Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 94° Clear

Latest Stories

News >  Nation/World

In the Philippines, Blinken vows to strengthen military ties

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 6, 2022

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday said that their nations were committed to strengthening their military alliance and that their governments would need to deal with rising tensions in Asia, including those involving China and Taiwan.

News >  World

Forgotten Zimbabwe city gets a dam as vote looms

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 6, 2022

A $42 million dam a century in the making could end water shortages for more than half a million Zimbabweans -- and win votes for the ruling party in an opposition stronghold that may decide next year's presidential election.
News >  Nation/World

White House summons Chinese ambassador as crisis escalates

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 5, 2022

The White House has summoned China's ambassador to condemn its escalating actions against Taiwan, the latest step in an intensifying geopolitical crisis as Washington and Beijing exchange accusations following a trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan that infuriated Chinese leaders.
News >  World

Pelosi vows China will not isolate Taiwan as military tensions soar

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 5, 2022

TOKYO -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Friday that China would not succeed in isolating Taiwan, as Beijing retaliated by suspending climate talks and canceling military exchanges with the United States amid continued military exercises that have sent fears of conflict in East Asia skyrocketing.Pelosi's brief and unannounced trip to Taiwan this week brought to the fore the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing and the impact of the souring relations on U.S. allies that are economically dependent on China.Beijing asserts sovereignty over Taiwan, a self-governing democracy of over 23 million people, and has sought to exclude the island from global affairs by picking off its diplomatic partners and reacting furiously to exchanges between Taipei and foreign officials.China "may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in Tokyo, her final stop on an Asian tour. She added that Beijing could not dictate who could visit the island. "They are not doing our traveling schedule. The Chinese government is not doing that," she said.China's Foreign Ministry on Friday announced eight "countermeasures" to punish the United States for the trip, including suspending bilateral climate talks and canceling three military-to-military dialogue mechanisms.Beijing halted the military talks even though both sides "need them the most" because of a recent increase in dangerous encounters that raise miscalculation risks, said Amanda Hsiao, the senior analyst for China at the International Crisis Group. "Without these mechanisms, there will be even fewer guardrails in place to prevent an unintended collision in the air or at sea," she said.Cooperation to combat narcotics, illegal immigration and other international crime is also on hold, the state broadcaster China Central Television reported.The ministry also announced unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family in retaliation for what it called a "malicious and provocative" insistence on visiting Taiwan despite Beijing's strong opposition.Since 2020, China has deployed mostly symbolic sanctions against former U.S. officials with increasing frequency, often as retribution for criticism of human rights abuses in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang region. Pelosi is one of the most senior sitting U.S. politicians to be personally censured by Beijing.The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) says Taiwan issues are China's internal affairs, but Pelosi's visit underscored broad concern among the United States' Asian allies about conflict in the Taiwan Strait because of their proximity and the passageway's vital role in trade. Japan's concerns with potential Chinese military action against Taiwan - which is less than 100 miles from Japan's westernmost point - have shaped Tokyo's defense spending and diplomatic calculations.On Thursday, as a part of the military exercises Beijing announced in response to Pelosi's trip to Taipei, five of China's ballistic missiles landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for the first time, with one falling as close as 50 miles from Yonaguni, Japan's westernmost inhabited island. On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned those actions and called for China to halt the exercises."I have informed Speaker Pelosi that the fact China's ballistic missiles had landed near Japanese waters, including the EEZ, threatens our national safety and security," Kishida said. "We also confirmed continued close cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."In Taipei, the Defense Ministry said Chinese warships and military jets crossed the median line on Friday, marking the third time this week that Beijing has ignored the unofficial maritime border between Taiwan and China. The ministry said 68 Chinese warplanes flew close to Taiwanese airspace, breaking the previous record for a single day. Taiwan said it deployed aircraft, ships and its land-based missile system to monitor the situation."Whether it is launching ballistic missiles or deliberately crossing the middle line of the strait, the CCP's military exercises are highly provocative," the ministry said in a statement. "[We] will follow the principle of preparing for war rather than seeking war. The military and civilians will work together to defend our sovereignty and national security."Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang labeled China an "evil neighbor flexing its muscles on our doorstep" with actions that "arbitrarily sabotage" one of the world's busiest waterways, according to a statement from Taiwan's Executive Yuan, the executive branch of its government.In a speech Thursday, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would remain responsible, rational and calm in the face of the "unprecedented threat.""I want to ask my fellow citizens to rest assured that our government is responding with a steady hand," Tsai said, adding that airports and seaports continue to function normally and that the economy remains stable. Some international flights were canceled, however.China's military maneuvers are expected to continue through the weekend. Taiwan has said the exercises, which affect six areas on all sides of Taiwan and come closer to the island than in previous cross-strait crises, are tantamount to a sea and air blockade.U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a news conference in Cambodia on Friday that China's firing of missiles around Taiwan was a significant escalation with no possible justification. The Biden administration has emphasized this week that Pelosi's trip did not signal any change in long-standing U.S. policy, which acknowledges - without endorsing - Beijing's claims over Taiwan. On Thursday, the United States summoned the Chinese ambassador for a rebuke over Beijing's escalatory response.Separately, China's Foreign Ministry said Friday that Vice Foreign Minister Deng Li summoned Japan's ambassador, along with European and Canadian envoys from the Group of Seven countries, to complain about an "erroneous" statement from the G-7 and the European Union's top diplomat criticizing China's live-fire exercises and economic coercion against Taiwan as risking "unnecessary escalation.""What is evil? What is shameless? If there are still people in the world who don't understand, please take a look at the statements of the G-7 and E.U. foreign minister," China's mission to the E.U. said in a statement Thursday.China has also imposed economic pressure on Taiwan in retaliation for its hosting of Pelosi. Beijing banned imports this week from more than 100 Taiwanese fruit and seafood exporters, covering an export value of about $20 million to $26 million, according to Taiwan's Council of Agriculture. Beijing also halted exports of natural sand to Taiwan.Su, the premier, promised assistance for Taiwanese businesses hit by the trade sanctions but downplayed the disruption to Taiwan's economy, saying that many local companies had already soured on the market after realizing how often "politics disrupts economic activity" in China.As Pelosi was touring Taiwan on Wednesday, authorities in China's Zhejiang province said they had detained a Taiwanese national, Yang Chih-yuan, on charges of endangering national security.- - -Shepherd and Kuo reported from Taipei.
News >  World

Greek air-conditioning limits test country’s resolve to support Ukraine

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 5, 2022

Outside the trim, whitewashed building that serves as the headquarters of Greece's public fish markets, the harsh Mediterranean sun was baking the port. Inside, the head of the country's fish markets, a 64-year-old lifelong civil servant named Vassilis Katsiotis was trying to figure out how to use less air conditioning.
News >  World

Erdogan eyes mediator role with Putin after Ukraine grain deal

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 5, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin began talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, as Ankara pushes for a mediating role to try to help end the war in Ukraine following the breakthrough deal on grain exports.Erdogan is seen in Moscow as a potential go-between in the conflict, said two people familiar with the Kremlin's thinking, asking not to be identified because the matter is sensitive. Still, Russia isn't softening its terms for any end to the fighting and stalled peace talks with Ukraine are unlikely to resume unless there's a major shift in the military balance in Putin's favor, the people said.While Turkey has long pushed for a role in brokering a peace settlement in Ukraine, Russia has so far been cool to the idea. Soon after the Turkish leader arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin thanked him for his efforts on the grain issue.Ahead of their summit, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he hoped the July 22 agreement on Ukrainian grain exports -- shipments this week were the first to leave Odessa since the war began -- could "form the basis of a broader cease-fire and peace plan."Like other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey has said it is opposed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sent weapons including highly effective drones to the government in Kyiv to help counter Putin's army. At the same time, Turkey has refrained from joining U.S. and European sanctions on Russia over the war.It has continued to import energy from Russia, which provided a quarter of Turkey's crude oil imports and around 45% of its natural-gas purchases last year. Russia has also provided much needed foreign-exchange liquidity to Turkey by transferring billions of dollars to a Turkey-based subsidiary of Rosatom for completion of a nuclear power plant's construction on the Mediterranean coast.Turkey concluded that penalizing Russia would hurt Ankara's economic and political interests, according to a senior Turkish official, who cited a $35 billion hit from higher energy costs and the impact on tourism. That's a key driver for Turkey to try to end the war, and a mediating role would boost Erdogan's international standing as he wrestles with inflation approaching 80% at home less than a year from presidential elections.The talks between Putin and Erdogan are "a good opportunity to synchronize watches" on the effectiveness of the grain-export agreement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday. The two leaders also plan to discuss expanding trade and economic ties, and energy projects, according to a Kremlin statement Thursday.Syria will also be high on the agenda after Putin and Erdogan failed to reach agreement at three-way talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran last month. Erdogan is seeking Putin's acceptance of Turkish plans for a military incursion into Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria.The Turkish leader said then that he expected Russia and Iran to support Turkey "in its fight against terrorist organizations." Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish PYD party and its YPG armed wing as affiliated with a Kurdish separatist group on its own territory.Erdogan said Friday in Sochi that he planned to talk about Syria and he hoped his discussion with Putin would ease the situation in the region.Putin may give the nod to a Turkish incursion that's opposed by his ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because ties with Erdogan are important for the Kremlin amid US and European efforts to isolate Russia, said Alexey Malashenko, an expert at the state-funded Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow.If Russia "stands in Erdogan's way, it will lose an awful lot," Malashenko said.
News >  Nation/World

It’s an artillery war, but Ukraine still kills tanks with Javelins

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 5, 2022

The fighting in this stage of war between Russia and Ukraine has shifted toward an exchange of long-range artillery and missile strikes. But despite Javelins being a shorter-range weapon - its maximum range is about 2.5 miles - soldiers near Russian-occupied Izyum in northeastern Ukraine still consider Javelins an effective way to inflict punishing damage on Russian troops.
News >  Nation/World

Hurricane experts still expect more storms than normal as peak of season approaches

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 4, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. — Although tropical storms have been off to slower start this year than anticipated, experts are still calling for the 2022 season to be an above-average year. Both Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called for above-average seasons in their updated August forecasts of what the rest of the season may look like, which ends Nov. 30. So ...

Latest headlines