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Biden and UK, Australia leaders announce partnership to blunt China’s influence

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Biden and UK, Australia leaders announce partnership to blunt China's influence

(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden has announced a new partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia that some believe is aimed at standing up to China.

The first goal of the alliance, dubbed “AUUKUS,” is to get Australia a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The fleet would not have nuclear weapons.

Biden, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom pledged to uphold their obligations under nuclear proliferation treaties.

“We all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term,” said Biden, who added that the new alliance reflects a broader trend of key European partners playing a role in the Indo-Pacific. “We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve.”

The new security alliance is likely to be seen as a provocative move by China, which has repeatedly lashed out at Biden as he’s sought to refocus U.S. foreign policy on the Pacific in the early going of his presidency.

“This is a very good development,” Gordon G. Chang, the author of “The Coming Collapse of China” and “The Great U.S.-China Tech War,” said on “On Balance” Wednesday. “If you’re in Beijing right now, you’re going to be a little bit worried about what happened today because it was not just the submarines, but it was also the announcement of the security pact among the United States, Australia and the UK.”

The three countries have agreed to share information in areas including artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater defense capabilities.

To date, the only country that the United States has shared nuclear propulsion technology with is Britain. Morrison said Australia is not seeking to develop a nuclear weapons program and information sharing would be limited to helping it develop a submarine fleet.

The Australian prime minister said plans for the nuclear-powered submarines would be developed over the next 18 months and the vessels would be built in Adelaide, Australia.

“I do think it’s a little bit late, but nonetheless, we should be doing this now because we know that the timeline of China has been accelerated recently,” Chang said.

The announcement of the new security alliance comes as the U.S.-China relationship has deteriorated. Beijing has taken exception to Biden administration officials repeatedly calling out China over human rights abuses in Xianjing province, the crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, and cybersecurity breaches originating from China, as well as Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and what the White House has labeled as “coercive and unfair” trade practices.

Even as White House officials have repeatedly spoken out about China, administration officials say they want to work with Beijing on areas of common interest, including curbing the pandemic and climate change.

None of the leaders mentioned China in their remarks Wednesday.

“I think that he’s (Biden) got this old mentality that you shouldn’t anger the Chinese,” Chang said. “But what this does is, it makes Beijing more bold because it realizes that Biden is afraid of talking about the real issue. We should be saying this out loud. China, China, China.”

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Check your onions again: FDA announces more recalls

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Check your onions again: FDA announces more recalls

(File: Getty)

(WEHT) – Earlier this week, the CDC announced that fresh whole onions were the cause of a salmonella outbreak that traced to 37 states across the U.S. and were distributed by ProSource Inc.

The company imported the onions from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed them to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States. ProSource said the possibly tainted onions were last imported Aug. 27, but because of the vegetable’s long shelf life they may still be on shelves.

Now, two more recalls have been announced involving onions. The FDA is urging people to throw out any onions from HelloFresh and EveryPlate received July 7 through Sep. 8. The companies say they have been informed by one of their suppliers that they’re voluntarily recalling onions due to potential salmonella.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating the nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to onions from Mexico. More than 600 people have reportedly gotten sick; no one has died.

If you are experiencing any symptoms, health officials encourage you to contact your healthcare provider immediately. Click here for more information from the FDA about this supplier recall and the potentially related symptoms.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

Could the Broncos be getting a new quarterback again?

With a week left before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, one oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance at landing embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two years ago, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from its app store over concerns about the platform being used as a tool to trade and sell maids in the Mideast.

After publicly promising to crack down, Facebook acknowledged in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press that it was “under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity” that saw Filipina maids complaining on the social media site of being abused. Apple relented and Facebook and Instagram remained in the app store.

But Facebook’s crackdown seems to have had a limited effect. Even today, a quick search for “khadima,” or “maids” in Arabic, will bring up accounts featuring posed photographs of Africans and South Asians with ages and prices listed next to their images. That’s even as the Philippines government has a team of workers that do nothing but scour Facebook posts each day to try and protect desperate job seekers from criminal gangs and unscrupulous recruiters using the site.

While the Mideast remains a crucial source of work for women in Asia and Africa hoping to provide for their families back home, Facebook acknowledged some countries across the region have “especially egregious” human rights issues when it comes to laborers’ protection.

“In our investigation, domestic workers frequently complained to their recruitment agencies of being locked in their homes, starved, forced to extend their contracts indefinitely, unpaid, and repeatedly sold to other employers without their consent,” one Facebook document read. “In response, agencies commonly told them to be more agreeable.”

The report added: “We also found recruitment agencies dismissing more serious crimes, such as physical or sexual assault, rather than helping domestic workers.”

In a statement to the AP, Facebook said it took the problem seriously, despite the continued spread of ads exploiting foreign workers in the Mideast.

“We prohibit human exploitation in no uncertain terms,” Facebook said. “We’ve been combating human trafficking on our platform for many years and our goal remains to prevent anyone who seeks to exploit others from having a home on our platform.”

This story, along with others published Monday, is based on disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. The redacted versions were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including the AP.

Taken as a whole, the trove of documents show that Facebook’s daunting size and user base around the world — a key factor in its rapid ascent and near trillion-dollar valuation — also proves to be its greatest weakness in trying to police illicit activity, such as the sale of drugs, and suspected human rights and labor abuses on its site.

Activists say Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has both an obligation and likely the means to fully crack down on the abuses their services facilitate as it earns tens of billions of dollars a year in revenue.

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