World http://www.theweek.in/news/world.rss en Wed Apr 06 15:34:20 IST 2022 https://www.theweek.in/privacy-an-settlement.html wef-brings-back-open-forum-for-general-public-at-davos <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/wef-brings-back-open-forum-for-general-public-at-davos.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/1/19/World-Economic-Forum-Davos-AP.jpg" /> <p>After a hiatus of over two years, the World Economic Forum on Sunday said it is bringing back the Open Forum, on the sidelines of its Annual Meeting 2022, in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos, where the general public can interact with several global leaders over the next five days.<br> </p> <p>The Open Forum Davos 2022 will be hosting a series of panel discussions during May 23-26, all open to the public upon registration, while the panellists will include human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Nadia Murad, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, climate activist Vanessa Nakate, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel and many others.</p> <p>Discussion topics will range from the climate crisis and youth mental health, to the war in Ukraine and the Metaverse.</p> <p>As part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, this year's Open Forum Davos will focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the role of multilateralism for peace in Europe as well as other global challenges, the WEF said.</p> <p>Taking place for the first time since January 2020, the Open Forum offers a platform for debate and interaction on controversial issues between the public and scholars, business leaders and policy-makers around improving the state of the world, it added.</p> <p>Young and diverse voices will also play a prominent role in the discussions, with one session on youth mental health co-designed and moderated by students from Geneva, Switzerland.</p> <p>Each session will include at least one member of the Forum's Global Shapers Community, a wide-ranging network of people under 30 from all walks of life and different parts of the world.</p> <p>Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation, among other high-level panellists, will be joined by Ievgeniia Bodnya, 27, who mobilized the Global Shaper Hub she leads in Kyiv to build the Support Ukraine Now, a crowdsourcing and sharing information platform for people to support Ukrainians affected by the war.</p> <p>In another session, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, Chairman of the Klitschko Foundation, will talk about how the Russian invasion has affected them and their country.</p> <p>Also present at the Open Forum will be a group of climate activists, including 26-year-old Vanessa Nakate, author and climate advocate who addressed world leaders at the World Economic Forum 2020. The activists will articulate how to turn words into action to fight the climate crisis. Gender equality will also feature prominently in the conversations.</p> <p>On the digital front, the last two years have seen the blending of in-person and virtual interactions.</p> <p>Peggy Johnson, Chief Executive Office of augmented reality company Magic Leap, will introduce the possibilities of the Metaverse and then join a panel of experts, including Pascal Kaufmann, President and Founder of the Mindfire Foundation, the brain behind Lab42, which is setting up shop in Davos in July and aims to become the largest AI lab in the world.</p> <p>The Open Forum Davos, now in its 19th year, will also be webcast for those not able to join physically.</p> <p>For over 50 years, its annual meeting has been held in Davos by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, which describes itself as an international organization for public-private cooperation.</p> <p>The Annual Meeting has emerged as a key focal point for leaders to accelerate the partnerships needed to tackle global challenges and shape a more sustainable and inclusive future.</p> <p>Convening under the theme History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies, the Annual Meeting 2022 and its 200 sessions bring together global leaders from business, government and civil society.&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/wef-brings-back-open-forum-for-general-public-at-davos.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/wef-brings-back-open-forum-for-general-public-at-davos.html Sun May 22 14:56:54 IST 2022 biden-says-monkeypox-cases-something-to-be-concerned-about <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/biden-says-monkeypox-cases-something-to-be-concerned-about.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/health/images/2022/1/13/US-President-Joe-Biden-March17-2022-ap.jpg" /> <p>President Joe Biden said Sunday that recent cases of monkeypox that have been identified in Europe and the United States were something to be concerned about.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added: It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential."</p> <p>The president was asked about the disease as he spoke to reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he visited troops before taking off for Japan to continue his first trip to Asia as president.&nbsp;</p> <p>They haven't told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about, Biden said. He added that work was underway to determine what vaccine might be effective.</p> <p>Monkeypox is rarely identified outside of Africa, but as of Friday, there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States, and another 50 suspected ones.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although the disease belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, its symptoms are milder. People usually recover within two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalised, but the disease occasionally is deadly.<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/biden-says-monkeypox-cases-something-to-be-concerned-about.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/biden-says-monkeypox-cases-something-to-be-concerned-about.html Sun May 22 14:01:21 IST 2022 israel-reports-first-case-of-monkeypox-suspects-others <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/israel-reports-first-case-of-monkeypox-suspects-others.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/2020/images/2022/2/10/Monkeypox-monkey-pox-Congo-reu.jpg" /> <p>Israeli authorities say they have detected the country's first case of monkeypox in a man who returned from abroad and were looking into other suspected cases.<br> </p> <p>Israel's Health Ministry said late Saturday the man was in a Tel Aviv hospital in good condition. It called on anyone returning from abroad with fever and lesions to see a doctor.</p> <p>Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health services at the ministry, told Israeli Army Radio Sunday that medical teams were investigating other suspected monkeypox cases.</p> <p>Israel's case appeared to be the first identified in the Middle East.</p> <p>The World Health Organisation has identified about 80 cases globally, and roughly 50 more suspected cases.</p> <p>Cases of the smallpox-related disease have previously been seen only among people with links to central and West Africa. But Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the US, Sweden and Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men who hadn't previously travelled to Africa. France, Germany, Belgium and Australia have also identified cases.</p> <p>The virus originates in primates and other wild animals, and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe cases can develop a rash and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/israel-reports-first-case-of-monkeypox-suspects-others.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/israel-reports-first-case-of-monkeypox-suspects-others.html Sun May 22 12:57:36 IST 2022 pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-in-guangzhou-on-maiden-visit-to-china-for-talks-with-wang-yi <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-in-guangzhou-on-maiden-visit-to-china-for-talks-with-wang-yi.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2022/5/20/bilawal-us-reuters.jpeg" /> <p>Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi will hold talks on Sunday in the Chinese city of Guangzhou to firm-up the all-weather ties between the two countries.<br> </p> <p>This is Bilawal's maiden visit to China after he took over as Foreign Minister following the fall of Imran Khan government.</p> <p>Their meeting was being held in Guangzhou as Beijing is currently under semi-lockdown to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the COVID-19.</p> <p>"Landed in Guangzhou on my first bilateral visit. Today also marks 71st anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China. Looking forward to meeting Chinese State Councilor &amp;amp; Foreign Minister Wang Yi for in-depth discussions on Pakistan-China relations", Bilawal tweeted.</p> <p>The 33-year old, whose mother Benazir Bhutto and grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were former prime ministers, is just back from New York where he held talks with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed strengthening the US-Pakistan relations which deteriorated during the previous Imran Khan regime.</p> <p>In his interviews to the media after his talks with Blinken, Bilawal ruled out that Pakistan's growing relationship with the US would hurt its ties to Beijing.</p> <p>Bilawal is accompanied by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials, Pakistan state-run APP news agency reported earlier.</p> <p>Ahead of his visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Saturday congratulated Pakistan and China on the 71st anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.</p> <p>"Congratulations! May 21 is the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. FM Bilawal will visit China from May 21. #Thisisdoublehappiness," he tweeted from his official account.</p> <p>Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's two-day visit marks the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.</p> <p>On May 21, 1951, Pakistan and China established diplomatic ties almost a year after India.</p> <p>India became the first non-Communist country in Asia to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China on April 1, 1950.</p> <p>Bilawal already held talks with Wang through video link on May 12 followed by a virtual meeting between Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.&nbsp;</p> <p>Their talks were focussed on strengthening the safeguarding of safety for Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan in view of the spate of attacks on Chinese nationals including the recent suicide bomb attack at the Karachi University and revitalising the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is bogged down by delays.</p> <p>India protested to China as the CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).</p> <p>Close ties between Pakistan-China in the last four decades widely believed to be aimed at countering India remained steady despite the periodic political crisis in Pakistan leading to a change of governments including those by the military rulers.</p> <p>During their talks, Bilawal and Wang will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on stronger trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, Pakistan Foreign Office said on Friday.</p> <p>In April, Bilawal's predecessor Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his visit to China has announced that Beijing has agreed to roll-over USD 4.5 billion debt due to be paid by Pakistan this year.</p> <p>On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Bilawal's visit will see his hope of taking China as the first destination of his overseas visits realised and also marks the first in-person high-level interaction between the two countries since the new Pakistani government was formed.</p> <p>"As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, it is necessary for China and Pakistan to strengthen communication and coordination on major strategic issues and jointly respond to new developments in the international and regional situation and various risks and challenges," Wang Wenbin said.</p> <p>He said Wang Yi will hold a comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views with Bilawal on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.</p> <p>"China hopes to take this visit as an opportunity to renew our traditional friendship, consolidate strategic mutual trust, further deepen our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era," the spokesman said.&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-in-guangzhou-on-maiden-visit-to-china-for-talks-with-wang-yi.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-in-guangzhou-on-maiden-visit-to-china-for-talks-with-wang-yi.html Sun May 22 11:47:02 IST 2022 turkey-erdogan-talks-to-swedish-finnish-leaders-on-nato <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/turkey-erdogan-talks-to-swedish-finnish-leaders-on-nato.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2022/5/17/erdogan-reuters.jpeg" /> <p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday discussed his objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO with the two Nordic countries' leaders, Erdogan's office said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He spoke to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in separate calls to address Ankara's concerns about those it considers terrorists in their countries, the presidential communications office said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said Erdogan called upon Sweden to lift defensive weapons export restrictions it imposed on Turkey over Turkey's 2019 incursion into northern Syria.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Erdogan also said he expected Stockholm to take concrete and serious steps against the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, and other groups that Turkey views as terrorists.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He told Niinisto that an understanding that ignores terrorist organisations that pose a threat to an ally within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance, the statement added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In another call, the Turkish president also raised Turkey's concerns with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has said he would listen to Turkey's concerns on the matter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson visited Washington, where they spoke with US President Joe Biden about their bids to join NATO in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While other NATO nation appear welcoming to have Finland and Sweden join, Turkey has raised objections to their accession, principally over the presence of alleged terrorists in their countries and the block on arms sales.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/turkey-erdogan-talks-to-swedish-finnish-leaders-on-nato.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/turkey-erdogan-talks-to-swedish-finnish-leaders-on-nato.html Sun May 22 10:51:51 IST 2022 australian-pm-scott-morrison-admits-poll-defeat <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/australian-pm-scott-morrison-admits-poll-defeat.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2018/8/24/australia-morrison-pm-reuters.jpg" /> <p>Australia's prime minister conceded defeat after an election on Saturday that could deliver a minority government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scott Morrison acted quickly despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attend a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US, Japanese and Indian leaders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I believe it's very important that this country has certainty. I think it's very important this country can move forward,” Morrison said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“ And particularly over the course of this week with the important meetings that are being held, I think it's vitally important there's a very clear understanding about the government of this country,” he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labour party clenched its first electoral win since 2007.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Labour has promised more financial assistance and a robust social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring housing prices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The party also plans to increase minimal wages, and on the foreign policy front, it proposed to establish a Pacific defence school to train neighbouring armies in response to China's potential military presence on the Solomon Islands on Australia's doorstep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Morrison's Liberal party-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. It holds the narrowest of majorities 76 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In early counting on Saturday, the coalition was on track to win 38 seats, Labour 71, seven were unaligned lawmakers and 23 were too close to call.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Minor parties and independents appeared to be taking votes from the major parties, which increases the likelihood of a hung parliament and a minority government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Australia most recent hung parliaments were from 2010-13, and during World War II.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A record proportion of postal votes because of the pandemic, which won't be added to the count until Sunday, adds to the uncertainty in early counting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As well as campaigning against Labour, Morrison's conservative Liberals fought off a new challenge from so-called teal independent candidates to key government lawmakers' reelection in party strongholds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At least four Liberal lawmakers appeared to have lost their seats to teal independents including Liberal Party deputy leader Josh Frydenberg, who had been considered Morrison's most likely successor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“What we have achieved here is extraordinary, teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels said in her victory speech. Safe Liberal seat. Two-term incumbent. Independent,” she added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The teal independents are marketed as a greener shade than the Liberal Party's traditional blue colour and want stronger government action on reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions than either the government or Labour are proposing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government's Senate leader Simon Birmingham was concerned by big swings toward several teal candidates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It is a clear problem that we are losing seats that are heartland seats, that have defined the Liberal Party for generations,” Birmingham said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“If we lose those seats it is not certain that we will but there is clearly a big movement against us and there is clearly a big message in it,” Birmingham added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Due to the pandemic, around half of Australia's 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92 per cent of registered voters cast ballots at the last election.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Early polling for reasons of travel or work began two weeks ago and the Australian Electoral Commission will continue collecting postal votes for another two weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government changed regulations on Friday to enable people recently infected with COVID-19 to vote over the phone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said more than 7,000 polling stations opened as planned and on time across Australia despite 15 per cent of polling staff falling sick this week with COVID-19 and flu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Albanese said he had thought Morrison would have called the election last weekend because Australia's prime minister is expected at a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“If we get a clear outcome today then whoever is prime minister will be on a plane to Tokyo on Monday, which isn't ideal, I've got to say, immediately after a campaign,” Albanese said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Analysts have said that Morrison left the election until the latest date available to him to give himself more time to reduce Labour's lead in opinion polls.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/australian-pm-scott-morrison-admits-poll-defeat.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/australian-pm-scott-morrison-admits-poll-defeat.html Sat May 21 22:17:56 IST 2022 why-is-turkey-erdogan-block-nato-accession-finland-sweden <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/why-is-turkey-erdogan-block-nato-accession-finland-sweden.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2019/10/15/turkey_erdogan.jpg" /> <p>On May 18, ambassadors of Finland and Sweden were at the NATO headquarters at Brussels to hand in their requests to join the transatlantic security organisation. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg received them warmly and said it was a good day for the group. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who commands NATO's second largest standing army, however, chose to throw a wrench into the process by ordering Turkey's NATO representative Basat Ozturk to block a procedural vote on the accession. As NATO rules mandate that new members can be added only with the agreement of all 30 existing members of the alliance, the expansion plan—a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine—has been put on hold, at least for now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Turkey's move, meanwhile, came as a surprise. Speaking to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on April 4 over telephone, Erdogan had promised support for Finland's entry into the alliance. But over the past couple of weeks, Erdogan made a U-turn, and made it clear that it would not be a smooth ride for the two Nordic nations and that they might have to make a few painful concessions to Turkey. And, on May 14, when NATO foreign ministers and their Swedish and Finnish counterparts met in Berlin to informally discuss the expansion of the alliance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reportedly even raised his voice against Sweden's Anne Linde, breaking established protocol. “For us, it was a historic moment and yet Cavusoglu said he was irritated at Linde's 'feminist policy', bringing so much drama,” said a NATO diplomat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Erdogan has been a bitter critic of the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, largely because of their commitment towards human rights, translating into a lenient policy towards Kurdish organisations, branded traitors by Turkey. For instance, Sweden and other Nordic countries continue to host members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the biggest armed resistance group fighting for the rights of the Kurdish minority spread across Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Turkey views Kurdish separatists as traitors and has designated the PKK as a terrorist organisation. Although the US and the European Union, too, have notified PKK (led by Abdullah Ocalan, who is in a Turkish prison since 1999) as a terrorist group, Sweden and Finland have been reluctant to toe the Turkish line on the Kurdish issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the Syrian conflict, the PKK's Syrian branch YPG (People's Defence Unit) found support from Sweden. Turkish media allege that the Swedish foreign ministry and the Olof Palme International Centre, a think tank funded by Swedish trade unions, have hosted YPG meetings in Stockholm. Turkey was also irritated to see Swedish ministers confabulating with YPG representatives. Right now, the Swedish parliament has six Kurdish members, signifying their growing clout and increased acceptance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Both Sweden and Finland have also given asylum to followers of Turkish scholar and cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan was once on friendly terms with Gulen, who was hounded by the Turkish secular governments in the past and was forced to move to the US in 1999. But the two had a major falling out in 2013 after Gulen criticised the manner in which Erdogan dealt with the Gezi Park protests and anti-government demonstrations. Erdogan has accused Gulen of trying to overthrow his government and of masterminding the failed coup against him in 2016.</p> <p>After Finland and Sweden announced their intention to apply for NATO membership, Erdogan said Scandinavian countries had become guesthouses for terrorist organisations. “Terrorists are even members of parliament in some countries. It would not be wrong to say that we are bittersweet watching the solidarity and cooperation in the region, the sources used, the arms opened, the tolerance shown,” said Erdogan, addressing the Turkish parliament. “Because we, as a NATO ally who struggled with terror for years, whose borders were harassed, big conflicts occurred just next door, have never seen such a picture.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Turkey has always been a maverick member of the transatlantic alliance. It was opposed to granting membership to Greece in 1952 and has engaged in multiple conflicts with its western neighbour despite both countries being part of NATO. Under Erdogan, Turkey's ties with NATO have remained tense, and it has threatened to walk out of the alliance several times. Back in 2009, Erdogan refused to allow Anders Rasmussen of Denmark from taking over as NATO secretary general unless Denmark shut down a Kurdish television network. Rasmussen's appointment was cleared, but the network was shut down a year later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2017, Turkey withdrew from the annual joint NATO manoeuvres after images of Erdogan and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the Turkish Republic, were placed on enemy targets. Although the NATO commander apologised for the mistake, Erdogan refused to send his troops for the exercises. A year later, after the US refused to sell it anti-aircraft missile systems, Ankara purchased the S-400 system from Russia and even floated the idea of a new security alliance headed by Russia. Washington responded by imposing sanctions on Turkish military procurement and manufacturing, and kicking Turkey out of the F-35 aircraft development programme. The US was also angered by Turkey's lengthy detention of one of its citizens, pastor Andrew Brunson.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Biden administration, in fact, finds it difficult to manage relations with Turkey. Biden is unhappy with Turkey's Syria policy, the gas drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean and the refusal to join the sanctions regime against Russia. Last year, Biden became the first American president to call the 1915-1917 massacre of nearly 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide. Erdogan said the decision opened a deep wound in US-Turkey relations. By ratcheting up tension during a critical phase of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Erdogan expects the US to step in and negotiate. He feels Biden would be able to put pressure on Finland and Sweden to respond to Turkish demands on the Kurdish issue and also to roll back sanctions on weapons sale. Moreover, the Turkish military is keen to get more F-16s from the US and to return to the F-35 development project.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another reason for Erdogan's brinkmanship could be the presidential elections due next summer. Opinion polls indicate a tight race and even the possibility of the president losing after being in power since 2003. The Turkish economy is a mess, with inflation at 66.9 per cent. Erdogan's harebrained policies have pushed the economy to the brink and people are feeling the pinch. The economic crisis has forced him to reach out to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel after having broken off ties with them in pursuit of an unnecessarily provocative foreign policy. Erdogan mollified the Saudis by transferring the trial of the Jamal Khashoggi murder case to Saudi Arabia and by travelling to Jeddah to meet with Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The climbdown has helped end the Saudi boycott of Turkish products and could facilitate more Saudi investment in Turkey. Yet the financial situation is so dire that Erdogan needs support from the west as well and the NATO expansion issue could possibly help. Moreover, “standing up to the west” on the Kurdish could help Erdogan to consolidate the nationalist vote. If the NATO issue plays out well, Erdogan could consider advancing the polls to be held later this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Turkey, meanwhile, is careful about managing its ties with Russia. Although the two countries are regional rivals and competitors, they have shared interests on a range of issues, including maintaining peace and stability in the neighbourhood, especially regarding countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Turkey is a major customer of Russian natural gas. The TurkStream pipeline not only supplies gas to Turkey, but also serves as an alternative route for Russian exports through the Black Sea, keeping Ukraine out of the equation. Erdogan has, therefore, been circumspect about isolating Russia completely. For instance, Turkey has not imposed sanctions on Russia and refused to support Russia's exclusion from the Council of Europe even as it offered generous support to the Ukrainian war efforts, including supplying it with the lethal Bayraktar drones. Critics allege that Turkey has also been a safe haven for Russian oligarchs who are hounded by western sanctions and also for Russian investments. Russian luxury yachts can still be seen moored in Turkish marinas. Erdogan seems keen to position himself as a bridge between Putin and the west as negotiations seem to be the only way to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Erdogan, however, is unlikely to take his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the NATO beyond a point. Sinan Ulgen, director of the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies in Istanbul, said Turkey would possibly relent after extracting a price. Aggressive negotiations are already afoot, with US and European diplomats and leaders talking to their Turkish counterparts to find a solution acceptable to Erdogan. If Erdogan continues to play spoilsport, other members of the alliance could offer mutual security guarantees to Finland and Sweden, making them de facto NATO members. Erdogan thrives on brinkmanship, but he is unlikely to follow an isolationist path for long.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/why-is-turkey-erdogan-block-nato-accession-finland-sweden.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/21/why-is-turkey-erdogan-block-nato-accession-finland-sweden.html Sat May 21 11:36:13 IST 2022 opinion-sanctions-on-venezuela-a-gringo-game <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/20/opinion-sanctions-on-venezuela-a-gringo-game.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2022/5/20/venezuela-oil.jpg" /> <p>The US government announced on May 17 that it was loosening the sanctions on Venezuela. It is not because President Maduro has surrendered and bent to the American will. Nor because the US is moved to lessen the suffering of the Venezuelan people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lessening the cost of gasoline for the American consumers is the immediate motive. Otherwise, the angry American voters might punish the Democrats in the midterm elections coming up in November. The US wants Venezuela to increase production and exports of oil to fill the gap caused by the embargo on Russian oil. The long term motive is to increase the pain for Russia by reducing the pain of Venezuela a little.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Venezuela is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that could significantly increase production in the short and long term. And Venezuela has the largest crude reserves (298 billion barrels) in the world, much more than even Saudi Arabia(268 billion barrels), who has incidentally rebuffed the US request to increase production. Venezuela’s production has been crippled by US sanctions to about 374,000 barrels per day in 2020, down from the pre-sanction 3.5 million bpd.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The American oil company Chevron has told Biden administration that they could help double Venezuela’s roughly 800,000 barrels-a-day production within months, to replace the loss of about 700,000 barrels a day the US was importing from Russia before the Ukraine war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, the Biden administration is giving an exemption to Chevron from sanctions to work in Venezuela and increase production. Under the current sanctions, Chevron is prohibited from doing business with the Venezuelan government and is only allowed to carry out essential maintenance work in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US State Department has put out a usual spin on the story saying that they are relaxing the sanctions to help restart the stagnant talks between President Maduro and the self-proclaimed and American-anointed interim President Juan Guaido. The chances of success for these talks have now become less since the Maduro government has become stronger and Guaido has become weaker. So, there is no incentive for Maduro to show any flexibility towards Guaido.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Juan Guaido has completely lost his credibility. He has failed in his repeated promises and attempts to remove Maduro from power. He and his friends along with some American lawyers and lobbyists have helped themselves to hundreds of millions of dollars of the Venezuelan government funds in the US banks seized by the US government. He was involved in the foolish and failed attempt of a group of mercenaries to invade Venezuela and capture Maduro in 2019. Many senior opposition leaders of Venezuela have distanced themselves from Guaido.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some countries which had recognised Guaido, under pressure from the US, have started dealing with the government of Maduro quietly. This includes the devious UK government which is refusing to release the Venezuelan gold from their treasury on the ground that they do not recognise the government of Maduro. The group of countries which recognised Guaido was called as “Lima Group” since the decision was taken during a meeting in Lima, (the capital of Peru) where they issued a Lima Declaration in August 2019. At that time Peru had a centre-right government. But now there is a new leftist government in Lima which has ditched Guaido and recognised President Maduro. Some other countries such as Argentina and Chile which had joined the Lima Group are now ruled by Leftist parties who have also reverted back to recognising Maduro. So the American scheme to make a regime change in Venezuela and impose Guaido as president is doomed to fail, for sure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Venezuelan economy, ruined partly by the US sanctions and partly by Venezuelan mismanagement, had suffered severe GDP contraction every year since 2014. But the economy has turned the corner now and the worst is over. IMF has projected a 1.5 per cent GDP growth for Venezuela in 2022. Even the hyper inflation is coming under control. It has come down from the peak of 65374 per cent in 2018 to 1588 per cent in 2021. The Maduro government has managed to increase even the oil production to 800,000 bpd in 2022 from 374,000 bpd in 2020.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US is aware that Venezuela will not give in without clearance from the Cuban, who have coached the Venezuelans how to survive the Gringo sanctions and intimidations. President Maduro had his political education and training in Cuba when he was a young union leader. The Cubans are the veteran survivors of Gringo sanctions for the last sixty two years. Cuba is the victim of the oldest and most comprehensive US economic sanctions regime against any country in the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Americans went beyond economic sanctions in Cuba. The CIA had made numerous attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. But he died a natural death at the ripe age of 90 in 2016 peacefully after outliving many American Presidents and CIA chiefs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So the US knows that they need to show some gesture to the Cubans so that they would let the Venezuelans play ball with the Americans. The Biden administration has, therefore, announced on 16 May that it is loosening the sanctions on Cuba too. They are lessening some restrictions on flights to and from Cuba, family-reunification programme, consular services and visa processing, enabling more Cubans to either visit or join their families in the US.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the United Nations, year after year, the overwhelming majority of the members of the General Assembly pass resolutions condemning the US embargo and declaring it as violation of the UN charter and international law. But the US is unashamed and immune to reason or international opinion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The unilateral, illegitimate and inhuman sanctions on Cuba have not achieved any foreign policy goals of the US in the last six decades. So it is not going to be any different in the case of Venezuela. But the Gringos will continue their game of sanctions even when they know that they cannot win. From time to time, they will change the rules of the game and spin different stories to suit their needs and interests, as they are doing it in Venezuela.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The author is an expert in Latin American affairs.</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of THE WEEK.</i></p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/20/opinion-sanctions-on-venezuela-a-gringo-game.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/20/opinion-sanctions-on-venezuela-a-gringo-game.html Fri May 20 20:37:52 IST 2022 pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-due-to-hold-talks-with-wang-yi-on-his-maiden-visit-china <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-due-to-hold-talks-with-wang-yi-on-his-maiden-visit-china.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2022/5/20/bilawal-us-reuters.jpeg" /> <p>Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is due to arrive late Saturday on his maiden visit to China to hold comprehensive talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to firm-up all-weather ties between the two countries.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This will be Bilawal's first bilateral visit abroad since assuming office last month, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 33-year old, whose mother Benazir Bhutto and grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were former Prime Ministers is just back from New York where he held talks with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed strengthening the US-Pakistan relations which deteriorated during the previous Imran Khan regime.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In his interviews to the media after his talks with Blinken, Bilawal ruled out that Pakistan's growing relationship with the US would hurt its ties to Beijing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>The Global Times</i> reported that Bilawal is expected to arrive in China late Saturday and official activities will start from Sunday morning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He is due to hold extensive consultations with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday to establish first direct contact between the new government headed by Shehbaz Sharif with the Chinese leadership.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to informed sources, the talks between both the Foreign Ministers will be held in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Sunday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Their meeting was being held in Guangzhou as Beijing is currently under semi-lockdown to contain the fast spreading Omicron variant of the COVID-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bilawal is accompanied by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials, Pakistan state-run APP news agency reported earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of his visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Saturday congratulated Pakistan and China on the 71st anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Congratulations! May 21 is the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. FM Bilawal will visit China from May 21. #Thisisdoublehappiness," he tweeted from his official account.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's two-day visit to May 21 marks the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On May 21, 1951, Pakistan and China established diplomatic ties almost a year after India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India became the first non-Communist country in Asia to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China on April 1, 1950.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bilawal already held talks with Wang through video link on May 12 followed by a virtual meeting between Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Their talks were focussed on strengthening the safeguarding of safety for Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan in view of the spate of attacks on Chinese nationals including the recent suicide bomb attack at the Karachi University and revitalising the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is bogged down by delays.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India protested to China as the CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Close ties between Pakistan-China in the last 4-decades widely believed to be aimed at countering India remained steady despite the periodic political crisis in Pakistan leading to a change of governments including those by the military rulers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During their talks Bilawal and Wang will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on stronger trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, Pakistan Foreign Office said on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In April, Bilawal's predecessor Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his visit to China has announced that Beijing has agreed to roll-over USD 4.5 billion debt due to be paid by Pakistan this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Bilawal visit will see his hope of taking China as the first destination of his overseas visits realised and also marks the first in-person high-level interaction between the two countries since the new Pakistani government was formed.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, it is necessary for China and Pakistan to strengthen communication and coordination on major strategic issues and jointly respond to new developments in the international and regional situation and various risks and challenges," Wang Wenbin said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said Wang Yi will hold a comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views with Bilawal on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"China hopes to take this visit as an opportunity to renew our traditional friendship, consolidate strategic mutual trust, further deepen our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era," the spokesman said.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-due-to-hold-talks-with-wang-yi-on-his-maiden-visit-china.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/pak-fm-bilawal-bhutto-due-to-hold-talks-with-wang-yi-on-his-maiden-visit-china.html Sun May 22 10:00:40 IST 2022 who-is-anthony-albanese-the-new-prime-minister-of-australia <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/who-is-anthony-albanese-the-new-prime-minister-of-australia.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2022/5/22/anthony-albanese-ap.jpg" /> <p>Australians awoke on Sunday to a new prime minister in Anthony Albanese, the centre-left Labour Party leader whose ascension to the nation's top job was said to reflect the changed fabric of the country today.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Albanese is a politician molded by his humble start to life as the only child of a single mother who raised him on a pension in gritty inner-Sydney suburbia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He is also a hero of multicultural Australia, describing himself as the only candidate with a non-Anglo Celtic name to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed. He has promised to rehabilitate Australia's international reputation as a climate change laggard with steeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His financially precarious upbringing in government-owned housing in suburban Camperdown fundamentally formed the politician who has lead the centre-left Australian Labor Party into government for the first time since 2007. He is still widely known by his childhood nickname, Albo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It says a lot about our great country that a son of a single mom who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing down the road in Camperdown can stand before you tonight as Australia's prime minister,&quot; Albanese said in his election victory speech on Saturday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Albanese repeatedly referred during the six-week election campaign to the life lessons he learned from his disadvantaged childhood. Labor's campaign has focused on policies including financial assistance for first home buyers grappling with soaring real estate prices and sluggish wage growth. Labor also promised cheaper child care for working parents and better nursing home care for the elderly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Albanese this week promised to begin rebuilding trust in Australia when he attends a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Albanese said he will be completely consistent with Morrison's current administration on Chinese strategic competition in the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted quickly after Saturday's election despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attended a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US, Japanese and Indian leaders. &quot;I believe it is very important that this country has certainty. I think it's very important this country can move forward,&quot; Morrison said. &quot;And particularly over the course of this week with the important meetings that are being held, I think it is vitally important there's a very clear understanding about the government of this country,&quot; he added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>-Inputs from PTI</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/who-is-anthony-albanese-the-new-prime-minister-of-australia.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/22/who-is-anthony-albanese-the-new-prime-minister-of-australia.html Sun May 22 12:34:18 IST 2022