US President Joe Biden has said his country made a commitment to finding long-term solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis and holding perpetrators of the atrocities accountable. “You set an example for the world of empathy and generosity in practice,” the US President wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The US Embassy in Dhaka shared the letter on Sunday (March 26, 2023) which was originally sent on March 21. The US president said Bangladesh has opened its arms and welcomed nearly one million Rohingya refugees. Read More: UK King Charles eyes continuing strong, close partnership with Bangladesh In a message to PM Hasina, Biden on behalf of the United States, wished her and the people of Bangladesh a happy Independence Day. Bangladeshis understand deeply the value of freedom and independence, as they fought courageously in 1971 to choose their own fate and to speak their own language, Biden wrote in the letter that he concluded with "Joy Bangla." As Bangladesh approaches its next election, the US president said, he is reminded of the “deep value” both the nations place on “democracy, equality, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections.” Read More: British parliament urged to recognise Bangladesh Genocide He applauded Bangladesh’s demonstrated commitment to protecting the most vulnerable as the largest contributor to peacekeeping operations. “We thank Bangladesh for cohosting the Global Action Plan ministerial that significantly elevated the political commitment to end the global pandemic,” Biden said. In over 50 years of diplomatic relations, the United States and Bangladesh have achieved a lot together – advancing economic development, strengthening people-to-people ties, addressing global health and climate issues, partnering on the humanitarian response to Rohingya refugees, and committing to a prosperous, secure, democratic, and independent Bangladesh, said the US president. Read More: Bangladesh’s tremendous achievements widely commended by int’l community: Xi Jinping
President Joe Biden says he plans to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of former President Jimmy Carter, who remains under hospice care at his home in south Georgia. Biden told donors at a California fundraiser Monday evening about his “recent” visit to see the 39th president, whom he has known since he was a young Delaware senator supporting Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign. “He asked me to do his eulogy,” Biden said, before stopping himself from saying more. “Excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.” Carter, who at 98 is the longest-lived U.S. president, announced Feb. 18 that he would spend his remaining days at home receiving end-of-life care, forgoing further medical intervention after a series of short hospital stays. The Carter Center in Atlanta and the former president’s family members have not disclosed details of his condition, though Biden alluded to Carter’s 2015 cancer diagnosis and subsequent recovery. “I spent time with Jimmy Carter and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough,” Biden said in Rancho Sante Fe, California. Biden, 80, and first lady Jill Biden visited Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, who is now 95, at their home in Plains, Georgia, a few months after Biden took office in 2021. Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s 1976 presidential bid, breaking from the Washington establishment that Carter — then a former one-time Georgia governor — shocked by winning the Democratic nomination. Biden’s presidency represents a turnabout, of sorts, for Carter’s political standing. He served just one term and lost in a landslide to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, prompting top Democrats to keep their distance, at least publicly, for decades after he left the White House. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not have close relationships with Carter. And the longshot presidential candidates who sometimes ventured to Plains over the years typically did so privately. But as the Carters’ global humanitarian work and advocacy of democracy via The Carter Center garnered new respect, Democratic politicians began publicly circulating back to south Georgia ahead of the 2020 election cycle. And with Biden’s election, Carter again found a genuine friend and ally in the Oval Office.
US President Joe Biden has been invited to visit Bangladesh. Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States M Shahidul Islam has met the US President at the White House and conveyed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s invitation to President Biden. Biden, during the meeting, said Bangladesh is an important country. Also read: Dhaka seeks greater trade, investment with visa-free Commonwealth regime "Honored to have an audience with US President in the Oval Office, White House," said the Bangladesh Ambassador. Bangladesh and the United States had a series of bilateral meetings this year as both sides want to strengthen the ties addressing the challenges. Also read: Padma Bridge reflects Bangladesh’s enormous confidence under Hasina’s leadership: Nepal
President Joe Biden wants to put a spotlight on the spike in food prices from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when he travels to an Illinois farm to emphasize how U.S. agricultural exports can relieve the financial pressures being felt worldwide. The war in Ukraine has disrupted the supply of that country’s wheat to global markets, while also triggering higher costs for oil, natural gas and fertilizer. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said its food price index in April jumped nearly 30% from a year ago, though the index did decline slightly on a monthly basis. Americans are also bearing some pain as food prices are up 8.8% from a year ago, the most since May 1981. The trip to Illinois on Wednesday is an opportunity for Biden to tackle two distinct challenges that are shaping his presidency. First, his approval has been dogged by high inflation and his visit will coincide with the release of the May consumer price index, which economists say should show a declining rate of inflation for the first time since August. Read: Trump-backed US Rep. Alex Mooney wins W.Va. GOP primary But much more broadly, it’s an opportunity to reinforce America’s distinct role in helping to alleviate the challenges caused by the war in Ukraine. The trip follows a similar pattern as Biden’s recent visit to an Alabama weapons factory highlighted the anti-tank Javelin missiles provided by the U.S. to Ukraine. “He’s going to talk about the support we need to continue to give to farmers to help continue to produce more and more domestically,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. “Just as we are providing weapons, we are going to work on doing what we can to support farmers to provide more wheat and other food around the world.” The president noted in remarks Tuesday about inflation that Ukraine has 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn in storage that the U.S. and its allies are trying to help ship out of the country. This would help to address some supply issues, though challenges could persist. Several House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with Biden on Tuesday after having visited Ukraine. They warned that the food shortage meant the consequences of the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin would extend well beyond Ukrainian borders to some of the world’s poorest nations. Read: Biden, Mexican president confer on migration, diplomacy “It’s going to result in a hunger crisis, much worse than anybody anticipated,” Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern following the White House meeting. An analysis this month for the center-right American Enterprise Institute by Joseph Glauber and David Laborde noted that countries in the Middle East and North Africa are mostly likely to suffer from the higher prices caused by grain shortages. There are limits to how much wheat the U.S. can produce to offset any shortages. The Agriculture Departmen t estimated in March that 47.4 million acres of wheat were planted this year, an increase of just 1% from 2021. This would be the fifth lowest amount of acres dedicated to wheat in records that go back to 1919. Biden will be traveling with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Illinois. After the president speaks at the farm, he will go to Chicago to speak at a convention for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden have greeted Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and his wife Selina Momen on the occasion of New Year 2022. “May gifts from the heart be with you and your family this holiday season,” the US President and First Lady wrote while greeting Dr Momen and his wife. Read: Bangladesh remains open to foreign observers in next polls: FM Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken greeted Dr Momen and wished his family a joyous and peaceful New Year. "May you and your family have a joyous holiday season and peaceful New Year," Secretary Blinken wrote in his New Year's message from the US State Department.
As coronavirus cases surge in the days before Christmas, President Joe Biden plans to stress in a speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from the wave of infections tied to the new omicron variant. The world is confronting the prospect of a second straight holiday season with COVID-19 as families and friends begin to gather while the variant quickly spreads. Scientists don’t yet know whether omicron causes more serious disease, but they do know that vaccination should offer strong protections against severe illness and death. In a preview of Biden’s speech Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday’s press briefing that the president doesn’t plan to impose any lockdowns and will instead be encouraging people to get inoculated — and, if they’re eligible, to get their booster shot. “This is not a speech about locking the country down. This is a speech about the benefits of being vaccinated,” Psaki told reporters. Read: Boosters key to fight omicron, lot still to learn Biden’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said over the weekend that Biden will issue “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans. Biden has found himself in the delicate position of both alerting the country to the dangers posed by omicron and reassuring Americans that the vaccines will protect them. White House officials are looking to ease the nation back toward accepting the reality of an endemic virus with far lower stakes for the vaccinated. This has meant setting a difficult balance as cases rise and as deaths and serious illness among the unvaccinated dominate headlines. Underscoring how widespread the virus is, the White House said late Monday that Biden had been in close contact with a staff member who later tested positive for COVID-19. The staffer spent about 30 minutes around the president on Air Force One on Friday on a trip from Orange, South Carolina, to Philadelphia. The staffer, who was fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive earlier Monday, Psaki said. Psaki said Biden has tested negative twice since Sunday and will test again on Wednesday. Citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Psaki said Biden didn’t need to quarantine and would continue with his regular schedule. There are 40 million eligible but unvaccinated American adults. Efforts to increase vaccination rates have struggled to overcome a series of political, social and cultural divides. Psaki said the president plans to appeal to survival instincts. “Our health experts assess that you are 14 times more likely to die of COVID if you have not been vaccinated versus vaccinated,” she said Monday. Leana Wen, the former public health commissioner for Baltimore, said she would like to hear Biden commit in his speech to having enough tests available within three months so that every family can test twice a week. Other countries have already done this, she noted. “Every family testing twice a week is the goal that we should get to,” Wen said in an interview. Wen, who teaches public health at George Washington University, said she’d also like to see more restrictions put in place on the still-sizable portion of the public that remains unvaccinated, such as following some cities and requiring proof of vaccination to be admitted to bars, restaurants, concert venues and gyms, for example. Read: Queen Elizabeth II to skip Christmas trip amid omicron surge Further complicating Biden’s message is uncertainty about the omicron variant. Scientists say omicron spreads even easier than other coronavirus strains, including delta. It has already become the dominant strain in the U.S., accounting for nearly three-quarters of new infections last week. Early studies suggest that the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing an omicron infection but that even without the extra dose, vaccination should still largely protect people from serious sickness or death. In New York City, nearly 42,600 people citywide tested positive from Wednesday through Saturday — compared to fewer than 35,800 in the entire month of November. The city has never had so many people test positive in such a short period of time since testing became widely available; there’s no clear picture of how many people got the virus during the city’s first surge in the spring of 2020. The latest outbreak reflects the global challenges of stopping the pandemic. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said officials have decided against imposing further restrictions, at least for now. “We will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public,” Johnson said Monday. “The arguments either way are very, very finely balanced.” The Dutch government began a tough nationwide lockdown on Sunday to rein in sharply rising infections, but many European leaders have opted for something less. France and Germany have barred most British travelers from entering, and the government in Paris has banned public concerts and fireworks displays at New Year’s celebrations. Ireland imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on pubs and bars and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events, while Greece will have 10,000 police officers on duty over the holidays to carry out COVID-19 pass checks. In Spain, the national average of new cases is double what it was a year ago. But authorities in the country with one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates are betting primarily on mandatory mask-wearing indoors and the rollout of booster shots, with no further restrictions planned. Neighboring Portugal is telling most nonessential workers to work from home for a week in January, but the country has no other new measures in the pipeline. Stock markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S. fell on Monday with the expectation that the infections could weigh on global economic growth and worsen global supply chain challenges.
Democrats wielded demands to fix the nation’s broken immigration system as a cudgel against Republicans in the 2020 campaign. Elect us, went the argument, and we’ll stop the cruel treatment of migrants at the border, and put in place lasting and humane policies that work. A year into Joe Biden’s presidency, though, action on the issue has been hard to find and there is growing consternation privately among some in the party that the Biden administration can’t find the right balance on immigration. Publicly, it’s another story. Most Washington lawmakers are largely holding their tongues, unwilling to criticize their leader on a polarizing topic that has created divisions within the party — especially as concerns mount over whether Democrats can hold on to power come next year. It’s a hard balancing act to pull off, said Douglas Rivlin, spokesman for America’s Voice, an immigration reform group. Especially when Republicans are unrelenting in their negativity toward the president, even a little friendly fire can be a challenge. Read: What is this new COVID variant in South Africa? “It’s hard but they’ve got to do it,” he said. “They’re going to face voters next year, all the people on the Hill. Biden isn’t, they are. And they have to be clear they’re pushing Biden to be the Democratic president we elected, rather than being scared of the issues because the politics are difficult.” Democrats have pointed to the recent House approval of a huge spending bill backed by the White House that would allow for expanded work permits and some other, less ambitious immigration provisions. When Biden took office, he promised a pathway to U.S. citizenship for millions of people in the country illegally. Democrats say the measures in the spending bill are enough to show the party won’t shy away from the immigration issue during next year’s midterms. “I don’t see it as as the fault of the president per se or ... these challenges that we’re facing today, solely falling on the shoulders of the president,” said Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents a district in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Juarez, Mexico. “It is a collective obligation that we have and and I think Democrats have solutions and we need to lean in on them.” Her Democratic colleague, Rep. Joaquin Castro, from San Antonio, ducked a question when asked if House members in swing districts will be forced to run away from Biden in 2022, saying “I’m going to wait on political discussions.” But Castro added that the party had done as much as it could do on immigration this session, given Senate rules that have prevented larger legislation on the issue from advancing with the required minimum of 60 votes in that chamber. “Right now, Democrats have control of the White House, the Senate and the House and we have pushed as hard as we can with the number that we have in the chambers to get protections from deportation, workplace permits, driver’s licenses, travel abilities,” Castro said. Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who recently announced he’d run for Texas governor, has been one of a few Democrats to put the border front and center, heading almost immediately to the U.S.-Mexico border after he announced he was running, where he suggested the White House is doing its party no favors. “It’s clear that Biden could be doing a better job at the border,” O’Rourke said during an interview with KTVT TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. “It is not enough of a priority.” Read: Towering musical theater master Stephen Sondheim dies at 91 Like most top Democrats, O’Rourke will have to counter the narrative pushed by Republicans that an increase in the number of people crossing the border illegally this year has reached “crisis” levels. Incumbent Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign accused O’Rourke of supporting Biden’s “open borders” policies and financed billboards along the border featuring O’Rourke’s face morphing into that of the president. Nick Rathod, Rourke’s campaign manager, sees “neglect, I think by Democrats across the board, not just the Biden administration, in engaging in an authentic manner in those communities” along the border. “It’s sort of created a vacuum. What we want to do is fill that space.” But immigration is a complex issue, and no administration has been able to fix it. And Biden is trapped between the conflicting interests of showing compassion while dealing with migrants coming to the country — illegally — seeking a better life. The administration has said it is focusing on root causes of immigration, and working to broker long-term solutions that make migrants want to stay in their homelands. They’ve pushed through regulations that aim to adjudicate asylum cases faster so migrants don’t wait in limbo, and they’ve worked to diminish the massive backlog of cases. But mostly, Biden has spent much of the past year undoing Trump-era rules widely viewed as cruel that clamped down on asylum seekers, gutted the number of refugees allowed to the U.S. and then shuttered the border entirely in the name of COVID-19. Despite that effort, Biden has faced a heap of criticism from progressives and immigrant advocates who say he is still making too much use of inhumane Trump-era policies. One of the most criticized is the “Remain in Mexico” program, where migrants are sent to wait for resolution of their immigration claims over the border to Mexico in fetid makeshift refugee camps. It was put on hold after a judge ruled it was improper, but according to court papers, the Biden administration is waiting on final agreements with Mexico to start doing it again. “We reject a system where people facing life and death consequences are forced to navigate a complex legal system — in a language they may not speak and in a culture which they may not be accustomed to — alone,” the Catholic Legal Immigration Network said in a statement. Another is a provision, known as Title 42, that gives federal health officials powers during a pandemic to take extraordinary measures to limit transmission of an infectious disease. The White House has appealed a judge’s ruling that ended the regulation. The administration has used the provision to justify the deportation of Haitian migrants who entered Texas. After viral images surfaced of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics, Biden’s team took heat from even the staunchest of allies. Republicans are hammering border security, intent on keeping the issue in the headlines. The issue remains a high priority to some voters. A CNN poll earlier this month showed 14% of Americans identified immigration as the top issue facing the county, trailing behind the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border from September 2020 to September 2021, more than quadruple the number in the prior fiscal year and the highest annual total on record. The number of encounters had dropped over the previous 12 months to around 400,000, as the pandemic slowed global migration. But the rebound is now higher than the previous record set in 2000, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. The tally includes both expulsions when migrants are turned away immediately, and apprehensions when they’re detained by U.S. authorities, at least temporarily. The U.S. system is still ill-equipped to manage such a crush, though career immigration officials warned of a coming surge. Border stations are temporary holding places not meant for long-term care. It’s a massive logistical challenge, especially when dealing with children who cross alone and require higher standards of care and coordination across agencies.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday put forward six proposals to make the world more liveable by bringing down carbon emissions and tackle the people being displaced across the globe due to climate change. She placed her proposals while delivering the pre-recorded speech in the ‘Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate’, convened by US President Joe Biden. The Prime Minister, in her first proposal, asked the major carbon-emitting countries to take action to reduce their emissions to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius. In her second proposal, Hasina renewed her call for fulfilling the commitment of an annual 100-billion-dollar climate fund by the developed countries and distributing it 50:50 between adaptation and mitigation. The Prime Minister, in her third proposal, advised the developed countries to come forward with the most effective energy solutions along with technology transfer to the developing countries. Also read: Hasina places 4 suggestions to deal with climate challenge
President Joe Biden led the kind of campaign rally on Friday that was impossible last year because of the pandemic, speaking before nearly 3,000 people in support of a fellow moderate Democrat whose race for Virginia governor could serve as a test of Biden’s own strength and coattails. Biden motorcaded across the Potomac River to back Terry McAuliffe, a former governor looking for a second term whose centrist leanings in many ways mirror those of the president. The race is seen as an early measure of voters’ judgment on Democratic control of all branches of the federal government. The president stood before an enthusiastic and largely unmasked crowd who gathered around a park pavilion and playground on a warm July night. He emphasized that he shared the same vision as McAuliffe about the need for greater public investments in order to drive economic growth. But Biden was also focused on the political stakes. “You’re not gonna find anyone, I mean anyone, who knows how to get more done for Virginia than Terry,” Biden said. “Off-year election, the country’s looking. This is a big deal.” Biden pointed to his management of the pandemic and highlighted the economic recovery during the first six months of his term, providing a window into his party’s messaging as it tries to maintain narrow margins next fall in both houses of Congress. He also highlighted the relative popularity of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and called for action on his infrastructure plan, much as he has done in official visits to congressional districts expected to see close races next year. It was a clear return to politics as normal after 2020, when Biden had to speak to supporters who stayed in their cars at drive-in rallies or give remarks in front of sparse and socially distanced audiences. The rock songs and tightly packed people standing before center stage suggested that Democrats will not be waging campaigns via Zoom meetings and conference calls this year. Protesters against an oil pipeline interrupted Biden and the president took a shot at his 2020 opponent as he told the crowd to not shout them down. “It’s not a Trump rally,” Biden said. “Let them holler. No one’s paying attention.” McAuliffe’s win in his state’s gubernatorial primary was one of a string of recent victories by self-styled pragmatic candidates in relatively low-turnout elections — which tend to draw the most loyal base voters — and his race is being carefully watched by Democrats looking to shape their messaging for next year. READ: Biden says getting vaccinated ‘gigantically important’ “It’s an important test for the Biden administration. The margins are so small, and he needs to be able to use his clout to help candidates get across the finish line,” said Adrienne Elrod, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign who also worked on Biden’s inaugural. “His message is simple: that he is delivering on promises on vaccines, record job growth and infrastructure.” McAuliffe, who previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018, is facing Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer who made a fortune in private equity. Despite the state trending blue over the last decade, the race is seen as competitive. As one of only two regularly scheduled governor’s races this year, is drawing outsize national attention as a potential measuring stick of voter sentiment ahead of the 2022 midterms. Biden and McAuliffe profile similarly, as moderate Democrats who don’t necessarily electrify the party’s base but who won their primaries on a promise of electability. The Virginia race could serve as a checkup on Biden’s status, and the Democratic National Committee has pledged to spend $5 million to help McAuliffe’s campaign this year, a clear signal that the White House has prioritized the race. Youngkin has distanced himself from former President Donald Trump, even as much of the Republican Party remains in the thrall of the former president. Still, Democrats on Friday repeatedly tried to link Youngkin with Trump, who lost Virginia last year. “I tell you what, the guy Terry is running against is an acolyte of Donald Trump, for real,” Biden said. “I don’t know where these guys come from.” Biden has long been an eager campaigner on the road — and on the rope line — during his time as senator and vice president, and emerged as a successful surrogate in 2018 when Democrats won back control of the House. But the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated campaigning for the bulk of the 2020 race, and the events that were held for the general election stretch run were socially distant and infrequent. As the pandemic receded this spring, Biden, always the most tactile of politicians, has reveled in interacting with people, spending an hour chatting with supporters at a recent Philadelphia event. Aides said he was eager to do the same in Arlington on Friday. But privately, there was increased worry about the danger posed by the virus’s highly contagious delta variant. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would follow federal health guidelines, which offer no restrictions for vaccinated individuals. Biden has pledged to work with Republicans and has spent enormous political energy on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. But he still went after the GOP on Friday, saying it “offers nothing more than fear, lies and broken promises.” White House aides have pointed to polling that suggests Biden’s agenda is broadly popular with voters of both parties, even though it has received little support from GOP lawmakers in Washington. But Republican strategists cast doubt on whether Biden’s poll numbers would translate into votes. While both Biden and McAuliffe have been active in Democratic politics for decades, they have relatively few direct political connections, though McAuliffe ran the state campaign for Biden in 2020. But their political and ideological similarities are extensive. READ: Biden backs Trump rejection of China’s South China Sea claim Virginia’s off-year elections have always been looked at as a sort of national bellwether, and “with the Democratic nominee being so philosophically close and similar to Biden, many may see Virginia as a stronger bellwether than usual,” said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University. Current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, like all Virginia governors, is prohibited from seeking a second consecutive term. The other notable off-year election in 2021, for New Jersey governor, is not expected to be competitive, with Democrats likely maintaining control.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the Indo-Pacific strategy led by the United States is aimed at countering Beijing in a group and claimed the strategy "should be dumped at a trash heap." Speaking in a forum on global security issues discussed under China's initiative, held at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Wang warned the strategy adopted by the United States, Japan and other countries is forming a siege against Beijing. Also read: Xi takes firm line as China Communist Party marks centenary Apparently referring to the Group of Seven industrialized countries and the Quad grouping of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, Wang also said China opposes a framework of cooperation to "fuel rivalry" and "an action to accelerate division." As the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has been increasingly promoting relations with Taiwan, Wang claimed the United States is encouraging Taiwan's independence. Also read: At 100, China’s Communist Party looks to cement its future Regarding Japan's decision to release treated radioactive water into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant announced in April, Wang urged Tokyo not to discharge the water without the consent of neighboring countries and international organizations. In the speech made two days after China celebrated the 100th birthday of the ruling Communist Party on Thursday, he said, "Today's China is no longer the same country of 100 years ago."