Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday pledged $2 billion for a new development fund for poor countries on a UN visit showcasing Beijing's growing global role. Xi's announcement, made in his first address to the United Nations, follows longstanding criticism from the United States and other developed countries that China has not taken responsibilities in line with its aspirations for a greater global role. The speech is the latest high-profile move for Xi on a trip that has included a White House state visit and will see him chair a UN forum on women's rights on Sunday. Addressing a UN summit on development, Xi said China would act "by putting justice before interests and joining other countries in a concerted effort to realize the post-2015 agenda." Xi said that China would launch an assistance fund for developing countries with an initial investment of $2 billion. The Chinese leader said that his country would step up investment in the least developed countries -- which are mostly in Africa -- by at least $12 billion by 2030. China has been an increasingly active investor around the world, although it has generally focused on seeking resources rather than broader humanitarian goals. Xi said that China would also relieve debts owed by least developed countries this year. He did not provide a figure on the debts or say which countries would be affected. The United Nations on Friday set a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, an effort that the global body says could require up to $5 trillion a year. - Send tourists - After his speech, the Chinese president hosted a meeting on South-South cooperation attended by more than a dozen leaders eager to present their wish lists. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged Xi to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa and to open up the Chinese market to African goods as the best way to promote economic development. He then added a third, concrete request. "Tourists. If you could send me just two million of those, I'll be very happy," said the Ugandan leader, drawing applause. In January, Xi promised $250 billion in investment over 10 years in Latin America, which the United States has long considered its sphere of influence. China's economy has soared over the past 15 years to become the world's second largest after the United States, although concerns have been rising in recent months over the country's financial markets and long-term growth. China has increasingly taken an assertive role in the world, especially in myriad disputes with its neighbors, but retains little stake in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. With a reform plan for the Washington-based institutions blocked by US Republican lawmakers, China has set up its own lender, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The bank, which Xi reaffirmed would open soon, has widely been seen as a way for China to dilute the influence of the United States and Japan, the most prominent holdouts from the new lender. "It is important to improve global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of developing countries and give all countries equal right to participating in international rule-making," Xi said. - Easing concerns - China's aid commitment remains far below levels of Western countries. The United States in 2013 provided more than $30 billion, and Britain, France, Germany and Japan all gave more than $11 billion, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Xi called on developed countries to remain "the main channel" for assistance to poor nations. The pledge nonetheless marks the second day in a row in which China has addressed one of many concerns of Western countries. On his visit Friday to Washington, Xi pledged action on climate change. China is the largest emitter of carbon blamed for the world's rising temperatures. China promised $3.1 billion to help developing countries adapt to climate change and said it would set up a "cap-and-trade" system to limit emissions.
- The Independent
‘Quick decision-making is not Mr Biden’s style’
- The Week
Perseverance and Curiosity have company. The China National Space Administration successfully landed its Zhurong rover on Mars on Saturday, state media reports, making China the third country after the United States and Soviet Union to touch down on the Red Planet (the 1971 Soviet mission failed shortly after landing). It's considered a major achievement for Beijing's space program, which is growing more and more ambitious. Zhurong will soon be deployed from the lander for a three-month mission, joining the aforementioned operational NASA rovers. So, what will it be doing? CNN and The Associated Press report that it will be searching for signs of ancient life, but the mission appears to be a little more specific than that. The Scientific American reports that Zhurong's landing site, Utopia Planitia, is "a rather bland expanse of rock-strewn sand," a good spot for a touchdown, but "decidedly sub-par for addressing cutting-edge research questions, such as whether Mars harbors past or present life." That said, the mission should come in handy, Agnes Cousin, a planetary scientist at the Institute for Research and in Astrophysics and Planetology in France, told The Scientific American. "For the overall geological implications for Mars, it’s very nice to have a new location to compare," she said. Among other things, Zhurong is equipped with the first magnetometer sent to Mars, which reportedly could possibly reveal details of how Mars lost its magnetic field and, subsequently, its atmosphere and water billions of years ago. Read more at The Scientific American and The South China Morning Post. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterThe Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis deserves relentless investigatingThere's growing speculation that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will name their daughter 'Philippa'
- WBAL - Baltimore Videos
Preakness fans who drove up from Virginia say it feels great to be back at Pimlico Race Course for the race.
- The New York Times
When federal health officials said on Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to wear masks in most places, it came as a surprise to many people in public health. It also was a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times. In the informal survey, 80% said they thought Americans would need to wear masks in public indoor places for at least another year. Just 5% said people would be able to stop wearing masks indoors by this summer. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In large crowds outdoors, like at a concert or protest, 88% of the epidemiologists said it was necessary even for fully vaccinated people to wear masks. “Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80% or 90% over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,” said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The responses came from of 723 epidemiologists, submitted between April 28 and May 10, before the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey asked the public health experts about being outdoors in groups of various sizes, and about being indoors with people whose vaccination status was unknown. The situations were consistent with the new guidance, which governs behavior in public places, regardless of size, where it is impossible to know the vaccine status of others. Federal health officials have already said that vaccinated people can be indoors with other vaccinated people, and epidemiologists mostly agreed. But the CDC’s new guidance said masks were no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people regardless of the size of the gathering and whether it was indoors or outside, except in certain situations, like in a doctor’s office or on public transit. Epidemiologists are, on the whole, very cautious when it comes to COVID-19, by nature of their training in understanding risk and preventing the spread of infectious disease. Nearly three-quarters described themselves as risk-averse, and they are likely to have been able to work from home over the past year, unlike many Americans. But they also have the same training as many of the scientists at CDC who devised the new policy, and about one-third of the survey respondents work in government, mostly at the state level. They acknowledged that many Americans would not want to continue to wear masks — and that many have already stopped. Wearing masks “will be a need, which is a very different question than how long will it continue to occur,” said Sophia K., an epidemiologist at the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. “I expect that most people will refuse to wear masks, even in public, by the end of 2021, whether there is still a pandemic or not.” Many epidemiologists echoed the CDC in saying that as long as people were fully vaccinated, they could gather without precautions. But the CDC went further than the epidemiologists by giving the OK for vaccinated people to stop masking in groups with an unknown number of unvaccinated people. “It is either you trust the vaccine, or you do not,” said Kristin Harrington, an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Emory. “And if we trust the vaccine, that means an unlimited number of vaccinated individuals should be allowed to gather together.” Others acknowledged that policy decisions are based on many goals, such as invigorating the economy and incentivizing people to get vaccinated. Yet most said mask-wearing continued to be necessary for now, because the number of vaccinated Americans had not yet reached a level that scientists consider necessary to significantly slow the spread of the virus. Until then, there are too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100% effective, to fail, they said. “Crowded circumstances, indoors or outdoors, necessitate a mask until community levels of COVID are much lower,” said Luther-King Fasehun, a doctor and an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Temple University. Sally Picciotto, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the decision to stop wearing masks indoors “depends on more people rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.” Respondents also said that as long as the virus was still spreading, masks were important to protect high-risk people and those who cannot be vaccinated, like children or people who have underlying health conditions. “Until community transmission is lower, it protects the whole community and the other people in the room to wear masks,” including children, immuno-suppressed people and Black and Latino communities who have been hit harder by COVID-19, said Julia Raifman, an assistant professor of public health at Boston University. One-quarter of the epidemiologists in the survey said they thought people would need to continue wearing masks in certain settings indefinitely, and some said they planned to continue to wear them in places like airplanes or concert halls, or during the winter virus season. “Heck, I may wear a mask for every flu season now,” said Allison Stewart, the lead epidemiologist at the Williamson County and Cities Health District in Texas. “Sure has been nice not to be sick for over a year.” Alana Cilwick, an epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said, “I plan to wear a mask indoors for the foreseeable future given the amount of vaccine hesitancy we are seeing, especially in higher-risk settings like the gym or on an airplane.” Just one-fifth of epidemiologists said it was safe for fully vaccinated people to socialize indoors without masks in a group of unlimited size. A majority said indoor gatherings should be limited to five or fewer households. Even outside, where the coronavirus is much less likely to spread, nearly all the epidemiologists said it was necessary to keep wearing masks in crowds, when people are near others whose vaccination status they don’t know. “Masks are the second-most helpful prevention strategy we have to vaccines,” Raifman said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Independent
Bear’s injuries happened during the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire
- LA Times
Serge Ibaka had 15 points and seven rebounds in his first game since March 14, but the Clippers lost 122-115 to the host Houston Rockets.
After 240 years of trading, Debenhams's remaining stores are welcoming customers for the last time.
- The Independent
‘Inaction – or just moving on – is simply not an option,’ Rep Bennie Thompson says as he announces new bill, which took months to agree on
- Yahoo News
Politics is a form of storytelling, and a 63 percent approval rating suggests that President Biden’s story is one most American people are willing to hear. The past week, however, has offered the kinds of plot twists that threaten to undo that narrative.
- Associated Press
Austin Cindric professed his love for Dover and soon refused to let his Miles the Monster trophy out of his grip. With so many close calls on the concrete, Cindric was sure to savor this checkered flag — and keep his trophy within reach. “It's still in my lap like a child or a dog,” Cindric said.
- The Independent
Ousted top GOP messenger says cable news channel has ‘particular obligation to make sure people know election wasn’t stolen’
Earnings reports from major retailers will be in focus next week after the U.S. stock market suffered one of its biggest pullbacks in months, with investors looking for clues on the pace of inflation and consumer spending and whether companies can sustain their strong earnings momentum. The S&P 500 fell 4% from Monday through Wednesday, the biggest three-day swoon for the benchmark index since late October, after several months of largely calm and steady increases to record highs, although it partially rebounded at the end of the week. Investors are zeroing in on inflationary concerns as the potential spark for greater turbulence after data showed consumer prices rose in April by the most in about 12 years.
- Associated Press
The Republican who now leads the Arizona county elections department targeted by a GOP audit of the 2020 election results is slamming former President Donald Trump and others in his party for their continued falsehoods about how the election was run. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database “unhinged” and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations. The former president's statement came as Republican Senate President Karen Fann has demanded the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors come to the Senate to answer questions raised by the private auditors she has hired.
- WLS – Chicago
A special response unit extricated the victim from under the concrete rubble, according to the Chicago Fire Department
"I am very happy in love, and in life. I’d be enormously grateful if you were happy with me," Cavill wrote on Instagram.
- NBC News
The unidentified boy was discovered with multiple wounds about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Dallas police said. Investigators believe an "edged weapon" was used.
The Heat pay a 40-year-old veteran $2.5 million even though he never plays, and players think more teams should do it
Udonis Haslem may not play much for the Heat, but he plays a huge role as a mentor and leader in the locker room.
- LA Times
Albert Pujols signing with the Dodgers might not make a lot of sense on the surface, but the Dodgers have plenty of reasons to sign a player like him.
- Business Insider
Marjorie Taylor Greene said that she's the victim of Democrat bullying when questioned about her hounding of AOC
Marjorie Taylor Greene listed several grievances over alleged bullying from Democrats, including the time Guam delegates offered her cookies.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband are under investigation for allegedly filing tax exemptions for two separate homes in different counties, which is a violation of Georgia law. WSB-TV reported that 2020 Georgia state tax records unearthed by investigative reporter Justin Gray revealed the couple was receiving a large tax break on their homes. A homestead exemption provides up to a $2,000 exemption from county and school taxes, according to Newsweek.