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August 16, 2022 6:28 pm

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Pelosi hails Taiwan“s free society as China holds military drills, vents anger

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2022-08-03T03:43:47Z

China furiously condemned the highest-level U.S. visit to Taiwan in 25 years as House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the self-ruled island as “one of the freest societies in the world” in a speech to the parliament in Taipei on Wednesday.

Beijing demonstrated its anger with Pelosi’s presence on an island that it says is part of China with a burst of military activity in the surrounding waters, and by summoning the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, and announcing the suspension of several agricultural imports from Taiwan.

Pelosi arrived in Taipei late on Tuesday on an unannounced but closely watched trip, saying that it shows unwavering U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s democracy.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Pelosi praised President Tsai Ing-wen, who Beijing suspects of pushing for formal independence – a red line for China.

“We thank you for your leadership. We want the world to recognize that,” Pelosi said, while also calling for increased inter-parliamentary cooperation.

Pelosi went on to say that new U.S. legislation aimed at strengthening the American chip industry to compete with China “offers greater opportunity for US-Taiwan economic cooperation.”

Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, Pelosi told Tsai, adding that America’s determination to preserve democracy in Taiwan and the rest of the world remains iron-clad. read more

She was also set to meet with human rights activists later in the day.

The last House Speaker to go to Taiwan was Newt Gingrich visited in 1997. But Pelosi’s visit comes amid sharply deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations, and China has emerged as a far more powerful economic, military and geopolitical force during the past quarter century.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control. The United States warned China against using the visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

Early on Wednesday, China’s customs department announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while its commerce ministry suspended export of natural sand to Taiwan.

A long-time China critic, especially on human rights, Pelosi was set to meet later on Wednesday with a former Tiananman activist, a Hong Kong bookseller who had been detained by China and a Taiwanese activist recently released by China, people familiar with the matter said.

Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, China’s military announced joint air and sea drills near Taiwan and test launches of conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan, with Chinese state news agency Xinhua describing live-fire drills and other exercises around Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.

China’s foreign ministry said Pelosi’s visit seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Before Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday, Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military said it was on high alert and will launch “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday after Pelosi’s arrival that the United States “is not going to be intimidated” by China’s threats or bellicose rhetoric and that there is no reason her visit should precipitate a crisis or conflict.

“We will continue to support Taiwan, defend a free and open Indo-Pacific and seek to maintain communication with Beijing,” Kirby told a later White House briefing, adding that the United States “will not engage in sabre-rattling.”

Kirby said China might engage in “economic coercion” toward Taiwan, adding that the impact on American-Chinese relations will depend on Beijing’s actions in the coming days and weeks.

The United States has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by American law to provide it with the means to defend itself. China views visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future.

Taiwan’s cabinet on Wednesday said the military has increased its alertness level. The island’s defence ministry said 21 Chinese aircraft entered its air defence identification zone on Tuesday, and that China was attempting to threaten key ports and cities with drills in the surrounding waters.

“The so-called drill areas are falling within the busiest international channels in the Indo-Pacific region,” a senior Taiwan official familiar with its security planning told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We can see China’s ambition: to make the Taiwan Strait non-international waters, as well as making the entire area west of the first island chain in the western pacific its sphere of influence,” the person said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference that the government has conveyed concerns over the military operations to China, and reiterated that Japan hopes issues over the Taiwan Strait will be resolved through dialogue.

Related Galleries:

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi gestures next to Legislative Yuan Vice President Tsai Chi-chang as she leaves the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi poses for group picture before leaving the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

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Trump-backed candidates prevail, while Kansas votes to preserve abortion rights

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2022-08-03T03:35:58Z

Candidates backed by Donald Trump prevailed in multiple Republican primaries on Tuesday, while a statewide ballot initiative in Kansas that would have allowed new restrictions on abortion was soundly rejected.

The results showed that the former president, and his false claims that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud, still hold sway over Republican voters, while also suggesting that anger over the Supreme Court’s June decision to end the nationwide constitutional right to abortion could fire up Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections.

In Michigan, Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator who has echoed Trump’s election claims, won the Republican nomination for governor and will face Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in one of the fall’s most high-profile races that will also revolve around abortion rights in the state.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, another Trump-backed candidate, secured the Republican nomination for governor. He will face Democratic Governor Laura Kelly in November in what is expected to be a highly competitive race.

With 85% of the estimated vote counted, 61.1% of Kansas voters had cast ballots in support of the state constitution’s abortion protections, with 38.9% voting to remove them, a resounding victory for abortion rights advocates in a strongly conservative state. read more

Unlike the Republican gubernatorial primaries, Kansas’ abortion initiative reflected the choices of voters of both major political parties, as well as independents.

In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, boosting his party’s chances of holding the seat after scandal-hit former Governor Eric Greitens finished well behind.

Tuesday’s elections, including key contests in Arizona and Washington state, represent the latest test of Trump’s sway over the Republican electorate. Several Trump-backed candidates have embraced the former president’s falsehoods about voter fraud, raising concerns among some Republicans that they could be too extreme to defeat Democrats on Nov. 8. read more

Two Republican U.S. representatives who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by his supporters, Peter Meijer of Michigan and Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington, also faced Trump-endorsed primary challengers.

With an economy teetering on the brink of recession and inflation surging, just 38% of Americans approve of President Joe Biden’s job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Tuesday – still near Biden’s record low of 36%, hit in May. One in three voters said the biggest problem facing the United States today is the economy.

Biden’s unpopularity is weighing on Democrats heading into the November general election, when Republicans are favored to win control of the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate.

Control of either chamber would give Republicans the power to stymie Biden’s legislative agenda while launching politically damaging hearings.

As he flirts publicly with the possibility of running for president again in 2024, Trump has endorsed more than 200 candidates. Most are safe bets – incumbent Republicans in conservative districts – but even in competitive races he has had a winning record.

Trump-backed nominees have won Republican primaries for U.S. Senate in Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, though his picks lost nominating contests for Georgia governor and for the U.S. House in South Carolina.

“Trump remains really popular with Republican primary voters. I don’t think you can underestimate how he has remade the party in his image,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist. “Republicans who run against Trump tend to get trampled.”

On Tuesday, Arizona voters were picking between Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson, who has the backing of Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence.

Lake, a former news anchor, echoes Trump’s false claims that his 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud and has said she would not have certified Biden’s statewide victory in 2020. At a recent campaign stop, Lake claimed without evidence that fraud has already occurred during early voting, suggesting she may not accept a defeat on Tuesday.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who built a national profile by vociferously denying Trump’s allegations, easily won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Edison Research projected.

The race to replace her as the state’s top election official also includes a Trump-endorsed candidate, state Representative Mark Finchem, who was present at Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, speech in Washington that preceded the U.S. Capitol attack. He wrote on Twitter on Thursday, “Trump won,” prompting a Democratic candidate, Adrian Fontes, to call him a “traitor.”

Arizona Republicans were also picking a challenger to take on Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, seen as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Blake Masters, a former tech executive who has backed Trump’s false fraud claims, has Trump’s endorsement and the backing of tech billionaire Peter Thiel. He is leading in polls against Jim Lamon, a former power company executive, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, whom Trump blames for not reversing Biden’s 2020 statewide victory.

Related Galleries:

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

Abortion-rights supporters react as early polls showed that voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have declared there is no right to abortion, at a Kansans for Constitutional Freedom election watch party in Topeka, Kansas, U.S. August 2, 2022. Evert Nelson/USA Today Network via REUTERS.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks to Reuters after a news conference to announce an antitrust probe into big tech companies that focuses on Alphabet’s Google, outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Pietsch

An election worker prepares absentee ballots for counting at Huntington Place during the primary election in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 2, 2022. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Ricky Bell casts his ballot at a polling station during the primary election in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 2, 2022. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

A billboard urges Kansans to vote “no” on a proposed amendment to Kansas constitution that would assert there is no right to abortion, in Lenexa, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S., July 11, 2022. REUTERS/Gabriella Borter

People walk into the polling station at the Armory Park Center during the Arizona primary election in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., Aug. 2, 2022. REUTERS/Rebecca Noble

A person carries their early ballot into the polling station at the Morris K. Udall Regional Center during the Arizona primary election in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., Aug. 2, 2022. REUTERS/Rebecca Noble

A couple holds hands as they walk into the polling station at the Morris K. Udall Regional Center during the Arizona primary election in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., Aug. 2, 2022. REUTERS/Rebecca Noble

Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the America First Policy Institute America First Agenda Summit in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

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Drugs with antiviral activity against monkeypox virus – News-Medical.Net

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Drugs with antiviral activity against monkeypox virus  News-Medical.Net

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Tuesday, August 2. Russia’s War On Ukraine: News And Information From Ukraine – Forbes

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Tuesday, August 2. Russia’s War On Ukraine: News And Information From Ukraine  Forbes


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July 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news – CNN

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July 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news  CNN


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Toure scores, Rapids win 5-4 over Red Bulls

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Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94

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US, Indonesia hold joint military drills amid China concerns

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Uvalde shooting victim Mayah Zamaro leaves hospital to nurses’ cheers – Austin American-Statesman

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Uvalde shooting victim Mayah Zamaro leaves hospital to nurses’ cheers  Austin American-Statesman

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Documentary on Uvalde school tragedy to be released – FOX 29

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Documentary on Uvalde school tragedy to be released  FOX 29

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