Daily: 17/09/2022

Прем’єрка Естонії: «Не можна поступатися Росії навіть на дюйм»

Естонія, а також Литва, Латвія та Польща закривають з 19 вересня в’їзд для громадян Росії

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Спікер Палати представників США Ненсі Пелосі прилетіла до Вірменії

Візит триватиме до 19 вересня

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Pelosi in Armenia Days After Clashes, Says US Committed to Peace

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived Saturday in Armenia, days after the Caucasus country’s deadly border clashes with Azerbaijan jeopardized Western efforts to broker lasting peace between the arch foes.

The worst clashes since Yerevan’s 2020 war with Baku erupted on Tuesday, claiming the lives of 215 people, before hostilities ended on Thursday after international mediation.

Pelosi said her visit “is a powerful symbol of the United States firm commitment to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Armenia, and a stable and secure Caucasus region.”

She is the highest-ranking U.S. official to travel to Armenia since the tiny, impoverished nation’s 1991 independence from the Soviet Union.

The three-day visit “will play a big role in ensuring our security,” Armenian Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan told journalists ahead of her arrival.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars, in 2020 and in the 1990s, over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated enclave.

Together with France and Russia, the U.S. co-chairs the Minsk Group of mediators, which had led decades-long peace talks between Baku and Yerevan under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“We will convey the strong and ongoing support of the United States, as an OSCE Minsk Chair and longtime friend to Armenia, for a lasting settlement to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The latest escalation came as Armenia’s closest ally, Moscow, is distracted by its nearly seven-month war in Ukraine.

Analysts have said the hostilities have largely undone Western efforts to bring Baku and Yerevan closer to a peace deal.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the European Union had taken a lead role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process.

The six weeks of fighting in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered cease-fire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swaths of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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Biden Warns Putin on Use of WMDs: ‘Don’t, Don’t, Don’t’

President Joe Biden again is warning Russian President Vladimir Putin against using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Ukraine.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” he said in an interview with CBS News scheduled to air Sunday night. 

Biden would not comment specifically on a U.S. response if Russia were to use chemical or nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“They’ll become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been,” he added.  “And depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”   

It was not Biden’s first warning to Putin: Following a meeting with European Union and G-7 partners and NATO allies in March, Biden said NATO would respond “in kind” to any use of WMDs in Ukraine.

“We will respond if he uses it,” Biden said, referring to Putin. “The nature of the response depends on the nature of the use.”

A month later, Biden chastised Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as “irresponsible” after Lavrov told Russian state television that the risks of nuclear war were “considerable.”

“No one should be making idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons or the possibility of the need to use them,” Biden said.

Just days into his invasion of Ukraine, Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert for the first time since the fall of the former Soviet Union, prompting the White House to assemble a team of national security officials — the so-called Tiger Team — to study potential responses in the event Russia deployed chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against Ukraine, neighboring nations or NATO convoys of weapons and aid headed for Ukraine.

In 2000, Russia updated its military doctrine to allow the first use of nuclear weapons in “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation,” according to the U.S.-based Arms Control Association.  The 1997 version of the doctrine had allowed the first use of nuclear arms only “in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation.”  

The newest version also states for the first time that Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons to respond to all “weapons of mass destruction” attacks. 

Meanwhile, Russia’s targeting of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has renewed nuclear anxiety across Europe. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reported Saturday that the plant, Europe’s largest, is once again receiving electricity from the national grid.

Grossi cautioned that the general situation for the plant, however, remains precarious, as long as Russian forces are shelling in the wider region around Zaporizhzhia.  

The nuclear plant remains under Russian control, the IAEA said, but Ukrainians are handling its operations.

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«Канада засуджує ці огидні звірства» – Трюдо про масові поховання під Ізюмом

«Ми продовжимо працювати з партнерами, щоб притягнути винних до відповідальності»

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Американський військовий експерт прогнозує зростання кількості вибухів у Криму

«Оскільки Україна веде боротьбу з Росією переважно без великої підтримки з боку НАТО та інших союзників, Україні доведеться піти на цю нестандартну тактику»

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1,5 млрд доларів до держбюджету – прем’єр повідомив про надходження гранту від США із Цільового фонду Світового банку

«Кошти будуть спрямовані для відшкодування бюджетних витрат на пенсійні виплати та програми соцдопомоги»

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Британська прем’єрка Трасс зустрінеться з Байденом 21 вересня

Зустріч Ліз Трасс та Джо Байдена відбудеться на Генеральній Асамблеї ООН

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Thousands Wait in Cold to Pay Respects to Queen Elizabeth II

Thousands of people spent London’s coldest night in months huddled in line to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, and authorities warned Saturday that arriving mourners face a 16-hour wait.

Police arrested a man after what the force described as a “disturbance” Friday night in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the queen’s coffin is lying in state, draped in her Royal Standard and capped with a diamond-studded crown.

Parliamentary authorities said someone got out of the queue and tried to approach the coffin on its platform. The Metropolitan Police force said a man was detained for a suspected public-order offense.

The tide of people wanting to say goodbye to the queen has grown steadily since the public was first admitted to the hall on Wednesday. On Friday, authorities temporary halted letting more visitors join the end of the line, which snakes around Southwark Park some 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Parliament.

Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as the temperature fell to 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.

“It was cold overnight, but we had wonderful companions, met new friends. The camaraderie was wonderful,” Chris Harman of London said. “It was worth it. I would do it again and again and again. I would walk to the end of the earth for my queen.”

People had myriad reasons for coming, from affection for the queen to a desire to be part of a historic moment. Simon Hopkins, who traveled from his home in central England, likened it to “a pilgrimage.”

“(It) is a bit strange, because that kind of goes against my grain,” he said. “I’ve been kind of drawn into it.”

Honoring their patience, King Charles III and Prince William made an unannounced visit to greet people waiting to file past Elizabeth’s coffin. The two senior royals shook hands and thanked the mourners in the miles-long queue near Lambeth Bridge.

Charles has made several impromptu walkabouts since he became king on Sept. 8, in an attempt to meet as many of his subjects as possible.

Members of the public kept silently streaming into Westminster Hall even as the queen’s four children — Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — stood vigil around the flag-draped coffin for 15 minutes on Friday evening. A baby’s cry was the only sound.

Before the vigil, Edward said the royal family was “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect (for) our dear mama.”

All eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren are due to stand vigil beside her coffin on Saturday. Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will attend along with Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and the two children of Prince Edward – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

William, who after his grandmother’s death is now the heir to the throne, will stand at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, will be in uniform.

Most senior royals hold honorary military roles and have worn uniforms to commemorate the queen. Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British army officer, wore civilian clothes during the procession of the queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan quit royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020.

The king, however, has requested that both William and Harry wear their military uniforms at the Westminster Hall vigil.

People queuing to see the queen have been of all ages and come from all walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made a sign of the cross. Several veterans, their medals shining in the spotlights, offered sharp salutes. Some people wept. Others blew kisses. Many hugged one another as they stepped away, proud to have spent hours in line to offer a tribute, even if it lasted only a few moments.

On Friday, the waiting time swelled to as long as 24 hours. The mourners included former England soccer captain David Beckham, who lined up for almost 12 hours to pay his respects. Wearing a white shirt and black tie, he bowed briefly to the coffin before moving out of Westminster Hall.

“We have been lucky as a nation to have had someone who has led us the way her majesty has led us, for the amount of time, with kindness, with caring and always reassurance,” Beckham told reporters afterwards.

The lying-in-state is due to continue until Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin will be borne to nearby Westminster Abbey for a state funeral, the finale to 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Elizabeth, 96, died at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne.

Hundreds of heads of state, royals and political leaders from around the world are flying to London to attend the funeral, including U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Charles is set to hold audiences Saturday with incoming prime ministers, governor generals of the realms and military leaders.

After the service at the abbey, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Hundreds of troops from the British army, air force and navy took part in an early-morning rehearsal on Saturday for the final procession. As troops lined The Long Walk, a picturesque path leading to Windsor Castle, the thumping of drums echoed into the night as marching bands walked ahead of a hearse.

London police said the funeral will be the largest single policing event the force has ever handled, surpassing even the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Platinum Jubilee in June celebrating the queen’s 70-year reign.

“The range of officers, police staff and all those supporting the operation is truly immense,” said Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy.

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Royal Fans Give London Tourism a Bump Amid UK Economic Woes

Royal fans have poured into the heart of London to experience the flag-lined roads, pomp-filled processions and, above all, brave a miles-long line for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to bid adieu to Queen Elizabeth II, who died after an unprecedented seven decades on the throne. And while they’re here, they’re packing hotels, restaurants and shops.

Visitors crowding into central London from as far away as the U.S. and India for the historic moment are giving a boost to businesses at a time when the British economy is facing a cost-of-living crisis fueled by the highest inflation in four decades and predictions of a looming recession.

“This is the history, you know, this happens once in the lifetime,” said Kanakkantt Benedict, who was visiting from India with his wife and filed past the queen’s flag-draped coffin this week. “So we became a part of it.”

The pomp and pageantry leading up to the funeral for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch underscored the royal family’s power as a global attraction, from an elaborate military procession for her crown-topped coffin drawing live viewers around the world to piles of flowers filling up Green Park near Buckingham Palace and gift shops hastily churning out souvenirs commemorating the queen’s life as people clamor for mementos.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to pay tribute to the queen in the four days that her body lies in state ahead of her state funeral Monday, pushing up demand for hotel rooms in central London that in some cases have doubled in price.

Hundreds of world leaders, from U.S. President Joe Biden to Japan’s emperor and empress, plus their entourages need places to stay as they arrive for the queen’s funeral. So do police officers coming from around Britain to help with security.

Occupancy levels could reach an all-time high of 95%, according to London-based group-booking platform Hotelplanner.com.

“That’s not surprising when you consider that the eyes of the world really are on the capital and the media, dignitaries and members of the public, just like myself, who just want to be part of such a historic occasion,” said Thomas Emanuel, senior director of hotel analytics firm STR. 

All 35 rooms at the two-star Corbigoe Hotel in London’s Victoria neighborhood, near Buckingham Palace, were booked, duty manager Riaz Badar said. 

“Nowadays, rooms are full in this area, not only in our hotel but around all the hotels in this area,” Badar said. 

On the Thames, the Riverside Cafe that’s next to the mileslong, round-the-clock line for people to get a glimpse of the queen’s coffin, has been “extremely busy,” manager Zab Istanik said. He’s been opening two hours earlier than normal, at 7 a.m. 

“We were busy like this when the Queen Mum passed away in 2002. But it wasn’t as busy as it is … this week,” Istanik said.

Also on the route, Jason Rich’s food stall, Fed By Plants, was doing brisk business selling lentil burgers. 

“It’s a long queue,” Rich said. “So definitely it had a good boost on the business.”

The U.K. was already an attractive place to visit as demand rebounds for international travel since the COVID-19 pandemic and the weakened pound, especially for American visitors, makes transatlantic travel more affordable. 

University professor Chad Broughton, 51, who was visiting London from Chicago with two friends after a long pandemic delay, said their hotel room in the tourist-heavy Covent Garden neighborhood was pricey at $456 a night.

But the trip to London was unique. “Seeing all these people queued up, seeing the reaction on BBC and just feeling this, you get a sense of how important it is to the people here,” he said.

Plus, costs were offset by the currency’s fall, friend Josh Walsman said.

“We’ve found everything to be a pretty surprising value,” Walsman, 51-year-old musician, said as they walked by Westminster Hall, where mourners inside paid homage to the queen and tourists outside snapped photos on streets closed to traffic. 

Walsman said they went to a Champions League soccer match, had tickets for a play and a dinner reservation at the upscale Cinnamon Club Indian restaurant. 

“We’ve been mostly spending our money at pubs,” he said. “The conversion rate has meant that each time a bill comes, it’s like, ‘Oh, I thought it was about 30% more.’” 

The pound briefly slumped to a 37-year low against the dollar on Friday after U.K. retail sales volumes slid more than expected in August — a fresh sign of economic weakness.

The British economy is reeling from rising energy prices spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine, driving the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation. The government said it will cap energy bills for households and businesses, but prices are still painfully high. Inflation is the highest in the Group of Seven economies, at 9.9%.

With that backdrop, the money being spent by visitors offered a glimmer of hope. 

“Speaking to our hospitality sector, not just our hotels, but restaurants, bars and pubs, they’ve had an awful three years because of this pandemic,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

Budget hotel operator Travelodge said it’s ordered extra breakfast supplies for its 78 London hotels for Monday, saying it expects many mourners to start their day with a “traditional full English” breakfast. Pub chain JD Wetherspoon says it will keep its pubs in central London open Monday during the queen’s funeral.

Some analysts predicted the overall economic boost for the U.K. from the royal mourning period would be limited. That’s because it would be offset by supermarkets, retailers, hardware stores and other businesses closing for the funeral Monday, which has been made a public holiday. 

However, renewed interest in the royal family could give an extended boost to the travel and tourism industry, said Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of Hotelplanner.com.

“Yes, short term, the bank holiday will probably cut down productivity a little bit,” Hentschel said. But “the overall momentum that the U.K. is going to gain from all the tourism that’s going to flock here over the next few days and then over the next few months will far outweigh” the short-term loss. 

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У прикордонній області Киргизстану запровадили режим НС через конфлікт із Таджикистаном

Повідомляють про обстріли Ошської області

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«Винні будуть притягнені до відповідальності за свої дії» – Макрон про масові поховання під Ізюмом

«Я найрішучіше засуджую звірства, скоєні в Ізюмі, в Україні, під час російської окупації»

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Британська розвідка повідомляє про наступальні дії України і оборонний рубіж російських військ

«Незрозуміло, чи мають російські сили на передовій достатні резерви чи достатній моральний дух, щоб протистояти черговому узгодженому українському наступу»

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Putin Vows to Press Attack on Ukraine; Courts India, China

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed Friday to press his attack on Ukraine despite Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive and warned that Moscow could ramp up its strikes on the country’s vital infrastructure if Ukrainian forces target facilities in Russia.

Speaking to reporters Friday after attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbas region remained Russia’s main military goal and that he sees no need to revise it.

“We aren’t in a rush,” the Russian leader said, adding that Moscow has only deployed volunteer soldiers to fight in Ukraine. Some hardline politicians and military bloggers have urged the Kremlin to follow Ukraine’s example and order a broad mobilization to beef up the ranks, lamenting Russia’s manpower shortage.

Russia was forced to pull back its forces from large swaths of northeastern Ukraine last week after a swift Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ukraine’s move to reclaim control of several Russian-occupied cities and villages marked the largest military setback for Moscow since its forces had to retreat from areas near the capital early in the war.

In his first comment on the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Putin said: “Let’s see how it develops and how it ends.”

He noted that Ukraine has tried to strike civilian infrastructure in Russia and “we so far have responded with restraint, but just yet.”

“If the situation develops this way, our response will be more serious,” Putin said.

“Just recently, the Russian armed forces have delivered a couple of impactful strikes,” he said in an apparent reference to Russian attacks earlier this week on power plants in northern Ukraine and a dam in the south. “Let’s consider those as warning strikes.”

He alleged, without offering specifics, that Ukraine has attempted to launch attacks “near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants,” adding that “we will retaliate if they fail to understand that such methods are unacceptable.”

Russia has reported numerous explosions and fires at civilian infrastructure in areas near Ukraine, as well munitions depots and other facilities. Ukraine has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks and refrained from commenting on others.

Putin also sought Friday to assuage India’s concern about the conflict in Ukraine, telling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Moscow wants to see a quick end to the fighting and alleging that Ukrainian officials won’t negotiate.

“I know your stand on the conflict in Ukraine and the concerns that you have repeatedly voiced,” the Russian leader told Modi. “We will do all we can to end that as quickly as possible. Regrettably, the other side, the leadership of Ukraine, has rejected the negotiations process and stated that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, on the battlefield.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it’s Russia that allegedly doesn’t want to negotiate in earnest. He also has insisted on the withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied areas of Ukraine as a precondition for talks.

Putin’s remarks during the talks with Modi echoed comments the Russian leader made during Thursday’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping when Putin thanked him for his government’s “balanced position” on the Ukraine war, while adding that he was ready to discuss China’s unspecified “concerns” about Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Putin said he and Xi “discussed what we should do in the current conditions to efficiently counter unlawful restrictions” imposed by the West. The European Union, the United States and other Western nations have put sanctions on Russian energy due to the war in Ukraine.

Xi, in a statement released by his government, expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but also interest in working together to “inject stability” into world affairs. China’s relations with Washington, Europe, Japan and India have been strained by disputes about technology, security, human rights and territory.

Zhang Lihua, an international relations expert at Tsinghua University, said the reference to stability “is mainly related to China-U.S. relations,” adding that “the United States has been using all means to suppress China, which forced China to seek cooperation with Russia.”

China and India have refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine while increasing their purchases of Russian oil and gas, helping Moscow offset the financial restrictions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.

Putin also met Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss bolstering economic cooperation and regional issues, including a July deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations that allowed Ukrainian grain exports to resume from the country’s Black Sea ports.

Speaking at the Uzbekistan summit on Friday, Xi warned his Central Asian neighbors not to allow outsiders to destabilize them. The warning reflects Beijing’s anxiety that Western support for democracy and human rights activists is a plot to undermine Xi’s ruling Communist Party and other authoritarian governments.

“We should prevent external forces from instigating a color revolution,” Xi said in a speech to the leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member nations, referring to protests that toppled unpopular regimes in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

Xi offered to train 2,000 police officers, to set up a regional counterterrorism training center and to “strengthen law enforcement capacity building.” He did not elaborate.

His comments echoed longtime Russian grievances about the color-coded democratic uprisings in several ex-Soviet nations that the Kremlin viewed as instigated by the U.S. and its allies.

Xi is promoting a “Global Security Initiative” announced in April following the formation of the Quad by the U.S., Japan, Australia and India in response to Beijing’s more assertive foreign policy. U.S. officials complain it echoes Russian arguments in support of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

Central Asia is part of China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to expand trade by building ports, railways and other infrastructure across an arc of dozens of countries from the South Pacific through Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed by Russia and China as a counterweight to U.S. influence. The group also includes India, Pakistan and the four ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Iran is on track to receive full membership.

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Experts Warn US Is Falling Behind China in Key Technologies

At a gathering of current and former U.S. officials and private-sector executives Friday in Washington, concern was rampant that the United States has fallen behind China in the development of several key technologies, and that it faces an uncertain future in which other countries could challenge its historic dominance in the development of cutting-edge communications and computing technology.

The gathering was convened by the Special Competitive Studies Project, an effort spearheaded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the stated purpose of which is “to ensure that America is positioned and organized to win the techno-economic competition between now and 2030, the critical window for shaping the future.”

Among attendees, the prevailing sentiment was that the nation’s ability to actually win that competition was under threat.

Dire predictions

A few days before the summit, the SCSP issued a report predicting what would happen if China became the global technological leader.

“Understanding the stakes requires imagining a world in which an authoritarian state controls the digital infrastructure, enjoys the dominant position in the world’s technology platforms, controls the means of production for critical technologies, and harnesses a new wave of general purpose technologies, like biotech and new energy technologies, to transform its society, economy and military,” the report said.

The report envisions a future where China, not the U.S., captures the trillions of dollars of income generated by the new technological advances and uses its leverage to make the case that autocracy, not democracy, is the superior form of government.

In the report’s grim vision, China promotes the concept of a “sovereign” internet, where individual countries limit the flow of information to their people, and where China develops and possibly controls the key technology supporting critical infrastructure in countries around the world.

Finally, the report warns that under such a scenario, the U.S. military would lose its technological lead over China and other competitors, and China might be in a position to cut off the supply of “microelectronics and other critical technology inputs.”

‘Nothing is inevitable’

In an address to the summit, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan appeared to agree that the nation faces significant challenges in keeping pace with China in the development of new technology.

“We know that nothing is inevitable about maintaining America’s core strength and competitive advantage in the world,” Sullivan said. “And we know that it has to be renewed, revitalized and stewarded, and that is especially true when it comes to U.S. technological leadership.”

In China, he said, “we’re facing a competitor that is determined to overtake U.S. technology leadership and is willing to devote nearly limitless resources to do so.”

Sullivan also said, however, that President Joe Biden’s administration is aware of the threat and has been working to meet it. In particular, Sullivan noted the recent passage of the CHIPS Act, which directs more than $50 billion toward establishing advanced microchip fabrication facilities in the U.S.

“We’re making historically unprecedented investments, putting us back on track to lead the industries of the future,” Sullivan said. “We’re doubling down on our efforts to be a magnet for the world’s top technical talent. We’ve adapted our technology protection tools to new geopolitical realities. And most importantly, we’ve done this in a way that is inclusive, force multiplying and consistent with our values.”

Not ‘fast enough’

H.R. McMaster, a retired Army general who served as national security adviser during the Trump administration, appeared as a panelist at the conference. He said that while progress is being made, the pace needs to be quickened.

“It’s not going fast enough, because we’re so far behind, because there’s too many years of complacency based on flawed assumptions about the nature of the post-Cold War world,” McMaster said.

He called for a more active effort to block China’s technological advancement, saying, “We need export controls now, to prevent China from getting a differential advantage, [while] maintaining our competitive advantages.”

China has repeatedly criticized U.S. efforts to impede its technological advancement, an issue that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning addressed this week when asked about U.S. export controls.

“What the U.S. is doing is purely ‘sci-tech hegemony,’ ” she said. “It seeks to use its technological prowess as an advantage to hobble and suppress the development of emerging markets and developing countries. While trumpeting a level playing field and a so-called ‘rules-based order,’ the U.S. cares only about ‘America first’ and believes might makes right. The U.S. probably hopes that China and the rest of the developing world will forever stay at the lower end of the industrial chain. This is not constructive.”

5G as a warning

A recurring theme at the event was the development of 5G wireless internet technology, a field in which Western countries, including the U.S., fell far behind China. With the benefit of favorable treatment from Beijing, Chinese firms, specifically Huawei, developed a dominant global position in the provision of 5G networking equipment. 

Concerned that having Chinese-made equipment serve as the backbone of sensitive communications technology could create an espionage or security risk, the U.S. and some of its allies mounted a global campaign to block the installation of Huawei’s equipment, even if that meant significant delays in the rollout of 5G wireless service.

“The key message here is we need to make sure that what happened to us in 5G does not happen again,” said Schmidt. “I cannot say that more clearly. You do not want to work on platform technologies that you use every day that are dominated by nondemocratic, nonopen systems.”

Schmidt said that it would be difficult to stay ahead of China technologically, predicting that Beijing would “double down on competing in the areas that we care about,” including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology and others.

Maintaining relations

Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China, said that Americans are generally uninformed about how far China is ahead of the United States in some technologies. Now the vice chairperson of Ford Motor Company, Huntsman said that in the development of electric vehicles, for example, China is at least five years ahead of the U.S.

He said that the U.S. must walk a fine line to catch up with China in some areas and to maintain its advantage in others. In particular, he stressed the need to retain person-to-person business and other relationships with the Chinese people.

“Decoupling our people is not a good thing,” he said. “We’ll wind up with China right where we are with Russia if we do that.” He added, “Decoupling is only going to create estrangement, misunderstandings and instability, globally, on the security side.”

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King Charles’ History with US Presidents: He’s Met 10 of Past 14

Hanging out with Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia at a White House supper-dance. Swapping stories with Ronald Reagan about horseback riding. Bending the ears of Donald Trump and Joe Biden about climate change. 

King Charles III, who became head of state following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has made the acquaintance of 10 of the 14 U.S. presidents who have held office since he was born in 1948. 

He was just 10 when he checked off his first president in 1959. That was when Dwight Eisenhower visited the queen and her family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she died on September 8 after a 70-year-reign. 

“I guess you can’t start too early,” said Barbara A Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. She noted that Charles’ grandson, Prince George, was a toddler when Kensington Palace released a photograph of him shaking hands with Barack Obama during the president’s trip to London in 2016. 

Charles never met Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy, Perry said. 

His encounters with U.S. presidents included what he recalled as an “amusing” weekend visit to Nixon White House in 1970 with his sister Anne, when the 20-year-old future king — one of the world’s most eligible bachelors — sensed there was an effort afoot to set him up. 

“That was the time when they were trying to marry me off to Tricia Nixon,” he later recalled. 

The king has chatted up presidents on his visits to the U.S. and met others when they traveled in the United Kingdom. He was in the company of Trump, Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush when he represented the British monarchy at the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush in 2018 in Washington. 

Charles met Biden last year at a climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The royal has visited America about 20 times since that memorable first trip in the Nixon years, he told CNN last year. 

The royal siblings had been invited to Washington by Nixon’s daughters and son-in-law, Tricia Nixon, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and her husband, David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower, for that three-day visit in July 1970. 

The young VIPs had a packed schedule that included frolicking at the Camp David presidential retreat, a nighttime tour of Washington’s monuments, museum visits, a luncheon cruise down the Potomac River to George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia, a dance on the South Lawn for 700 guests, and a Washington Senators baseball game. 

Charles and Nixon also met in the Oval Office. But if the president had his heart set a union between his family and the royals, it wasn’t meant to be. 

In June 1971, less than a year after Charles’ visit, Tricia married longtime beau Edward Cox in the White House Rose Garden. A decade later, in July 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. They divorced in 1996. 

Nixon, himself, had pushed for Charles to visit the U.S. for the perceived public relations bonanza, according to a January 1970 memo he sent his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. 

“I think this could do an enormous amount of good for U.S.-British relations,” Nixon said. He wrote that he’d been told that Charles “is the real gem” of the royal family and “makes an enormously favorable impression wherever he goes.” 

Charles returned the praise in a thank-you note. 

“The kindness shown to us at the White House was almost overwhelming and for that we are immensely grateful,” the prince wrote to Nixon. “Both my sister and I take back to Britain the most heartwarming evidence of what is known as the special relationship between our two countries and of the great hospitality shown to us by you and your family.” 

Many of the former Prince of Wales’ conversations with recent U.S. presidents centered on his interest in tackling climate change. Charles has campaigned for the environment for 50 years, but he acknowledged after becoming king that his new role requires that he set aside his activism on that and other issues. 

Charles, 73, and Biden, 79, discussed global cooperation on the climate crisis last year while both attended a summit in Glasgow, Scotland. They also met at Buckingham Palace in June 2021 at a reception the queen hosted before a world leaders’ summit in Cornwall. 

Biden rejoined the 2015 Paris climate agreement after Trump as president withdrew the U.S. from the accord. 

Biden and the king spoke on Wednesday, with Biden offering his condolences over the queen. 

Trump has said that during his visit with Charles, the former prince “did most of the talking” and pressed him on climate during a scheduled 15-minute meeting that stretched to 90 minutes in 2019 at Charles’ residence in London. 

During a three-day visit to Washington in 2011, Charles, an advocate of environmentally friendly farming, met with President Obama. In a speech, he praised Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity and hunger, and U.S. manufacturers’ efforts to produce healthier foods. 

He criticized U.S. government subsidies for large-scale agriculture and encouraged increased business and government support for organic and environmentally friendly food production. 

In his toast at a White House dinner in 2005, the future king told President George W. Bush that the world looks to the United States “for a lead on the most crucial issues that face our planet and, indeed, the lives of our grandchildren. 

“Truly, the burdens of the world rest on your shoulders,” he said. 

In the remarks, Charles also said the trip reminded him of his first visit to America, “when the media were busy trying to marry me off to Tricia Nixon.” 

Visiting with Reagan in the Oval Office in 1981, the two discussed their interest in horseback riding as a steward brought tea. But it was not served the British way. 

Of the experience, Reagan later wrote in his diary: 

“The ushers brought him tea — horror of horrors they served it our way with a tea bag in the cup. It finally dawned on me that he was just holding the cup and finally put it down on the table. I didn’t know what to do,” Reagan confessed. 

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US Military Intel Chief Says Putin Can’t Achieve Ukraine Goal

Russia’s setbacks and stretched resources in Ukraine show its forces are incapable of achieving President Vladimir Putin’s initial aims in invading the country as things stand now, the Pentagon’s intelligence chief said Friday.

“We’re coming to a point right now where I think Putin is going to have to revise what his objectives are for this operation,” Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told an intelligence and national security conference outside Washington. Because “it’s pretty clear right now that he’s … not going to be able to do what he initially intended to do.”

Putin sent troops into neighboring Ukraine in February with what U.S. officials say was the objective of unseating Ukraine’s Western-friendly government. Ukrainian forces drove Russian fighters from their positions around Ukraine’s capital earlier in the war. And Russia suffered another major setback last week, when a Ukrainian counteroffensive forced its troops back from large swaths of Ukraine’s northeast.

“The Russians planned for an occupation, not necessarily an invasion, and that has set them back,” Berrier said, citing Putin’s reluctance so far to fully mobilize Russian forces to get more manpower into the fight.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other administration officials have taken care not to call Russia’s latest retreat a Ukrainian victory or turning point in the war, and analysts caution it’s impossible to assess what may lie ahead.

“He’s coming to a decision” point,” Berrier said of Putin. “What that decision will be we don’t know. But that will largely drive how long this conflict lasts.”

Berrier spoke at a panel with other senior officials at the intelligence community’s Intelligence and National Security Summit at National Harbor in Maryland just outside Washington.

Asked about concerns that Putin could unleash weapons of mass destruction if he’s thwarted on the battlefield by U.S. and NATO-backed Ukrainian forces, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said, “I don’t think we should underestimate Putin’s adherence to his original agenda, which was to control Ukraine. I don’t think we’ve seen any reason to believe he has moved off that.”

Nor should the U.S. underestimate Putin’s “risk appetite,” Cohen said. Putin and his officials early in the war made allusions to Russia’s nuclear arsenal and to massive retaliation in warning NATO not to get involved in the conflict.

“That being said, we have not seen concrete evidence of planning for the use of [weapons of mass destruction],” Cohen said. The more likely form of any Russian retaliation against the United States would be more attempts at interfering with the U.S. political system, other security and intelligence officials said.

Separately, in a major regional summit in Uzbekistan on Friday, Putin vowed to press the attack on Ukraine and warned that Moscow could ramp up its strikes on the country’s infrastructure if Ukrainian forces target facilities in Russia.

The conference included the leaders of China, India, Turkey and several other countries.

Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbas region was Russia’s main military goal and that he saw no need to revise it.

“We aren’t in a rush,” the Russian leader said.

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Finns, Swedes Overwhelmingly Back NATO, Poll Shows

A new Gallup Poll released Friday confirms overwhelming support among Finns and Swedes for their nations’ expected accession to NATO, while their views toward Russian leadership have turned “profoundly negative” as the war in Ukraine rages on.

The survey found that 81% of Finns and 74% of Swedes approve of the alliance’s leadership, while their approval of Russian leadership dipped to a miserly 6% in Finland and 2% in Sweden.

In releasing the survey, Gallup noted that both countries had been cautioned by Russia against pursuing membership in the alliance. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there would be serious consequences if its two Nordic neighbors were to take that step.

Those threats proved to be largely empty, observers have noted. But Moscow has long warned against NATO expansion and cited Ukraine’s NATO ambitions as one of the reasons for launching an invasion into that country.

The latest Gallup report also included figures on support for U.S. leadership among Finns and Swedes. It found that 62% of Finns and 40% of Swedes approve of U.S. leadership.

Those figures reflect a rise of positive sentiment toward the U.S. in Finland from a year ago but a drop in such sentiments in Sweden. In 2021, the approval for U.S. leadership among the Finns, according to a Gallup Poll, was 52%, 10 percentage points lower than this year.

In Sweden, however, approval of U.S. leadership has dropped from 52% in 2021 to the current 40%. Gallup did not suggest a reason for the drop.

RJ Reinhart, a U.S.-based Gallup analyst and author of the report, told VOA in a phone interview that Scandinavian countries’ approval of U.S. leadership has often fluctuated.

He noted both in the report and in the interview with VOA that the outcome of the war in Ukraine will likely affect opinions in Finland and Sweden of NATO’s leadership, while noting the timeline, trajectory and outcome of the war are hard to pinpoint.

What is clear is the finding that Finns’ views of Russian leadership are “nearly universally negative,” with a mere 6% of Finns expressing support for Russian leadership and 92% thinking otherwise.

The report noted that Finns’ disapproval of Russia’s leadership dropped to a similarly low level in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

In Sweden, Russia’s leadership has not enjoyed more than 9% approval for as long as Gallup has been asking the question, the report said. The current approval stands at a mere 2%, with 96% disapproving.

“It is likely that both countries are largely positive about NATO as they see membership as a potential security guarantor against potential threats from Russia,” the report’s author wrote.

Finland and Sweden simultaneously submitted their applications for NATO membership May 18, just months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. The applications followed “thorough debates across their whole societies and with large parliamentary majorities supporting the decision,” NATO has noted.

The two countries were invited to attend the NATO Madrid Summit held the following month in the Spanish capital. Accession protocols were inked July 5 after accession talks had been completed. Those protocols must be ratified by every member of NATO before the two countries can become official members.

The parliaments of Greece and Spain ratified the membership bids Thursday and Portugal’s parliament followed suit Friday leaving only three NATO members still needing to give their approval. Those three are Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey. 

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Заступник директора ЦРУ: немає доказів підготовки Росії до застосування ядерної зброї

Але схильність Путіна «до ризику» не варто недооцінювати

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У Росії кондитерський бренд прибрав літеру Z із логотипу своєї продукції

Латинська літера Z стала символом підтримки Росії у війні з Україною

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