Analysis: French break-up a blow to Biden’s China-focused alliance rebuilding
European capitals celebrated a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June, as President Joe Biden’s top diplomat cracked jokes in French in Paris, posed for selfies with French youth and spoke at length about revitalizing the transatlantic relationship. It was a breath of fresh air after four years of former President Donald Trump’s brash “America First” administration, during which U.S. ties with Europe lurched from one crisis to another amid policy decisions that often blindsided European countries.
Hong Kong’s first ‘patriots-only’ election kicks off
Fewer than 5,000 Hong Kong people from mostly pro-establishment circles vote on Sunday for candidates vetted as loyal to Beijing, who will pick the city’s next China-backed leader. Pro-democracy candidates are almost absent from Hong Kong’s first election since Beijing overhauled the city’s electoral system to ensure that “only patriots” rule China’s freest city.
Australia made ‘huge mistake’ in cancelling submarine deal, says French envoy
Australia has made a “huge” diplomatic error by ditching a multi-billion-dollar order for French submarines in favour of an alternative deal with the United States and Britain, France’s envoy to Canberra said on Saturday. Canberra announced on Thursday it would scrap its 2016 deal with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and instead build at least eight nuclear-powered ones with U.S. and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership nL1N2QH2X7.
Navalny allies accuse YouTube, Telegram of censorship in Russian election
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s allies accused YouTube and Telegram of censorship on Saturday after the video platform and messaging app restricted access to their anti-government voting recommendations for Russia’s parliamentary election. Navalny’s allies already accused Alphabet’s Google and Apple of buckling under Kremlin pressure on Friday after the companies removed an app from their stores that the activists had hoped to use against the ruling party at the election.
Trudeau warns against vote split in tight Canada election
With the Canadian election in a dead heat two days before the Sept. 20 vote, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Conservative rival implored supporters to stay the course and avoid vote splitting that could hand their opponent victory. Both men campaigned in the same seat-rich Toronto region on Saturday as they tried to fend off voter defections to the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) and the populist People’s Party of Canada (PPC), both of which are rising in polls.
SpaceX capsule with world’s first all-civilian orbital crew splashes down off Florida
The quartet of newly minted citizen astronauts comprising the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission safely splashed down in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast on Saturday, completing a three-day flight of the first all-civilian crew ever launched into Earth orbit. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, parachuted into calm seas around 7 p.m. EDT, shortly before sunset, after an automated re-entry descent, SpaceX showed during a live webcast shown on its YouTube channel.
Some Afghan girls return to school, others face anxious wait
Some Afghan girls returned to primary schools with gender-segregated classes on Saturday, but older girls faced an anxious wait with no clarity over if and when they would be able to resume their studies at the secondary school level. Most schools in the capital Kabul have stayed shut since the Taliban captured the city just over a month ago.
Bandits release 10 students kidnapped two months ago from Nigerian school
Bandits have released 10 more students kidnapped two months ago from a Baptist school in northwest Nigeria, the school administrator told Reuters on Saturday. The Reverend John Hayab, administrator of the Bethel Baptist High school, said 21 students from the school remained in captivity. He said an undisclosed ransom was paid to release eight students while another two were set free due to ill health.
Japan PM candidates deny toning down views on hot-button issues to attract votes
Two of the candidates vying to become Japan’s next prime minister denied on Saturday they had toned down their positions on nuclear energy and gender issues to attract conservative backing in a tight ruling party leadership election this month. The winner of the Sept. 29 contest to lead the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is almost certain to succeed Yoshihide Suga as the country’s next premier because the party has a majority in the lower house.
Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters, arrest nearly 270
Australia’s police arrested 235 people in Melbourne and 32 in Sydney on Saturday at unsanctioned anti-lockdown rallies and several police officers were injured in clashes with protesters. Victoria police said six officers required hospitalisation. Several officers were knocked to the ground and trampled, the police said and television footage showed.