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Pompeo: Afghan fight against Taliban ‘a matter of will’
Politics

Pompeo: Afghan fight against Taliban ‘a matter of will’

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he believes Afghan forces can secure the country as the US withdraws, but success will depend on whether they have the will to put up a fierce fight against the Taliban. Thousands of Afghans have fled the country in recent days as Taliban forces have surged through northern Afghanistan. Pompeo said on Friday that he is confident Afghan forces can repel the Taliban, but it’s “a matter of will.” “I saw on TV the other day, I saw some 22, 23-year-old Afghan males say, ‘It’s really dangerous here, I want to get out,'” the former secretary of state said. “What those Afghans should have been saying is it’s really dangerous here, give me an M16,” he added. Under former President Donald Trump, Pompeo oversaw US negotiations with t...
First vaccinations given in Haiti since start of pandemic
Business

First vaccinations given in Haiti since start of pandemic

Port Au Prince (Haiti), Jul 17 (AP): Health care workers and senior citizens were the first people vaccinated on Friday in Haiti as part of a test run after the country recently received 5,00,000 doses from the United Nations.The vaccinations were given to more than 30 people at the Hospital University of Peace in the capital of Port Au Prince under the supervision of Haiti's Health Ministry, the Pan American Health Organization said.On Wednesday, Haiti received its first vaccine doses since the pandemic began as part of a US donation to the United Nations' COVAX program for low-income countries. A PAHO spokesperson previously said they are all Moderna vaccines.Vaccinations will continue through the weekend, PAHO said.Haiti has reported more than 19,300 confirmed co...
Biden: Social media platforms ‘killing people’ with misinfo
Business

Biden: Social media platforms ‘killing people’ with misinfo

Washington, Jul 17 (AP): President Joe Biden has said that social media companies are “killing people” by failing to police misinformation on their platforms about COVID-19 vaccines. Biden's comments came a day after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared misinformation about the vaccines a threat to public health, and as US officials advised that deaths and serious illness from the virus are almost entirely preventable because of the vaccines. Biden, asked if he had a message for platforms like Facebook where false or misleading information about the coronavirus vaccines has spread, told reporters, “They're killing people.” “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated," he said. Speaking on Thursday, Murthy said misinformation about COVID-19, deemed an “...
Pompeo: Afghan fight against Taliban ‘a matter of will’
Business

Pompeo: Afghan fight against Taliban ‘a matter of will’

Des Moines (Iowa), Jul 17 (AP): Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he believes Afghan forces can secure the country as the US withdraws, but success will depend on whether they have the will to put up a fierce fight against the Taliban.Thousands of Afghans have fled the country in recent days as Taliban forces have surged through northern Afghanistan.Pompeo said on Friday that he is confident Afghan forces can repel the Taliban, but it's “a matter of will.” “I saw on TV the other day, I saw some 22, 23-year-old Afghan males say, 'It's really dangerous here, I want to get out," the former secretary of state said.“What those Afghans should have been saying is it's really dangerous here, give me an M16,” he added. Under former President Donald Trump, P...
UK govt plans to end virus orders queried as cases top 50,000
Business

UK govt plans to end virus orders queried as cases top 50,000

London, Jul 17 (AP): The UK recorded more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in six months on Friday amid a warning from the British government's top medical adviser that the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 could hit “quite scary” levels within weeks.Government figures showed another 51,870 confirmed lab cases, the highest daily number since mid-January. Infections have surged in recent weeks, mainly among unvaccinated younger people, as a result of the far more contagious delta variant and the continued easing of lockdown restrictions.Despite the increase, the British government plans to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact in England and to ditch social distancing guidelines as well as the legal requirement for peopl...
SA violence: Govt was poorly prepared, says Ramaphosa
Business

SA violence: Govt was poorly prepared, says Ramaphosa

Johannesburg, Jul 17 (PTI): South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said his government was poorly prepared for the “orchestrated” violence witnessed by the country, but underlined that the “attempted insurrection” has failed because of citizens’ support. Protests sparked on July 7 after the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma and rapidly devolved into unprecedented massive looting and arson across the country. “As this government, we must acknowledge that we were poorly prepared for an orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage of this nature,” Ramaphosa said in a national address on Friday night.“Yet, despite the widespread destruction, this attempted insurrection has failed to gain popular support. It has failed because of the ...
Biden picks former Sen. Tom Udall for New Zealand ambassador
Business

Biden picks former Sen. Tom Udall for New Zealand ambassador

Washington, Jul 16 (AP): President Joe Biden is nominating former New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall to serve as his ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.Udall, a Democrat, retired in 2021 after two terms in the Senate representing New Mexico. He spent five terms in the House and served as New Mexico's attorney general. He comes from a family well known for public service: his father Stewart Udall served as interior secretary, his uncle Mo Udall was a congressman from Colorado and his cousin Mark Udall was a senator from Colorado. “Having dedicated my life to public service and having served as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focusing on policies that promote democracy, international development, and conservation, I am honoured to be nominated by President ...
AP Source: Biden to name fundraiser for UK ambassador
Business

AP Source: Biden to name fundraiser for UK ambassador

Washington, Jul 16 (AP): President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Democratic fundraiser Jane Hartley to serve as his ambassador to the United Kingdom, according to a person familiar with the decision who was not authorized to comment publicly.It was not immediately clear when the White House would formally announce the appointment of Hartley, who served as ambassador to France and Monaco during the Obama administration. She was a significant fundraiser for Biden's 2020 run for the White House.The White House declined to comment about Hartley's pending nomination, which was first reported by the Washington Post.Hartley served as chief executive of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group, director of congressional relations for the Department of H...
Hundreds greet Aristide on return to troubled Haiti
Business

Hundreds greet Aristide on return to troubled Haiti

Port-Au-Prince (Haiti), Jul 16 (AP): Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti on Friday after a nearly a month in Cuba, thrilling hundreds of supporters who gathered at the airport at a time of tensions over the recent assassination of the country's leader.Aristide, a charismatic yet divisive figure in Haiti who was receiving unspecified medical treatment in Cuba, arrives back in a country simmering with tension over the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse as new details about the investigation emerged.Police Chief Léon Charles said 24 police officers were standing guard when a group of heavily armed men attacked the president's private house. He said they have been interrogated and that a fifth high-ranking police official has been place...
UN chief: World faces a `hurricane of humanitarian crises’
Business

UN chief: World faces a `hurricane of humanitarian crises’

United Nations, Jul 16 (AP): The United Nations chief warned Friday that a “hurricane of humanitarian crises” around the world has left civilians in conflict areas paying the highest price and is compounded by a relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian and medical workers.Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said humanitarian needs are outpacing the ability of the United Nations and aid organisations to meet them, “turbocharged by the COVID-19 pandemic.” “We are in uncharted waters,” he said in a speech to the UN Security Council read by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.“The sheer scale of humanitarian needs have never been greater,” Guterres said. “The United Nations and our partners are seeking to reach 160 million people with assistance this year -- the ...
Pacific Rim leaders agree to step up COVID vaccine sharing
Business

Pacific Rim leaders agree to step up COVID vaccine sharing

Washington, Jul 16 (AP): Leaders of Asian Pacific nations agreed on Friday to step up COVID-19 vaccination sharing as China said it has pledged USD 3 billion in international aid to support coronavirus response efforts in developing countries.The virtual retreat for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders including US President Joe Biden, Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin was held as the delta variant is spurring a spike in infections around the globe.“There were two things that came through very strongly from the leaders. One was that this pandemic has a while to run and that there is significant work by all of us to be done, and it needs to look beyond our domestic borders,” said New Zea...
EU left behind as US pushes ‘vaccine diplomacy’ in Southeast Asia
Politics

EU left behind as US pushes ‘vaccine diplomacy’ in Southeast Asia

By David Hutt EU members “have their geo-strategic calculations in mind, and will likely favor countries that are friendly or important to European interests,” says one ASEAN expert in response to the bloc’s global vaccine drive. The European Union’s international vaccine drive runs the risk of falling behind other major international powers, especially in Southeast Asia, where the United States is ramping up their vaccine-donation programs to compete with China’s contributions. US President Joe Biden pledged in May to donate 80 million vaccines worldwide from America’s domestic-supply, of which approximately 75% will be shared through the global COVAX program — which aims to provide free vaccines to low and middle-income countries. The other 25% will be directly donated by...
Hindus, Christians being forcibly converted in Pakistan’s Sindh: US lawmaker
Politics

Hindus, Christians being forcibly converted in Pakistan’s Sindh: US lawmaker

Forced conversion of Hindus and Christians is taking place in Pakistan’s Sindh province, an influential American lawmaker has claimed, urging the Biden administration to ensure the region receives US aid. Congressman Brad Sherman also raised alleged human rights issues in Sri Lanka during a Congressional hearing with USAID Administrator Samantha Power. “Sri Lanka’s civil war ravished the northern and eastern parts of that country. And I hope that we are directing our aid to those areas in Sindh in southern Pakistan,” Sherman said during the Congressional hearing. I hope that you’re making sure that the region gets its fair share of US aid, particularly because they’re dealing with the forced disappearances and forced conversion of Hindu and Christian girls,” he said. P...
Biden, Merkel stress friendship while agreeing to disagree on pipeline
Politics

Biden, Merkel stress friendship while agreeing to disagree on pipeline

U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to disagree on Thursday about a Russian pipeline project that Washington opposes, while vowing to stand together against aggression from Moscow and anti-democratic action from Beijing. At what is likely to be the German leader’s final visit to the White House before she retires from politics, Biden praised Merkel’s “exemplary life of groundbreaking service to Germany and … to the world”. Transatlantic ties suffered under the tenure of former President Donald Trump, and both Merkel and Biden were eager to show the relationship was on the mend during their time together. “I value the friendship,” Merkel said in the Oval Office, mentioning America’s role in building a free and democratic Germany after World Wa...
Brazil’s economy in ‘jobless recovery’ after inflation surge
Politics

Brazil’s economy in ‘jobless recovery’ after inflation surge

Brazil’s economy will continue experiencing a so-called “jobless recovery” after this year’s inflation surge, while prospects for growth in Mexico look brighter despite concerns about a potentially stricter monetary policy in the United States, a Reuters poll showed. On the surface, Brazil’s macro outlook is improving as consumers shrug off the COVID-19 pandemic, companies enjoy a revival of M&A deals and the agricultural sector thrives on strong global demand. Recent upgrades in gross domestic product forecasts are at odds with a series of problems, though. Soaring inflation, currently the main issue, is likely to be followed by persistently high unemployment into next year, when Brazilians vote in general elections. “As the economy will take some time to re-absorb wor...
White House slams Facebook as conduit for Covid-19 misinformation
Politics

White House slams Facebook as conduit for Covid-19 misinformation

Facebook is not doing enough to stop the spread of false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday, part of a new administration pushback on misinformation in the United States. Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, needs to work harder to remove inaccurate vaccine information from its platform, Psaki said. She said 12 people were responsible for almost 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. The finding was reported in May by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, but Facebook has disputed the methodology. “All of them remain active on Facebook,” Psaki said. Facebook also “needs to move more quickly to remove harmful violative posts,” she said. Psaki: There’s about 12 people who are producing 6...
Situation in Hong Kong deteriorating: US President Biden
Business

Situation in Hong Kong deteriorating: US President Biden

Washington, Jul 16 (PTI): The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating and the Chinese government is not keeping the commitment that it made, US President Joe Biden has said. “The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating and the Chinese government is not keeping the commitment that it made on how it would deal with Hong Kong,” Biden told reporters on Thursday at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Biden administration is expected to issue a business advisory on Hong Kong on Friday. “And so it is more of an advisory as to what may happen in Hong Kong. It's as simple as that and as complicated as that,” he said in response to a question on the issue. Meanwhile, the Problem Solvers Caucus' on Thursday endorsed the bipartisan resolution condem...
US Senate confirms Indian-American Seema Nanda as solicitor for labour dept
Business

US Senate confirms Indian-American Seema Nanda as solicitor for labour dept

Washington, Jul 16 (PTI): The United States Senate has confirmed Indian-American Seema Nanda as the solicitor for the Department of Labour.A former CEO of the Democratic National Committee who also served in the Department of Labour during the Obama Administration, Nanda was confirmed by the Senate with 53-46 votes on Wednesday.Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chair Judy Chu applauded the Senate vote.“I am thrilled to congratulate Seema Nanda on her confirmation to serve as Solicitor for the Department of Labour. Whether it’s risks from coronavirus, rising temperatures from climate change, or unscrupulous employers, workers continue to face difficult challenges every day,” she said. This is why it’s so significant that President Joe Biden chose somebody wi...
Biden: US will protect Haiti embassy, won’t send troops
Business

Biden: US will protect Haiti embassy, won’t send troops

Washington, Jul 16 (AP): Joe Biden has said that the US will bolster security at its embassy in Haiti following last week's assassination of that country's president, but sending American troops to stabilise the country was “not on the agenda.” Haiti's interim government last week asked the US and the United Nations to deploy troops to protect key infrastructure following President Jovenel Moïse's assassination. Biden signaled he was not open to the request, which comes as he is drawing down US forces in Afghanistan this summer.“We're only sending American Marines to our embassy,” Biden said on Thursday.“The idea of sending American forces to Haiti is not on the agenda,” he added.Mathias Pierre, Haiti's elections minister, defended the government's request for mili...
Biden, Merkel meet at White House to advance ‘strong’ US-German ties
Business

Biden, Merkel meet at White House to advance ‘strong’ US-German ties

Washington, Jul 16 (PTI): US President Joe Biden met German Chancellor Angela Merkel to further advance the “strong” bilateral ties between the two countries. “Today, we're talking about further advancing US-German relationship which has been strong and is getting stronger,” Biden told reporters at the Oval Office on Thursday as he welcomed Merkel for her maiden bilateral visit during his over six months old administration. “I consider her a personal friend as well as a great friend to the United States. We saw each other at the G7 and then we saw each other again at the NATO meeting,” he added. “One of the things that I want to talk about is the enduring friendship that the chancellor has been so responsible for nailing down and making sure it continues. And we're r...