AP News Summary at 5:43 a.m. EDT | Nation and World

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US military makes plans in case Pelosi goes to Taiwan

SYDNEY (AP) — U.S. officials say they don’t fear China will attack Nancy Pelosi’s plane if she flies to Taiwan. But the Speaker of the United States House would walk into one of the hottest places on earth, where an accident, misstep or misunderstanding could put her safety at risk. The Pentagon is therefore developing plans for any eventuality. Officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi travels to Taiwan, the military will increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. Officials say fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide rings of protection. China regards self-governing Taiwan as its own territory and has raised the possibility of annexing it by force.

Biden, Xi to hold talks amid new tensions over Taiwan

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden plans to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, according to a U.S. official. It is their first conversation in four months, and it is expected to take place amid renewed tension between Washington and Beijing over China’s claims on Taiwan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly planning to visit the island, which governs itself even though China considers it part of its territory. Besides Taiwan, other topics of conversation could include North Korea’s nuclear program, Russia’s war in Ukraine, efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal and US tariffs on China.

Risks, mined waters slow rush to extract grain from Ukraine

Shipping companies are not rushing to export millions of tonnes of trapped grain out of Ukraine, despite a groundbreaking deal to provide safe corridors across the Black Sea. Indeed, the waters are mined, shipowners are still assessing the risks and many are still wondering how the deal will unfold. The complexities of the deal have sparked a slow and cautious start, but the deal is only valid for 120 days – and the countdown began last week. The aim is to get some 20 million tonnes of grain out of three Ukrainian ports and pave the way for Russian food and fertilizers hampered by wider sanctions. But the agreement comes up against the reality of the difficulty and the risk that the pact will have to implement.

AP Interview: Japanese minister says women are ‘undervalued’

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s minister for gender equality has called the country’s dangerously low birth rates and plummeting population a national crisis and blamed “indifference and ignorance” in Japan’s government-dominated parliament. men. In an interview with The Associated Press, Seiko Noda presented the steady decline in the number of children born in Japan as an existential threat. She says the nation won’t have enough troops, police or firefighters for decades to come if this continues. Japan is the third largest economy in the world, but it struggles to make society more inclusive. There are concerns both in Japan and abroad about how the country will reverse what critics call a deep-rooted history of machismo that has contributed to the low birth rate.

Cameroon becomes a country of choice for foreign fishing vessels

DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) — Cameroon has become one of many benchmark countries for the widely criticized “flags of convenience” system, under which companies can – for a fee – register their vessels in a foreign country even if there is no connection between the vessel and the nation whose flag it flies. Vessels are expected to respect that country’s fishing agreements with other countries. But experts say weak monitoring and enforcement of fishing fleets by counties with open registries like Cameroon provide shipping companies with a veil of secrecy that allows them to hide their operations. Regulators in Europe recently warned the country that its failure to monitor its fishing fleet could lead to a ban on fish from the country.

Hawley and Cruz escape Jan. 6 investigation, have no regrets over role

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas led the Senate challenge on January 6, 2021 to victory over Joe Biden. But the senators largely escaped the House panel’s investigation into the attack on the Capitol. In all, a dozen GOP senators had originally planned to contest the defeat of Donald Trump. But unlike their House GOP counterparts, Republican senators were not called to testify. This left senators to explain themselves on their own terms. Hawley, for his part, says he doesn’t regret his actions. Neither Hawley nor Cruz will say if he will appear before the committee if called.

AP Exclusive: Philippines backs out of Russian helicopter deal

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine officials say the government has canceled a deal to buy 16 Russian military transport helicopters because of fears of possible U.S. sanctions. Former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told The Associated Press on Tuesday evening that he had canceled the 12.7 billion peso ($227 million) deal to acquire the Mi-17 helicopters in a decision approved by then-president Rodrigo Duterte before his six-year term. ended June 30. Lorenzana said Washington could express its displeasure in several ways if the Philippines went ahead with the deal because of the escalating conflict between America and Russia and that “we could face sanctions.” He said US security officials are aware of Manila’s decision and may offer similar heavy-lift helicopters for Philippine military use.

Amnesty: Taliban rights crackdown ‘stifles’ women

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Amnesty International says the Taliban’s “suffocating” crackdown on the rights of Afghan women and girls is destroying their lives. The London-based watchdog said in a new report that since the Taliban took over the country nearly a year ago, they have violated the rights of women and girls. The Taliban have prohibited girls from going to school from the seventh year, imposed a covering dress that leaves only the eyes visible and restricted women’s access to work. The report released Wednesday reveals how women who have peacefully protested against these oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured and subjected to enforced disappearance. The report says rates of early and forced marriage are increasing under the Taliban regime.

No one wins US Mega Millions, jackpot now exceeds $1 billion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A giant Mega Millions lottery jackpot has soared to $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers and won the top prize. After no winners on Tuesday, the estimated jackpot for Friday’s draw will be the fourth-largest lottery prize in the country. The jackpot has become so big because there have been 29 consecutive draws without anyone winning the top prize. Tuesday’s numbers were: 07-29-60-63-66, with a Mega Ball of 15. The $1.02 billion prize is for winners who choose the annuity option, paid annually over 30 years. Most winners opt for the cash option, which for the next draw is estimated at $602.5 million.

Argentines yearn for Evita, 70 years after her death

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentines have come together to mourn iconic Argentine leader María Eva Duarte de Perón, 70 years after her death. The late leader commonly known as Evita continues to stir passions in Argentina as some of her supporters believe her legacy is more relevant than ever at a time of rising poverty and inequality as the economy stagnates. in the midst of runaway inflation. Evita has been the subject of countless books, movies, TV shows and even a Broadway musical, but for some of her oldest and most ardent followers, the connection to the actress-turned-political leader is much more personal as they remember how she touched their lives.

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