Stories in this section cover various issues and stories from all around the world.

Mongolia and USA to establish direct air travel routes

Mongolia and the United States of America have agreed to establish direct air travel routes.

Meeting in Washington DC on Tuesday (24 January), Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Richard T. Yoneoka, and Mongolian State Secretary of the Ministry of Road and Transport Development Batbold Sandagdorj, signed a Memorandum of Consultations finalising the first ever bilateral air transport agreement between the two countries.

patrickn97 Wed, 01/25/2023 - 15:39 Ramstein summit: no decision on German tanks as countries make military aid pledges
No decision has been reached on whether Berlin will approve the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine at Ramstein Air Force base summit of global defence leaders in Germany on Friday (20 January). The BBC reports that the Polish Defence Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, remains optimistic that efforts to supply the tanks would be successful, saying, "Defence ministers of 15 countries met on the sidelines of today's conference and we talked about this topic...I am convinced that coalition building will end in success." Both leading up to and during the summit on Friday, numerous countries had made separate pledges of military equipment to Ukraine. The Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the United States are among those to have pledged further military aid to Ukraine in the past week.
patrickn97 Fri, 01/20/2023 - 17:14

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Monday Commentary: NATO’s new sense of purpose well reflected during last week’s Bucharest Ministerial Meeting
The Foreign ministers of NATO member states met in Bucharest on Tuesday and Wednesday,  (29 – 30 November), at a time when, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe faces one of the most serious security challenges since the alliance came into being in 1949. It was not NATO that triggered the Ukraine crisis. Indeed NATO, in its’ past quest not to alienate Russia, is sometimes accused of being overcautious in its relations with Ukraine prior to February. The Russian invasion has tested the alliance in many ways – the political will and unity of the member states; the capability of the alliance to support an ally who is not a member through a hybrid response; and the speed with which it could bolster its military capability on its Eastern flank to reassure member states. So far one can say that NATO has performed well, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on This response however needs to be sustained. NATO comes out from the Bucharest Ministerial meeting strengthened and resolute. It is an alliance that is on the move as it responds to new challenges. But NATO also remains rooted in its principles. As the foreign ministers declared in their final statement, NATO is a defensive alliance. “We will continue to strive for peace, security and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area”, they declared.
dennis2020 Mon, 12/05/2022 - 04:54
Russia to ban oil sales under price cap

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated on Sunday that Moscow will not adhere to the price cap of $60 per barrel imposed by the G7 on the sale of Russian oil to non-EU countries, and will reduce production in order to make up for lost exports.

Novak also argued that the price cap mechanism contravenes World Trade Organization rules, would cause a decrease in energy investment, and could potentially lead to worldwide shortages and further market disruption.

Maximiliaan va… Sun, 12/04/2022 - 17:47
US announced an additional $53 million in support of Ukraine's power transmission and heating infrastructure 

The United States on Tuesday (29 November) announced an additional humanitarian aid package worth $53 million (about €51 million) to repair Ukraine's power grid and to purchase new power grid equipment for Ukraine. This news was announced by the US Department of State in a statement.

“This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter. This supply package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles and other key equipment”, the statement reads.

Maximiliaan va… Wed, 11/30/2022 - 00:28
Monday Commentary: Let sports unite us
The 2022 FIFA World Cup opened in Doha on Sunday (20 November) with a lavish half an hour opening ceremony full of music and colour. It will be followed by weeks of football extravaganza that millions are looking forward to watching. It was a proud moment for the small Arab Gulf country which has put a lot of effort and resources towards making the event a success, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on Ever since it was decided to hold the FIFA world cup in Qatar there have been those who questioned the decision. Some said the climate was too hot; others criticised the working conditions of the labour force that built the facilities; others questioned Qatar's human rights record, especially on gay rights. Some of the criticism was justified. The world cup helped put attention to such problems and that is how it should be. But frankly, a lot of the criticism of Qatar went over the top and reeked of racism. Qatar has its shortcomings, but the hundreds of thousands of people who flock there to work, and others who just visit, appreciate it for what it is: a young nation that is trying to play a positive role in the world and to offer opportunity for work and business to whoever wants to work with it. It is ofcourse easy to say that sports and politics do not mix. Since sports is an expression of human talent and human feelings politics cannot be excluded. It needs to be managed. People watching football do not need expressions of political opinions shoved down their throats. Many even find such expressions as an insult to their intelligence. But that does not mean that the occasion of a global sports event cannot be a way of transmitting a dignified message with political connotations. One such example happened yesterday when the captain of the Iranian team sent a message to his compatriots back home.
dennis2020 Mon, 11/21/2022 - 05:46
Editor's choice
Divisions over Ukraine haunt the G20 summit in Indonesia

Divisions over Ukraine haunt the G20 summit in Indonesia

Leaders of the G20 countries are meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali, with the war in Ukraine casting a shadow on the proceedings. Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is hosting the summit under the theme “Recover together, recover stronger” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences. Analysts expect the war in Ukraine to feature prominently in the summit’s final communique, despite calls by the Indonesian hosts for dialogue and collaboration to resolve global economic problems such as inflation, and food and energy security. News agencies reported on Tuesday that leaders of the world’s largest economies appeared ready to convey a strong message condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though the draft declaration would still need to be approved by all the group’s members. Established in 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, the G20 was originally intended to foster global economic cooperation. But it has since morphed into a forum addressing urgent world problems. This year’s focus was on health infrastructure and food security. The annual leaders’ summit also serves as an opportunity for informal diplomatic exchanges, as heads of state participate in bilateral talks on the sidelines of the big meeting.
Editor's choice
Monday Commentary
Commentary: American mid-term elections enable continued strong US leadership at a time of global turmoil

Commentary: American mid-term elections enable continued strong US leadership at a time of global turmoil

The US mid-term elections held last week were expected to be a disaster for US president Joe Biden and his Democratic administration. A Republican surge was expected to sweep the party to comfortable majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the end none of this happened. The outcome of the election means that the gridlock that some had been predicting between President and Congress on many issues, including foreign and security policy is now not likely to happen, or in any case not on a scale to be a concern. In this Monday Commentary for Dennis Sammut says that this is important not only for the United States, but also for the world. The current global situation is complicated and challenging, and US leadership is needed more than ever. Leadership is not hegemony. Nobody wants the US to dictate and impose its views on the world. Multipolarity, which some speak so enthusiastically about, should not be about how many nuclear missiles countries can point on each other, but rather on a competition of ideas and models. In this the world needs diversity. Yes, there are universal values, and these are already recognised in a number of documents adopted by nearly all countries, but on many issues there is room, and even need, for diversity.
Did Russia give Iran the technology for a hypersonic ballistic missile?
Iran has announced that it has developed a hypersonic ballistic missile Iran’s Fars news agency quoted the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying on Thursday (10 November) that the country has manufactured a hypersonic ballistic missile with advanced technologies that can penetrate all types of advanced air defence systems. Speaking to reporters Brig. Gen. Hajizadeh said “The missile can target the enemy’s anti-missile systems and is a great generational leap in the missile field”. “I don’t think any technology would be found for tens of years capable of countering it,” the IRGC commander declared. The announcement appears to have taken defence analysts by surprise, and concern has been expressed in different quarters Hypersonic missiles can deliver nuclear weapons in the same way as traditional ballistic missiles, but they can fly at more than five times the speed of sound and are highly maneuverable, making them impossible to track and defend against. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly on a low trajectory in the atmosphere, and are able to reach targets more quickly. Several countries have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, but the ability to track and take down a hypersonic missile remains elusive. Iran’s claim to have developed such a missile raises the question of where Tehran obtained the technology.
dennis2020 Fri, 11/11/2022 - 07:08
Editor's choice
Blinken hosts Armenian and Azerbaijan counterparts for talks about peace

Blinken hosts Armenian and Azerbaijan counterparts for talks about peace

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Monday hosted at Blair House in Washington DC, talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, foreign minister Ararat Mirzoyan and foreign minister Bayramov. The ministers exchanged views on the elements of a possible peace agreement, noting that there were a number of outstanding issues. Both sides reaffirmed the commitments made by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia at the meetings held on October 6 in Prague and October 31 in Sochi. Bayramov and Mirzoyan also agreed to speed up negotiations and hold another meeting in the coming weeks. Both ministers thanked the American side for hosting the peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia.