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Geopolitics & Worlds

CPC’s disciplinary agency renews anti-corruption drive, to fight new challenges of ‘capital-power collusion’ (Yang Sheng, Global Times)

The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) top disciplinary agency pledged to maintain a strong and persistent crackdown on corruption in a communiqué released Thursday, and the document also said the Party will actively handle “the new challenges and new situations” of the anti-corruption campaign, including strengthening investigations and punishment behind the “disorderly expansion of capital” and monopoly of some online platforms, vowing to cut off the collusion between capital and power.

CPC’s disciplinary agency renews anti-corruption drive, to fight new challenges of ‘capital-power collusion’ – Global Times

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Ex-pope Benedict accused of inaction in sexual abuse cases (Al Jazeera)

Former Pope Benedict XVI failed to take action against clerics in four cases of alleged sexual abuse when he was archbishop of Munich and Freising, a report has found.

Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was asked to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled those correctly.

Ex-pope Benedict accused of inaction in sexual abuse cases | Religion News | Al Jazeera

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Geopolitics & Worlds

What Germany’s climate movement got right: Breaking rules (Clara S Thompson, Al Jazeera)

In late November 2021, Germany’s new coalition government announced its aim to phase out coal power across the country by 2030, eight years ahead of schedule.

Earlier that month, the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where activists have been protesting against coal mining, announced it would accelerate phasing out coal by 2030, sparing five of six villages marked for demolition for the extension of a huge mine.

What Germany’s climate movement got right: Breaking rules | Climate Crisis | Al Jazeera

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Geopolitics & Worlds

US, Europe present united front before Blinken-Lavrov talks (Al Jazeera)

The United States and its Western allies have insisted they will be united in responding strongly to any Russian incursion into Ukraine before talks between Washington and Moscow’s top diplomats over the crisis.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said any “new acts of aggression” from Moscow towards its neighbour would be met with a “swift, severe, united response” from the White House and its partners.

US, Europe present united front before Blinken-Lavrov talks | Conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Pentagon releases footage of deadly Kabul drone strike (Al Jazeera)

The Pentagon for the first time publicly released drone footage of a botched strike in Kabul that killed 10 members of a family, including seven children, amid the chaotic US withdrawal from the country.

The footage was initially obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times and was subsequently released by US Central Command on Thursday. It appears to underscore how, by the Pentagon’s own account, limited intelligence, a heightened state of alert, and rushed decision-making led to the killing of civilians.

Pentagon releases footage of deadly Kabul drone strike | Taliban News | Al Jazeera

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Rights groups want UN to ban Bangladesh’s RAB from peacekeeping (Al Jazeera)

Human rights organisations documenting abuses committed by the Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have requested the United Nations to ban the unit’s members from its peace operations.

In a letter to Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix made public on Thursday, 12 human rights groups voiced concern “that individuals who have served with [RAB] are being sent on UN missions, despite consistent and credible evidence of abuses including extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances by members of this unit since its creation in 2004″.

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Taking Action to Expose and Disrupt Russia’s Destabilization Campaign in Ukraine (US Department of State)

In advance of a potential further invasion of Ukraine, Russian intelligence services, mainly the Federal Security Service (FSB), a U.S. sanctioned entity, have been recruiting Ukrainian nationals in key positions to gain access to sensitive information.  The FSB leverages these officials in an attempt to create instability in Ukraine.  In close coordination with the Government of Ukraine, the United States is working to identify, expose, and impose costs on these actors in order to foil these influence operations.

The United States today is imposing sanctions on four individuals connected to ongoing Russian intelligence service-directed influence activities designed to destabilize Ukraine.

This action is intended to target, highlight, and undercut Russia’s ongoing destabilization effort in Ukraine.  It is separate and distinct from the broad range of high impact measures the United States and its allies and partners are prepared to impose in order to inflict significant costs on the Russian economy and financial system if it were to further invade Ukraine.

The individuals we are targeting, two of whom are members of Ukraine’s parliament, act at the direction of the FSB and support Russia’s destabilizing and dangerous influence operations, which undermine not just Ukraine but also the fundamental principles of democracy.  The four individuals designated today include Taras Kozak, Oleh Voloshyn, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Vladimir Sivkovich.  This action is in line with other actions that we have taken to target Russian disinformation campaigns, including 32 election interference designations that we announced in April 2021.

Russia has used hybrid tactics, including disinformation and other influence campaigns, to destabilize Ukraine for years.  In 2020, Kremlin officials launched a comprehensive information operation plan designed in part to degrade the ability of the Ukrainian state to independently function; the individuals designated today played key roles in that campaign.

Russia’s influence campaigns are not only focused on Ukraine.  For over a decade, Russia has employed disinformation outlets and intelligence service affiliates globally to spread false narratives in support of its strategic goals.  Since at least 2016, Russian intelligence services have sought to influence U.S. elections through a number of tactics.  For example, Taras Kozak used the media platforms he owns both to denigrate senior members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s inner circle and amplify false narratives around the 2020 U.S. elections.

The United States will continue to take steps, including through actions like this one, and in partnership with the Ukrainian government, to identify, expose, and undercut Russia’s destabilization efforts in Ukraine.  The United States also will continue to expose and counter Russia’s global campaign of malign influence, in Ukraine and beyond.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release .

 

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Why Biden’s Jerusalem consulate promise remains unfulfilled (Ali Harb, Al Jazeera)

The United States’s diplomatic presence in Jerusalem predates the establishment of the State of Israel by nearly a century, and an American consulate in the holy city provided services to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza since 1967.

That is, until former President Donald Trump closed it in 2019.

Why Biden’s Jerusalem consulate promise remains unfulfilled | Jerusalem News | Al Jazeera

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Israel police chief orders probe into NSO spyware claims (Al Jazeera)

Israel’s police chief says he has ordered an extensive investigation into a newspaper’s claims that the police force had used controversial Israeli spyware to hack the phones of protesters, mayors and other citizens under investigation without proper authorisation.

Earlier this week, a Hebrew-language business paper published an investigative report claiming that the police had used the NSO Group’s Pegasus hacking software to surveil leaders of a protest movement against then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as a raft of other alleged misuses of the technology.

Israel police chief orders probe into NSO spyware claims | Police News | Al Jazeera

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