World Opinion

Opinion pieces from around the world

AP Explains | How is the Defense Production Act relevant?

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden has invoked a 1950 law to boost production of supplies needed to confront the coronavirus pandemic. The Defense Production...

Chipmaker Intel Corp. probes reported website hack

BOSTON (AP) — The computer chipmaker Intel Corp. says it is investigating a reported hack of its corporate website that prompted it to release a quarterly earnings report early. The company's chief financial officer, George Davis, told The Financial Times that Intel published its earnings ahead of the stock market's close on Thursday because it believed a hacker had stolen financially sensitive information from its website.“An infographic was hacked off of our PR newsroom site,” the newspaper quoted Davis as saying. It quoted an unnamed company spokesperson as saying Intel was notified that the graphic was circulating outside the company.Such information could benefit a stock trader.Intel's press office would not answer questions Friday about the extent of the hack. It cited a statement it released Thursday that said: “We are investigating reports that non-authorized access may have been obtained to one graphic in our earnings material."The company's stock price was down 8.5% in trading Friday.

Report: Speed compliance to save rare whales could be better

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Compliance with speed rules designed to protect rare whales has increased in recent years but could still be higher, according to a report from the federal government.The slow speed zones are implemented to protect North Atlantic right whales, which number about 360 and are vulnerable to collisions with ships. The National Marine Fisheries Service implemented seasonal, mandatory vessel speed rules in some areas along the East Coast in 2008 to try to help the whales.A report released by the service this week states that the level of mariner compliance with the speed rule increased to 81% in 2018-19. That was the highest level of record.The fisheries service also said mariner compliance remains low in some portions of the seasonal management areas. Four ports in the Southeast have rates below 25% for large commercial vessels, it said.The report illustrates that “we need stronger protections for these whales from speeding ships,” said Whitney Webber, campaign director of conservation group Oceana.

Explainer | Why Navalny is a thorn in the Kremlin’s side

MOSCOW (AP) — The return to Russia from Germany by opposition leader Alexei Navalny was marked by chaos and popular outrage, and it ended,...

Canada’s governor general resigns after harassment report

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s governor general resigned Thursday following an independent review of workplace harassment allegations. The governor general is the representative of Britain’s Queen...

EXPLAINER: What's next for WHO after US takes steps to stay

GENEVA (AP) — The Biden administration has taken quick steps to keep the United States in the World Health Organization and reinforce financial and staffing support for it — part of his ambition to launch a full-throttle effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with the world.Biden, just hours after his inauguration Wednesday, made good on a campaign pledge and revoked a Trump administration order that would have pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. health agency this summer. Early Thursday, his top medical adviser on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was dispatched to show new U.S. support for WHO. Here’s a look at the U.N. health agency and its handling of the pandemic: WHAT IS WHO? Established in 1948, the Geneva-based agency brings together 194 U.N. members under the founding principle that health is a human right. Today, it counts over 7,000 staffers working in more than 150 countries.It is the only health agency in the world with the authority to coordinate a global response to public health threats like like COVID-19 — but also works on the gamut of health issues like polio, maternal health care, tobacco and sugar consumption and even addiction to video games. WHO’s current two-year budget is $5.84 billion — about half that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WHO is currently headed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He's an Ethiopian microbiologist and malaria expert who is both the first African to run the agency, and the first WHO chief who is not a medical doctor. His first term is up next year and whether or not he gets a second could depend largely on who the U.S. supports. WHY DID THE US ANNOUNCE PLANS TO LEAVE WHO?To be clear, the United States hasn’t left WHO. But the Trump administration, triggering a one-year notification process required by Congress, announced plans to leave on July 6. The U.S. also cut all funding to WHO, stripping it of funds from the country that has long been — and by a longshot — its biggest donor.The Trump administration faulted the agency for three main reasons: its allegedly slow response to the pandemic after it emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019; its alleged kowtowing to and excessive praise of China’s government; and administration claims that WHO had criticized Trump’s suspension of entries of people from China to the U.S. as the pandemic spread. Officials at WHO did raise questions about the use of travel bans — out of concern they might hamper medical aid efforts — but didn't specifically criticize U.S. policy. The agency has been traditionally averse to public criticism of member states, particularly one as influential as the United States. An Associated Press investigation last June found top WHO officials repeatedly lauded China in public even as they privately complained that Beijing was withholding critical outbreak data from them, including the new virus' genetic sequence. And a report issued to the media this week by a panel convened by WHO concluded the agency could have acted quicker to stem the emerging coronavirus and might have labeled it a pandemic sooner. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION?The administration wants to show the United States resuming work with its international partners in health care after a largely go-it-alone approach under Trump. In his pre-dawn address on Thursday to the WHO’s executive board, Fauci said the U.S. will resume full funding for WHO and maintain its staff support for it, while announcing the U.S. will join its efforts to get COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to people in need around the world. One of the key questions will be what kind of reforms — long sought by many member countries, health advocates and even some WHO leaders themselves — that the new administration might seek. The WHO has numerous reviews in motion about its handling of the pandemic and how it can change to strengthen its ability to respond to future ones. Fauci expressed support for WHO reform, but didn't provide specifics.The U.S. has long played an outsized role at WHO, including placing senior doctors in key positions and directing policies in programs ranging from AIDS to malaria to nutrition. Biden's decision to keep the U.S. in the U.N. agency may lend some much-needed credibility to WHO after it came under heavy criticism on multiple fronts last year.___Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at:https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemichttps://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccinehttps://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Explainer | A look at the data behind NFL decision making

Fourth downs in the NFL used to be reserved for kicks, except in the most dire of circumstances. But with teams scoring at a record...

Biden revokes Trump report promoting ‘patriotic education’

President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and...

Analysis | Biden faces a more confident China after US chaos

BEIJING (AP) — As a new U.S. president takes office, he faces a determined Chinese leadership that could be further emboldened by America's troubles...

Analysis: Biden issues call to unity that comes with urgency

WASHINGTON (AP) — As newly inaugurated leaders often do, President Joe Biden began his tenure with a ritual call for American unity. But standing on the same Capitol steps where just two weeks ago rioters laid siege to the nation's democracy, Biden's words felt less like rhetorical flourishes and more like an urgent appeal to stabilize a country reeling from a spiraling pandemic, economic uncertainty, racial tensions and a growing divide over truth versus lies. “We must end this uncivil war,” Biden declared shortly after being sworn in as the nation's 46th president. Repairing the badly battered nation amounts to one of the greatest challenges to face an American president. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 400,000 Americans and is still raging out of control. The economy keeps shedding jobs, with unemployment hitting women and minorities the hardest. And the insurrection at the Capitol made clear the extent of the risks posed by the nation's deep political divisions and the embrace of conspiracies and lies by many followers of Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump. “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we are in now,” Biden said. Indeed, Biden, 78, is taking office at as grim a moment as many Americans can remember, and his inaugural celebration reflected that reality. There was no cheering crowd spread out before him on the National Mall when he took the oath of office as a consequence of the pandemic, but there were 25,000 National Guard troops securing the streets of Washington in response to the Capitol attack. Officials who did gather there wore face masks and were seated at a distance. Trump wasn't on hand to witness the fallout of his tenure, having defied tradition and left Washington earlier Wednesday morning. Historians have put the challenges Biden faces on par with, or even beyond, what confronted Abraham Lincoln when he was inaugurated in 1861 to lead a nation splintering into civil war or Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he was sworn in during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933. But Lincoln and Roosevelt's presidencies are also a blueprint for the ways American leaders have turned crises into opportunities, pulling people past the partisan divisions or ideological forces that can halt progress. “Crises present unique opportunities for large scale change in a way that an average moment might not,” said Lindsay Chervinsky, a presidential historian and author of “The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution.” “The more intense the crisis, the more likely the country is to get behind someone to try to fix that — the concept of uniting in war or uniting against a common threat."But by some measures, Roosevelt and Lincoln had advantages Biden does not. Roosevelt's Democratic Party had solid majorities in Congress, helping him power through his expansive agenda. Lincoln's Republican majorities were added by the secessionist push that dwindled his opponents' ranks in Congress. Biden, meanwhile, will have the narrowest of Democratic majorities in Congress; in the 50-50 Senate, it will fall to Vice President Kamala Harris to break any ties. The Republican Party faces an existential crisis of its own making after the Trump era, and it is deeply uncertain how much cooperating with the new Democratic president fits into its leaders' plans for their future. Still, Biden has signaled he will press Congress aggressively in his opening weeks, challenging lawmakers to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package to address the public health and economic crisis — all but daring Republicans to block him at a moment when cases and deaths across the U.S. are soaring. Biden's ability to get that legislation passed will significantly shape both his administration's ability to tackle the pandemic and his overall standing in Washington. He's staked much of the promise of his presidency on his ability to court lawmakers from across the aisle, touting his long working relationship with Republican senators and the reputation he cultivated as a dealmaker while serving as President Barack Obama's No. 2. But Washington has changed rapidly since then, a reality Biden's advisers insist he is clear-eyed about. Unlike Obama, he will quickly flex his executive powers on his first day in office, both to roll back Trump administration policies and to take action on the pandemic, including issuing a mask mandate on federal property. He's also pledged that his administration will vaccinate 100 million people against the coronavirus within his first 100 days in office, laying down a clear marker to judge his success or failure.Laura Belmonte, the dean of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a professor of history, said that while Biden would be “naive” to think Washington is the same as it was when he was a senator or even when he left it as vice president, the experience he brings to the job will be invaluable in this moment. “We don't have time for a learning curve,” Belmonte said. “I cannot think of a modern president that has faced a more daunting landscape."As he addressed the nation on Wednesday, Biden was plainspoken about the challenges ahead and the reality that his presidency will be judged on his ability to overcome them. He also nodded to some of the reasons for optimism on the horizon, including the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and an economy poised to rebound when the pandemic ultimately passes. But there is far less certainty about the ultimate challenge the new president faces: bridging the deep ideological, racial and factual divides that have pushed the nation to the brink. “Unity is the path forward,” he said. "We must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.”___Editor's Note — Julie Pace has covered the White House and politics for The Associated Press since 2007. Follow her at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC.