Private conversations with George W. Bush secretly taped by an old friend before he was elected president foreshadow some of his political strategies and appear to reveal that he acknowledged using marijuana, The New York Times reported Saturday. \nThe conversations were recorded by Doug Wead, a former aide to George W. Bush's father, beginning in 1998, when Bush was weighing a presidential bid, until just before the Republican National Convention in 2000, the Times said in a story posted on its Web site. \nThe tapes show Bush crafting a strategy for navigating the tricky political waters between Christian conservative and secular voters, repeatedly worrying that evangelicals would be angered by a refusal to bash gays and that secular Americans would be turned off by meetings with evangelical leaders. \nOn one tape, Bush explains that he told one prominent evangelical that he would not "kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" \nIn early tapes, Bush dismisses the strength of John McCain for the nomination and expresses concern about rival Steve Forbes. He also praises John Ashcroft as a promising candidate for Supreme Court justice, attorney general or vice president. \nBush also criticizes then-Vice President Al Gore for admitting marijuana use and explains why he would not do the same. \n"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried." \nAccording to the article, Wead played 12 of the tapes to a Times reporter. He said he recorded them because he viewed Bush as a historic figure. He is the author of a new book on presidential childhoods. \nThe White House did not deny the authenticity of the tapes. \n"The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, referring to Bush.
With YouTube videos “debunking” allegations of human rights abuses and diatribes on Western “conspiracies” against China, an unlikely set of foreigners is loudly defending Beijing against international critics. They are teachers and business owners from the UK, Colombia and Singapore, a collage of YouTubers garnering fame for their video takedowns of what they say are unfair accusations against Beijing. Videos alternate between praise of China’s rapid development and rebuttals of negative foreign reports about the country. Experts say they are being deployed as a weapon in the information war against China’s critics, with hundreds of videos reaching millions of viewers. “I am trying to
Hospitals are overwhelmed, ventilators are difficult to find and there is no longer enough space at the main cemetery for COVID-19 victims in Mauritius. Barely three weeks before it fully opens its doors to international travelers at the start of the peak tourist season, the island nation is struggling with an alarming explosion in COVID-19 infections and deaths. In just two months, cases have jumped more than fivefold to more than 12,600 as of Friday, by far the largest increase across Africa during this period, data compiled by Agence France-Presse showed. Since the pandemic started, Mauritius has recorded 1,005 cases of COVID-19 per
ELEVATED PARTNERSHIP: The agreement enables Japan to share its equipment and technology, as the countries deepen defense ties amid China worries Japan is to give defense equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed on Saturday, as the two countries step up their military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence. Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said the deal elevates the countries’ defense partnership “to a new level,” and that Japan and Vietnam plan to deepen defense ties through multinational joint exercises and other means. Details about the transfer of specific equipment, including naval vessels, is to be worked out in subsequent talks, the ministry said. Kishi’s meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Defense Phan Van Giang in Hanoi
A city in southern China that is trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak told the public on Sunday not to leave, suspended bus and train services, and closed cinemas, bars and other facilities. Anyone needing to leave Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in China’s Fujian Province, for an essential trip must have proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 48 hours, the city government said. China declared the virus under control early last year, but has suffered outbreaks of the more contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Authorities say that most cases have been traced to travelers arriving from