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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

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In a big victory for climate and environmental groups, the Biden administration completed a rule on Friday that prohibits fossil fuel drilling on nearly half of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, among other substantial conservation measures.

The Interior Department will prohibit oil drilling on more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic, including approximately 40% of the NPR-A, a remote area home to protected wildlife species such as polar bears and caribou.

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

The reserve consists of more than 23 million acres of public land and an underground emergency oil supply for the United States Navy, which was established in the early 1920s. It has lately been the site of the Willow project, which is owned by ConocoPhillips and is a contentious Arctic oil drilling operation.

When the Biden administration approved Willow in March 2023, it generated a social media reaction from young people, as well as environmental and climate activists. Friday’s measure could boost President Joe Biden’s support among young voters.

“These natural wonders demand our protection,” Biden said in a statement. Biden said he was “proud” of his administration’s decision to protect more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic, but added that “as the climate crisis threatens communities across the country, more must be done.”

Some Alaska Natives are critical of the drilling restriction covering such a large area of the NPR-A. It has sparked debate among Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation, as well as Alaska Native groups, who claim they rely on oil drilling tax money to pay schools and basic services.

The final rule “does not reflect our communities’ wishes,” said Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat President Nagruk Harcharek. The move “will hurt the very residents the federal government purports to help by rolling back years of progress, impoverishing our communities, and imperiling our Iñupiaq culture.”

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

The restriction will also expose the president to Republican criticism for failing to prioritize American energy independence and driving up fuel prices. However, during Biden’s presidency, the United States has produced more oil than any other country in history, according to CNN Business, and petrol prices have dropped $1.35 since their all-time high in June 2022.

In addition to conserving a large portion of the NPR-A on Friday, the Biden administration tried to stop the Trump administration-approved Ambler road in the Alaskan wilderness. If developed, the road would provide access to a proposed copper mine. The government indicated that it intended to take “no action” on the mine, essentially limiting the road’s access to federal territory.

Ambler Metals, the business seeking to mine copper in the region, said it was “deeply disappointed” by Interior’s decision. According to Ambler’s managing director, Kaleb Froehlich, the move would deprive local communities of jobs and tax income, as well as prevent the United States from building a domestic supply of minerals important to renewable energy technologies and national security.

The Alaska announcements cap off a busy week for Biden’s Interior Department. On Thursday, the agency unveiled a new regulation that elevates conservation to the same level as other public land uses such as grazing, mining, and energy production. The new conservation law applies to 245 million acres, the most of which are in the Western United States, or roughly one-tenth of the country’s territory.

According to CNN, Biden plans to enlarge two national monuments in California next week, adding to the ones he has already named during his presidency.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stated that the administration’s Alaska conservation announcements “underscore our commitment to ensure that places too special to develop remain intact for the communities and species that rely on them.”

In a statement, Haaland stated that the move would be a significant step toward preserving “the way of life for the Indigenous people who have called this special place home since time immemorial.”

Environmentalists and several indigenous groups praised Biden’s statements on Alaska conservation as a “important step.”

“It’s no secret that the Reserve–a vast region of tundra and wetlands teeming with wildlife–has frequently landed in the crosshairs of the insatiable fossil fuel industry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jeremy Lieb in a statement. “We applaud this move and call for even bolder action to keep the fossil fuel industry out of the Arctic, for the sake of the climate and future generations.”

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NBC – VOR News Image

Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

In a statement, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, the former mayor of the North Slope village of Nuiqsut and a staunch opponent of Willow, called on the Biden administration to build on the protections, saying it would help Alaska Natives “continue to sustain and pass along the traditions and activities of our elders for years to come.”

In a recent interview with CNN, Ahtuangaruak stated that building of infrastructure, as well as ice and gravel roads for the Willow project, is well advanced. Ahtuangaruak is concerned that the project is already having an impact on the annual caribou migration, which is a major source of food for people.

“The animals have already begun their migration; we also have animals that get impeded and get stuck on the ice road areas,” Ahtuangaruak, a reporter for CNN, said “It’s really tough to work through all these issues.”

SOURCE – CNN

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree empowering Russia to seize assets from US corporations and individuals to compensate for any Russian assets confiscated in the US.

The mandate was published on the Russian government’s legal web on Thursday, as senior finance officials from the Group of Seven industrialized nations began a summit where the issue of what to do with Russian assets frozen in the West was at the forefront of the agenda.

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

Ukraine and several of its allies have asked for the confiscation of $260 billion in Russian assets held outside of the nation following Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. However, European officials have refused, citing legal and financial stability concerns.

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Putin | Reuters Image

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

However, in April, US President Joe Biden signed the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, which authorizes the administration to collect around $5 billion in Russian state assets in the United States. The legislation was included in a US aid package for Ukraine and other countries, which includes approximately $61 billion for Ukraine’s defense.

However, the United States will likely seize the assets with the approval of the other Group of Seven nations and the European Union.

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Putin | Poltico Image

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

According to Putin’s directive, Russian firms, the central bank, and individuals can appeal to Russian courts to have the seizure of property in the United States declared unreasonable. If the court approves, a government commission will give assets as compensation, which might include property owned by US people or companies in Russia and equities and interests in Russian enterprises.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

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Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

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Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

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Washington — President Joe Biden is greeting Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a three-day state visit as the East African country prepares to send troops to Haiti as part of a United Nations-led effort to calm a deteriorating security situation in the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 Kenyan police personnel will soon arrive in Haiti as part of a multilateral security support operation aimed at reducing gang violence. Other countries anticipated to assist the Kenyan military include the Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Bangladesh.

For years, the United States has worked with Kenya on counterterrorism initiatives in Africa, notably the fight against the extremist group al-Shabab. Kenya has joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and an international maritime task force established by the Biden administration in December in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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Biden | AP News Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

A top Biden administration official praised Ruto’s decision to send police personnel to Haiti, calling it an “unprecedented undertaking” and demonstrating Kenya’s international leadership.

Kenya is the first African nation to have a state visit from the United States since 2008.

“This is a deep and broad partnership,” White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said last week. He said it begins with combatting terrorism in Kenya’s region of Africa and progresses to “becoming a net security provider in our own hemisphere” with the upcoming deployment to Haiti.

The state visit begins with the two leaders meeting with CEOs at the White House in the afternoon. The goal is to increase relations between the American and Kenyan IT industries. The White House predicts that Teneo, Alphabet, and Semiconductor Technologies Limited executives will attend.

On Thursday, Biden and Ruto will hold formal talks and a joint press conference before attending a state dinner. Ruto is also scheduled to attend a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Vice President Kamala Harris this Friday.

Ruto began his journey to the United States in Atlanta, where he visited The King Center, met NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal, and dropped by Tyler Perry Studios.

The United States and Kenya are commemorating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. According to White House officials, the leaders’ agenda will include trade and investment, technological innovation, climate and sustainable energy, as well as health and security.

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated that the two countries would make “substantial commitments” to strengthen Kenya’s technical industry. Kenya hosts Google and Microsoft headquarters and established itself as East Africa’s technology hub, the Silicon Savannah.

In December 2022, Biden gathered dozens of African leaders in Washington to make the case that the United States was “all in” on Africa’s future, promising billions of dollars in government and private investment in health, infrastructure, business, and technology. The Democrat also promised to visit Sub-Saharan Africa in 2023.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

But other issues got in the way last year, notably the Israel-Hamas conflict and Biden’s lengthy battle with Republicans to renew financing for Ukraine’s war with Russia. Biden’s projected journey to Africa never occurred.

All the while, Russia has attempted to strengthen its economic and military influence in Africa. The junta in the West African nation recently ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Niger, which should be complete by mid-September. Meanwhile, Russia sent military trainers to Niger.

In addition, the United States needs to catch up to rival China in terms of investment in Africa, which has emerged as a vital battleground in the rivalry between great powers.

Biden and his advisers foresee fierce economic competition with Beijing in Africa but have attempted to argue that Washington is a far more stable partner in the long run

To that purpose, Biden took steps early in his presidency to prioritize Africa over his predecessors, including hosting over 50 leaders for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Conference in December 2022. However, analysts think the administration’s involvement has waned since the summit.

Cameron Hudson, a senior scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Program, highlighted that Biden has only hosted one African leader, Angola President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, for meetings at the White House since the conference.

“This visit today feels a bit like a fig leaf, not just for the Kenyans but for Africa in general, and a kind of a placeholder for the administration to say: All of those things that we said early on in the administration, they all remain true,” Hudson stated.

According to Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at the United States International University in Africa, Ruto hopes to use the visit to boost his international reputation. He feels that deploying Kenyan police to Haiti will help him achieve that aim.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

“Ruto wishes to be known as the African leader, particularly in the West. “And this kind of recognition fuels that desire,” Munene explained.

Ruto has stated that Kenya’s mission to Haiti aims to “formulate actionable strategies that will lead to long-term solutions” in the poorest Western Hemisphere country. For decades, Haiti has suffered from poverty, political instability, and natural calamities. The United States has agreed to offer direct financial assistance to the United Nations-backed mission and training, logistics, and material support.

However, Ruto’s decision to involve Kenyan police in a crisis hundreds of miles abroad has sparked criticism in Nairobi, including legal challenges to prevent police troops from being deployed.

International intervention in Haiti has a complex history. A sexual abuse scandal and the arrival of cholera, which claimed over 10,000 lives, hindered a U.N.-approved stabilization operation in Haiti that started in June 2004. The mission concluded in October 2017.

SOURCE – (AP)

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