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Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account

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Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account

Twitter said in a blog post that Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account, which has more than 88 million followers, would be suspended immediately, effectively cutting him off from his favorite megaphone for reaching the public and capping a series of actions by mainstream sites to limit his online reach, according to the Guardian.

The company said two tweets that Trump had posted on Friday — one calling his supporters “patriots” and another saying he would not go to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 — violated its rules against glorifying violence.

The tweets “were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” Twitter said, referring to the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump loyalists.

Within minutes, Trump’s account on Twitter was no longer accessible. His posts were replaced with a label: “Account suspended.”

Trump tried to evade the ban late Friday by using the @POTUS Twitter account, which belongs to sitting US presidents, as well as other accounts to lash out at the company. But almost all of his messages were immediately removed by Twitter. The company forbids users to try avoiding a suspension with secondary accounts.

The moves were a forceful repudiation by Twitter of Trump, who had used the platform to build his base and spread his messages, which were often filled with falsehoods and threats. Trump regularly tweeted dozens of times a day, sending flurries of messages in the early morning or late evening. In his posts, he gave his live reactions to television news programs, boosted supporters and attacked his perceived enemies.

“Twitter’s permanent suspension of Trump’s Twitter account is long overdue,” said Shannon McGregor, a senior researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This is the key de-platforming for Trump. The inability to tweet cuts off his direct access to the press — and, by extension, the public.”

In a statement late Friday, Trump claimed Twitter was trying to silence him. He said he was negotiating with other sites and promised a “big announcement soon,” adding that he was looking at building “our own platform.”

MR/PR

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Iran

Iran gas flaring zero by March 2023: Zanganeh

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Iran gas flaring zero by March 2023: Zanganeh

Addressing a ceremony to launch Persian Gulf Bidboland Gas Refinery on Thursday, Zangeneh said the country would generate $1.5 billion/year by the project.

This is the 11th petrochemical project which has come online in Iran since last March.

Plans were underway to launch 17 petrochemical projects with 11.4 billion dollars of investment in the country during the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 21 of which 11 have so far come on stream.

Once fully operational, the 17 projects will add 25 million tons to the country’s annual production capacity.

He said the first Bidboland gas refinery is the source of Iran’s gas industry. “With the commissioning of this refinery and the daily refining capacity of about 25 million cubic meters and the operation of the first national pipeline in 1971, the gas industry in Iran was formed and born.”

The Minister of Petroleum stated that by March 2023, no gas will be flared in Iran and more than 95% of the collected associated gases will be consumed.

Zangeneh announced that the 3200 NGL project would come online next calendar year and by exploiting it, all the gases of the West Karun region will be sent to Bandar Imam after collection and processing.

He added that NGL 3100 plant would come online the following year along with a petrochemical plant with 1 million tons of annual production capacity in Dehloran.

Noting that the Persian Gulf Bidboland refinery has the capacity to produce 3.5 million tons of ethane, butane, propane and pentane plus, he said, adding the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) has been entrusted with another project to collect associated gases with $1.1b of investment.

FA/SHANA

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Dr Anthony Fauci describes ‘liberating feeling’ working in Biden administration

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The US’s leading infectious-diseases expert has called it “liberating” to be backed by a science-friendly administration that has embraced his recommendations to battle Covid-19.

Dr Anthony Fauci’s highly visible schedule on Thursday, the first full day of President Joe Biden’s term, underscored the new administration’s confidence in the doctor but also the urgency of the moment.

His day began with a 4am virtual meeting with officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is based in Switzerland, and stretched past a 4pm appearance at the lectern in the White House briefing room.

The breakneck pace showcased the urgent need to combat a pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans and reached its deadliest phase just as the new president comes to office.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki gestures towards Dr Anthony Fauci during a press briefing at the White House (Alex Brandon/AP)

Dr Fauci made clear that he believed the new administration would not trade in the mixed messages that so often came from the Trump White House.

“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know and what the science is… it is something of a liberating feeling,” Dr Fauci told reporters.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had invited Dr Fauci to take the podium first at her daily briefing.

While choosing his words carefully, Dr Fauci acknowledged that it had been difficult at times to work for Donald Trump, who repeatedly played down the severity of the pandemic, refused to consistently promote mask-wearing and often touted unproven scientific remedies, including a malaria drug and even injecting disinfectant.

“It was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based in scientific fact,” Dr Fauci said.

He added that he took “no pleasure” in having to contradict the president, a move that often drew Mr Trump’s wrath.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stands in a hallway before an event with President Joe Biden on coronavirus at the White House (Alex Brandon/AP)

Mr Biden, during his presidential campaign, pledged to make Dr Fauci his chief medical adviser when he took office, and the 80-year-old scientist was immediately in motion.

Dr Fauci was up well before dawn Thursday for the virtual meeting with WHO, which Mr Biden had rejoined the previous day after Mr Trump withdrew the US from the group out of anger over how it dealt with China in the early days of the pandemic.

Dr Fauci told the group that the United States would join its effort to deliver coronavirus vaccines to poor countries.

In the afternoon, the doctor stood alongside Mr Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House as they unveiled a series of executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, which is killing more than 4,000 Americans a day, as well as bolstering the nation’s sluggish vaccine distribution programme.

In his return to the briefing room, Dr Fauci joked with reporters, seemingly far more relaxed than at any point last year.

“One of the new things in this administration is, If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess,” Dr Fauci said in one pointed observation during the White House briefing.

“Just say you don’t know the answer.”

And as he stepped off the stage, Ms Psaki said she would soon have him back.

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Armed Conflicts

Biden’s Arms Control Ambitions are Welcome—but Delivering Them will not be Easy

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Armed Conflicts, Editors’ Choice, Featured, Global, Global Governance, Headlines, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, Nuclear Energy – Nuclear Weapons, Peace, TerraViva United Nations Opinion

Ambassador Jan Eliasson is Chair of the Governing Board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Dan Smith is Director, SIPRI

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefs the members of the UN Security Council. Iran and US are both accused of undermining the 2015 nuclear deal. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

STOCKHOLM, Jan 22 2021 (IPS) – A deadly pandemic to control. An urgent nationwide vaccination programme to roll out. An economic crisis to navigate. Political divisions and distrust deep enough to spark mob violence and terrorism.

The 46th President of the United States faces a barrage of critical domestic challenges from day one.

Nevertheless, one matter of foreign policy will need to be at the top of his agenda: there will be barely two weeks left to save the 2010 strategic nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, New START, from extinction.

New START is the last nuclear arms control treaty left standing between the USA and Russia. It sets caps on the deployment of the long-range portion of the world’s two biggest nuclear arsenals and is due to expire on 5 February.

Fortunately, both incoming president Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have indicated their willingness to extend the treaty without conditions. So, it is likely to be a smooth process.

Amid the mistrust that colours today’s geopolitical landscape, far harder arms control challenges lie ahead.

The crisis in arms control

The past four years have seen major parts of the international arms control architecture weakened or dismantled. The 1987 Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) collapsed in 2019.

In 2018, the USA unilaterally pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)¬—the 2015 ‘nuclear deal’ with Iran signed up to by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council along with Germany and the European Union.

In November last year the USA formally withdrew from the 2002 Treaty on Open Skies, which allowed countries across the Euro-Atlantic space, from Anchorage to Vladivostok, to carry out unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory in order to monitor military activity.

Russia has now announced it is following suit.

The 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is also looking precarious. Much of the world is frustrated at the continued possession of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear weapon states recognized by the NPT—the USA, Russia, France, China and the United Kingdom—as well as Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will enter into force on 22 January, was born of this frustration.

While the US presidency of Donald J. Trump has been particularly detrimental to arms control, problems were growing long before, and are far from being resolved.

‘Arms control for a new era’

Joe Biden brings to the presidency an impressive depth and breadth of experience in the field of arms control and international negotiation.

He made a commitment to ‘arms control for a new era’ a prominent part of his electoral platform and characterized the extension of New START as ‘a foundation for new arms control arrangements’.

New arms control arrangements are certainly needed. Without them, there is a serious risk of the further spread, and potential use, of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

It is also necessary to deal with an increasingly unpredictable, and expensive, arms race based on competition in technologies rather than numbers of weapons and characterized by the increasing entanglement of nuclear and non-nuclear technologies.

Several factors, such as missile defence, advanced conventional capabilities, hypersonic weapons, the accelerated militarization of outer space and the potential application of artificial intelligence to strategic weapons, are affecting the nuclear calculus and strategic stability.

It is unclear how these factors should be addressed in arms control negotiations. The task of designing a new approach to arms control is, in itself, dauntingly complex. And negotiations will take place in a far from ideal context.

Complicating factors

Delivering a new, effective arms control architecture will demand creativity, cooperation and compromise on all sides. Joe Biden has said that the USA will lead the process. But his team will face severe constraints.

The challenges around returning to the JCPOA—something Joe Biden has said he hopes to achieve—are illustrative. The JCPOA was proving a successful non-proliferation tool until the US withdrawal.

But it was only entered into by the USA in the face of strong opposition from the Republican Party, which has not weakened in the interim. In addition, there are a number of other problems and external factors that could distract attention from urgent work on the JCPOA.

Even with control of both houses of the US Congress, it will be difficult for Joe Biden to obtain the support needed to approve future arms control treaties with Russia (or other states).

Thus, the incoming president may well be restricted to executive orders, which are limited in scope and can easily be revoked by future US administrations.

Congressional approval will also be necessary to terminate certain sanctions on Iran in 2023, as is required under the terms of the JCPOA.

Recent US actions have also damaged the USA’s international reputation in many quarters—among both adversaries and allies—which will further complicate arms control diplomacy.

A collective challenge

The world faces a range of potentially destabilizing realities in the coming decades, from climate change and other environmental crises to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of the big picture is that the geopolitical order is shifting, with new regional powers and new alliances in which the USA is less influential.

In arms control, as in many other areas, the international community needs to find new ways of working to secure our common interest.

We should hope that the successful extension of New START will be the prelude to a gradual resurgence of arms control, non-proliferation, disarmament and risk reduction. But, as with the other big issues of our time, success will depend on all key actors stepping up.

 

 

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