[News] All Around The World

A posting place for news from places around the globe, outside of the US/Europe.

WTF.

I guess it's not limited to Mexico. Seems like every week there's a new episode of Dateline where a husband/boyfriend/acquaintance murders a woman. But those are staggering numbers to happen daily.

Trump is trying to "buy" a german company to secure a vaccine? And Germany is trying to stop it?

BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading a German company seeking a coronavirus vaccine to move its research to the United States, prompting German politicians to insist no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine.

German government sources told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.

Earlier, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reported that U.S. President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.

Responding to the report, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, wrote on Twitter: “The Welt story was wrong.”

A U.S. official said: “This story is wildly overplayed ... We will continue to talk to any company that claims to be able to help. And any solution found would be shared with the world.”

A German Health Ministry spokeswoman, confirming a quote in the newspaper, said: “The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe.”

“In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac,” she added.

Welt am Sonntag quoted an unidentified German government source as saying Trump was trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively, and would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States.”

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a news conference that the government’s coronavirus crisis committee would discuss the CureVac case on Monday.

CureVac issued a statement on Sunday, in which it said: “The company rejects current rumors of an acquisition”.

CureVac’s main investor Dietmar Hopp said he was not selling and wanted CureVac to develop a coronavirus vaccine to “help people not just regionally but in solidarity across the world.”

“I would be glad if this could be achieved through my long-term investments out of Germany,” he added.

A German Economy Ministry spokeswoman said Berlin “has a great interest” in producing vaccines in Germany and Europe.

She cited Germany’s foreign trade law, under which Berlin can examine takeover bids from non-EU, so-called third countries “if national or European security interests are at stake”.

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slazev wrote:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/pHCr4xA.jpg)

And an earthquake in Utah.

Yeah, that was “fun”.

BOLSONAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

It's becoming difficult to figure out which story I should be linking to right now.

And this is before we discuss his response to COVID-19, which I will simply call "interesting".

Speaking of around the world, I was thinking the other day I haven't seen LarryC post in a while. Anyone know what happened to him? I hope he is doing ok.

Trump now has the power to forever alter Israel’s character

WaPo wrote:

After three inconclusive Israeli elections, long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief opponent, Benny Gantz, finally agreed last Monday to form a government together, citing the urgent need to face the covid-19 pandemic. The deal stipulates that the coalition will focus exclusively on fighting the coronavirus for its first six months. But there is one huge exception: Starting July 1, Netanyahu, who will remain prime minister, will be allowed to seek a vote by his cabinet or the parliament on Israel’s annexation of more than 30 percent of the West Bank, where the majority of the would-be Palestinian state’s population lives.

There’s only one condition: Netanyahu must act in “full agreement with the United States.” In other words, Trump will have the power to decide whether his Israeli ally can proceed with a vote he would very likely win and that would forever alter Israel’s character.

So it's not completely up to Trump, but he can enable Netanyahu to go forward with the utter demolition of any "peace process" that might still be possible. And of course Trump doesn't give a good goddamn about Israel or Israelis or Palestinians, but he does care about handing a win to his evangelical supporters, and even more about being able to smear Democrats as "anti-Israel" or "anti-Jewish".

The article ends with some hopeishness that maybe the Saudis or Jared might keep Trump from the most reckless path, and I suppose that's not impossible, but I'm not holding my breath.

It probably depends on if they promise to let him build a hotel there.

Trump will do whatever Sheldon Adelson wants him to do regarding Israel just as long as he drops the $200 million he promised to Trump-friendly PACs.

Which other countries get to vote to take over another state? Can we vote to take over Canada and they and everyone else will just go along with it?

LeapingGnome wrote:

Which other countries get to vote to take over another state? Can we vote to take over Canada and they and everyone else will just go along with it?

Can Canada vote to take over us?

Please?

LeapingGnome wrote:

Which other countries get to vote to take over another state? Can we vote to take over Canada and they and everyone else will just go along with it?

Well there is precedent, this is a literal description of how Isreal was created in the first place.

Philippine Dissenters May Face Terrorist Designation

What an incredibly timely law to be passing.

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is expected to sign sweeping antiterrorism legislation that critics said on Thursday would allow the authorities to classify government opponents as terrorists and detain people for critical social media posts.

The measure, which has passed both houses of Congress, neared finalization as the United Nations released a scathing report that cites widespread human rights violations under Mr. Duterte, including the extrajudicial killing of more than 8,000 people.

Despite years of international and domestic criticism over rights abuses, Mr. Duterte appears eager to double down on his strategy of suppressing dissent and to give the police an even freer hand to crack down.

Critics said the legislation was so broadly written that it would allow the arrest and detention of people without a warrant or a charge for criticizing the government or acts such as causing property damage or carrying a weapon.

“It’s obvious that the bill is not after real terrorists,” said Senator Leila de Lima, a critic of Mr. Duterte who has been imprisoned for more than three years. “There is a new crime here, called inciting to terrorism. Just protest against not receiving aid amid the pandemic, and they can charge you with ‘inciting.’”

Mr. Duterte, 75, won election in 2016 on a pledge to kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay that the “fish will grow fat.” He is scheduled to step down in 2022 at the end of a six-year term.

I hope you're alright Larry.

A Russian power spilled 20k tons of oil off the cost of Moscow. Putin has declared a state of emergency.
Everywhere is F up.

I saw that headline and immediately wondered how many barrels are in a ton of oil... And then realized that I was just going to depress myself and scrolled on. I've had three hours of sleep, time to satisfy that curiosity.

Edit. 20k tons of crude would come to over six million US gallons. No big.

Edit2. Ah. Diesel fuel. I will say the picture of a sad Putin did make clicking into the article worth it a little.
And good news! THAT conversion seems to come to only half a million gallons. No big.

Trust in China has plummeted in recent years, poll of Australians says

Australians' attitudes towards China are hardening, according to a wide-ranging poll that has found plummeting trust in China and its President Xi Jinping. Only 23 per cent of Australians trust China to act responsibly in the world, a dramatic fall from 52 per cent just two years ago. The Lowy Institute's annual poll gauges Australians' attitudes towards a range of international issues and this year saw 2,448 Australians questioned in late March.​​

Actually, based on recent events (Chinese government hacking of Australian private and government institutions, punitive tariffs on Australian exports) I'm sure that 23 percent figure would be lower now.

Australians still value the alliance with the United States, with nearly eight in 10 describing America as 'very' or 'fairly' important to Australia's security.​

Only one in three Australians trust US President Donald Trump 'to do the right thing', which is actually a slight improvement on how he was viewed last year, before he faced impeachment proceedings.

By contrast, 87 per cent of Australians have confidence in New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and 73 per cent have confidence in Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Can we clone Ardern?

Why so confident in Abe? Decent handling of COVID-19, not much else though. Maybe it's nice that there's one Asian power that doesn't keep chastising you? Just don't talk about the whales. Or the dolphins.

Chinese state media accuses Australia of spying campaign, says agents were arrested in 2018
IMAGE(https://www.abc.net.au/cm/rimage/12403170-3x2-xlarge.jpg?v=2)

Translation: Look at this pile of cool knickknacks we found in some bureaucrat's bottom desk drawer.

China steps up attacks on Australia, says spying allegations just 'the tip of the iceberg'

The latest verbal assault from Beijing comes as the relationship between China and Australia continues to deteriorate sharply.

Ten days ago, Mr Morrison declared that Australia was facing intensifying cyber attacks from a "state-based actor" which was putting pressure on public services and critical infrastructure.

Mr Morrison did not publicly name the country responsible, but officials told journalists that China was almost certainly the nation behind the online assault.

And last week, Australian authorities raided the office of New South Wales Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane as part of an investigation into allegations of Chinese Government interference in Australian politics.

But Mr Zhao said there was no "solid evidence" of Chinese Government interference in Australia, and accused the Morrison Government of hypocrisy.

"They steal information and data from other countries, jeopardising others' sovereignty and security," he said.

"But they play the part of the victim, peddling rumours and stoking confrontation by staging a farce of the thief crying 'stop thief'. They have long crossed the line."

Mr Zhao's comments were also sent to Australian reporters by the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

China has been increasingly emboldened in their attacks on Australia the last 4 years. Wonder what has changed on the world stage?

China passes controversial Hong Kong security law: report

On Monday, Washington made first moves to end the special status Hong Kong enjoys with the US, arguing that China's national security law would destroy the city's autonomy. The US said it will also stop exporting defense equipment originating in the US to the territory.

"The United States is forced to take this action to protect US national security," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China."

The decision to halt defense exports and restrict the territory's access to high technology products came hours after China said it would impose new visa restrictions on US citizens, a move that was itself a response to an earlier escalation on the part of the US.

"We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People's Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means necessary," Pompeo said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

The US Commerce Department said it was suspending "preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export license exceptions." Further actions to eliminate Hong Kong's status were being evaluated, it said.

Taiwan to set up special office to help Hong Kong asylum seekers

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) The Taiwan government will establish an office in Taipei next month to offer humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, including those who wish to seek asylum, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said Thursday.

The office will open July 1 under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council, a semi-official organization founded by the government in 2010 to handle communications with Hong Kong authorities, Chen said.

The new Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office will have three sections, for consultation services, project management, and administration, Chen said at a press conference.

Located in Taipei, the office will offer consultations to Hong Kong-based businesses and NGOs that wish to relocate to Taiwan, Chen said.

In addition, the office will provide a one-stop service to Hong Kongers who wish to study, conduct business, make investments, or seek asylum in Taiwan, he said.

From a few weeks back...

Hong Kong sees rush to renew UK passports as fears for future grow

HONG KONG (Reuters) - When Ming Wong saw that Britain was prepared to offer extended visa rights and a “path to citizenship” for British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong, she seized the moment and re-applied for her lost passport.

Beijing’s push to impose national security laws in the former British colony has stoked worry about its future and prompted Britain to offer refuge to almost 3 million Hong Kong residents eligible for the passport.

“I started filling out the applications in December after the protests, but it’s the national security legislation now that really prompted me to finish the process,” said 39-year-old Wong who has two small children.

Her husband, brother and parents are also applying, she said.

The BNO passport was created for Hong Kong people before Britain returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997. Though they are British passports that allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, they do not come with an automatic right to live and work there.

But British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the six-month limit could be removed if China imposed its national security legislation on the city.

I wonder what Hong Kong will look like in 5 years. And what China will do, if anything, to prevent a mass exodus. Probably they will be content with their current policy of settling rebel provinces with loyal Han-Chinese mainlanders.

Continuing the China focus:

China imposes forced abortion, sterilisation on Uyghurs, investigation shows

The Chinese Government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uyghurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country's Han majority to have more children.
The campaign, over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang, is leading to what some experts are calling a form of "demographic genocide".

The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices (IUDs), sterilisation and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show.

"Hundreds of thousands might be an understatement, because there are 15 million Turkic minorities in Xinjiang," said German researcher Adrian Zenz, whose investigation of the policies was published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank this week.

Even while the use of IUDs and sterilisation has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.

The population-control measures are backed by mass detention, both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply.

What would the Chinese government need to do to incur genuine sanctions? Money talks.

Oh 100%. I think, beacuse they are basically a linchpin of the global economy, they're bulletproof.

It's only a matter of time before a Chinese sanction becomes scarier than one from the US, if that hasn't already happened. Few countries would risk pissing them off.

Australia’s percentage of trade skews about 35% China to 12% US. Diversifying away from China is already a talking point but it won’t happen any time soon if ever.

ABC: The hundreds of billions being poured into Defence shows Australian PM Scott Morrison's done with the old world order

At $270 billion over a decade, the money is considerable, but dollars alone do not explain what's happened in defence, diplomatic and national security thinking since the last Defence White Paper was handed down by Malcolm Turnbull in 2016.

In four years — but really closer to two — the people who hear, watch and interpret the words and actions of Australia's friends and potential foes have undergone a revolution in their understanding of China's intentions in particular and the irascibility of Trump's America.

That change is amplified again in Morrison's delivery of the latest update.

Forget "hawks" versus "doves". The doves were pecked mercilessly, and quietly fled a while back.

The better metaphor for those working on Australia's foreign policy are the frontier boundary riders, erecting fences and warding off any unwanted approaches.

It is pretty much all about China these days.

Who else could the Prime Minister be talking about when he contrasts this country's approach with an unnamed other "we don't seek to entangle or intimidate or silence our neighbours" as he vows "to shape, to deter, and to respond with credible military force, when required".

Who else could the White Paper be referring to when it inserts the words "coerce" or "coercion" a dozen times in a document only 12 pages in length.

He is not freelancing, but accurately reflecting the wider shift in thinking and disposition that the boundary riders have adopted.

In their view, there's no point in a prime minister banging on about defending the international "rules-based order" anymore — China's not playing by those rules and Trump is rewriting them on the fly, as he sees fit, on any given day.

So it's gone, Morrison's not even paying lip service to those quaint notions anymore.

"We have moved into a new and less benign strategic area, one in which the institutions and patterns of cooperation that have benefitted our prosperity and security for decades are now under increasing, and I would suggest, almost-irreversible strain," he said.

Once a government's arrived at the idea that benign patterns of cooperation are under "irreversible strain", the next questions are simply when and where the breaking points will be.

The Defence White Paper update answers them something like this: north of Australia, south of China, hopefully not as far south as Papua New Guinea and not at any time before this country has a more capable kit of the military equipment to send to the boundaries.

Australia has determined it will not go the way of New Zealand, with a defence force only able to do the bare basics abroad and to meet the meagre demands placed on it at home.

Throw in the weakened south-west Pacific nations of Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (to name a few) and the load to be lifted in defence of the region most definitely falls to Australia.

That's what the Pacific "Step Up" plan, endorsed by the Coalition and Labor in late 2018, was all about.

It is also the base-level expectation of the United States, regardless of the occupant of the White House, that Australia should meet the security needs of these states, before Beijing does.

CNN: Australia announces $186 billion in defense spending amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific

Speaking at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was facing its toughest international situation since the lead-up to World War II.
"We need to ... prepare for a post-Covid world that is poorer, that is more dangerous and that is more disorderly," Morrison said.

While Morrison avoided directly linking Australia's defense budget to the growing threat from China, he named several regions where Beijing has become embroiled in territorial disputes: on its Himalayan border with India, and in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Morrison said the "risk of miscalculation and even conflict" was growing and called the Indo-Pacific region the "focus of the dominant global contest of our age."

Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University, said the new strategy was preparing for a future dominated by an aggressive China and a less reliable US partner.
"This is all about China's assertive use of its power and the way in which China has essentially abused the window of Covid-19 to intensify its assertiveness," he said.

Prederick wrote:

Oh 100%. I think, beacuse they are basically a linchpin of the global economy, they're bulletproof.

Pretty much, yeah. And this isn't even peak China. China's growth has slowed, but it's still far ahead of the rest of the world. They're rapidly modernizing their military, colonizing Africa, and investing heavily in technology. They should surpass the USA GDP sometime this decade. The USA is also in internal disarray, so that gives China more freedom to exert their power. Not to mention defend their dictatorship by showing the chaos that the democratically elected Trump is causing.

Yeah, I don't see anything from external sources forcing change in China. They're just going to grow more powerful and bold by the day. The only thing I can see enacting real change is a large recession in China. China has been placating their citizens with improved living conditions and money, but that won't last forever. Unfortunately it will last for a while.

Would it be so bad if China tooK over as the main world power? They treat their citizens a whole hell of a lot better than the US does and have an actual functioning government Run by adults. And Communism run well is a much more equitable system than what we are running.

Did you miss the genocide, doc?

Docjoe wrote:

Would it be so bad if China tooK over as the main world power?

Yes.

Worse than the US? Can be debated. But would it be bad? So bad? Yes.