Escalating US-China Solar Rift Threatens Biden Green Goals

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Escalating US-China Solar Rift Threatens Biden Green Goals Wind turbines in a field. (PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Brian Eckhouse and Jennifer A. Dlouhy Wednesday, 18 August 2021 06:47 AM

The first big test of Joe Biden’s lofty clean-power ambitions may not be sweeping climate legislation that needs congressional approval, but managing a solar supply chain that’s being shaken by the seizure of imported Chinese panels.

Multiple companies have now had solar components detained at U.S. ports in the aftermath of a Biden administration ban on equipment that may have used raw materials originally from Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., according to people familiar with the situation who asked for anonymity while discussing sensitive trade issues.

The seizures come amid a new push by some U.S. solar manufacturers to extend tariffs to China-linked factories in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, the U.S.’s largest panel suppliers. Together the developments threaten to disrupt the U.S. solar market, potentially jeopardizing Biden’s goal of a carbon-free power sector by 2035.

“The disruptive and harmful impact of new trade petitions and Customs and Border Protection enforcement action cannot be understated,” Solar Energy Industries Association President Abigail Ross Hopper said in an email to members hours after the petitions were filed. “The disruption to the U.S. solar market could be severe.”

Solar developers now are scrambling to prove incoming goods — some of which may have been ordered months before the Biden ban — are free of Hoshine material. A major solar-panel maker warned this week that all imports from China risk being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Biden administration’s order is part of efforts to confront alleged human-rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. China denies the allegations, which it claims are an attempt to undermine successful businesses.

Hoshine is the world’s largest manufacturer of metallurgical silicon, which is refined into polysilicon, the key material in solar panels. The material is so many steps removed from completed panels that just about any module coming to the U.S. can’t yet prove it doesn’t contain Hoshine material, Philip Shen, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners, said in a research note.

Domestic Manufacturing

In some respects, there has never been a brighter moment for solar power in the U.S. Installations are booming, and Biden appeared poised to deliver the most progressive climate presidency in history — on the heels of an administration steadfast on boosting fossil fuels. And yet, the industry’s supply chain has been battered by higher costs, including for modules and freight.

Solar panels already cost about 40% more in the U.S. than the rest of the world, and expanded tariffs could lift prices further, according to Jenny Chase, BloombergNEF’s head of global solar research. “U.S. companies that develop and build projects would certainly suffer in the short term as U.S. module prices would go even higher,” she said.

While developers may be hurt, any moves that make imports more expensive would help level the playing field for companies that want to manufacture solar equipment on U.S. soil. That would be a boost to another part of Biden’s agenda — union jobs.

“Trade actions against imported solar products may counter President Biden’s climate agenda,” Timothy Fox, a vice president of ClearView Energy Partners, said in an interview. “But they also could further his union and domestic manufacturing agenda.”

A spokesman for the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Seizure Costs

Canadian Solar Inc. said that four of its sample modules shipped from China to its U.S. office were held last week by officials due to a sourcing issue, and that all Chinese shipments were at risk of being stopped at the border.

Other companies have also been affected, with multiple containers seized at different ports, according to people familiar with the actions. The cost of having products detained at U.S. Customs facilities is prohibitive, making other companies question whether it’s worth the risk of trying to import to the U.S., one of the people said.

China-based module suppliers LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Trina Solar Co. and JinkoSolar Holding Co. declined to comment, while JA Solar Technology Co. and the China Photovoltaic Industry Association didn’t respond to requests for comment. LONGi declined 3.6% in China trading Wednesday.

The American Clean Power Association, which represents renewable power developers, said it is firmly against any forced labor practices, but warned that “responsible enforcement” is critical for meeting climate targets, as developers pursue a 40 gigawatt pipeline of solar power projects.

“Recent enforcement actions and international trade petitions go beyond the intended goal and risk significantly impacting U.S. solar deployment,” Chief Executive Heather Zichal said by email.

Commerce Petitions

Amid the seizures, a group called the American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention on Monday filed petitions with the Commerce Department seeking to extend tariffs to factories run by Chinese firms out of the three Southeast Asian countries. The group hasn’t identified its members, and First Solar Inc., the largest U.S.-based manufacturer, declined to say whether it’s part of the consortium.

The filings come at a time when some domestic solar manufacturers are seeking an extension of former President Donald Trump’s solar tariffs — and as Democrats advance a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending plan that could benefit both solar developers and clean-energy manufacturers.

While a surge of inexpensive imported panels could make it cheaper to deploy solar power in the U.S. — and help meet Biden’s clean energy targets — it could also come at the expense of organized labor and working families. And Biden’s renewable goals don’t automatically trump those concerns.

“It is not and never has been as simple as to say ‘Biden wants renewable energy,’” Height Capital Markets analyst Benjamin Salisbury said. “The Biden agenda is not to reduce domestic union employment and increase Chinese production.”

Original Article

GOP Flip in Connecticut Special Election Could Impact California, Virginia Elections

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GOP Flip in Connecticut Special Election Could Impact California, Virginia Elections vote here sign on sidewalk (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

GetFile By John Gizzi Wednesday, 18 August 2021 06:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Special elections for the state legislature rarely attract attention beyond the boundaries of their states.

But in Connecticut’s 36th State Senate District (Fairfield County), which President Joe Biden swept last November, the victory of Republican Ryan Fazio Tuesday night was indeed drawing national attention.

Some observers even believe that Fazio’s taking a page from advice offered at the recent Republican National Committee meeting by economist Arthur Laffer and running on a strong anti-tax line might encourage Republicans to do the same in the California gubernatorial recall Sept. 14 and the Virginia race for governor in November.

"Biden won this district by 25 points in 2020, we flipped it RED!" tweeted Republican National Chairman Ronna McDaniel soon after Fazio was declared the winner. "The RNC was proud to work with the @CTGOP to get out the vote."

Small businessman and Resident Town Meeting (RTM) member Fazio rolled up a 50%-to-47% win over liberal Democrat and gun control activist Alexis Gevanter.

In the closing days of the campaign, Fazio, 31, strongly contrasted his commitment to "fiscal responsibility" with Gevanter’s support for "a new gas tax."

"Connecticut voters just spoke loud and clear," said former state House GOP Leader Themis Klarides, who is considered a strong prospect to run for governor next year. "They are ready for change in Hartford."

The special election was caused by the resignation earlier this year of Democrat State Sen. Alexandra Kasser, who cited her long-running divorce as a distraction from her legislative duties.

Original Article

Rep. James Comer to Newsmax: Biden Border Policies ‘Changing America’

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Rep. James Comer to Newsmax: Biden Border Policies 'Changing America' (Newsmax TV/“Stinchfield.”)

By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 18 August 2021 06:02 AM

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., told Newsmax Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s policies regarding the southern border crisis is “changing America.”

“I think that he's definitely trying to change the makeup of America,” Comer said on “Stinchfield.” “I think they're trying to do it for an electoral gain. There's no question that the policies that they have are trying to encourage more people to be dependent on the government to try to promote their vision of socialism in America.”

Comer said Americans can see the “uncertainty” in businesses and the economy with inflation rising throughout the country under Biden’s watch.

“We're seeing uncertainty with businesses because of the tax increase proposals that Biden, (Senate Majority Leader Chuck) Schumer, D-N.Y., and (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi, D-Calif., are trying to usher through Congress over the next few weeks, so they're really putting a lot of harm on the American economy.”

Comer said he and fellow Republicans need to work with state governments in the border region to file lawsuits against the Biden administration’s “unconstitutional” executive orders to restore order.

“We have to continue to work with our partners in state governments, filing lawsuits against the unconstitutional executive orders the Biden administration is trying to enact, and we also, as members of Congress being in the minority, have to continue to message (the public).”

Comer said the record number of people coming across the border, 212,000 in July alone, are causing an increase in the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the region.

“I think the word is spreading that part of the reason we're seeing an uptick in COVID is because we have all these people that are testing positive for COVID coming across the border,” he said. “It is the same with drugs and everything else, so we've got to keep fighting even though they have a few more members (of Congress).”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas has seen 101,000 new cases of COVID in the last seven days, with a 15-19.9% positivity rate.

That amounts to a 9% increase in the new case rate over the last week, and the state is also experiencing a 33% increase in hospitalizations, and a 57% increase in deaths over the same period, according to the agency.

The CDC reports that Texas has 54.1% of the population with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 45% of the population fully vaccinated.

Note: See Newsmax TV now carried in more than 100 million U.S. homes, on DirecTV Ch. 349, Dish Network Ch. 216, Xfinity Ch. 1115, Spectrum, U-verse Ch. 1220, FiOS Ch. 615, Frontier Ch. 115, Optimum Ch. 102, Cox cable, Suddenlink Ch. 102, Mediacom Ch. 277, AT&T TV Ch 349, FUBO and major OTT platforms like Roku, YouTube, Xumo, Pluto and most smart TV’s including Samsung+, Sony, LG, Vizio and more – Find All Systems that Carry Newsmax – Click Here

Original Article

Taliban captures billions in U.S. supplied military equipment

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Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul. (Photo by JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul. (Photo by JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:32 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Taliban has reportedly made off with billions of dollars in U.S. supplied military equipment and weapons. During a press briefing on Tuesday, Biden’s National Security Agency Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed a “fair amount” of weaponry fell into the hands of the terrorists.

These U.S. military assets include ammo, firearms, helicopters and other combat aircraft surrendered or abandoned by the Afghan army. Top military officials said they were unable to provide any sort of plan to stop the seizure or get the assets back.

Reporter: “So there’s no U.S. actions being taken to prevent equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban by destroying it or anything else?”

U.S. Army Major Gen. Hank Taylor: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”

Reporter: “You don’t have the answer.”

According to the AP, the U.S. invested more than $83 billion into developing and sustaining Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

MORE NEWS: Treasury Freezes Afghan Foreign Reserves In U.S. Banks

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Pentagon forms joint task force to assist Haiti

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U.S. Coast Guard carry medical supplies to the Ofatma Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti. (Photo by REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Coast Guard carry medical supplies to the Ofatma Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti. (Photo by REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:43 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The U.S. sent a joint task force to Haiti to help with humanitarian efforts following a deadly earthquake. Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby announced on Tuesday, the U.S. flew eight helicopters to the Caribbean nation to help ground crews with search and rescue operations.

Two U.S. Naval Vessels were also set to be deployed to Haiti to transport supplies and provide medical assistance to those injured in the quake. More than 1,400 people were killed in the magnitude 7.2 quake and over 6,900 others were injured.

The U.S. Coast Guard also deployed humanitarian aid to Haiti. Coast Guard personnel landed in the Caribbean nation on Sunday and have been assisting search and rescue teams to find survivors buried in the rubble.

Photos released on Monday showed a Coast Guard member carrying a critically injured child to emergency medical services. Aircrews have also been transporting medical supplies to help with the rescue efforts.

Kirby went on to say, “U.S. Southern Command is working to assess damage, develop common operational pictures and provide life-saving support for the people of Haiti.”

Kirby said the aircraft would help provide a clear picture of the aftermath so they could help direct ground crews to those who are in need of help.

MORE NEWS: Sen. Scott: Biden’s Afghan Fiasco Grounds For Removal From Office

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President Trump: Biden handled Afghan withdrawal ‘disastrously’

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President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:12 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

President Trump slammed Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as one of the worst disasters in history. In a statement released on Tuesday, the 45th president said the collapse of the Afghan government has made the withdrawal from Vietnam look like “child’s play.”

Trump went on to stress Biden has brought shame to the U.S. The 45th president’s statement followed Biden’s attempts to blame Trump and the Afghan people for the Taliban takeover of the country.

However, Trump argued the withdrawal was handled horribly by Biden and his officials.

MORE NEWS: Fmr. GOP. Rep. Ose Ends Bid For Calif. Gov. After Heart Attack

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Fmr. GOP. Rep. Ose ends bid for Calif. Gov. after heart attack

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OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:55 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 202

Former GOP Rep. Doug Ose announced his campaign for California governor was called off due to a recent heart attack. In a statement released on Tuesday, Ose said while he expected a full recovery, he would need to undergo additional procedures and potential surgery.

Ose went on to add it had become clear his attention must be refocused on rehabilitation and healing. Ose has been one of several Republicans seeking to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in the upcoming recall election, but was recently polling in single digits.

Despite dropping out of the race, Ose still urged Californians to vote ‘yes’ on the recall.

MORE NEWS: China Holds Drills In Taiwan Strait After Biden’s Afghan Fail, Deploys Warships And Jets

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Pro-Latino Voting Organization Sues Arizona Over Voter Reforms

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Pro-Latino Voting Organization Sues Arizona Over Voter Reforms Pro-Latino Voting Organization Sues Arizona Over Voter Reforms Voters enter Southeast Regional Library to cast their ballots on November 3, 2020 in Gilbert, Arizona. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

By Charles Kim | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 10:36 PM

Mi Familia Vota, a pro-Latino voting organization filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block Arizona’s new voting reform laws.

According to The Hill, the group wants to block new laws that tighten requirements on early voting, which were expanded as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped Democrat Joe Biden win the state in the 2020 presidential election.

According to the organization, Mi Familia Vota exists to “build Latino political power by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructures, and through year-round voter engagement.”

It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state since Bill Clinton in 1996.

The new laws limit the time a voter may be on an absentee voter list and require stricter signature guidelines for mail-in voting.

The group claims in its suit that the new laws violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by making it harder for voters, especially people of color, to cast their ballots.

“It is no coincidence that the Arizona legislature enacted these changes only after an election in which (1) for the first time in recent memory, the presidential candidate preferred by Arizona voters of color won; and (2) voters of color increasingly used early voting — the target of the new laws — to help elect their candidate of choice,” the complaint alleges.

According to The Hill, Arizona is one of 18 states to pass voting reform laws following the November election.

Many states loosened state constitutional requirements for voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing people to vote by mail instead of formal absentee ballots or going to the polls in person.

Former President Donald Trump lost the state by a small margin of about 11,000 votes and has supported recounts to audit the results.

In a May story, The Hill reported that the audits generated tension with the GOP-led Maricopa County Board of Elections, which did not want to cooperate with the audit.

The audit is being conducted to restore confidence in the system, supporters say.

Arizona Republicans favor the new laws to reform the system by closing loopholes that may make it easier to commit voter fraud, while Democrats claim the new laws are suppressing votes.

According to The Hill, a 6-3 July U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld a pair of the state’s voting reform laws against just such a Voting Rights Act challenge, notching a victory for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, who is named in the new lawsuit.

“Brnovich has a long track record of successfully upholding Arizona election integrity statutes,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Katie Conner told The Hill. “And he will continue to do so.”

Original Article

China holds drills in Taiwan Strait after Biden’s Afghan fail, deploys warships and jets

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Chinese President Xi Jinping n Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong province. ( MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping n Qingdao, in eastern China’s Shandong province. ( MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:24 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Communist China has sent warships to the Taiwan Strait in an act of aggression against Taiwan and the U.S. According to Tuesday reports, China has been holding assault drills involving warships and military jets near its maritime border with Taiwan.

Beijing claimed the drills came in response to unspecified “provocations” and “external interference.” In addition, Chinese state media reported Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan suggested the U.S. would not be willing to defend Taiwan from a potential Chinese invasion.

China also reiterated its intent to seize Taiwan sooner or later.

“No one should underestimate the strong determination, will and ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” expressed Spokesperson Hua Chunying of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China. “No matter how much weaponry the U.S. provides to Taiwan, it will never change the general trend of cross-strait relations, let alone stop the process of China’s reunification.”

Officials in Taipei said Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s airspace in effort to intercept its electronic communications with U.S. and Japanese forces. Taiwan will hold it own military drills next month.

MORE NEWS: Taliban Captures Billions In U.S. Supplied Military Equipment

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Trump: Afghan President Ghani ‘a Crook,’ Taliban Understood My ‘Conditions’

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Trump: Afghan President Ghani 'a Crook,' Taliban Understood My 'Conditions' Trump: Afghan President Ghani 'a Crook,' Taliban Understood My 'Conditions'

(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:44 PM

Lamenting the results of President Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan, former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night declared that his "conditions-based agreement" with a Taliban co-founder was forceful and "understood."

"We had very strong conversation," Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" of a conversation with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, a Taliban co-founder. "I told him up front, I said, 'look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else — or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before, a force so great that you won't even believe it, and your village — and we know where it is, and I named it — will be the first one.'"

Trump noted that the Taliban's planned trip to Washington was canceled during his administration after the Taliban killed an American to show its force in the country, and said the Taliban co-founder had understood his warning.

"I asked him, 'do you understand?' And he said, I do understand,'" Trump told host Sean Hannity. "And I wanted them to get a deal done with the Afghan government."

Fleeing former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was a "crook" who had "gotten away with murder," Trump said.

"I never had a lot of confidence in Ghani," Trump added. "I said that openly and plainly. I thought he was a crook and got away with murder. He spent all of this time wining and dining our senators. The senators were in his pocket.

"That was one of the problems that we had, but I never liked him."

Trump mentioned the corruption of the fleeing president having reportedly escaped with piles of cash, adding the Taliban were truly the leadership to negotiate with during his administration.

"He got away with murder in many different ways, but I had a very strong talk with the Taliban, which I consider to be much more important in a sense, because they were the problem," Trump said. "And they had been there for a long time and are good fighters and they fight hard. And after I said that, we had a pretty good conversation."

Trump lamented the fall of Afghanistan under Biden's withdrawal without conditions.

"I don't think in all of the years our country has ever been so humiliated," Trump said. "I don't know what if call it a military defeat or a psychological defeat, there is never been anything like what's happened here.

"This has been the most humiliating period of time that I've ever seen."

Trump added that the Afghan military "was basically bribed to fight,'' saying they did it for money and not for their country, permitting the Taliban to take over quickly.

Original Article

Trump: Afghanistan ‘Greatest Embarrassment in the History of Our Country’

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Trump: Afghanistan 'Greatest Embarrassment in the History of Our Country' president donald trump speaks during a rose garden speech (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:44 PM

Lamenting the results of President Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan, former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night declared his "conditions-based agreement" with a Taliban co-founder had been both forceful and "understood."

"We had very strong conversation," Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" of a conversation with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, a Taliban co-founder. "I told him up front, I said, 'look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else — or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before, a force so great that you won't even believe it, and your village — and we know where it is, and I named it — will be the first one.'"

Trump noted the Taliban's planned trip to Washington was canceled during his administration after an American was killed as a show of power in the country, but the Taliban co-founder had understood his warning.

"I asked him, 'do you understand?' And he said, 'I do understand,'" Trump told host Sean Hannity. "And I wanted them to get a deal done with the Afghan government."

Trump added fleeing former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was a "crook" who had "gotten away with murder," and did not have Trump's confidence.

"I never had a lot of confidence in Ghani," Trump added. "I said that openly and plainly. I thought he was a crook and got away with murder. He spent all of this time wining and dining our senators. The senators were in his pocket.

"That was one of the problems that we had, but I never liked him."

Trump mentioned the corruption of the fleeing president having reportedly escaped with piles of cash, adding the Taliban was truly the leadership to negotiate with during his administration.

"He got away with murder in many different ways, but I had a very strong talk with the Taliban, which I consider to be much more important in a sense, because they were the problem," Trump said. "And they had been there for a long time and are good fighters and they fight hard. And after I said that, we had a pretty good conversation."

Trump lamented the fall of Afghanistan under Biden's withdrawal without conditions.

"I don't think in all of the years our country has ever been so humiliated," Trump said, calling it the "greatest embarrassment in the history of our country." "I don't know if I would call it a military defeat or a psychological defeat; there has never been anything like what's happened here.

"This has been the most humiliating period of time that I've ever seen."

Trump added the Afghan military "was basically bribed to fight,'' saying the soldiers did it for money and not for their country, before they permitted the Taliban to take over quickly.

Original Article

WH: Kabul Airport is secure, evacuation flights have resumed

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U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby, right, speaks as Army Major General William Taylor, left, listens during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby, right, speaks as Army Major General William Taylor, left, listens during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:40 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

U.S. officials reported the Kabul airport has been secured and evacuation flights have resumed. During a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday, Biden officials added they have been in contact with the Taliban to ensure safe passage for evacuees.

However, some reports mentioned the Taliban set up checkpoints on roads leading to the airport and positioned militants in a circle around the facility. According to the White House, 11,000 American citizens were confirmed to be stuck in Afghanistan and just 150 have been rescued.

When grilled on the unorganized evacuation as well as reports of the Taliban beating and blocking people from passing through checkpoints, National Security Agency Adviser Jake Sullivan continued to downplay the dire situation.

“First, the earliest evacuation flights in any evacuation tend not to have every seat filled because the process of getting any evacuation underway has a throughput issue,” he explained. “Second, in terms of people being turned away, by and large, what we have found is that people have been able to get to the airport. In fact, very large numbers of people have been able to get to the airport and present themselves.”

According to reports, there are tens of thousands of individuals who need to be rescued, including American citizens, foreign diplomats and Afghan civilians who worked with U.S. troops. However, the White House said it could not guarantee all U.S. citizens would be rescued.

Meanwhile, while a Trump-era deal with the Taliban ensured the safety of thousands of U.S. troops during the pull out, they now face a September 11 deadline imposed by the Taliban to get out of the country.

MORE NEWS: GOP Lawmakers In Wis. Work To Block Democrat Efforts To Edit Redistricting

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Fed Chairman Powell: Not clear yet whether the Delta strain will have important effects on the economy

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Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP, File)

Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:43 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economy in some important ways, but only time could tell how long these changes would last. Powell made the comment during a virtual meeting with students and teachers on Tuesday, where he noted the pandemic has continued to cast a shadow on economic activity.

“A couple of months ago, we were ahead of many other similar countries in vaccination. Now we’re falling behind,” he stated. “One result you’re seeing is the current outbreak of the Delta strain that we’re seeing in some parts of the country.”

Powell added the U.S. has remained well below levels of early 2020 employment in a number of areas including travel, leisure and hospitality. In addition, Powell said people and businesses have learned to adapt, but the impact of the Delta variant on the economy’s recovery remained unknown.

“So one thing that’s happened as the pandemic has continued is that people and businesses have improvised and learned to adapt to live their lives despite COVID,” he explained. “I would say it’s not yet clear whether the Delta strain will have important effects on the economy. We’ll have to see about that.”

Meanwhile, Powell stressed millions of people who had service sector jobs are still out of work and that part of the economy’s recovery is still far from complete.

MORE NEWS: Adam Laxalt Officially Throws His Hat In The Ring To Be Next Nev. Senator

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Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform

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Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jeremy Frankel | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:06 PM

Twitter will not be banning the Taliban spokesman from its platform.

A Twitter spokesman, after being asked if the company would join other social media companies in prohibiting the terrorist group from using its website, stated that it would “continue to proactively enforce” its rules on the “glorification of violence, platform manipulation and spam,” according to Mediate. The statement added that Twitter was “witnessing people in the country using Twitter to seek help and assistance.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid is active on Twitter with approximately 200,000 followers. Other members of the terrorist group are using Twitter as well to promote its message, including a person who goes by the name Muhammad Ibrahim.

Ibrahim has used his Twitter account to advise someone on how to join the Taliban, when he replied to a tweet by a 26-year-old Bangladeshi man asking for help to join the group by saying “[T]hen go to Afghanistan,” adding afterward to ask his parents’ permission first.

Twitter also stated that its “top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant.”

Original Article

Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform

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Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform Twitter Will Allow Taliban to Use Platform (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jeremy Frankel | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:06 PM

Twitter will not be banning the Taliban spokesman from its platform.

A Twitter spokesman, after being asked if the company would join other social media companies in prohibiting the terrorist group from using its website, stated that it would “continue to proactively enforce” its rules on the “glorification of violence, platform manipulation and spam,” according to Mediate. The statement added that Twitter was “witnessing people in the country using Twitter to seek help and assistance.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid is active on Twitter with approximately 200,000 followers. Other members of the terrorist group are using Twitter as well to promote its message, including a person who goes by the name Muhammad Ibrahim.

Ibrahim has used his Twitter account to advise someone on how to join the Taliban, when he replied to a tweet by a 26-year-old Bangladeshi man asking for help to join the group by saying “[T]hen go to Afghanistan,” adding afterward to ask his parents’ permission first.

Twitter also stated that its “top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant.”

Treasury freezes Afghan foreign reserves in U.S. banks

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The U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:17 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Joe Biden’s Treasury froze billions of dollars in Afghan foreign currency reserves to prevent the Taliban from using those funds. According to Tuesday reports, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control froze all Afghan government accounts in U.S. financial institutions.

The move also froze foreign currency and gold reserves of the Afghan Central Bank, which was estimated at nearly $10 billion. The Afghan national currency plunged to its lowest in history following the Treasury decision.

Currency traders have said the Afghan economy was now in complete disarray.

“Business is down. I am hearing about the currency difference by 300 or 400 rupees. The businesses will settle down when the Taliban announce their policy and it also depends on which countries recognize them,” explained Senior Member Aziz Jan Achakzai of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan. “…The whole set up has changed there in Afghanistan.”

Economists expect elements of Afghanistan’s market economy to crumble, which would return the country to subsistence farming and drug trade.

MORE NEWS: WH: Kabul Airport Is Secure, Evacuation Flights Have Resumed

Original Article Oann

Adam Laxalt officially throws his hat in the ring to be next Nev. Senator

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Adam Laxalt speaks at a campaign event for U.S. President Donald Trump at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Adam Laxalt speaks at a campaign event for U.S. President Donald Trump at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:09 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Adam Laxalt has become the first big name Republican to throw his hat in the ring to take down Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto in Nevada. Officially launching his campaign on Tuesday, Laxalt highlighted his kids love of Star Wars because of the clear distinctions between good versus evil.

He went on to add the fight for the U.S. today has been a similar fight the Resistance faced in the hit space opera film series.

“Right now, it seems like the wrong side is winning. The radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia, Hollywood, and the media. They’re taking over America,” he asserted. “That’s your empire, right there. Telling lie after lie. Making excuses for chaos and violence.”

Laxalt was the former attorney general of Nevada and the youngest in the U.S. at the time he took office in 2015 at age 35. While attorney general, he focused on protecting his state from federal government encroachment. He also created the state’s Office of Military Legal Assistance, which was the first in the nation program to provide free legal services to veterans in Nevada.

In 2018, Laxalt made a run at the governors mansion to hold it for Republicans. He was defeated by Democrat Steve Sisolak by four points in that race.

In 2020, he was a co-chair of 45th President Donald Trump’s campaign in Nevada. Following the election, he unsuccessfully tried to challenge mail-in ballots alongside the national campaign after allegations of mail-in voter fraud surfaced.

Making his third statewide run, he has already received high profile endorsements from national Republicans. Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton appeared at a recent event with Laxalt, where Cotton endorsed him before the former attorney general announced his run.

Cotton implied the path for Republicans to retake the Senate runs through the Battle Born State.

“That change starts right here, in Nevada, when Adam Laxalt sends Cathy Cortez-Masto packing home for Nevada,” he stated. “Adam Laxalt is going to the United States Senate for the Battle Born state in 2022.”

Laxalt would first need to defeat a political novice and veteran in the GOP primary, although he has been the only big name running so far. If he were to win the primary, he would go forward to take on Masto for her seat and win statewide for the second time.

Masto took over for the former Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid when he retired in 2016. She won the state alongside Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by less than three points.

Laxalt hopes to take advantage of the narrow gap between recent statewide Democrat victors and their Republican challengers. If he wins, he would flip this Senate seat for the Republicans for the first time since his grandfather, Sen. Paul Laxalt, won the seat in 1980.

MORE NEWS: WH: Kabul Airport Is Secure, Evacuation Flights Have Resumed

Original Article Oann

US Vows Support for Taiwan Amid Chinese Media Threat

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US Vows Support for Taiwan Amid Chinese Media Threat (C-SPAN)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 08:48 PM

After Chinese state media warned Taiwan it would be doomed to Afghanistan's fate, the Biden administration has vowed to help the island nation defend itself.

"We have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," a senior Biden administration official told Fox News on Tuesday. "We consider this central to the security and stability of the broader Indo-Pacific region. Events elsewhere in the world are not going to change this enduring interest."

The official added a rebuke of the People's Republic of China using the Afghanistan takeover as propaganda to threaten Taiwan.

"It's also unfortunate that PRC's state media is exploiting the human suffering in Afghanistan to take shots at the United States," the official added to Fox News. "That's not what responsible powers do."

"We will uphold our commitment under [the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act], we will continue to support Taiwan's self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, returning early from a planned vacation, echoed the remarks in the daily press briefing Tuesday.

"Our message is very clear: We stand by, as is outlined in the Taiwan relations agreement, by individuals in Taiwan," Psaki said. "We stand by partners around the world who are subject to this kind of propaganda that Russia and China are projecting. And we're going to continue to deliver on those words with actions.

"Our objective in Afghanistan is to deliver also on what the president promised, which is to not put the men and women who served our country bravely over the past 20 years in harm's way again. And that's what we'll also be projecting to them as well."

The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, published an editorial Monday warning Taiwan the U.S. abandoning Afghanistan is "an omen of Taiwan's future fate."

"From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island's defense will collapse in hours and the U.S. military won't come to help," the editorial claimed. "As a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane."

The Times editorial added the people of Taiwan should take notice of the Afghanistan withdrawal as a sign the U.S. might ultimately abandon Taiwan, too.

"How Washington abandoned the Kabul regime particularly shocked some in Asia, including the island of Taiwan," the editorial read. "Taiwan is the region that relies on the protection of the US the most in Asia, and the island's Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] authorities have made Taiwan go further and further down this abnormal path."

Original Article

Texas county sends law enforcement to help at border

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Immigrants walk towards transport busses at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in Roma, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Immigrants walk towards transport busses at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in Roma, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:42 PM PT – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Law enforcement officers from across Texas made way to Kinney County to help secure the border. On Monday, Galveston County Constable Jimmy Fullen said he was happy to travel the 370 mile journey to help “beef up” the security presence at the border.

Fullen recently helped the small area detain over 120 illegal immigrants with a focus on those who have been destroying property. He said deputies were scheduled to work 12-hour shifts and would remain in the area as long as needed.

Meanwhile, Kinney County mayor expressed he would gratefully accept any help offered to manage the crisis. The area has reportedly seen a 500 percent increase in illegal immigrant apprehensions this year.

According to Customs and Border Protection statistics, at least 10,000 illegal immigrants were detected just last month.

MORE NEWS: Manhunt Underway For Suspect In Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Shooting

Original Article Oann

Rep. Dan Bishop to Newsmax: There Needs to Be an Afghanistan Commission

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Rep. Dan Bishop to Newsmax: There Needs to Be an Afghanistan Commission (Newsmax/''Spicer & Co.'')

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 17 August 2021 08:25 PM

Rep. Dan Bishop suggested on Newsmax that there should be an Afghanistan commission to look into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country after 20 years. The likelihood of convening an Afghanistan commission in the near future, however, seems slim, with the Democrats controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Appearing Tuesday on "Spicer & Co.," Bishop, a North Carolina Republican, said that "Congress needs to look into" an Afghanistan commission and investigate what led to the botched withdrawal.

"It is an example of totally incompetent leadership," Bishop added.

On Monday, President Joe Biden said: "The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what's happened? Afghanistan's political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight."

But on Saturday, one day before Afghan civilians began flooding the tarmac of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement praising Biden's decision to remove U.S. military forces from the region.

"The President is to be commended for his strong leadership and exceptional focus on bringing American military involvement in Afghanistan to an end," Pelosi said.

Her statement continued that "in the days and weeks ahead," Congress "will continue to receive additional briefings from the Administration as we continue to work together on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan."

On Tuesday, in a White House press briefing, Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, said it would be premature to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate governing power in Afghanistan "right now," adding that the decision would ultimately be up to the Taliban.

"Right now, there is a chaotic situation in Kabul where we don't even have the establishment of a governing authority," Sullivan said. "So it would be really premature to address that question."

"Ultimately, it's going to be up to the Taliban to show the rest of the world who they are and how they intend to proceed. The track record has not been good, but it's premature to address that question at this point."

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Original Article