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Apr 2022

Aug 15, 2022

US House Gives Biden a Win with Massive Bill on Climate Change, Drug Prices

  • The Democratic-led US House of Representatives approved a $430 billion bill that is seen as the biggest climate package in US history, delivering a major legislative victory for President Joe Biden ahead of the November 8 midterm elections.
  • The legislation to fight climate change and lower prescription drug prices aims to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions. It will also allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for the elderly and ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay the taxes they owe. Democrats say it will help combat inflation by reducing the federal deficit.
  • The House voted 220-207 along party lines to pass the measure titled the "Inflation Reduction Act" and send it on to Biden to sign into law.

Turkey Urges Sweden, Finland to Fulfil NATO Accession Commitments

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged Finland and Sweden to take concrete steps about their commitments that should be fulfilled before their accession to the NATO.
  • Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after the outbreak of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on February 24.
  • However, their accession bid was initially blocked by Turkey, which accused the two countries of supporting terrorist organisations after they refused Ankara's extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.
  • The three countries had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June that addressed Turkey's concerns at the NATO summit in Madrid, in which Finland and Sweden pledged to support Ankara's fight against terrorism and agreed to address its pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly.

Aug 14, 2022

Latvia and Estonia Withdraw from Cooperation Group

  • Latvia and Estonia withdrew from a cooperation group between China and over a dozen Central and Eastern European countries. The move came amid Western criticism of China over escalating military pressure on Taiwan. Relations between Lithuania and China worsened after former allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy late in 2021. Both Latvia and Estonia would continue to work towards constructive and pragmatic relations with China while respecting the rules-based international order and human rights.
  • Latvia's Foreign Ministry said the country's continued participation in the China group was no longer in line with their strategic objectives in the current international environment.
  • Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are among countries that remain in the cooperation format.

Aug 13, 2022

S. Africa Resists Pressure to Cut Ties with Russia

  • South Africa publicly pushed back at attempts of the US to cut ties with Russia, with its Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor stating in the presence of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that her country won't be pushed around and many in Africa had more faith in ties with BRICS countries than the West.
  • Pandor also said the people of Palestine deserved the same attention from the international community that the people of Ukraine received and added that Africa had at times experienced patronising and bullying from the West. South Africa, like India, is among the several Asian and African countries that have taken a neutral stance on the Ukraine war.

Aug 12, 2022

Mexican President Proposes Global Peace Commission Led by 3 Leaders Including PM Modi

  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to submit a written proposal to the UN to create a commission, made up of three world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to promote a world truce for a period of five years.
  • The aim of the commission would be to present a proposal to stop the wars around the world and reach an agreement to seek a truce for at least five years.
  • Calling for an end to warlike actions, the Mexican President has invited China, Russia and the United States, to seek peace and hoped the three countries "will listen and accept an intermediation such as the one we are proposing".

Aug 11, 2022

Russia Suspends Inspection of Strategic Arms under US Treaty

  • Russia said it was suspending US on-site inspections under a strategic arms reduction treaty with Washington, pointing to Western sanctions and coronavirus infections.
  • As per the Russian foreign ministry, facilities that are subject to inspections under the New START treaty will be temporarily exempt from such inspections.
  • The announcement came as ties between Russia and the United States unravel over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine and debilitating Western sanctions.
  • New START is the last remaining arms reduction pact between the former Cold War rivals and caps to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed by Moscow and Washington.

James Marape Sworn in as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for Second Term

  • James Marape, who was sworn in as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for a second term after a national election, vowed to reform electoral processes and "get more from our resources" without scaring away investors.
  • Voting in PNG's general election, held every five years, ran across three weeks in July but counting was extended till August because of special circumstances including security issues, attacks on ballot boxes and logistical challenges, the electoral commission said.
  • Marape first became Prime Minister in 2019.
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