Biden hosts first of chats to talk 'directly' with Americans
US President Joe Biden on Saturday (Feb 6) launched a series of conversations with ordinary Americans by calling a woman who lost her job due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in an effort to showcase his direct contact with his fellow citizens.
"The White House will launch a new effort for the president to regularly communicate directly with the American people," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday.
Due to Covid-19, the conversation was held via telephone from the Oval Office in Washington to Michele, a mother from Roseville, California who lost her job at a start-up company because of the economic crisis sparked by the pandemic.
"Like my dad used to say, a job is about a lot more than a pay cheque. It's about your dignity, it's about your respect, it's about your place in the community," the 78-year-old president told Michele, in a video of the call posted online by the White House.
Biden also took the opportunity to promote his US$1.9 trillion (S$2.5 trillion) stimulus package that his Democratic party is preparing to adopt in Congress, despite the lack of Republican support, as well as the massive vaccination campaign he has promised.
"We're so glad that we have you focusing on that," said Michele, whose last name was withheld, adding that her parents had just made their appointment to get their Covid-19 vaccinations.
Biden's phone calls are meant to be a modern-day iteration, in the era of social media, of the radio fireside chats held by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s as a way to invite himself into American homes, AFP reported.
Trump breaks out of social media shell, rips impeachment trial as ‘PR stunt’
Former US president Donald Trump made his social media comeback on Friday with a post on Gab in which he called his second impeachment a “public relations stunt.”
Gab is a social networking websitethat is popular among far-right supporters. It rose to infamy following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh when it was discovered the shooter had posted anti-Semitic comments on the platform.
In his first social media post since January 8, Trump put up a letter addressed to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, who recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week, according to SCMP.
|Former US president Donald Trump (Photo: LA Times)|
The letter, which Trump‘s lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jnr signed, read: “We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen.”
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” they added.
UN has first contact with Myanmar Military since coup
The United Nations has had its first contact with the military in Myanmar since it launched a coup this week, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday, repeating calls for civilian leaders to be freed, as reported by AFP.
"Our special envoy today had a first contact in which she expressed clearly our position to the deputy military commander," Guterres told reporters, referring to Swiss diplomat Christine Schraner Burgener.
Burgener was also in contact with other countries in the region, he said, adding: "We will do everything we can to make the international community united in making sure that conditions are created for this coup to be reversed."
|(Photo: Malay Mail)|
De facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained Monday and ousted from power, returning the country to military rule after a 10-year dalliance with democracy.
Guterres has branded the putsch "absolutely unacceptable."
China asks US to rectify ‘mistakes’ of Trump Admin’s aggressive policies
In its first contact with the Biden administration, China on Saturday asked the US to rectify the “mistakes” of former President Donald Trump’s aggressive policies towards Beijing and flagged Taiwan as the most important and sensitive core issue for it.
China resents US support for Taiwan, which Beijing views as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.
While Blinken told Yang that the Biden administration will hold China accountable for its abuses of the international system and raised with him the issue of human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong and Myanmar, the Chinese diplomat said both sides should respect each other’s core interests and choices of political system.
Yang said the US “should rectify its mistakes made over a period of time,” in an apparent reference to hardline policies pursued by the Trump administration towards China, pushing the ties between the two countries to a new low.
|(Photo: New Indian Express)|
He said the US should work with China to uphold the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
The US should strictly abide by the one-China principle, Yang said, adding that Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet-related affairs are all China’s internal affairs and allow no interference by any external forces.
Any attempt to slander and smear China will not succeed, and China will continue to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, Yang said.
Gold price forecast – prices rebound but are poised to test lower level
Gold prices rebounded as the dollar eased by US yields continued to rise. US non-farm payrolls were in line with expectations but the unemployment rate fell. The US 10-year yield broke out, rising nearly 9-basis points this week. The interest rate curve steepens, where long-term yields rise faster than short-term yields, which weighed on gold prices for the week. The yield curve steepened to the highest level since 2017 as the 10-year broke out to fresh highs. For the week gold prices were down 2%.
|(Photo: NBC News)|
Gold prices rebounded on Friday after breaking down on Thursday. Prices are poised to test former trend line support at 1,819. The breakdown will not be rejected unless prices are able to recapture the breakdown level. Target support is seen near the November lows at 17,64. Short-term momentum has turned negative as the fast stochastic generated a crossover sell signal. Medium-term momentum has turned negative as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) index generated a crossover sell signal. This occurs as the MACD line (the 12-day moving average minus the 26-day moving average) crosses below the MACD signal line (the 9-day moving average of the MACD line), FX Empire said.
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