Iran’s Raisi calls his visit to Moscow ‘turning point’

Tehran: On Wednesday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi stated that his visit to Moscow could mark a “turning point” in bilateral relations between the two countries ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We have common interests with Russia and our collaboration and common interests could certainly create security and combat unilateralism in the region,” Raisi said taking a jibe at the United States. The United States has imposed different levels of sanctions against both countries.

Russia threatens troops deployment amidst US tensions

On Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America if the United States and its allies do not decrease their military activities on Russia’s doorstep. “It all depends on the action by our US counterparts,” Ryabkov said in an interview. He also cited Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Moscow could take unspecified “military-technical measures” if Western powers fail to heed its demands.

Top officials to lead Russia-US talks

Moscow: On Dec 30, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman would lead bilateral security talks in Geneva on Jan. 10, amidst conflicts over Ukraine. "The purpose of the conversation is to continue discussion of all questions that were on the agenda of the fairly recent video call talks," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He also said on Thursday that the call was taking place at Putin's request.

US Covid-19 cases hit a record high

It emerged on Wednesday that the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the United States hit a record high of 258,312 over the past seven days. On Jan. 8 of this year, the previous peak for the seven-day moving average was a figure of 250,141. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Omicron variant was estimated to make up 58.6% of the coronavirus variants circulating in the United States as of Dec. 25.

China replaces communist chief, cites ethnic crackdown

Beijing: On Dec 26, it emerged that China replaced Chen Quanguo, chief of Communist Party in the Xinjiang who supervised a security crackdown that targeted ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims under the garb of fighting religious extremism. Chen was sanctioned by the United States last year. U.S. President Joe Biden, on Thursday, signed into law a ban on imports from Xinjiang speculating forced labor. The US move provoked a furious Chinese denunciation.

US to lift travel ban from African countries

Washington: On Dec 24, the White House announced that the Biden government would lift travel constraints on eight southern African countries imposed last month. White House spokesman Kevin Munoz tweeted that Biden "will lift the temporary travel restrictions on Southern Africa countries" effective Dec. 31. The ban was imposed due to concerns about the fast-spreading COVID-19 variant Omicron.

Biden signs bill banning goods from China Xinjiang

Mr. Biden's approval of the measure, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, demonstrates the "United States' commitment to combating forced labor, including in the context of the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang." According to the White House, US President Joe Biden signed legislation on December 23 prohibiting imports from China's Xinjiang region due to concerns over forced labor, eliciting a furious response from China. The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act is part of the United States' response to Beijing's treatment of China's Muslim Uighur minority, which Washington has declared genocide.  

Russia has no plans of retreating from Ukraine: Putin

Moscow: On Dec 22, President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia had a firm stance in a deadlock with the U.S. over Ukraine. He also warned that it would be forced into a harsh response unless the West dropped its "aggressive line". "If the aggressive line of our Western colleagues continues, we will take adequate military-technical response measures and react harshly to unfriendly steps," he asserted.

China, Russia cement ties amidst western pressure

Moscow: On Dec 15, presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping agreed that Russia and China should stand firm against Western interference and uphold each other's security interests. "At present, certain international forces under the guise of 'democracy' and 'human rights' are interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia, and brutally trampling on international law and recognized norms of international relations," China's Xi stated.

Harvard professor alleged of ties with Chinese govt

Boston: It emerged on Dec 14 that a Harvard University nanotechnology professor faced trial on U.S. charges that he fibbed to authorities about his links to a China-led recruitment program and hiding grant he attained from the Chinese government. Jury selection is scheduled to start up in Boston federal court in the trial of Charles Lieber under the garb of U.S. crackdown on Chinese impact within universities. He is an ex-chair of Harvard's chemistry department and charged in the highest-profile case.

U.S. VP Kamala Harris starts investment in Central America

Washington: On Monday, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced a new investment in Central America from companies such as Pepsico and Cargill. The step was taken to boost the efforts to decrease migration from the area into the United States. According to senior White House officials, Harris has secured private sector investments in the region worth over $1.2 billion.

Heavy casualties in truck-flip incident

Tuxtla Gutierrez: On Friday, it emerged that 54, mostly Central Americans, lost their lives when the truck flipped over in Southern Mexico. This was one of the awful calamities pertaining to migrants who put their lives at stake to reach the United States. Chiapas Governor Rutilio Escandon told that 49 people expired at the scene, and five others while receiving medical help.

Putin and Joe Biden begin virtual talks

Washington/Moscow: On Dec 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden have started up virtual talks on Ukraine and other issues, Russian state television reported. Before the virtual meeting, a US official stated that president Joe Biden would announce sanctions imposed on Russian in case of war with Ukraine. On the other hand, the Kremlin defended that Russia had no such intentions and the army was in the defensive position.

Canada imposes sanctions on Belarus

Ottawa: On Dec 2, Canada has imposed new sanctions on Belarusian officials and entities siding with its international partners like US, EU and Britain. Ottawa asserted that the step was taken to protest against what it named human rights sabotage and acts of repression. On the other hand, the U.S. Treasury inflicted restrictions on dealings in new allotments of Belarusian sovereign deficit and expanded embargoes, targeting 20 individuals and 12 entities.

US accepts humanitarian concerns: Mexico

Mexico City: On Dec 2 Mexico openly declared that it would not deport asylum seekers stuck in Mexico and waiting for court hearings in the United States. The decision came after Washington approved its humanitarian concerns about the renewal of a Trump-epoch program to drive out migrants. Mexico's government issued a statement saying "certain migrants who have an appointment to appear before an immigration judge in the United States to request asylum in that country will not be returned to their countries of origin".

Washington invites Taiwan to “Summit for Democracy”, angers China

Washington: The Biden government on Wednesday invited Taiwan to its "Summit for Democracy" next month. This move enraged China as it regarded the democratically governed island as its territory. "Our country's invitation to participate in the 'Summit for Democracy' is an affirmation of Taiwan's efforts to promote the values of democracy and human rights over the years," the Taiwan ministry added. China's Foreign Ministry vehemently opposed the idea of inviting Taiwan.

Russia, Ukraine continue military drills

Moscow/Kyiv: On Wednesday, Russia staged military drills in the Black Sea, south of Ukraine, and under the garb of sharpening the combat-readiness of its conventional and nuclear forces because of increased NATO activity near its borders. On the other hand, Ukraine, supported by the United States, was in a dilemma that Russia might be organizing an invasion and staged training of its own near the border with Belarus.

Biden calls Xi, discusses contemporary issues

Washington/Beijing: On Nov 16, U.S. President Joe Biden pointed up his Chinese counterpart about human rights in a video call lasting more than three hours. On the other hand, Xi Jinping cautioned that China would respond vehemently to incitation on Taiwan. Both presidents discussed North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, and various contemporary issues like global energy markets, trade and competition, climate, military issues, the pandemic, and other points of disagreement.

Trump’s longtime advisor surrenders to FBI

Washington: On Nov 15, Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump's longtime adviser surrendered to the FBI. He was arrested on criminal charges occurring from his antagonism of a congressional inquiry into the pernicious U.S. Capitol riot on Jan 6. "We're taking down the Biden regime," Bannon told journalists at FBI field office in the U.S. capital.

Troika Plus seeks inclusive govt. in Afghanistan

Pakistan, Russia, China, and the United States agreed on Thursday to continue "practical engagement" with the Taliban government, but only if it adhered to "moderate policies," implying that the Kabul regime needed to do more before the international community fully recognised them. The message was delivered to visiting Interim Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi by the special envoys of Pakistan, Russia, China, and the United States, who were called to the Troika Plus meeting after the parties had held debates on reaching a consensus.  

Turkey arrests 17 people over sit-in against U.S. Navy personnel

Istanbul: On Nov 3, It emerged that Turkish authorities imprisoned 17 people on Wednesday for putting a hood over the head of a visiting U.S. Navy civilian staffer. The tendentious purpose of the protest was showing vehement opposition against the United States-made policy in the Middle East, stated the Istanbul governor's office.

US Department: Gender ‘X’ now an option in US passports

The United States (US) issued its first passport with an "X" for sex on Wednesday, a significant move for persons who do not fit into the binary male or female categories. The State Department said that it has issued the first passport with an "X," and that the option would be accessible as normal for both abroad Americans' passports and birth certificates by early 2022. "As the passport is given, I would want to reiterate the State Department's commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people, including LGBTQI+ individuals," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Blaming Pakistan for US failure in Afghanistan is ‘inconvenient’: PM Imran Khan

On Monday, PM Khan, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, asserted that Pakistan should not be blamed for the losses of the US and the consequences of the war in Afghanistan. He urged to looking forward and avoiding conflicts in the future rather than denouncing Pakistan. He underlined the fact that Pakistan has no role when well-trained and equipped Afghan security forces could not fight the lightly armed Taliban.