Kishida: Biden backs Japan’s membership of UN Security Council
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Joe Biden supports Japan’s bid to join a “reformed” UN Security Council. If approved by UN members, Japan will join Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States as permanent members of the international body’s Security Council. Biden also gave his blessing for next year’s Group of Seven summit to be held in the prime minister’s hometown of Hiroshima. The comments came at a press conference after Biden and Kishida held face-to-face talks in Tokyo on Monday.
EXPLAINER: What’s in Biden’s proposed new Asia trade pact?
TOKYO (AP) — President Joe Biden faced a trade dilemma in Asia: He couldn’t just join the Trans-Pacific Partnership from which his predecessor withdrew the United States in 2017. Many related trade deals, regardless of their content, had become politically toxic to American voters, who associate them with job losses. Biden therefore proposed a replacement. While in Tokyo, the United States will announce which countries are joining the new Indo-Pacific economic framework. In the tradition of many trade agreements, he is best known by his initials, IPEF. It aims to protect workers, build supply chains and set rules for the digital economy.
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Russian offensive turns to key Donbass city, heavy shelling
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainians dug in to defend the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk as it came under heavy shelling from Russian forces attempting to take the industrial zone known as Donbass. In Tokyo on Monday, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida united in condemning Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting threat to “world order”. Biden thanked Japan for its “strong leadership” in resisting Russia. Authorities in Luhansk accused the Russians of a scorched-earth policy focused on Sievierodonetsk, the main Ukrainian city in the region. Over the weekend, the Polish president visited kyiv and addressed the Ukrainian parliament, saying the country did not have to submit to Russian demands.
Kim and other North Koreans attend grand funeral amid COVID concerns
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Large numbers of North Koreans, including leader Kim Jong Un, attended the funeral of a top official despite outside concerns about his COVID-19 outbreak. Photos showed leader Kim Jong Un carrying the coffin of the late official and throwing dirt into his grave. Photos showed a crowd of soldiers and officials at the cemetery and state media said “large numbers” of people took to the streets to express their condolences. The photos show Kim bare-faced while most other people wore masks. North Korea also maintains that its epidemic is shrinking, although outside experts doubt its figures. The omicron variant of the coronavirus is believed to have spread at mass public events in late April.
Court ruling prolongs unequal treatment of asylum seekers
EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — In one of the busiest corridors for illegal border crossings, Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans are easily released to seek asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, Hondurans are struggling to be allowed to seek asylum after entering the country. The opposing fortunes illustrate the dual nature of border enforcement under pandemic-era limits on seeking asylum, known as the Title 42 authority. President Joe Biden wanted to end it Monday , but a federal judge in Louisiana issued a nationwide injunction that keeps them intact. Some nationalities are heavily affected by Title 42, while others are not.
Report: Leading Southern Baptist sex abuse victims deadlocked
According to a scathing investigative report released Sunday, top Southern Baptists have blocked and denigrated survivors of clergy sex abuse for nearly two decades. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in America. The 288-page report says survivors and others have repeatedly shared allegations with the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee. They were met with resistance and outright hostility from the senior administrative committee, the report said. The seven-month survey was conducted by Guidepost Solutions, an independent company contracted by the executive committee. Last year, delegates to the SBC’s national rally demanded that the committee not be allowed to investigate itself and set in motion this third-party review.
Midterms 2022: What to watch in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary election as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fend off challengers backed by Donald Trump. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primary. In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retired U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is leading the Republican nomination for governor. In two rounds of voting in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton tries to retain Lands Commissioner George P. Bush, while Congressman Henry Cuellar faces a progressive challenger.
Albanian sworn in as Prime Minister in Australia ahead of Tokyo summit
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s new prime minister is sworn in before flying to Tokyo for a summit with President Joe Biden. The move came on Monday as votes are still being counted to determine whether Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will control a majority in a parliament that is demanding tougher action on climate change. The centre-left Albanese Labor Party ousted the conservative coalition that had ruled for nine years in Saturday’s election. The swearing in of the new government was made possible after ousted leader Scott Morrison resigned at the start of the vote count. New Foreign Secretary Penny Wong was also sworn in and joined Albanese on the trip to Tokyo for the Quad summit on Tuesday.
Theories emerge for mysterious liver diseases in children
NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials remain baffled by mysterious cases of severe liver damage in hundreds of young children around the world. The best available evidence points to a fairly common stomach bug. This virus has never caused this kind of problem in otherwise healthy children. Investigators in the United States and abroad are exploring a number of theories that could explain the mystery. A possibility that is not yet proven: that the stomach virus and the coronavirus combine to cause an immune system response that damages the liver.
Vatican airs dirty laundry in trial at London property
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s sprawling financial lawsuit may not yet have produced convictions or compelling new evidence. But recent testimonies have provided plenty of insight into how the Vatican operates. The findings of recent hearings are of an ecclesiastical bureaucracy that used espionage, allowed outsiders with unverified credentials into the Apostolic Palace, and relied on a pervasive mantra of sparing accountability from the pope until someone’s neck is on the line. The trial so far has produced an unusual spread of the Vatican’s dirty laundry. Pope Francis has sought to have a trial to show his willingness to crack down on alleged financial irregularities.
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