Rights groups target sponsors like Airbnb for Beijing Games
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)In one corner are the 15 leading Olympic sponsors, many household names like Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Visa, Toyota, Samsung and General Electric. They have branded these the “Genocide Games” and are pressuring sponsors, the IOC and world sports federations to investigate. AdThousands of Olympic athletes are caught in the middle. “Once again athletes are being used as pawns,” said Rob Koehler, director general of Global Athlete, an advocacy group for Olympic athletes. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to Blinken: "The most important thing should be repeated three times: China has no genocide; China has no genocide; China has no genocide, period.”AdPolak pointed out that the United Nations Genocide Convention spells out much of the behavior taking place in China.
Group urges climate adaptation funding in pandemic recovery
A group of more than 3,000 scientists from 130 countries also released a statement Friday before the summit linking investment in the environment with pandemic recovery plans. “The twin threats of COVID-19 and climate change are, above all, caused by human actions. It reversed the withdrawal by President Donald Trump, who ridiculed the science of human-caused climate change. The adaptation summit will focus more on how to build a world that can cope with the effects of climate change that already is happening. “While the year ahead will be defined by our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the centuries ahead will be defined by how green that recovery actually is,” Ban said.
Biden puts U.S. back into fight to slow global warming
President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.”Biden signed an executive order rejoining the Paris climate accord within hours of taking the oath of office, fulfilling a campaign pledge. After Biden notifies the U.N. by letter of his intention to rejoin the Paris accord, it would become effective in 30 days, U.N. spokesman Alex Saier said. Republican senators are expected to introduce legislation that would require Biden to submit the Paris plan to the Senate for ratification. A longtime international goal, included in the Paris accord with an even more stringent target, is to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
UN chief Antonio Guterres declares he will seek second term
CAMEROON – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres officially declared Monday he is seeking a second five-year term at the helm of the United Nations. “I am available to serve a second term as secretary-general of the United Nations, if that will be the will of member states,” Guterres said in a letter to Bozkir obtained by the Associated Press. Several diplomats have said Guterres was waiting for the results of the U.S. presidential election and would not have sought a second term if Donald Trump won. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “warmly welcomed the secretary-general’s decision to run for a second term and congratulated him on a successful first term,” his office said following a virtual meeting between the two leaders. Since this will be the first time an incumbent is seeking a second term following the resolution’s adoption, and it isn’t yet known whether there will be any other candidates, the next steps are unclear.
Syria’s longtime Foreign Minister al-Moallem dies at age 79
BEIRUT – Syria’s longtime Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, a career diplomat who became one of the country’s most prominent faces to the outside world during the uprising against President Bashar Assad, died on Monday. During a news conference a year after the conflict began, al-Moallem was asked to comment about then French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe’s comment that the regime’s days were numbered. Al-Moallem was widely criticized for a rambling speech he gave at the start of Syria’s peace conference in Montreux, Switzerland. In Tehran, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his condolences, praising al-Moallem for his “important role” in defending Syria’s national interests and security, the official IRNA news agency reported. ___Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
The Latest: Bhutan imposes 1st nationwide virus lockdown
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)THIMPU, Bhutan The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has imposed its first nationwide lockdown due to a virus infection in a returning traveler who had been released from quarantine. But between her discharge from quarantine and her positive test result Monday, she is believed to have traveled extensively in Bhutan. Bhutans 113 reported infections were all quarantined travelers, except for one with conflicting test results. Daniels said the lower numbers indicate the lockdown restrictions in Melbourne are working but urged people to stay the course. ___SEOUL, South Korea South Korea has reported 56 new cases of the coronavirus as clusters continue to pop up in cities.