Tag Archives: fate

The Fate of the China-Russia Alliance

The Fate of the China-Russia AllianceThe Moscow-Beijing collaborative relations have already yielded major shifts in the military balance in the Asia-Pacific two times. Will the third time be a global transformation?



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Trump impeachment trial: Democrat says ‘country’s fate hanging’ on outcome

Trump impeachment trial: Democrat says ‘country’s fate hanging’ on outcome* House manager says case against Trump ‘overwhelming’ * Schiff says Trump’s comment about him intended as a threatOne of the prosecutors in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial insisted on Sunday that “the country’s fate is hanging” on the outcome of the showdown now taking place in the US Senate, in which she declared the case against the president regarding his conduct with Ukraine to be “overwhelming”.Zoe Lofgren, a California congresswoman and one of the senior Democrats presenting the evidence against the president for abuse of power and obstructing Congress, said senators trying the case needed to agree this week to hear additional witnesses and evidence in order to provide the “impartial justice” that America depends upon.Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic Democratic political rivals, especially 2020 election candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden, and has refused to allow his most senior aides to testify in the process, despite court challenges by the Democrats in the House, who initiated the impeachment process last September.“It’s for the senators to find out all the information I think they would want,” Lofgren told CNN’s State of the Union politics program on Sunday morning.“But here’s the thing, the chief justice of the United States [John Roberts] presiding over this trial, if he signs a subpoena for a witness to come, we’re going to get that witness … promptly. We’re not going to be in court for three or four years.“We have a great hope that the senators will do the duty that they are obliged to do, that they’ll take the oath that they took seriously, that they will do impartial justice. That’s what our hope is and I think the country’s fate is hanging on it.”Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, has fiercely resisted calls for witnesses to appear at the Senate trial, including John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser who has called the meddling of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine matters, seemingly at the president’s orders, as “a drug deal”.Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff said Republican senators were terrified of hearing fresh, direct testimony in the trial.“I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say and so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press.House Democrats accuse Trump of orchestrating a corrupt scheme in Ukraine to assist his re-election campaign. The president’s defence team decries the impeachment on principle and accuses Democrats, in turn, of using it as a tactic to “interfere” in the 2020 election.Schiff added on Sunday: “What was so striking to me was that they basically acknowledge the scheme, they don’t really contest the president’s scheme. They just try to make the case that you don’t need a fair trial here, you can make this go away.”Meanwhile, Lofgren defended comments by Schiff after he was blasted by Trump in a tweet on Sunday, where Schiff had quoted a CBS report claiming that Republicans’ heads could be “on a pike” if they went against the White House and voted for witnesses – a move that enraged moderate Republicans that Democrats had been hoping would support them in the push for more witnesses.Lofgren said, “I can’t believe the president’s misbehavior would be ignored because of something like that.”Schiff added that he considered Trump’s comment that Schiff has not “paid the price, yet, for what he has done to the country,” a threat. “I think it was intended to be,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press.Trump also went on Twitter early on Sunday to repeat his complaint that: “The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before.” The tweet castigated his accusers as “Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats”.Trump’s legal team opened an aggressive defence of the president in the Senate on Saturday, laying out their case that he broke no laws, and insisting that the trial was merely an attempt to reverse the 2016 election.“They’re asking you not only to turn over the results of the last election but they’re asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone. “They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history.”Democrats say Trump abused his power to strong-arm Ukraine into conducting an investigation against Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in November’s election, and obstructed Congress by withholding testimony and documents from their inquiry.Trump’s lawyers will resume their arguments on Monday.Trump ally and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures program that he planned when the impeachment trial is over to investigate freshly the activities of Joe Biden in relation to his son Hunter Biden’s past employment on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.“We will do oversight of the Bidens to give the vice-president the scrutiny the president has had,” he said, despite theories of corruption relating to the Bidens and Ukraine having previously been debunked.The US temporarily withheld $ 400m in military aid to Ukraine, while Trump was pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his rivals. The aid was released in September, in a sequence of events that followed an intelligence community whistleblower formally complaining about Trump’s conduct involving the aid and interactions with Zelenskiy.



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Kim's aunt reemerges after years of speculation about fate

Kim's aunt reemerges after years of speculation about fateNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s aunt made her first public appearance in about six years, state media reported Sunday, quelling years of rumors that she was purged or executed by her nephew after helping him inherit power from his father. According to a Korean Central News Agency dispatch, the name of Kim Kyong Hui was included in a list of top North Korean officials who watched a performance marking Lunar New Year’s Day with Kim Jong Un at a Pyongyang theater on Saturday. North Korea’s main newspaper also released a photo showing Kim Kyong Hui sitting near Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, at the Samjiyon Theater.



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Iran fighter plane crashes near border, pilot's fate unknown

Iran fighter plane crashes near border, pilot's fate unknownAn Iranian fighter jet went down on Wednesday in the north of the country, near the border with Azerbaijan, Iran’s state television reported. The TV reported that the crash happened in the Sabalan mountainous region and that rescue teams and three search helicopters were looking for the pilot who was said to have contacted his base following the crash. The fighter jet was a recently overhauled MiG-29.



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Fate of global climate action 'in the balance' as U.N. talks go down to wire

Fate of global climate action 'in the balance' as U.N. talks go down to wireBig polluting countries faced last-ditch pressure from smaller nations to show serious commitment to fighting climate change as negotiators battled into the early hours of Saturday to salvage a result from a fraught U.N. summit in Madrid. With the two-week gathering mired in interlocking disputes over how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming, Chile, presiding over the talks, had earlier attempted to inject a note of optimism. Chile later announced the talks, which had been due to end on Friday, would resume at 0700 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Saturday.



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Watergate to Ukraine: how TV will dictate Trump's impeachment fate

Watergate to Ukraine: how TV will dictate Trump's impeachment fateAs public hearings loom, one Nixon biographer remembers a time ‘the system worked’ – but few are sure it will againFormer White House aide John Dean is sworn in by Senate Watergate committee chairman Sam Ervin on 25 June 1973. Photograph: AP“We are beginning these hearings today in an atmosphere of the utmost gravity … a mood of incredulity has prevailed among our populace, and it is the constitutional duty of this committee to act expeditiously to allay the fears being expressed by the citizenry, and to establish the factual bases upon which these fears have been founded.”Those were the words of Sam Ervin of North Carolina at the Senate select committee on presidential campaign activities on 17 May 1973: the first day of its hearings into the Watergate scandal. They were a national TV blockbuster, beamed into millions of homes in the days before media fragmentation, internet echo chambers and alternative facts.This week, House Democrats will hope to recreate that sense of occasion when they begin public impeachment hearings regarding Donald Trump and his attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Televised hearings will “be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves”, Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, has said.But it will also be a battle with Republicans in the court of public opinion. At stake is the framing of a narrative crucial to the impact of the hearings for an impeachment vote, the 2020 presidential election and the history books.> The main feeling that they conveyed on television was how serious and solemn both Democrats and Republicans were> > John FarrellSchiff will hope to avoid a replay of special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony in July, about which the broadcaster Chuck Todd commented: “On optics, this was a disaster.” Todd was widely criticised but it did become clear that Mueller’s stumbling performance failed to shift public opinion as Democrats had hoped.The Watergate hearings, prompted by a break-in at Democratic party headquarters and a cover-up, gripped the nation as the evidence against Richard Nixon built hour after hour, day after day, over seven months. The impact was “tremendous”, said John Farrell, a biographer of the president who resigned before he could be impeached.“The main feeling that they conveyed on television was how serious and solemn both Democrats and Republicans were in addressing what they clearly saw was a major constitutional duty,” Farrell said, “and so the whole thing was very stirring and patriotic and the debate was conducted at a very high level.“It makes me wonder whether or not this week’s hearings are going to be able to stick by that or if they’re going to be one of the more partisan, rancour-filled enterprises that we’ve had on things like Benghazi or even so far on this issue.”Farrell added: “You hope that people will try to pull themselves away from the snark and the terribly leading questions when the cameras are on but they may choose to grandstand for their base. Republicans, in particular, could decide that they just want to make the whole thing look like a circus, to tarnish it in the public eye.“So I don’t have a lot of hope but I do have some hope that they try to rise to the level of their predecessors.”The official Senate website recounts how, during the Watergate hearings, TV crews, photographers and print journalists competed with Senate staff and curious onlookers for space in the Senate caucus room.“Only one month after the hearings began, an overwhelming majority of Americans – 97% – had heard of Watergate,” the site states. “Of those, 67% believed that President Nixon had participated in the Watergate cover-up.”> You hope people will pull themselves away from the snark and the terribly leading questions when the cameras are on> > John FarrellAccording to Gallup, 71% of Americans watched the Watergate hearings live. The major networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – rotated daily coverage while the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) broadcast all 247 hours, gavel-to-gavel, as they happened and again in prime time.Last week, Bill Moyers, a veteran broadcast journalist, took out a full-page advert in the New York Times, urging PBS to do the same for the Trump hearings.The top US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and another senior diplomat, George Kent, will appear on Wednesday. Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify on Friday. All three have answered questions behind closed doors but will now be asked publicly what they knew about Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine.Cable viewers will have options including neutral C-Span, conservative Fox News and liberal MSNBC, all expected to provide wildly different interpretations of the proceedings. These will also be the first impeachment hearings in the era of Facebook, Twitter and other social media.Robert Mueller is sworn in by House judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler, in July. Photograph: Alex Brandon/APFarrell said: “The trashing of the witnesses has already begun on Twitter with the hand of the president’s family. It’s one reason to doubt that this week’s hearings are going to be held at the same high level that they were in 1974.”Now 66, Farrell was a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville at the time of the Watergate hearings, watching with millions of others through to a satisfactory conclusion.“Everybody rose to the occasion,” he recalled. “The one phrase that was used in September 1974 was: ‘The system worked.’“It was said over and over and over again and almost every part of the system could pat itself on the back: the press and the courts and then finally the House of Representatives and then even the Republican senators going down and telling Nixon it was time to go.“Everybody sort of exhaled and said, ‘Wow, it worked, Gerry Ford [Nixon’s successor] is a good guy and we dodged a bullet.’”Could the same happen in 2019, with the hearings driving a shift in public opinion that persuades Republican senators to turn against Trump? Don’t hold your breath.“I would hate to predict,” Farrell said, “but at this point I don’t see the Senate voting to convict the guy. So we’re liable to be left hanging a little bit by all this.”



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Dread builds in Vietnam over fate of missing UK migrants

Dread builds in Vietnam over fate of missing UK migrantsDread mounted across Vietnam on Sunday as relatives of migrants feared to be among 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain revealed new heart-wrenching details of their last contact with their loved ones. The driver of the refrigerated trailer discovered in an industrial park on Wednesday has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking in a case that has shocked Britain and cast light on the extreme dangers facing illegal migrants seeking better lives in Europe. The 31 men and eight women were initially believed to be Chinese, but several Vietnamese families have now come forward with fears their relatives are among the dead.



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Vietnamese village prays, awaits news on loved ones' fate

Vietnamese village prays, awaits news on loved ones' fateThe rural village of Do Thanh in central Vietnam has relied on its sons and daughters working abroad to send money back home. The mother and a sister of Bui Thi Nhung cried as they set up an altar with incense and a photo of the missing 19-year-old. The family heard from a friend living in the U.K. that “Nhung is one of the victims,” said a relative who was visiting the woman’s despaired mother.



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US withdrawal from Syria leaves fate of Isis fighters and families in detention uncertain

US withdrawal from Syria leaves fate of Isis fighters and families in detention uncertainTrump’s latest move has officials scrambling to understand the implications as Turkish forces gather near the Syrian borderTurkish fighters gather near the north-east Syrian border in preparation of a widely-anticipated invasion. Photograph: Nazeer Al-Khatib/AFP via Getty ImagesKurdish forces in Syria have said the fate of tens of thousands of suspected Islamic State fighters and their families is uncertain, after US forces began a sudden withdrawal from the country, abandoning their former ally on the eve of a widely-anticipated Turkish invasion.The effects of the shock retreat continued to reverberate through the region on Monday as Turkish forces massed near the border with the Kurdish stronghold of north-eastern Syria.The looming offensive– which was green-lighted by Donald Trump in a phone call to Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Sunday – came as a surprise to US officials and allies, who were scrambling to understand the implications. There was a furious backlash in Congress, including from some of Trump’s closest allies, who accused the president of betraying the Kurds.The decision represents the latest in a series of erratic moves by Trump, who is fighting impeachment at home, apparently taken without consultation with, or knowledge of, US diplomats dealing with Syria, or the UK and France, the US’s main international partners in the country.A White House statement on Sunday night after his conversation with his Turkish counterpart said that: “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria”, adding that US forces were being removed from the area.The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Monday its US partners had already begun withdrawing troops from areas along Turkey’s border. Footage aired on Kurdish news agency Hawar purportedly showed US armoured vehicles evacuating key positions in the border region.The SDF spokesman, Mustafa Bali, accused the US of leaving the area to “turn into a war zone”, adding that the SDF would “defend north-east Syria at all costs”.But on Monday the Pentagon, which has been cooperating with Turkey along the Syrian border, issued a statement saying: “The department of defence made clear to Turkey – as did the president – that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria. The US armed forces will not support or be involved in any such operation.”State department officials also sought to minimize the announcement, telling reporters that only about two dozen American troops would be removed from the Turkey-Syria border, and suggesting that Turkey might not go through with a large-scale invasion.In the face of fierce criticism from both political rivals and allies in Congress, Trump took to Twitter to try to defend the move and threaten Turkey.“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he said.“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he said.It was unclear however, what was “off limits”.In earlier tweets, Trump had appeared unsentimental about the Kurds, noting that they had been paid “massive amounts of money and equipment” in the four year campaign, when they were used as the main US proxy to fight Isis in Syria.But the issue of Isis foreign fighters, most of them European, has clearly preoccupied the US president.Both Trump and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have repeatedly called on European states to repatriate around 20,000 foreign nationals currently held in north-east Syria for trial and rehabilitation at home.Trump argued it was up to Turkey and Europe and others, “to watch over the captured Isis fighters and families”.An SDF spokesman, Amjed Osman, said on Monday it was not clear what would happen to the prisoners. “We repeatedly called for foreign states to take responsibility for their Isis nationals. But there was no response,” he said in a statement. It is far from clear if Turkey has the capacity – or desire – to take custody of the detainees being held in crowded Kurdish jails and displacement camps, stretching the SDF to its limits and prompting warnings that militants are using the prisons to regroup.Some 74,000 women and children of the caliphate are held at the infamous Hawl camp, where they are guarded by just 400 SDF soldiers. But the camp, a hotbed of violence and extremist ideology, falls outside the parameters of the 32km-deep safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border that Erdogan has said his forces would establish.Aid agencies warned that an offensive could displace hundreds of thousands of people, and create a new humanitarian disaster.Save the Children said that more than 9,000 children from 40 countries were being held in camps and depended on humanitarian aid to survive.“Reports of imminent military operations and troops already sent to the border are deeply troubling. The international community, including the UK, should take urgent steps to do what’s best for these children and bring them to their home countries before access becomes even more unpredictable,” the group said.The Guardian understands that the SAS and French special forces present in Rojava would be tasked with securing the camp perimeters if the Kurds withdrew. However, with only several hundred troops between them, their numbers would need to be quickly boosted by regular soldiers to avoid a catastrophic collapse in security.In Washington, the move was condemned by allies and opponents of the president. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the move “poses a dire threat to regional security and stability, and sends a dangerous message to Iran and Russia, as well as our allies, that the United States is no longer a trusted partner”.Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said: “A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump loyalist on most issues, said he would call for Turkey’s suspension from NATO and introduce sanctions against Ankara if the Turks attack Kurdish forces.“This decision to abandon our Kurdish allies and turn Syria over to Russia, Iran, & Turkey will put every radical Islamist on steroids. Shot in the arm to the bad guys. Devastating for the good guys,” Graham wrote in a tweet.During the campaign against Isis, the SDF did the bulk of the ground fighting to defeat Isis in Syria, losing 11,000 troops in the grinding battle. The senior ranks of the organisation are dominated by members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a four-decade guerilla war against the Turkish government.Ankara has long complained that, while fighting Isis, PKK forces were also waging war in Turkey.



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As China faces fate on Hong Kong, America and other democracies face a choice

As China faces fate on Hong Kong, America and other democracies face a choiceDonald Trump tweets as Xi Jinping lines up his military tanks and Hong Kong protesters wave American flags and sing the U.S. national anthem: Our view



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