Smiling U.S. and Iranian fans mingled and posed for photos outside a stadium in Doha ahead of a politically charged World Cup match on Tuesday. The atmosphere was generally festive though the political divisions among Iran fans were apparent outside Al Thumama Stadium, as they have been during previous Iran games during the tournament, with pro-government fans confronting those expressing support for the anti-government protests across Iran. Two London-based Iranians, wearing T-shirts with the slogan of protests, were repeatedly harassed while talking to an Associated Press journalist on Tuesday. One of them, who identified herself as Maryam, received a grazing slap to the face by an Iranian man following her. Security guards got between them, but did not detain the man who slapped her. Other men blew vuvuzelas at the two or filmed them. One man shouted at them in Farsi “why don’t you think Iran is good?” Maryam, who like other Iran fans declined to give her last name for fear of government reprisals, said her friends were similarly harassed at Iran-Wales match on Friday. “They can’t stop us. People are getting killed and I’m not going to get stopped by some random guy. I’m not afraid of them,” she said. Read more: Iran-US World Cup clash rife with political tension Dalia, an 18-year-old Iranian from the southern city of Ahvaz who attended the game with her parents, said Tuesday’s match had exposed divisions within her family between those still committed to supporting Iran’s national team and others who reject the players as tools of the government. The Iranian players in Qatar have declined to comment or made vague statements about the protests in Iran, which were sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman while in the custody of Iran’s morality police. “It’s so sad for me because I want to support them so badly but I just can’t,” Dalia said. Mehrdad and Eli from Arizona brought pictures of the young women killed in Iran’s protests to the match. But holding them up invited harassment, they said, so Eli kept them in her purse. They described a deep sense of unease at the stadium. “I feel like I am surrounded by IRGC agents,” said Mehrdad, referring to the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard. “Everybody’s watching you.” Elsewhere, U.S. and Iranian fans appeared unfazed by the tensions between the two countries, posing together for photos. The two teams have played in a World Cup once before, in 1998 in France, when Iran beat the U.S. 2-1. “It has been amazing to see Americans. They are so friendly,” said Yas, a 14-year-old Iran fan from the city of Shiraz. "I hope this is a chance for people to connect and share their cultures peacefully.” Her older sister had an X written with a black marker over her lips. “She’s doing that to show we all can’t talk about the politics in our country,” Yas said. Read more: Iran shuts out noise at World Cup but United States looms The latest protests mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought them to power. Rights groups say security forces have unleashed live ammunition and bird shot on the protesters, as well as beating and arresting them, with much of the violence captured on video. At least 452 protesters have been killed and more than 18,000 detained since the start of the unrest, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the protests. Two former members of the national soccer team arrested this month in connection with the protests have been released on bail. Parviz Boroumand, a retired goalkeeper, was arrested nearly two weeks ago on charges of participating in protests in the capital, Tehran, and was accused of damaging property. Voria Ghafouri was arrested last week for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandizing against the government,” according to state-linked media.
Respect achieved. Wins await. American players wanted more than a 0-0 draw with England on Friday night, likely the most-watched match of their lives. The U.S. shut out a European opponent in the World Cup for the first time since 1950 yet left the tent-like stadium in the Arabian desert knowing a win in Tuesday’s politically charged matchup with Iran is a must to reach the knockout stage. “We dominated the game. We had the more clear-cut chances. Obviously, it sucks that we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” said midfielder Weston McKennie, standing out with red, white and blue streaks in his hair. “There’s a lot of people that obviously thought we were going to get blown out.” Read more: US frustrate England again at a World Cup in 0-0 draw The British tabloid The Sun ran a headline calling the result “Yawn in the USA.” England supporters booed loudly at the final whistle and American fans cheered. “I guess that’s a positive sign,” U.S. star Christian Pulisic said. “Back home watching, I hope we made a lot of people proud.” Playing before what figured to be a huge Black Friday television audience, the former Colonies remained unbeaten in three World Cup matches against Ye Olde Country, a run that includes the famous 1-0 upset at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1950 and the 1-1 draw at Rustenberg, South Africa, in 2010. The U.S. had conceded goals in 19 consecutive Cup matches against European opponents until Matt Turner matched Frank Borghi’s clean sheet of 72 years earlier. American fans outcheered England supporters, too, including a cheeky serenade of “It’s called soccer!” in the 40th minute. “Now I’ll go back and I don’t think my Leeds teammates can say anything with all the banter they were saying before,” midfielder Brenden Aaronson said. “I think it does show that were going to get respect out of this game.” In 2010, England dominated 14-10 in shots and 6-4 in corner kicks. This time the U.S., using five starters from Premier League clubs, led 10-8 in shots and 7-3 in corners. Read more: Southgate reminds England it hasn’t beaten US at World Cup McKennie had the best U.S. chance, putting an open 9-yard attempt wide from Tim Weah’s cross in the 26th minute. Seven minutes later, Pulisic bent a shot with his weaker left foot around Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka, and the ball glanced off a fingertip of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and against the crossbar. England’s best opportunity came in second-half stoppage time, when Harry Kane sliced a header wide from Luke Shaw’s free kick. The U.S. wore blue tie-dyed uniforms in Bayt Stadium, which has a tent-shaped roof with an underside in a red-and-black carpet pattern. The interior is filled with the sadu pattern of the Bedouin. Coach Gregg Berhalter made just one change from the 1-1 draw against Wales, replacing forward Josh Sargent with Haji Wright in just his fifth international appearance. Usually wedded to a 4-3-3 formation, Berhalter switched to a 4-4-2 that was first practiced Wednesday, according to Aaronson, who referred to it as an “amoeba.” “Regarding changing the way the world views American soccer, we’re chipping away at it, and you need games like tonight to be able to do that,” Berhalter said. “I talked before the World Cup about how seriously the team is taking, the staff is taking this responsibility to gain momentum in this sport in America, and good performances will do that. We want to capture the public’s attention. We want to perform at a high level. We want to give them something to be proud of, and a night like tonight helps, but there has to be more to come.” Still, the U.S. has five losses and five draws against European teams at the World Cup since beating Portugal in 2002. Looking ahead to the Iran match likely will be the huge topic of Saturday’s Thanksgiving dinner with players, family and friends. Iran upset the U.S. 2-1 at Lyon, France, in the second game of the 1998 World Cup, eliminating the Americans. Team Melli is coming off Friday’s 2-0 upset of Wales and would advance with a win, or with a tie if Wales fails to beat England. “All we can ask for is to have destiny in our own hands,” Turner said, “and we have that.”
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Monday said they seek to work with Bangladesh and other partners to build an Indo-Pacific that is free and open. "We want a region that is free and open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. We share this vision with many other nations," he said, sharing the five elements of the Indo-Pacific that the US shares with many other nations. The US ambassador was speaking at a panel discussion “Untangling the Myriad of Multilateral Frameworks in the Indo-Pacific” at a programme titled “Bay of Bengal Conversation” held at a hotel in Dhaka. Read more: US to be bold in promoting its vision of a free, secure, and prosperous world: Haas He said they do not ask any nation to choose between the United States and any other partner. "As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader. We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War," Haas said. The ambassador said the United States will be unabashed in promoting their vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world. The window of opportunity to deal with shared threats is closing fast, said the ambassador. He said the United States and 13 partner countries launched negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, or IPEF, what he described as a “novel economic arrangement” that reflects their collective desire to address 21st century challenges that go beyond trade and investment. The membership of IPEF reflects the economic diversity of the region as well as the interconnectivity among partner countries that drives economic growth, job creation, and innovation, he said. IPEF is intended to be open and inclusive to others who wish to join in the future if they share the goals of IPEF and work to achieve those goals. “We will continue to work on these issues and grow our economic partnership bilaterally with all nations, including Bangladesh,” said the envoy. Read more: Excited to see more Bangladeshi students are choosing US: Peter Haas “Let us work together to strengthen the foundations of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” he added. The inaugural session was addressed by former President of Serbia Boris Tadic, CGS Chairman Dr Manjur A Chowdhury and CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Monday said they seek to work with Bangladesh and other partners to build an Indo-Pacific that has five elements. "We want a region that is free and open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. We share this vision with many other nations," he said. Read more: Excited to see more Bangladeshi students are choosing US: Peter Haas The US Ambassador was speaking at a panel discussion “Untangling the Myriad of Multilateral Frameworks in the Indo-Pacific” at Bay of Bengal Conversations at a hotel in Dhaka. He said they do not ask any nation to choose between the United States and any other partner. "As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader. We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War," Haas said. The Ambassador said the United States will be unabashed in promoting their vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world. Read more: US only cares for free & fair election, not who wins: Amb. Haas The window of opportunity to deal with shared threats is closing fast, said Ambassador Haas. "Our vision is a shared vision. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described Bangladesh’s vision for the region at the 2021 Paris Peace Forum," he said.
Gio Reyna, Joe Scally and Yusuf Musah were 11 years old the last time the United States took the field in a World Cup match. On the 3,066th day after that loss in Brazil, the Americans return to soccer’s showcase with a new-look team dreaming lofty goals and hoping for actual ones. Filled with novelty, nerves and naivety, these young American team take the field against Wales on Monday night in a match a growing fanbase back home has been pining for since 2014. “Three years, four years of just working up to this moment, I think all the guys are ready to go,” midfielder Weston McKennie said. A Friday match against England follows and group play ends Nov. 29 against Iran, which famously eliminated the U.S. from the 1998 World Cup in France. Only DeAndre Yedlin, a 29-year-old defender, remains from the American team eliminated by Belgium in the second round eight years ago. Yedlin, Christian Pulisic, Kellyn Acosta and Tim Ream are among just four holdovers from the group that flopped to the field in anguish after the crushing loss at Trinidad in CONCACAF qualifying in October 2017 that ended the streak of U.S. World Cup appearances at seven. McKennie debuted a month later in a 1-1 friendly draw at Portugal along with Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers. A total of 118 players were tried over 68 matches in a World Cup cycle interrupted by a pandemic, including 91 after Gregg Berhalter was hired as coach in December 2018. He gave debuts to 56 players and took the second-youngest roster to the tournament at an average age of just over 25 years, older than only Ghana. Some are already looking ahead to 2026, when the U.S. co-hosts the tournament and the core group figures to be in its prime. Read: Messi or Ronaldo: Who has better chance at leading team to FIFA World Cup win? “We want to build a ton of momentum going into 2026, but it all starts now,” Berhalter said. Berhalter becomes the first American to play and coach at a World Cup — his 50th minute shot from Claudio Reyna’s corner kick struck German defender Torsten Frings’ arm on the goal line but was not called a hand ball in 2002′s 1-0 quarterfinal loss. “I was in my mom’s belly,” quipped Gio Reyna, Claudio’s son, who was born that November. Berhalter has installed a high-pressing style and led the Americans to a 36-10-10 record that included titles in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League. “The final determination of this group,” he said, “will be at the World Cup. That’s how generations are measured. We can all be talking — that’s great, we beat Mexico three times. Or we won the Gold Cup or the Nations League. But the real measuring stick for this group is certainly going to be how you perform in Qatar.” Wales is back in the World Cup for the first time since 1958, led by 33-year-old Gareth Bale and 31-year-old Aaron Ramsey. The Dragons advanced to the 2016 European Championship semifinals before losing to eventual champion Portugal and made it to the second round of last year’s Euros before a 4-0 wipeout against Denmark. The lack of World Cup experience has the Welsh as guarded as the Americans heading into the match at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, a renovated 44,000-seat venue west of the capital. “They’re intense, they’re athletic, they move the ball quick and they’re really attacking,” Wales defender Ben Cabango said of the U.S. “So we’ve got to make sure we’re in a good shape and just get in a good defensive position. And then, obviously, on a counter we can hit any team with the quality we have.” With Miles Robinson and Chris Richards injured, the American central defense will start a pair from among Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Carter-Vickers or 35-year-old Tim Ream, back on the national team for the first time in 14 months. Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Things you need to know “Tim’s the grandpa of the group,” Adams said. Forward, a position that produced just three goals in qualifying, also is uncertain for the U.S. Josh Sargent, Jesús Ferreira and Haji Wright are the choices. Following Berhalter’s surprising decision to drop Zack Steffen, Matt Turner likely will start in goal over Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson. Turner has been limited to four Europa League matches in his first season with Arsenal, the last Oct. 20. “I showed the coaching staff here how much I’ve grown as a person and a player,” Turner said. Pulisic also has struggled for playing time, getting just five starts for Chelsea this season. Right back Sergiño Dest made only two starts for AC Milan. As the opener approached, Pulisic recalled gathering for World Cup games in the basement of his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and watching Landon Donovan score the injury-time goal that beat Algeria in 2010 to earn advancement. “The family coming together, wearing all our red, white and blue, just getting excited,” Pulisic said. “It was always a dream of mine. I wanted to be there so bad. But now to be here as a part of this team actually at the World Cup, it’s special. And, yeah, I don’t want to take a moment of this for granted.”
Tyler Adams will captain the United States team at the World Cup, at 23 the youngest of this year’s tournament and the youngest for the Americans at the soccer showcase since Walter Bahr in 1950. The last of the 32 captains announced for this year’s World Cup, Adams is only the second under 30 years old. England forward Harry Kane is 29 and has captained the Three Lions since the 2018 World Cup, when he was 24. United States coach Gregg Berhalter made the annoucement Sunday, the day before the Americans play Wales in their first World Cup match since 2014. “He leads by his actions and his words,” Berhalter said. Adams, from Wappinger, New York, has captained the national team nine times previously, including seven wins, one loss and one draw. Berhalter had rotated the armband since he was hired in December 2018. Christian Pulisic has captained the Americans 11 times, including seven victories, one defeat and three ties, and Walker Zimmerman has captained the United States six times. Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Things you need to know Adams was captain in seven of 14 World Cup qualifiers, Pulisic four and Zimmerman three. Different players captained the United States national team for each game in 1950. Bahr was 23 years, 3 months, 2 days for the 5-2 loss to Chile on July 2, 1950. Adams will be 23 years, 9 months, 8 days on Monday. Ed McIlvenny (25) wore the armband for the famous 1-0 upset of England in Belo Horizonte and Harry Keough (22) for the opening loss to Spain. Previous World Cup captains included 24-year-old Mike Windischmann in 1990, 25-year-old Tony Meola in 1994, 37-year-old Thomas Dooley in 1998, 28-year-old Claudio Reyna in 2002 and Reyna again in 2006, 31-year-old Carlos Bocanegra in 2010 and 31-year-old Clint Dempsey in 2014. Earnie Stewart, then 33, captained the United States in the 2002 opener against Portugal because of Reyna’s strained right quadriceps. Read: Messi or Ronaldo: Who has better chance at leading team to FIFA World Cup win? “We’re not a group of guys that it’s like, oh, I want to be captain,” Weston McKennie said Saturday. “Whoever has it, has it. The mission is still the same. The goal is still the same, and we just need all 26 players no matter their role to be on the same page and have the same role at the end of the day, which is to compete and win games.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the test of a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile confirmed that his country has another “reliable and maximum-capacity” weapon to contain outside threats, as he warned the United States and its allies that their alleged provocative steps would lead to “their self-destruction,” state media reported Saturday. North Korea’s state media said Kim oversaw the launch of the Hwasong-17 missile, a day after its neighbors said they had detected the launch of an ICBM that showed a potential ability to reach anywhere in the United States. The North’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim observed the launch with his wife Ri Sol Ju and their “beloved daughter” as well as senior officials. State media photos showed Kim walking hand-in-hand with his daughter clad in a white jacket and a pair of red shoes, and watching together a huge missile loaded on a launch truck. It’s the first time for North Korea to publish the photo of Kim’s daughter. Observers say Kim observing a weapons launch with his family suggests that he was confident in its success. Kim, 38, is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea. South Korean media reported he has three children born in 2010, 2013 and 2017 respectively. It wasn’t immediately known which child he took to the launch site. Much of Kim’s private life is still unknown, but in 2013, after a trip to Pyongyang, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman told the British newspaper the Guardian that he and Kim had a “relaxing time by the sea” with the leader’s family and that he held Kim’s baby daughter, named Ju Ae. Also read: North Korea continues its bombardment of missiles with a potential ICBM Friday’s launch was part of the North’s ongoing barrage of missile tests that are seen as an attempt to expand its weapons arsenal and boost its leverage in future diplomacy. Some foreign experts said the Hwasong-17 missile is still under development but is the North’s longest-range ballistic weapon designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat U.S. missile defense systems. KCNA said the missile fired from the Pyongyang International Airport traveled up to a maximum altitude of about 6,040 kilometers (3,750 miles) and flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before it landed on the preset area in international waters off the country’s east coast. “The test-fire clearly proved the reliability of the new major strategic weapon system to be representative of (North Korea’s) strategic forces and its powerful combat performance as the strongest strategic weapon in the world,” KCNA said. Kim said his country is compelled to further bolster its “overwhelming nuclear deterrence” because U.S.-led military threats have been getting more transparent. Kim stressed the need to have the U.S. and its allies realize that their military steps against North Korea would “lead to their self-destruction,” KCNA said. “Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if the enemies continue to pose threats to the DPRK, frequently introducing nuclear strike means, our Party and government will resolutely react to nukes with nuclear weapons and to total confrontation with all-out confrontation,” KCNA said. Kim’s statement suggests North Korea will continue its weapons testing activities as the United States is pushing to bolster its security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan. North Korea’s weapons testing spree this year was possible partly because China and Russia have opposed the United States and its allies’ moves to adopt fresh United Nations sanctions on North Korea. There are concerns that North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in five years. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson condemned Friday’s launch and said the United States will take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the safety of its territory and South Korea and Japan. Vice President Kamala Harris separately met with the leaders of those countries and of Australia, Canada and New Zealand who are attending a regional forum in Bangkok to discuss a joint response to North Korea. South Korea and Japan also criticized the launch and held separate aerial drills with U.S. forces. South Korea’s military said it also staged unilateral exercises simulating aerial strikes on North Korean mobile missile launchers at a firing range near its land border with North Korea. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Friday that depending on the weight of a potential warhead, the missile had a range exceeding 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), “in which case it could cover the entire mainland United States.” The North’s nuclear and missile arsenals are shrouded in secrecy. Some experts say North Korea is still years away from possessing a functioning nuclear missile, saying it has yet to prove technologies to ensure that warheads survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric reentry. But others say North Korea has likely already acquired such capacities given the number of years spent on its nuclear program. In recent months, North Korea has performed dozens of shorter-range missile tests that it called simulations of nuclear attacks on South Korean and U.S. targets. North Korea said its tests were aimed at issuing a warning to the United States and South Korea over their military training that the North views as an invasion rehearsal. North Korea halted weapons launches for about a week before it fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday. Before that launch, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui threatened to launch “fiercer” military responses to steps by the U.S. to bolster its security commitment to South Korea and Japan. Choe was referring to U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Cambodia. In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including nuclear weapons. Read more: N. Korea's Kim vows to develop more powerful means of attack
The Biden administration declared Thursday that the high office held by Saudi Arabia's crown prince should shield him from lawsuits for his role in the killing of a U.S.-based journalist, a turnaround from Joe Biden's passionate campaign trail denunciations of Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal slaying. The administration said the prince’s official standing should give him immunity in the lawsuit filed by the fiancée of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and by the rights group he founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now. The request is non-binding and a judge will ultimately decide whether to grant immunity. But it is bound to anger human rights activists and many U.S. lawmakers, coming as Saudi Arabia has stepped up imprisonment and other retaliation against peaceful critics at home and abroad and has cut oil production, a move seen as undercutting efforts by the U.S. and its allies to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine. The State Department on Thursday called the administration's decision to try to protect the Saudi crown prince from U.S. courts in Khashoggi's killing “purely a legal determination." Saudi officials killed Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. They are believed to have dismembered him, although his remains have never been found. The U.S. intelligence community concluded Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had approved the killing of the widely known and respected journalist, who had written critically of Prince Mohammed’s harsh ways of silencing of those he considered rivals or critics. The Biden administration statement Thursday noted visa restrictions and other penalties that it had meted out to lower-ranking Saudi officials in the death. “From the earliest days of this Administration,the United States Government has expressed its grave concerns regarding Saudi agents’ responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder,” the State Department said. Its statement did not mention the crown prince's own alleged role. Biden as a candidate vowed to make a “pariah” out of Saudi rulers over the 2018 killing of Khashoggi. Read more: US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing “I think it was a flat-out murder,” Biden said in a 2019 CNN town hall, as a candidate. “And I think we should have nailed it as that. I publicly said at the time we should treat it that way and there should be consequences relating to how we deal with those — that power.” But Biden as president has sought to ease tensions with the kingdom, including bumping fists with Prince Mohammed on a July trip to the kingdom, as the U.S. works to persuade Saudi Arabia to undo a series of cuts in oil production. Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and DAWN sued the crown prince, his top aides and others in Washington federal court over their alleged roles in Khashoggi's killing. Saudi Arabia says the prince had no direct role in the slaying. “It’s beyond ironic that President Biden has singlehandedly assured MBS can escape accountability when it was President Biden who promised the American people he would do everything to hold him accountable," the head of DAWN, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement, using the prince's acronym. Biden in February 2021 had ruled out the U.S. government imposing punishment on Prince Mohammed himself in the killing of Khashoggi, a resident of the Washington area. Biden, speaking after he authorized release of a declassified version of the intelligence community's findings on Prince Mohammed's role in the killing, argued at the time there was no precedent for the U.S. to move against the leader of a strategic partner. The U.S. military long has safeguarded Saudi Arabia from external enemies, in exchange for Saudi Arabia keeping global oil markets afloat. “It’s impossible to read the Biden administration’s move today as anything more than a capitulation to Saudi pressure tactics, including slashing oil output to twist our arms to recognize MBS’s fake immunity ploy,” Whitson said. A federal judge in Washington had given the U.S. government until midnight Thursday to express an opinion on the claim by the crown prince's lawyers that Prince Mohammed's high official standing renders him legally immune in the case. The Biden administration also had the option of not stating an opinion either way. Sovereign immunity, a concept rooted in international law, holds that states and their officials are protected from some legal proceedings in other foreign states’ domestic courts. Upholding the concept of “sovereign immunity” helps ensure that American leaders in turn don’t have to worry about being hauled into foreign courts to face lawsuits in other countries, the State Department said. Read more: Washington Post: Turkish officials say Saudi writer killed Human rights advocates had argued that the Biden administration would embolden Prince Mohammed and other authoritarian leaders around the world in more rights abuses if it supported the crown prince's claim that his high office shielded him from prosecution. Prince Mohammed serves as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler in the stead of his aged father, King Salman. The Saudi king in September also temporarily transferred his title of prime minister — a title normally held by the Saudi monarch — to Prince Mohammed. Critics called it a bid to strengthen Mohammed’s immunity claim.
There won’t be concessions from the U.S. side. No real deliverables, which is government-speak for specific achievements. Don’t expect a cheery joint statement, either. During President Joe Biden’s highly anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the leaders will be circling each other to game out how to manage a relationship that the U.S. has determined poses the biggest economic and military threat. At the same time, U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed that they see the two countries’ interactions as one of competition — and that they want to avoid conflict. Here’s a look at what each side is hoping to achieve out of the leaders' first in-person encounter as presidents, to be held on the island of Bali in Indonesia: FOR THE UNITED STATES Essentially, Biden and other U.S. officials are trying to understand where Xi really stands. In a news conference shortly before leaving Washington, Biden said he wanted to “lay out … what each of our red lines are, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States.” Read more: Biden to meet China's Xi on Monday for Taiwan, Russia talks That mission has become all the more imperative since the conclusion of the Community Party congress in Beijing, during which Xi secured a norm-breaking third term as leader, empowering him even further. It’s a goal that will be much more readily achieved in person, White House officials say, despite Biden and Xi’s five video or phone calls during the U.S. president’s term. Biden told reporters on Sunday that he's “always had straightforward discussions” with Xi, and that has prevented either of them from “miscalculations” of their intentions. “I know him well, he knows me,” Biden said. “We've just got to figure out where the red lines are and what are the most important things to each of us, going into the next two years.” The U.S. president will want to send a message to Xi on White House concerns about China’s economic practices. Taiwan is sure to come up, and Biden will want to emphasize to Xi that the U.S. will stand ready to defend the self-governing island should it come under attack by China. Biden also will seek to make clear his concerns about Beijing’s human rights practices, as he has in their previous interactions. Read more: Xi, Biden exchanging views on China-U.S. ties, issues of common concern Biden will also use the meeting to press for a more aggressive posture from Xi on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese leader has largely refrained from public criticism of Vladimir Putin’s actions while declining to actively aid Moscow by supplying arms. “We believe that, of course, every country in the world should do more to prevail upon Russia, especially those who have relationships with Russia, to end this war and leave Ukraine,” said U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Finally, U.S. officials say they’re eager to see where the two superpowers could actually collaborate. Though there are numerous areas in which Biden and Xi won’t see eye to eye, the White House has listed several issues where they conceivably could, including health, counternarcotics and climate change. FOR CHINA Xi has yet to give a wish list for talks with Biden, but Beijing wants U.S. action on trade and Taiwan. Perhaps most importantly, the Group of 20 gathering in Bali and the meeting with Biden give China's most powerful leader in decades a stage to promote his country's image as a global player and himself as a history-making figure who is restoring its rightful role as an economic and political force. China pursues “increasingly assertive foreign and security policies aimed at changing the international status quo,” Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister who is president of the Asia Society, wrote in Foreign Affairs. That has strained relations with Washington, Europe and China's Asian neighbors, but Xi is unfazed and looks set to be more ambitious abroad. The meeting is “an important event of China’s head-of-state diplomacy toward the Asia Pacific,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian. He said Xi will “deliver an important speech” on economic growth. Read more: Biden, Xi talk more than 2 hours at time of US-China tension Zhao called on the Biden administration to “stop politicizing” trade and embrace Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, the self-ruled island democracy that split with the mainland in 1949 and never has been part of the People's Republic of China. Beijing wants Washington to lift tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2019 and to pull back on increasing restrictions on Chinese access to processor chips and other U.S. technology. Biden has left most of those in place and added curbs on access to technology that American officials say can be used in weapons development. “The United States needs to stop politicizing, weaponizing and ideologizing trade issues,” Zhao said. Xi’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate the elected government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen by flying fighter planes near the island and firing missiles into the sea. Beijing broke off talks with Washington on security, climate cooperation and other issues after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August in a show of support for its government. “The United States needs to stop obscuring, hollowing out and distorting the ‘one-China principle,’” said Zhao, referring to Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is obligated to join the mainland under Communist Party leadership. Another goal for Xi: Don’t get COVID-19. The G-20 will be only Xi's second foreign trip in 2 1/2 years while his government enforces a severe “Zero COVID” strategy that shut down cities and kept most visitors out of China. Xi broke that moratorium by attending a September summit with Putin and Central Asian leaders. But he skipped a dinner and photo session where Putin and others wore no masks.
Popular filmmaker Raihan Rafi’s latest film ‘Damal,’ inspired by the true story of the Shadhin Bangla Football Team from the 1971 Liberation War era, is set to hit US theatres on November 18. The film will be released in 15 cities across the US including New York’s Jamaica Multiplex; North Hollywood and San Francisco in California; Dallas and Houston in Texas; Baltimore; Chicago; Orlando; Miami, Detroit, Reno and Portland. On December 2, the film will be screened in 50 halls of Regal Cinema Hall, Harkins Theatres and Cinemark Theatres, said Raj Hamid, CEO of Bioscope Films. Read: Jealous of my success, a party is spreading rumours about me: Mim Advance ticket sales have already begun, he added. He further said, “We promoted the film 'Damal' while Rafi's Poran was running in the US. This film will create a stir in the United States, he hopes.” ‘Damal’ was released across Bangladesh on October 28. Produced by Impress Telefilm Ltd the film stars Siam Ahmed, Sariful Raaz, Bidya Sinha Mim, Sumit Sen Gupta, Shahnaz Sumi, Intekhab Dinar, and others.