Tillerson tightens the reins at U.S. State Department

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month tightened his control over the State Department by taking back powers previously held by the top career foreign service officer, an action critics said would delay major decisions and marginalize career diplomats. The move retracted broad decision-making authority granted to the agency’s third-highest ranking official, the undersecretary for political affairs, by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Most of those powers will be reserved instead for Tillerson and his deputy. Tillerson is broadly reviewing how authority is delegated, a State Department official said, which will “result in a streamlining of delegations, which … Continue reading Tillerson tightens the reins at U.S. State Department

Arizona’s economy depends on foreign-born residents, study says

PHOENIX — Arizona needs its 920,000 foreign-born residents, both legal and otherwise, to fuel the state’s economy, according to a new study and some business leaders. The report Monday by the New American Economy says those families had $21.4 billion in household income in 2014, the most recent figures available. They paid $1.7 billion in state and local taxes and have $16 billion in spending power. When just the undocumented are counted, their earnings were $3.5 billion and $3.1 billion in spending power. And the number of foreign-born immigrants living in Arizona grew faster between 2010 and 2014 than the … Continue reading Arizona’s economy depends on foreign-born residents, study says

Government says it’s not fair to accuse it of checkbook diplomacy

It’s not fair to say that Taiwan engaging in checkbook diplomacy to keep its official allies, the Presidential Office said Monday in a protest against local media reports. It is a common and long-standing practice in the international community to provide aid to foreign countries — calling this practice “checkbook diplomacy” is neither correct nor fair to those on the front line of diplomacy, Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said. Lin’s comment came after local media reported that Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) signed off on a financial aid package to Belize during his visit on July 27. Lee … Continue reading Government says it’s not fair to accuse it of checkbook diplomacy

NSAs in touch… hope this helps both countries come to table: Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

Abdul Basit claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on the charge of spying, had provided Pakistani authorities a lot of information, enabling them to bust what he called several sleeper cells and local operatives. Abdul Basit said, “We are in touch with the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu, if not this year, then perhaps next year. The National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan have been in touch and have met, at least once in recent weeks, to explore ways to resume the dialogue process. Outgoing Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul … Continue reading NSAs in touch… hope this helps both countries come to table: Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

UN joins international community to salute park rangers’ dedication and commitment

Members of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, a South African and majority-women ranger group. Park rangers across the world face increasing challenges and risks due to a surge in poaching and illicit trafficking in wildlife, the head of the United Nations entity on protection of endangered species today said, honouring the work of park rangers in protecting wild animals, plants and culture. “Honest and hardworking park rangers devote their lives to protecting our natural resources and cultural heritage and, in some areas, these brave men and women regularly encounter well-resourced groups of poachers, equipped with high caliber weapons, who do … Continue reading UN joins international community to salute park rangers’ dedication and commitment

Section 44 forcing politicians into extraordinary feats of intrepidity

Someone has switched Section 44 of our constitution to “evil”. It’s always had a sense of humour, that section. Every now and again, over the lifespan of our young democracy, it’s intervened merrily to chop some unwitting greenhorn off at the knees. (“You’re in the RAAF, you say, Jackie Kelly? Right. That’s actually an office of profit under the Crown, Squadron Leader. And it’s back to a by-election with you!”) The section was originally designed to protect us from traitors, criminals, bankrupts and fraudsters, and its comedic timing has largely been gentle. It has forced prospective politicians into some extraordinary … Continue reading Section 44 forcing politicians into extraordinary feats of intrepidity

Qatar crisis: Saudi-led allies stand firm

The four Arab countries boycotting Qatar have issued a strong statement saying the emirate must respond to the 13 demands it has made. The bloc suggested it would then be “ready for dialogue”. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with their Gulf neighbour on 5 June, saying it supports terrorism. Qatar strongly denies the allegation and has rejected a list of conditions for the lifting of sanctions. They include the closure of news broadcaster Al-Jazeera and reducing ties with Iran. The foreign ministers of the Saudi-led bloc met in Bahrain’s capital Manama on Sunday … Continue reading Qatar crisis: Saudi-led allies stand firm

Turkey assures safety of German business investments

Deputy PM Simsek says Turkey remains an open, liberal and investment-friendly country. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek has assured German companies that their investments in Turkey are safe, and their business would not be affected by recent political disagreements between Ankara and Berlin. In an interview with the Der Spiegel weekly published on Saturday, Simsek underlined that Turkey had left behind a difficult period after the defeated coup attempt last year, and Turkish economy was performing well at the moment. “I can assure the business community. Turkey remains an open, liberal and investment-friendly country,” he said. Simsek stressed that … Continue reading Turkey assures safety of German business investments

Shedding Legal Light on the Gaza Electricity Crisis

The bowing of Israeli occupation authorities to the request of the Palestinian Authority to further reduce energy supplies does not exonerate them. Israel is the main supplier of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip, Palestine. When the functioning of vital services such as hospitals and the pumping of clean water were seriously compromised by Israel’s reduction and limitations on the fuel supply for Gaza’s only power plant in 2007, a group of Palestinians unsuccessfully petitioned the Israeli court alleging that the reductions breached Israeli obligations under International Law. The subsequent judgment is known as the Bassiouni decision. The Israeli … Continue reading Shedding Legal Light on the Gaza Electricity Crisis

North Korea: US says ‘no value’ in UN security council meeting

The US says it will not call for a UN Security Council meeting over North Korea’s missile tests because it would produce “nothing of consequence”. Such a meeting would send a message to North Korea that the international community was unwilling to challenge it, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said. Pyongyang said its tests proved that the entire US was within range. The US has responded by testing an anti-missile system and flying bombers over the Korean peninsula. On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he had spoken to US President Donald Trump and they agreed on the need for … Continue reading North Korea: US says ‘no value’ in UN security council meeting