Joe Biden introduces security team 'ready to lead the world'

Joe Biden introduces security team 'ready to lead the world'
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduce their nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts on Tuesday. (AP)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Joe Biden introduces security team 'ready to lead the world'

Joe Biden introduces security team 'ready to lead the world'

WILMINGTON, United States: President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday introduced a seasoned national security team which he said was prepared to resume US leadership of the world once Donald Trump leaves the White House.
The six women and men he has chosen to be his key diplomats and intelligence advisers said they would implement a return to multilateralism, global cooperation and fighting climate change after four years of Trump’s go-it-alone policies.
“It’s a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure,” Biden said, introducing his picks for secretary of state, national security adviser, intelligence chief, homeland security and other key cabinet jobs.
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” Biden said.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, vowed to pursue cooperation around the world, saying that the United States cannot solve global problems on its own.

“We have to proceed with equal measures of humility and confidence,” Blinken said.
“As the president-elect said, we can’t solve all of the world’s problems alone. We need to be working with other countries, we need their cooperation. We need their partnership,” Blinken said.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s choice to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, echoed those sentiments.
“I want to say to you: America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back,” she said.
“The challenges we face — a global pandemic, a global economy, the global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice — are unrelenting and interconnected, but they’re not unresolvable if America is leading the way.”
Former secretary of state John Kerry, who Biden chose as his special envoy on climate change, confirmed the new administration would bring the US back into the Paris climate accord after Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal.
But Kerry also warned that the Paris pact he helped negotiate was not enough to fight global warming, and called Tuesday for a UN conference in Glasgow next year to push for more.
“You’re right to rejoin Paris on day one. And you’re right to recognize that Paris alone is not enough,” he said to Biden.
Biden also introduced Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas, tapped to become Homeland Security secretary; Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, and Jake Sullivan as his White House national security adviser.
All three pledged to maintain an environment of professionalism among the government officials they will oversee, obliquely referring to the politicization of much of government work that left much of the bureaucracy dispirited under Trump.


Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle
Updated 25 min 7 sec ago

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

KABUL: When Hanan Habibzai became a refugee in 2008, he left Afghanistan with a sense of responsibility toward all those left behind, especially widows and orphaned children.
As he made the UK his new home and managed to establish himself, Habibzai founded Helping Orphans in 2016, a charity that gives vocational training and literacy courses to women and children.
Helping Orphans estimates that there are as many as 3.5 million widows and 2.6 million orphans in Afghanistan today. Often uneducated, the women face few options if their husbands die, while children end up working out of necessity and never receive an education.
“What will happen to these children when they grow up? Their parents are taken away and they are left alone in poverty and hardship, and they have never been in school,” Habibzai told Arab News.
“What can we expect from these children when they grow and take control of their communities except problems? So, I established this charity to help vulnerable children and orphans join school. These are the exact reasons as to why I established Helping Orphans.”
As his family was displaced by the Afghan-Soviet war of the 1980s, Habibzai knows from his own experience what hunger and poverty mean. The situation in the country has become even worse now, he said, after the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001.
Before he left Afghanistan, Habibzai worked as a journalist, traveling across the country’s provinces, witnessing hopelessness and despair.
“Within the Afghan poverty-stricken and war-torn nation, I see displaced families, a refugee going through many difficulties, a 10-year-old orphan becoming responsible for feeding his family, or a woman who has lost her husband and now has to look after her children while she has nothing,” he said.

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Helping Orphans estimates that there are as many as 3.5 million widows and 2.6 million orphans in Afghanistan today. Often uneducated, the women face few options if their husbands die, while children end up working out of necessity and never receive an education.

“Today I live in the UK. I have everything here. My family and I have three full meals a day. But back in Afghanistan, there are many people who do not even have a single meal a day and are facing severe poverty and hardship.”
The latest survey by the UN indicates that 18 million people in Afghanistan — half of the country’s population — are in need of emergency aid.
In the beginning, through donations from individuals, Helping Orphans provided direct relief in the form of food and cash, but in June last year Habibzai realized that more sustainable efforts were needed.
In Kabul, the charity now enrolls children in school while their mothers take part in three-month courses to become tailors, allowing them to be self-reliant. About 20 women have completed the first training courses. One of them is Shamila, who lost her husband, a commando soldier, and was left alone with a young son about two years ago.
“The world had come to an end for me with the death of his father when my child wept,” she told Arab News.
“I joined the workshop of the charity, learned tailoring and it has been a big change both mentally and financially,” she added. “I am a tailor at home now. I earn money this way and have been able to stand on my feet.”
The charity is now planning to open more courses and teach other professions, like hairdressing, to help women provide for themselves.
“We want the aid to have a long-term impact on the lives of people, so beneficiaries can learn a profession,” said Helping Orphans Director Abdul Fatah Tayeb.
“We want them to learn how to fish rather than giving them a fish. The fundamental goal is to make people self-sufficient.”