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Uyghur genocide accusations prompts calls for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics from US lawmakers

Beijing Olympics

Concerns over the safety of U.S. athletes in the Winter Olympics in Beijing are mounting as President Joe Biden mulls a “diplomatic boycott” and questions about the disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai remain unanswered.

Driving the news: Biden confirmed last week that the U.S. is “considering” a diplomatic boycott of the event, which is scheduled to take place in the Chinese capital and nearby towns from Feb. 4-20, 2022. The move is intended to protest the government’s human rights abuses, primarily its alleged genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

US, China pledge to work together to tackle escalating climate change catastrophe

climate change COP26 u.s. china

The U.S. and China have vowed to tackle the escalating climate change problem in a joint statement released during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, also referred to as COP26 (Conference of Parties), in Scotland on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The news was announced by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, at the event on Wednesday at a separate news conference, according to NBC News.

‘Modern slavery’: Canadian retailer removes clothes allegedly made by North Korean forced labor in China

Reitmans canadian retail giant

On Friday, retail giant Reitmans (Canada) Limited announced it is removing all the clothes made by a Chinese factory that allegedly employs North Korean laborers from its stores.

What happened: In its statement, the company, which has more than 400 outlets in Canada, said it had already severed its ties with Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Limited at the end of 2020, according to WION.

North Korean defector works with Canadian human rights group to help other refugees

North Korean escapee HanVoice human rights org canada

A North Korean escapee is working with a Canadian nonprofit to help other refugees from the hermit kingdom start a new life in Canada. 

New haven for refugees: Sam Kim, who fled North Korea as a young boy, is serving as a bridge for refugees like himself through a pilot program by HanVoice, an organization advocating North Korean human rights, reported CBC.

Korean ballerina is the first Asian to reach ‘star dancer’ rank at Paris Opera Ballet in its 352 years

Park Sae-eun first asian top Paris Opera Ballet

Park Sae-eun is the first Asian ballerina to reach the highest rank at the Paris Opera Ballet in its 352-year history.

Danseuse étoile: On June 10, South Korean ballerina Park Sae-eun made history not only for herself but also for the Paris Opera Ballet when she became the first Asian woman to achieve the “danseuse étoile,” title — or “star dancer” — the highest rank of the prestigious ballet.

Malaysian single mother of 9 inconsolable in video after being sentenced to death for drug possession

Malaysian mother sentenced to death for drugs

A video showing a single mother of nine crying inconsolably and pleading for help after being sentenced to death for drug-related charges has gone viral in Malaysia.

What happened: Hairun Jalmani, a 55-year-old fishmonger, was caught with 113.9 grams of methamphetamine in January 2018. Jalmani was convicted of drug possession and distribution and was sentenced to death by hanging on Oct. 15, according to Vice.

Report: Japan, Singapore have 2021’s most powerful passports, the US fails to crack top five

passport list

This year, Japan and Singapore are tied for the world’s most powerful passport, while South Korea and Germany share the second spot, according to a new report. The United States was not included in the top five.

Passport hierarchy: The Henley Passport Index, created by residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, ranks the world’s most travel-friendly passports based on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

New study: Today’s children will live through three times more climate disasters than their grandparents

climate disaster awaits the younger generation

A new climate study paints a terrifying future for the youngest generation who will face far worse climate disasters in their lifetimes than previous generations.

About the research: Researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium looked into the impacts of climate change across generations and found sharp inequities between them, reported the Washington Post.

US ends its 20-year military presence in Afghanistan

20-year military Afghanistan, US ends Biden

The U.S. officially concluded its 20-year presence in Afghanistan, with the departure of the last American military plane from Kabul on Tuesday.

End of America’s longest war: The head of U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, announced the completion of the military mission which sought to evacuate “American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” reported Bloomberg.