Categories
Uncategorized

U.S. Distances Itself From Demands For Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire



Chris Murphy

The Biden administration distanced itself Monday from growing calls by Democrats and others for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers as fighting entered a second week, with more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians in Gaza.

The United States, Israel’s top ally, also blocked for the third time what would have been a unanimous statement by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council expressing “grave concern” over the intensifying Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the loss of civilian lives. The final U.S. rejection Monday killed the Security Council statement, at least for now.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki and national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States instead was focusing on “quiet, intensive diplomacy.” As missile and rocket exchanges between Israel and Hamas surged to their worst levels since 2014 and the international outcry grew, the Biden administration — determined to wrench U.S. foreign policy focus away from the Middle East and Afghanistan — has declined so far to criticize Israel’s part in the fighting, send a top-level envoy to the region or press Israel publicly to wind down its latest military operation in the thickly populated Gaza Strip, as some past U.S. administrations have done. Appeals by other countries so far show no sign of progress.

The U.S. administration’s publicly tempered response comes despite calls from Security Council partners, some Democrats and others for President Joe Biden’ and other international leaders to wade more deeply into diplomacy to end the worst Israel-Palestinian violence in years and revive long-collapsed mediation for genuine peace there.

Speaking in Copenhagen, where he was making an unrelated tour of Nordic countries, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ticked off other, quieter U.S. outreach so far to try to de-escalate hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel, and said he would be making more calls Monday.

“In all of these engagements we have made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices to the parties should they seek a cease-fire,” Blinken said.

He said he welcomed efforts by the U.N., Egypt and other nations working for a cease-fire.

“Any diplomatic initiative that advances that prospect is something that we’ll support,” he said. “And we are again willing and ready to do that. But ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a cease-fire.”

Pulling back from Middle East diplomacy to focus on other policy priorities — such as Biden’s emphasis on dealing with the rise of China — carries political risk for the administration. That includes weathering any blame when violence flares as the U.S. steps back from conflict zones in the Middle East, and Afghanistan. But a relatively hands-off approach in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict also could spare the U.S. years of shuttle diplomacy in support of a peace process that neither side actively supports.

At least 200 Palestinians had been killed in the strikes as of Monday, including 59 children and 35 women, with 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Eight people in Israel have been killed in rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.

Blinken also said he had asked Israel for any evidence for its claim that Hamas was operating in a Gaza office building housing The Associated Press and Al Jazeera news bureaus that was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike over the weekend. But he said that he personally had “not seen any information provided.”

Blinken’s comments came after U.N. Security Council diplomats and Muslim foreign ministers convened emergency weekend meetings to demand a stop to civilian bloodshed, as Israeli warplanes carried out the deadliest single attacks Sunday in the week of fighting.

Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council on Sunday that the United States was “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” to stop the fighting.

She warned that the return to armed conflict would only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict even further out of reach.

However, the United States blocked moves by China, Norway and Tunisia in the Security Council for the statement by the U.N.’s most powerful body, including a call for the cessation of hostilities. The proposed statement called for an end to “the crisis related to Gaza” and the protection of civilians, especially children.

In Israel, Hady Amr, a deputy assistant dispatched by Blinken to try to de-escalate the crisis, met with officials. Blinken himself has no announced plans to stop in the Middle East on his current trip.

Rep. Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, urged Biden on Sunday to step up pressure on both sides to end the fighting and revive talks to resolve Israel’s conflicts and flashpoints with the Palestinians.

“I think the administration needs to push harder on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to stop the violence, bring about a cease-fire, end these hostilities, and get back to a process of trying to resolve this long-standing conflict,” Schiff, a California Democrat, told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations subcommittee for the region, joined Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the subcommittee chairman, in asking both sides to cease fire. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia separately joined 26 other Democratic senators and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, on Sunday in urging an immediate cease-fire to prevent further civilian deaths and any further escalation of the overall conflict. More Democratic lawmakers joined the calls Monday.

Biden focused on civilian deaths from Hamas rockets in a call with Netanyahu on Saturday, and a White House readout of the call made no mention of the U.S. urging Israel to join in a cease-fire that regional countries were pushing. Thomas-Greenfield said U.S. diplomats were engaging with Israel, Egypt and Qatar, along with the U.N.

Netanyahu told Israelis in a televised address Sunday that Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on Hamas. That will “take time,” Netanyahu said, signaling the war would rage on for now.

Representatives of Muslim nations met Sunday to demand Israel halt attacks that are killing Palestinian civilians in the crowded Gaza strip.

At the virtual meeting of the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that returning to the Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes in the fourth such war between Israel and Hamas, “only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace.”

Eight foreign ministers spoke at the Security Council session, reflecting the seriousness of the conflict, with almost all urging an end to the fighting.

Knickmeyer reported from Oklahoma City, Lee from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Lederer from New York. Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed.





Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

Secretary Of State Signals U.S. Still Not Calling For Middle East Cease-Fire


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken signaled Monday the U.S. still was not joining calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers as fighting entered its second week, with more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians in Gaza.

Blinken’s stand comes despite growing pressure from the United States’ U.N. Security Council partners, some Democrats and others for President Joe Biden’s administration and other international leaders to wade more deeply into diplomacy to end the worst Israel-Palestinian violence in years and revive long-collapsed mediation for a lasting peace there.

Speaking in Copenhagen, where Blinken is making an unrelated tour of Nordic countries this week, Blinken ticked off U.S. outreach so far to try to de-escalate hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel, and said he would be making more calls Monday.

“In all of these engagements we have made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices to the parties should they seek a cease-fire,” Blinken said.

He said he welcomed efforts by the U.N. — where the United States has so far blocked a proposed Security Council statement on the fighting — and other nations working for a cease-fire.

“Any diplomatic initiative that advances that prospect is something that we’ll support,” he said. “And we are again willing and ready to do that. But ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a cease-fire.”

A man walks past the the rubble of the Yazegi residential building that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City,



A man walks past the the rubble of the Yazegi residential building that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

As battles between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers surged to their worst levels since 2014 and the international outcry grew, the Biden administration — determined to wrench U.S. foreign policy focus away from the Middle East and Afghanistan — has declined so far to criticize Israel’s part in the fighting or send a top-level envoy to the region. Appeals by other countries so far show no sign of progress.

Pulling back from Middle East diplomacy to focus on other policy priorities — like Biden’s emphasis on dealing with the rise of China — carries political risk for the administration either way. That includes weathering any blame when violence flares as the U.S. steps back from conflict zones in the Middle East, and Afghanistan. But a relatively hands-off approach from the administration in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict also could spare Biden officials years of shuttle diplomacy in support of a peace process that neither side actively supports.

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes as of Monday, including 59 children and 35 women, with 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Eight people in Israel have been killed in rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.

Blinken also said he had asked Israel for any evidence for its claim that Hamas was operating in an Gaza office building housing The Associated Press and Al Jazeera news bureaus that was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike over the weekend. But he said that he personally has “not seen any information provided.”

An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in the Gaza Strip, at the Israeli-Gaza border, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo



An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in the Gaza Strip, at the Israeli-Gaza border, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

Blinken’s comments came after U.N. Security Council diplomats and Muslim foreign ministers convened emergency weekend meetings to demand a stop to civilian bloodshed, as Israeli warplanes carried out the deadliest single attacks Sunday in the week of fighting.

Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council on Sunday that the United States was “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” to stop the fighting.

She warned that the return to armed conflict would only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict even further out of reach.

However, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has so far rejected moves by China, Norway and Tunisia in the Security Council for a statement by the U.N.’s most powerful body, including a call for the cessation of hostilities.

In Israel, Hady Amr, a deputy assistant dispatched by Blinken to try to de-escalate the crisis, met with officials. Blinken himself has no announced plans to stop in the Middle East on his current trip.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, foll



U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, following their meeting at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eigtveds Pakhus, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, May 17, 2021. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

Rep. Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, urged Biden on Sunday to step up pressure on both sides to end current fighting and revive talks to resolve Israel’s conflicts and flashpoints with the Palestinians.

“I think the administration needs to push harder on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to stop the violence, bring about a cease-fire, end these hostilities, and get back to a process of trying to resolve this long-standing conflict,” Schiff, a California Democrat, told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, the senior Republican on the foreign relations subcommittee for the region, joined Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the subcommittee chairman, in asking both sides to cease fire. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia separately joined 26 other Democratic senators and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, on Sunday in urging an immediate cease-fire to prevent further civilian deaths and any further escalation of the overall conflict. More Democratic lawmakers joined the calls Monday.

Two Israeli soldiers walk around an artillery unit, at the Israeli Gaza border, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)



Two Israeli soldiers walk around an artillery unit, at the Israeli Gaza border, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

Biden focused on civilian deaths from Hamas rockets in a call with Netanyahu on Saturday, and a White House readout of the call made no mention of the U.S. urging Israel to join in a cease-fire that regional countries were pushing. Thomas-Greenfield said U.S. diplomats were engaging with Israel, Egypt and Qatar, along with the U.N.

Netanyahu told Israelis in a televised address Sunday that Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on Hamas. That will “take time,” Netanyahu said, signaling the war would rage on for now.

Representatives of Muslim nations met Sunday to demand Israel halt attacks that are killing Palestinian civilians in the crowded Gaza strip.

At the virtual meeting of the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the U.N. was actively engaging all parties for an immediate cease-fire.

Returning to the scenes of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes in the fourth such war between Israel and Hamas, “only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” Guterres said.

Eight foreign ministers spoke at the Security Council session, reflecting the seriousness of the conflict, with almost all urging an end to the fighting.

Knickmeyer reported from Oklahoma City, Lee from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Lederer from New York. Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed.





Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

Israel Steps Up Gaza Offensive, Kills Senior Hamas Figures



Al-Aqsa Mosque

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. The Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.

In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble — and even exceed — a devastating 50-day war in 2014. Like in that previous war, neither side appears to have an exit strategy.

But there are key differences. The fighting has triggered the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades. And looming in the background is an international war crimes investigation.

Israel carried out an intense barrage of airstrikes just after sunrise, striking dozens of targets in several minutes that set off bone-rattling explosions across Gaza. Airstrikes continued throughout the day, filling the sky with pillars of smoke.

At nightfall, the streets of Gaza City resembled a ghost town as people huddled indoors on the final night of Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan. The evening, followed by the Eid al-Fitr holiday, is usually a time of vibrant night life, shopping and crowded restaurants.

“There is nowhere to run. There is nowhere to hide,” said Zeyad Khattab, a 44-year-old pharmacist who fled with a dozen other relatives to a family home in central Gaza after bombs pounded his apartment building in Gaza City. “That terror is impossible to describe.”

Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout the day and into early Thursday. The attacks brought life to a standstill in southern communities near Gaza, but also reached as far north as the Tel Aviv area, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the north, for a second straight day.

The military said sirens also wailed in northern Israel’s Emek area, or Jezreel Valley, the farthest the effects of Gaza rockets have reached since 2014. The Israeli army also shared footage showing a rocket impact between apartment towers in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva early Thursday, apparently sparking a large fire. It said the strike left people wounded and caused “significant damage.”

“We’re coping, sitting at home, hoping it will be OK,” said Motti Haim, a resident of the central town of Beer Yaakov and father of two children. “It’s not simple running to the shelter. It’s not easy with the kids.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the death toll rose to 69 Palestinians, including 16 children and six women. Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven militants, while Hamas acknowledged that a top commander and several other members were killed.

Rescuers pulled the bodies of a man and his wife from the debris of their home that was hit by rockets in the latest Israeli airstrikes early Thursday, relatives said.

A total of seven people have been killed in Israel, including four people who died on Wednesday. Among them were a soldier killed by an anti-tank missile and a 6-year-old child hit in a rocket attack.

The Israeli military claims the number of militants killed so far is much higher than Hamas has acknowledged.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said at least 14 militants were killed Wednesday — including 10 members of the “top management of Hamas” and four weapons experts. Altogether, he claimed some 30 militants have been killed since the fighting began.

More raids conducted early Thursday were aimed at several “strategically significant” facilities for Hamas, including a bank and a compound for a naval squad, the military said.

While United Nations and Egyptian officials have said that cease-fire efforts are underway, there were no signs of progress. Israeli television’s Channel 12 reported late Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet authorized a widening of the offensive.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “indiscriminate launching of rockets” from civilian areas in Gaza toward Israeli population centers, but he also urged Israel to show “maximum restraint.” President Joe Biden called Netanyahu to support Israel’s right to defend itself and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region to try to calm tensions.

The current eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police. A focal point was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on a hilltop compound that is revered by Jews and Muslims, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters who threw chairs and stones at them.

Hamas, claiming to be defending Jerusalem, launched a barrage of rockets at the city late Monday, setting off days of fighting.

The Israeli military says militants have fired about 1,500 rockets in just three days. That is roughly one-third the number fired during the entire 2014 war.

Israel, meanwhile, has struck over 350 targets in Gaza, a tiny territory where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007. Two infantry brigades were sent to the area, indicating preparations for a possible ground invasion.

In tactics echoing past wars, Israel has begun to target senior members of Hamas’ military wing. It also has flattened three high-rise buildings in a tactic that has drawn international scrutiny in the past.

Israel says the buildings all housed Hamas operations centers, but they also included residential apartments and businesses. In all cases, Israel fired warning shots, allowing people to flee, and there were no reports of casualties.

The fighting has set off violent clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel, in scenes unseen since 2000. Netanyahu warned that he was prepared to use an “iron fist if necessary” to calm the violence.

But ugly clashes erupted across the country late Wednesday. Jewish and Arab mobs battled in the central city of Lod, the epicenter of the troubles, despite a state of emergency and nighttime curfew. In nearby Bat Yam, a mob of Jewish nationalists attacked an Arab motorist, dragged him from his car and beat him until he was motionless.

In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said it thwarted a Palestinian shooting attack that wounded two people. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the suspected gunman was killed. No details were immediately available.

Still unclear is how the fighting in Gaza will affect Netanyahu’s political future. He failed to form a government coalition after inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, and now his political rivals have three weeks to try to form one.

His rivals have courted a small Islamist Arab party. But the longer the fighting lasts, the more it could hamper their attempts at forming a coalition. It could also boost Netanyahu if another election is held, since security is his strong suit with the public.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

The International Criminal Court has launched an investigation into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas. In a brief statement, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had noted “with great concern” the escalation of violence and “the possible commission of crimes.”

The ICC is looking into Israeli actions in past wars in Gaza. Israel is not a member of the court, does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and rejects the accusations. But in theory, the ICC could issue warrants and try to arrest Israeli suspects while they are traveling overseas.

Conricus, the military spokesman, said Israeli forces respect international laws on armed conflict and do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties. Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties because the group fires rockets from residential areas.

Emanuel Gross, a professor emeritus the University of Haifa law school, said Israel should “take into consideration the concerns of the ICC.” But he said he believes the military is on solid legal ground while rockets are striking Israeli cities.

“That’s the real meaning of self defense,” he said. “If you are attacked by a terrorist group, you defend yourself.”

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.



Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

World Leaders Applaud America’s Formal Return To Paris Climate Agreement



America

The United States is back in the Paris climate accord, just 107 days after it left.

While Friday’s return is heavily symbolic, world leaders say they expect America to prove its seriousness after four years of being pretty much absent. They are especially anticipating an announcement from the U.S. in coming months on its goal for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2030.

The U.S. return to the Paris agreement became official Friday, almost a month after President Joe Biden told the United Nations that America wants back in. “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.”

Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing the pullout ordered by his predecessor, President Donald Trump. The Trump administration had announced its withdrawal from the Paris accord in 2019 but it didn’t become effective until Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, because of provisions in the agreement.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the official American re-entry “is itself very important,” as is Biden’s announcement that the U.S. will return to providing climate aid to poorer nations, as promised in 2009.

“It’s the political message that’s being sent,” said Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief. She was one of the leading forces in hammering out the 2015 mostly voluntary agreement where nations set their own goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

One fear was that other nations would follow America in abandoning the climate fight, but none did, Figueres said. She said the real issue was four years of climate inaction by the Trump administration. American cities, states and businesses still worked to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide, but without the federal government.

“From a political symbolism perspective, whether it’s 100 days or four years, it’s basically the same thing,” Figueres said. “It’s not about how many days. It’s the political symbolism that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity of addressing climate change.”

“We’ve lost too much time,” Figueres said.

United Nations Environment Programme Director Inger Andersen said America has to prove its leadership to the rest of the world, but she said she has no doubt it will when it submits its required emissions cutting targets. The Biden administration promises to announce them before an Earth Day summit in April.

“We hope they will translate into a very meaningful reduction of emissions and they will be an example for other countries to follow,” Guterres said. Already more than 120 nations, including No. 1 emitter China, have promised to have net zero carbon emissions around midcentury.

University of Maryland environment professor Nate Hultman, who worked on the Obama administration’s official Paris goal, said he expects a 2030 target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions between 40% and 50% from the 2005 baseline levels.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, has criticized Biden for rejoining Paris, tweeting: “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise Americans’ energy costs and won’t solve climate change. The Biden administration will set unworkable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue with business as usual.″

A longtime international goal, included in the Paris accord with an even more stringent target, is to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. The world has already warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since that time.

The U.S. rejoining the Paris accord and coming up with an ambitious target for emissions cuts would make limiting warming “to well below 2 degrees — not just to 2 degrees but below 2 degrees — a lot more likely,” said climate scientist Zeke Hausfather, energy and climate director for the Breakthrough Institute.



Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

U.S. Extends Sole Remaining Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia


The United States joined Russia on Wednesday in extending the two countries’ last remaining treaty limiting their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, two days before the pact was set to expire.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the U.S. would use the five years of the New START treaty’s renewal to pursue limits on all of Russia’s nuclear weapons. That’s after the Trump administration pulled out of two other such deals, as part of a broad withdrawal from international accords.

The countries last week announced plans to extend the agreement, even as the Biden administration has stepped up criticism of Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, its involvement in a massive hack of U.S. agencies and other issues.

“Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important. Extending the New START Treaty makes the United States, U.S. allies and partners, and the world safer,” Blinken said. “An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.”

The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

In this file photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, on Dec. 9, 2020, a rocket launch



In this file photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, on Dec. 9, 2020, a rocket launches from missile system as part of a ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile test launched from the Plesetsk facility in northwestern Russia. 

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the extension, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “It’s a first step of reinvigorating … the nuclear arms control regime.”

The outgoing Trump administration made a late bid to extend the treaty, but Russia rejected its conditions.

The treaty was due to expire Friday. Both houses of the Russian parliament voted unanimously last month for the extension, and President Vladimir Putin signed the bill.

That was after President Joe Biden and Putin talked and agreed on the extension, part of a quick round of diplomacy by the less than month-old U.S. administration to keep the treaty going. The extension doesn’t require formal congressional approval in the United States.

The Biden administration will also work on control measures for China’s smaller but growing arsenal of nuclear warheads, Blinken said.

Edie Lederer in New York contributed.





Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

UN Chief Urges Global Alliance To Counter Rise Of Neo-Nazis



amnesia

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged coordinated global action on Monday to build an alliance against the growth and spread of neo-Nazism and white supremacy and the resurgence of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and hate speech sparked partly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.N. chief also urged international action “to fight propaganda and disinformation.” And he called for stepped up education on Nazi actions during World War II, stressing that almost two-thirds of young Americans do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Guterres spoke at the annual Park East Synagogue and United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Service marking Wednesday’s 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, held virtually this year because of COVID-19.

He said the pandemic “has exacerbated longstanding injustices and divisions”

“Propaganda linking Jews with the pandemic, for example, by accusing them of creating the virus as part of a bid for global domination, would be ridiculous, if it were not so dangerous,” he said. “This is just the latest manifestation of an anti-Semitic trope that dates back to at least the 14th century, when Jews were accused of spreading the bubonic plague.”

The secretary-general said it’s sad but not surprising that the pandemic has triggered another eruption of Holocaust denial, distortion and minimizing history.

“In Europe, the United States and elsewhere, white supremacists are organizing and recruiting across borders, flaunting the symbols and tropes of the Nazis and their murderous ambitious,” he said. “Tragically, after decades in the shadows, neo-Nazis and their ideas are now gaining currency,”

Guterres said U.S. authorities have warned that neo-Nazis are on the rise across the country and around the world. In some unnamed countries, he said, neo-Nazis have infiltrated police and state security services and their ideas can be heard in debates of mainstream political parties.

“The continued rise of white supremacy and neo-Nazi ideology must be seen in the context of a global attack on truth that has reduced the role of science and fact-based analysis in public life,” he said.

Guterres said fragmentation of the traditional media and the growth of social media are contributing to the absence of shared facts.

“We need coordinated global action, on the scale of the threat we face, to build an alliance against the growth and spread of neo-Nazism and white supremacy, and to fight propaganda and disinformation,” he said.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Holocaust survivor, warned that “if we do not carry the tragic lessons of history, they are doomed to be repeated.”

“This guiding principle ― memory not amnesia ― is a moral imperative to quell the rise of hate, which is greater today than at any time since the end of World War II,” he said.

Schneier said Nazi swastikas are again defacing synagogues and cemeteries in France, Germany and most recently Montreal, and among those storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were people wearing shirts saying “Camp Auschwitz” and “6MWE” ― short for “Six Million Wasn’t Enough.”

“Children are not born with hatred; they are taught how to hate,” the 90-year-old rabbi said. “Holocaust education in schools is a must.”





Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

3 Share Nobel Prize In Physics For Discoveries About Black Holes



Andrea Ghez

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three physicists won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for discoveries related black holes.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that Briton Roger Penrose will receive half of this year’s prize “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.”

Goran K. Hansson, the academy’s secretary-general, said German Reinhard Genzel and American Andrea Ghez will receive the second half of the prize “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”

It is common for several scientists who worked in related fields to share the prize. Last year’s prize went to Canadian-born cosmologist James Peebles for theoretical work about the early moments after the Big Bang, and Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering a planet outside our solar system.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (more than $1.1 million), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine to Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.

The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace and economics.





Source link

Categories
Uncategorized

3 Win Nobel Medicine Award For Hepatitis C Virus Discovery



Alberta

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice, and British-born scientist Michael Houghton were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology on Monday for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a major source of liver disease that affects millions worldwide.

Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the Nobel Committee noted that the trio’s work helped explain a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn’t be explained by the previously discovered hepatitis A and B viruses. Their work, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, has helped saved millions of lives, the committee said.

“Thanks to their discovery, highly sensitive blood tests for the virus are now available and these have essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world, greatly improving global health,” the committee said.

“Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C,” it added. “For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating hepatitis C virus from the world population.”

The World Health Organization estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis worldwide and 400,000 deaths each year. The disease is chronic and a major cause of liver inflammation and cancer.

The medicine prize carried particular significance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted the importance that medical research has for societies and economies around the world.

Nobel Committee member Patrick Ernfors drew a parallel between this year’s prize and the current rush by millions of scientists around the world to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“The first thing you need to do is to identify the causing virus,” he told reporters. “And once that has been done, that is in itself the starting point for development of drugs to treat the disease and also to develop vaccines against the disorder.”

“So the actual discovery, viral discovery itself is a critical moment,” said Enfors.

Alter was born in 1935 in New York and carried out his prize-winning studies at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, where he remains active, the commitee said.

Rice was born in 1952 in Sacramento, California. He worked on hepatitis at the Washington University in St. Louis and now works at Rockefeller University in New York.

Michael Houghton was born in Britain 1950 in the United Kingdom and did his studies at the Chiron Corporation in California before moving to the University of Alberta in Canada.

Thomas Perlmann, the Secretary-General of the Nobel Committee, said he managed to reach two of the winners, Alter and Rice.

“I had to call a couple of times before they answered,” he said. “They seemed very surprised and very, very happy.”

The prestigious Nobel award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1,118,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.

The Nobel Committee often recognizes basic science that has laid the foundations for practical applications in common use today.

Monday’s mdecine award is the first of six prizes being announced through Oct. 12. The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.

Jordans reported from Berlin.

Read more stories about Nobel Prizes past and present by The Associated Press at https://www.apnews.com/NobelPrizes





Source link