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Increased US support for Taiwan angers China | DW News



On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft travels to Taiwan, an island which neither the United States nor the United Nations recognise as a …

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যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের মানুষ ফুঁসে উঠেছে ফিলিস্তিনিদের ওপর বর্বরতায়! | USA | Palestine News | Somoy TV



1stforbangladesh #USA #PalestineNews #Israel #InternationalNews #SomoyTV গাজায় ইসরাইলি বাহিনীর নির্মমতার বিরুদ্ধে অন্যান্য দেশের মতো যুক্তরাষ্ট্রজুড়ে …

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Israel intensifies strikes on Gaza despite calls for restraint from UN and US – BBC News



The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told militants in the Gaza Strip they will “pay a very heavy price” after another day of escalating violence …

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U.N. Human Rights Officials WriteTo U.S. Expressing Concern Over Militarization In Guam



America

In a recently released letter to the U.S. government, human rights officials at the United Nations backed Indigenous activists in Guam and expressed concern over the United States’ ongoing military presence in the territory. Activists representing Guam’s Chamorro people have decried America’s continued control and increased militarization on the island since claiming it as a territory in 1898, after the Spanish-American War. 

In their letter, which came at the urging of human rights lawyers, three U.N. special rapporteurs expressed concern over “America’s increased military presence in Guam and the failure to protect the indigenous Chamorro people from the loss of their traditional lands, territories, and resources.” The officials all advise on human rights issues, and they condemned the denial of the Indigenous population’s “right to free, prior and informed consent and self-determination.”

People born in Guam are U.S. citizens, yet they cannot vote in U.S. elections. Chamorro activists have been sounding the alarm on U.S. oversight for more than a century, sharing stories of their marginalization on an island densely populated with U.S. military personnel.

Since the end of the Spanish-American War, the United States has used its rule over Guam to keep a toehold in the Pacific and a close watch of geopolitical foes, particularly China. Still, many Americans know little to nothing about U.S. involvement in Guam, let alone about the plight of its Indigenous people. In mid-March, that ignorance came to an embarrassing head when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) denounced funding for Guam as she spoke out against aid to foreign countries. 

“Our hard-earned tax dollars should just go for America, not for, what, China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam, whatever, wherever,” she said.

Legal activists supporting the Chamorro people believe the letter puts America on notice to establish a new path for U.S.-Guam relations. Juan Aguon, whose Blue Ocean Law firm helped push the officials to send the letter, called it “deeply validating” in a statement. 

“It says to the world ― not just to the U.S. ― that might does not make right, that many of us have been right all along,” he said. 

Aguon, who recently wrote a book about the Chamorro experience, “The Properties of Perpetual Light,” said the letter affirms the community’s right to “a clean environment, culture, health and life — rights that should be respected.”



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UN Envoy Paints Grim Picture Of Political, Economic And Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations warned Tuesday that an offensive by Houthi rebels in Yemen has escalated the nearly six-year conflict in the Arab world’s poorest nation as it “speeds towards a massive famine.”

U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths and U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock painted a grim picture of the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is exacerbated by a government blockade of fuel ships entering the country’s main port of Hodeida controlled by the Houthis.

The intensified fighting has come amid an international and regional diplomatic push to end the conflict which began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the Iranian-backed Houthis. A Saudi-led coalition supported by the U.S. and allied with the government has been fighting the rebels since March 2015.

President Joe Biden’s envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, last week urged the Houthis to agree to a cease-fire proposal.

Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council the Houthis’ weeks-long offensive on the oil-rich central province of Marib, the government’s last stronghold in Yemen’s northern half, has put an estimated one million already displaced civilians at risk. Fighting forces on both sides have suffered “heavy losses,” he said.

Missile and drone strikes from Houthi-controlled areas into Saudi Arabia targeting civilian and commercial infrastructure “have also increased significantly in recent weeks,” Griffiths said. And retaliatory airstrikes on Sanaa city are “endangering civilians there as well.”

Griffiths said other fronts have also opened, with government forces earlier this month launching an offensive against rebel positions in western Hajjah province, and fighting in the government-held southern province of Taiz.

The result has been “a dramatic deterioration” in the conflict, he said.

In addition to the suffering of Yemenis, Griffiths called for an independent investigation into the cause of last week’s fire at a Houthi detention center in Sanaa holding predominantly Ethiopian migrants that killed dozens and seriously injured over 170.

On the humanitarian front, Yemen, which imports most of its food and other commodities, remains the world’s worst crisis.

Both Griffiths and Lowcock urged the entry of fuel ships to Hodeida, warning that the blockade since January has increased prices of food and other goods and put hospitals and other services, including water which needs fuel for its pumps, at risk.

“Right now, 13 fuel ships are waiting outside Hodeida, carrying two months of imports,” Lowcock said, explaining that the government isn’t clearing them because of a dispute with the Houthis over revenue from the fees and taxes on the oil ships.

Despite the recent escalation in fighting in Marib and elsewhere, Lowcock told the Security Council that “the renewed U.S. commitment to a diplomatic solution has opened a window for anyone who is serious about ending the war.”

He again warned that “Yemen is speeding towards a massive famine” and said “that opportunity will be wasted if Yemen tips into famine.”

“So, I again call on everyone to do everything you can ― including money for the aid operation ― to stop the famine,” the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs said.

Meshaal Mohammad, 4, weighs just 20 pounds due to acute malnutrition. He is currently staying at a camp for the internally di



Meshaal Mohammad, 4, weighs just 20 pounds due to acute malnutrition. He is currently staying at a camp for the internally displaced in Yemen’s northern Hajjah province.

A U.N. pledging conference on March 1 raised a disappointing $1.7 billion, less than half of what aid agencies need this year, which means “we don’t have enough money to stop famine,” Lowcock said.

Last week, U.N. World Food Program chief David Beasley, who had just returned from Yemen, told the council it was “hell on earth in many places” and warned that “we are heading straight toward the biggest famine in modern history.”

“Over 16 million people now face crisis levels of hunger or worse,” Beasley said.

Griffiths said with famine now arriving, “a nationwide cease-fire, along with opening Sanaa airport and ensuring the unhindered flow of fuel and other commodities into Yemen through Hodeida ports, are urgent humanitarian imperatives.”

The U.N. envoy said the U.S. engagement “gives us all more energy and a great deal of hope.”

But Griffiths expressed alarm that “the mere fact of meeting across the table to discuss the contours of ending the war is being framed as a concession rather than an obligation.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the Biden administration is stepping up diplomacy to reach a cease-fire and negotiate an end to the conflict, “but there can be no cease-fire and no peace in Yemen if the Houthis continue their daily attacks against the Yemeni people, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region.”





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China Tries To Discredit Female Uighur Witnesses By Releasing Private Sexual Health Data


BEIJING (Reuters) — China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of minority Muslim Uighurs in far west Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse.

As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind recent reports of abuse.

Chinese officials have named women, disclosed what they say is private medical data and information on the women’s fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. The officials said the information was evidence of bad character, invalidating the women’s accounts of abuse in Xinjiang.

“To rebuke some media’s disgusting acts, we have taken a series of measures,” Xu Guixiang, the deputy head of Xinjiang’s publicity department, told a December news conference that was part of China’s pushback campaign. It includes hours-long briefings, with footage of Xinjiang residents and family members reading monologues.

A Reuters review of dozens of hours of presentations from recent months and hundreds of pages of literature, as well as interviews with experts, shows a meticulous and wide-reaching campaign that hints at China’s fears that it is losing control of the Xinjiang narrative.

“One reason that the Communist Party is so concerned about these testimonies from women is because it undermines their initial premise for what they’re doing there, which is anti-terrorism,” said James Millward, a professor of Chinese history at Georgetown University and expert in Xinjiang policy.

“The fact that there are so many women in the camps … who don’t have the faintest appearance of being violent people, this just shows how this has nothing to do with terrorism.”

Uighurs make up most of the million people that a U.N. estimate says have been detained in Xinjiang camps under what the central government calls a campaign against terrorism. Accusations by activists and some Western politicians include torture, forced labour and sterilisations.

This photo taken on May 31, 2019, shows a woman in a Uighur graveyard on the outskirts of Hotan in China's northwest Xinjiang



This photo taken on May 31, 2019, shows a woman in a Uighur graveyard on the outskirts of Hotan in China’s northwest Xinjiang region.

In rare U.S. bipartisan agreement, the top diplomats of the former administration of Donald Trump and the new one of Joe Biden have called China’s treatment of the Uighurs genocide, a stance adopted last week by the Canadian and Dutch parliaments.

China faces sanctions such as a ban on U.S purchases of Xinjiang cotton and tomatoes, and calls by some Western lawmakers to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

China’s foreign ministry on Monday declined to answer questions on the specific information released about the women but said “some anti-China forces ignore facts and truth and wantonly fabricate all kinds of Xinjiang-related lies. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including Xinjiang women, live and work in peace and contentment.”

Beijing has rejected calls for an independent U.N. investigation into Xinjiang’s internment programme. Journalists and diplomats have not been permitted access to the camps outside of tightly controlled government tours. Uighurs in Xinjiang have told Reuters they fear reprisals for speaking to the press while in China.

‘LIES AND SLANDER’

China’s tightly controlled, invitation-only media events on Xinjiang require journalists to submit questions days or weeks in advance. They include pre-recorded videos and prepared testimony by former camp inmates and religious figures.

Beijing has packaged content from the events in two volumes titled, “The Truth About Xinjiang: Exposing the US-Led Lies and Slanders About Xinjiang”.

In January, the Twitter account of China’s U.S. embassy was suspended for a tweet that said Uighur women had been “baby-making machines” before Beijing instituted its system of camps.

“The biological, the reproductive, the gendered aspect of this is particularly horrifying to the world,” said Georgetown’s Millward. China “seems to have recognised that… You now see them trying in this clumsy way to respond.”

During a regular daily press briefing last week, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin held up images of witnesses who had described sexual abuse in Xinjiang. The account of one of them, he said, was “lies and rumours” because she had not recounted the experience in previous interviews. He gave medical details about the woman’s fertility.

Xinjiang officials in January said a woman who had spoken to foreign media had syphilis, and they showed images of medical records – unsolicited information that was not directly related to her account.

A Xinjiang government official said of another witness last month: “Everyone knows about her inferior character. She’s lazy and likes comfort, her private life is chaotic, her neighbours say that she committed adultery while in China.”

Last week, the top spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, tweeted images of four named witnesses, saying they had “raked their brains for lies”, adding “they will never succeed”.

China has declined to provide data on the number of people in the camps. Beijing initially denied the camps existed but now says they are vocational and education centres and that all the people have “graduated”.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by William Mallard and Nick Macfie)



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North Korea Is Using Cyberattacks To Finance Updates To Nuclear Program, UN Experts Say


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea has modernized its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by flaunting United Nations sanctions, using cyberattacks to help finance its programs and continuing to seek material and technology overseas for its arsenal, U.N. experts said.

The panel of experts monitoring sanctions on the Northeast Asian nation said in a report sent to Security Council members Monday that North Korea’s “total theft of virtual assets from 2019 to November 2020 is valued at approximately $316.4 million,” according to one unidentified country.

The panel said its investigations found that North Korean-linked cyber actors continued to conduct operations in 2020 against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses to generate money to support its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

In its weapons development, the experts said, Kim Jong Un’s government has also produced fissile material — an essential ingredient for producing nuclear weapons — and maintained its nuclear facilities.

“It displayed new short-range, medium-range, submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile systems at military parades,“ they said. “It announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and, development of tactical nuclear weapons … and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure.“

The panel recommended that the Security Council impose sanctions on four North Korean men: Choe Song Chol, Im Song Sun, Pak Hwa Song, and Hwang Kil Su.

The Security Council has imposed increasingly tough sanctions on North Korea since its first test explosion of a nuclear device in 2006. It has banned most of the country’s exports and severely limited its imports, trying to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

But the report’s summary and some key findings and recommendations, obtained by The Associated Press, make clear that North Korea remains able to evade sanctions and develop its weapons and to illicitly import refined petroleum, access international banking channels and carry out “malicious cyber activities.”

A woman wearing a face mask walks past in front of a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's military



A woman wearing a face mask walks past in front of a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea’s military parade, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Jan. 15, 2021. 

North Korea’s arsenal escalated to a major threat to the United States following tests in 2017 that included a detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead and flight tests demonstrating its ICBMs could reach deep in the American mainland.

A year later, Kim initiated diplomacy with South Korea and then-U.S. President Donald Trump that derailed in 2019 when the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a piecemeal deal partially surrendering its nuclear weapons capabilities.

Last year, North Korea’s already battered economy decayed further amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which led Kim to close the country’s borders. That severely limited the legal and illegal transfer of goods and movement of people, according to the experts.

At a North Korean political conference, Kim sharply criticized his government’s economic agencies for unspecified passiveness and “self-protecting tendencies,” the North’s state media reported Tuesday. His remarks follow a ruling party congress last month where he called for greater state control over the economy while also vowing to continue all-out efforts to boost his nuclear program, which North Korea sees as a deterrent to the U.S. and thus an assurance of the Kim dynasty’s continued existence.

With his diplomatic efforts stalemated, Kim must start all over again with President Joe Biden, who previously called him a “thug” and criticized Trump for summit spectacles instead of significant nuclear reductions.

In August 2019, the U.N. panel said North Korean cyber experts illegally obtained proceeds “estimated at up to $2 billion” to fund its weapons programs.

The panel said in the new report that it investigated “malicious” activities by the Reconnaissance General Bureau — North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, which is on the U.N. sanctions blacklist — including “the targeting of virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, and attacks on defense companies.”

North Korea continues to launder stolen cryptocurrencies especially through over-the-counter virtual asset brokers in China to acquire fiat currency which is government backed, like the U.S. dollar, the experts said.

The panel said it is investigating a September 2020 hack against a cryptocurrency exchange that resulted in approximately $281 million worth of cryptocurrencies being stolen, and transactions on the blockchain indicating the $281 million hack is related to a $23 million second hack in October 2020.

“Preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds strongly suggests links to the DPRK,” the experts said, using the initials of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to one unnamed country, North Korea also continues to generate illegal revenue by exploiting freelance information technology platforms using the same methods it does to access the global financial system ― false identification, use of virtual private network services, and establishing front companies in Hong Kong, the panel said.

The experts said they investigated attempted violations of the U.N. arms embargo, including illegal actions of blacklisted companies. They cited the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, alleged military cooperation by North Korea, and the use of the country’s overseas diplomatic missions for commercial purposes.

The panel said it also investigated “the country’s continued illicit import of refined petroleum, via direct deliveries and ship-to-ship transfers, using elaborate subterfuge.“

It cited images, data and calculations from an unidentified country showing that between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 last year North Korea received shipments of refined petroleum products exceeding “by several times” the annual ceiling of 500,000 barrels set by the Security Council.

U.N. sanctions ban North Korean coal exports, and the panel said shipments of coal appear to have been largely suspended since late July 2020.

It said that last year, North Korea continued to transfer fishing rights in violation of sanctions, which earned the country $120 million in 2018, according to an unnamed member state.

Under a 2017 sanctions resolution, all North Korean nationals working overseas were to be repatriated by Dec. 22, 2019. The experts said they investigated North Korean workers earning income in sub-Saharan Africa as well as information technology workers dispatched by the Munitions Industry Department.





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Thousands Of Farmers In India Blockade Highways Protesting New Agricultural Laws


NEW DELHI (AP) — Thousands of protesting Indian farmers blockaded highways across the country for several hours Saturday to press their demands for the repeal of new agricultural laws that have led to months of massive protests.

The protesters used tractors, trucks and even boulders to blockade the roads. They carried banners and flags denouncing the laws, which they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations.

“We will keep fighting till our last breath,” said 80-year-old Jhajjan Singh, a farmer at a protest site in Ghazipur. Prime Minister Narendra “Modi should know that either he will remain, or we will.”

Authorities deployed thousands of security forces mainly outside India’s capital, where farmers have camped at three main sites for more than two months. The farmers have said they won’t leave until the government rolls back the laws.

Saturday’s blockade started at noon and lasted for three hours. No violence was immediately reported.

Members of different political parties participate in a protest against new farm laws in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Feb. 6, 202



Members of different political parties participate in a protest against new farm laws in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. 

Several rounds of talks between farmers with the government have failed to produce any breakthroughs. The government has said the laws are necessary to modernize Indian agriculture.

On Friday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar defended the laws in Parliament, dampening hopes of a quick settlement as he made no new offer to resume talks with the farmers.

The protests turned violent on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day, when a group of of farmers riding tractors veered from the protest route and stormed the 17th century Red Fort. Hundreds of police officers were injured as were scores of farmers. One protester died.

Farmer leaders condemned the violence but said they would not call off the protest.

Since then, authorities have heavily increased security at protest sites outside New Delhi’s border, adding iron spikes and steel barricades to stop the farmers from entering the capital.

Meanwhile, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on authorities and protesters to exercise “maximum restraint.”

“The rights to peaceful assembly & expression should be protected both offline & online. It’s crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to #HumanRights for all,” the UN body said in a tweet late Friday.





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