You should include the details of your emergency and your location in the text message.
- The Week
U.S. officials are reportedly privately worried Russia stole blueprints for U.S. blackout restoration
In public, American officials have said they do not believe Russia's SVR intelligence agency "pierced" classified systems and stole sensitive communications and plans during an alleged cyberattack on what may have hundreds of networks in the United States, The New York Times reports. But privately, per the Times, those same officials reportedly say they still aren't sure exactly what was or was not taken.There are concerns that the SVR — which the U.S. intelligence agency and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are confident was behind the breach, despite President Trump suggesting China may have been involved instead of Moscow — was able to get its hands on delicate, albeit unclassified information from victims like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. For example, it's reportedly possible the hackers accessed Black Start, the detailed technical blueprints for how the U.S. would restore power if there was a major blackout. If that was indeed the case, Russia would theoretically have a list of systems it could target to keep power from turning back on.The Times report sheds more light on the cyberattack, which may not be fully understood for months or even years. Some of the revelations include the fact that the hack appears to have been much broader in scope than originally thought and that the hackers "managed their intrusion from servers inside" the U.S. by "exploiting legal prohibitions on the National Security Agency." Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com America was always going to bungle the vaccine rollout 5 inexcusably funny cartoons about Trump's disgraceful pardons The best novels I read in 2020
- Associated Press
A growing number of Republican lawmakers are joining President Donald Trump's extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets next week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Saturday announced a coalition of 11 senators who have been enlisted for Trump's effort to subvert the will of American voters. This follows the declaration from Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first to buck Senate leadership by saying he would join with House Republicans in objecting to the state tallies during Wednesday's joint session of Congress.
- NBC News
Los Angeles County prosecutors file lawsuit against new district attorney over justice reform efforts
"The directives violate California law," the union representing deputy district attorneys said about an order to abandon many sentencing enhancements.
- The Telegraph
Emmanuel Macron used his new year's message to accuse Brexit of having been born of a European malaise and "many lies and false promises". In the French president’s annual address to the people of France, Mr Macron questioned the strength of Britain's sovereignty following its departure from the European Union, which was officially completed at 11pm on New Year’s Eve. Giving the speech from the Elysee Palace, Paris, he said: “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour but also our friend and ally. This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises.” It comes after Downing Street recently accused Mr Macron of standing in the way of a deal because he was playing to his domestic audience ahead of elections in 18 months’ time.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -More than 800,000 people in Russia have been inoculated so far against the new coronavirus and more than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been dispatched, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday. Russia, which began rolling out its Sputnik V vaccine in early December, has the world's fourth higher number of COVID-19 cases and is putting high hopes on several vaccines it plans to produce. From Jan. 1, people who are inoculated in Russia will get an electronic vaccination certificate, the TASS news agency quoted Murashko as saying.
- Associated Press
Iran said Saturday it plans to enrich uranium up to 20% at its underground Fordo nuclear facility “as soon as possible,” pushing its program a technical step away from weapons-grade levels as it increases pressure on the West over the tattered atomic deal. The move comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. in the waning days of the administration of President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal in 2018.
- NBC News
Lisa Montgomery's lawyers have argued their client suffers from serious mental illnesses.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump was dealt a stinging rebuke by Republican senators last night as Congress overrode his veto of a sweeping defence bill. It was the first time in Mr Trump's four years as president that Congress had blocked his veto power. Many Republican senators joined Democrats in an 81-13 vote to override, well over the two thirds majority required. As a result the annual $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act to fund the military in 2021 will become law. Mr Trump had called the result, which was expected, a "disgraceful act of cowardice" and the Republican leadership in Congress "weak". The bill will provide a three per cent pay raise for US troops and included elements relating to defence policy, troop levels, weapons systems and military construction. Mr Trump had vetoed it, arguing it allowed for the renaming of military bases that honour Confederate generals, and that it limited his ability to bring troops home from Afghanistan and Germany. He also tried to link passage of the bill to measures targeting social media companies. Throughout Mr Trump's term Republican senators had been highly reluctant to break so publicly with him. He had vetoed eight previous bills and none were overridden. But with less than three weeks left in office Mr Trump's influence with Republican senators appeared to have receded markedly. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said: "It's time for us to deliver this bill. It's our chance to remind brave service members and their families that we have their backs." It came as Republicans also faced a deepening split over Mr Trump's last ditch attempt to overturn the US presidential election result. Over 140 Republicans in the House of Representatives may be ready to back a move not to certify the outcome at a joint session of Congress on Jan 6, it emerged. But even with that level of support the attempt to block the result still had no chance of success. Mr McConnell privately urged colleagues to accept the election result, and called his own vote on Jan 6 the "most consequential I have ever cast". In an open letter Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, accused colleagues of "playing with fire". He said: "Let’s be clear what is happening here. We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage. But they’re wrong. "Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government." The move to oppose the election results was ignited by Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri. He will object, forcing a two-hour debate, followed by a vote in the Senate, and in the House of Representatives. The session in Congress will take place a day after two run-off races in Georgia, which will determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate. David Perdue, one of two Republican candidates, announced he would spend the final days of the campaign in quarantine after possible exposure to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, it emerged that staffing changes were to be made to the Secret Service's presidential detail when Joe Biden takes office on Jan 20. Mr Biden's camp was said to have expressed concerns that current agents might be politically supportive of Mr Trump. Mr Trump cut short a trip to Florida and headed back to Washington on New Year's Eve. In a New Year video message he hailed "historic victories" on the economy and fighting the pandemic. He said: "We have to be remembered for what's been done." In the final weeks of his term the president was also facing an ongoing battle with Republicans in Congress, including Mr McConnell, after he called for an increase in stimulus cheques to Americans. He also faced growing friction with Iran.
China has rebuffed the latest offer of talks from Taiwan, saying the government was engaging in a "cheap trick" and provocation by seeking confrontation with China at every turn. Taiwan is ready to have "meaningful" talks with China as equals as long as they are willing to put aside confrontation, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday, offering another olive branch to Beijing in her New Year's speech. China views the democratic and self-governed island as its own territory, and cut off a formal talks mechanism in 2016 after Tsai was first elected, viewing her as a separatist bent on a formal declaration of independence.
- Associated Press
Iraqi explosives experts were working to defuse a large mine discovered on an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and evacuate its crew, authorities said Friday. The Iraqi statement said the mine had been attached to a tanker rented from Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company SOMO that was refueling another vessel. Iraq’s naval forces were making “a great effort to accomplish the mission” safely, said Iraq's Security Media Cell, which is affiliated with the country’s security forces.
- The Independent
The woman allegedly attacked a Black teenager named Keyon Harrold Jr, the son of a famous jazz trumpeter
The two New Year's Day airstrikes hit al-Shabaab compounds, destroying two according to the initial assessment. No civilians were killed or injured, officials said.
- The Telegraph
Spain will be able to decide who can enter Gibraltar under the terms of a post-Brexit deal, its Foreign Minister has said, sparking a furious response from the Territory’s Chief Minister. Just hours before the UK formally left the EU a preliminary deal was struck which allows Gibraltar to join the Schengen zone, ensuring free movement of people and goods into the British Overseas Territory. But in an interview with Spain’s El Pais newspaper, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said: “Schengen has a set of rules, procedures and instruments to apply them, including its database, to which only Spain has access. Gibraltar and the United Kingdom do not. “In order to enter a Gibraltar integrated into the Schengen area, the responsibility for border control is in Spanish hands. “That is why the final decision on who enters the Schengen area is Spanish, of course.
- Associated Press Videos
Associated Press' Darlene Superville discusses Justice Department asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit led by Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas that seeks to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to overturn the presidential election result. (Jan.1)
- Associated Press
Pakistan's security forces arrested Saturday an alleged leader of the militant group that was behind the bloody 2008 Mumbai attacks in India. An official with the Pakistani counterterrorism police, Shakil Ahmed, said that Zaikur Rehman Lakhvi was seized in the eastern city of Lahore, on terrorism financing charges. Lakhvi is alleged to be a leader of the Lashker-e-Taiba group that organized the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that killed 166 people.
- The New York Times
The biographical video from Sen. David Perdue's first campaign, in 2014, celebrated a narrative arc that many fellow Georgians either related to or have aspired to: the story of a humble boy from rural America whose hard work catapulted him into a global business career, navigating free markets and faraway lands, all the while gathering stores of wisdom and wealth.The embrace of global commerce has been a hallmark of modern Georgia, showcased in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and promoted by, among others, Perdue's NAFTA-loving cousin, Sonny Perdue, governor from 2003 to 2011. Three years later, in his maiden run for office, David Perdue would boast of his international experience as a consultant and CEO while speaking to a gathering of Republicans in Bibb County, close to his middle Georgia hometown."There's only one candidate in this race that's ever lived outside the United States," Perdue said. "How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free-enterprise system and what it takes to compete in the global economy?"Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York TimesNow, facing one of a pair of Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate, Perdue has continued to make his global business experience the essence of his brand. But that has highlighted the contradictions that emerge -- in his career and in his character but also in his party and his region -- as he embraces the populist, America-first strains of Trumpism.The man who has lately voiced support for some of President Donald Trump's signature tariffs built his career as an unapologetic, free-trading practitioner of the outsourcing arts. As a top executive at companies including Reebok, Sara Lee and Dollar General, he was often deeply involved in the shift of manufacturing and jobs to low-wage factories in China and other Asian countries.A review of that business record shows a man who achieved significant successes, making millions, managing complex periods of corporate growth and change, and creating domestic jobs -- particularly at Dollar General. But there were also disappointments, like his fruitless effort to rescue a company called Pillowtex that brought heartbreak to a North Carolina mill town.The man who spent much of his life broadening his horizons took to the stage at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, before Election Day and mocked Sen. Kamala Harris' first name, mispronouncing it with an exaggerated stumble that to critics amounted to crude racism. His campaign has called it an innocent mispronunciation.The man who dons a faded denim jacket to reinforce his connection to everyday Georgians has a record of aloofness, with an aversion to holding town hall meetings and a thin skin for tough questions. Now he has chosen a further withdrawal, declining to participate in additional debates after one in which his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, called him a "crook" for his prolific stock trading while in the Senate.Perdue did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this article. In response to written questions, his campaign issued a statement that said, in part, "Throughout his four decades working in the real world before being elected to the Senate, David Perdue led American companies that saved and created tens of thousands of American jobs."As when he first ran for office six years ago, Perdue, who is 71, regularly invokes those decades in business to style himself the ultimate Washington "outsider," though it was his cousin the former governor who gave him his entree to politics and helped nurture his ascent.Taking aim at his 33-year-old opponent, who runs a London-based documentary film company and has never held public office, Perdue's campaign has fixed on a $1,000 payment from a Hong Kong media company to charge that Ossoff had a two-year working relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.A Global Man of the New SouthIncreasingly and inexorably, the region's apparel and textile industry was turning to foreign contractors to manufacture its products. The disruption, which meant thousands of layoffs for low-skilled workers in Southern mill towns, was Perdue's ticket to the world. He became an expert in outsourcing.His apprenticeship in outsourcing began in 1972, when he joined Kurt Salmon Associates, a consulting company that had earned its reputation sending bright young engineers into Southern clothing factories to solve technical problems and boost efficiency.William Sand, an engineer who worked in the Atlanta office with Perdue, recalled that in the 1970s, as Southern factories were beginning to close, new ones were opening in Mexico and Asia. Kurt Salmon, he said, "became experts at helping companies source product from overseas."Perdue left in 1984 and worked at a few other places before ending up at Sara Lee, which was best known for its baked goods but was also an apparel manufacturer. He was hired in 1992 to open a headquarters in Hong Kong, where he lived for two years, establishing operations throughout Asia "from the ground up," he would later say.The ripple effects reached home. In 1994, the company eliminated thousands of jobs, including 230 at its Spring City Knitting plant in Cartersville, Georgia.By that time, Perdue was globe-trotting with yet another company, Haggar Clothing, which had chosen him to lead its international operation with one aim: increasing foreign sourcing. As company plants were closed in the United States, workers in Mexico performed the job for $1.50 an hour.By 1998, Perdue was headed to Reebok, which ultimately promoted him to lead its main division. The manufacturing of most of the company's products was outsourced, primarily to China and elsewhere in Asia.But Reebok's chair, Paul Fireman, passed over Perdue for promotion to the company's No. 2 job of chief operating officer.Within months, Perdue was in discussions with a headhunter seeking an executive with the know-how and experience to turn around Pillowtex, a troubled sheet and towel manufacturer with well-known brands in its portfolio, including Cannon, Fieldcrest and Royal Velvet. Perdue agreed in spring 2002 to take the job as CEO of Pillowtex.The company was just emerging from bankruptcy, and thousands of workers at its home base in Kannapolis, North Carolina, viewed Perdue as a potential savior, according to Scott Shimizu, a former executive vice president. Looking back, though, Shimizu said he believed Perdue's inaction led to the company's demise.The company needed to sell off assets quickly and outsource production to survive -- with the possibility of retaining part of its U.S. workforce -- but Shimizu said Perdue took few steps to do either.The company imploded, and about 7,650 people lost their jobs, most of them in North Carolina. The hard feelings toward Perdue were rife in Kannapolis, and in 2014, his Democratic Senate opponent, Michelle Nunn, would release an ad set there highlighting the bitterness.Perdue, who had been at Pillowtex less than a year, soon found a new opportunity at Dollar General. As CEO, Perdue oversaw the opening of a Hong Kong office in 2004.Dollar General flourished under Perdue's leadership, adding more than 2,000 stores. Former colleagues who visited Perdue at the company's Tennessee headquarters said it was apparent he was preparing Dollar General for acquisition. In 2007, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. announced it would purchase Dollar General for about $7 billion. It was later reported that Perdue walked away with a $42 million payout.The Perdue family had lived in Nashville, Tennessee, but it was time to head back to Georgia.'The Outsider'In 2010, as Sonny Perdue was finishing his second term as governor, he named his cousin David Perdue to the board of the Georgia Ports Authority.In 2013, Georgia's senior senator, Saxby Chambliss, announced he would not stand for reelection the next year. In David Perdue's telling, he drove to see his cousin and tried to convince him to run. "Well, he told me he didn't feel led to do so, but then he said I should consider running," Perdue later recalled in an interview.When Perdue decided to run, he recruited top aides from his cousin's campaign staff. "David's team was Sonny's team," said Jack Kingston, a longtime Republican congressman who also sought the vacant seat.For all that, David Perdue branded himself "the outsider"-- the man with the real-world business savvy needed to effect change. The Republican primary was crowded with well-known and seasoned politicians, and Perdue attacked them for their seasoning.After defeating Kingston in a primary runoff, Perdue went on to face and defeat Nunn.The record Perdue built was reliably conservative. He submitted a far-fetched -- and, critics said, regressive -- proposal to replace income taxes with sales taxes on goods and services. He proposed limits on the ability of immigrants to sponsor family members, instead giving priority to college-educated young people with high-paying jobs.In the beginning, he also spoke and voted as one would expect a free-trader to do. In 2015, he voted to give President Barack Obama enhanced powers to negotiate big trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the most substantial trade accord since the North American Free Trade Agreement of the 1990s.But Perdue was also early to see the potential in Trump, who offered a kind of mirror reflection of Perdue's own political persona as chief executive change agent. The two men reportedly met at Trump Tower during Perdue's 2014 run.Perdue and his fellow Republicans quickly had to grapple with the president's determination to break the party's mold on global trade. Three days into his tenure, Trump tore up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling it "a rape of our country."Although Perdue's campaign has said that he consistently supported the president's America-first trade policies, the senator spoke out in 2017 against a Trump-backed plan to impose a "border adjustment tax" that would have raised taxes on companies that import goods into the United States. A year later, he criticized the president's plan to impose steep tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, calling for a "more targeted" strategy.But by late 2019, as Perdue's reelection bid on a ticket with Trump loomed, he seemed more amenable to the president's approach.And the senator helped spark a civil war among Georgia Republicans in 2020 when he and his Georgia runoff-mate, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, demanded the resignation of the state's top elections official, a Republican.More recently, the senators supported a failed Texas lawsuit that would have blocked the election result in Georgia, where President-elect Joe Biden beat Trump by about 12,000 votes, and in three other states Trump lost.The battle over Perdue's Senate seat has been no less fierce. Ossoff's "crook" attack, in a televised debate in October, was based on disclosures that Perdue, the Senate's most prolific stock trader, made a number of well-timed trades, including in companies that could be affected by his committee's votes. An investigation of some of Perdue's stock dealings by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission ended without prosecution, and Perdue has used those facts to argue the has done nothing wrong.Ossoff has revived criticism of Perdue's outsourcing record. The senator has also had to fend off charges of bigotry, for both his mockery of Harris' name and a campaign ad that showed a photo of Ossoff, who is Jewish, with a lengthened nose. Perdue's campaign called the image an accident caused by a "filter" applied by an outside vendor handling the graphic design.For his part, Perdue's closing attack is in keeping with Republicans' emerging argument that Democrats like Ossoff are too weak, and in some cases too compromised, to stand up to the threat of Chinese global dominance.Ossoff, Perdue contends, is a radical left-winger with a grave "China problem." He cites as proof a $1,000 agreement that allowed a large media company in Hong Kong, PCCW, to rebroadcast a documentary Ossoff's company produced about the Islamic State group.Perdue has said little about his own China ties.In 1991, the year before he headed to Hong Kong to build Sara Lee's Asian outsourcing operation "from the ground up," the company proudly announced a new foothold in Asia: a deal in Fuzhou, China.The joint venture, Fujian Sara Lee Consumer Products, manufactured toothpaste, shampoo and other personal care products. It was partially owned by the Chinese government, according to a report in The Chicago Tribune.No U.S. firm could have established such an operation in China at that time without dealing extensively with the government or the Communist Party, industry experts said.This week, the Times asked Perdue's campaign if he had any other business involving the Chinese government.The campaign declined to answer.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2021 The New York Times Company
- National Review
How Does Ossoff Think about China? A Documentary He Made on Beijing’s Investment in Africa May Hold Clues
Jon Ossoff has billed himself as a hard-hitting “investigative journalist,” orchestrating exposés on “corruption, organized crime, and war crimes” as CEO of the documentary film company Insight TWI. But experts say that his 2015 documentary on China’s influence in Africa was naively framed and parroted CCP rhetoric.In the buildup to Georgia’s runoff elections on January 5, Senator David Perdue’s campaign has released multiple attack ads alleging that Ossoff “won't hold China accountable” and suggesting that he might be vulnerable to CCP influence like fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell, who unwittingly formed a relationship with a Chinese spy early in his career. The attacks began after National Review reported that Ossoff initially failed to disclose payments from a CCP-tied media company that licensed two of his documentaries.Ossoff’s campaign has said that the Hong Kong media conglomerate PCCW — which is partially owned by a Chinese state-backed firm and whose primary owner has spoken out against the Hong Kong democracy protests — represents just “one of dozens of TV stations and distributors in more than 30 countries that have aired Jon’s work.” However, the Ossoff camp has offered shifting explanations regarding the amount PCCW paid Ossoff’s documentary company and why that figure was not included on his initial financial disclosure form. On Tuesday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that in 2012, Ossoff promoted Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua News.But what are Ossoff’s actual views on China? While he has labeled Perdue’s attacks “ridiculous,” Ossoff’s policy platform makes no mention of China, and even lacks a foreign-policy portion.Ossoff’s reluctance to articulate his views on America’s chief geopolitical rival is curious in light of the way he billed himself as an experienced national security hand during his failed 2017 House run. Ossoff touted his “five years of experience as a national security staffer in the U.S. Congress” during that campaign, though that descriptor turned out to be an embellishment.In the absence of a real record, those interested in the 33-year-old Ossoff’s potential views on China can look to a 2015 documentary titled “The Battle for Africa,” which he executively produced in coordination with Qatari state-backed media Al Jazeera. The documentary explores the flood of Chinese investment into Africa — while the majority of TWI’s films are Africa related, this is the only one with a China focus.> Last year @sorious visited Kenya, Botswana, and Ghana to investigate the meaning of China’s big arrival in Africa. https://t.co/AyTTkMgBYX> > -- Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) September 16, 2015In a statement to National Review, Ossoff spokesperson Miryam Lipper said that "Jon Ossoff produced reporting to shine a light on Chinese expansionism in Africa, which national security experts in both parties agree is a growing threat to long-term American interests, while David Perdue ran factories in China in cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party. (This week, the Washington Post detailed how Perdue built his career traveling around Asia helping American firms such as Reebok source cheap labor.)But while Lipper implied that the “The Battle for Africa” was an investigative project, Ossoff's 50-minute documentary, broken up into two parts, never mentions China’s ambitious Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative (BRI) — despite highlighting some of its specific ventures and quoting Chinese nationals closely tied to the project.BRI, which began in 2014 and has poured hundreds of billions into overseas infrastructure deals, is part of a grand, strategic, influence web promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party.“Belt and Road is not this concept where you can go toe-first in, or where you can have one foot in, one foot out in the long run,” Michael Sobolik, a fellow in Indo-Pacific studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, told National Review. “Once you get hooked up into cooperation with this network, you are part of this bigger picture that China's trying to achieve.”In the opening ten minutes, TWI host Sorious Samura explains how “China’s policy of no-strings-attached investment contrasts starkly with the tradition of western-conditional aid” and cites the construction of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which was financed by a $3.2 billion loan from the Chinese in 2014.“Before signing off on these multibillion dollar deals, Chinese officials are not demanding, like the West is, that African leaders conform to Western standards of human rights, economic reform, and anti-corruption,” Samura explains. “In Africa, many see this as a welcome break from the evangelism of Western governments who have been accused of putting on due pressure on them to adopt western-style democracies.”To Joshua Eisenman, associate professor of politics at Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, the description reflects the status-quo thinking of the time.“The beginning of the documentary is certainly on the friendly side, which is not surprising given it was made in 2015,” he told National Review. “It is not propaganda, but it does echo certain elements of Beijing's official propaganda line, for example, that China's presence is both unique and positive compared to the West.”To explain how the documentary missed the mark, Eisenman pointed out that, five years in, Kenya is struggling to service the Chinese debt for its massive railway project — which is operating with millions in monthly losses.“The documentary seems to confuse debt for infrastructure deals with trade and grants,” he elaborated. “The narrator talks about these monies as if they would never need to be paid back . . . Five years ago, many in Beijing and in African capitals downplayed the debt issue, but today we see that in some cases the problem is reaching a crisis point.”At one point, Samura raises the question of “what will be the future of human freedom” on the continent if China becomes the primary foreign funding source in Africa. But rather than exploring the question in depth, the documentary immediately pivots to an interview with Hongxiang Huang, a Chinese national who founded the “China House” in Kenya. The “China House” website states explicitly that it aims “to integrate China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) into global sustainable development.”When asked about “criticism” of Chinese policy not making investment in Africa contingent on human rights, Huang argues that China’s history of lifting “a huge population out of poverty” shows “it’s actually doing really well in terms of human rights.”Sobolik said that Samura’s lack of pushback on the claim “speaks volumes about the documentary.”“The fact that there was no countervailing argument to that was especially concerning,” he explained in an interview with National Review. “Because if you accept the argument that human rights is about exclusively the material wellbeing of the most amount of people — which is basically utilitarianism — then you sacrifice the dignity of the individual, which is the bedrock of the entire understanding of western human rights, the inherent dignity of the individual person. And for me, that's not an inconsequential difference."In Part I of “The Battle for Africa,” Samura also speaks to a representative from AVIC International, a global holdings subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China — “China’s Boeing,” Sobolik explains. Samura highlights how AVIC has done a number of deals in Kenya, including the building of a new terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.“I feel like for the China and the Kenya, we more feel like brothers,” AVIC’s Ling Qin tells the host. “ . . . We have the same kind of history, we are kind of conquered, and so we truly understand each other. I think there are so many things we can share with our friends from Kenya, because not so far ago we are almost the same situation. So if China was in that case — we can make it — why can’t Kenya, why can’t Africans?”No mention, however, is made of how AVIC International “actively participates in building ‘the Belt and Road Initiative,’” per the firm’s website. Also left out is any reference to AVIC’s status as a massive player in the arms industry — since 2015, it has ranked in the top ten of the largest arms-producing companies internationally. In June, the Pentagon announced AVIC as one of 20 Chinese firms “owned by, controlled by, or affiliated with China’s government, military, or defense industry.”Sobolik said that the documentary’s profiling of AVIC, on top of the use of “win-win” and other buzzwords to describe the China-Africa relationship, echoed “the rhetoric of Chinese diplomacy.”Samura closes Part I by profiling students at Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, an entity present on college campuses around the world, to show how “the real battle for Africa is not between east and west, it’s a battle to control our own destinies, that only we Africans can fight. And for some of us, that battle starts in the classroom.”In recent months, Confucius Institutes have drawn intense scrutiny. In August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the State Department has designated applied the “foreign mission” status to the institutes, explaining they were part of the CCP’s “propaganda apparatus.”“They post the same issues for any country they're in,” Sobolik said of the Confucius Institutes. “Yes, you learn about Chinese language. But the story that you're told about Chinese history or recent history especially is curated by the Chinese Communist Party, which, which for understandable reasons is a big problem, and that is incredibly naive to ignore.”Part II of the documentary explores how some African leaders have been able to leverage China’s growing presence to counter western influence and better advocate for local interests.“China’s increasing influence brings into focus the ability of African governments to negotiate better deals in a new and competitive environment,” Samura explains. In the end, he holds up Botswana — which “unlike most African countries . . . is more cautious about the free-flowing cash from the east” — as the ideal.Sobolik points out that Beijing’s indifference to local corruption undermines the notion that Chinese investment will improve quality of life for Africans.“The irony here is if the whole message of the documentary was about political reform in African countries, you're not going to get that by cozying up to China, because there's no incentives if you take money from China to fight corruption within these governments,” he continued. “There's no incentive towards good governance. It rewards the status quo. And that was a tension that the documentary never addressed.”Eisenman, the Notre Dame professor, added that, by focusing on past abuses by the west, the documentary makers elided the question of China’s long-term interests in Africa and how they might differ from those of the African people.“This documentary represents an African perspective in as much as it compares China's presence to previous groups of foreigners who came to Africa. Unfortunately, it largely overlooks China's intentions in Africa and how Africa fits into Beijing's larger strategy towards the developing world,” he said. “Without understanding China's geostrategic intentions, the country appears as a benevolent force, a message that is only magnified when it is juxtaposed with the bullying and abuses of western nations.”It is unclear how intimately Ossoff was involved in the creation of “The Battle for Africa” — TWI did not return requests for comment. As CEO of TWI, Ossoff “vets story ideas, helps prepare interview questions and attends to film production, editing and security arrangements for his staff,” according to the recent New York Times profile.In a podcast soon after the documentary’s release, director and TWI employee Clive Patterson — an outspoken Ossoff supporter on Twitter — did not mention the Georgia Democrat, but did explain the film’s inspiration, saying Samura held, “quite dear to his heart,” the notion that “the west is just constantly kind of coming down with unrealistic expectations on African leaders or Africa as a continent — just doesn’t get Africa.”Ossoff was hired as CEO of TWI in 2013 at age 26 thanks to a fateful conversation he had as a teenager with Ron McCullagh, a former BBC journalist and founder of what was then called Insight News Television.It seems that Ossoff was more willing to discuss his views on China before he entered the political arena. McCullagh recalled for the Times that, at a dinner in 2003, Ossoff told him “his thoughts on Chinese and American relationships, the importance of the China Sea” as well as the “strategic importance for the world of freedom of trade in that part of the world.”“[T]he detail, knowledge he had of the situation was just very impressive,” McCullagh said of the “very memorable dinner."
India's federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir plans to attract investments worth up to $4 billion in the next two to three years and would provide security to businesses setting up shop in the insurgency-hit region, its chief said on Saturday. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was India’s only Muslim-majority state until August 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi carved out a Buddhist-dominated enclave and designated both as federally-administered territories. Tens of thousands of security forces guard the region where India has been fighting an armed-insurgency for decades, especially in the disputed Kashmir valley that is also claimed by Pakistan.
- Associated Press
The women said they had fallen on hard times and were trying to provide a Christmas dinner for the children. Lima says he was reminded of his own children and used his own money to buy $250 in grocery gift cards.
- The Independent
From abuse of power to abuse of electoral process: How impeachment taught us little but Trump’s puppet-mastery of the GOP
History won’t remember Mitt Romney’s lone vote to convict the president so much as every other Republican voting to acquit