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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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Scholz manoevres a tricky visit to Beijing

Scholz manoevres a tricky visit to Beijing

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to Beijing on Friday for a one-day visit, which included a meeting with China's leader President Xi Jinping. The visit has been criticised in some quarters but has been welcomed by German business leaders, some of who accompanied Scholz on the trip. Scholz’s visit reflects the importance of Germany’s trade ties with China, the world’s second-largest economy, particularly in the auto and manufacturing sectors. Mercedes Benz alone sold 758,863 cars in China last year, more than in any other country, according to company figures. The visit is the first by a European leader to China following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in November. China has given diplomatic cover to Russia but has stopped short of actively supporting the Russian invasion. Scholz received a formal welcome from Xi, who was recently reappointed head of the ruling Communist Party, at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing. Xi noted that Scholz’s visit comes as the two countries mark more than 50 years of diplomatic relations dating back to when they relaunched economic exchanges, despite their Cold War rivalry, that remain a key part of the relationship to this day. “At present, the international situation is complex and changeable,” Xi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV. “As influential powers, China and Germany should work together in times of change and chaos to make more contributions to world peace and development.”
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All power to Xi

All power to Xi

It happened as was planned and expected. On Sunday (23 Ocotber) China's President Xi Jinping, was named to another term as head of the ruling Communist Party in a break with tradition that sees him becoming the paramount leader of China. In the process Xi also promoted allies who support his vision of tighter control over society and the struggling economy. Xi, who took power in 2012 was awarded a third five-year term as general secretary, discarding a custom under which his predecessor left after 10 years. The 69-year-old leader is expected by some to try to stay in power for life. The apex of power in China is the seven member standing committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party. Xi and the other six men who form Standing Committee, appeared for the first time as a group before reporters in the Great Hall of the People, in central Beijing. The lineup appeared to reflect what some commentators called “Maximum Xi,” valuing loyalty over ability. Some new leaders lack national-level experience as vice premier or Cabinet minister that typically is seen as a requirement for the post.
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Truss resigns as British prime minister after only 45 days in office

Truss resigns as British prime minister after only 45 days in office

Liz Truss has resigned as UK prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party in a statement outside Downing Street on Thursday afternoon (20 October) She said she could not deliver the mandate on which she was elected as Tory leader and had notified the King that she was resigning A Conservative leadership election will be completed within the next week, she said "I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen," she said Her departure after 45 days in office makes her the shortest-serving PM in UK history Truss's premiership has been in turmoil since her mini-budget last month, which rocked markets and was later scrapped by her new chancellor The resignation of her home secretary on Wednesday and a chaotic vote in the Commons sealed her fate. The appointment of Truss as a prime minister, after a long selection process within the Conservative Party was the last act of Queen Elizabeth II before her death.
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Monday Commentary: Comrade Xi's party

Monday Commentary: Comrade Xi's party

An event on the other side of the world that started on Sunday has huge global importance and will define international politics for decades to come. The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is perhaps not the most important ever in terms of its impact within China itself, but when it comes to China’s role in the world it certainly is. This is not only because China is today stronger than it has ever been in modern times, but also because the congress gives the seal of approval to a Chinese global posture that is assertive, ambitious and with as yet an undefined end-game. That end-game is being defined by Xi Jinping, who during this congress is expected to be confirmed in his post as  Party leader for an unprecedented third term. President Xi has been making speeches both at the main session of the Congress and at side events. This morning he told a meeting of Communist activists on the fringe of the main event, that Chinese people should stay united as "a piece of hard steel" under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and “pull together with one mind to power the giant ship of national rejuvenation through the wind and waves to reach its destination.” In a more formal speech to the Congress plenum a day before Xi had given an indication of what that destination is: “Incomparable glory’ awaits China on world stage”, Xi Jinping told the party congress. By 2049, when the People’s Republic will hold centennial celebrations, China should become a leading power in all aspects, the leader stated So no modesty or lack of ambition here. But what does this mean for the rest of the world?
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Russia isolated

Russia isolated

Russia found itself in the company of only four other countries at a vote at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (12 October) which condemned its annexation of Ukrainian territory The resolution calls on all States, the UN and international organisations not to recognize any of Russia’s annexation claim and demands the immediate reversal of its annexation declaration. 143 courties supported the resolution that condemned Russia's annexations. The four countries that supported Russia were Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Syria 35 countries abstained, namely: Algeria, Armenia, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe. Ten countries were absent and so their vote was not recorded. They were: Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Sao Tome and Principle, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.
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6th CICA summit opens in Astana

6th CICA summit opens in Astana

The sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) started on Wednesday (12 October) in Astana. The summit marks the 30th anniversary of CICA, and the end of Kazakhstan’s two-year chairmanship of the conference. The summit is also expected to agree the transformation of the process into a fully fledged international organisation. According to the spokesperson of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry Aibek Smadiyarov, the summit will welcome 11 heads of state, including the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will participate as an observer and the Vice Presidents of Vietnam and China will also attend the summit. 
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G7 countries issue tough statement on Ukraine in response to Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities

G7 countries issue tough statement on Ukraine in response to Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities

Leaders of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, together with the European Union) met virtually in extraordinary session on Monday to discuss developments in the Ukraine situation, and particularly the recent Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure. The meeting was convened by Germany which holds the current chairmanship of the Group. In a tough statement, the G7 leaders said that Russia has blatantly violated the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and called upon all countries to unequivocally reject these violations of international law and demand that Russia cease all hostilities and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from Ukraine. The statement also had a word of warning for Russia: "We deplore deliberate Russian escalatory steps, including the partial mobilisation of reservists and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, which is putting global peace and security at risk. We reaffirm that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences". Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the virtual summit and he was assured that the G7 countries are undeterred and steadfast in their commitment to provide the support Ukraine needs to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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Taiwanese President reiterates island's sovereignty on national day

Taiwanese President reiterates island's sovereignty on national day

As Taiwan celebrated “Double Ten”, the island’s national day on Monday (10 October), President Tsai Ing-wen reiterated Taiwan’s sovereignty in an address to the people of Taiwan. During a ceremonial speech, President Tsai said that the Taiwanese people “must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. On this point, we have no room for compromise”.  Tsai Ing-wen said it was “regrettable” that China has increased its military and political presence thereby threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and region. President Tsai continued to say that they would be willing to have talks with Beijing in order to keep the peace, but only if the negotiations were conducted with “rationality, equality and mutuality”. On top of that, she emphasised that Beijing must not think there is any space for compromise in Taiwan’s commitment to democracy and freedom.