably directing' Russian influence operation to denigrate Biden, CIA assessment reportedly says news

    A top-secret CIA assessment reportedly concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "probably" directing influence operations to denigrate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.The reported CIA assessment was detailed Tuesday by The Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, who quotes it as saying, "We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia's influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November."This assessment was reportedly published on Aug. 31 in "an internal, highly classified" report and was compiled "with input from the National Security Agency and the FBI" using information from "public, unclassified and classified intelligence sources." The assessment reportedly includes details on efforts by Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach, who was previously sanctioned by the Treasury Department for aiding a Russian "attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election."William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in August that Russia was "using a range of measures to primarily denigrate" Biden and that "some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television." However, CNN notes that U.S. intelligence agencies had not provided "any assessment" on the possible involvement of Putin.More stories from Democrats have a better option than court packing Trump supporters boo Ohio's GOP lieutenant governor for encouraging mask use Biden and Trump will talk Supreme Court, COVID-19, and election integrity at 1st presidential debate

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:38:00 -0400
  • Trump tells UN to hold China accountable for Covid-19 pandemic news

    Tensions between China and the US spilled out on the world stage on Tuesday as Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly that Beijing must be held accountable for its actions over the Covid-19 pandemic. The US president accused China of allowing the coronavirus to "leave China and infect the world" and urged the international community to take action, in a recorded message played to the annual meeting of the UN. "The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions," Mr Trump said, referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus”. He accused China of not sharing timely information with the world on the new disease and criticised its decision not to stop international flights. “In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world,” he said in a short message delivered at the UN's headquarters in New York, at a gathering that meets each year to address global problems. “The Chinese government, and the World Health Organisation – which is virtually controlled by China – falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” said Mr Trump, who is facing growing disapproval at home over his handling of the virus. Mr Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the spread of the novel virus to the US, where some 200,000 people have now died. He has directed his administration to withdraw from the WHO, an independent international body that works with the UN, accusing it of being a puppet of China. Addressing the assembly minutes later, Xi Jinping, China’s president, said Beijing has “confronted disaster head on." “We should enhance solidarity and get through this together,” Mr Xi said, urging international cooperation over finger-pointing. “Any attempt at politicisation or stigmatisation should be rejected,” he added, alluding to Mr Trump. "Major countries should act like major countries. They should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people’s expectations.” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, opening the 75th session of the General Assembly, the first ever to go virtual, urged the world to prevent a Cold War between the two super powers and halt conflicts so it can focus on the pandemic. "We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture - each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities," he said, without saying the US and China by name. World powers have been kept at home this year by the coronavirus pandemic that will likely be a dominant theme at their video gathering. The pandemic has now killed over 960,000 people worldwide.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:33:10 -0400
  • Chinese billionaire who called President Xi Jinping a ‘clown’ gets 18 years in prison news

    A former real estate mogul who publicly criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday following a secretive trial on corruption charges. Ren Zhiqiang, a 69-year-old billionaire with ties to the Communist Party, disappeared in March after publishing an essay online accusing the government of botching its response to the health crisis and resorting to propaganda “to cover up their own embarrassment.” “I saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his ‘new clothes,’ but a clown who stripped naked and insisted on continuing being emperor,” Ren wrote, according to a translation published by China Digital Times, a California-based news outlet.

    Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:27:07 -0400
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