WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday. As it did following the U.S. announcement on Tuesday, China responded furiously, saying no Australian officials had been invited to the Olympics and “no one would care about whether they come or not." Morrison said it should come as no surprise that Australian officials would boycott the event after the nation’s relationship with China had broken down in recent years. “I’m doing it because it’s in Australia’s national interest,” Morrison said. “It’s the right thing to do.” He said Australian athletes would still be able to compete. As well as citing human rights abuses, Morrison said China had been very critical of Australia’s efforts to have a strong defense force in the region, “particularly in relation, most recently, to our decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.” … [Read more...] about Australia joins US in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics
Chinese australian trade agreement
We’re covering tests of Pfizer’s booster vaccine against the Omicron variant and a new chapter in Germany after 16 years under Angela Merkel. Pfizer says its booster protects against Omicron Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their Covid vaccine “may not be sufficient to protect against infection” by the new Omicron variant, but lab tests suggested that three doses offered significant protection . The companies said that blood tests from people who received only two doses found much lower antibody levels against Omicron compared with an earlier version of the virus. Blood samples obtained from people one month after a booster shot showed neutralizing antibodies against Omicron, comparable to the levels of antibodies against a previous version of the virus after two doses, the companies said. Big takeaway: These experiments, done with blood samples in the lab, cannot determine for sure how the vaccines will perform in the real world. But the … [Read more...] about Your Thursday Briefing: Pfizer’s Booster and Omicron.
The decision by President Biden to have his administration steer clear of the Beijing Winter Olympics is not enough. With the Games two months away and the host country’s ugly record on human rights well in view once again, more needs to be done to send China a message that it operates outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. Yes, the diplomatic boycott announced this week by the Biden administration was a wise move, a public rebuke to China’s growing list of human rights atrocities and a guarantee that the United States’ emissaries would not lend tacit approval of these Games with their attendance. Human rights organizations joined the American government and lawmakers from several nations in describing China’s treatment of its ethnic Muslim minorities as genocide and denouncing crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong . Pressure to hold China to task has only grown in the weeks since Peng Shuai , a Chinese tennis star, disappeared from public view in November … [Read more...] about A Diplomatic Boycott Is a Start. Sponsors Should Act Next.
LOS ANGELES — Even when John Chiang was in law school, his mother asked him if he would still consider going to medical school. “My mom wanted four surgeons,” Chiang, the oldest of four, told NBC News, laughing. “She’s a worrywart, but she’s fine with [my career] now.” That career is one of public office that began in 1997 when he was appointed to the California Board of Equalization, and then elected the following year to the same position. Chiang won re-election in 2002, and then went on to serve two terms as California state controller. In 2014, he was elected California state treasurer. It’s been a steady path through state government, and now the 55-year-old Democrat has his sights set on a new office: governor of California. But before he can even make it to the November 2018 election, Chiang will have to get past California’s “top two” primary system in June, in which the two candidates who receive the most votes — regardless of party affiliation — will go … [Read more...] about Could John Chiang Be California’s First Asian-American Governor?
5 PARIS (AP) — Germany's foreign minister warned Russia on Thursday that it would pay a “high political and economic price” if it makes any militaristic moves against neighboring Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasized the need to coordinate a common European position when dealing with hostile neighbors such as Russia, which has amassed troops near the border with Ukraine. “The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine aren’t up for negotiation for us,” Baerbock said in Paris while making her first foreign trip a day after taking office. She added that the highest priority must be to avoid a military escalation. “Russia would pay a high political and economic price for a renewed breach of Ukraine’s statehood,” Baerbock told reporters during a a joint news conference with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affair Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We can only find solutions down the diplomatic route, and we are … [Read more...] about Germany warns Russia will pay a price if it enters Ukraine