“Myanmar is extremely disappointed and strongly objected (to) the outcomes of the emergency foreign ministers meeting, as the discussions and decision on Myanmar’s representation issue was done without consensus and was against the objectives of Asean,” the Myanmar foreign ministry said in a statement.
The threat of gun violence, and the pandemic, has changed the way many politicians meet constituents in the United States. Both Republicans and Democrats have been targeted in violent attacks. Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot and wounded by a leftwing activist during baseball practice for a congressional team in 2017, and a Democrat, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, was gravely wounded by a gunman in 2011 at a political event outside a supermarket.
LEIGH-ON-SEA, England (AP) — Leaders from across the political spectrum came together Saturday to pay their respects to a long-serving British lawmaker who was stabbed to death in what police say was a terrorist-related attack. His death has reopened questions about the security of lawmakers as they go about their work.
The slaying Friday of the 69-year-old Conservative lawmaker David Amess during his regular weekly meeting with local voters has caused shock and anxiety across Britain’s political spectrum, just five years after Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist in her small-town constituency.
“He was killed doing a job that he loves, serving his own constituents as an elected democratic member and, of course, acts of this are absolutely wrong, and we cannot let that get in the way of our functioning democracy,” British Home Secretary Priti Patel said after she joined others, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to pay tribute to Amess at the church where he died.
Patel said she has already convened meetings with the Speaker of the House of Commons, police departments and U.K. security services “to make sure that all measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members.”
Amess was attacked around midday Friday during his weekly constituency meeting in a church in Leigh-on-Sea, a town 40 miles (62 kilometers) east of London. He suffered multiple stab wounds. Paramedics tried without success to save him. Police have arrested a 25-year-old British man for the attack.
In a statement early Saturday, the Metropolitan Police described the attack as terrorism and said its early investigation “has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.” It did not provide any details about the basis for that assessment. As part of the investigation, officers were searching two locations in the London area.
Amess died doing what he most cherished — helping out residents in his seaside constituency of Southend West. Under Britain’s parliamentary system, lawmakers have direct links with their local voters, often hosting open meetings, or “surgeries,” on Fridays to listen to their concerns.
The meetings often take place in local facilities, such as churches and community halls, and are publicly advertised. Amess himself posted online where he would be hosting his surgery on Friday.
“The reason he wanted to use the church was because he wanted to be where the people were,” said Rev. Clifford Newman at the Belfairs Methodist Church where Amess was killed.
“And if you come to somewhere which is in the locality like Belfairs, as opposed to some ivory tower somewhere, people are more likely to feel easier, freer and more likely to open up to him,” he added.
At the meetings, the topics raised by constituents can range from national matters such as the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to more mundane issues such as requests for speed bumps on busy roads or a dispute over a neighbor’s fence.
While members of Parliament don’t necessarily have the power to fix the problems brought to them, they can use their positions and access to pressure officials at the national and local levels to get things done.
“I feel as if I have lost a family member. I feel that he was the family of Southend, he was the leader of Southend,” resident Erica Keane, 69, said. “And he was everywhere! He was at the football pitches, he was in the choirs, he was in the pubs, he was everywhere and he was Southend.”
Amess was clearly a popular lawmaker, winning 10 out of 10 elections since he was first elected to parliament in 1983. Though he never served as a government minister during his long career and had a reputation of being a social conservative on issues such as capital punishment and abortion, he was considered a fixer in Parliament, a lawmaker able to forge alliances across the political divide.
Friday’s killing has renewed concern about the risks politicians run as they go about their work representing voters. British politicians generally are not given police protection when they meet with their constituents — unlike the high-security measures that are in place in Parliament.
Tobias Ellwood, a leading Conservative lawmaker who gave first aid to a police officer stabbed at the gates of Parliament in 2017, is one who’s already voicing the need for change. He said face-to-face meetings with voters should be temporarily paused pending the security review that Patel has started, with interactions conducted online.
Veteran Labour lawmaker Harriet Harman also said she planned to write to the prime minister to ask him to back a conference to review the safety of parliamentarians.
“I think that, while we anguish about this dreadful loss, we can’t just assert that nothing should change,” Harman told BBC radio. “I don’t think anybody wants to go to a situation where the police are vetting individual constituents who come and see us, but I’m sure there is a safer way to go about our business.”
Under a so-called Speaker’s Conference, the speaker brings together political parties and authorities to come up with non-partisan recommendations. They occur rarely, about once every 10 years.
“Since Jo Cox’s tragic killing, we’ve had changes in our home security, we’ve had changes in security in Parliament, but we haven’t looked at the issue of how we go about that important business in our constituency, but do it in a safe way,” Harman said. “I think we must do that now.”
On Saturday morning, in an echo of the political unity that emerged in the immediate aftermath of Cox’s murder, the Conservatives’s Johnson, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, and the non-partisan speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, arrived at the church where Amess died and laid flowers.
Pylas contributed from London. Jo Kearney in Leigh-on-sea also contributed to this report.
The United States is wasting millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses even as shortages plague many parts of the world.
At least 15m doses were scrapped in the US between March and September, according to one analysis of CDC data. A separate investigation found 1m doses were discarded in 10 states between December and July.
States continue tossing unused shots. Louisiana has thrown out 224,000 unused doses of the Covid vaccines – a rate that has almost tripled since the end of July, even as a deadly fourth wave of the virus gripped the state. Some of the lost doses came from opening and not finishing vials, but more than 20,000 shots simply expired.
The wasted doses represent a small fraction of the number of shots administered in these states – in Louisiana, for instance, 4.4m doses have been given out successfully.
But the news comes as millions of people around the world wait for their first doses. Only 1% of the populations of low-income countries had received first shots as of July, compared with more than half of those living in a handful of high-income countries.
Many of the discarded doses came from pharmacies. In May, two pharmacy chains had wasted more doses than US states, territories and federal agencies combined, for almost three-quarters of tossed doses. Now, at least 7.6m discarded doses come from four major pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid.
There are multiple reasons why doses have been wasted: sometimes a vial is cracked or doesn’t contain as many doses as promised; sometimes needles malfunction; freezers break down or the power goes out. Frequently, people don’t show up for appointments, and the dose set aside for them in a vial isn’t used.
But as vaccinations across the country have stalled after peaking in mid-April, a growing issue is simply that the vaccines are expiring amid vaccine hesitancy in the US that is more widespread than first imagined.
Before June, a little over 2m doses had gone to waste, NBC News reported. But over the summer, those figures surged – alongside the virus itself – sixfold as doses expired and vaccinations flagged.
The Biden administration has pushed to use the US vaccine stockpile for boosters, sometimes clashing with scientific agencies on who needs the added protection of an additional shot.
Officials are also working with vaccine manufacturers to reduce the number of doses in each vial.
In the face of global inequities, it’s not as simple as states donating unused vaccines. The doses already distributed to states can’t be repurposed internationally because of bureaucratic and safety concerns around storing the vaccines correctly.
Joe Biden has vowed to vaccinate 70% of the world in the next year, and has committed to donate several million doses for use abroad. But in the meantime, many countries are struggling to provide shots to the most vulnerable and those working on the frontlines of the pandemic, while Americans refuse the immunizations.
Manufacturers should also scale up production to address global shortages, the administration has said. Moderna, for instance, needs to “step up as a company” when it comes to global production of vaccines, David Kessler, the Biden administration’s chief science officer of the Covid-19 response, said on Wednesday.
The Ethiopian representative to the UN, Taye Atske Selassie, then made a series of allegations that UN staff were TPLF sympathisers and, in a step almost without precedent, Mr Guterres took to the floor a second time to challenge him to provide evidence, saying that he had personally spoken twice with Mr Abiy on the topic, without the prime minister providing details to back up the allegations.
Visiting security forces in Calais last weekend, the French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, gave me a message for the UK: “I want to say to our British friends, who chose Brexit to take back control of their political life, that it was not, I imagine, about putting British forces on French soil, as each respects the sovereignty of the other.”
The announcement was swiftly celebrated by would-be travellers across the globe. Among them was Kent resident Dan Johnson, who told the BBC he had been unable to visit his father in the US before he died of cancer in March. “I never got to say goodbye and hadn’t seen him since 2019 due to the travel restrictions,” he said. “It’s been the hardest thing in the world. Lifting the ban feels much too late, but does mean that I can finally visit my step-mum and help her sort dad’s belongings.” Another UK resident, Kate Urquhart, said she would be travel to Los Angeles to see the final concert of American rock band The Monkees’ farewell tour in November. “I was almost resigned to not going,” she said. “Today’s announcement is great news.”
When Xi Jinping promised the world’s movers and shakers in January 2017 that China would champion globalisation, it looked as if the baton of global economic leadership was being picked up seamlessly by Beijing as Donald Trump prepared to usher in an era of American isolationism.
Almost five years later a new world order has emerged, but it is not the one China’s president and others gathered in Davos that day seemed to have in mind.
Instead of a continuation of the post-cold war era of growth underpinned by free trade, the world faces a fractured economic system where the post-pandemic supply shock and mistrust bred by the virus pushes countries towards an autarkist impulse for self-sufficiency.
Autarky is a Greek word meaning “self-reliance” and was popularised as shorthand for economic nationalism in the 19th century. It gained some credence as an economic model when the young Soviet Union in effect shut itself off from world trade, and the nationalist impulse towards self-sufficiency appealed to Hitler. It also flourished in the postwar world, especially in Africa, though the creed of globalisation has left few examples outside North Korea.
There were already some signs of nationalist-driven challenges to the prevailing system exemplified by Brexit, the rise of Trump, and a growing suspicion that China was not prepared to play by the rules set by the US and its proxies.
The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated these trends, experts believe.
Evgeny Postnikov, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Melbourne, says the pressures of the pandemic have delivered a stark realisation about how much countries rely on imports and products enmeshed in the global supply chain.
From the initial scramble to protect production of face masks in France, to the careful control of vaccine technology, the pandemic has thrown up countless examples of how quickly the existing world order began to buckle under the domino effect of nationalistic urges.
“Governments can’t be relying on strategic competitors to supply crucial goods and services,” Postnikov says. “Trade and security were seen differently but now both are treated as high politics. That is why autarkist push is not going away. If anything it will get stronger, and that is quite worrying.”
The power cuts across northern China in recent weeks have led Beijing to accelerate its drive to become more self-sufficient. After hopeful signs that China would wean itself off fossil fuels by shutting hundreds of coal-fired power stations, the hint this week from Beijing of a rethink on slashing emissions is a crushing blow to global cooperation on the climate crisis.
Under the “Made in China” policy launched in 2018, China is already trying to develop more capacity in semiconductors, the lifeblood of consumer goods ranging from Teslas to toasters, and PlayStations to printers, as well as other strategic products. The country’s belt and road initiative is binding dozens of nations in Asia, Africa and Europe into Beijing’s economic orbit.
India, which was slow to begin dumping its corporatist economic model in favour of a more global-facing one, has also given a name for its plan to head back in the opposite direction: Atmanirbhar Bharat. This translates as “self-reliant India” and is designed, in the words of the foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, to extricate the country from “global commitments not to our advantage”.
Hence India’s withdrawal last year from the pan-Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation pact (Rcep) over concerns that its huge agricultural sector would be sacrificed on the altar of free trade.
In Britain the sudden loss of cheap migrant labour means employers are looking again at their business models. On Wednesday Britain’s “chicken king”, the head of the country’s largest poultry producer, called for a total rethink of how food is produced. “Three months ago I was vocal about the government needing to help with labour issues,” said Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of 2 Sisters Food Group, which processes 10 million chickens a week. “I’ve now come to the conclusion that in reality it can’t fix all the problems.”
He says he no longer believes the solution is more visas for foreign workers: instead, the price of food will have to rise in line with the cost of producing it.
“We need to work with our supply chains and customers to solve these issues. But it will come at a cost. I need to invest, increase automation and make our factories more welcoming for new recruits,” he said.
The supply shock has “thrown sand in the gears of the world economy”, according to George Magnus, an independent economist and associate at the China Centre, at Oxford University. “It is hard to disentangle structural issues around the supply chain with the process of globalisation. Everything is more complicated and more expensive. It looks like a symptom of a decomposing global economy.”
He says the world economy should begin to realign by next year but that the current crisis could have a “corrosive impact in the medium term” as companies seek to diversify from sole-source supply and secure strategically important products such as semiconductors, batteries and energy.
More than 80% of industries have experienced supply chain disruptions because of the pandemic, according to a report by the consultancy Deloitte, and about 75% of companies have brought forward plans to repatriate manufacturing from overseas by building smart factories closer to home.
A study by the Reshoring Initiative, in the US, has forecast that the country will add 224,213 jobs from abroad in 2021, an increase of 38% on 2020. Investment in strategic products such as semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and pharmaceuticals are driving the changes, the report says.
There are similar moves in the UK, where a report predicts factories could make almost £5bn more goods in 2021 as the pandemic and Brexit prompt businesses to bring home production.
The rising cost of labour in countries such as China have added pressure on corporations for a rethink of the way their products are made. For example, labour costs are now cheaper in Mexico than in China and short-circuiting the economic model of the latter as the workshop of the world while providing a powerful incentive for American producers to set up shop closer to home.
Another problem undermining the global system is that the controversy over the origins of coronavirus has poisoned relations already struggling with battles over tariffs, Hong Kong, and alleged Chinese infiltration of foreign communications networks through the state champion Huawei.
“The virus has bred mistrust,” says Magnus, “and the division sown by this has been a shock for China. It’s not going to be easy to make good because public attitudes in the west now show a high level of antagonism towards China. I don’t know what it would take to come back from that.”
Britain’s withdrawal from the EU was a shock to the world’s trading system, and when Trump took power days after that Xi speech at Davos one of his first acts was to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. It could be a sign of things to come as countries “decouple” from the globalised system.
“We’re not going to end up with lots of North Koreas – the autarkist state par excellence,” says Postnikov. “But what we will see I think is a world of smaller regional blocs where there are shorter supply chains. The TPP, Rcep, Brexit – it’s all unilateralist, whereas before these problems were viewed through a multilateral lens.”
Unlike many Chinese, she dropped out of school during her teenage years to couch-surf around Los Angeles, has embraced an androgynous style during her career, and even has a face tattoo. These days she can be seen promoting cosmetics, presenting an image that is a far cry from the typical female Chinese model on billboards.
The Queen has criticised world leaders’ inaction on addressing the climate crisis, admitting she is “irritated” by individuals who “talk but don’t do”.
She made the remarks, which were picked up on a livestream, at the opening of the Welsh parliament in Cardiff on Thursday.
During a conversation with the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament’s presiding officer, the Queen referred to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow starting on 31 October, which she is scheduled to attend along with other members of the royal family.
She said: “Extraordinary isn’t it. I’ve been hearing all about Cop … still don’t know who is coming. No idea.
“We only know about people who are not coming … It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”
Jones replied: “Exactly. It’s a time for doing … and watching your grandson [Prince William] on the television this morning saying there’s no point going to space, we need to save the Earth.”
The Queen then smiled and said: “Yes, I read about it.”
Prince William had condemned billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for pioneering space tourism instead of focusing on the environmental problems on Earth.
“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”
The Duke of Cambridge also expressed his indignation at the inaction on tackling the climate crisis earlier this week and raised his concerns about the Cop26 climate conference.
He told the BBC: “I think for Cop to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be is critical.
“We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action.”
Among the world leaders still not confirmed to attend the UN’s Cop26 conference are Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.
US president Joe Biden has confirmed that he will attend.
The Queen’s remarks mirror comments made by her son the Prince of Wales in an interview with the BBC earlier this week.
Prince Charles said he was worried that world leaders would “just talk” when they meet in Glasgow. “The problem is to get action on the ground,” he said.
The Prince of Wales also expressed surprise that Morrison had yet to confirm his attendance and believes that the summit in Glasgow is the “last chance saloon” for global action on the climate breakdown.