Sunday, July 31, 2022

Russia’s New Maritime Doctrine Identifies Mounting NATO Activity as Major Security Threat

Russia’s new Maritime Doctrine stipulates stepping up activities in the Arctic, the document suggests

© Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. The US course towards dominance in the World Ocean and NATO’s mounting activity are major security threats to Russia, as follows from the new Maritime Doctrine approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

The new document was posted on the Russian government’s legal information web portal.

"The major challenges and threats to the national security and the sustainable development of the Russian Federation related to the World Ocean are: the US strategic course towards dominance in the World Ocean and its global influence on international processes, including those related to the use of transportation lanes and energy resources of the World Ocean," the document says.

The new doctrine also identifies the expansion of the NATO military infrastructure to the Russian borders and the growing number of the military bloc’s drills in the seas adjacent to Russian territory as major security threats.

The new doctrine points to the attempts by the United States and its allies to limit Russia’s access to the World Ocean’s resources and vitally important sea transportation lanes and the US desire to achieve the overwhelming supremacy of its Navy.

Russia’s new Maritime Doctrine stipulates stepping up activities in the Arctic, the document suggests.

"The new doctrine envisages "diversifying and stepping up maritime activity on the Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya archipelagoes and Wrangel Island," the document says.

Russia will be ramping up the Navy’s operational capabilities to ensure national security and protect its interests in the World Ocean, as follows from the new Maritime Doctrine.

"The strategic goals of the national maritime policy are as follows: raising the Navy’s operational (combat) capabilities for ensuring national security of the Russian Federation and protecting its national interests in the World Ocean," the document says.

Another strategic objective is to raise the efficiency of defending and protecting the state maritime borders of the Russian Federation, the document says.

Russia’s new Maritime Doctrine stipulates developing the shipbuilding industry in the Far East, in particular, for building aircraft carriers, as follows from the document.

"Developing a modern, hi-tech shipbuilding industry in the Far East designed for building large-tonnage vessels (in particular, for the Arctic’s development) and advanced aircraft carriers for the Navy," the document reads.

NATO’s expansion to Russian borders is unacceptable in Moscow’s relations with the military bloc, as follows from the new Maritime Doctrine.

"NATO’s plans of moving its military infrastructure close to the Russian borders and the alliance’s attempts to assume global functions continue to be unacceptable for the Russian Federation and remain a determining factor in its relations with NATO," the document reads.

As the doctrine specifies, Russia’s national maritime policy in the Atlantic region is shaped taking into account the existence of NATO whose activity "is aimed at direct confrontation with the Russian Federation and its allies.".

South Africa’s ANC Says Economy, Corruption Are Priorities


President of ruling African National Congress (ANC) and South Africa President Ramaphosa delivers his closing speech for the 6th National Policy Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa says the fight against corruption and work to improve the country’s faltering economy have been endorsed by the ruling African National Congress party in order to improve its declining electoral support.

Ramaphosa on Sunday addressed the close of the party’s national policy conference where it discussed what is must do to address the country’s challenges, including the high poverty levels, 35% unemployment rate and rising inflation.

“The conference has agreed that we need to allocate extraordinary and militant measures to accelerate increasing growth, create employment and alleviate poverty,” said Ramaphosa.

“We have also noted with great concern the impact of the rising cost of living on South African families,” said Ramaphosa of the country’s inflation rate of 7.4%.

The policy meeting, seen as a preview to its conference in December where it will elect new leaders, was attended by more than 2,000 delegates.

According to Ramaphosa, the delegates also expressed concern about the country’s electricity crisis, which has resulted in nationwide rolling power cuts which have hit businesses and households as the state power utility Eskom fails to keep the lights on.

The delegates supported the government’s efforts to address the power cuts.

“We have recognized that our economic progress requires a secure supply of affordable and sustainable energy,” said Ramaphosa.

“The conference has endorsed the actions recently announced by the government to improve the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations and to add new generation capacity to the grid as quickly as possible,” said Ramaphosa.

The party’s contentious step-aside policy, which requires party leaders accused of corruption to step down from their positions, was endorsed by the conference despite some opposition from rival factions within the party.

Delegates from the KwaZulu-Natal province who remain loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, have argued that the step-aside rule is not implemented consistently and is used by Ramaphosa to silence political rivals.

The policies agreed on at the conference are expected to be adopted at the national conference in December, where Ramaphosa will be seeking re-election as the party’s leader.

Senegal’s Legislative Election Tests Ruling Party Influence


A woman casts her vote for legislative elections, at a polling station in Dakar, Senegal, Sunday, July 31, 2022. The West African nation is holding legislative elections, a vital test for opposition parties trying to minimize ruling party influence before 2024 presidential elections amid worries President Macky Sall may seek a third term. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Voters in Senegal turned out Sunday for a legislative election, a vital test for opposition parties who are trying to minimize the ruling party’s influence before the 2024 presidential election amid worries that President Macky Sall may seek a third term.

About 7 million voters are eligible to elect 165 deputies in the National Assembly amid a politically tense atmosphere in the West African nation. Violent protests broke out last year after Sall’s main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, was arrested on rape charges, and more than a dozen people were killed. Sonko, who came in third in the 2019 election, denies the allegations and his supporters have been vocal about their opposition to the president.

This year, he and another of Sall’s major opponents were disqualified as candidates, which sparked more widespread anger and protests in which three people died in June.

Senegal, with a population of 17 million, is known for its stability in a region that has seen coups in three countries since 2020 and where leaders have changed laws to remain in power for third terms.

Sunday’s election will give a clearer indication of what could happen in 2024. Final results are expected by Tuesday.

“For (the ruling party), it is a question of doing everything to maintain an absolute majority in the National Assembly in order to be able to govern quietly until 2024 … and guarding the possibility of passing certain laws to prepare for all eventualities at the end of Sall’s second term,” said Mame Ngor Ngom, a political analyst.

Even though Sonko’s candidacy was rejected by the Constitutional Council, he has organized opposition supporters across Senegal. A victory for the opposition “would be synonymous with the rejection of a possible third candidacy for Sall and a probable victory in the next presidential election,” Ngom said.

Sall’s Benno Bokk Yakaar ruling party currently holds 75% of the legislature’s seats.

Serigne Thiam, a political science expert at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, says the opposition is pushing the subject of a possible third term over other issues.

“If the opposition wins, the president will no longer be able to think of a third term. On the other hand, if the ruling power wins the ballot, its supporters can push the president towards a third term,” he warns.

Sall hasn’t talked about a third term but has promised to address the nation Monday, the day after the election.

“Only the people have the last word,” Sall said after casting his ballot in Fatick, his hometown 189 kilometers (117 miles) from Dakar. “After having exercised their right to vote, everyone must go about their business quietly. Life goes on and the Senegalese nation is still united, strong.”

Dissatisfaction with Sall has risen as possible adversaries — including the popular former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, and ex-president Abdoulaye Wade’s son Karim Wade — have been targeted by the judiciary and disqualified from running for office. Many accuse Sall of using his power to eliminate opponents.

Anger has also grown amid economic worries as prices for fuel and food have skyrocketed due to the war in Ukraine.

Senegal’s former prime minister and head of the ruling party, Aminata Touré, appealed to the country’s youth to vote.

“The youth must participate massively in the vote in thanks to the President Macky Sall for the extraordinary work he has done for Senegal,” he declared in Kédougou, in the southeast.


Petesch reported from Chicago.

UN Relaxes Arms Embargo on Central African Republic


FILE - The streets of Bangassou, Central African Republic, remain empty on Feb. 13, 2021, as most residents fled when rebels attacked with heavy weapons on Jan. 3. The U.N. Security Council voted Friday, July 29, 2022, to relax the arms embargo against the Central African Republic, a disappointment to its government, which sought a complete lifting of the ban on the sale or transfer of weapons and ammunition. (AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council voted Friday to relax the arms embargo against the Central African Republic, a disappointment to its government, which sought a complete lifting of the ban on the sale or transfer of weapons and ammunition.

The vote was 10-0 with Russia, China and the council’s three African members that supported a lifting of the embargo abstaining.

Sylvie Baïpo-Temon, the Central African Republic’s foreign minister, told the council after the vote that the government welcomed the first step toward an arms embargo on armed groups.

She also welcomed the end to limits on some categories of weapons for government forces, but she stressed that “this embargo is no longer justified.”

“The embargo from 2013 is undeniably ineffective because it no longer provides specific solutions to the grave problems posed by the proliferation of arms by extremists and rebels who have many, many sophisticated weapons themselves,” Baïpo-Temon said.

The mineral-rich but impoverished Central African Republic has faced deadly intercommunal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power and forced President Francois Bozize from office. Mostly Christian militias later fought back, also targeting civilians in the streets. Untold thousands were killed, and most of the capital’s Muslims fled in fear.

A peace deal between the government and 14 rebel groups was signed in February 2019, but violence erupted after the constitutional court rejected Bozize’s candidacy to run for president in December 2020. President Faustin Archange Touadera won a second term with 53% of the vote, but he continues to face opposition from a rebel coalition linked to Bozize.

The government controls the capital, but much of the country is controlled by armed groups.

France drafted the resolution and engaged in lengthy negotiations with Russia over maintaining the arms embargo to avert a possible Russian veto.

France’s deputy political coordinator Wadid Benaabou said the objective of the arms embargo has always been to reduce the threat of armed groups.

He said the Security Council “has always been attentive” to the needs of the CAR government and Friday’s resolution makes it even easier for its forces to obtain all types of weapons and ammunition.

“They have thus received more than 20,000 weapons and 29 million rounds of ammunition in recent years,” Benaabou said after the vote.

Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Martin Kimani said the resolution “has taken a positive step towards the full lifting of the arms embargo.” But he said Kenya voted to abstain because the resolution doesn’t fully lift sanctions against the CAR government, a view backed by Ghana and Gabon.

U.S. deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis welcomed the extension of the arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze saying these measures aim to promote peace and stability in CAR and across the region.

“On the arms embargo, the region is awash with guns and it’s time to stem the unfettered flow,” DeLaurentis told the council after the vote. “If effectively implemented, this arms embargo will help silence the guns.”

He called on CAR authorities to continue improving physical protection and accountability for its weapons.

“The truth is, military actions alone will not resolve CAR’s crises,” DeLaurentis said. “Good governance, credible security sector reform, transparent disarmament and reintegration, national dialogue, and justice and accountability are the most important steps toward peace.”

Video of Fatal Attack on African Immigrant Shocks Italy


MILAN (AP) — Police in Italy arrested an Italian man in the slaying of a Nigerian vendor whose brutal beating death on a busy beach town thoroughfare was filmed by onlookers without any apparent attempt to intervene physically.

Video footage of the attack has circulated widely on Italian news websites and social media, eliciting outrage as Italy enters a parliamentary election campaign in which the right-wing coalition has already made immigration an issue.

“The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu is dismaying,” Enrico Letta, a former premier and the head of the left-wing Democratic Party, wrote Saturday on Twitter, naming the vendor who died Friday. “Unheard of ferocity. Widespread indifference. There can be no justification.”

Right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, who is making security a plank of his campaign, also expressed outrage over the death, saying “security has no color and ... needs to return to being a right.”

Ogorchukwu, 39, was selling goods Friday on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, when his attacker grabbed the vendor’s crutch and struck him down, according to police. Video shows the assailant wrestling the victim onto his back on the pavement as he fought back, eventually subduing Ogorchukwu with the weight of his body.

“The aggressor went after the victim, first hitting him with a crutch. He made him fall to the ground, then he finished, causing the death, striking repeatedly with his bare hands,″ police investigator Matteo Luconi told a press conference.

He later told Italian news channel Sky TG24 that onlookers called police, who responded after the suspect had fled and attempted to administer aid to the victim. An autopsy will determine if the death was provoked by blows, suffocation or another cause.

Police used street cameras to track the assailant’s movements and detained a man identified as Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32. He was being held on suspicion of murder and theft for allegedly taking the victim’s phone.

Luconi said the assailant lashed out after the vendor made “insistent” requests for pocket change. Police were questioning witnesses and viewing videos of the attack. They said the suspect has made no statement.

Ogorchukwu, who was married with two children, resorted to selling goods on the street after he was struck by a car and lost his job as a laborer due to his injuries, said Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants in the Marche region’s Macerata province.

Amanza gave a different version of what happened, saying the attacker became infuriated when Ogorchukwu told the man’s companion she was beautiful.

“This compliment killed him,” Amanza told The Associated Press.

“The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying ‘Stop,’ but no one moved to separate them,” Amanza said.

Macerata was the site of a 2018 shooting spree targeting African immigrants that wounded six people. Luca Traini, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the shootings, which Italy’s highest court confirmed qualified as a hate crime.

Civitanova Marche’s mayor, Fabrizio Ciarapica, met with members of the Nigerian community after hundreds demonstrated on Saturday.

“My condemnation is not only for the (crime) but it is also for the indifference,″ Ciarapica told Sky. ”This is something that has shocked citizens.”

Former Premier Matteo Renzi, who heads his own small party, called out political leaders for “instrumentalizing” the attack.

“I am horrified by this electoral climate,″ he said on social media. ”A fther was killed in an atrocious and racist way while passersby took video without stopping the aggressor. And instead of reflecting on what we are becoming, politicians argue and instrumentalize.”

In Race for Monkeypox Vaccines, Experts See Repeat of COVID


FILE - A sign urges the release of the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco, July 18, 2022. The mayor of San Francisco announced a legal state of emergency Thursday, July 28, 2022, over the growing number of monkeypox cases. Public health officials warn that moves by rich countries to buy large quantities of monkeypox vaccine, while declining to share doses with Africa, could leave millions of people unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease and risk continued spillovers of the virus into humans. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

LONDON (AP) — Moves by rich countries to buy large quantities of monkeypox vaccine, while declining to share doses with Africa, could leave millions of people unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease and risk continued spillovers of the virus into humans, public health officials are warning.

Critics fear a repeat of the catastrophic inequity problems seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The mistakes we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic are already being repeated,” said Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University.

While rich countries have ordered millions of vaccines to stop monkeypox within their borders, none have announced plans to share doses with Africa, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West.

To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.

“The African countries dealing with monkeypox outbreaks for decades have been relegated to a footnote in conversations about the global response,” Titanji said.

Scientists say that, unlike campaigns to stop COVID-19, mass vaccinations against monkeypox won’t be necessary. They think targeted use of the available doses, along with other measures, could shut down the expanding epidemics that were recently designated by the World Health Organization as a global health emergency.

Yet while monkeypox is much harder to spread than COVID-19, experts warn if the disease spills over into general populations — currently in Europe and North America it is circulating almost exclusively among gay and bisexual men — the need for vaccines could intensify, especially if the virus becomes entrenched in new regions.

On Thursday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the continent to be prioritized for vaccines, saying it was again being left behind.

“If we’re not safe, the rest of the world is not safe,” said Africa CDC’s acting director, Ahmed Ogwell.

Although monkeypox has been endemic in parts of Africa for decades, it mostly jumps into people from infected wild animals and has not typically spread very far beyond the continent.

Experts suspect the monkeypox outbreaks in North America and Europe may have originated in Africa long before the disease started spreading via sex at two raves in Spain and Belgium. Currently, more than 70% of the world’s monkeypox cases are in Europe, and 98% are in men who have sex with men.

Catherine Smallwood, a senior emergencies officer at WHO Europe, said the deaths in Spain did not change the agency’s assessment of the outbreak.

“Although the disease is self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” she said in an email, adding that about 8% of infections reported had required hospitalization and that monkeypox could sometimes lead to life-threatening complications like encephalitis.

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Smallwood said.

WHO is developing a vaccine-sharing mechanism for affected countries, but has released few details about how it might work. The U.N. health agency has made no guarantees about prioritizing poor countries in Africa, saying only that vaccines would be dispensed based on epidemiological need.

Some experts worry the mechanism could duplicate the problems seen with COVAX, created by WHO and partners in 2020 to try to ensure poorer countries would get COVID-19 shots. That missed repeated targets to share vaccines with poorer nations.

“Just asking countries to share is not going to be enough,” said Sharmila Shetty, a vaccines adviser for Medecins Sans Frontieres. “The longer monkeypox circulates, the greater chances it could get into new animal reservoirs or spread to” the human general population, she said.

At the moment, there’s only one producer of the most advanced monkeypox vaccine: the Danish company Bavarian Nordic. Its production capacity this year is about 30 million doses, with about 16 million vaccines available now.

In May, Bavarian Nordic asked the U.S. to release more than 215,000 doses it was due to receive “to assist with international requests the company was receiving,” and the U.S. complied, according to Bill Hall, a spokesman for the department of Health and Human Services. The U.S. will still receive the doses but at a later date.

The company declined to specify which countries it was allocating doses for.

Hall said the U.S. has not made any other promises to share vaccines. The U.S. has ordered by far the most number of doses, with 13 million reserved, although only about 1.4 million have been delivered.

Some African officials said it would be wise to stockpile some doses on the continent, especially given the difficulties Western countries were having stopping monkeypox.

“I really didn’t think this would spread very far, because monkeypox does not spread like COVID,” said Salim Abdool Karim, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. “Africa should procure some vaccines in case we need them, but we should prioritize diagnostics and surveillance so we know who to target.”

Dr. Ingrid Katz, a global health expert at Harvard University, said the monkeypox epidemics were “potentially manageable” if the limited vaccines were distributed appropriately. She believed it was still possible to prevent monkeypox from turning into a pandemic but “we need to be thoughtful in our prevention strategies and rapid in our response.”

In Spain, which has Europe’s biggest monkeypox outbreak, the demand for vaccines far exceeds supply.

“There is a real gap between the number of vaccines that we currently have available and the people who could benefit,” said Pep Coll, a medical director at a Barcelona health center that was dispensing shots this week.

Daniel Rofin, 41, was more than happy to be offered a dose. He said he decided to get vaccinated for the same reasons he was immunized against COVID-19.

“I feel reassured it is a way to stop the spread,” he said. “We (gay men) are a group at risk.”


Joseph Wilson and Renata Brito in Barcelona, Spain, Chris Megerian in Washington and Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.

South Africa Crushes England by 90 Runs to Win T20 Series

England's batsman Reece Topley, left, with teammate Jonny Bairstow, second, watch as South Africa's players celebrates at the end of the 3rd T20 Cricket match between England and South Africa in Southampton, England, Sunday, July 31, 2022. South Africa beat England by 90 runs to win the series 2-1. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — The new England captain Jos Buttler saw his team lose by a crushing 90 runs to South Africa on Sunday in their Twenty20 international decider to bring a difficult white-ball summer to an end with another low for the hosts.

Set 192 to win in the third T20 at Southampton, England was dismissed for 101 and suffered its joint-biggest defeat in this format. England also went a first home summer since 2013 without winning a limited-overs series.

South Africa won the series 2-1.

It continues the tough start to life as England’s white-ball captain for Buttler, who replaced Eoin Morgan in June and saw trusted ally Ben Stokes retire in shock circumstances from 50-over cricket a month later.

India had already won two limited-overs series against the hosts by that point and this loss to South Africa, which enjoyed half-centuries by Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram in a total of 191-5, leaves the home side low on confidence before this winter’s T20 World Cup.

Buttler and new head coach Matthew Mott do at least have seven T20s penciled in for September away to Pakistan and the duo will hope confidence can be repaired there before attention fully turns to Australia where England may suddenly not be among the favorites to lift silverware.

Defeat in Cardiff on Thursday had set up a winner-take-all clash at the Ageas Bowl where the new captain again won the toss and fielded first, which looked a wise decision when the recalled David Willey sent Quinton De Kock back for a three-ball duck.

Rilee Rossouw responded with an entertaining knock of 31, which included four boundaries off a single Chris Jordan over, but was accounted for by Moeen Ali after the first of two small rain delays in Hampshire.

South Africa went six overs without a boundary during the middle part of its innings, but Hendricks remained busy with a succession of singles and twos and found able support in Markram, who was back in the T20 side for the first time since last year’s World Cup.

Hendricks did eventually move through the gears before his third fifty of the series ended on 70 while visiting captain David Miller blitzed 22 off nine balls only to see his fun come to an end via the excellent Willey, who claimed two scalps at the death.

New York City Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

Healthcare workers with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene help people register for the monkeypox vaccine at one of the City's vaccination sites, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in New York. U.S. health officials said Thursday that the country’s monkeypox outbreak can still be controlled and eliminated, despite rising case numbers and concerns about limited vaccine supplies in many parts of the country. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Officials in New York City declared a public health emergency due to the spread of the monkeypox virus Saturday, calling the city “the epicenter” of the outbreak.

The announcement Saturday by Mayor Eric Adams and health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said as many as 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. The declaration will allow officials to issue emergency orders under the city health code and amend code provisions to implement measures to help slow the spread.

In the last two days, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency declaration and the state health department called monkeypox an “imminent threat to public health.”

New York had recorded 1,345 cases as of Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California had the second-most, with 799.

“We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as soon as they become available,” Adams and Vasan said in the statement. “This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment.”

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23 and San Francisco’s mayor on Thursday announced a state of emergency over the growing number of cases.

The once-rare disease has been established in parts of central and west Africa for decades but was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.

The virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, though health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.

Spain Reports 2nd Death from Monkeypox


FILE - Daniel Rofin, 41, receives a vaccine against Monkeypox from a health professional in medical center in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Public health officials warn that moves by rich countries to buy large quantities of monkeypox vaccine, while declining to share doses with Africa, could leave millions of people unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease and risk continued spillovers of the virus into humans. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain reported Saturday a second death in as many days from monkeypox. These are believed to be the first confirmed fatalities from the disease in Europe since its recent spread beyond Africa.

The ministry based in Madrid said both fatalities were young men. It reported its first death on Friday, the same day that Brazil also reported its first death from monkeypox.

The global monkeypox outbreak has seen more than 22,000 cases in nearly 80 countries since May. There have been 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West.

In the U.S. and Europe, the vast majority of monkeypox infections have happened in men who have sex with men, though health officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus.

The deaths outside Africa come one week after the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although the disease is self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” said Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe.

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths. Our goal needs to be on interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak,” she said.

On Friday, Spain’s health ministry reported 4,298 people were infected with the virus, making it the leading European country for monkeypox cases. Of that total, some 3,500 cases were of men who had had sex with other men. Only 64 were women.

The ministry said 120 have needed hospital attention.

Smallwood said around 8% of the monkeypox cases in Europe have required hospitalization.

Monkeypox has been endemic to parts of Africa for decades. Its leap to Europe and North America was linked by experts to two raves in Belgium and Spain.

Spanish health authorities are administering 5,300 vaccines that Spain received from the joint EU vaccine purchase scheme. Health workers say that’s far fewer than the number needed to cover the at-risk groups.

But the rush to buy limited vaccines by richer Western countries is putting Africa in danger of being left out.

Monkeypox spreads mainly through skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be transmitted through bed sheets used by someone with monkeypox. Symptoms include fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and hives. The illness has been relatively mild in many men. But people can be contagious for weeks, and the lesions can be extremely painful.


AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng contributed to this report from London.

Egypt Frees 7, Including Journalist, Researcher After Pardon

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt released seven people on Saturday, including a journalist and a researcher serving prison sentences on terror-related charges, the latest steps by the government to reach out to the opposition amid a grinding economic crisis.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s administration is grappling with the crisis and spiraling economy, spawned by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, imports most of its wheat from the two Slavic countries.

Saturday’s freeing of journalist Hisham Fouad and anthropology researcher Ahmed Samir came a day after el-Sissi pardoned them, along with five others, according to state-run media.

The two were released from the Tora prison complex in Cairo and images shared online showed them hugging families and friends outside the prison.

Fouad was arrested along with several other secular activists in June 2019, shortly after the group met with political parties and opposition lawmakers trying to hash out how to run in the 2020 parliamentary elections. Among the detained were Hossam Monis and Zyad el-Elaimy, prominent activists in the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

They were convicted last year of conspiring to commit crimes with an outlawed group, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has banned as a terrorist organization. Fouda and Monis were sentenced to four years in prison each while el-Elaimy received a five-year sentence. Monis was released in a presidential pardon in April.

El-Elaimy’s mother, Ekram Yousef, joined Fouad’s family while they awaited his release outside the prison. Yousef, who carried a bouquet of flowers for Fouad, later posted on Facebook that he told her he felt guilty that he was free while her son was still in prison.

Samir, who is doing his master’s in anthropology at the Vienna-based Central European University, was detained in February 2021 on charges of disseminating false news. His four-year sentence was lowered to three years in a retrial earlier this year.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg welcomed the release of Samir, who had been on a visit home when he was arrested. The minister told the Austria Press Agency that Austrian officials had repeatedly expressed concern to Egyptian authorities about his conditions of detention and “in our view, disproportionate sentence.”

“We worked behind the scenes with great patience and constant commitment toward this important result,” Schallenberg was quoted as saying.

Also released on Saturday were leftist activist Abdel-Raouf Khatab and actor Tarek el-Nahri, who were sentenced to seven years and 15 years respectively on charges of attacking and burning state buildings during protests and clashes with security forces in 2011.

Lawmaker Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and rights lawyer Tarek el-Awady, both members of the Presidential Pardon Committee, also confirmed the latest pardons.

Among the outreach steps taken by el-Sissi was the recent release of other prominent activists and a government-initiated national dialogue with opposition parties and government critics, which started earlier this month.

Thousands of political prisoners, however, remain detained in Egypt, according to rights groups, as the government wages a wide-scale crackdown on dissent.

Egypt is eager to improve its image abroad as it prepares to host the next U.N. climate change summit in November.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

African and SCO Countries Understand That Anyone Can Fall Under US Sanctions — Lavrov

"Already, I think, this idea is quite firmly fixed in everyone's mind," the top diplomat said

© Russian Foreign Ministry Press Office/TASS

TASHKENT, July 29. /TASS/. African countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) states understand that any member of the international community can fall under Washington's sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday after the SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting.

"Of course, the African countries and other SCO states are well aware that any member of the global community, if they act in any way that the Americans do not like or dislike, can fall under their sanctions. Already, I think, this idea is quite firmly fixed in everyone's mind," the top diplomat said.

Lavrov noted that during the meeting the parties agreed to make a proposal to the SCO leaders to take concrete actions on the transition to mutual settlements in national currencies. "I think everyone will be thinking about it now. Africa already has this experience. There are common currencies in some sub-regional structures, but they are all pegged to Western currencies by and large. But from next year, they will have a fully functioning continental free trade zone. Probably a logical step would be to somehow reinforce this free trade zone with currency arrangements. I think this process will definitely go ahead," he added.

The U.S. Sends Top Diplomats to Africa Just After Russia's Visit

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, June 24, 2022.

Africa News

The U.S. announced on Friday its Secretary of State Anthony Blinken would travel to South Africa, the DRC and Rwanda between the 7th and 11th of August. This trip was notified just two days after Blinken's Russian counterpart Serguei Lavrov completed his African tour in four countries, Egypt, Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia.

It stands as an additional sign of the battle of influence raging between the Western and Russian sides amid the war in Ukraine and a food crisis.

In the very same week, the US also said another top diplomat, President Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, would visit Ghana and Uganda on August 4.

During his trip, Lavrov rejected accusations that Russia was exporting hunger and instead, blamed the West for monopolizing commodity and supply flows during the pandemic, saying it worsened the situation for food imports. The Russian Foreign minister also added the sanctions imposed to his country were exacerbating the situation. With these visits, Washington hopes to change the narrative.

A tough bet as many African nations have refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. With 25 of Africa’s 54 states abstained from a vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the U.N. General Assembly in March.

“My Dream is to Travel All Over China” Interview with Balumuene Nkuna F., Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to China

By Mao Li, Wu Zhengdan, Haiwainet

Jul 27, 2022 10:21 AM

Balumuene Nkuna F., Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to China (Photo by Lu Ningyuan, Haiwainet)

"I want to go to Shanghai for a week to visit the business and financial sector there. I also want to go to Guangzhou, where many DRC people do business. I also want to go to the major agricultural provinces to learn about China's advanced agricultural technology. China is a big producer of cars, so I also want to visit the major car-making provinces... My dream is to travel all over China. " Balumuene Nkuna F., the DRC Ambassador to China recently gave a long list of wishes in an interview with People's Daily Overseas. He said that it is an important task for him as an ambassador to deeply understand China's development and bring China's experience back to the DRC.

"The Dynamic Zero-COVID Approach" is Responsible to the People 

Balomouene arrived in China in February this year to take office. He visited China for the first time in 2008. Talking about China's changes, Balomouene repeatedly expressed his admiration. He was impressed by what he saw on his journey from Shanghai to Beijing by high-speed train. "There was almost no wasteland along the way. What you saw were bustling cities, large factories, high-rise buildings, highways, railways and power facilities everywhere. These are signs of development."

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, which Balumuene praised, is China's historical leap from a large country to a strong one in the field of transportation. From 2012 to the end of 2021, China's railways and highways have increased around 1.1 million kilometers, equivalent to 27.5 times the Earth's equator. High-speed railways and highways have covered more than 95% of the cities with a population of over 200,000. "The speed of infrastructure development in China is astonishing. The efforts of the Chinese people are admirable and they deserve to be a role model for other countries and regions," Balumuene said.

Balumuene is very optimistic about China's economic prospects. He said that strong productivity is an important manifestation of China's strong economic resilience. China boasts its products of various categories and grades and sells them all over the world. China's economy plays a critical role in the world economy. At present, China is an important engine for the world economic recovery.

Balumuene believes that it is the right choice for China to insist on coordinating epidemic prevention and control with economic development. "According to China's epidemic prevention regulations, I take nucleic acid tests on time." Balumuene said that "the dynamic zero-COVID approach" is responsible to the people and the effect is obvious to all. It can eliminate the negative impact of the epidemic on economic and social development to the maximum extent within a short period of time, rather than leaving the development affected by the epidemic. Recently, China's manufacturing enterprises have accelerated the pace of resuming work and production, which is a positive signal for revitalizing the world economy.

Looking Forward to Deepening Cooperation with China

China's steady development has benefited a wide variety of African countries, including the DRC. Balumuene feels deeply about this: "The DRC has great expectations for promoting its own development by deepening cooperation with China." 

In the streets of Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, one can see landmark buildings of China-DRC cooperation from time to time. Among them, the China-DRC Friendship Hospital, built with aid from China, is one of the most representative medical facilities in the city. "The hospital is located in a large, densely populated neighborhood and provides lots of health services to the DRC people," he said. "Over the years, China has made concrete and great contribution to the development of the cause of medical work and healthcare in the DRC. From the fight against Ebola to the fight against COVID-19, China has provided support and aid to the DRC, winning the praise of all its people."

The DRC, renowned as a "geological miracle", is rich in mineral resources. Led by China's massive investment, abundant resources have been transformed into advantages for development. According to a report released by Congo Challenge, a DRC think tank, China-DRC mining cooperation has played a key role in developing the its economy, creating jobs and improving people's livelihood. Balumuene said that China is the biggest investor in the DRC's mining sector and that cooperation between the two countries in the sector is essential to unleashing the DRC's development potential. Talking about some Western media attacks on mining cooperation between the two countries, Balumuene said: "Certain western countries once occupied the African continent for long periods of time, but see what the African people have been left with. And now they smear Africa-China cooperation - out of jealousy and on no basis of facts. There is no need to waste time on this. Instead we should work together and move forward hand in hand. "

Balumuene believes that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides a great opportunity for the DRC and China to expand areas of cooperation. He said that the DRC is the second largest country in Africa, and its forest resources, area of arable land and water resources rank first-tier in the world. The Congo River is the world's second biggest river, second only to the Amazon River in terms of discharge. "The DRC has the potential to become the 'locomotive' of economic development on the African continent and this goal will be achieved to a large extent through cooperation with China," he said. Balumuene said that the DRC attaches great importance to the implementation of projects under BRI and hopes that they will bring benefits to the DRC people. China's actions have shown that it is helping Africa achieve industrialization and economic and social development. Africa needs to find its way to prosperity through cooperation with China.

"China's Infrastructure is World-Class"

Balumuene sees experiences of development as well as opportunities from China. "China's path has inspired many developing countries and the case of China's development is attractive to us," he said. "My mission in China is to see and learn more from China's experiences of development in order to benefit our DRC people," Balumuene said. 

The upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (20th NCCPC) this year is an important window for the international community to further understand China. "As Congolese and Africans, we also look forward to the 20th NCCPC." Balumuene believes that the 20th NCCPC will provide a strong impetus for China to build a modern socialist country in all respects and further enhance China's international influence.

Balumuene is strongly interested in the way China has modernized its agriculture and rural areas. In the past few decades, China has transformed from "struggling for food" to the world's No.1 grain producer. "I am reading relevant materials to study the development of China's agricultural industry, another experience we need to borrow from China." He said that agriculture is an area they should prioritize in cooperation between the two countries. The DRC also hopes to become a big grain producer like China and achieve the goal of exporting grain for foreign exchange.

China's building of a modern infrastructure system is also an important object of observation for Balumuene to understand China. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has set a number of world's firsts. The Baihetan Hydropower Station is the largest and most technically difficult hydropower project under construction in the world. China's mobile network has made leaps and bounds in making breakthroughs of 3G, synchronizing with 4G and leading the world in 5G. One achievement after another shows the world China's accelerated pace towards an infrastructure power. "China's infrastructure is world-class." Balumuene said the DRC has a big gap in infrastructure but it has launched a big number of major infrastructure projects. Whether it be highways, airports or ports, the DRC needs to learn from China's experience to diversify the country's economy.

PLA’s Post ‘Preparing for War’ Draws Wide Support from Netizens Ahead of Army Day

By Global Times

Jul 30, 2022 12:26 AM

PLA Army soldiers look through the sights of their rifles as they provide security for the hovering transport helicopter during an inter-Services maritime coordinated training exercise with the PLA Navy at an undisclosed sea area on August 3, 2020. They are assigned to an army aviation brigade under the PLA 73rd Group Army. Photo:China Military

"Preparing for war!" This short social media post by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) 80th Group Army generated over 300,000 thumbs-up in 12 hours on Friday, amid high morale among Chinese soldiers ahead of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA and escalating tensions across the Taiwan Straits. 

The post on Sina Weibo had received more than 19,000 comments as of press time, with many netizens commenting excitedly "PLA soldiers, fighting! We support you guys!" 

Some veterans said that they are always prepared to return to the PLA whenever the country needs them, and some netizens also expressed their wish for reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Straits soon.

The 80th Group Army posted a comment saying, "we must bear in mind the fundamental responsibility of preparing for war and charge on the journey of a strong army." The comment has received 8,000 thumbs-up.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said previously that only those capable of fighting can stop battles, and only those prepared for war don't have to fall into war.

Ahead of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA on August 1, Xi, also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed the need for further implementing the strategy of strengthening the armed forces by training competent personnel in the new era, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday. 

Presiding over and addressing a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Thursday, Xi also called for efforts to give better play to talent in spearheading and underpinning the cause of building a strong military. 

During a visit to the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution on Wednesday, Xi noted the PLA will mark the 100th anniversary of its founding in five years, and he called for new advances in building stronger armed forces to shore up the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

Xi also presented an August 1 Medal to three military servicemen and conferred an honorary flag to a military battalion on Wednesday for their outstanding service.  

The PLA Daily said on Friday that Xi's recent remarks have greatly boosted the morale of soldiers and will encourage all PLA soldiers to forge ahead and work hard to achieve the centenary goal of the PLA and win great victories and glory in the new era. 

Global Times

The ‘Eccentric, Bigoted’ Pelosi Does Not Care About Others’ Thoughts, but Biden is the Key in the 82-year-old’s Planned Taiwan Trip

By Zhang Hui and Chen Qingqing

Jul 29, 2022 11:10 PM

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 17, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly kicked off her Asia trip on Friday with a "tentative" itinerary for Taiwan island, and Chinese observers said the key to whether Pelosi would actually visit the island lies with the Biden administration, warning US President Joe Biden to make the right choice from the perspective of national security and the fast-shrinking economy that has fallen into recession.

If Pelosi visits the island, it would be a slap in the face to the incapable Biden administration, which will have to face declining credibility and endure  unprecedented and unbearable diplomatic and military consequences, and these consequences are real, especially after the stern warning from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke with Biden on the phone late on Thursday, observers said.

Several US media outlets cited sources who claimed that Pelosi is leading an official congressional delegation to Asia on Friday, with destinations including Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, and the itinerary listed a Taiwan visit as "tentative."

Pelosi also invited several senior lawmakers to join her on the trip, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, NBC News reported on Friday. 

Pelosi's Asia trip details were revealed on the same day as the phone call between Xi and Biden, and Chinese observers said Xi has clearly and firmly expressed China's stance on the Taiwan question, and if the US went further, the consequences would be entirely up to the US to bear. 

The will of the people cannot be defied and those who play with fire will perish by it, Xi told Biden, adding that it is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this.

In response to questions about whether the sentence was a direct threat to the US, a senior administration official said he is not going to get into "parsing the various metaphors" that China regularly tends to use on these issues. 

However, Chinese observers said that the US official clearly understood the implication of the sentence but was just dodging the question to "save the face of a great power."

Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday that it's the most serious warning from China and that the US had no other words to say in response. China clearly showed its stance in the sentence and the US could definitely get the message. 

But it's more than a simple "metaphor," as the implication was very serious, observers said, noting it indicated that it's the true will of the Chinese people, and there will be extremely severe consequences if the US does not take it seriously. 

Live-fire drills will be held in waters near Pingtan in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian Province on Saturday, Pingtan authorities announced on Friday. Pingtan is only 125 kilometers away from the island of Taiwan.

As to whether Xi and Biden talked about Pelosi's possible visit to Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at Friday's media briefing that "as you all know well, this phone call took place in the context of her planned visit."

On whether senior US officials or Biden himself would speak to Pelosi on the Taiwan question part of the call, a senior US administration official did not answer directly but said "I'm not going to get into the details beyond that on the question of the Speaker's potential travel." 

He added "As we've said previously, it's her decision," according to a White House statement. 

However, Chinese observers believed Biden would talk to Pelosi about the phone call, as they usually keep in close communication on major issues. 

But they doubted how much Pelosi would listen. Pelosi is eccentric and bigoted in doing things, and she does not care about other people's thoughts. Meanwhile, she has a very strong will in making a change in the White House's long-established China policy, especially on the Taiwan question, a Beijing-based expert on international affairs who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Friday. 

As the Democratic Party faces a rout in the midterm elections, the 82-year-old lawmaker is desperate to exploit the tentative Taiwan visit at her final moment of being the House Speaker to narrow the gap with Republicans in the elections and influence the US' Taiwan policy, the expert said. 

But it's not that important whether Pelosi has received the message from the Chinese top leader, as the key to whether Pelosi will visit Taiwan lies in the Biden administration, Lü said. 

"Pelosi's trip would not be possible without the help of the administrative authority," Lü said, noting that the White House's attempt of trying to separate the Biden administration from Pelosi was purely "nonsense."

Pelosi is in the presidential line of succession, thus the administration takes extra care of her security when she travels overseas, the White House said on Tuesday, according to CNN. 

If Biden fails to pressure Pelosi to remove the trip to the island from the itinerary, it will only show that the Biden administration is weak, and it is bullied by Congress on diplomacy and strategic security, the anonymous expert said. 

The international community has been urging Pelosi to not visit the island. Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating has accused Pelosi of inflaming tensions with Beijing and risking a military conflict. 

Zhao said both American and international onlookers with insight into the issue have seen the real danger of Pelosi's visit, and he hoped the US could listen to those rational voices. 

"The tentative itinerary of a Taiwan visit gives Pelosi an out, and I hope she could find an excuse not to visit the island, although ultimately it depends on Biden's resolution," Lü said. 

A more restrained US?

Lü said that if Pelosi did visit Taiwan, it meant that the US was assisting the island to change the status quo of the Taiwan Straits that it had promised, and Biden especially has said that the US "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits" in his phone call with Xi on Thursday. 

A comparison of the White House statements on talks between Xi and Biden since late 2021 showed that Biden's language has been more restrained, and he has been more careful in not escalating bilateral tensions. 

After the virtual meeting between Xi and Biden in November 2021, the White House's readout showed that Biden smeared China's various policies including those on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and its economic practices, along with its position on Taiwan. 

Then in March's readout, it emphasized that the US continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo of the Taiwan Straits. Thursday's readout has slightly changed "continue to oppose" to "strongly oppose."

Lü believed in the coming months, the US is likely to be more restrained in its words  relating to China-US relations. 

The US' second-quarter GDP figure was released on the same day as the Xi-Biden call, and the negative growth confirmed speculation that the US economy had slid into recession, and Biden had to ease tensions with other countries for the benefit of an economic recovery, he said. 

But he warned that China should also be vigilant as sometimes the weaker the US becomes, the more aggressive it gets, to conceal its weakness and fragility. 

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You – Symposium of China’s Top Think Tank Sends Classic, Pre-war Warning to Provocative Pelosi

By GT staff reporters

Jul 31, 2022 12:22 AM

Led by the guided-missile frigate Yongzhou (Hull 628), a frigate flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command steams in formation in an undisclosed sea area during a maritime training exercise in early December 2020. Photo: China Military

"Don't say we didn't warn you!" - a phrase that was used by the People's Daily in 1962 before China was forced to fight the border war with India and ahead of the 1979 China-Vietnam War, was frequently mentioned during a forum held Friday by a high-level Chinese think tank, as analysts warned that open military options and comprehensive countermeasures ranging from the economy to diplomacy from China await if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gambles with a visit to the Taiwan island during her Asia tour.

On Thursday night, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone conversation with US President Joe Biden, during which he once again warned the US about the seriousness and significance of the Taiwan question and said, "Public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this." 

In the recent week, in response to Pelosi's potential visit to the island of Taiwan, a string of warnings have also been made by different ministries and departments of China. On Friday, the Institute of Taiwan Studies in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences - the highest-level think tank - held a forum with analysts and discussed the damage of Pelosi's possible Taiwan island visit to the China-US relations, cross-Straits stability and regional and global peace, and China's countermeasures.

Sending fighter jets to intercept Pelosi's plane, declaring air and maritime zones around the island of Taiwan as restriction zones for military exercises … China's responses will be systematical and not limited to small scale given the severity of Pelosi's move and the damage to the political trust of China-US relations, Yang Mingjie, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

Pelosi is leading an official congressional delegation to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in Asia starting Friday and it is unclear whether the trip will include a stop in the island of Taiwan, US media reported. 

The US military had reportedly expressed safety concerns to Pelosi but later played down worries that China may shoot down Pelosi's plane in case she visits the island of Taiwan, and said the US military will increase movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Yang noted that China has reiterated its opposition to Pelosi's possible visit and used the phrase "yanzhen yidai" - literally meaning "streamlining army formation to wait for the enemy" - to show that we have made all preparations for combats or any challenges. 

There are multiple measures the PLA can take once Pelosi flies to the island of Taiwan. For example, Chinese fighter jets can fly along with and monitor the plane that Pelosi takes and fly over the airport where her plane lands in Taiwan, Wang Yunfei, a naval expert, told the Global Times.

The PLA can also declare air and maritime zones around the island of Taiwan as restricted zones to resist Pelosi's plane. Chinese fighter jets can also fly across the island to start a new model to fight against the military actions of secessionists on the island, Wang said, noting that sending missiles surrounding the island of Taiwan and conducting military drills are also options.  

Analysts on the military also noted that the PLA can conduct large-scale military drills around the island of Taiwan, including on the waters between Taiwan island and Japan as well as between Taiwan island and Guam. The PLA drills would also include joint efforts of all PLA service branches, with all combat elements including electronic warfare, missile and long-range rocket strikes, seizing of air superiority and control of the sea, amphibious landing, as well as anti-access and area denial against external military interference.

Live-fire drills will be held and waters near Pingtan in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian will be sealed from 8am to 9pm on Saturday, the local authorities announced on Friday. Pingtan is 125 kilometers away from the island of Taiwan.

During the forum, many analysts noted that the military response from the Chinese mainland will be larger in scale and upgraded from the ones during the 1995-96 crisis of the Taiwan Straits. 

In responding to key initiator of "Taiwan separatism" Lee Teng-hui's visit to the US, the PLA took a series of military drills from July 1995 to March 1996 in the waters surrounding the island of Taiwan. 

"China was not strong enough during the Taiwan Straits crisis in 1995-96, but didn't hesitate to take a military response. The answer for the current situation is clear considering its current political and economic strength … If this can be tolerated, what cannot?" said Leng Bo, an expert from the Institute of Taiwan Studies in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noting this time the military response will be larger than any other time.

The backdrop of Pelosi's visit is different from that of the 1995-96 crisis - China-US relations have changed, the comparison of strength between China and the US has changed, and the island of Taiwan itself has changed - and the way the mainland will cope with Pelosi's visit will be different and may bring wider consequences and impact, Wu Yongping, director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

Wu noted that the Chinese mainland's countermeasures will be comprehensive in military, diplomacy, economy and public opinions. If Pelosi insists on making the visit, China can turn the incident into an opportunity to take control of the Taiwan Straits situation and push the reunification process, and such consequence should be borne by the island and the US as the international community will also clearly see the provocation from the US and that any actions China will take are out of determination to defend its sovereignty. 

"If so, will Pelosi regret catalyzing China's reunification process?" Wu asked.

The phrase "Don't say we didn't warn you" had also been frequently mentioned by analysts when talking about the disastrous consequences that may be brought about by Pelosi during the Friday forum. 

"Don't say we didn't warn you" has become a key phrase used by Chinese official media as the most severe warning previously issued before shots were fired in military operations. The phrase has been used several times before, such as in 1962 and 1978, not long before China's military operations against provocations by Indian and Vietnamese troops, respectively.

"The US should not underestimate the Chinese people's determination to defend core interests on sovereignty, integrity and security at any time. It should also not repeat the miscalculation it made in the 1950s in the Korean War. Despite not being strong at that time, China still had the courage to fight a war when it was pushed to the corner, it will surely not sit idly by this time," said Yang.

The countermeasures in China's toolbox include concrete and strategic ones and rapid and long-term ones and it will take different measures in accordance with Pelosi's interactions with secessionists from the island of Taiwan. If she makes the visit, the possibility for China to recall the ambassador from the US cannot be ruled out, analysts said, also referring to imposing sanctions on individuals related to the visit. 

Many analysts also stressed that once Pelosi visits the island of Taiwan, it will escalate the cross-Straits tensions, greatly damage the political trust of China-US relations, and bring disastrous effects to regional peace and economy. 

Pelosi, out of her paranoid anti-China ideas and selfish political interests, has provoked the Taiwan question and sent a seriously wrong signal to the secessionist forces in Taiwan. If it leads to the intensification and loss of control of secessionist activities, it is detrimental to US national interests and it is the US that has to foot the bill, said Zhu Weidong, deputy director from the Institute of Taiwan Studies in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

While the Chinese and US leaders are improving communications to control disputes, Pelosi is intent on such political stunt to break the consensus reached by the top leaders, which displays the domestic political mess in the US, analysts said, urging the Biden administration to play its role in fulfilling promises to China. 

Historical experiences show that for decades, as long as the relationship between China and the US develops well, the Taiwan question is handled properly. If the US challenges China's core interests, not only will China-US relations be turbulent, it will have a negative impact on the entire Asia-Pacific and even slow the recovery of global economy, Zhu said. 

Bilateral cooperation between China and the US, especially on the economy, global supply chain, energy and food security are important to help solve global challenges and some urgent problems the US is facing with. However, what Pelosi has done and may do will have negative influence in these fields, said analysts. 

GT Voice: Looming Chip Glut Highlights More Prominent Role of China

By Global Times

Jul 28, 2022 10:28 PM

Photo: VCG

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker, said on Thursday that it expects mobile and PC chip demand would continue to weaken as macroeconomic uncertainties persist, according to Reuters. Earlier, US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc forecast lower-than-expected sales revenue for the current quarter as a slowdown in smartphone demand hit its mainstay handset chip business, Reuters reported.

As global chipmakers frequently warn of waning chip demand, a down cycle appears to be just around the corner amid the growing risks of a recession in the world economy. 

The relatively weak demand outlook by the two high-profile chipmakers, to a certain extent, could be seen as a sign that demand may fall faster than expected, mirroring the growing concern that the global chip industry could be turning toward a glut cycle after recent booms. 

In a world where chip demand is expected to lag behind supply, China's importance as the world's largest market for chip application will be a bulwark in the face of US artificial barriers in the global chip industry.

It is no secret that global chipmakers have been splurging on new plant projects amid a chip shortage that hobbled producers of almost everything from smartphones to electric vehicles in the past two years. Major chipmakers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Intel and Samsung, have all announced plans to spend billions of dollars on setting up new plants or expanding the existing ones for the next few years.

But there is the potential that demand may change much more quickly by the time a chip factory is built, especially at a time when the global economy is facing risk of slipping into a recession. In fact, demand may be shrinking faster than expected. The clearest sign is that sales of almost all major consumer electronics, such as PCs and smartphones, are poised to weaken, leading to waning demand for chips.

Financial markets have already started to react to the reversal in the chip business cycle, with share prices of global chipmakers slumping by about a third this year, according to The Economist.

Against this backdrop, China's strength in having the world's largest chip application market is likely to help the country cement its position in the global chip industry chain. The past few years saw the US use various sanctions to suppress Chinese high-tech companies, and the semiconductor industry is a priority for the US containment of China. The US Senate on Wednesday just passed a chip bill that aims to offer about $52 billion of funding for companies making computer chips and seceding their chip supply chains from China.

Yet, the US move to restrain China's technology development has actually boosted production and sales of Chinese domestic chipmakers. Moreover, with the backing of Chinese market demand, China's low- and mid-end chips have begun to achieve import substitution, as reflected in the decline of chip import volume this year. 

Domestic chip manufacturers can currently mass produce 14 nm chips, which are sufficient to meet the majority of market demand for chips. China's rapid development in 5G and other digital sectors will all become important cornerstone to support its domestic chip industry.

At present, China is accelerating the development of its domestic chip industry, with a target of achieving 70 percent chip self-sufficiency by 2025. To achieve the target, it is important for China to further integrate chip development with consumption needs and product development so as to hold a grip of the production chain and supply chain. 

Of course, despite China's strong manufacturing capability in low- to mid-end chips, there are still some shortcomings for China to address in the long run to really overcome US sanctions. 

It is a long and arduous task for China to build its own self-reliant chip industry chain, and there is no shortcut. We need confidence, patience, and most importantly, determination to adhere to long-term investment in research and development.

US Delist Threat Against Alibaba 'to Further Damage the International Status of US Capital Market'

By Global Times

Jul 30, 2022 03:44 PM

File photo shows the Alibaba employees entering the company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Xinhua

The US securities regulator's latest move to put Alibaba Group and three other US-listed Chinese companies to the list of companies that could face delisting is a politically oriented threat that will cause a chilling effect on firms from other countries and regions and will further damage the international status of the US capital market, a Chinese expert said on Saturday.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday added the largest US-listed Chinese company Alibaba and three other Chinese companies to a growing list of firms that face removal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

At this point, a total of 159 out of more than 260 Chinese companies listed in the US market have been put on the list by the US SEC, according to Chinese news outlet

US' continuous threats on Chinese companies listed in the US will cause chilling effects on companies from other countries and regions, Mei Xinyu, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"This will further damage the US capital market's international status," Mei said, adding that if the US uses political means to force the high-quality listings to withdraw from the US market, the profit-seeking global capital will be forced to leave the US.

Alibaba's stock price fell 11 percent on Friday. As of press time, the company, which plans to issue the revenue report of the second quarter next Thursday, has not responded to the latest action of the US SEC when it was approached by the Global Times.

The threat of the US SEC will have a short-term impact on the stock price of Alibaba and other companies, but it is the growth of these companies' earnings and China's rising status in the global economic landscape that will determine the long-term stock prices of these companies, Mei said.

Alibaba said on Tuesday that it will upgrade its secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) to a primary one under a new exchange procedure that allows dual primary listings.  

While the US' continuous push for financial decoupling from China will admittedly have an impact on Chinese companies, as Chinese companies have found other listing options, forcing them to leave the US market can only hurt the attractiveness of the US market to international capital, experts said.

China will continue to actively support the overseas listing of eligible companies, the China Securities Regulatory Commission reiterated at the 2022 mid-year system supervision work conference held on Friday.

Global Times

Let’s Hope That US Will Gain a Clearer Idea About the Responsibility of a Major Power: Global Times Editorial

By Global Times

Jul 29, 2022 02:58 AM   

China US Photo: VCG

On the evening of July 28, President Xi Jinping spoke with US President Joe Biden on the phone at the request of the latter. The two Presidents had a candid communication and exchange on China-US relations and on issues of mutual interest. This was the fifth phone call between the Chinese and US heads of state since Biden took office. 

During the call, President Xi pointed out that faced with a world of change and disorder, the international community and the people around the world expect China and the US to take the lead in upholding world peace and security and in promoting global development and prosperity. "This is the responsibility of China and the US as two major powers." President Xi elaborated on China's principled position on the Taiwan question. President Biden underscored the importance of China-US cooperation and said the US hopes to keep an open line of communication with China to enhance mutual understanding and avoid misperception and miscalculation. He reiterated that the one-China policy of the US has not changed and will not change, and that the US does not support "Taiwan independence." 

The phone call between the two Presidents itself is a positive signal. The official briefing showed that the two heads of state maintained their usual frankness in the call and did not avoid their differences, while expressing their willingness to cooperate. It is pertinent, instructive and constructive to the current China-US relations, and objectively plays a role in reassuring the people on a global scale to some extent. This interaction between the heads of state is extremely critical for both China-US bilateral ties and for the world.

As early as ten days ago, the leadership in Washington, including Biden himself, disclosed to the media the message of the upcoming phone call between the two heads of China and the US, and clearly expressed their expectations. Since the phone call between the two heads on September 10, President Biden's remarks have been relatively positive. However, China-US relations have not only failed to get out of the plight created by the previous US government, but have stagnated and even deteriorated. The root lies in that these positive statements by President Biden have not been translated into the US' practical actions. In other words, from the perspective of many Chinese, there is something wrong with Washington's execution.

On the day of the call between the heads of China and the US, the US top general was convening a security conference in Sydney, Australia, attended by military leaders from 26 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The "CHIPS and Science Act" was just passed in the US Senate. These are all major moves by Washington to contain China in terms of security and economy. However, a bigger storm is also brewing as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is plotting to visit the Taiwan island. Washington is fully aware of the severity of this issue. These aspects together form the "polygon prism" of US' China policy.  

Whether the China-US relations can turn around, the US side is still the key. For the next step, the US side should translate the positive momentum formed in this latest exchanges into dynamics that fully reflects the execution capability, seriously consider China's statements on strategic track which are rational and in line with the two countries' interests and concerns, truly meet China half way, properly manage and develop China-US ties. Particularly, the US needs to show positive execution capability on cores issues that have major impact on bilateral ties. Conversely, if some people insist on their own way in the future, and continue to do things that are detrimental to China-US ties, or even have subversively negative impact, the responsibilities lie entirely on the US side.

China's legitimate development rights allow no infringement and China's core national interests allow no provocation. There is no way China will make a compromise on these two aspects. During the talks President Xi said that resolutely safeguarding China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. The public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it.

It is hoped that the US will be able to clearly see this. Only by doing so, can they avoid miscalculation. To be clear and honest, it is time for Washington to slam on the brake of its radical moves on the Taiwan question, because if the US takes a few more steps forward, they will find themselves on the verge of a cliff. 

Some Americans seem to be very entangled: they on the one hand, believe that the US needs to value the importance of cooperation with China, while on the other hand, they are unwilling to accept the easing of relations, and even regard it as "China's win." If they cannot get rid of the myth of seeking hegemony, Washington can only spin around in place, eventually hurting itself and others as well. 

China and the US are at a crucial moment. What Washington needs to do is to meet China halfway, overcome the unfavorable influence of its domestic politics and implement what it has promised thus showing responsibility toward itself but also toward the world. 

China's stance has always been consistent. We hope that the US can match its words with deeds, acting on what it says and having a clear idea of its responsibility as a major country.