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China-Australia relations won’t be back on track soon: political analyst From “International: Top News And Analysis”



China-Australia ties won’t be getting back on track anytime soon — after Beijing’s decision to to indefinitely suspend high-level economic talks with Canberra, according to one political expert.James Laurenceson, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, described the strained relations between Canberra and Beijing as “complicated.””I see no prospects on the horizon for this relationship to get back on track,” he told CNBC on Friday, adding both sides are blaming each other for the breakdown in dialogue.The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planning agency, announced Thursday that it will “indefinitely suspend all activities under the framework of the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.”The move comes after some officials in Australia launched unspecified measures “out of a Cold War mindset” to disrupt cooperation with China, the NDRC statement said.The national flags of Australia and China are displayed before a portrait of Mao Zedong facing Tiananmen Square.Frederic J. Brown | AFP via Getty ImagesChina’s decision to halt all activities under the framework is more than just a symbolic move, said Laurenceson.”I think saying it’s just symbolism and it doesn’t amount to anything meaningful is wrong. Symbolism matters in international relations — particularly when it’s on the negative side,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.He called Beijing’s latest move a “tit-for-tat” retaliation to show its displeasure after Australia scrapped two Belt and Road deals last month.”We know tit-for-tat is baked in China’s foreign policy moves, so after Canberra tore up that agreement a couple of weeks ago, there was always the prospect,” he said.In Australia, at the moment, there is no domestic political pressure for the Morrison government to change tack. In fact, public support in Australia has rallied around him.James LaurencesonUniversity of Technology SydneyAustralian Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan on Thursday expressed his disappointment at the suspension of talks.”The Strategic Economic Dialogue, which was last held in 2017, is an important forum for Australia and China to work through issues relevant to our economic partnership,” he said in a statement. “We remain open to holding the dialogue and engaging at the ministerial level.”Relations between the two countries have been strained since Australia blocked Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from its 5G network in 2018.It worsened last year when Canberra called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak, triggering trade sanctions from Beijing on Australian wine, coal and barley in retaliation.”At the moment, what we’re seeing is a doubling down on hardening stances in Beijing (and) in Canberra,” Laurenceson told CNBC.”In Australia, at the moment, there is no domestic political pressure for the Morrison government to change tack. In fact, public support in Australia has rallied around him.”







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Kamala Harris walks political tightrope in US border role From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



US vice presidents always yearn for a chance to share the spotlight, but when Kamala Harris got put in charge of the Mexico border mess, she might have been forgiven for secretly wishing she could return to the shadows.WASHINGTON: US vice presidents always yearn for a chance to share the spotlight, but when Kamala Harris got put in charge of the Mexico border mess, she might have been forgiven for secretly wishing she could return to the shadows. Certainly the job is a high-profile opportunity to escape the notorious frustrations of being White House number two. On Friday it was Harris — not her boss, President Joe Biden — who held a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “We thank President Biden for naming you to lead all things related to migration,” Lopez Obrador said. And in early June, it will be Harris making an official visit to Mexico and Guatemala, likely beating Biden’s first trip abroad (to Europe) by about a week. So what’s the downside of running point on the southern border? The southern border. Few issues have as long a history of bedeviling both Democrats and Republicans as immigration and asylum on the approximately 2,000-mile (3,000-kilometer) US-Mexico frontier. And what was already a tricky issue became outright toxic under Donald Trump, who built much of his presidency on demonizing undocumented immigrants and touting the need for a large wall. So when illegal border crossings surged right from the start of his administration, Biden suddenly found himself in a perilous situation. Harris, he decided, was the heavyweight figure to find an answer. “When she speaks, she speaks for me,” he said on March 24. Technically, Harris is not meant to deal with the border itself. Her brief is to look for deeper solutions in the Central American countries where most of the migrants start from — the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Figuring out how to persuade those people to stay home was the main topic of discussion with Lopez Obrador on Friday. But in reality, the public and certainly much of the Republican opposition don’t draw the distinction. One of the most frequent criticisms from Fox News and right-wing media outlets is that Harris has already failed by not visiting the border. “The Northern Triangle,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said defensively in April, “is not the same as the border.” Yet to Harris’ critics, the damage is done. After all, she travels to many other places in the United States on vice presidential business. Why not to the sharp end of the crisis she wants to fix? How this shakes out matters more because Harris came into the White House on January 20 with an unusual burden: at 78, Biden is the oldest president to take office and his deputy, 56, is seen by many as a leader in waiting. Yes, Biden says he will seek a second term in four years, but he also does everything he can to boost Harris, who previously served as a senator and as California’s attorney general. “The president has given us clear instructions,” Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, told The New York Times. “Our goal is to get her out there as much as we can.” Liz Peek, a contributor to Fox News, wrote in The Hill that the border role will doom Harris’ ambitions. “The odds of Kamala Harris ever being elected president are shrinking faster than a Creamsicle in August,” she wrote. “It almost seems as though Biden’s team was purposefully playing a dirty trick.” But Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, says Harris has “threaded the needle.” “Serving as VP has perennially been a difficult, delicate role because the vice president does not want to upstage the president,” he said. “Harris has seized this role as an opportunity to show that she can do excellent work on a thorny topic.” FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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France warns Lebanese politicians must end political deadlock — RT World News From “RT World News”



French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned Lebanese officials that more sanctions will be imposed on the country if ruling politicians attempt to commit “collective suicide” by continuing the political deadlock.

There has been a political stalemate in Lebanon since the government collapsed in the wake of the deadly Beirut Port explosion in 2020, as politicians fail to agree on who should form a new government to address the nation’s challenges.With a caretaker government led by interim Prime Minister Hassan Diab currently in place, pressure has mounted on Lebanon from France, the US and international organizations to end the political deadlock and start “working on the country’s recovery”.Le Drian criticized the slow progress between political groups after a meeting with Lebanese president Michel Aoun, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and prime minister-designate Saad Hariri.

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“It is indeed urgent to find a way out of the political deadlock… political players have not lived up to their responsibilities,” the French foreign minister said in a statement, warning he is “here precisely to prevent this kind of collective suicide organised by some.”If they do not act now in a responsible surge of effort, they will face the consequences of this failure.The threat of new sanctions comes weeks after France imposed entry restrictions on a number of Lebanese politicians who have been accused of impeding the negotiations on a new government, extending the political stalemate. The names of those impacted by the restrictions were not made public.If you like this story, share it with a friend!







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Canada inches closer to waiving intellectual property rights on vaccines, amid political pressure : worldnews From “World News”



This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 80%. (I’m a bot)OTTAWA – The federal government is edging closer to waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, as it faces increased pressure from members of Parliament of all party stripes.Fielding questions about why Canada hasn’t already agreed to support lifting the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement, as the U.S. announced on Wednesday, International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Canada would engage in these discussions.”Simply, we need to eliminate all potential barriers to the timely access of affordable COVID-19 medical products, including vaccines and medicines, and scale up the manufacturing and supply of essential medical products. There is no question that normative intellectual property rights represent a significant potential barrier,” reads the letter issued Thursday.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: vaccine#1 Canada#2 global#3 waive#4 COVID-19#5







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Reviving nuclear deal possible if Iran makes ‘political decision’: U.S. official From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



The United States and Iran are still divided over key issues, but the two governments could reach an agreement within weeks on reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement if Tehran makes a political decision to make it happen, a senior U.S. official told reporters on Thursday.Speaking the day before indirect talks were due to resume in Vienna, the senior State Department official said previous discussions had made clear the choices facing each government in order to return to compliance with the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).But the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the pace of negotiations would need to speed up to clinch an agreement within the next few weeks, before Iran holds a presidential election on June 18.“If Iran makes the political decision that it genuinely wants to return to the JCPOA as the JCPOA was negotiated, then it can be done relatively quickly and implementation can be relatively swift,” the official said. “But we don’t know if Iran has made that decision.”It’s possible that the two sides could agree on a mutual return to the nuclear deal, he said. “Is it likely? Only time will tell, because as I said, this is ultimately a matter of a political decision that needs to be made in Iran.”The official added: “We’re committed to doing it, and we’ll have to see in the coming days and weeks whether Iran will be.”With Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s term in office coming to an end soon, the June elections in Iran threaten to complicate the negotiations and delay any revival of the 2015 deal.The U.S. official said it was unclear if Iran was ready to drop “unrealistic demands” that were proposed in previous rounds of negotiations.“We can’t get into a situation where the U.S. does more than is required by the deal in terms of sanctions relief and Iran is going to do less. . .than what is required in terms of coming back into nuclear compliance,” the official said.Story continuesThe 2015 nuclear deal introduced an array of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work in return for the easing of U.S., U.N. and EU sanctions. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, reimposed sanctions and introduced new sanctions on Iran.The Biden administration has said it is ready to return the United States to the agreement if Iran returns to abiding by the deal’s limits on its uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities.Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told NBC News in an interview Wednesday that there “is ample hope that we can revive the deal” and that it was up to President Joe Biden to “make a decision” to return the United States to the 2015 agreement.Iranian officials have previously reported progress in the talks and that the two sides had agreed that the United States would lift sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors. Iran has said the United States pulled out of the agreement and should therefore lift all economic sanctions before Iran takes any steps to return to compliance.On Iran’s insistence, the current talks in Vienna are indirect, with the United States and Iran passing messages through the other parties that signed the 2015 deal: Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.The official also said there were “active” indirect discussions underway on the fate of Americans imprisoned in Iran, though the issue was being handled “independently” of the JCPOA negotiations.“We’re treating it as really a matter of utmost urgency to get the detainees home,” the official said.“We’re not saying, ‘First, let’s get the nuclear deal, and then let’s deal with the detainees.’ We want to deal with the detainees immediately,” the official said.A recent report circulating in Iranian media that an agreement had been reached for the release of four Americans currently held in Iran represented an act of “unspeakable cruelty,” as it was false and toyed with the emotions of the detainees’ families, the official said.“There is no deal. We are doing everything we can to get our citizens home,” the official said.







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Israel’s Netanyahu fails to form government by deadline, prolonging political deadlock : worldnews From “World News”



This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 67%. (I’m a bot)There was also no guarantee that, after the conservative incumbent was unable to assemble a new coalition, parties outside his caretaker government could bridge their differences and unseat him.Netanyahu’s bloc of right-wing and Jewish religious parties failed to win a majority, but so did a camp aiming to oust him, which would have to include his right-wing rivals as well as traditional left-wing and centrist opponents.Bennett, 49, has voiced a preference to join Netanyahu but said he would seek a partnership with the prime minister’s opponents to avoid a fifth election as Israel reopens its economy following a swift COVID-19 vaccination rollout and grapples with the challenges of Iran’s nuclear programme.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: party#1 Netanyahu#2 new#3 minister#4 prime#5







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Netanyahu fails to form government by deadline, putting his political future in question From “World News”



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Stalin fulfills political destiny, comes to power in Indian state assembly elections — RT World News From “RT World News”



An Indian politician named after Joseph Stalin is set to become chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu – a role he has been groomed for since birth – after his party’s comfortable victory in state assembly elections.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, 68, born four days before his namesake’s death in 1953, is the son of the late five-time chief minister M. Karunanidhi, the hugely popular president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party.After votes were counted on Sunday, it emerged that the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance – a political coalition of left-leaning parties, including India’s two major communist parties – defeated the incumbent ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, which is a regional member of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing National Democratic Alliance.In an emotional victory statement, Stalin said, “It was our aim to get DMK back to power when Kalaignar [his father] was alive. But time got the better of us. To fulfill that dream, all of us worked tirelessly. This victory is recognition for all that hard work.”Stalin, who remained in his father’s shadow until his death aged 94 in 2018, began his political journey as a 13-year-old DMK organizer. He formed the party’s youth wing in 1980 and served as its secretary until 2017. He has also been a former deputy chief minister of the state.The victory, which brings the DMK back to power for the first time in a decade, came on the back of a campaign focused on strengthening the state’s linguistic identity and autonomy, as well as on promising jobs and growth.However, Stalin’s immediate challenge will be to navigate the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is likely to have been exacerbated by the election.

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Russian Communists to open ‘Stalin Center’: Regional politician will fund large museum dedicated to life of infamous Soviet leader

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India’s prime minister Modi has suffered a rare political defeat in a key state election in West Bengal, amid signs of a voter backlash over his handling of the coronavirus disaster : worldnews From “World News”



This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 83%. (I’m a bot)India’s prime minister has suffered a rare political defeat in a key state election, amid signs of a voter backlash over his handling of the coronavirus disaster as the country recorded a record number of deaths.Narendra Modi had been expected to make significant gains on Sunday in West Bengal, one of few states where his rightwing Bharatiya Janata party does not have a parliamentary majority.Vinay Sitapati, an assistant professor of political science at Ashoka university, said: “Had the BJP won Bengal, it would have been spun as validation of their nationwide Covid approach. We should not make the opposite mistake: the Bengal loss is because of a combination of longstanding local factors.” He predicted regional leaders and an “Eventual patchwork of parties” – rather than a weakened Congress party – would now take on Modi nationally.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: Modi#1 Bengal#2 state#3 India#4 BJP#5







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Arlene Foster fighting for political survival after claims of DUP revolt From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



Arlene Foster has faced mounting criticism over her handling of the Northern Ireland Protocol – ReutersArlene Foster appeared to be fighting for her survival as Northern Ireland’s First Minister on Tuesday night amid claims that dozens of DUP politicians had signed a letter of no confidence in her.The letter has not yet been made public but is said to contain the signatures of at least 21 Stormont Assembly members and four MPs, and comes 24 hours after 18 constituency associations submitted letters of concerns.It comes amid mounting frustration within the party over the leadership’s handling of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the post-Brexit trading arrangements which have caused significant disruption for traders moving goods across the Irish Sea.Despite Mrs Foster being a vocal opponent of the protocol and demanding it be scrapped, some in the party believe she failed to take a hard enough stance over what they believe to be a “betrayal” by Boris Johnson.Others in the party, which is associated with the Free Presbyterian Church, also believe her to be too liberal on social issues.Her allies believe she has been unfairly blamed for the decision by Westminster to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland, while Mrs Foster also chose last week to abstain in a highly charged debate on the banning of gay conversion therapy.Letter would be ‘hard to survive’If the scale of the rebellion is accurate, as reported by the Belfast News Letter, it would constitute more than two thirds of the party’s representatives in Belfast and half of its members in Westminster.While the letter had not been formally submitted on Tuesday, a number of DUP sources told The Telegraph they believed it would be hard for Mrs Foster to survive if the number of signatories was correct.On Tuesday evening it was reported that the letter stated that the signatories no longer had confidence in “Mrs Foster or the leadership”, which has been interpreted as an attempt to also remove Lord Dodds as the party’s deputy.It was suggested that under the party rulebook, Mrs Foster could be removed within days because the DUP leader must be re-elected annually before 30 April each year.Story continuesWhile this is normally seen as a rubber stamping exercise, the scale of the rebellion suggests that it could be used as an opportunity to oust her unless she steps down or agrees to a challenge.Mrs Foster is awaiting further details before considering her next steps, insiders said.However, attempting to downplay speculation over her future earlier on Tuesday, Mrs Foster told reporters: “Stories on leadership come up from time to time, and it’s one of those times.”So we’ll just deal with it and move on because I’ve bigger things to do, including getting us through this Covid pandemic, including listening to the concerns of working-class communities.”Mrs Foster was also claimed to have pulled out of a meeting on Tuesday evening with Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, shortly after reports of the letter began circulating.However, sources later said that the meeting had merely been rescheduled for Thursday.The DUP said: “Whilst understanding that there will be from time-to-time public interest in party processes, these issues, in the first instance, are matters for members of the party and we are not able to make any further comment at this time.”Frustrations over Brexit processThere has been growing discontent among DUP members about Mrs Foster’s leadership in recent months.The primary source of concern is her handling of the Brexit process. The DUP is facing anger from the wider loyalist and unionist community for the introduction of an Irish Sea border.Critics have accused Mrs Foster of failing to use the party’s influence at Westminster – particularly during its confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives – to secure a Brexit deal that saw Northern Ireland leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK.Poor polling numbers have exacerbated the discontent within the party faithful.Mrs Foster’s decision to abstain in a vote on gay conversion therapy last week appears to have further agitated sections of the party’s grassroots.However, while acknowledging that frustration among some DUP figures had been growing for “some time”, party insiders on Tuesday questioned the logic behind trying to replace Mrs Foster at such a precarious time.“The big difficulty is how does this change any of the issues they are unhappy with,” one said. “The Northern Ireland Protocol for instance, Arlene is not to blame for that and removing her doesn’t change the fundamentals of that.“The abortion legislation has been imposed from Westminister. People are panicking and thinking we must do something. But I don’t think it’s going to solve it.”







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