US expresses commitment to Southeast Asian allies in key summit | Politics News

Vice President Kamala Harris tells Southeast Asian leaders that Washington can be engaged in area ‘for generations’.

America is dedicated to being engaged in Southeast Asia for the lengthy haul, Vice President Kamala Harris has stated, as she welcomed regional leaders at a summit in Washington, DC.

Talking on the Division of State on Friday, Harris instructed leaders of the 10-member Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the Biden administration “recognises the important strategic significance of your area, a task that may solely develop with time”.

“As an Indo-Pacific nation, the USA can be current and proceed to be engaged in Southeast Asia for generations to come back,” she stated.

The summit marks the primary time ASEAN leaders have been invited to the White Home in 45 years. In 2016, President Obama was the primary US chief to host the summit, then held in Rancho Mirage, California.

Whereas Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is on the agenda, the Biden administration hopes to reveal that Washington stays targeted on the Asia-Pacific as Beijing turns into an more and more highly effective participant within the area.

Tensions have grown between China and the US lately over a number of points, together with Taiwan and the South China Sea, the latter of which China claims nearly completely as its personal, regardless of competing claims from different nations within the area.

The struggle in Ukraine has examined these already shaky ties, with senior US officers together with President Joe Biden himself repeatedly warning the Chinese language authorities in opposition to aiding Russia in its persevering with invasion.

The opening session of the ASEAN assembly on the Division of State on Friday targeted on maritime safety and well being points, Harris stated, whereas a later one was centred on local weather and clear power.

She didn’t point out China instantly, however stated the US stood with its “allies and companions in defending the maritime rules-based order, which incorporates freedom of navigation and worldwide regulation”.

Biden, who took workplace in January 2021 saying that his prime overseas coverage precedence can be international competitors with China, will tackle the leaders afterward Friday.

His administration already promised $150m in new initiatives in the course of the summit, together with assist for maritime safety, with the US Coast Guard to deploy a cutter in Southeast Asia to assist battle unlawful fishing and different crime.

Biden is predicted to announce a broader bundle, the Indo-Pacific Financial Framework, when he travels subsequent week to Japan and South Korea.

Earlier than a gathering with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Indonesian Overseas Minister Retno Marsudi stated she hoped “to see synergy between the Indo-Pacific Financial Framework with implementation of cooperation beneath the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific”.

Marsudi additionally burdened that Indonesia, which is internet hosting a G20 summit in July, hoped to see the struggle in Ukraine come to an finish as quickly as attainable.

Indonesia has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the assembly, regardless of US calls to isolate him, however in a compromise stated it could additionally welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“On the worldwide difficulty, I want to reiterate the very constant of the precept of Indonesia on the significance of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of a rustic to a different nation,” stated Marsudi, in line with a Division of State readout.

“Our hope is to see the struggle in Ukraine cease as quickly as attainable, and we give the peaceable decision of a battle an opportunity to succeed. As a result of we all know that if the struggle continues, all of us will endure.”

For his half, Blinken thanked Marsudi for Indonesia’s management within the area.

“We’re working collectively throughout the board to advance a shared imaginative and prescient of a free and open Indo-Pacific area. We’re working to strengthen financial ties amongst nations within the area. We’re working collectively to take care of international challenges, like COVID-19,” he stated.

Will Hong Kong’s new leader further erode freedoms there? | Politics

Video Period 25 minutes 05 seconds

From: Inside Story

John Lee is the previous safety chief who led the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The outcome was a foregone conclusion as a result of there was just one candidate to select from.

Following a secret poll, Hong Kong has a brand new chief.

John Lee is because of exchange Carrie Lam as chief govt on July 1.

The staunch China loyalist was elected by a committee of round 1,500 members, all vetted to make sure their patriotism to Chinese language President Xi Jinping and Beijing.

He’s pledging to uphold the rule of legislation.

Does that imply China’s grip on Britain’s former colony and monetary hub turns into tighter?

Presenter: Nastasya Tay

Visitors: Tom Grundy, editor-in-chief & founding father of Hong Kong Free Press

Victor Gao, chair professor at Soochow College

Steve Tsang,  director of the China Institute, SOAS College of London

Australia PM to ‘ensure’ no Chinese base on Solomon Islands | Politics News

China’s rising clout within the Pacific has turn out to be a sizzling political problem in Australia forward of Could 21 elections.

Australia will work with its allies to make sure China doesn’t arrange a navy base within the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged throughout a heated pre-election debate.

China’s rising clout within the Pacific has turn out to be a sizzling political problem in Australia forward of Could 21 elections and following Beijing’s announcement final month that it had signed a safety pact with the Solomon Islands management.

The China-Solomons deal has not been publicly launched however a leaked draft alarmed international locations within the area, notably sections that might enable Chinese language naval deployments to the Solomons, situated lower than 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Australia.

The prime minister had warned that establishing a Chinese language navy base within the Solomons could be crossing a “pink line”.

Pressed through the Sunday debate on what that pink line means, Morrison mentioned: “Australia would work with companions to make sure that that kind of an final result could be prevented.”

Morrison additionally added that it will be “unwise” to invest on particular measures that Australia would possibly take to stop a navy base being established on the Solomons.

“The Solomon Islands authorities themselves have made it very clear to us that that’s not an final result that they’re searching for or supporting both. I imagine it isn’t of their nationwide curiosity to have such a presence,” he mentioned.

Morrison, whose conservative authorities is trailing the opposition within the newest opinion polls, has been criticised for failing to stop China from signing the deal in a area the place Australia has historically had nice affect.

Opposition Labor Social gathering chief Anthony Albanese described the safety pact within the televised debate as a “large overseas coverage failure”.

‘Lack of transparency’

Australia’s overseas minister Marise Payne held talks along with her Solomons counterpart in Brisbane on Friday night time throughout which she repeated Australia’s “deep concern” over the settlement and the “lack of transparency” over its content material.

However she mentioned the Solomons’ overseas minister, Jeremiah Manele, reassured her that Australia remained the Pacific state’s “associate of selection”.

The Solomons’ prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has reacted angrily to criticism of the China deal leveled by Australia and the US.

Sogavare mentioned he deplored a scarcity of belief by “involved events”, insisting that the take care of China was “nothing to be involved about”.

The island state’s chief advised his parliament on Tuesday that there had been “warning of navy intervention” if different nations’ pursuits have been undermined within the Solomon Islands.

“In different phrases, Mr Speaker, we’re threatened with invasion. And that’s severe,” the prime minister mentioned.

“We’re being handled as kindergarten college students strolling round with Colt 45s in our arms, and due to this fact we must be supervised,” he added.

‘We’re insulted’

Morrison has denied any invasion menace from Australia, insisting his authorities has handled its Pacific allies as equals whereas urging a “calm and composed” strategy to the problem.

The Solomon Islands authorities severed ties with Taiwan in September 2019 in favour of diplomatic relations with China, a change that unlocked funding from China however stoked inter-island rivalries.

Final November, protests towards Sogavare’s rule flared into riots within the capital Honiara, throughout which a lot of town’s Chinatown was torched.

Australia led a world peacekeeping mission to assist restore calm.

What’s the way out of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis? | Politics

Video Period 24 minutes 15 seconds

From: Inside Story

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared one other state of emergency. 

The island nation of Sri Lanka is in disaster. There have been meals and gasoline shortages for weeks and energy cuts have develop into the brand new norm.

Many say they’re struggling to get by and so they blame the federal government for mishandling the financial state of affairs – calling on President Gotabya Rajapaksa to resign.

There was a normal strike on Friday that shut down a lot of the nation.

In response, the president’s workplace re-imposed a state of emergency – saying it was wanted to “guarantee public order”.

However what introduced the nation to this unprecedented state of affairs?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Bhavani Fonseka – Senior researcher and lawyer with the Centre for Coverage Options

Ahilan Kadirgamar – Political economist and senior lecturer on the College of Jaffna

Jehan Perera – Government director of the Nationwide Peace Council of Sri Lanka

Iraqi cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi deepens intra-Shia dispute | Politics News

Baghdad, Iraq – A mosque pulled down by tractors, indignant protesters setting buildings on fireplace, and police arrests: regardless of their comparatively small-scale, current occasions throughout a couple of cities in Iraq have been sufficient to startle the nation during the last month, and all have been linked to a controversial Muslim scholar – Mahmoud al-Sarkhi.

The set off within the newest spherical of what has change into an more and more tense intra-Shia leaders’ dispute was an in any other case uneventful Friday sermon in early April, when Ali Masoudi, a consultant of al-Sarkhi, who’s a former scholar of the late outstanding Shia scholar Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, demanded the demolition of shrines, or graves of Shia imams, throughout Iraq.

“We should always observe the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammed] and Imam Ali and never construct any constructions on the graves,” Masoudi passionately instructed a bunch of individuals attending the sermon.

The demand was unsurprisingly dismissed by the vast majority of Iraqi Shia Muslims, however then got here the fiery response: livid protesters, principally supporters of Muslim chief Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of Sadiq al-Sadr and presently the largest political participant in Iraq, took to the streets and burned down a few of al-Sarkhi’s places of work in numerous cities, together with Babil, Karbala, and Basra.

The Iraqi safety forces quickly arrested numerous al-Sarkhi’s followers. Babil governorate, the place al-Sarkhi’s motion is predicated, promptly moved to shut all the chief’s places of work, and one in all al-Sarkhi’s mosques within the governorate was torn down.

Moqtada al-Sadr himself additionally issued a warning to al-Sarkhi that until the scholar disavowed the consultant who known as for the destruction of the shrines, he would resort to “authorized and customary strategies”, in line with a observe al-Sadr posted on Twitter, though it’s unclear whether or not al-Sadr would observe via along with his threats.

Within the weeks following the controversial sermon, al-Sarkhi has change into the topic of widespread discussions in Iraq, igniting debates on his ideology and what threats he may pose to the now total steady Iraqi safety.

Regardless of the criticism in direction of al-Sarkhi’s demand to demolish graves, some specialists are voicing their concern over how the federal government’s response has run the danger of additional stoking violence and battle in a deeply scarred nation.

“The state has been reactive as a substitute of proactive over the previous few years, and none of [the reactions were] about taking the initiative to struggle sectarianism,” Ruba Ali al-Hassani, a UK-based sociologist who research Iraq, instructed Al Jazeera. “As an alternative of launching arrests of al-Sarkhi’s individuals, there ought to have been extra restorative and correctional efforts.”

For al-Sarkhi, this isn’t the primary time he managed to seize consideration. This time, nonetheless, it coincided with a chaotic authorities formation course of that has been definitively stalled by intra-Shia political division.

A supporter of Sheikh Mahmoud al-Hassani al-Sarkhi is arrested following clashes in Karbala [Mohammed Sawaf/AFP]

“He realises that Shias, typically, are passing via a really chaotic interval with low confidence in all spiritual political events and actions,” Munqith M Dagher, the founding father of the Iraq-based Unbiased Institute of Administration and Civil Society Research, instructed Al Jazeera. “Accordingly, that is the very best time to search out extra followers who’re hating the present gamers and welcome any totally different voices.”

Al-Sarkhi and his motion didn’t reply to Al Jazeera’s request for remark.


A determine who first emerged following the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Sarkhi had a reasonably low profile and would periodically re-emerge within the public discourse with at instances controversial claims, and generally violent clashes with both US or Iraqi safety forces.

Initially combating alongside the once-formidable Mehdi Military, a now-disbanded paramilitary group led by Moqtada al-Sadr, towards the US forces through the early days of the Iraq battle, al-Sarkhi quickly parted methods with al-Sadr.

Constructing on his staunch resistance in direction of each American and Iranian affect in Iraq, al-Sarkhi has thus far accrued a modest following within the tens of hundreds.

“In contrast to Moqtada, who modifications his place each 5 days, al-Sarkhi has remained dedicated to rejecting the US and Iranian affect in our nation,” Hassan, an al-Sarkhi follower dwelling in Karbala instructed Al Jazeera, referring to the generally altering nature of Moqtada al-Sadr’s political stances.

“He might have some opinions that I don’t fully agree with, however I believe he’s the one who really cares about Iraq and the individuals,” he added.

Al-Sarkhi has repeatedly voiced his opposition to Iranian affect in Iraq. Throughout Iraq’s 2019 mass demonstrations, for instance, al-Sarkhi’s motion reportedly inspired protesters to set fireplace to the Iranian consulate in Karbala, which turned out to be some of the dramatic nights of all the protests.

He even rejected Ali al-Sistani, essentially the most revered scholar amongst Iraqi Shia Muslims, primarily based on his declare that al-Sistani had an excessive amount of Iranian affect behind him. Nonetheless, some specialists say his rejection of Iran has typically overstepped its boundary.

“He argues that Iran tried to form the Shia public discourse and threaten nationwide safety in Iraq,” al-Hassani stated. “Nonetheless, he overreaches by claiming that there isn’t any public Shia discourse in Iraq and that it was completely Iranian.”

Negotiate with ISIL?

Al-Sarkhi has additionally confronted criticism for his position through the rise of ISIL (ISIS) in 2014. On the time, al-Sistani had issued a fatwa, a spiritual decree, to name on all in a position Iraqis to take up arms to struggle towards the armed group that seized an unlimited swath of land in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

To most individuals’s shock, al-Sarkhi refused to reply the fatwa, and as a substitute known as for conversations and negotiations with ISIL, regardless of the crimes dedicated by the group, and the failure of diplomatic efforts to succeed in out to them.

“Even now, many are questioning his stance in direction of ISIS,” al-Hassani stated. “Whilst somebody who works on peacebuilding, I wouldn’t agree to barter with ISIS when the group was happening a killing rampage.”

His controversial claims, nonetheless, hardly ever brought about any large points to Iraqi safety and, in line with specialists and customary Iraqis who spoke with Al Jazeera, his comparatively small following will unlikely represent an precise menace sooner or later, regardless of the controversy generated not too long ago.

“You hear about him such as you hear about some clowns on TV, and I believe the explanation why persons are protesting is as a result of they want one thing to vent their anger in direction of the present political mess in Iraq,” Ali Saleem, a Baghdad resident, instructed Al Jazeera.

“I don’t assume it’s due to how necessary al-Sarkhi is.”

Biden names Karine Jean-Pierre as new White House press secretary | Politics News

Jean-Pierre will turn out to be first Black girl to carry key put up when Jen Psaki leaves White Home subsequent week.

Karine Jean-Pierre would be the subsequent White Home press secretary, the Biden administration has introduced, as Jen Psaki is stepping down from the put up subsequent week.

In an announcement on Thursday, US President Joe Biden stated Jean-Pierre would step into the press secretary function when Psaki leaves the White Home on Could 13. She may also act as his assistant.

I’m proud to announce that Karine Jean-Pierre will function the following White Home Press Secretary,” Biden stated.

“Karine not solely brings the expertise, expertise and integrity wanted for this troublesome job, however she’s going to proceed to paved the way in speaking concerning the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American individuals.”

Jean-Pierre is presently the White Home’s deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to Biden.

She beforehand held senior communication and political roles in Biden’s presidential marketing campaign staff and when he served as vice-president in the course of the Obama administration, the White Home assertion stated.

Jean-Pierre additionally was the chief public affairs officer of the progressive group and a former political analyst for NBC and MSNBC.

Psaki praised her successor, noting the importance of the history-making appointment.

“She would be the first Black girl and the primary overtly LGBTQ+ individual to function the White Home Press Secretary,” Psaki stated. “Illustration issues and she’s going to give a voice to many, but in addition make many dream massive about what is really potential.”

U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 7, 2022.
Psaki says Jean-Pierre ‘will give a voice to many’ [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Jean-Pierre stated Thursday was a “very emotional day”, when requested about turning into the primary Black girl to function White Home press secretary. “This can be a historic second, and it’s not misplaced on me,” she stated throughout a briefing.

“I perceive how vital it’s for therefore many individuals on the market, so many alternative communities, that I stand on their shoulders and I’ve been all through my profession. And so, it’s an honour and a privilege to be behind this podium in a couple of week or so when Jen is prepared.”

When she took the press secretary function, Psaki stated publicly that she aimed to stay within the job for a couple of 12 months.

In Thursday’s assertion, Biden thanked Psaki for her contribution to his administration, saying she “set the usual for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White Home Briefing Room”.

“I wish to say thanks to Jen for elevating the bar, speaking immediately and honestly to the American individuals, and preserving her humorousness whereas doing so. I thank Jen her service to the nation, and need her the perfect as she strikes ahead.”


Thousands rally in Armenia warning against Karabakh concessions | Politics News

Opposition chief says ‘large-scale marketing campaign of civil disobedience’ will start this week.

Hundreds of opposition supporters have rallied within the Armenian capital Yerevan to warn the federal government towards concessions to arch-foe Azerbaijan over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.

Opposition events have accused Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of plans to present away all of Karabakh to Azerbaijan after he informed lawmakers final month that the “worldwide neighborhood calls on Armenia to scale down calls for on Karabakh”.

On Sunday, a number of thousand opposition supporters gathered within the capital’s central Sq. of France, blocking site visitors all through central Yerevan.

Protesters shouted calls for for Pashinyan to resign, with many holding placards that learn “Karabakh”.

Opposition chief and Nationwide Meeting Vice Speaker Ishkhan Saghatelyan stated: “Any political standing of Karabakh inside Azerbaijan is unacceptable to us”.

“Pashinyan had betrayed individuals’s belief and should go,” he informed journalists on the rally, including that the protest motion “will result in the overthrow of the federal government within the nearest future”.

Addressing the group, the opposition chief introduced {that a} “large-scale marketing campaign of civil disobedience” will start this coming week.

“I name on everybody to start strikes. I name on college students to not attend lessons. Site visitors shall be totally blocked in central Yerevan,” he stated.

‘Risk of unrest’

On Saturday, Armenia’s Nationwide Safety Service warned of “an actual menace of mass unrest within the nation”.

Yerevan and Baku have been locked in a territorial dispute for the reason that Nineteen Nineties over Karabakh, the mountainous area of Azerbaijan predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians. Karabakh was on the centre of a six-week conflict in 2020 that claimed greater than 6,500 lives earlier than it ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire settlement.

Beneath the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territories it had managed for many years and Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to supervise the truce.

In April, Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met for uncommon European Union-mediated talks in Brussels, after which they tasked their overseas ministers to “start preparatory work for peace talks”.

The assembly got here after a flare-up in Karabakh on March 25 that noticed Azerbaijan seize a strategic village within the space beneath the Russian peacekeepers’ duty, killing three separatist troops.

Baku tabled in mid-March a set of framework proposals for the peace settlement that features either side’ mutual recognition of territorial integrity, that means Yerevan ought to agree on Karabakh being a part of Azerbaijan.

Armenian International Minister Ararat Mirzoyan sparked controversy at house when he stated – commenting on the Azerbaijani proposal – that for Yerevan “the Nagorno-Karabakh battle shouldn’t be a territorial situation, however a matter of rights” of the native ethnic-Armenian inhabitants.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The following conflicts since have claimed round 30,000 lives.

UK legislator resigns after viewing porn in House of Commons | Politics News

MP Neil Parish, 65, steps down after what he described as a second of ‘insanity’ whereas watching pornography on his cell phone.

A British legislator from the governing Conservative Get together resigned after admitting he watched pornography on his cellphone within the Home of Commons chamber.

Neil Parish, a member of Parliament since 2010, introduced his determination on Saturday after stress from members of his personal occasion who sought to defuse sleaze allegations earlier than the UK holds its native elections on Could 5.

The poll is seen as pivotal for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who’s already going through a voter backlash over lockdown-breaking events in authorities workplaces through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parish, 65, stepped down after what he described as a second of “insanity”. Parish, chairman of the home’s Setting, Meals and Rural Affairs Committee, stated he was attempting to have a look at a tractor web site, however stumbled right into a porn web site with an analogous identify and watched it for “a bit”.

“I believe I should have taken full depart of my senses and my sensibilities and in a way of decency, all the things,” he instructed the BBC. “[It was] a second of insanity and in addition completely incorrect… I’m not going to defend it.

“My greatest crime is that on one other event I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.’’

Stories {that a} legislator had watched porn amid the historic inexperienced benches of the Home of Commons triggered a flood of complaints from girls in Parliament in regards to the misogyny and sexual harassment they’ve confronted whereas doing their jobs.

Lengthy recognized for its boozy, macho tradition, Parliament is now a extra various place with girls holding nearly 40 % of the seats within the Home of Commons. However legislators and workers say harassment and inappropriate behaviour are nonetheless rampant below a system that largely permits members to police themselves.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated Parish’s resignation must be a second for folks throughout the UK to say “sufficient is sufficient.

“I don’t assume there may actually be another consequence to what has come to mild about this specific MP over the previous couple of days,” she stated. “Watching porn on a cell phone within the Home of Commons while you’re there representing constituents is simply unacceptable.”

Parish rejected the notion that he meant to intimidate anybody.

“For all my rights and wrongs, I used to be not happy with what I used to be doing,’’ he stated. “And the one factor I wasn’t doing, and which I’ll take to my grave as being true, is I used to be not really ensuring folks may see it. Actually, I used to be attempting to do fairly the alternative.’’

The scandal comes at a precarious second for Johnson, who will face stress to resign if the Conservatives do poorly within the native elections.