Connect with us

World

U.S. abortion rights advocates fuming over Biden, Democratic response to looming threat

Published

on


© Reuters. Abortion rights protesters participate in nationwide demonstrations following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, in Seattle, Washington, U.S., May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Lindsey

By Nandita Bose, Gabriella Borter and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Frustration with President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party over their perceived lack of leadership on abortion rights is likely to add fuel to months of planned protests nationwide, activists said.

An unprecedented Supreme Court leak two weeks ago showed the conservative majority of justices may soon reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that established abortion rights. Galvanized by the prospect, protesters marched across the country on Saturday, the start of what organizers said would be a “summer of rage.”

Since the Supreme Court leak, the Biden administration and Democrats have not put forward a meaningful plan for dealing with such a decision, critics said. They urged Biden to take a more active, vocal role in a national response to the potential ruling.

“I would like to see the White House say,‘We are holding an emergency summit with every Democrat in this country because we are going to pass a federal law that guarantees abortion rights,’” said author and women’s rights advocate Mona Eltahawy.

“I am astounded at the lack of urgency, generally, whether it is from the Biden White House or the Democrats at large,” she said.

Biden, a devout Catholic who has said he is personally against abortion but respects a woman’s right to choose one, has been a reluctant ally on the issue, some activists believe, noting he rarely talks publicly about it.

Disappointment is compounded by the sense that Democrats had plenty of time to prepare. Conservatives have been open about their goal of a total ban on abortion for decades, and women’s rights groups have sounded alarms about the consequences of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for years.

“Their constant solution is, ‘Well, just vote in November.’ I cannot stress to you enough how offensive it is to be asked to hope…that they win in November, they take office in January and eventually they come up with a solution,” said Renee Bracey Sherman of We Testify, an organization that promotes open discussion about abortion.

Women in the United States have shifted to the Democratic Party in recent decades. Some 56% of registered women voters identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning in 2018 and 2019 polls, up from 48% in 1994, according to Pew Research.

Democratic women polled last year by Reuters and Ipsos said abortion rights was the issue that would make them angriest if the government moved against their views. About 60% of Americans overall say abortions should be legal in some or all cases.

The threat of the Supreme Court restricting abortion access despite popular opposition and the importance of the topic to women voters illustrates how ineffective Democrats are, critics, including some elected officials, said.

“Where is the Democratic Party?” California Governor Gavin Newsom asked in the days after the May 2 leak. “Why aren’t we standing up more firmly, more resolutely? Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a coordinated, concerted effort (by Republicans). And yes, they’re winning.”

A Democratic bill to guarantee abortion rights failed in the Senate this week. There is little hope such a law will pass next year either, political strategists said, unless Democrats control 60 Senate seats after November’s elections, a long shot, or Biden is willing to seek the end of a procedural norm in Congress known as the filibuster. It prevents them from passing a bill with a simple majority.

The White House has already ruled out what some women’s rights advocates have held out as a last-chance option, expanding the Supreme Court to balance out the conservative majority of justices.

SURPRISE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Across the Biden administration, officials were startled by the harshness of the draft court ruling’s language, several told Reuters. Some had hoped that the Supreme Court would not fully dismantle the Roe v. Wade decision, but the draft left no doubt that was the intention.

Inside the White House, a sense prevailed that little could be done to overcome the pivotal opposition of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to ending the filibuster, officials said.

Biden’s Gender Policy Council, an advisory body on gender equality, is trying to push the president to act, outside groups and people involved in the meetings said.

Biden is weighing ideas including expanding access to medical abortion drugs to increasing funding for lower income women who need to travel for abortions.

However, “there’s no clear, actionable, winnable plan on the table” about how to protect abortion rights nationally, one adviser to the White House on the issue said.

Biden also faces a generational gulf. Biden’s rare remarks center on the Roe v. Wade ruling’s focus on privacy, but many young millennial and Gen Z voters, those most likely to need abortion services, think differently, said Amanda Klasing, women’s rights associate director at Human Rights Watch.

“Instead of privacy, there is a real embrace of telling your abortion story, to live your experience and not hide your experience,” she said.

World

Does the Commonwealth have a future after Queen Elizabeth?

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leaves after watching the Royal Windsor Horse Show Platinum Jubilee Celebration at Windsor Castle, in Windsor Britain, May 15, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

By Sarah Mills

LONDON (Reuters) – As Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 70th year on the throne, there are questions about whether the Commonwealth of Nations, which she was instrumental in creating and remains one of her proudest achievements, has a future when her reign is over.

The Commonwealth evolved out of the British empire, and Elizabeth became its head in 1952 when she became queen, three years after the London Declaration formally created the voluntary association in its current form.

Now it is one of world’s biggest international organisations, made up of 54 countries, almost all of which were former colonies of the United Kingdom, covering some 2.5 billion people or about one third of the world’s population.

The 96-year-old queen has always been at its heart, but there are suggestions it has already become outdated and irrelevant.

“I think perhaps the Commonwealth has historically run its course,” said Philip Murphy, professor of British and Commonwealth History at the University of London. “And what you’re really seeing now is the ghost of an organisation.”

Commonwealth members range from wealthy nations such as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – who still all have the queen as their head of state – to populous India, as well as tiny Pacific republics such as Nauru.

Supporters say it provides a network to foster international cooperation and trade links, with a focus on promoting democracy and development, and addressing issues such as climate change.

So when Barbados cut its ties with the British monarchy last year when the Caribbean nation became a republic, it was keen to remain part of the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth is beneficial to many Caribbean nations as well as many African nations and it links us into countries like Australia and New Zealand and Canada,” said Barbados-based David Denny, general secretary for the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, a non-government organisation.

The organisation was regarded as playing a significant role in helping to end apartheid in South Africa, and Murphy says it has uses for smaller, less powerful members. But he remains unconvinced of its wider benefit.

“The Commonwealth talks about the importance of promoting democracy, tackling climate change, tackling gender inequality,” he told Reuters. “But the Commonwealth isn’t necessarily a logical framework internationally in which to deal with any of those problems.”

Where the organisation could have a role, Murphy says, is in dealing with the legacy of the British empire and colonialism, with a new purpose of dealing with issues such as reparation and restitution.

‘MASSACRED’

“We were massacred and killed for the economic development of Britain,” Denny said.

“The nation states within the Commonwealth should demand reparation for that sufferation from the royal family, from the British government, all of the British companies that would have benefited from slavery and the exploitation of our African people throughout the Commonwealth nation states.”

Another question the organisation will have to address is who will lead it, with Denny arguing it should not be the British royals, despite Commonwealth leaders agreeing in 2018 that Elizabeth’s son and heir Prince Charles should be her successor although the role is not hereditary.

Charles’s eldest son Prince William, after a difficult tour of the Caribbean nations earlier this year when he faced protests, calls for reparations and an apology for slavery, suggested he might not get the job.

“Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind,” said William. “What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”

However, in the meantime, there is no question of the importance of the organisation to its current head.

“Today, it is rewarding to observe a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time,” Queen Elizabeth said in her annual message to the Commonwealth in March.

“That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved.”

Murphy said he suspected it would survive, but with even less attention that it attracts now.

“I think it will stagger on,” he said. “I don’t see the will to draw a line under it, and I don’t see who would really have the authority to do that. I think the danger is that it will just gradually become less influential, less important and less interesting to its citizens.”

Continue Reading

World

Russian and Chinese jets patrol East Asia skies, capping Biden trip

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

By Michael Martina, Nobuhiro Kubo and Hyonhee Shin

(Reuters) -Russian and Chinese military planes conducted joint exercises to patrol the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday in a pointed farewell to U.S. President Joe Biden as he concluded an Asia trip that rankled Beijing.

Japan scrambled jets after Russian and Chinese warplanes neared its airspace while Tokyo was hosting the leaders of the Quad group of countries, which includes the United States, said Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, who called the move a provocation.

It was the first joint military exercise by China and Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to a U.S. official, and it came at the tail end of Biden’s four-day trip.

“We think it shows that China continues to be willing to closely align themselves with Russia, including through military cooperation,” a senior administration official said, adding that such actions must be planned well in advance.

“China is not walking away from Russia. Instead, the exercise shows that China is ready to help Russia defend its east while Russia fights in its west,” the official said.

Biden stressed during the trip, intended in part to counter China’s growing influence in the region, that the United States will stand with its allies and partners to push for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Beijing and Moscow declared a “no-limits” partnership just weeks before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, and China has refused to condemn the move.

The joint patrol lasted 13 hours over the Japanese and East China seas and involved Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers and Chinese Xian H-6 jets, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

Planes from the Japanese and South Korean air forces shadowed the Russian and Chinese jets for part of the exercise, it said.

Tokyo conveyed “grave concerns” to both Russia and China through diplomatic channels, Kishi said at a news conference.

He characterized the incident as a likely provocation by both Beijing and Moscow on a day when Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s newly elected leader, Anthony Albanese, were meeting in Tokyo.

“We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past,” he said, adding it was the fourth such incident since November.

Chinese naval vessels likely participated in the joint exercise, a U.S. official said.

China’s defense ministry confirmed the joint aerial patrol over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea and the Western Pacific and called it part of an annual military exercise.

On Monday, Biden angered China by saying he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, but he said later U.S. policy toward the self-ruled democratic island had not changed. China considers Taiwan an inalienable part of its territory that should be reunited with the mainland.

Tuesday’s drill was the first reported since new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office on May 10. On Sunday, Yoon wrapped up his summit with Biden, where the two leaders pledged support for measures seen as countering China’s influence in the region, and criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine.

South Korea’s military said it scrambled fighter jets after at least four Chinese and four Russian warplanes entered its air defense zone.

The Russian and Chinese aircraft entered and left the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (Korea ADIZ) in the Sea of Japan, known in Korea as the East Sea, several times through the day, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The aircraft, which included fighter jets and bombers from each side, did not violate South Korea’s airspace, it said.

South Korea had no warning of the apparent drills, a military source in Seoul said. When Seoul saw that the aircraft appeared to be headed toward the defense zone, it used hotlines to warn Chinese and Russian counterparts, the source said.

China responded that it was a regular exercise, the source added, while there was no response from Russia.

Unlike airspace, an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, is usually an area where countries may unilaterally demand that foreign aircraft take special steps to identify themselves, with no international laws governing ADIZs.

Continue Reading

World

Analysis: Erdogan’s vow to expand Syria operations raises stakes in Turkey-NATO row

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Turkish soldier waves a flag on Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria January 28 ,2018. REUTERS/ Khalil Ashawi/File Photo

By Daren Butler, Jonathan Spicer and Maya Gebeily

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan’s pledge to launch military operations soon to expand safe zones already set up across Turkey’s southern borders has raised the stakes in his row with NATO partners over Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.

Analysts said Erdogan’s surprise announcement on Monday reflected his belief that the West would not oppose such operations at a time when it needs Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO.

Turkey accuses Sweden and Finland of harbouring people linked to the outlawed militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). All 30 NATO countries must agree the Nordic states’ application to join. The United States said on Tuesday it was confident that Sweden and Finland could overcome Turkey’s concerns.

Analysts said Erdogan’s announcement was also aimed at bolstering Turkish nationalist support for his two-decade rule as he gears up for difficult elections next year. Cross-border military operations have boosted his poll ratings in the past.

Turkey has conducted three incursions into northern Syria since 2016, seizing hundreds of kilometres of land and pushing some 30 km (20 miles) deep into the country, in operations targeting mainly the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

It has also stepped up military operations against PKK militants in northern Iraq in recent years.

Turkey views both groups as a single terrorist entity. Its NATO allies only view the PKK as a terrorist group, not the YPG.

Asli Aydintasbas, Istanbul-based senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Erdogan’s move was about testing Turkey’s NATO allies.

“President Erdogan’s style of meeting international challenges is upping the ante – and it almost always works in causing NATO allies to blink,” she said.

“It worked in the eastern Mediterranean and in Syria in the past – why not try again.”

Erdogan said operations to combat threats from across the border would start once Turkey’s armed forces and intelligence had completed their preparations, with decisions set to be made at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday.

KURDISH FACTOR

The YPG, or People’s Defence Units, are a key element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led coalition which the United States has largely relied on to fight Islamic State militants since 2014.

Commenting on Erdogan’s announcement, the SDF accused Turkey of attempting to “destabilise the region” by threatening military action in northern Syria.

The SDF also said it had shot down a Turkish drone on Sunday which it said Ankara has used for surveillance of SDF-held areas ahead of planned shelling.

“In case of any attack, of course we will resist and fight back. The international community now faces an important test: will it effectively rein in Turkey?” said Ciwan Mulla Ibrahim, spokesperson for the SDF-controlled autonomous administration in northeast Syria.

Syria’s foreign ministry in Damascus did not immediately respond to requests for comment. There was also no immediate comment from Washington.

Erdogan said the planned military operation would reveal which countries respected Turkey’s security concerns and which did not – an issue that cuts to the heart of the current NATO row.

Dareen Khalifa, analyst on Syria at the International Crisis Group, said a Turkish military move against the YPG was always possible despite the relative calm along Turkey’s border with YPG-held areas in northern Syria since 2019.

While mediators including the United States have managed to calm tensions in recent years, “the crux of the issue – Turkish-PKK relations – hasn’t been addressed”, she said.

ELECTIONS LOOM

Erdogan hopes to leverage the issue of Swedish and Finnish membership of NATO into an opportunity to achieve his long-held goal of creating a buffer zone free of Kurdish fighters along Turkey’s entire border with Syria, analysts said.

His move comes as opinion polls show support for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party sagging amid deepening economic woes. Turkey holds presidential and parliamentary elections in 2023.

Aydintasbas said Turkey had previously staged cross-border operations ahead of elections. But mounting a large-scale military incursion brings risks too.

As well as the YPG presence, Russia has forces deployed in the area to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. troops, Turkey-backed insurgents, Iran-backed fighters, jihadists and Syrian government forces also operate across the patchwork of territories in northern Syria.

Continue Reading

News

Cryptocurrency12 mins ago

El Salvador’s Bitcoin play: What does the current slump mean for adoption?

El Salvador’s Bitcoin play: What does the current slump mean for adoption? It was September 6, 2021, when the Central...

World12 mins ago

Does the Commonwealth have a future after Queen Elizabeth?

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leaves after watching the Royal Windsor Horse Show Platinum Jubilee Celebration at Windsor...

Stock Markets12 mins ago

Snowflake Stock Plunges 7% Despite Rosenblatt Upgrade to Buy on Valuation and Growth

© Reuters. Snowflake (SNOW) Stock Plunges 7% Despite Rosenblatt Upgrade to Buy on Valuation and Growth By Senad Karaahmetovic Shares...

Cryptocurrency18 mins ago

SHIB Passes FTX for Biggest Holding by USD Among Top 500 Whales

SHIB Passes FTX for Biggest Holding by USD Among Top 500 Whales SHIB just flipped FTT for the biggest holding...

Cryptocurrency18 mins ago

Colombian Crypto Market Advances, but Users Demand Greater Security

Colombian Crypto Market Advances, but Users Demand Greater Security A little more than a third of Colombians would be willing...

Cryptocurrency18 mins ago

A Gaming Token RoboApe With The Potential To Be Ranked As High As Avalanche Or Even Ethereum

A Gaming Token RoboApe With The Potential To Be Ranked As High As Avalanche Or Even Ethereum Blockchain and cryptocurrencies...

Coronavirus18 mins ago

U.S. births rise for the first time in seven years in 2021

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta,...

Stock Markets18 mins ago

Exclusive-Oracle to win unconditional EU nod for $28.3 billion Cerner deal -sources

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Oracle Corp. is displayed on a screen on the floor at the...

Stock Markets18 mins ago

Wall St plunges as Snap’s bleak forecast sparks selloff

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Snapchat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado...

Economy18 mins ago

Best Buy sees lower TV, computer sales as inflation hits shoppers’ wallets

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person enters a Best Buy store in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 22, 2021....

World19 mins ago

Russian and Chinese jets patrol East Asia skies, capping Biden trip

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence...

Stock Markets41 mins ago

Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded by Susquehanna on ‘Perfect Roadmap’

© Reuters. Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded By Susquehanna On ‘Perfect Roadmap’ By Sam Boughedda Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:LSCC) was upgraded from...

Stock Markets41 mins ago

Tesla loses bid to move sexual harassment lawsuit to arbitration

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla vehicle drives past Tesla’s primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was...

Cryptocurrency42 mins ago

Cardano Falls 10% In Selloff

Cardano Falls 10% In Selloff Investing.com – Cardano was trading at $0.4936 by 10:11 (14:11 GMT) on the Investing.com Index...

Stock Markets42 mins ago

Moderna CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity

© Reuters Moderna (MRNA) CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity By Senad Karaahmetovic Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO...

Stock Markets42 mins ago

Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 0.53%

© Reuters. Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 0.53% Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks...

Economic Indicators48 mins ago

U.S. business activity slows in May, survey shows

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Stacked containers are shown as ships unload their cargo at the Port of Los Angeles in...

World48 mins ago

Analysis: Erdogan’s vow to expand Syria operations raises stakes in Turkey-NATO row

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Turkish soldier waves a flag on Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria January 28 ,2018....

Stock Markets48 mins ago

U.S. Stocks Open Lower as Investors Worry About Recession Ahead

© Reuters. By Liz Moyer Investing.com — U.S. stocks opened lower on Tuesday, weighed down by a sharp decline in...

Cryptocurrency48 mins ago

Avalanche nears key breakdown level that could sink AVAX price by another 65%

Avalanche nears key breakdown level that could sink AVAX price by another 65% Avalanche (AVAX) gained 0.5% to reach over...

Cryptocurrency48 mins ago

Crypto Users Have Many Questions About Upcoming Cardano Hard Fork

Crypto Users Have Many Questions About Upcoming Cardano Hard Fork The Cardano Vasil Hard Fork will be the next upgrade...

Economy48 mins ago

EU proposes to make seizing assets easier, including of sanctioned oligarchs -document

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s super yacht Solaris is seen at Barcelona Port in Barcelona, Spain,...

Cryptocurrency48 mins ago

Investor Tries to Confront Do Kwon, Gets Arrested by Police

© Reuters. Investor Tries to Confront Do Kwon, Gets Arrested by Police An investor who lost millions in the Luna...

Economic Indicators48 mins ago

Workers at French window maker trade perks for pay hike to beat inflation

© Reuters. Herve Volochinoff, 24, works on the structure of a window at Fligitter, a window-maker company located in Ottmarsheim,...

Stock Markets48 mins ago

Exclusive-EU set to clear without conditions $28.3 billion Oracle, Cerner deal – sources

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Oracle Corp. is displayed on a screen on the floor at the...

Stock Markets49 mins ago

Lufthansa aims for 20% stake in ITA Airways -source

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A new state-owned Italian carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo plane with the new blue livery is...

World1 hour ago

Russian and Chinese jets conduct patrol in East Asia, capping Biden trip

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence...

Cryptocurrency1 hour ago

Russia’s updated crypto mining bill cuts tax amnesty for Bitcoin miners

Russia’s updated crypto mining bill cuts tax amnesty for Bitcoin miners In less than a month, the draft of a...

Stock Markets1 hour ago

Wall Street opens lower on Snap shock, growth fears

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Snapchat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado...

Economic Indicators1 hour ago

Full cost of rebuilding Ukraine impossible to quantify, says German Finance Minister

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescuers search for bodies under the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling, amid...

Trending