On his first trip to Cuba during his third term in office, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the embargo imposed by the United States on the island "illegal" and denounced the island's inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump included the island nation on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, and though the Biden administration has reversed other Trump-era measures, it has so far not removed Cuba from the list.
"Cuba has been an advocate of fairer global governance. And to this day it is the victim of an illegal economic embargo," Lula said in a speech opening the G77 Summit of developing nations in the capital, Havana. "Brazil is against any unilateral coercive measure. We reject Cuba's inclusion on the list of states sponsoring terrorism."
The comments were made just hours before Lula left for New York, where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly and have bilateral talks with Biden.
Earlier, Cuba expressed concerns over the label and Washington’s decades-old Cold War-era economic embargo against the island governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. The 27-member European Union, the country's top trade partner, has also repeatedly rejected trade embargo. Cuba and critics of the economic sanctions say the embargo prevents and hampers access to food, medicine and other critical development supplies.
Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo – brother of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo and his deputy – has had his assets frozen in the United States, while Abdul Rahman Juma, an RSF commander in West Darfur, was hit with a visa ban.
With that, the paramilitary force has lost hope of acquiring political legitimacy after the duo were sanctioned on September 6, according to analysts and activists.
Both were sanctioned over human rights abuses, specifically atrocities in Sudan’s West Darfur province. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Juma was sanctioned for ordering the June 15 assassination of West Darfur’s Governor Khamis Abdallah Abakar.
“The sanctions really are a blow to the personal brand of the Dagalo family,” said Kholood Kair, a Sudanese expert and founding director of Confluence Advisory.
More than a dozen rights organisations have signed a statement rebuking the Biden administration's decision to approve more than $200m in military aid to Egypt, arguing that the money will only embolden President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi amid an intensified crackdown on civil society.
Earlier this week, the US announced it was withholding $85m in aid to Egypt, which had been conditioned on the release of political prisoners. Instead of going to Cairo, the money would be redirected to Taiwan and Lebanon.
At the same time, it approved $235m in aid to the North African country, which rights groups and lawmakers have long been calling to be withheld.
The rights groups' statement, published on Thursday, said that the approval "sends the wrong message at the wrong time".
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday pledged more support on "national sovereignty, security, and development", as Beijing grapples with tensions in the Indo-Pacific.
During a visit to Beijing, Hun Manet also promised to improve law enforcement and security cooperation to crack down on cyber scams in Southeast Asia, activities that that often target Chinese nationals.
"Regardless of changes in the international and regional situations, China has always been Cambodia's most trustworthy friend and most steadfast supporter," Xi was quoted by Chinese state media as saying.
The Pentagon’s Central Command has ordered interviews of roughly two dozen more service members who were at the Kabul airport when suicide bombers attacked during US forces’ chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, as criticism persists that the deadly assault could have been stopped.
The interviews, ordered by Gen. Erik Kurilla, head of US Central Command, were triggered in part by assertions by at least one service member injured in the blast who said he was never interviewed about it and that he might have been able to stop the attackers.
The interviews are meant to see if service members who were not included in the original investigation have new or different information.
The decision, according to officials, does not reopen the administration’s investigation into the deadly bombing and the withdrawal two years ago. But the additional interviews will likely be seized on by congressional critics, mostly Republican, as proof that the administration bungled the probe into the attack, in addition to mishandling the withdrawal.
Some families of those killed and injured have complained that the Pentagon hasn’t been transparent enough about the bombing that killed 170 Afghans and 13 US servicemen and women.
A $13.3 billion program to safeguard American interests in the Arctic has run aground on an old industrial challenge: cutting and shaping thick, hardened steel.
U.S. officials are racing to procure new polar icebreakers because one of only two that the Coast Guard now sails has reached the end of its life, and the one assigned to the Arctic is out of service for maintenance every winter. Delivery of the first new icebreaker has slipped to 2028 from 2024 as designers, engineers and welders grapple with something the U.S. hasn’t done in decades: reliably shape hardened steel that is more than an inch thick into a curved, reinforced ship’s hull.
The Coast Guard hasn’t launched a new heavy icebreaker since 1976. Out of practice, U.S. shipbuilders have had to relearn how to design and build the specialized vessel, say officials in the industry and the government.
The technical challenge of working with special steel has been compounded by an industrywide labor shortage and the coronavirus pandemic.
Receding sea ice in the Arctic due to climate change is, paradoxically, increasing the need for icebreakers and other vessels that can handle rough conditions in and around the Arctic Ocean, officials say. Russian vessel traffic in the northern reaches of the globe is rising, including liquefied natural gas bound for China—between Asia and Europe.
Army Gen. Mark Milley pushed back on claims from Republicans that the military is “woke” and as a result not prepared to take on modern threats, saying he’s “not even sure what that word truly means.”
“What I see is a military that’s exceptionally strong. It’s powerful; it’s ready. In fact, our readiness rates, the way we measure readiness, is better now than they’ve been in years,” Milley said in a CNN interview Sunday.
Republican politicians and candidates have blasted the Pentagon for so-called woke policies, pointing to efforts to recruit a diverse group of military service members and be inclusive to transgender soldiers.
Those claims have also headlined efforts to reduce military spending.
“We’re going to cut money that’s being spent on wokeism; we’re going to cut legacy programs; we’re going to cut a lot of waste,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said earlier this year.
The United States' highest-ranking military officer made a big statement on Ukraine. General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his frustration over the slow progress on the battlefield. He accepted Russia's military might and said Ukraine faces a "very high bar." He added that the U.S. cannot just boost Ukraine's power by sprinkling "magic dust."
France24, Quartz, and the Wall Street Journal (paywall-free link) report that the EU abandoned its much-ballyhooed transition to electric cars, which was supposed to culminate with a total ban on gasoline cars in 2035.
The EU’s reversal allows “the sales of new cars with combustion engines that run on synthetic fuels,” which sounds very environmentally friendly. But synthetic fuels are similar to gasoline or diesel, so the decision allows internal combustion cars to continue being produced. While electric cars will still be produced and incentivized, there is no longer a 100% mandate by 2035.