U.S. fears China attack on Taiwan

Associated Press

Women, LGBT people and students protest for rights in Turkey

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Istanbul on Saturday for anti-government protests, demanding amid a heavy police presence the reversal of recent decisions by Turkey’s president that affect students, women and the LGBT community. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a surprise decree a week ago ending Turkey’s participation in a landmark treaty aimed at protecting women from violence. About a thousand women and allies turned up Saturday to protest the country’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention.

Axios

China flies at least 20 war planes in Taiwan airspace

At least 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air space on Friday, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.Why it matters: It is the largest incursion by China’s air force since Taiwan’s defense ministry has announced almost daily Chinese military exercises into its air space, per Reuters. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeA person familiar with Taiwan’s defense planning told Reuters that the Chinese military was simulating an operation against U.S. warships sailing through the Bashi Channel.China has said the exercises are meant to show its determination to defend the island, which it considers part of Chinese territory, though Taiwan’s status is one of the most sensitive political issues between Washington and Beijing. The big picture: Friday’s exercises involved four H-6K bombers, which have nuclear strike capabilities, 10 J-16 fighter jets and six other military planes.Taiwan said it warned the planes by radio that they were violating its airspace and deployed air defense missile systems to “monitor the activity” of the flight after the aircraft did not change course.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

Reuters

Taiwan, U.S. to strengthen maritime coordination after China law

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan and the United States have signed their first agreement under the Biden administration, establishing a Coast Guard Working Group to coordinate policy, following China’s passing of a law that allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels. The new government of U.S. President Joe Biden has moved to reassure Chinese-claimed Taiwan that its commitment to the island is rock solid. The defacto Taiwanese ambassador to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, signed the agreement in Washington on Thursday, her office said in a statement.

Axios

Myanmar security forces kill at least 90 people

Myanmar security forces on Saturday killed at least 90 people in anti-coup protests, several news agencies reported. Why it matters: It’s the bloodiest day of protests since the military last month overthrew the country’s democratically elected government and comes as Myanmar’s military celebrates the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the country’s capital, Naypyidaw.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Context: Protesters have congregated in cities across the country for almost two months, demanding that democracy be restored.The military junta now running the country has repeatedly used leathal force against civilians to maintain power.What they’re saying: During the armed forces parade, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the chief of the junta now in control of the country, claimed that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy, according to Reuters.However, state television warned protesters on Friday night that they risked being shot “in the head and back” if they demonstrated during the national holiday.U.S. Ambassador Thomas Vajda said in a statement Saturday that “security forces are murdering unarmed civilians, including children, the very people they swore to protect.””This bloodshed is horrifying. These are not the actions of a professional military or police force. Myanmar’s people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule. We call for an immediate end to the violence and the restoration of the democratically elected government,” he added.The big picture: The deaths on Saturday increase the number of civilians reported killed by security forces since the coup to well over 400.Thousands more civilians have been arrested, including a number of journalists.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

Axios

Schumer and Murphy plan “boldest legislation possible” for gun reform that GOP will back

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are planning to put forward “the boldest legislation possible” for gun reform that can still receive Republican support, a source briefed on the meeting told Axios.Why it matters: A big concern among many Democrats is that, as history has shown, the more time that elapses after a mass shooting, the harder it is to maintain momentum for meaningful political change.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.The decision and strategy emerged after the two met privately Thursday.The meeting followed the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, over the past two weeks that left 18 dead.What to watch: While there’s no indication of specific timing, the two will use the next several weeks to reach out to members from both parties and then put the measure on the floor for a vote.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

Reuters

U.S. needs new understanding with China or it risks conflict, Kissinger says

The United States will have to reach an understanding with China on a new global order to ensure stability or the world will face a dangerous period like the one which preceded World War One, veteran U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger said. Kissinger, now 97, influenced some of the most important turns of the 1970s while serving as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Speaking at a Chatham House event in London via Zoom, Kissinger said the ultimate question was whether or not the United States and its Western allies could develop an understanding with China about a new global order.

Axios

Chinese officials brief diplomats on possible COVID-19 origins

Chinese officials briefed diplomats in Beijing on Friday on four possible ways the coronavirus arrived in Wuhan, AP reports.Why it matters: The briefing comes ahead of the release of the World Health Organization’s report on the virus’ origin, and “is based on a visit earlier this year by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan,” the AP writes. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.”The experts worked with Chinese counterparts, and both sides have to agree on the final report. It’s unclear when it will come out,” according to AP.Details: Feng Zijian, deputy director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, identified the four possible origins:A bat carrying the virus infected a person.A bat infected a mammal who then gave it to a person.The virus came from shipments of cold or frozen food.It leaked from a Wuhan laboratory that was researching viruses.Experts said it is most likely that the virus originated from the two animal routes or from the cold food shipment, adding that a “lab leak was viewed as extremely unlikely,” AP notes.The big picture: “The debate over the origins of the coronavirus has been ongoing since the start of the pandemic, causing rising tensions between the U.S. and China,” Axios’ Zachary Basu reports.What’s next: WHO said on Friday that the report was finalized and was currently getting fact-checked and translated.“I expect that in the next few days, that whole process will be completed and we will be able to release it publicly,” WHO expert Peter Ben Embarek said, per AP.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

National Review

The CCP Is a Threat. Why Won’t the President Call It One?

Top Biden administration officials have largely kept their promises to vigorously compete with China. Building on the Trump administration’s China policies, they’ve pressed Beijing on its horrific human-rights abuses, bolstered U.S. support for Taiwan using the previous administration’s framework, and built out the Quad of Pacific democracies. In addition to that, the Biden team’s own focus on multilateral action has started to yield some results: This week, they announced sanctions on Chinese officials, coordinated with the U.K, the EU, and Canada, to punish CCP officials for their role in the Uyghur genocide. But this flurry of activity has been joined, puzzlingly, with a deliberate effort to leave room for meetings such as last week’s rancorous U.S.-China summit in Alaska and President Biden’s decision to invite the CCP’s general secretary to a global climate summit. To hear Biden appraise the challenge posed by the CCP is to listen to a meandering description of his recent phone conversation with its general secretary Xi Jinping, as he did yesterday. “I made it clear to him again what I’ve told him in person on several occasions: that we’re not looking for confrontation, although we know there will be steep, steep competition.” No one wants a military conflict, but if calling out an authoritarian regime’s human-rights abuses and international bullying is anything, it is confrontation. In other words, the policies and statements of the president’s own administration belie a need to call the situation what it is, and not a sugarcoated version of the truth. The problem is not that officials have backed down from speaking out on the CCP’s transgressions. On a trip to Tokyo earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Beijing of using “coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea” in violation of international law. If that doesn’t put a fine enough point on matters, Blinken has accused the Party of genocide in Xinjiang and referred to Taiwan as a “country” (a notable use of the term for a top U.S. official) as the mainland continues its airborne harassment of the world’s only Chinese democracy. Blinken and Biden both have defined this contest as a fundamental battle between democracy and authoritarianism in the 21st century. Biden yesterday, in his answer about China but also speaking more broadly, said that “most of the scholars I dealt with at Penn agree with me around the country — that this is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies.” In their view, the competition with China is one of the most major aspects of this battle between two systems. It’s a jarring prognosis — and yet, their diplomacy has failed to meet the occasion that they describe by seeking cooperation where it cannot exist, and therefore downplaying the CCP’s threat to American interests. Blinken’s trip to Brussels this week is a prime example of this contradiction. The Biden-Blinken emphasis on collaboration with U.S. allies to counter the CCP has led to some more coordination, as this week’s sanctions announcements attest. But Blinken soon undercut that move with a speech to a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday: The United States won’t force our allies into a “us or them” choice with China. There’s no question that Beijing’s coercive behavior threatens our collective security and prosperity, and that it is actively working to undercut the rules of the international system and the values we and our allies share. But that doesn’t mean that countries can’t work with China where possible, for example, on challenges like climate change and health security. His remarks were all the more self-defeating because other parts of the speech contained a compelling explanation of why the U.S. and its allies must work together to confront Beijing. And if the Biden administration’s assertions — about the CCP’s drive to snuff out the democracy across the Taiwan strait, the Uyghur genocide, and the contest between democracy and autocracy — are to be taken seriously, competing effectively with Beijing requires that America’s allies shun the single greatest threat to the values on which the transatlantic relationship finds its premises. They do face a choice. And if the Anchorage summit demonstrated anything, it’s that Chinese diplomats are more interested in playing to a global audience whom they hope will discount America’s ability to lead in the world than in earnestly engaging on climate change and infectious-disease prevention. The meeting only succeeded in providing an opportunity for top CCP officials to reach that desired audience. Biden seems not to have recognized this yet, which is why he said yesterday that “I don’t criticize them for the goal” of becoming “the leading country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.” He added, “That’s not going to happen on my watch.” But unless Biden and his team adopt more pointed rhetoric and dispense with the idea that their warnings about the CCP can reasonably be accompanied with cooperation on climate change and other issues, they will have trouble defending global democracy from the very authoritarian threat that they claim to recognize.

Associated Press

Alabama, Georgia pick up the pieces after deadly tornadoes

Chainsaws buzzed through fallen trees, stunned residents dug in the rubble that had been their homes, and neighbors rushed in to help on Friday after multiple tornadoes ripped a path of devastation across the Deep South. As many as 10 tornadoes — an estimated eight in Alabama and two in Georgia — carved a tremendous path of devastation on Thursday, uprooting 100-year-old trees, stripping roofs from houses, seriously damaging schools and businesses, and scattering treasured family possessions far and wide. All of the twisters were spawned by “supercell” thunderstorms, said John De Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

Reuters

Biden warns of responses if North Korea escalates, but open to diplomacy

President Joe Biden said on Thursday the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its ballistic missile tests this week, but warned there would be responses if North Korea escalates matters. Biden told his first White House news conference the missile tests by Pyongyang violated U.N. resolution 1718, a 2006 measure through which the world body imposed sanctions on North Korea for missile and nuclear tests.

Associated Press

UCLA, USC go from late night to NCAA prime-time spotlight

UCLA and Southern California games are usually late-night viewing for most college basketball fans during the regular season but both programs have prime time spots for the second weekend of March Madness. The Los Angeles schools are among four Pac-12 teams in the men’s Sweet 16, the first time since 2007 and third time overall that the Bruins and Trojans have both made it to the regional semifinals in the same tournament. “To see UCLA, USC and all the other conference teams having this excellent success throughout this tournament, it’s just very satisfying and inspirational,” said former UCLA great Bill Walton, who announces games for ESPN and the Pac-12 Network.

Benzinga

This Day In Market History: OPEC Raises Crude Oil Prices By 9%

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date. What Happened? On this day in 1979, OPEC raised the price of crude oil by 9% from $13.34 to $14.55. Where The Market Was: The Dow finished the day at 854.82. The S&P 500 finished at 101.04. What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, ESPN, launched, becoming the first cable sports network dedicated exclusively to sports. The Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania experienced a partial meltdown, the worst U.S. nuclear accident in history. The average cost of a new house was $58,100. Building To An Energy Crisis: OPEC raised the price of crude oil by 9% in March 1979, one of the first in a series of events that would lead to a spike in global crude prices and U.S. inflation. The Iranian Revolution decreased the global oil supply by about 4% in 1979, and OPEC took advantage of the opportunity to apply their pricing power. Over a 12-month stretch starting in early 1979, the price of oil in the U.S. skyrocketed from $15.85 to $39.50, triggering panic among U.S. drivers who remembered the horrible shortages that occurred in 1973. Annual U.S. inflation in 1979 was a staggering 11.2%, and interest rates were 15.2% at the close of the year. Oil prices eventually peaked in 1980 and began a slow decline over the next 20 years. Image credit: Automobiles lining up for fuel at a service station in Maryland, June 1979. See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaIf You Invested ,000 In Tesla Stock One Year Ago, Here’s How Much You’d Have NowHow Dan Gilbert Became A B Man© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.