Weather |  Futures Markets |  Charts |  Quotes |  Options |  Portfolio |  Headline News |  Markets Page |  Market News |  Dairy News 
     

 
Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
World Powers Set for Virtual UN Debate 09/22 06:01

   The U.N.'s first virtual meeting of world leaders was set to start Tuesday 
with pre-recorded speeches from some of the planet's biggest powers, kept at 
home by the coronavirus pandemic that will likely be a dominant theme at their 
video gathering this year.

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N.'s first virtual meeting of world leaders was 
set to start Tuesday with pre-recorded speeches from some of the planet's 
biggest powers, kept at home by the coronavirus pandemic that will likely be a 
dominant theme at their video gathering this year.

   Among those expected to speak Tuesday are U.S. President Donald Trump and 
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose countries have reported the highest 
and second-highest coronavirus death tolls, respectively. Also on deck are 
President Xi Jinping of China, where the virus originated, and President 
Vladimir Putin of Russia, which has raised international eyebrows with its 
rapid vaccine development.

   After Monday's introductory session marking the U.N.'s 75th anniversary, the 
meeting's central event --- speeches from each of its 193 member nations --- 
start Tuesday. They traditionally serve as a platform for countries to tout 
accomplishments, seek support, stoke rivalries and express views on global 
priorities.

   This year, the platform is online, and there is a pressing new priority in 
the pandemic that has killed over 960,000 people worldwide.

   "When we met in New York a year ago, no one could have imagined that 2020 
would arrange such a powerful crash test for our world," Ukrainian President 
Volodymyr Zelenskiy remarked in his video speech for Monday's anniversary 
commemoration.

   By custom, Brazil speaks first and the U.S. second as the host country in 
the annual meeting's "general debate," which is generally less a dialogue than 
a series of declarations.

   The coronavirus has inflicted heavy tolls on both countries, close to 
200,000 people in the U.S. and over 136,000 in Brazil, according to statistics 
collected by Johns Hopkins University.

   Both Bolsonaro and Trump have been at odds, at least at times, with 
governors and health experts over the pandemic and have emphasized the economic 
consequences of shutdowns.

   Both also are contending with plenty of other issues that command world 
attention, including Bolsonaro's plans to develop the Amazon and Trump's 2018 
decision to pull the U.S. out of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. 
Washington took a further step this weekend with a unilateral, and disputed, 
declaration that all U.N. penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had been 
restored, setting up a likely showdown at the assembly --- where Iran's speech 
is also scheduled Tuesday.

   So is Turkey's, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.N. has 
"flunked during the pandemic."

   The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year. After building 
field hospitals and imposing a draconian 76-day lockdown to battle the virus 
there, China has said of late that it is seeing relatively few cases, mostly 
among people arriving from other countries. China, the world's most populous 
nation, has reported over 4,700 deaths.

   Russia, where the death toll is over 19,000, last month became the first 
country to approve a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. Russian President Vladimir 
Putin trumpeted the development, saying one of his adult daughters had already 
been inoculated. But international health experts have expressed caution about 
the vaccine's effectiveness and safety because of the small study sample and 
other limitations.

   A record number of heads of states and governments are due to speak at the 
virtual meeting, rather than sending ministers or diplomats. That's a good 
thing, "but the idea that prime ministers and presidents are going to be 
sitting at home with a bucket of popcorn watching each other's televised 
speeches is a bit silly," said Richard Gowan, who oversees U.N. issues for 
Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank.

   Still, German U.N. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen sees the assembly as a 
chance for a global meeting of minds when it's needed more than ever.

   "Even in a digital format, UNGA-75 is an opportunity --- especially in the 
face of international conflicts and dramatic challenges such as climate change 
or COVID-19," he said.