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Amid frosty ties and slim hopes for progress, Blinken makes rare trip to China; death toll from floods rises after Ukraine dam breaks and more

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Below is a summary of the current world news briefing.

Blinken makes rare trip to China amid frosty ties and little hope for progress

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken began meetings in Beijing on Sunday, the first top U.S. diplomat to visit China in five years, amid frosty bilateral relations and a long list of disputes between the world’s two largest economies Prospects for any breakthrough are dim. Blinken, who postponed his February visit after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over U.S. airspace, is the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Death toll from floods rises after Ukraine dam breaks

Kiev officials said the death toll from flooding after Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam was destroyed had risen to 16, while Russian officials said 29 people had died in Moscow-controlled territory. The Kakhovka Dam breached on June 6, flooding large swathes of southern Ukraine and parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine, destroying farmland and cutting off supplies to civilians.

A landmark science deal faces new scrutiny amid U.S.-China rivalry

For more than 40 years, the landmark agreement between the United States and China has led to a series of cooperation in technology fields, which is a powerful sign that rivals can put aside their disputes and work together. Three officials familiar with the discussions said bilateral relations are at their worst in decades and there is ongoing debate within the U.S. administration over whether to let the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement (STA) expire later this year.

Swiss referendum backs global minimum corporate tax, climate goals

Swiss voters appear set to approve proposals for a global minimum tax on corporations and a climate law aimed at reducing fossil fuel use and achieving zero emissions by 2050, forecasts from public broadcaster SRF showed on Sunday. Projections based on the count showed that 88 percent of those who voted in Sunday’s national referendum would support raising the country’s sales tax to the world’s lowest rate of 15 percent from the current average minimum rate of 11 percent, while 55 percent of people support climate law.

Evidence That Russia Blows Up Ukraine’s Kakhovka Dam – The New York Times

According to the New York Times, there is evidence that the destruction of the massive Kakhovka Dam in a Russian-controlled area of ​​Ukraine this month was caused by a Russian-induced internal explosion. Citing engineers and explosion experts, the newspaper said on Friday that its investigation had found evidence that explosives in a passage through the concrete foundation of the dam exploded on June 6, destroying the dam’s structure.

‘Oops’: UK minister sorry over lockdown-breaking party video

British senior minister Michael Gove called a video showing a party at the headquarters of the ruling Conservative Party during the 2020 lockdown “very bad” on Sunday, as gatherings in breach of COVID rules continued to loom over the government.

The Mirror’s release of the footage comes just days after a parliamentary committee ruled that former prime minister Boris Johnson deliberately misled lawmakers about a rule-breaking lockdown party in his office.

Israel’s Netanyahu seeks ‘aggressive steps’ on judicial reform this week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would take “aggressive steps” on controversial judicial reforms this week after months of fruitless compromise negotiations with political opponents. Netanyahu’s televised address to his cabinet came without many details after opposition leaders suspended talks last week pending the formation of a key judge-selection panel.

Start of truce brings fighting calm to Sudanese capital

Earlier Sunday, Khartoum began a 72-hour ceasefire aimed at quelling more than two months of clashes between rival military factions in Sudan, residents said. Sudan’s army and rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have agreed not to attack and seek military advantage during a ceasefire that began at 6:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), and to allow aid, Saudi and U.S. mediators said. Several previous truces have failed to stop the fighting.

China ‘condemns’ UK security minister for meeting Taiwan minister

China’s embassy in London on Sunday condemned last week’s meeting between British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and Taiwan’s digital minister, saying it violated international relations. Reuters reported on Friday that Tugendhat met Taiwan’s digital affairs minister Audrey Tang on Wednesday during a rare high-level British ministerial visit. They discussed shared security interests, one source said.

Key ASEAN members skip Thailand-hosted Myanmar talks amid criticism

Thailand’s caretaker government hosted the foreign minister of Myanmar’s ruling junta in informal regional peace talks on Sunday, as key Southeast Asian counterparts did not attend the meeting that drew sharp criticism. So far, only Cambodia has officially confirmed its intention to attend the talks.

(According to agency opinion.)

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