Biden says will restore aid to Palestinians if elected

In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 file photograph, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures during a foreign policy statement in New York. (AP)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Biden says will restore aid to Palestinians if elected

  • Biden says if elected, he will restore US aid to Palestinians

LONDON: Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday said if elected, he will restore US aid to Palestinians as the coronavirus pandemic has amplified demands for more support.

President Donald Trump has cut almost all US assistance to Palestinians, including $360 million in annual aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). 

Its Washington Director Elizabeth Campbell on Tuesday said the agency only has enough funds to operate until the end of this month due to the US cuts.

During a fundraiser on Wednesday, Biden said: “Foreign assistance can be a hard sell when we’re in a deep economic hole, but it’s still less than 1 percent of the entire budget.”

He added that he was committed to resuming “the decades-long economic aid and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians,” and that if used appropriately, it would “benefit Israel too.”

Biden has stuck by Trump’s highly controversial decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

But Biden has also said he would launch efforts to reopen the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, and reopen the US Consulate in East Jerusalem.

“A priority now for the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace should be resuming our dialogue with the Palestinians and pressing Israel not to take actions that make a two-state solution impossible,” Biden told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 41 min 9 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”