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Terrorism USA

The United States Imposes Sanctions on International Networks Supporting Terrorism (US Department of State)

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE

The United States has designated Lebanon- and Kuwait-based members of a financial network that funds Hizballah, as well as members of an international network of financial facilitators and front companies that operate in support of Hizballah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Together, these networks have laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems and conducted currency exchange operations and trade in gold and electronics for the benefit of both Hizballah and the IRGC-QF. This action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority within Executive Order 13224, as amended.

Hizballah uses revenues generated by these networks to fund terrorist activities and to perpetuate instability in Lebanon and throughout the region. The United States will not relent in targeting these networks, and we will continue to take actions to disrupt their activities.

Hizballah is increasingly looking for additional sources of revenue to bolster its coffers. We call on governments around the world to take steps to ensure Hizballah and other terrorist groups do not exploit their territory and financial institutions.

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

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Ethiopia USA

Issuance of New Executive Order Establishing Sanctions Related to the Crisis in Ethiopia (US Department of State)

In the midst of ongoing violence, abuses against civilians, and growing humanitarian plight in Ethiopia, President Biden today signed an Executive Order (E.O.) establishing a new sanctions regime in response to the crisis. With it, the United States will be able to impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities in connection with the conflict, including those responsible for threatening peace and stability, obstructing humanitarian access or progress toward a ceasefire, or committing serious human rights abuses. Designated individuals are also subject to visa restrictions. This conflict has sparked one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with more than five million people requiring assistance, of which over 900,000 are living in famine conditions. This new tool underscores our resolve to use every appropriate tool at our disposal to bring relief to the long-suffering people of the region.

For too long, the Government of Ethiopia, the Government of Eritrea, the Amhara regional government, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have failed to stop fighting and invest in diplomacy required to solve the ongoing crisis. Instead, violence has escalated and spread, and human rights abuses and obstruction of humanitarian access continue. The Administration, in concert with our international partners, including in the region, has employed a range of diplomatic tools. Most recently, the United States designated Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) Chief of Staff General Filipos Woldeyohannes under the Global Magnitsky sanctions authority in connection with serious human rights abuses committed by the EDF in Ethiopia. In May, we also announced a visa restriction policy on the issuance of visas for individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the resolution of the crisis in Tigray.

The United States calls on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to cease ongoing hostilities and enter into ceasefire negotiations immediately and without preconditions. Talks to achieve a negotiated ceasefire should lead to a broader dialogue to find a durable political solution to the conflict. Eritrean forces should immediately and permanently withdraw from Ethiopia. If the parties take immediate steps in this regard, the United States is prepared to delay imposition of sanctions and focus on supporting a negotiated process.

Absent clear and concrete progress toward a negotiated ceasefire and an end to abuses – as well as unhindered humanitarian access to those Ethiopians who are suffering – the United States will designate imminently specific leaders, organizations, and entities under this new sanctions regime. Any sanctions imposed under this new authority would target those responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that are prolonging the conflict in northern Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access and a ceasefire, or committing serious human rights abuses. We have taken a series of steps to help ensure legitimate humanitarian assistance (including COVID-19 related assistance), as well as personal remittances, food, and medicine continue to reach the Ethiopian and Eritrean people and that the activities of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia and Eritrea can proceed.

Today’s action demonstrates that the United States will continue to use all appropriate tools at our disposal to end the conflict.

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EU-US Trade and Technology Council Europe USA

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council : mapping the challenges and opportunities for transatlantic cooperation on trade, climate and digital (Andreas Aktoudianakis, Guillaume Van der Loo, Thijs Vandenbussche, EGMONT)

The EU-US Summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set an ambitious joint agenda for EU-US cooperation post-COVID-19. The new Biden administration offers the EU the opportunity to re-establish transatlantic relations, which reached their lowest point since World War II under the turbulent Trump administration, and to address the bilateral disputes and tensions that have emerged, partly as a result of Trump’s ‘America First’ policies. One of the key deliverables of the Summit was the establishment of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC aims to deepen EU-US relations on trade and investment and to avoid new technical barriers to trade by cooperating on key policies such as technology, digital policy issues and supply chains. Despite the optimism in Brussels and Washington about renewing and strengthening transalantic cooperation, there are several challenges for EU-US cooperation. In the areas of trade, digital and climate in particular several differing views or outstanding disputes (most of them inherited by the Trump administration) will need to be addressed by the new TTC (the first meeting is scheduled on 29-30 September 2021) or other joint bodies. Only then will the EU and the US be able to deliver on the new ambitious transatlantic agenda. This paper will therefore discuss the key challenges and opportunities for EU-US cooperation in the three interrelated areas of trade, digital and climate. For each of these areas, the outcome of the June 2021 EU-US Summit will be discussed and the challenges and opportunities for delivering on the renewed transatlantic agenda will be analysed. Moreover, this paper will present several policy recommendations, for the TTC or on EU-US cooperation in general, on how to advance the transatlantic partnership.

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council : mapping the challenges and opportunities for transatlantic cooperation on trade, climate and digital – Egmont Institute

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Afghanistan Europe USA

Judy Asks: Will the Afghanistan Debacle Change Your Country’s Foreign and Security Policy? (Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe)

The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has left European capitals skeptical about such missions and critical of American leadership. The debacle should lead to frank discussions about NATO’s role and the EU’s defense ambitions.

Judy Asks: Will the Afghanistan Debacle Change Your Country’s Foreign and Security Policy? – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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China USA

The Descent Continues (Bonnie S. Glaser, GMF)

The downward slide in US-China relations continued as the two countries wrangled over Hong Kong, COVID-19, Taiwan, the South China Sea, Xinjiang, and cyberattacks. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Chinese officials met in Tianjin but appeared to make no progress toward managing intensifying competition between the two countries. The US rolled out a series of measures against alleged Chinese forced labor practices and strengthened the prohibition against US investments in the PRC’s military industrial complex. Deteriorating freedoms in Hong Kong prompted the Biden administration to impose more sanctions on Chinese officials and issue a business advisory warning US companies of growing risks to their activities in Hong Kong.

The Descent Continues – Comparative Connections (pacforum.org)

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USA

Hoover Fellows Reflect on 20th Anniversary of the Terror Attacks of September 11 (Hoover Institution)

A cohort of Hoover fellows, all of whom served in prominent leadership and military positions in the administration of George W. Bush, reflected on their personal experiences during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Participants in the conversation included Condoleezza Rice, White House national security advisor from 2001 to 2005; John B. Taylor, undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs from 2001 to 2005; and James Mattis, who then was serving as a US Marine brigadier general and deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The conversation also included Karen Hughes, the White House communications director from 2001 to 2002. The program was moderated by Peter Robinson, Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow and host of Hoover’s flagship public affairs interview hour, Uncommon Knowledge.

Rice recalled the events of that fateful day that began when her assistant alerted her that a commercial plane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Shortly thereafter, she had been escorted to the White House bunker. Rice explained that at the time, the president had been visiting a school in Florida. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Peru for a meeting of the Organization of American States. Rice was also unable to reach Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by phone. An hour after the second plane hit the south tower, another commercial jet exploded on impact at the Pentagon and people working in the fortress building had been forced to evacuate. In the bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney had a phone conversation with President Bush that concluded with the president providing the authorization to shoot any aircraft that wasn’t communicating with air traffic control centers.

“For an awful few minutes when that plane went down in Pennsylvania, we thought we’d shot it down,” Rice remembered.

Hoover Fellows Reflect on 20th Anniversary of the Terror Attacks of September 11 | Hoover Institution

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Climate Change USA

To Harness the Power of the Ocean To Fight Climate Change, the Biden Administration Needs a Plan (Kelly Kryc and Kat So, CAP)

The recent Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed only narrow pathways to preventing the Earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. While the risks for natural and human systems remain high even below this threshold, they will only increase without aggressive and immediate international efforts to stem emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Indeed, even if governments worldwide collectively move to stop using fossil fuels and fully transition to clean sources of energy by midcentury, given the amount of existing GHGs already in the atmosphere, additional measures are needed to achieve negative emissions and keep the Earth within 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

To Harness the Power of the Ocean To Fight Climate Change, the Biden Administration Needs a Plan – Center for American Progress

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USA

Fact Sheet: State-by-State Estimates of Citizenship in Budget Reconciliation (Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Claudia Flores, and Philip E. Wolgin, CAP)

As Congress and the Biden administration look to enact a major part of the Build Back Better agenda through the budget reconciliation process, one critical aspect of the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed legislation would put Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)-eligible individuals, and essential workers—including farmworkers—on a pathway to citizenship. The Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center have previously estimated that doing so would bring big benefits to both the U.S. economy as a whole and ordinary Americans all across the country. Indeed, providing citizenship to these groups would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, create 400,000 new jobs, and raise the annual wages of all Americans by an average $600 over the next decade.

Fact Sheet: State-by-State Estimates of Citizenship in Budget Reconciliation – Center for American Progress

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USA

Future of Testing in Education: The Way Forward for State Standardized Tests (Laura Jimenez and Ulrich Boser, CAP)

Federal law requires all public school students in grades three to eight to take an annual assessment in reading and math at the end of the year and requires students to take an assessment once during high school. The goal of this assessment is to measure the extent to which all students are meeting the state’s academic standards. These standards must align with the knowledge and skills in reading and math that students need to succeed in first-year college reading and math courses. Ensuring all students are held to rigorous standards is a key goal of equity in education.

Future of Testing in Education: The Way Forward for State Standardized Tests – Center for American Progress

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