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China Tries to Bring Peace to Ukraine, While Biden Pushes War Crimes

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China's foreign policy appears to have entered a new phase following its long COVID lockdown and last year's Communist Party leadership changes.

China’s foreign policy appears to have entered a new phase following its long COVID lockdown and last year’s Communist Party leadership changes. While China has long sought to influence international affairs as an investor, trader, and development supporter, it has recently presented itself as a global leader capable of promoting global peace.

The recent agreement mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a prime example. Of course, it is portraying itself as a broker of peace in Ukraine, even though its proposal contains overtly pro-Russian elements that some regard as deceptive.

China’s President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, providing a major diplomatic boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day the International Criminal Court announced its intention to charge the Russian leader with war crimes.

Xi’s visit was the latest sign of Beijing’s emboldened diplomatic ambitions, and it came amid rising East-West tensions over Ukraine’s 13-month-long war.

On Friday, the United States said it would oppose any attempt by China at the meeting to propose a cease-fire in Ukraine as “ratification of Russian conquest.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby urged Xi to contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to obtain his country’s perspective on the conflict and avoid “one-sided” proposals.

China has attempted to portray itself as neutral in the conflict, despite refusing to condemn Moscow’s aggression and declaring a “no-limits” friendship with Russia last year. Beijing has condemned Western sanctions against Moscow, accusing NATO and the US of inciting Putin’s military action.

Throughout the conflict, China has stated that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. However, whether it sympathizes with Moscow’s claims to seize Ukrainian territory is unclear.

Putin issued an arrest warrant by the international court

According to US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes, and the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for him is justified.

According to International Criminal Court President Piotr Hofmaski, the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes concerning his alleged involvement in abducting Ukrainian children.

Russian troops are still engaged in an attritional battle, this time in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Xi’s visit would be his first meeting with Putin since they met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan in September. Before that, Putin attended the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony and met with Xi just before sending troops into Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told the Associated Press on Friday that Putin and Xi would meet over an informal dinner on Monday. On Tuesday, officials from both countries will hold broader talks on various topics.

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, suggested that the talks could result in new approaches to the fighting in Ukraine. “I’m sure our leader and the Chinese leader will exchange assessments of the situation,” he said. “We’ll see what ideas come out of that.”

Kyiv does not simply want Russia to withdraw from its occupied areas since its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Zelenskyy has demanded that Russia withdraw from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in an illegal move condemned by most of the world.

But Putin has made it clear that he has no intention of giving up the Kremlin’s gains. Instead, he emphasized the importance of retaining Crimea on Friday.

“Security issues are the top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol right now,” he said, referring to the Crimean capital. “We will do everything possible to repel any threats.”

china peace ukraine

China Urging Ukraine Talks with Moscow

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang wrote to his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, expressing concern about the war spiraling out of control and urging talks with Moscow on a political solution.

China has “always maintained an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed to promoting peace and advancing negotiations, and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,” according to Qin.

Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the significance of the territorial integrity principle.” According to Ukraine, the main condition for peace is Russia’s withdrawal from occupied areas.

“I emphasized the importance of (Zelenskyy’s) peace formula in ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the same day.

China called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow last month. Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s participation, but the overture appeared to end there.

According to Yurii Poita, head of the Asia section at the Kyiv-based New Geopolitics Research Network, the Ukrainian government is willing to accept China’s involvement because it hesitates to make another powerful adversary.

“Do not antagonize the dragon when fighting a bear,” Poita advised The Associated Press.

Beijing’s apparent deeper involvement in Ukraine issues comes on the heels of its success last week in mediating talks between Iran and its main Middle Eastern rival, Saudi Arabia. After years of hostility, the two countries agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations.

The agreement places China in a position of leadership in Middle Eastern politics, a position previously held by long-standing global heavyweights such as the United States. As a result, Xi called for China to play a larger role in global affairs management.

VOR NewsBiden has launched military and diplomatic operations against Putin

“A ceasefire now is, effectively, the ratification of the Russian conquest,” Kirby told reporters on Friday. It would “effectively recognize Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to remain in sovereign Ukrainian territory.”

Russia could use the ceasefire to regroup “so that they can restart attacks on Ukraine at their leisure,” he warned.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain would welcome any genuine Chinese effort to “restore Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

“Any peace agreement that does not include Ukraine’s sovereignty and self-determination is not a peace agreement at all,” Sunak’s spokesman Jamie Davies said.

According to Nataliia Butyrska, a Ukrainian political analyst, Beijing’s potential role as a peacemaker may be hampered by its stance on territorial integrity.

In Ukraine, “China does not clearly distinguish between the aggressor and the victim,” she told The Associated Press.

China has territorial issues, including Taiwan, which it claims as its own and intends to take control of by force if necessary.

The destruction of a US drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday after an encounter with Russian fighter jets heightened tensions between the two countries, prompting the first talks between their defense and military chiefs since October.

During a video conference call in late December, Putin invited Xi to visit Russia. According to Putin, the visit will “demonstrate to the entire world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties” and “become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations.”

According to Wang Wenbin, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Xi and Putin will discuss “bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern.”

“With the accelerated evolution of changes of the century, the world is entering a new period of turbulence and reform,” he added.

“As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major powers, the significance and impact of China-Russia relations extend far beyond the bilateral sphere.”

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant accusing Putin of involvement in child abductions from Ukraine to Russia. It also issued a warrant for his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.

The court lacks police force to enforce warrants, and the Kremlin has stated that it does not recognize the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.


Dianne Feinstein: ‘Pioneering’ Senator Dies Aged 90

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Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Feinstein was the eldest senator in the United States, and she voted on Thursday.

The veteran Democrat was questioned about alleged memory and cognitive issues for months.

After a “minor fall” at home in April, she was admitted to the hospital, the latest in a series of health concerns.

The office of Ms. Feinstein stated in a statement that she died overnight at her residence in Washington, DC.

The statement continued, “Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who had an enormous impact on our country and her home state.” She left an incontestable and extraordinary legacy.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California must now appoint her replacement. He had previously promised to nominate a black woman to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in 2025.

Ms. Feinstein, born in 1933 and grew up in San Francisco, attended Stanford University and was elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1969.

This election marked the beginning of a long career in public service that led her to become the first female mayor of San Francisco and, in 1992, a senator.

She had previously proclaimed her intention to retire at the end of the following year, but she resisted mounting pressure. Several prominent Democrats, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, have previously declared their intentions to run for her Senate seat.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

In a statement issued after her passing, US President Joe Biden said that Ms. Feinstein “made history in so many ways, and generations to come will benefit from her legacy.”

Due to a case of shingles, she was absent from Capitol Hill for nearly three months earlier this year. Upon her return, she assumed fewer responsibilities and used a wheelchair to navigate the US Capitol. She occasionally appeared perplexed in interviews, committee hearings, and floor votes.

Ms. Feinstein was well-known for her ardent support of gun control measures and the 1994 assault weapons prohibition signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

After the murders of her predecessor, George Moscone, and city councilman Harvey Milk, she became mayor of San Francisco in 1978.

She stated that the experience of racing to Mayor Moscone’s office and discovering a bullet wound while searching for his pulse had left an indelible mark on her.

As a senator, Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to chair the influential Senate Intelligence Committee, overseeing a multi-year evaluation of the CIA’s controversial interrogation program of foreign terrorists following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The evaluation ultimately resulted in legislation prohibiting “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, such as waterboarding.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first woman to lead the Senate Rules Committee.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, described Dianne Feinstein as a “pioneering woman leader” in a statement.

“Dianne’s extraordinary career will inspire countless women and girls to pursue careers in public service for generations to come,” she said.

On the Senate floor, Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell praised “her dogged advocacy and diligent service”.

In recent years, concerns about her deteriorating health and cognitive abilities have prompted calls for her retirement and brought attention to the aging of America’s legislators.

During a committee vote, individuals around her could be heard in a widely circulated video telling her to “just say yes.”

Despite mounting family tensions, she is succeeded by a daughter, Katherine, who reportedly held power of attorney over her mother’s legal affairs. Richard Blum, her investment banker spouse, passed away last year.


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New York City: State Of Emergency Declared Over Flash Flooding

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In New York City, a state of emergency has been declared as violent storms deliver flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subways, streets, and highways have been inundated, and LaGuardia Airport closed at least one terminal on Friday.

According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, some areas received up to five inches (12.7cm) of rain overnight, and up to seven more inches (17.8cm) are expected.

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” she continued.

She announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was proclaiming a state of emergency in New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the region’s extreme rainfall.

She urged individuals to take precautions and to “never attempt to travel on flooded roads.”

As a result of the declaration of a state of emergency, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued a call for “heightened alertness and extreme caution.”

new york

In New York City, a state of emergency has been declared as violent storms deliver flash flooding.

“Some of our subways are flooded, and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he said at a press conference.

Due to intense rainfall, people were pictured and captured on video wading through knee-deep water in the streets and subways.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised individuals who did not need to travel to remain at home.

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport is presently closed due to flooding, according to airport authorities.

Before traveling, passengers were instructed to verify with their airline.

new york

The New York City Police Department also announced multiple road closures and the deployment of the National Guard.

Elsewhere, traffic stopped along a section of the FDR Drive, a significant thoroughfare on the east side of Manhattan, as the water rose above the tires of automobiles.

In addition, employees attempted to unclog a drain in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while cardboard and other debris floated by.

According to municipal officials, there were no storm-related fatalities or serious injuries as of midday (1600 GMT).

The weather service has issued flood warnings and advisories for approximately 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and other major East Coast cities.


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Disney Plus Announces Crackdown On Password Sharing In Canada In 2023

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NEW YORK — Today, password-sharing crackdowns are becoming increasingly prevalent in the streaming industry. In addition, Disney Plus follows suit.

In an email sent to Canadian users this week, Disney announced restrictions on the “ability to share your account or credentials outside of the household.”

The updated Canadian Subscriber Agreement for Disney Plus stipulates that users may only share a subscription within their domicile if permitted by their account tier and that violations may result in Disney Plus limiting or terminating service. According to the streamer’s help center, “Household” refers to the collection of devices associated with a subscriber’s principal residence and used by the residents.

These password-sharing restrictions are part of multiple revisions to the Disney Plus Subscriber Agreement that will go into effect on November 1 for most Canadian users. According to this week’s email, annual subscribers in Quebec may see the changes a bit later, depending on their billing cycle, while users who alter their plan before November 1 will see the changes take effect immediately.

As previously disclosed in August, Disney Plus will launch its ad-supported tier offerings in Canada and select European markets on November 1. The ad-supported tier of Disney Plus has been available in the U.S. since December 2022.

disney plus

Disney Plus Announces Crackdown On Password Sharing In Canada

When contacted by The Associated Press, a Disney Plus spokesperson declined to comment on whether similar domestic restrictions could be anticipated in countries other than Canada.

In a recent earnings call, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger pledged to make the company’s streaming services profitable, notably through an October price increase on its ad-free Disney+ and Hulu plans in the U.S. and a restriction on password sharing that is expected to last through 2019.

At the time, Iger did not elaborate on the password-sharing crackdown beyond stating that Disney could reap some benefits in 2024, although he added that the work “might not be completed” by then and that Disney could not predict how many password-sharing users would switch to paid subscriptions.

New restrictions on streaming extend far beyond Disney. Netflix, for instance, made headlines when it began clamping down on password sharing. Freeloading viewers are now required to open their accounts in the United States unless a subscriber with a standard or premium plan agrees to pay a $8 monthly surcharge to enable more people from different households to watch.


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