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CHINA

Biden's plan to unveil a package to spur recovery in Latin America, help stem immigration and counter China's growing regional economic clout has been marred by Washington's decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the summit.
The issue of Taiwan loomed over a meeting in Tokyo of leaders of the Quad grouping of the United States, Japan, Australia and India, who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China.
Tourism-dependent Sri Lanka, where India and China jostle for influence, is facing a dire shortage of foreign exchange, fuel and medicines, and economic activity has slowed to a crawl.
In the 21st-century economy, rare earth minerals are crucial for powering advanced electronics.

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After victory is declared, Putin will become a national hero.
From the column: "Of course, what bit of pro-sulfide mining rhetoric would be complete without shamelessly evoking child labor?"
President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission overseeing the armed forces, has continually pushed for new rules and regulations to assess, procure and test weaponry and equipment.
Russia fired missiles at an airport near Lviv on Friday, a city where hundreds of thousands found refuge far from Ukraine's battlefields, as Moscow tries to regain the initiative in its stalled campaign against Ukraine.
From the column: "Chinese leader Xi Jinping is waiting to see if America really does have the courage and determination to do all it is threatening if Russia invades Ukraine. If Russia invades, and America fails to follow through on its threats, then Xi knows America will not come to the aid of Taiwan, nor will we fight for international shipping lanes."
From the column: "Domestic mining is a national-security issue. It is critical that we support Minnesota’s miners who are currently mining iron ore and soon will be mining critical minerals."

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The comments come a day before the U.S. government is due to release full-year trade data that analysts expect to show a significant shortfall in China's pledge to increase purchases of U.S. farm and manufactured goods, energy and services.
With geopolitical tensions on both sides of the Eurasian land mass at their most taut for decades, Putin and Xi publicly took each other's sides in a range of disputes, notably Ukraine, where the West accuses Putin of preparing for war.

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