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US-Russia summit gives hope for easing tensions in relations between two countries

PenzaNews. Moscow has sent to Washington a range of proposals as a follow-up to the agreements reached at the Geneva summit, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said on Monday, June 21.

“All participants [left Geneva] with the hope that Russian-US relations would stabilize. Certainly, we expect that tomorrow will be better, better not only for Russia and the US, but the entire world. That’s because the situation not only in Russia and the US but also in the entire world depends on how our presidents held talks and what agreements they reached,” he said.

“In the first hours of today we sent to our colleagues a series of proposals on the meetings, on the need to hold a serious conversation on how we will live together. We have no other option but to live without quarreling on this planet. That’s because as Russian President Vladimir Putin stated many times Russia and the US bear special responsibility for international peace and security. We should cooperate and there is no other option,” Anatoly Antonov said.

The return of the ambassadors to the capitals of the two countries became possible following the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden. Thanks to this, the parties are ready to launch consultations on other issues of diplomatic interaction.

In addition, during the summit in Geneva, the parties announced their intention to start bilateral negotiations on strategic stability.

“The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures,” US-Russia Presidential Joint Statement says.

Analyzing the results of the summit, Greg Thielmann, Board Member of the Arms Control Association and former office director in the State Department’s intelligence bureau, INR, who was specializing in political-military and intelligence issues, called it critically important to stabilizing the bilateral relationship.

“The discussions were structured in a way that provided an opportunity for frank and direct conversation behind closed doors about the causes of tensions in US-Russia relations. At the same time, it provided reassurance to publics in both countries that meaningful high-level exchanges had been initiated,” the expert told PenzaNews.

According to him, public reaffirmation that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” was an essential guidepost for subsequent discussions.

“Commitment to ‘an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue’ implies that no serious concerns raised by either side – whether it is the strategic impact of missile defense, new nuclear-armed weapon systems, highly accurate conventional weapons, or cyber-weapons – will be ‘off the table’,” Greg Thielmann said.

In his opinion, negotiations on strategic stability will be of great importance for the establishment of bilateral cooperation between the states.

According to the ex-State Department official, such assessments of the meeting, which were voiced by the leaders of the countries, – in particular, Joe Biden said that its “tone […] was good, positive,” and Vladimir Putin said that “the conversation was quite constructive,” – “bode well for the promised intensification of the dialogue at lower levels.”

Frank von Hippel, Senior Research Physicist at Princeton University, who served the Assistant Director for National Security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, also positively assessed the results of the meeting in Geneva, expressing hope for the expansion of interaction between the parties in the foreseeable future.

“The meeting between the leaders of Russia and the United States was constructive. I hope that we can return to cooperation on global problems,” the expert said.

He stressed that one of the most important topics for the talks between Moscow and Washington is the issue of nuclear security, which is relevant for all countries of the world.

“I hope we can begin serious discussions on establishing understandings that reduce the danger of accidental nuclear war and that put us on the track of further nuclear reductions and caps on the Chinese, French and UK nuclear arsenals,” Frank von Hippel said.

In turn, Ryan Hurl, Department of Political Science, the University of Toronto, shared the opinion that the US foreign policy to some extent is a dividing line in American domestic politics.

“How much does it matter that political partisans in the US are willing to use international politics in a cynical manner, in the never ending pursuit of political advantage? This is difficult to say, though I think it does have the effect of eroding trust in political parties, journalists, etc.,” the expert explained.

At the same time, in his opinion, it is rather difficult to evaluate the effects of the negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, as well as any other set of talks.

“Looked at from the perspective of the American people, the goal of foreign policy in the 21st century should be to disentangle the US from foreign policy commitments and projects that threaten to disrupt the international order, commitments and projects rooted in nostalgia for the 20th century and an unrealistic assessment of the need for American primacy in the 21st century. I think there are signs that the Biden administration accepts this, and is therefore willing to pursue accommodation with Russia,” Ryan Hurl said.

Meanwhile, Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution and an author of several publications for the National Interest magazine, called the summit useful.

“In terms of specific policy ideas, limits on cyberattacks may be the most promising area of future discussion. We will see in the months to come,” the expert suggested.

He also admitted that at first he was skeptical of the talks, but changed his mind after the summit.

“I’ve decided that Biden showed a solid grasp of his agenda and also that he displayed a realistic sense of what the meeting could accomplish. And Putin was relatively non-confrontational. So that was all promising,” Michael O’Hanlon said and added that the biggest oversight of the meeting was inattention to a new security order for Eastern Europe including Ukraine.

According to Thomas Graham, Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, the meeting marked a small step forward in alleviating the tension in US-Russian relations, which had reached dangerous levels since President Biden assumed office in January.

“Relations are not being reset, however. They will remain fundamentally adversarial for the foreseeable future. Are differences over the principles of world order, regional conflicts, and values are too great for it to be otherwise,” the expert explained.

He shared the opinion that the most important agreement was to begin separate talks on strategic stability and cybersecurity.

“These are complex issues and progress is hardly guaranteed but there will be no long-term improvement in relations without eventual agreement on arms control and a code of conduct in cyberspace. […] It is thus imperative to produce results and lessen tensions in this critical field,” Thomas Graham said.

“Otherwise, the meeting allowed the two leaders to lay out their interests, expectations, and redlines in relations. While it is clear that major differences remain, such candid talks can reduce the risk of misunderstandings and misperceptions that can lead to a conflict that neither side seeks,” the expert concluded.

PenzaNews agency

Rochdale Village Community Center Receives Outstanding Recognition of the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic

New York City’s nonprofits serve so many families and neighborhoods, but often don’t get the credit they deserve. Despite these facts, on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic (NTAC) will hold its 14th Annual Gala, “A Salute to New York City’s Nonprofits and the Neighborhoods They Serve,” presented virtually, from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Friends and supporters will gather for a special gala honoring the city’s nonprofits, faith leaders, and the neighborhoods they serve.

Rochdale Village Community Center is led by Ms. Julia D. Shaw, who will be celebrated as the 2021 Neighborhood Leader of the Year. Director of the Rochdale Village Community Center (RVCC) in Jamaica, New York, Ms. Shaw spearheads the development and implementation of cultural events, educational workshops, intergenerational activities and expos for one of the largest Co-Op residential and commercial developments in the world, Rochdale Village, Inc.

Shaw’s professional career spans over 30 years of service to communities of color in Brooklyn and Queens. She shares her talents and creativity as a mixed media artist, entrepreneur, author and publisher of four book anthologies creating the opportunity for over 60 writers to share their stories.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented economic, societal, and health challenges to our country. In New York City we have witnessed first-hand the hardships in our communities. Our neighborhood and nonprofits have been hit the hardest, especially in communities of color. The proceeds from the gala will provide technical assistance training to the following nonprofit or neighborhood/faith leaders: Mothers Of Black Boys, United for Social Change (M.O.B.B. United) lead by Ms. Depelsha Thomas-McGrudger, and African Refuge, Inc. led by Rev. Judy L. Brown.

The 14th annual gala will honor New York City’s borough presidents as honorary chairs, as well as nonprofits, faith leaders, friends, funders and supporters. Debi B. Jackson of the Hal Jackson Show on WBLS will be on hand to help us present these awards as our Mistress of Ceremonies. Senator Chuck Schumer will be on hand to bring greetings and congratulations. The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic will salute the nonprofits of the Caribbean community as we celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month.

To celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month, NTAC will honor Maria Roz Olatunji of Antigua & Barbuda as the Caribbean Women of the Year and Thomas Alva Pemberton of St. Kitts & Nevis as the Caribbean Man of the Year. NTAC has selected the Negril Education Environmental Trust (NEET) to receive a donation to support the mission of NEET. Mr. Winston Wellington is the Chairman Emeritus of NEET. This nonprofit organization fights crime through education. It is making a difference in the lives of young people one child at a time. To learn more about NEET see their website: www.neetja.com. Caribbean entertainment will be led by Antigua & Barbuda’s Ambassador, Johnny Gomes & The City Street Orchestra.

Pastor Susie Elliot, the Chair of Brooklyn Council of Churches, will be celebrated as the Faith Leader of the Year, and Ms. Deborah Young, the only daughter of Dr. Marcella Maxwell, will be celebrated as the Neighborhood Leader of the Year. New York State Attorney General Letitia James will present the Lifetime Achievement Awards to Honorable Annette Robinson and Honorable Judge Betty Staton. Bishop Dr. Barbara Lucas will present the Lifetime Award to Dr. Mildred Clarke, M.D. NTAC will also honor several corporate partners. MetroPlus Health is our Health Partner of the Year Award. Lesleigh Irish-Underwood will receive the award.

The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic’s mission is to provide strategic direction, organizational oversight and technical assistance clinics to grassroots nonprofits and grantmakers. They create dialogues between funders, community-based and faith-based organizations to grow sound grassroots delivery of program and services for neighborhood needs.

The Board of Directors are Rev. Sylvia G. Kinard Esq., Rev. Dr. Kanyere Eaton, and Ms. Gayle Gilbert. Rev. Dr. Valerie Oliver-Durrah is the Founder and President.

Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic
544 McDonough St., Brooklyn, NY 11233

Phone: 718-455-3784 | Fax: 718-573-4490 | Email: volivere@aol.com

eCom Scotland develops eLearning materials on complying with the UN Child Rights Convention

Following the news, in March, that Scotland is to become the first devolved nation in the world to directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, a webinar has explored the legal and service delivery implications for the implementation of this Convention into Scottish law.

 

In particular, the webinar – held on 3rd June – examined how anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children can meet the challenge complying with the UNCRC requirements, reflecting them in their day-to day-running, culture and practices.

 

Helen Robertson, External Relations Director of the digital learning and assessment specialist, eCom Scotland, who attended the webinar, commented, “Scotland’s taking the lead in adopting this Convention might appear to be showing up the other three nations within the UK – and I’m sure this move, due to come into effect in Scotland this autumn, will put pressure on England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

 

“To help those involved in implementing the Convention’s requirements, eCom is supporting Children’s Hearings Scotland as well as with Scotland’s national children’s charity, Children 1st, in developing relevant eLearning materials for their audiences. These materials should contribute to building confidence and competence for those involved in the changes in practice and outcomes for children,” Helen added.

 

The webinar discussed the implications of putting children’s human rights at the heart of decision-making, including instituting a proactive culture of accountability for children’s rights. Having covered how organisations should plan and prepare for compliance with the Convention, it suggested how such compliance could be demonstrated in practical terms.

 

“The webinar focused on how public sector bodies – and anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children with public money – can meet the challenge of acting compatibly with the UNCRC requirements, reflecting them in their day-to-day running, culture and practices,” explained Helen.

 

“The Convention requires public authorities to make the best interests of children a primary consideration in their decision making and service delivery, obliging them to actively protect children from violence, injury or abuse. They must also recognise the rights of children with disabilities to enjoy a full and decent life and to uphold children’s rights to an adequate standard of living.

 

“Complying with legislation is one thing but actively and successfully promoting children’s rights is another,” Helen continued. “One of the ways in which organisations can get it right – or at least minimise the chances of getting it wrong – is to allow their employees ready access to high-quality learning materials. With 25 years’ experience of producing such eLearning materials – and a customer cohort of over 1m people – we feel that eCom is well-placed to meet this need.”

 

As New Delhi gasps for Oxygen, Delhi High Court comes down hard on Modi government

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday slammed Narendra Modi government for not complying with its order to supply enough Oxygen to Delhi for treating serious patients suffering from COVID-19. The Hon’ble court spared no words in castigating the government. It made statements like “Are you living in ivory towers?” and also said that you can put your head in the sand like an Ostrich, we will not.

India has an independent judiciary and it has powers to order government and to take action against the erring officials. It also asked the government to show cause why contempt should not be initiated against them? The contempt can lead to a maximum 6 months of simple imprisonment or a file. The court also asked two senior government officials to be present. While the punishment may not seem much, it will be enough to end the career of a bureaucrat.

The Hon’ble Court outrightly rejected the contention that Delhi is not entitled to 700 MT of medical oxygen. The highest court in India, the Supreme Court, has also directed Modi government to supply 700MT of medical oxygen to Delhi. 

Modi government is being blamed for the current COVID-19 crisis due to lack of attention on improving healthcare facilities and also in delay in introducing vaccination. While the government holds billions of dollars by donors in a privately managed fund of PM Modi, named PM Cares, people think that the government doesn’t care enough. Their delay in placing the orders for vaccines, as late as April 28th, shows a lack of foresight and urgency in vaccination. People allege that it was too busy fighting an election to care about its citizens. 

 

Indian Assembly Election Analysis – BJP has become irrelevant across the country

The ruling party in India, led by Prime Minister Modi was a strong force at one time. It was one of the few parties in recent that had an absolute majority for the two terms. The charisma of national leaders like Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Adityanath and others seemed like a strong recipe for success. However, all is not well for BJP now. 

There is a difference between state and national elections. The state elections in India are fought primarily on local issues. It becomes very tough for political parties to continue performing in a state. It is far easier to use the anti-incumbency in a state to dislodge an existing leader like Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal by promising the moon. The same strategy has been used by BJP from state to state, across the country. For the past few elections though, this strategy is failing badly. 

Just before National Elections, there always have been some incidents that have given an opportunity for raising national spirit. Whether it is a terrorist attack, strike on terrorist outposts, etc. In every case, Modi government used something to give credit, even if it was not due. For example, the space program was not even approved by the BJP government. It was attributed to the vision of the predecessor. However, PM Modi was quick to pounce on it and be during launch, which really had nothing to do with his office. 

These tactics are not working in their favour now. The poor handling of the COVID pandemic and other policies that have been giving misery to the public have started instilling doubt in the voters on the governance capabilities of the party. They did everything in West Bengal but they lost poorly to their former ally – Mamata Banerjee. Despite instilling a lot of pressure on DMK, they could not prevent their absolute majority in Tamil Nadu. The same story was in Kerala where BJP was more or less wiped out. In Assam, the performance of the local unit has been very good and perhaps they will be able to form the government despite them and their allies losing some seats. 

BJP is losing its relevance in National Politics. Its leaders really need to get their act together in managing the COVID crisis. A lot has been said about donating and exporting over 7 crore doses of the vaccines that would have saved a lot of people across many main metros. With many of its leaders caught with their pants down smuggling or hoarding life-saving materials and keeping them away from the public, and with the national leaders looking away and not responding, the party is losing faith, day by day. 

With their absolute power and a hard crackdown on dissent, people spoke with mumbled voices. The farmer agitation was the first movement where they effectively raised the voice without fear to the government. It also casts a serious doubt on the government to push one dubious legislation after the other instead of handling the immediate crisis. I

The writing is on the wall. It’s no way that they should do anything else but handle COVID. It can be a make or break moment for the party. 

 

Supreme Court of India comes down on hard on clampdown by states like UP

The Supreme Court today literally warned State governments and police against clamping down on the spread of information or desperate calls for help through social media from citizens affected by COVID-19. A Special Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, D.Y. Chandrachud and S. Ravindra Bhat said any such move will attract the contempt of court. 

“We don’t want any clampdown of information. We will treat it as a contempt of court if such grievances is considered for action. Let a strong message go to all the States and DGPs of States. Clampdown of information is contrary to basic precepts,” Justice Chandrachud said in the court. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had to agree and said “As an officer of the court, I fully agree with what Your Lordships have said.”