Connect with us

World

U.S. eyes January rollout of first projects to counter China’s Belt and Road -official

Published

on

November 9, 2021

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to invest in five to 10 large infrastructure projects around the world in January as part of a broader Group of Seven initiative to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

A U.S. delegation led by President Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser, Daleep Singh, identified at least 10 promising projects in Senegal and Ghana during the latest in a series of “listening tours” last week, the official said.

Advertisement

Officials are meeting with government and private-sector leaders as they hunt for projects to be funded under the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative launched by the G7 rich democracies in June. Plans could be finalized during a G7 meeting in December, the official said.

A U.S. delegation visited Ecuador, Panama and Colombia during a similar tour in early October, with another slated to visit Asia before year-end, the official said, without naming any specific Asian countries.

The G7 B3W initiative is aimed at narrowing the $40 trillion in infrastructure investment that developing countries will need by 2035 and providing an alternative to problematic lending practices by China, officials have said.

The United States will offer developing countries “the full range” of U.S. financial tools, including equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants and technical expertise to focus on climate, health, digital technology and gender equality, the official told reporters.

The effort is seeking to “identify flagship projects that could launch by the start of next year,” the official said.

Advertisement

Singh was joined in Africa by Alexia Latortue, deputy chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corp, and Travis Adkins, deputy assistant administrator for Africa at the U.S. International Development Finance Corp, said Emily Horne, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.

Biden sought to advance the initiative during a meeting on the sidelines of the COP26 UN climate conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other G7 partners, she added.

The administration official said senior officials in Senegal and Ghana welcomed U.S. assurances that unlike China, the world’s largest creditor, the United States would not require non-disclosure agreements or collateral agreements that could result in later seizure of ports or airports.

Projects discussed included setting up a possible vaccine manufacturing hub for West Africa in Senegal, bolstering renewable energy supplies, boosting lending to women-owned businesses, and narrowing the digital divide.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Peter Cooney)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Russian court remands mine director, inspectors in custody after deadly accident

Published

on

November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A court in Siberia on Saturday remanded five people in custody for two months to face charges related to a mining accident that killed more than 50 people this week.

Three managers of the Listvyazhnaya mine, including its director, were ordered to remain in custody until late January for flouting industrial safety standards, a spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office said.

The court also ordered two safety inspectors, who had issued a certificate for the mine this month but had not actually checked the facility, to remain in custody until late January.

Advertisement

The accident, which regional authorities say was likely caused by a methane explosion, claimed the lives of 51 people, including five rescuers who were sent to bring out dozens of men stuck deep underground.

The health ministry said on Saturday that 60 people were being treated in hospital for injuries sustained at the mine, TASS news agency reported.

The accident at the mine, located some 3,500 km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow in the Kemerovo region, was Russia’s worst since 2010 when explosions killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine in the same region.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christina Fincher)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World

Russia spy chief says Ukraine invasion plan ‘malicious’ U.S. propaganda

Published

on

November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine and suggestions to the contrary are malicious U.S. propaganda, Moscow’s foreign intelligence chief said on Saturday.

U.S., NATO and Ukrainian officials have raised the alarm in recent weeks over what they say are unusual Russian troop movements near the border with Ukraine, suggesting that Moscow may be poised to launch an attack.

Russia has repeatedly said it is free to move its troops on its own territory and that such movements should not be a cause for concern.

Advertisement

“I need to reassure everyone. Nothing like this is going to happen,” Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, said in an interview broadcast on state television, referring to comments on Russia’s alleged invasion plans.

“Everything that is happening around this topic right now is of course malicious propaganda by the U.S. State Department.”

Naryshkin spoke a day after the State Department’s top U.S. diplomat for European affairs said all options were on the table in how to respond to Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine’s border and that NATO would decide on the next move after consultations next week.

While U.S. officials have voiced concerns about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, Moscow has accused Washington, Kyiv and NATO of provocative and irresponsible behaviour near its borders.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Spanish police march in Madrid to protest against ‘Gag Law’ reform

Published

on

November 27, 2021

By Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo

MADRID (Reuters) – Thousands of Spanish police officers marched through Madrid on Saturday to protest against a proposed reform of a security law which they say will hamper their ability to do their work.

Politicians from Spain’s three main conservative parties joined police officers in the protest against proposed changes to the 2015 Citizens Security Law, which critics say violates the right to protest and limits free expression.

Advertisement

Dubbed the “Gag Law” by those who oppose it, the legislation allows authorities to fine media organisations for distributing unauthorised images of police, strictly limits demonstrations and imposes heavy fines for offenders.

Spain’s leftist government has proposed reforms including no longer classifying the taking of photographs or making of recordings of police at demonstrations as a serious offence.

Under the changes, police will also have to use less harmful materials at protests after a number of people were seriously injured by rubber bullets fired by officers.

The time that suspects who are arrested at protests can be held in custody will be cut from six hours to two and fines will be proportional to how much offenders earn.

“They should either leave the current law as it is or make it better for the police and for the citizens,” Civil Guard officer Vanessa Gonzalez told Reuters.

Advertisement

Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, of the far-right Vox party, said: “There is strong opposition against (the reform) of this law. It is against our police and we will not let it happen.”

However, Isa Serra, spokeswoman for the far-left Unidas Podemos party, said at a rally in Cantabria in northern Spain that the law had done a “lot of damage to Spanish democracy”.

Organisers said 150,000 people took part in the Madrid demonstration but the government put the figure at 20,000.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending