South Asia and Beyond

SNG Daily: Biden-Xi Hold 105 Minute Phone Call; Taiwan Rocked By A Massive Earthquake, Multiple Aftershocks

Biden-Xi Hold 105 Minute Phone Call, Discuss Taiwan, Tiktok, AI & Fentanyl

It was their first direct conversation after meeting in the US in November. In the 105-minute phone call, Presidents Biden and Xi discussed Taiwan ahead of the inauguration of the president-elect Lai Ching-te. Xi Jinping reminded the US that Taiwan remains ‘the first red line not to be crossed’ with Biden raising concerns about China’s operations in the South China sea. The two also discussed concerns related to artificial intelligence, promised to increase cooperation on the flow of fentanyl precursors into the US, and do more to stop the entry of narcotics into the US.

Taiwan Rocked By A Massive Earthquake, Multiple Aftershocks

At least 7 people are dead and 700 injured after a massive earthquake hit Taiwan. It was the worst quake in 25 years and was followed by powerful aftershocks too. The scale of the 7.2 magnitude quake was caught on camera showing violently shaking buildings and bridges to commuters feeling its impact in the Taipei metro and on the highways too. The epicentre of the shallow quake was just off the eastern coast of the island. Japan issued a tsunami warning that was later downgraded.

Trump Calls Illegal Immigrants ‘Animals’; Biden’s Iftar Sees Poor Turnout

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

“They’re not human, they’re animals!” That’s what Donald Trump called illegal immigrants. In his rally in Michigan he said many immigrants were involved in cases of crime. Michigan is a crucial swing state that could also cause problems for Biden. His administration’s attempt to hold an iftar saw many boycotts over Biden’s Gaza policy. Michigan also returned many uncommitted votes that could upset calculations for Biden in the final electoral battle. The iftar dinner this time around was more subdued and not open to the press.

Israel’s Airstrike On Aid Workers Threatens Food Deliveries In Gaza

There was widespread condemnation of the Israeli strikes that killed at least seven aid workers including foreign nationals in central Gaza. And even though Israel has said it was an accident, there is a very real fallout of the tragedy at a time it is staring at a famine. The founder of the World Central Kitchen, Chef Jose Andres said he was suspending operations in Gaza after the tragedy. The UN has said that at least 180 humanitarian workers have been killed in Gaza in the last six months.

South Korea Bids Farewell To Panda As She Heads Back To China

It was a farewell ceremony unlike any other as South Koreans braved the rain to say goodbye to a dearly loved panda. Fu Bao was a star attraction at Everland Park where she was born in 2020. Her parents, Ai Bao and Le Bao, came from China in 2016 on a 15-year lease. Even though China sends pandas as a sign of goodwill, it retains ownership of them and their cubs. The last time the public saw Fu Bao was a month ago on March 3. As South Koreans bid farewell, many were overcome with emotion. The message on the truck carrying Fu Bao translates to – “It was a miracle that we met you. Thank you, Fu Bao.