PRC links critical: Pentagon
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday said that it was critical to have direct lines of communication with Chinese officials in case of an accident. “I’m concerned about something that could happen that could spark a crisis, and I think we need the ability to be able to talk with both our allies and partners, but also our adversaries or potential adversaries,” Austin told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “There needs to be a direct line of communication between the military and also between government officials as well,” he added.
Image abroad improves
The US’ image abroad has improved dramatically since Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump as president, a Pew Research Center survey of 12 nations, mainly in Europe and Asia, that was showed on Thursday. The nonpartisan research group found that a median of 75 percent of people had confidence in Biden “to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” versus 17 percent who felt that way about Trump in last year’s poll. A median of 62 percent had a favorable view of the US, up from 34 percent last year. Those with an unfavorable view fell to 36 percent from 63 percent. The poll was conducted in Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea. “Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, publics around the world held the United States in low regard, with most opposed to his foreign policies,” Pew said, adding that it found “a significant uptick in ratings for the US, with strong support for Biden and several of his major policy initiatives.”
US repatriates antiquities
The US has repatriated 27 antiquities to Cambodia after years of work by New York investigators to recover the smuggled artifacts. Valued at about US$3.8 million, the items included several Hindu and Angkorian Buddhist statues, such as a bronze meditating Buddha on a Naga, a statue of Shiva and a Buddhist sandstone sculpture of Prajnaparamita. The repatriation “restores an important link between the nation’s classical Angkor era and its modern customs and beliefs that for far too long was disrupted by the greed of stolen antiquities traffickers,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona said that the antiquities were the “missing souls” of the country’s ancestors.
Missing dog turns to herding
A pet dog who vanished for two days after being ejected from a vehicle during an accident has been found apparently doing the job it was bred to do — herding sheep. Linda Oswald’s family and their dog, Tilly, were driving on Idaho State Highway 41 on Sunday last week when they crashed into another vehicle, launching the dog through the rear window, the Spokesman-Review reported. The unharmed, but stunned dog ran away, prompting an immediate search that included at least six strangers who witnessed the crash, Oswald said. The search lasted about 10 hours before the family went home. The family then turned to Facebook to continue the search of the two-year-old border collie mix. That was when Tyler, Travis and Zane Potter recognized the dog as the same dog they saw on their family farm south of Rathdrum on Tuesday. Both the Potters and Oswald think Tilly was drawn to the farm and their sheep. “I think that dog was trying to herd,” Travis Potter said.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, the Bhutanese Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on Tuesday last week in a mass drive that has been hailed by the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” Bhutan grabbed headlines in April when its government said it had inoculated about the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose
African nations should build capacity to produce vaccines on the continent and work with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the raw materials needed to produce the inoculations are available, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. While a waiver on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights that is being discussed at the WTO is seen as a way to improve the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s least inoculated continent, Okonjo-Iweala said that only a handful of African countries have the capacity to produce the life-saving drugs. “There [are] a handful of countries — maybe Tunisia, Morocco to some extent,
For almost 500 years, the arch that connects the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Renaissance sacristy has offered visitors a sumptuous, if little glimpsed — and even less studied — vision of religious bounty. The 68 beautifully carved plates of food that adorn the archway in Seville’s cathedral offer rather more than bread and wine. There are pigs’ trotters and wild strawberries, aubergines, clams and oysters. There are peaches, radishes, a skinned hare with a knife by its side, a squirrel served on a bed of hazelnuts and a plate of lemons across which a small snake slithers. There
‘LIBERATE HONG KONG’: The prosecution argued that the slogan was in the tradition of rallying cries for secession dating back to the Qin and Qing dynasties Three Hong Kong judges are to rule tomorrow whether the protest slogan: “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” is a call for secession when they deliver a verdict on charges against a man arrested at a demonstration last year. The landmark ruling could have long-term implications for how a Beijing-imposed National Security Law against secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with foreign forces reshapes the territory’s common law traditions, some legal scholars say. Democracy advocates say that a ruling to outlaw the slogan would tighten limits on free speech. The slogan was last year chanted during democracy protests, posted online, scrawled on walls,