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China uniting the Middle East is bad news for the US



The diplomatic deal in the Middle East was notable both for the breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran and for the lack of American involvement.

An agreement between regional rivals on March 10 to reopen embassies soon after a seven-year hiatus was secretly mediated by China. This has raised questions about whether Riyadh has lost confidence in Washington as the protector of its security, and demonstrated the weakening of American influence in the region.

It also showed Beijing’s ability to mend a relationship torn in 2016 when Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Arabian legations in Tehran following the execution in Riyadh of respected Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Newsweek illustrated a photo of U.S. President Joe Biden, who was criticized for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021, and last summer failed to get Riyadh to increase oil production to drive down U.S. gas prices.
newsweek; Original photo by Mario Tama/Getty Image

“The Chinese have now shown that they have the ambition and ability to play the role of mediator on the world stage,” he said. Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Government in Washington. “This comes at a time when the US is increasingly drawn into major conflicts and, as a result, has limited ability to play a diplomatic role.

“If this becomes the new normal that China is a peacemaker and the US is involved in conflicts, it will negatively impact America’s global influence and help China pose as a peace-loving nation and a stabilizing force in the world.”

Last week, Parsi co-wrote an op-ed in Foreign Affairs saying Washington was wary of China’s growing influence in the Middle East and had left a diplomatic vacuum that Beijing was happy to fill.

The article describes how Riyadh anticipated a US response to the September 2019 attack on Saudi oil facilities by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. When nothing came from then-President Donald Trump, Riyadh reconsidered its view that it could depend on Washington, which made direct diplomacy with Tehran more attractive.

China’s initiative, signed this month, was anticipated by America’s missteps in the region. President Joe Biden has been criticized for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan in August 2021, and last summer he failed to get Riyadh to increase oil production to drive down US gas prices.

“With the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, this represents another setback for American diplomacy,” said Alan Kafruni, professor of international relations at Hamilton College in New York. Newsweek.

While the US still retains influence in Riyadh, Kafruni believes the deal could mean the resurrection of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which he said “it would be wise for the United States to support.” Trump in 2018 withdrew Washington from the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

All three sides were winners

China’s interests in the Middle East have deepened. Beijing has reportedly promised to invest $400 billion in 2021 to Iran in exchange for oil and fuel supplies. China is also Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner and one of the largest oil suppliers.

“This deal happened because all three parties benefited,” said Ammar A. Malik, senior fellow at the William & Mary Global Research Institute in Virginia.

“Saudi Arabia is trying to focus on its domestic economic reform agenda, abandoning regional conflicts amid record oil revenues,” he said. Newsweek. “Iran is struggling to cope with internal protests and is trying to put its economy on a growth trajectory.

“China has been seeking to get Iran out of the sanctions regime and this could be a step in that direction.”

Mohammed Elahia professor of international business at the University of Connecticut, Quinnipiac, said Saudi Arabia is ready to go beyond the US and “may even take steps that will cause consternation in the US.”

However, given US military equipment shipments, technology transfers and private investment in the kingdom, he said China “will take decades to build the kind of deep ties that the US has with Saudi Arabia.”

“It should not be discounted that no other country in the world even comes close to the US in terms of using coercive power and mobilizing resources from their global alliance in the shortest possible time,” Elahi said.

Antonio Fatasan economics professor at INSEAD business school in Singapore, said Saudi Arabia capitalized on its strong hand over the global energy crisis and saw a chance to “cause some discontent in the West without facing retribution.”

“They don’t like the strong role that the US has played in the region for years, and they prefer to see a weaker US, even if it means a stronger China,” he said. Newsweek.

regional impact

The China deal could be on par with the 2020 Abraham Accords, a series of normalization announcements originally made between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. It could also have a similar impact on the region, easing conflicts ranging from Syria to Yemen.

“Questions remain, such as how China can be the guarantor of the Saudi-Iranian agreement and how China will act if the agreement is not implemented,” said Bougra Süsler, visiting fellow at LSE IDEAS, a think tank at the London School of Economics. .

Sino-Saudi-Iranian deal
An Iranian newspaper reports on a China-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh to restore relations, signed on March 11, 2023. This deal has sparked rumors about the weakening of American influence in the region.
ATTA KENARE/Getty Images

China could play a key role in ending the war in Ukraine

Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Moscow this week, and Beijing, officially neutral on President Vladimir Putin’s war, has increased trade with, and therefore influence over, Russia.

It is not clear what Xi knew about Putin’s plans when they met before his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. But neither Moscow nor Kyiv rejected in full last month China’s 12-point position paper on how to end the war. Xi’s article, published by Russian media on Monday ahead of the visit, hinted that Beijing might end the fighting.

Sedomir Nestorovich of ESSEC Asia Pacific business school in Singapore believes that if the Chinese can resolve conflicts in the Persian Gulf, “they can do it in Ukraine.”

“China is accepted by both sides, which is not the case with the United States,” he said. Newsweek. “If China can mediate in Ukraine, it could also help de-escalate the Taiwan Strait crisis, so a Gulf deal could be just the beginning of China’s active contribution to peace.”

However, Nestorovich said China could also consider Saudi Arabia and Iran joining the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) bloc of emerging economies. This would provide Beijing’s energy needs, reduce US influence in the Persian Gulf, and force the US to do more in the region.

“The United States is a strong country, but perhaps not powerful enough to send its forces to the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea and the South China Sea at the same time,” Nestorovich said. “This is an idea that China might be interested in, especially in the context of China-Taiwan relations.”

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated sharply after the 1979 Iranian revolution, during which there were periods of intense rivalry and détente, and this latest deal may just be part of that cycle.

Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said the deal with China has not eliminated deep divisions between regional rivals.

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping
US President Joe Biden (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, November 14, 2022. China brokered a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran that some analysts are talking about. raised the question of whether US influence in the Middle East is waning.
SAUL LEB/Getty Images

“America’s influence in the region has waned, but I think we have to be very careful assuming the trend has deviated radically from American influence or Western influence in the region and China is now the dominant player,” he said. Newsweek.

He said the Republicans, who won back the White House in 2024, could change the calculus and see a return “to the period of conflict that we saw between 2016 and 2020, when Trump tried to exert pressure and displease Iran, and Saudi Arabia was very supportive of these efforts. . .”

Meanwhile, Riyadh is reportedly seeking security guarantees from the US in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel. This will entail Riyadh seeking US assistance in developing a civilian nuclear program and easing restrictions on arms sales. New York Times.

“The US administration understands that they will have to provide such guarantees as part of the deal,” Ephraim Halamis, This was told by a professor at New York University and a researcher at the Kroll Institute. Newsweek. “Because of the Iranian economic crisis, Iran needs foreign investment, Iran and more goods from places like Saudi Arabia. But at the same time, due to US sanctions, Saudi Arabia will not be interested in putting itself or its private companies at risk. all types of sanctions.

“I can imagine the US providing this kind of security umbrella and making sure that Saudi companies are subject to sanctions, while Saudi Arabia, in a pragmatic manner, signs and promotes all kinds of security agreements with Iran.”

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Bernie Sanders auditioned for Moderna



Senator Bernie Sanders


Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Good treatment of drug companies does not go unpunished these days, and Bernie Sanders will set another example on Wednesday when he holds a political show trial of Moderna CEO Stéphane Bansel. His resentment? Collaborating with the government to produce life-saving Covid vaccines.

The subject of the Vermont senator’s hearing is Moderna’s plan to quadruple the price of a Covid vaccine to $110-$130 a dose when US government purchases cease. Pfizer said it would charge a similar price once the vaccines hit the commercial market, which is expected later this year.

But Mr. Sanders is specifically targeting Mr. Bancel because his company has been working with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed ​​(OWS) to speed up vaccine development. Mr Bancel obviously should have known better than to work with the government.

Early in the Covid pandemic, Moderna received $900 million from OWS to test its mRNA vaccine in partnership with the National Institutes of Health. Pfizer decided to go it alone because “when you get money from someone, it’s always about conditions,” as CEO Albert Burla explained in September 2020. No kidding.

Mr Sanders argues that taxpayers have paid for the development of the Moderna Covid vaccine, and so the government should be able to dictate its price. This is nonsense. Prior to the pandemic, Moderna developed its new mRNA platform with a $3.8 billion private investment. In the spring of 2020, the company raised another $1.3 billion in private capital to expand production.

Were it not for the Moderna-OWS collaboration, the introduction of the vaccine would have been much slower. The Moderna vaccine proved to be more resistant and protective against severe disease than the Pfizer vaccine in real-world studies. However, the administration consistently paid Pfizer $3-4 more per dose. As a result, Pfizer received more than a billion dollars more from the government than Moderna.

However, progressives have targeted Moderna as a “poster of corporate greed,” quoting Mr. Sanders, because they believe it reinforces their view that drug companies profit from innovation and government support. The truth is closer to the opposite. The government and the public benefit from the billions of dollars spent by Moderna on research and development.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the Moderna price increase is “difficult to justify,” even as Biden officials welcome the benefits of Covid vaccines and boosters. If they are as effective as public health officials say, the benefits of reducing hospital admissions for the elderly will more than outweigh the new higher price.

Taxpayers received a rebate under an OWS contract that paid Moderna about $15 per dose. Even after the vaccine is commercially available, Moderna will be priced lower than vaccines such as GSKX

the shingles shot ($183) or the Merck pneumonia vaccine ($216), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Affordable Care Act, privately insured Americans won’t have to pay a dime out of pocket for vaccines. Moderna will also offer free vaccines to the uninsured. So what’s the problem? Moderna wants to profit from its innovations. Oh no! Worse, Moderna’s profits will go to fund trials for other vaccines in development, including cancer.

Life-saving vaccines and treatments undermine the political narrative that pharmaceutical companies are capitalist exploiters, a view that is also circulating among the political right. That’s why Mr. Bansel is in the dock.

Overview and Outlook: The former president should be indicted for serious crimes with hard evidence, not for the reopening of a seven-year-old case by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Images: Reuters/AP Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright © 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in print edition dated March 21, 2023 titled “Moderna Bernie Sanders Show Trial”.

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NYPD braces for possible protests as Trump claims arrest looms



NYPD braces for possible protests as Trump claims arrest is coming – CBS News

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Police in New York are setting up metal barricades near the Manhattan courthouse as the investigation into former President Trump appears to be nearing a conclusion. Trump claimed on social media he would be arrested Tuesday, although officials have not said so. CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa has the latest.

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Tovala Smart Oven deep fryer review



V Smart oven Tovala Air Fryer is a Wi-Fi connected desktop oven with an app that, when combined with an expensive meal plan subscription, can cook fresh, personalized meals for one in about 20 minutes or less.

The perfect companion for small kitchens and busy work schedules, the Smart Oven Airfryer allows you to select meals online, scan the barcode on the package and dig through them. However, if you’re interested in creating your own recipes or cooking more than that (you can order double portions, although that will raise the price of already expensive meals) you may not need such a targeted smart device. And, if you don’t feel like spending the extra money on a six-week meal delivery, an affordable $70 oven will skyrocket to the less economical $250, which no longer makes it a budget choice, especially when compared to other countertop ovens and air fryers. like our favorite, $300 Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven.

To help you decide if this smart oven is right for you, I’ve cooked up a week’s worth of Tovala gourmet meals with the Smart Oven Air Fryer. Here’s what you need to know before you start cooking.

Airfryer Tovala Smart Oven offers a simple service of fresh food delivery for one and one-touch cooking with Wi-Fi connection. Great budget toaster, if you order food it goes to a more expensive and less useful purchase if you’re more interested in cooking from scratch. However, if you’re looking to save time and energy, this countertop oven outperforms supermarket frozen food and takeaways.

The Tovala app (available for iOS and Android) is non-negotiable for the Smart Oven Air Fryer because this is where you register, pay and order your food. It will also help you set up your oven and even give you access to a database of recipes if you really decide to cook from scratch. And if you need a recipe for roasting hot dogs in the air (see below), then this oven will definitely fit.


Once you download and log into the app, it will also take full control of the Smart Oven Air Fryer, although you can still use the device’s simple buttons (more below) or use its even more convenient barcode scanner. And to keep you organized, the app will also send food delivery notifications to your phone and let you know when your food is ready.

Because I live with my husband and two kids, I knew I wouldn’t necessarily be using this oven the way it’s meant to offer a tastier 21st century version of the lonely TV dinner. And since I love to cook for my family, I was skeptical about a simple indoor smart oven. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly easy and fast it is to use in combination with a food delivery service.

The point is to take most of the work out of preparing food from fresh produce while making it tastier and healthier than the prepared foods you can buy at the supermarket. Not only do you not have to follow a complicated recipe, but you also don’t have to fiddle with temperature, come up with a cooking regime, or think about how long to cook. This is, simply put, dinner for dummies.


The new Smart Oven fryer, released this year, has a neutral putty color that contrasts with the soft gray finish of the Smart Oven Pro. It has a glass window through which you can watch the food being cooked, a touch control panel on one side and a barcode scanner in the upper right corner.

Super easy food and cooking subscription

Since the food subscription service is an integral part of the company’s philosophy, it makes little sense to buy this oven without ordering at least some of the dishes. And, as mentioned above, to get a $70 oven, you have to order six courses. I ordered eight to start.

While you can get a meal for as little as $10, the average price is $13 per serving (prices vary depending on the ingredients). This is about what you would pay if you ordered. You can start with four meals a day for $52 and shipping costs $10. After subscribing, you can easily go back and change the frequency or even skip or pause meals depending on your schedule.

I selected several dishes to try, including four chicken dishes, one filet mignon (which added a few dollars to my shipping cost), several meatballs, a bowl of beef and rice, and one vegetarian option. Each meal is packed in a neat cardboard box with instructions and a barcode, and the corresponding protein is individually vacuum-packed.


Cooking was easy. Everything is already cut and portioned, and the necessary sauces or seasonings will come in handy, separate bags. I asked my teen to make them himself and my 16 year old was fascinated by how easy it was to pick up the food and toss it in the oven and then just scan the barcode and wait for his dinner. As mentioned, you can use an oven launcher app, but there’s something strangely satisfying about holding that barcode under a scanner and watching it work.

The food is good. It’s not restaurant quality, but it’s more appealing than a frozen dinner. Though if you’re on the calorie or salt side, you might want to check the food list online before ordering specific meals – my Italian meatballs with roasted red peppers and potato wedges had a whopping 720 calories and contained 45 grams of fat with almost 2,000 grams of salt ( compare that to a Big Mac, which has 540 calories, 25 grams of fat, and just over 1,000 grams of salt).


If you are looking for a more versatile toaster oven for all kinds of foods and cooking methods, Tovala is not the best choice. And no, you can’t go to the supermarket and choose Towal’s food. The app’s Grocery tab has a list of groceries if you want to grab something from brands like Amy’s, DiGiorno, or Trader Joe’s, but you can also use your microwave at this point.


The oven itself is smaller than the $449 GE Cafe Couture oven with air fryer that I usually put on the countertop, and it has a lot less bells and whistles. While this austerity may be better for ready-meal subscribers, it’s not as helpful if you’re cooking from scratch or cooking for a large group.

Although this new oven is marketed as a deep fryer, after receiving the dishes, I realized that none of them used this feature. At least I don’t think so, because he doesn’t tell you what he does when he cooks. It’s just like that.

Towala addressed this by answering. “The air fryer is not really compatible with Tovala dishes at the time, it’s only for other foods you might want to air fry.” Like hot dogs, apparently.

Here’s what I didn’t consider until I signed up for my meal plan: where exactly do I store eight individual boxes of food in the fridge? I ended up having to rearrange things completely to stack them on top of each other and then put the egg whites in the freezer. If you have a small kitchen and an even smaller fridge, you might want to consider this before ordering more than four meals at a time.

Of course, if your fridge is empty due to not cooking for yourself, the Smart Oven air fryer is perfect.


V Smart oven Tovala Air Fryer and an accompanying meal plan is a time-saving way to enjoy fresh food at home. Assembling the dishes is easy, and you can use the app or the oddly cuddly bar scanner to cook without any further instructions.

Of course, if you don’t feel like paying at least $52 a week for at least four meals a day, this inexpensive $69 oven will go up to $250 and you’re better off having a simple toaster oven/fryer like Hamilton Beach Course Crisp for just $100 with no strings attached. And if you’re the more adventurous home cook, you might want something bigger and more versatile, like our pick. KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry (200 dollars).

But if you just want to cook your own food with little to no effort, prep work or cleaning up, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is a smart choice. Even my 16 year old son, who spends more time queuing at Chipotle than cooking his own meals, appreciates Tovala’s ease of use and minimum mess.

Did you like the food? “That’s good, mom, but I’d rather eat your cooking.” Music to my ears, but for him it’s definitely a step up from takeaway.

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