China Lashes Out at US Over Downed Balloon

China said on Monday that a decision by the United States to shoot down a balloon that had flown into U.S. airspace was a test of Washington’s “sincerity in improving and stabilizing China-U.S. relations and its way of handling crises.”

A U.S. fighter jet shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon Saturday as it traveled over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. The balloon’s flight ended after it had traveled for several days across the continental United States.   

Officials in the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden said the balloon was a surveillance aircraft and called its flight over America an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty” by China.  Officials said the administration took measures to prevent the balloon from gathering any information as it crossed the country.

China is denying those claims, insisting that it was a civilian scientific aircraft that accidentally drifted into U.S. airspace.

In a statement released Sunday, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng lodged an official protest to the downing of the balloon, describing it as an overreaction and a “serious violation of international practice.”

Xie vowed that China will “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests” of the balloon’s private operator.   

The discovery of the balloon prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a much-anticipated visit to Beijing designed to improve relations between the two economic giants which have soured in recent years.   

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters Monday that Beijing hopes Washington “will work with China to properly handle our differences so as to avoid miscalculation or damage to our mutual trust.”

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. 

Відставка Резнікова: Зеленський дає останній шанс?

Кадровий детектив навколо Міноборони України продовжується. Після анонсу від голови фракції «Слуга народу» Давида Арахамії про відставку Олексія Резнікова з посади міністра оборони сам очільник відомства сказав, що звільнити його може лише президент Володимир Зеленський. Згодом Арахамія повідомив, що кадрових ротацій в Міноборони цього тижня не буде. Як Резнікову вдалося поки що втриматися на посаді та чи поставив Зеленський міністру ультиматум?
Росія може розпочати черговий масштабний наступ в Україні протягом найближчих десяти днів. Про це пише Financial Times з посиланням на неназваного радника української армії. Москва також збирає війська на півдні Донецької області і особливо багато підрозділів відправляє в села біля окупованого Маріуполя, пишуть аналітики. Чи встоїть Донбас до початку весни? Запитаємо у голови Донецької ОВА Павла Кириленка.

Про це та інше говоримо у в програмі «Свобода LIVE». Прямий ефір – о 20:00 на @Радіо Свобода:

 

 

India-US Technology Initiatives Launched with Eye on China

A technology and defense initiative by India and the United States aims at countering China and reducing New Delhi’s dependence on Russian weapons. Analysts say it also marks a significant push in tightening the U.S. and India’s strategic partnership.

Both countries will deepen cooperation in areas like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless networks and semiconductors — areas in which China has acquired a dominating position.

“This convergence comes at a time when technology is becoming a determinant in U.S.-China relations and in some ways the geopolitics of technology is shaping the global balance of power,” said Harsh Pant, the vice president of studies and foreign policy at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “This also represents America placing a huge bet on India’s emergence as a major player in the Indo-Pacific.”

Senior officials from both countries met in Washington earlier this month for the U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, which was announced by U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last May on the sidelines of a Quad summit held in Tokyo.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, told reporters that the goal is for technological partnerships to be “the next big milestone” in the India-U.S. relationship.

Concerned about U.S. reliance on China for critical components such as semiconductors, Washington has taken steps to halt the sale of advanced semiconductor technology to Beijing and wants to shift the manufacture of such components to friendly countries.

India, whose relations with Beijing have plummeted since a deadly clash along their Himalayan border three years ago, also wants to boost local manufacturing in crucial sectors such as semiconductors which are at the heart of modern electronic devices.

“Geopolitics is a big driver of this new initiative,” said Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center. He says the agreement reflects how far the India-U.S. relationship has come over the last few decades. “In recent years they’ve built enough trust to be talking about technology transfers and intelligence-sharing—something that Washington tends to do only with its closest strategic partners.”

The agreement also aims to facilitate joint development of defense technologies and weapons production in India. New Delhi wants to coproduce weapons in India with foreign defense manufacturers rather than purchase them outright, but U.S. restrictions on transferring defense technology have stalled such efforts with American companies.

The initial focus will be on jet engines, artillery systems and armored infantry vehicles. During the February 1 meeting in Washington, American officials said that the government would look into expediting a review of an application by U.S. manufacturer General Electric to jointly build jet engines in India for Indian aircraft.

“The more India and the U.S. will work on cutting edge technologies, the less relevant Russia will become to India’s strategic calculations,” Pant said.

India’s partnership with Washington has been spurred by New Delhi’s growing worries about China as troops from both countries faceoff along their disputed Himalayan border for a third winter. However, India did not join in Western sanctions against Russia or outright condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, raising questions about the divergent position it took from the U.S.

Analysts in India pointed out that besides its longstanding policy of strategic autonomy, New Delhi’s choices were also constrained by its heavy dependence on Russia for weapons. Although India has diversified its defense purchases in recent years, more than two thirds of its military equipment is of Russian origin and critical to its security needs amid its standoff with China.

“Washington’s current policy is to play a long game and to try to persuade New Delhi that over the longer term, Moscow will be too cash-strapped and sanctioned to provide military supplies to India,” Kugelman said. “And that the U.S. will position itself to provide India with the types of military equipment that New Delhi has long secured from Russia.”

However, translating the potential of the defense and technology agreements on the ground remains to be tested because much will depend on how private companies in both countries move to firm up partnerships. While India has a highly skilled workforce, American companies have long complained of Indian regulations that have been an obstacle to manufacturing in the country. India on the other hand cites strict U.S. regulations on technology transfers as hampering those efforts.

But the agreement is seen as a positive signal of the two countries overcoming long-standing issues of trust.

“Despite India’s stand on Ukraine, despite some other problems, these have become marginal to the larger strategic vision that the two nations have. It is now guided by the Indo-Pacific, where they are increasingly on the same side,” Pant said.

Leonard Peltier Remembered on Monday 

February 6 is the Global Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist who has been imprisoned for almost five decades.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement that “people around the world are calling on President Biden to finally grant Leonard clemency.” She said February 6 “marks the beginning of Leonard’s 48th year of incarceration.”

Peltier, who is 78, has been repeatedly denied parole.

He was a leader in the American Indian Movement when he was arrested, following a shoot out on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1975 in which two FBI agents were killed.

There were several inconsistencies in his case, but he was found guilty and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

Before his court case began, he fled the country, fearing that he would not receive a fair trial, but he was found in Canada.

Two other men facing the same charges as Peltier were found not guilty.

“Amnesty International has long maintained that there are serious concerns about the fairness of proceedings leading to his trial and conviction,” Guevara-Rosas said in a statement.

“As President Biden prepares to address the public on Tuesday at the State of the Union Address,” she said, “we urge the administration to uphold their commitment to human rights and grant Leonard Peltier clemency on humanitarian grounds and as a matter of justice.”

Україна готова направити велику групу рятувальників до Туреччини – Кулеба

Землетрус магнітудою 7,8 стався на півдні Туреччини і на півночі Сирії в ніч на 6 лютого. За останніми даними, загинули понад 1300 людей, тисячі поранені. Вдень 6 лютого стався ще один землетрус магнітудою 7,7

«Сприяв вторгненню РФ». СБУ повідомила про підозру керівнику «Російських залізниць»

«Як свідчать матеріали слідства, він організував доставку залізничним транспортом російської бронетехніки й особового складу в напрямку державного кордону України і на тимчасово окуповані території нашої держави»

US Skiers to Don Climate Change-Themed Race Suits at World Championships

Looking cool is just the tip of the iceberg for Mikaela Shiffrin, Travis Ganong and the rest of the U.S. ski team when they debut new race suits at the world championships.

Even more, they want everyone thinking about climate change.

The team’s predominantly blue-and-white suits depict an image of ice chunks floating in the ocean. It’s a concept based on a satellite photo of icebergs breaking due to high temperatures. The suit was designed in collaboration with Kappa, the team’s technical apparel sponsor, and the nonprofit organization Protect Our Winters (POW).

The Americans will wear the suits throughout the world championships in Courchevel and Meribel, France, which start Monday with a women’s Alpine combined race and end February 19.

“Although a race suit is not solving climate change, it is a move to continue the conversation and show that U.S Ski & Snowboard and its athletes are committed to being a part of the future,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, the president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Global warming has become a cold, hard reality in ski racing, with mild temperatures and a lack of snow leading to the postponement of several World Cup events this winter.

“I’m just worried about a future where there’s no more snow. And without snow, there’s no more skiing,” said Ganong, who grew up skiing at Lake Tahoe in California. “So this is very near and dear to me.”

What alarms Ganong is seeing the stark year-to-year changes to some of the World Cup circuit’s most storied venues.

“I mean, it’s just kind of scary, looking at how on the limit (these events) are even to being possible anymore,” said Ganong, who’s been on the U.S. team since 2006. “Places like Kitzbuehel (Austria), there’s so much history and there’s so much money involved with that event that they do whatever they can to host the event.

“But that brings up a whole other question about sustainability as well: Is that what we should be doing? … What kind of message do we need [to] show to the public, to the world about how our sport is adapting to this new world we live in?”

The suits feature a POW patch on the neck and the organization’s snowflake logo on the leg.

“By coming together, we can educate and mobilize our snow-sports community to push for the clean energy technologies and policies that will most swiftly reduce emissions and protect the places we live and the lifestyles we love,” according to a statement from executive director Mario Molina, whose organization includes athletes, business leaders and scientists who are trying to protect places from climate change.

Ganong said a group of ski racers are releasing a letter to the International Ski Federation (FIS), with the hope the governing body will take a stronger stance on sustainability and climate change.

“They should be at the forefront of trying to adapt to this new world, and try to make it better, too,” Ganong said.

Early Winners in Top Grammy Categories Announced

 

— Best alternative music performance: “Chaise Longue” by Wet Leg

— Best alternative music album: “Wet Leg,” Wet Leg

— Best rock album: “Patient Number 9,” Ozzy Osbourne

— Best rock performance: “Broken Horses” by Brandi Carlile

— Best rock song: “Broken Horses” by Brandi Carlile

— Best rap performance: “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar

— Best rap song: “The Heart Part 5” by Kendrick Lamar

— Best melodic rap performance: “WAIT FOR U” by Future featuring Drake & Tems

— Best R&B album: “Black Radio III,” Robert Glasper

— Best R&B performance: “Hrs & Hrs” by Muni Long

— Best traditional R&B performance: “Plastic Off The Sofa” by Beyonce

— Best progressive R&B album: “Gemini Rights,” Steve Lacy

— Best audio book, narration and storytelling recording: “Finding Me” by Viola Davis

— Best traditional pop vocal album: “Higher,” Michael Buble

— Best solo country solo performance: “Live Forever,” Willie Nelson

— Best country duo/group performance: “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

— Best country album: “‘Til You Can’t,” Cody Johnson

— Best jazz vocal album: Samara Joy

— Best dance/electronic recording: “Break My Soul,” by Beyonce

— Best metal performance: “Degradation Rules” by Ozzy Osbourne featuring Tony Iommi

— Best engineered, non-classical album: “Harry’s House,” Harry Styles

— Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: “Encanto”

— Best score soundtrack for visual media: “Encanto,” Germaine Franco

— Best score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media: “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok,” Stephanie Economou.