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Biden Again Denounces Russia's Violation of UN Charter

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 08:51
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden again denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the core tenets of the U.N. Charter – the clear prohibition against taking other nation’s territory by force. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden again denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the core tenets of the U.N. Charter – the clear prohibition against taking other nation’s territory by force. “Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence. But I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the U.N. Charter to appease an aggressor, can any member state feel confident that they are protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? The answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” Biden said. “That is why the United States together with our Allies and partners around the world will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity – and their freedom,” Biden added. Leaders from at least 145 countries are slated to attend the annual UNGA meeting this week in New York, with a few notable exceptions – France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia will be represented by their senior officials. This means that the United States is the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council whose top leader will be present. It will be the second time Biden delivers his condemnation of Russia’s “brutal, senseless” war on Ukraine in front of the world body. Last September, in his first UNGA address since the invasion, Biden accused Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, of attempting to “erase a sovereign state from the map.” More than 140 U.N. member countries last year supported a General Assembly resolution that condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine. But with the protracted conflict continuing to inflict a toll on global energy and food prices, there are growing calls from lower and middle-income nations often grouped as the Global South to fast-track peace negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv. As part of Ukraine’s diplomatic outreach to the Global South, it has supported the broadest peace initiative to date from Saudi Arabia, which in August hosted senior officials from some 40 countries including U.S., China, India but not Russia to work towards a broad agreement of key principles for a peaceful end to the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will have a chance to make his own case Tuesday, speaking directly to the General Assembly. It will be his first in person appearance in front of the world body since Russia’s invasion. Biden is also expected to speak about U.S. efforts in mobilizing resources for global infrastructure projects, tackling the climate crisis, and reforming the U.N. and other international institutions to make it more "inclusive, accessible and representative," the senior administration official said. Anita Powell contributed to this report.

Seattle Startup in Race for Nuclear Fusion

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 08:29
Nuclear fusion has excited scientists for decades with its potential to produce abundant carbon-free energy. In Seattle, one startup is hoping to win the race to develop technology that will finally make that power available to consumers. Phil Dierking has our story

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 08:00
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Americans Detained in Iran Return Home After Exchange

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 07:33
A group of Americans freed after years of detention in Iran arrived Tuesday in Washington as part of a deal that included the release of five Iranians charged or convicted of crimes in the United States. The Americans were greeted by loved ones who cheered and rushed to embrace them as they walked off the plane in the pre-dawn hours. Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, along with two other American detainees whose identities remained private at the request of their families, departed Qatar on Monday after an initial stop in Doha. Namazi’s mother and Tahbaz’s wife, who had been under travel bans in Iran, were also allowed to leave with the group. Iranian state media said two of the freed Iranians also traveled through Doha before arriving in Tehran. Iran’s foreign ministry said two others would remain in the United States, while the other freed Iranian would go to another country. U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement the freed Americans would be reunited with loved ones “after enduring years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering.” He thanked the governments of Qatar, Oman, South Korea and Switzerland “for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome.” Biden also warned Americans not to travel to Iran, highlighting State Department warnings about the risk of kidnapping and arbitrary arrest. “All Americans should heed those words and have no expectation that their release can be secured if they do not,” Biden said. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Monday's exchange could be “a step in the direction of a humanitarian action between us and America.” Speaking to journalists at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said, “It can definitely help in building trust.” The agreement included the United States allowing $6 billion in Iranian funds frozen under U.S. sanctions to be transferred from accounts in South Korea to accounts in Qatar. The funds are designated for use only for Iranian humanitarian purposes, such as food, medicine and agricultural products. The Biden administration officials told reporters the system is set up in a way that they are very confident the threat of the money being diverted for other purposes is very low, and if there is a diversion, the accounts will be locked up. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and some U.S. conservative lawmakers criticized Biden for agreeing to the deal, contending the release of the $6 billion amounted to a “ransom” for the hostages and that the money would allow Iran to help develop its nuclear weapons system and not be used for humanitarian purposes. Trump lashed out at Biden last week on Trump’s Truth Social media site, saying the deal sets a "TERRIBLE precedent." Senator John Thune said on Facebook that "the U.S. should be unrelenting in its efforts to bring detained Americans home, but Iran will now count pallets of ransom money, putting its leaders in a better position to develop a nuclear weapon and fund terrorists. And the price to release U.S. hostages will only go up." The White House, however, said the U.S. is not giving Iran any money. "This isn’t a payment of any kind. These aren’t U.S. dollars. They aren’t taxpayer dollars, they are Iranian dollars the [Trump] administration allowed them to make" in oil sales to other countries, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement. The five Iranians who were part of the exchange were charged or convicted of nonviolent crimes in the United States and received U.S. clemency. They were identified as Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, Mehrdad Ansari, Amin Hasanzadeh, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani and Kambiz Attar Kashani. The Biden administration officials said the Iranians who lacked legal status in the United States would return to Iran. Ansari and Kafrani have no legal U.S. status. Afrasiabi and Hasanzadeh are permanent U.S. residents, while Kashani is an Iranian-American dual national. In addition to the prisoner swap, the United States imposed new sanctions as it called on Iran to give a full account of what happened to Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran under mysterious circumstances in 2007 and is presumed dead. “The Levinson family deserves answers,” Biden said. “Today, we are sanctioning former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence under the Levinson Act for their involvement in wrongful detentions. And we will continue to impose costs on Iran for their provocative actions in the region.” Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

New York Times: Evidence Suggests Errant Ukrainian Missile Caused Market Deaths

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 07:24
Evidence suggests a deadly explosion at a busy market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka this month was caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine, the The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Ukraine has said the Sept. 6 blast, which killed at least 16 people, was caused by a Russian missile. "Evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system," the newspaper reported. It quoted air defense experts as saying missiles such as the one that hit Kostiantynivka can go off course for a variety of reasons, including an electronic malfunction or having a guidance fin that is damaged or sheared off during launch. It said security camera footage showed the missile flew into Kostiantynivka from the direction of Ukrainian-held territory, not from behind Russian lines. The New York Times also cited evidence showing that minutes before the strike, the Ukrainian military had launched two surface-to-air missiles towards the Russian front line from the town of Druzhkivka, 16 kilometers northwest of Kostiantynivka. It quoted two witnesses who said they had seen the missiles being fired from Druzhkivka in the direction of the Russian front line around the time of the strike. One was quoted as saying the missiles went in the direction of Kostiantynivka. The newspaper said measurements of holes caused by the explosion and fragments found at the scene were consistent with the 9M38 missile, which is fired by the mobile Buk anti-aircraft vehicle. The Buk system is used both by Ukraine and Russia. Reuters could not independently verify the report. A Ukrainian presidential aide did not immediately respond to requests by Reuters for comment. The New York Times quoted a spokesperson for Ukraine's armed forces as saying the country's security service was investigating the incident, and under national law could not comment further. A spokesperson for Ukraine's military command referred Reuters to that comment cited in the New York Times story.

Renewed Labor Movement in US Flexes Its Muscles

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 07:09
The announcement last week that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union would go on strike against the country’s three largest car manufacturers put an exclamation point on what has been one of the most active years for the labor movement in recent U.S. history.  The UAW strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis began on Friday with targeted walkouts in just a handful of plants. But the strike could grow to include most or all of the union’s 146,000 members. They would join tens of thousands of members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), whose combined strike has caused most movie and television production to grind to a halt.  While the strikes by the UAW and the actors and writers guilds have attracted the most media attention, they are far from alone in deciding to use labor actions to demand higher pay or better working conditions this year.   Over the summer, drivers for shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS) used threats of a Teamsters Union strike to negotiate a more favorable contract. Throughout the year, Starbucks has endured a series of targeted job actions at many of its ubiquitous coffee shops, while a movement to organize workers at warehouses run by delivery behemoth Amazon has gained traction.  Turning point  Strikes and other job actions by labor unions in the United States are far less frequent than they were a generation ago, largely as the result of a decadeslong campaign to pass laws that limited unions’ ability to organize and strengthened the hand of management in negotiations. But in 2023, unions have been enjoying a resurgence.  “There’s a lot more going on in the past year than we've seen in a very long time, in terms of both union organizing successes, as well as either strikes or threatened strikes,” said Susan J. Schurman, distinguished professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University.  “The labor market remains relatively tight, and when that's true, workers gain leverage in relation to the employer,” she told VOA. “This is the first time in decades that we've had this circumstance, and unions are taking advantage of it both to organize as well as to try to make gains in collective bargaining.”  They have also found a receptive audience among U.S. workers.  According to Schurman, “American workers have been angry for a long time, because average wages have been stagnant for decades.” She said a combination of small but significant organizing successes at companies long resistant to unionization, as well as the high visibility of strikers in Hollywood, have combined to raise the labor movement’s profile, particularly among younger workers.  Hollywood strike  The WGA went on strike in May and was joined by SAG-AFTRA in July. Both unions are demanding that the movie and television studios that employ them update contracts to reflect the changing dynamics of the business, including the new dominance of streaming video, and the multiple threats that generative artificial intelligence poses to those in the creative professions.   Progress in negotiations has been glacial. Negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the WGA broke down over the summer but were scheduled to resume this week.  Negotiations in the SAG-AFTRA strike, though, have been discontinued, with no resumption in sight. Meanwhile, the union’s strike activity looks likely to expand. Union president Fran Drescher has signaled that the union may soon target the video gaming industry, which relies on SAG-AFTRA members for voice-overs and motion capture work.  ‘Trench warfare’  “They're progressing very, very slowly, if at all,” Jonathan Handel, a media attorney and journalist, told VOA. “The Writers Guild negotiations have been trench warfare, frankly. Every inch of movement by either side is gained at enormous cost and time, and enormous cost in suffering for those who are out of work.”  Handel, author of “Hollywood on Strike!: An Industry at War in the Internet Age,” which tells the history of the 2007 actors strike, said the latest strikes may well continue into next year.  “I think a window is very definitely closing to get deals done this year,” he said. “If you don't see deals with both unions done in the next four or five weeks, then we hit the holiday period, and you won't see deals until sometime next year.”  Should that happen, he said, the pressure on the studios will mount, because the industry’s contracts with the Teamsters and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents much of the industry’s behind-the-scenes workforce, come up for renegotiation.  UAW strike  The UAW strike began Friday with walkouts at three factories, one each owned by Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. So far, only about 13,000 of the union’s 146,000 members have walked off the job. However, UAW president Shawn Fain has made it clear that the possibility of a broader work stoppage is clearly on the table. Officials at the company have said that because the components made at the striking factories are essential for operations at other facilities, they may soon begin laying off workers who are not actively striking.  The union is actively talking with the automakers, but the negotiations have a different feel than they did in the past, when much of the discussion happened in private. A corruption scandal at UAW in 2020 led to a shake-up not just in the union’s leadership, but in how that leadership is chosen.   In 2020, an investigation by the Department of Justice led to the conviction of 12 UAW officials and three executives of Fiat Chrysler (a predecessor of Stellantis) on a collection of charges including racketeering, tax evasion and embezzlement. The case involved more than $15 million in improper charges to UAW-funded worker training programs.  "What's unprecedented is the way negotiations are unfolding,” said Jeff Gilbert, Detroit automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio. “They used to be behind closed doors. You wouldn't learn anything. Now, the union president lays out what they want, the car companies lay out some of their offers, the union president gets mad and throws those offers in the trash, and there is a little bit of theater there.”  “They are much more out in public, and that's because you have a different UAW after the corruption scandal,” Gilbert told VOA. “They started directly electing presidents, and Shawn Fain ran on a platform of being tougher with the car companies, so he is basically rewriting the playbook.” 

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 07:00
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Azerbaijan Says Six of Its Citizens Were Killed by Landmines in Karabakh  

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 06:38
Azerbaijan said on Tuesday that six of its citizens had been killed by land mines in two separate incidents in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and blamed "illegal Armenian armed groups" for laying the deadly mines. Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, has an overwhelmingly ethnic Armenian population and broke from Baku's control in the early 1990s after a war. Azerbaijan recaptured swathes of land in and around it in a 2020 war. Baku said four interior ministry staff had been killed when their truck was blown up by a mine near a tunnel construction site. Another mine had killed two civilians, also in a truck, it said. There was no immediate response from the ethnic Armenians authorities in Karabakh whom Azerbaijan wants to disband to allow it to re-integrate the territory. Armenia said on Monday that accusations that its own armed forces had placed mines on Azerbaijani territory were false. The landmine incidents occurred a day after badly needed food and medicine was delivered to Karabakh along two roads simultaneously, a step that looked like it could help ease mounting tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Ties remain severely strained, however. Azerbaijan's defense ministry on Tuesday accused "illegal Armenian armed groups" of jamming the GPS navigation of a passenger jet flying from Tbilisi in Georgia to Baku. Ethnic Armenians in Karabakh called the allegation "an absolute lie" designed to distract attention from what they called "the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the illegal blockade" of Karabakh by Baku. That was a reference to months of Azerbaijani restrictions on the Lachin corridor — the only road linking Armenia with Karabakh — which had until the last few days not allowed in aid on the grounds that the route was purportedly being used for arms smuggling. Armenia's foreign ministry said on Monday that Azerbaijan's diplomatic stance looked like it was preparing the ground for a military escalation. Both sides say they remain committed to settling their differences via a peace deal.

Report: China's Ex-Foreign Minister Qin Gang Was Ousted After Alleged Affair

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 06:36
China's former Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who was ousted from his position in July, had an extramarital affair while he was ambassador to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with a briefing. The report said Qin was cooperating with the investigation, which was now focused on whether the affair or Qin's conduct had compromised China's national security. Senior Chinese officials were told that an internal Communist Party investigation found Qin engaged in the affair throughout his tenure as China's ambassador to the United. States, the report said. Two sources told the newspaper the affair had resulted in the birth of a child in the U.S. During a regular press briefing on Tuesday, China foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was asked about the article and said: "on the appointment and removal of the Chinese foreign minister, the Chinese side has released information before and I am not aware of the other information you mentioned." Qin was replaced by veteran diplomat Wang Yi in July as the foreign minister after a mysterious one-month absence from duties barely half a year into the job. He was China's top envoy in Washington from July 2021 until January this year.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 06:00
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India Dismisses Canada’s Allegations of Links to Sikh Leader’s Killing

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 05:07
India has rejected allegations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Indian government has links to the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader as "absurd and motivated" and expelled a Canadian diplomat amid spiraling tensions between the two countries. India’s action came hours after Canada expelled an Indian diplomat.  Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had campaigned for an independent Sikh homeland, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia. He had been designated as a "terrorist" by India. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said in parliament on Monday that Canadian security agencies have been “pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between the agents of the government of India” and the killing of Nijjar. "Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty," he said. Trudeau said he had raised the issue of the murder and the allegations of Indian government involvement in it with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the recent G20 summit in New Delhi and had asked for India to cooperate in the investigation. Responding to his comments, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement that Modi had dismissed these accusations when they were raised by Trudeau. "Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected." The statement said, "we are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law." The Indian foreign ministry underlined India’s concerns that Canada provides a safe haven to Sikh "extremists." According to the statement, "such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." Urging the Canadian government "to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil," New Delhi said it remains a matter of concern that "Canadian political figures have openly expressed sympathy for such elements.” India's expulsion of a Canadian diplomat came a day after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Ottawa had expelled India's intelligence chief in Canada in apparent concerns over Nijjar's killing. Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia, had publicly campaigned for the creation of Khalistan, the name given by activists to an independent homeland for Sikhs that they want carved out of India’s northern state of Punjab. Demands for Khalistan led to a bloody insurgency in India in the 1980s and early 1990s and the death of thousands of people, including many top officials. But the movement has lost steam and has little support in Punjab now.  The cause of Khalistan remains a rallying cry, though, among some sections of the Sikh diaspora in countries like Britain and Canada, which have sizable Sikh populations – Canada has the largest Sikh population outside India’s Punjab state. Groups that support the creation of an independent Sikh homeland in these countries have angered the Indian government and New Delhi has been urging their governments to rein in what it calls Sikh “extremists." Nijjar was designated by India as a "terrorist" in July 2020.  Promoting the cause of Khalistan has been outlawed in India. According to reports, Nijjar was organizing an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh nation at the time of this death. Indian authorities had also announced a cash reward last year for information leading to his arrest, accusing him of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India. The United States has expressed concern over the allegations made by Trudeau. "We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canadian investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. Britain and Australia have also expressed concern over the accusations. Meanwhile, the intensifying diplomatic row between India and Canada has also cast tensions over trade negotiations between the two countries, which have been put on hold.  After Canada postponed a trade mission that was due to arrive in India next month, India’s Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal, told news website Firstpost, “We have given the trade dialogue with Canada a pause. We need to make sure that geopolitically and economically we are on the same page.”   

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 05:00
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Australian Minister Faces Legal Challenge Over New Coal Mine

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 04:50
Australia's environment minister is facing court action over claims she ignored the impact of fossil fuel projects on the Great Barrier Reef and other natural treasures. Activists allege Tanya Plibersek has refused to consider the risk of climate change associated with new coal mine applications.  Australia’s Federal Court began hearing the case against Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek in Melbourne this week. The legal action is brought by the Environmental Council of Central Queensland. The non-profit group insists the federal minister has a legal responsibility to prevent new coal and gas projects from damaging Australia's ecological gems, including the Great Barrier Reef.  It is facing many threats, such as warmer ocean temperatures that have led to widespread coral bleaching.  Activists want all mining projects in Australia to be properly assessed for their potential impact on climate change.  Their legal challenge relates specifically to applications by resources companies to expand two mining operations in the eastern state of New South Wales. Christine Carlisle, president of the Environmental Council of Central Queensland, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.  that the risks associated with resources projects need to be fully scrutinized. “The effects of the emissions from these mines will have a long-lasting impact on the fate and the future of all our living wonders," she said. "We are arguing that the minister needs to be considering those climate impacts when she makes these decisions and to not do so we are arguing is irrational and illogical, and we are asking the court to consider whether it is also unlawful.”  The court case follows a decision by the United Nations last week not to place the Great Barrier Reef in a list of world heritage sites "in danger," which the Canberra government has credited to Australia’s environmental policies. Plibersek said in a video posted online after the U.N. decision that her government has ambitious environmental policies and recently refused to approve a new coal mine to protect the Barrier Reef.  “Our Australian government has been working really closely with the Queensland government," she said. "We are investing more money - more than $1.2 billion (Australian).  We are working to improve water quality.  I canceled a coal mine because it could have affected the reef and we have really substantially invested in science to better protect the reef as well.” Analysts say the federal court case highlights the mounting pressure on Australia’s center-left government, which promised more ambitious action on global warming during last year’s election campaign.   From space, there’s only one living thing that can be seen. It’s the Great Barrier Reef - arguably Australia’s greatest natural wonder. It is made up of 3,000 individual coral reefs off the northeast coast. It’s home to a spectacular array of jellyfish, worms, fish, whales and dolphins.  The Great Barrier Reef was included on the U.N.’s World Heritage List in 1981.   The world's largest coral system covers an area about the size of Japan. 

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 04:00
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Russia Strikes Western Ukraine in Drone Attack

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 03:22
Ukrainian officials said Tuesday that Russian aerial attacks hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, causing a fire at an industrial warehouse. Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram that one person was injured. Maxim Kozitsky, the regional governor, said a woman was also rescued from the rubble at the site, but was not hurt.  Kozitsky said the warehouse was not storing military equipment. Lviv, located near Ukraine’s border with Poland, is a key hub for western aid entering Ukraine and has been the target of prior Russian attacks. Ukraine’s military said air defenses destroyed 27 of 30 drones that Russia used in its attacks, with intercepts happening in southern, central and western Ukraine. The military also said it downed a Russian reconnaissance drone in the eastern part of the country. Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 03:00
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Zelenskyy, Biden Among Tuesday Speakers at UN General Assembly

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 02:35
World leaders get their chance to address the U.N. General Assembly beginning Tuesday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden among the speakers at U.N. headquarters in New York. Zelenskyy is making his first appearance at the annual meeting since Russia invaded his country in early 2022. "For us it's very important that all our words, all our messages will be heard by our partners," Zelenskyy told reporters Tuesday as he visited a New York hospital where Ukrainian soldiers have been treated for amputations. Zelenskyy said ahead of his speech that Ukraine would put forth a proposal “on how to fortify the principle of territorial integrity and improve the U.N.'s capacity to thwart and halt aggression.” He is due to follow his speech by attending a Wednesday session of the U.N. Security Council about the situation in Ukraine. Russia is one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the council. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opens Tuesday’s addresses. Also scheduled to speak Tuesday are Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Other speakers include the presidents of Poland, Cuba, South Africa, Argentina, Nigeria and Senegal. Tuesday’s agenda also features the second day of talks focusing on how to achieve a set of worldwide development goals Guterres said Monday that only 15% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track to be reached by 2030. "Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind. ... The SDGs need a global rescue plan," Guterres said. He said the summit is “the moment for governments to come to the table with concrete plans and proposals to accelerate progress.” The goals include ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring access to affordable energy, taking urgent action to combat climate change and promoting gender equality. They were set in 2015 with the aim of being achieved by 2030. Halfway to that marker, progress is slow, and in some instances is even going backward. The U.N. gathering will also spotlight climate change with the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit Wednesday. Guterres will host the event, which aims to reverse backsliding on Paris climate agreement goals. Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 02:00
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Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 01:00
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Sudanese Activist Demands Youth Inclusion at UN Summit

Voice of America’s immigration news - September 19, 2023 - 00:41
A Sudanese activist on Monday blasted world leaders for excluding young people from key decisions affecting the future of the planet and urged them to step up the fight against climate change and poverty. Addressing a hall full of heads of state and dignitaries at a United Nations anti-poverty summit in New York, Sudanese doctor and women's rights activist Mayada Adil said: "I do not see my tribe, the youth tribe." "Half of the world's population is under 30. Yet we are excluded, sidelined from all decision-making spaces," Adil said. "We need young people in all our diversity to be seen, to be heard in the policy- and decision-making." World leaders were meeting at the United Nations on Monday to push ahead with the so-called Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and combating climate change by 2030. The 17 wide-ranging goals, which also include gender equality and access to health care, were adopted by U.N. member states in 2015, but according to a recent U.N. report, only 15% of them are on track to being met by the deadline. "If you do not deliver on your commitments to keeping the global emission below 1.5 degrees... you are putting the lives and the future of our entire generation and those who will come after at risk," Adil said. She urged the world's decision-makers to partner with the planet's youth to tackle its key challenges.