Uncertainty is the winner and incumbents the losers so far in a year of high-stakes global elections

LONDON — Discontented, economically squeezed voters have turned against sitting governments on both right and left during many of the dozens of elections held this year, as global power blocs shift and political certainties crumble.

From India to South Africa to Britain, voters dealt blows to long-governing parties. Elections to the European Parliament showed growing support for the continent’s far right, while France’s centrist president scrambled to fend off a similar surge at home.

If there’s a global trend, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer said at a summit in Canada in June, it’s that “people are tired of the incumbents.”

More than 40 countries have held elections already this year. More uncertainty awaits — nations home to over half the world’s population are going to the polls in 2024. The world is already anxiously turning to November’s presidential election in the U.S., where an acrimonious campaign was dealt a shocking blow by an assassination attempt against Republican nominee and former president, Donald Trump.

Unpopular incumbents

Aftershocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and spiking prices for food and fuel have left dissatisfied voters eager for change.

“Voters really, really don’t like inflation,” said Rob Ford, professor of political science at the University of Manchester. “And they punish governments that deliver it, whether they are at fault or not.”

Inflation and unemployment are rising in India, the world’s largest democracy, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party unexpectedly lost its parliamentary majority after a decade of dominance. Modi was forced to rely on coalition partners to govern as the opposition doubled its strength in parliament.

In South Africa, sky-high rates of unemployment and inequality helped drive a dramatic loss of support for the African National Congress, which had governed ever since the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule in 1994.

The party once led by Nelson Mandela lost its parliamentary majority for the first time and was forced to enter a coalition with opposition parties.

In Britain, the center-left Labour Party won election in a landslide, ousting the Conservatives after 14 years. As in so many countries, Prime Minister Keir Starmer faces a jaded electorate that wants lower prices and better public services — but is deeply skeptical of politicians’ ability to deliver change.

US-China tensions

Caught between world powers China and the United States, Taiwan held one of the year’s most significant elections.

Lai Ching-te, of the Democratic Progressive Party, won a presidential election that was seen as a referendum on the island’s relationship with China, which claims Taiwan as its own.

Beijing regards Lai as a separatist and ramped up military pressure with drills in the Taiwan Strait. Lai has promised to strengthen the defenses of the self-governing island, and the U.S. has pledged to help it defend itself, heightening tensions in one of the world’s flashpoints.

In Bangladesh, an important partner of the U.S. that has drawn closer to China, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won a fourth successive term in an election that opposition parties boycotted. The U.S. and U.K. said the vote was not credible, free or fair.

Political dynasties

In several countries, family ties helped secure or cement power.

Pakistan held messy parliamentary elections – under the eye of the country’s powerful military — that saw well-established political figures vie to become prime minister. The winner, atop a coalition government, was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, younger brother of three-time premier Nawaz Sharif.

Opponents say the election was rigged in his favor, with opponent and former prime minister, Imran Khan, imprisoned and blocked from running. The situation remains unstable, with Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruling that Khan’s party was improperly denied some seats.

In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest democracy, former Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto was officially declared president more than two months after an election in which he won over 58% of the vote.

His two losing rivals alleged fraud and nepotism — Subianto’s vice president-elect is outgoing leader Joko Widodo’s son, and Subianto was the son-in-law of Indonesia’s late dictator, Suharto. The country’s highest court rejected their arguments.

Some outcomes were predictable. Russian President Vladimir Putin was reelected to a fifth term in a preordained election that followed his relentless crackdown on dissent. Rwanda’s election extended the 30-year rule of President Paul Kagame, an authoritarian leader who ran almost unopposed.

Far right’s uneven march

The far right has gained ground in Europe as the continent experiences economic instability and an influx of migrants from troubled lands.

Elections for the parliament of the 27-nation European Union shifted the bloc’s center of gravity, with the far right rocking ruling parties in France and Germany, the EU’s traditional driving forces.

The EU election triggered a political earthquake in France. After his centrist, pro-business party took a pasting, President Emmanuel Macron called a risky snap parliamentary election in hope of stemming a far-right surge.

The anti-immigration National Rally party won the first round, but alliances and tactical voting by the center and left knocked it down to third place in the second round and left a divided legislature.

New faces, daunting challenges

A presidential election tested Senegal’s reputation as a stable democracy in West Africa, a region rocked by a recent spate of coups.

The surprise winner was little-known opposition figure Basirou Diomaye Faye, released from prison before polling day as part of a political amnesty.

Faye is Africa’s youngest elected leader, and his rise reflects widespread frustration among Senegal’s youth with the country’s direction. Senegal has made new oil and gas discoveries in recent years, but the population has yet to see any real benefit.

Mexico elected Claudia Sheinbaum as the first female president in the country’s 200-year history. A protege of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor vowed to continue in the direction set by the popular leftist leader.

She faces a polarized electorate, daunting drug-related violence, an increasingly influential military and tensions over migration with the U.S.

Uncertainty is the new normal

On July 28, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will seek to extend a decade-plus presidency marked by a complex political, social and economic crisis that has driven millions into poverty or out of the country. Opposition parties have banded together, but the ruling party has tight control over the voting process, and many doubt votes will be counted fairly.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is scheduled to hold its long-delayed first elections in December. That would represent a key milestone, but the vote is rife with danger and vulnerable to failure.

Looming above all is the choice U.S. voters will make Nov. 5 in a tense and divided country. The July 13 shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania, in which the former president was wounded and a rallygoer was killed, came as Democrats agonize over the fitness of President Joe Biden, who has resisted calls to step aside.

The prospect of a second term for Trump, a protectionist wary of international entanglements, is evidence of the world’s shifting power blocs and crumbling political certainties.

“The world is in the transition,” said Neil Melvin, director of international security at defense think tank the Royal United Services Institute.

“There are very broad processes on the way which are reshaping international order,” he added. “It’s a kind of anti-globalization. It’s a growing return to the nation state and against multilateralism.”

your ad here

Russia, China taking space into dangerous territory, US says

Washington — Russia and China are edging ever closer to unleashing space-based weapons, a decision that could have far-reaching implications for America’s ability to defend itself, U.S. military and intelligence agencies warn.

Adding to the concern, they say, is what appears to be a growing willingness by both countries to set aside long-running suspicions and animosity in order to gain an edge over the United States.

“I would highlight … the increasing amount in intent to use counterspace capabilities,” said Lieutenant General Jeff Kruse, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“Both Russia and China view the use of space early on, even ahead of conflict, as important capabilities to deter or to compel behaviors,” Kruse told the annual Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday. “We just need to be ready.”

Concerns about the safety of space surged earlier this year when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner called for the declassification of “all information” related to what was described as a new Russian anti-satellite capability involving nuclear weapons.

More recently, Turner has warned that the U.S. is “sleepwalking” into a disaster, saying that Russia is on the verge of being able to detonate a nuclear weapon in space, which would impose high costs on the U.S. military and economy.

The White House has responded repeatedly that U.S. officials have been aware of the Russian plans, and that Moscow has not yet deployed a space-based nuclear capability.

It is a stance that Kruse reaffirmed Wednesday, with added caution.

“We have been tracking for almost a decade Russia’s intent to design the ability to put a nuclear weapon in space,” he said. “They have progressed down to a point where we think they’re getting close.”

The Russians “don’t intend to slow down, and until there’s repercussions, will not slow down,” he said.

Russian and Chinese officials have yet to respond to VOA’s requests for reaction to the latest U.S. accusations, but both countries have repeatedly denied U.S. criticisms of their space policies.

In May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov dismissed U.S. concerns about Moscow trying to put nuclear weapons in space as “fake news.”

But the Chinese Embassy in Washington, while admitting there are some “difficulties” when it comes to China-U.S. relations in space, rejected any suggestion Beijing is acting belligerently in space.

“China always advocates the peaceful use of outer space, opposes weaponizing space or an arms race in space and works actively toward the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind in space,” spokesperson Liu Pengyu told VOA in an email.

“The U.S. has been weaving a narrative about the so-called threat posed by China in outer space in an attempt to justify its own military buildup to seek space hegemony,” Liu said. “It is just another illustration of how the U.S. clings on to the Cold War mentality and deflects responsibility.”

Despite Beijing’s public posture, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Kruse suggested Wednesday that China’s rapid expansion into the space domain is just as worrisome.

“They’re in multiple orbits that they did not used to be before,” he told the audience in Aspen, Colorado, warning that Beijing has already invested heavily in directed energy weapons, electronic warfare capabilities and anti-satellite technology.

“China is the one country that more so even than the United States has a space doctrine, a space strategy, and they train and exercise the use of space and counterspace capabilities in a way that we just don’t see elsewhere,” he said.

The general in charge of U.S. Space Command described the Chinese threat in even starker terms.

“China is building a kill web, if you will, in space,” said General Stephen Whiting, speaking alongside Kruse at the Aspen conference. 

“In the last six years, they’ve tripled the number of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites they have on orbit — hundreds and hundreds of satellites, again, purpose built and designed to find, fix, track target and, yes, potentially engage U.S. and allied forces across the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Whiting also raised concerns about the lack of clear military communication with China about space.

“We want to have a way to talk to them about space safety as they put more satellites on orbit,” he said, “so that we can operate effectively and don’t have any miscommunication or unintended actions that cause a misunderstanding.”

your ad here

Trump’s VP pick Vance is pro-Israel, anti-China and creating anxiety in Europe

washington — Senator J.D. Vance, former President Donald Trump’s newly announced running mate, will take center stage Wednesday evening at the Republican National Convention, focusing on the day’s theme, “Make America Strong Again.”

Vance, 39, a former venture capitalist, has less than two years in public office and little foreign policy background. His recent comments mostly align with Trump’s “America First” doctrine and have revealed a worldview that can be summed up as pro-Israel, anti-China and causing anxiety in Europe.

A former U.S. Marine who was deployed in Iraq, Vance is skeptical of American military intervention overseas and, with the exception of Israel, largely opposes foreign aid. He has argued that the United States can’t simultaneously support Ukraine and the Middle East and be ready for contingencies in East Asia.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said in February at the Munich Security Conference. “The math doesn’t work out in terms of weapons manufacturing.”

However, Vance is not an isolationist, as some have described him, said Emma Ashford, senior fellow with the Reimagining U.S. Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center.

In a recent speech at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Vance defined his foreign policy goals.

“We want the Israelis and the Sunnis to police their own region of the world. We want the Europeans to police their own region of the world, and we want to be able to focus more on East Asia,” he said.

“You could call him either a realist or perhaps a prioritizer,” Ashford told VOA.

That’s a strong contrast from Biden administration policymakers “who argue that every region is interconnected, and the U.S. has to lead in all of them,” she added. “And it’s definitely a break from the post-Cold War foreign policy in the U.S.”

Yet, Vance’s aim for the United States to pull away from Europe and the Middle East to focus on China is neither new nor uniquely Republican. In fact, former President Barack Obama pursued a Pivot to Asia doctrine from 2009 to 2017.

That pivot has yet to happen, as the U.S. has become bogged down by conflicts in both Europe and the Middle East.

Less support for Ukraine

In terms of priorities, Vance is aligned with Trump’s insistence that Washington reduce support for Ukraine and force Europeans to play a bigger role in the continent’s own security.

“I do not think that Vladimir Putin is an existential threat to Europe,” Vance said in Munich, sending shock waves through European diplomatic circles. He added that Kyiv should pursue a “negotiated peace” with Moscow even if that means ceding territory.

That prompted criticism from John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is now senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Vance is “completely naive on Putin’s Russia,” Herbst told VOA.

With Trump suggesting he would not protect countries that failed to meet NATO’s defense spending targets, even appearing to encourage Putin to attack them, and Vance’s criticisms of Ukraine, the prospect of a Trump-Vance administration has sparked alarm across Europe.

However, Herbst remains optimistic.

While Ukraine may not be Trump’s first priority, he “perceives himself as a strongman and does not want to be associated with foreign policy failure,” he said. “And a Russian victory in Ukraine if Trump is president would look very much like a foreign policy failure.”

More support for Israel

While Vance has established himself as a key surrogate for America First, Israel may be the exception. Citing his Christian beliefs, Vance is an even more staunch supporter of Israel than President Joe Biden, pushing for continued military aid and opposing limits on Israel’s war conduct.

“Vance’s strong support for Israel is a reflection of the importance of some conservative evangelical views in today’s Republican Party, as well as the stands of white Christian nationalist thinking that has grown under Trump’s grip on the party,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Vance has criticized the U.S. neoconservative approach that began with the Bush administration as “strategically and morally stupid.” However, while he is against American interventionism elsewhere, in the Middle East he has advocated for a similar strategy of spending U.S. military resources to shore up an alliance of Israel and Sunni Muslim states to deter Iran and maintain peace and stability in the region.

Katulis critiqued the Republican vice presidential nominee’s worldview as “a reflection of the confused hyperpartisan debate” from isolationist camps that emerged in the U.S. following the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rather than an “actual coherent worldview about what it would take to protect America’s interest and values in the real world.”

Meanwhile, Katulis said that Middle East actors are “anticipating more unpredictability, incoherence and confusion” should a Trump-Vance ticket win in November.

Hawkish on China

Author of the best-selling memoir-turned-movie Hillbilly Elegy, Vance has lived experience with the social and economic harm that deindustrialization has inflicted upon some American communities.

He has echoed Trump’s accusation that China is stealing manufacturing jobs from the U.S., especially those jobs in the Midwestern part of the country from where he hails.

“Vance has supported more economic restrictions and tariffs on Chinese imports and investments,” said Dean Chen, a professor of political science at the Ramapo College of New Jersey. “I expect his position on China to be in line with Trump nationalists in their potential new administration,” he told VOA.

In the U.S. Senate, Vance introduced legislation to restrict Chinese access to U.S. financial markets and to protect American higher education from Beijing’s influence.

On Taiwan, “the thing that we need to prevent more than anything is a Chinese invasion,” Vance said last year during an event at the Heritage Foundation.

“It would be catastrophic for this country. It would decimate our entire economy. It would throw this country into a Great Depression,” he added.

That’s a much more clear-cut stance than Trump, who has suggested at various times that he may not come to Taipei’s defense should Beijing invade. Washington does not have a formal treaty with Taiwan but supplies the democratically self-governing island with arms to maintain a “sufficient self-defense capability.”

In a June interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Trump indicated he wants Taipei to pay the U.S. for its defense.

“You know, we’re no different than an insurance company,” he said. “Taiwan doesn’t give us anything.”

Taiwan policy aside, Ashford said the biggest shock in a Trump-Vance administration could be on trade policy, with “new tariffs on China or even Europe.”

“It could be quite extreme,” she warned.

Tatiana Vorozhko, Lin Yang and Steve Herman contributed to this report.

your ad here

Netherlands marks 10th anniversary of downing of MH17 airliner

Amsterdam — The Netherlands commemorated on Wednesday the 298 victims of flight MH17 with a ceremony attended by the bereaved and representatives from Malaysia, Australia, Britain, Belgium and Ukraine.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, as fighting raged between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces, the precursor of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, including 196 Dutch citizens, were killed, leaving the plane’s wreckage and the remains of the victims scattered across fields of corn and sunflowers.

Based on an international investigation, a Dutch court in 2022 said there was no doubt the plane was shot down by a Russian missile system and that Moscow had “overall control” of the forces of the separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine since May 2014. Russia denies any involvement.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, which took place at the MH17 monument in the village of Vijfhuizen near Amsterdam, loved ones read out loud the names of all the victims.

Mark Rutte, who was prime minister when the disaster happened and has been a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin ever since, drew applause for his efforts during his time in office to keep the international spotlight on the incident.

The Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader in absentia of murder for their role in the transport into eastern Ukraine of the Russian military BUK missile system used to down the plane.

“Justice requires a long, long breath,” said Prime Minister Dick Schoof, who took office earlier this month, adding that “a conviction is not the same as having someone behind bars.”  

Commemorating the victims in his nightly video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “There is no doubt that the judicial process and the overall work of international justice will inevitably lead to entirely fair sentences for all responsible for this crime.”

His foreign minster, Dmytro Kuleba, wrote on X that Russia had twice killed the victims. “First with a missile. Second, with lies that abused their memory and hurt their relatives.”  

Moscow denies any responsibility for MH17’s downing and in 2014 it also denied any presence in Ukraine. However, the EU’s outgoing foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday called on Russia to finally accept its responsibility.

“The evidence presented makes it abundantly clear that the BUK surface-to-air missile system used to bring down Flight MH17 belonged beyond doubt to the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” Borrell said.

“No Russian disinformation operation can distract from these basic facts, established by a court of law.”

your ad here

UK’s new government announces legislation for ‘national renewal’ as Parliament opens with royal pomp 

London — Britain’s new Labour Party government promised to calm the country’s febrile politics and ease its cost-of-living crisis as it set out its plans for “national renewal” at the grand State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday.

Stabilizing the U.K.’s public finances and spurring economic growth were at the center of Prime Minister Keir Starmer ‘s legislative agenda, announced in a speech delivered by King Charles III.

“My government will seek a new partnership with both business and working people and help the country move on from the recent cost of living challenges by prioritizing wealth creation for all communities,” the king said in a speech to hundreds of lawmakers and scarlet-robed members of the House of Lords.

Starmer campaigned on a promise to bring bold change to Britain at modest cost to taxpayers. He aims to be both pro-worker and pro-business, in favor of vast new construction projects and protective of the environment. The risk is he may end up pleasing no one.

In a written introduction to the speech, Starmer urged patience, saying change would require “determined, patient work and serious solutions” rather than easy answers and “the snake oil charm of populism.”

The King’s Speech is the centerpiece of the State Opening, an occasion where royal pomp meets hard-nosed politics, as the king donned a diamond-studded crown, sat on a gilded throne and announced the laws his government intends to pass in the coming year.

Labour won a landslide election victory on July 4 as voters turned on the Conservatives after years of high inflation, ethics scandals and a revolving door of prime ministers. Starmer has promised to patch up the country’s aging infrastructure and frayed public services, but says he won’t raise personal taxes and insists change must be bound by “unbreakable fiscal rules.”

Wednesday’s speech included 40 bills – the Conservatives’ last speech had just 21 – ranging from housebuilding to nationalizing Britain’s railways and decarbonizing the nation’s power supply with a publicly-owned green energy firm, Great British Energy.

The government said it would “get Britain building,” setting up a National Wealth Fund and rewriting planning rules that stop new homes and infrastructure being built.

Economic measures included tighter rules governing corporations and a law to ensure all government budgets get advance independent scrutiny. That aims to avoid a repetition of the chaos sparked in 2022 by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss, whose package of uncosted tax cuts rocked the British economy and ended her brief term in office.

The government promised stronger protections for workers, with a ban on some”zero-hours” contracts and a higher minimum wage for many employees. Also announced were protections for renters against shoddy housing, sudden eviction and landlords who won’t let them have a pet.

The government promised more power for local governments and better bus and railway services – keys to the “levelling up” of Britain’s London-centric economy that former Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised but largely failed to deliver.

Though Starmer eschewed large-scale nationalization of industries, the government plans to take the delay-plagued train operators into public ownership.

The speech said the government “recognizes the urgency of the global climate challenge” — a change in tone from the Conservative government’s emphasis on oil and gas exploration. As well as increasing renewable energy, it pledged tougher penalties for water companies that dump sewage into rivers, lakes and seas.

The speech included new measures to strengthen border security, creating a beefed-up Border Security Command with counter-terrorism powers to tackle people-smuggling gangs.

It follows Starmer’s decision to scrap the Conservatives’ contentious and unrealized plan to send people arriving in the U.K. across the English Channel on a one-way trip to Rwanda.

The speech also tackled an issue that has foxed previous governments: reforming the House of Lords. The unelected upper chamber of Parliament is packed with almost 800 members – largely lifetime political appointees, with a smattering of judges, bishops and almost 100 hereditary aristocrats. The government said it would remove the hereditary nobles, though there was no mention of Starmer’s past proposal of setting a Lords retirement age of 80.

There was no mention of lowering the voting age from 18 to 16, though that was one of Labour’s election promises.

While much of Starmer’s agenda marks a break with the defeated Conservative government of former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Starmer revived Sunak’s plan to stop future generations from smoking by gradually raising the minimum age for buying tobacco.

The speech confirmed that the government wants to “reset the relationship with European partners” roiled by Britain’s exit from the European Union in 2020. It said there would be no change to Britain’s strong support for Ukraine and promised to “play a leading role in providing Ukraine with a clear path to NATO membership.”

Wednesday’s address was the second such speech delivered by Charles since the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022.

He traveled from Buckingham Palace to Parliament in a horse-drawn carriage – past a small group of anti-monarchy protesters with signs reading “Down with the Crown” – before donning ceremonial robes and the Imperial State Crown to deliver his speech. Police said 10 members of an environmental activist group were arrested near Parliament over alleged plans to disrupt the ceremony.

For all its royal trappings, it is the King’s Speech in name only. The words are written by government officials, and the monarch betrayed no flicker of emotion as he read them out.

“The king has zero agency in this,” said Jill Rutter, senior research fellow at the Institute for Government think tank.

your ad here

UK union fails to win recognition at Amazon site after losing ballot, Amazon says

LONDON — The GMB union has failed to secure the right to formally represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry, central England, Amazon said on Wednesday.

The ballot result on union recognition is a blow for the U.K. trade union movement as victory in the ballot would have forced the U.S. e-commerce giant to negotiate labor terms with a U.K. union for the first time.

The Coventry workers have been involved in a dispute over pay and union recognition for more than a year and have carried out numerous strikes.

The GMB union has argued Amazon frustrated its recognition bid by recruiting hundreds of additional workers at the site so the union no longer had the numbers to make the ballot threshold.

Amazon’s treatment of workers has been in the spotlight for years. It has historically opposed unionization, saying its preference has been to resolve issues with employees directly rather than through unions.

However, in 2022, workers at its warehouse in Staten Island, New York, forced the company to recognize a trade union in the U.S. for the first time.

That was seen as key moment for the union movement. However, Amazon workers at two other New York warehouses and one in Alabama have since voted against unionizing.

Amazon does interact with unions in countries such as Germany and Italy. But that is largely because it is required to by government.

Amazon employs about 75,000 in the UK, making it one of the country’s top 10 private sector employers.

Britain’s new Labor government has promised to give workers more rights and unions more power.

It plans to update trade union legislation, removing restrictions on trade union activity and ensuring industrial relations are based around good faith negotiation and bargaining.

Labor says British employment laws are outdated, a drag on economic growth and a major factor in the U.K.’s worst period of industrial relations since the 1980s.

your ad here

European experts expect economic measures, military personnel changes from China’s Third Plenary Session

Vienna — European experts watching China’s Third Plenum say this week’s high-level meetings are unlikely to touch on political reform but will likely introduce several measures to reverse the nation’s economic downturn.

“Any measures to be announced on China’s key economic problems will be moderate and gradual, like Chinese medicine, as opposed to a shock therapy,” said Alicia Garcia-Herrero, a senior researcher at the Belgian think tank Bruegel.

The Spanish economist listed eight key problems facing the current Chinese economy: stagnation in real estate; tight local government finances; deflationary pressure; sluggish consumer consumption; an aging population; a decline in foreign investment in non-manufacturing industries; increased social security costs, such as pensions and medical care; and the failure to achieve transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency has said decisions on such matters are expected from this week’s Third Plenary Session of the 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which is to address policy matters spanning the next decade.

Garcia-Herrero said China’s possible approaches include providing modest subsidies to low- and middle-income households to stimulate consumption; structural measures to slow down the aging of the population; opening up investment access to attract foreign investment; increasing local government taxes to make up for shortfalls caused by falling land prices; delaying retirement; and reducing government administrative costs to achieve fiscal balance.

Chinese policymakers will need to make some hard choices. A lack of social benefits prompts people to save for future emergencies, which reduces private consumption. Stimulating consumption will require greater government spending, including a better social welfare system, but this will hurt an already deteriorating fiscal position.

It remains to be seen to what extent China’s economic decision-makers agree on establishing a social safety net and carrying out consumption-oriented structural reforms.

Garcia-Herrero said that in the long term, the way to solve China’s economic woes is to expand local fiscal autonomy and develop high-end manufacturing, although neither seems likely in the short term.

The plenum is expected to focus on reforming the fiscal and taxation systems, and specific measures may include transferring consumption tax and value-added tax from the central government to local governments.

President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of vigorously developing “new quality productivity” and promoting China’s industrial upgrading and “high-quality development.”

Alexander Davey, an analyst at MERICS, told VOA, “The past reforms of investments of vast resources and personnel into modernizing China’s industrial system and promoting scientific and technological innovation will continue.”

But he said it is uncertain whether those investments “will negatively impact the extent to which Beijing can allocate resources for local governments to service health care, education, infrastructure, government employee wages, etc.”

Analysts say the Chinese modernization development model, which relies on high-end manufacturing exports to drive the economy, could exacerbate trade disputes between China and its major export destinations. The United States and Europe have recently accused China of “overcapacity” of electric vehicles and have imposed anti-dumping investigations and tariff measures.

Davey said Chinese-style modernization “could be used as pretext for how Beijing decides to retaliate [against] Brussels’ tariffs on Chinese EVs, among other EU de-risking actions towards China. Beijing may target European imports like brandy, wine, and certain types of cars, framing them as unnecessary luxury goods in its march towards common prosperity, imposing tariffs accordingly.”

The China watchers also said specific plans for personnel changes at the top level of the People’s Liberation Army are expected.

Two former Chinese defense ministers, Wei Fenghe and Li Shangfu, were expelled last month from the party and the military.

Francesco Sisci, an Italian Sinologist, told VOA, “We know the focus will be the PLA and the economy. The domestic economy is not doing well with private consumption shrinking and the military is under immense stress for the unprecedented purge of two ministers of defense. The PLA seems in disarray, which is extremely dangerous.”

Adrianna Zhang  contributed to this report.

your ad here

Japan-Germany security cooperation troubles North Korea, China

washington — North Korea and China are watching for possible regional impacts from Japan’s recent enhanced security cooperation with Germany.

This weekend, Japan will hold joint drills with Germany around the Chitose Air Base in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. Spain is slated to join them there, while France will join Japan next week for drills over Hyakuri Air Base in Ibaraki Prefecture bordering the Pacific Ocean.

At a joint press conference in Berlin late last week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said defense cooperation will be enhanced by the planned visits of German aircraft and frigates to Japan and of a Japanese training fleet to Hamburg this summer.

North Korea slammed the security cooperation as “collusion” that crossed a “red line” and is “reminiscent of the Second World War,” according to North Korea’s state-run KCNA on Monday.

“The defeated war criminal nations are in cahoots to stage a series of war games escalating the regional tensions,” KCNA continued.

Kishida said Japan hopes to work with Germany “to deal with the deepening military cooperation between Russia and North Korea as well as China’s moves related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” according to Nippon.com, a news agency based in Tokyo.

Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed in Berlin on Friday to boost their security cooperation after attending a NATO summit in Washington. It was Kishida’s first trip to Germany as prime minister.

Pact enters into force

Also on Friday, a military supply-sharing pact that aims to exchange food, fuel, and ammunition between Japan and Germany entered into force. The agreement was signed in January.

Beijing said the cooperation between Japan and Germany should not create tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told VOA on Monday that “cooperation between countries, including military and security ties, should not target any third party or harm their interests.”

Maki Kobayashi, Japanese cabinet secretary for public affairs, told VOA’s Mandarin Service during the NATO summit that Japan has been working “very closely” with NATO countries on security issues and joint exercises.

“China has been saying there is an attempt at creating NATO in Asia, which is not correct,” she said.

Rather, she said, Japan has been seeking closer ties among like-minded countries “to share situational analyses and also align some policies” in support of an international order based on the rule of law.

In Berlin, Kishida and Scholz also agreed to enhance economic security including safeguarding the resilience of supply chains for key items such as critical minerals and semiconductors.

Cooperation seen two different ways

In Washington last week, the leaders of NATO and four Indo-Pacific countries, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, discussed how to ramp up their combined defense capacity.

“A union of defense industrial bases between NATO and IP4 countries would have significant and positive implications for international peace and stability,” said Matthew Brummer, professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.

“Japan has recently moved to provide surface-to-air missiles to the United States, which then sends them to Ukraine,” he added.

In December, Tokyo agreed to ship Japanese-made Patriot guided missiles to backfill U.S. inventory after taking a major step away from its pacifist self-defense policies and easing its postwar ban on the export of lethal weapons.

“In general, the NATO-IP4 cooperation is a good thing, since it symbolizes the recognition that both the Indo-Pacific theater and the European theater are linked,” Elli-Katharina Pohlkamp, visiting fellow of the Asia Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations based in Berlin said via email.

However, she continued, “Strengthening NATO-IP4 ties could exacerbate tensions with China and Russia, who may perceive this cooperation as a containment strategy,” and encourage countries like North Korea to align more closely with them.

Adam Xu contributed to this report.

your ad here

Spain confirms body found is missing UK teen’s

MADRID — Spanish authorities confirmed on Tuesday that a body found in a remote area of the island of Tenerife a day earlier was that of a missing British teenager and that the injuries sustained were compatible with an accidental fall.

“We have a positive ID,” a court spokesperson said. “Fingerprinting confirms that the body belongs to Jay Slater, and the death was due to multiple traumas compatible with a fall in the mountainous area.”

Earlier, the same spokesperson said it would take some days before autopsy results were available.

Slater’s mother, Debbie, issued a statement through the British overseas missing persons charity LBT Global acknowledging the “worst news.”

“I just can’t believe this could happen to my beautiful boy,” the statement read. “Our hearts are broken.”

The body was found Monday morning by a Civil Guard mountain rescue group.

Slater, 19, went missing on June 17, and his phone was last traced to the Masca ravine in a remote national park on the Canary Islands archipelago.

The remains were found with Slater’s possessions and clothes close to the site of his mobile phone’s last location, LBT Global said on Monday.

Matthew Searle, chief executive of LBT Global, which has issued several statements on behalf of the family, said it would help repatriate Slater’s body and belongings and make funeral arrangements.

“There will, of course, be many more hurdles for the family to face in the coming days, and we will work with them to make this horrific time as easy as possible,” he said. 

your ad here

Nobel laureates call on Belarus’ leader to release all political prisoners

Tallinn, Estonia — Dozens of Nobel Prize laureates are calling in an open letter on Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to free all political prisoners, after 18 seriously ill activists were released this month.

The Belarusian human rights group Viasna counts almost 1,400 political prisoners, including its Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder Ales Bialiatski.

Many of Belarus’ most prominent opposition figures are behind bars while others fled abroad as authorities cracked down severely on opponents as protests gripped the country in 2020. But only one well-known figure was among the 18 prisoners whom Lukashenko allowed to be freed earlier this month.

The letter from Nobel winners urged Lukashenko to follow through with more releases.

“You have a unique opportunity to turn the page on the past and enter history not only as an uncompromising ruler but also as a political leader who has shown wisdom and compassion, responsible to your people and their future,” said the letter that was posted Friday on the website of Belarusian political scientist Dmitry Bolkunets.

The 58 signatories include literature prize winners Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus, J.M. Coetzee, Herta Mueller, and peace prize laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Oscar Arias, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, Juan Manuel Santos, Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa.

your ad here

French PM poised to take caretaker role in deadlocked France       

Paris — French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal was set to resign but stay on as head of a caretaker government Tuesday, officials said, with no replacement in sight as divided parliamentary groups succumb to infighting.

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to accept Attal’s resignation after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting — the first since his allies got roundly beaten in a snap National Assembly election called to “clarify” the political landscape.

But he was also likely to ask the prime minister and his team to stay on as a caretaker government with restricted powers until after the Paris Olympics, which open on July 26.

This would also give political parties more time to build a governing coalition after the July 7 election runoff left the National Assembly without an overall majority.

A broad alliance — called New Popular Front (NFP) — of Socialists, Communists, Greens and the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) won the most seats, with 193 in the 577-strong lower chamber.

Macron’s allies came second with 164 seats and the far-right National Rally (RN) third at 143.

The divided NFP alliance has been scrambling to come up with a consensus candidate for prime minister.

But internal conflicts — notably between the LFI and the more moderate Socialists — have thwarted all efforts to find a personality able to survive a confidence vote in parliament.


Over the weekend, the Socialists torpedoed the hopes of Huguette Bello, 73, a former communist MP and the president of the regional council in France’s overseas territory La Reunion, who had support from the other left-wing parties.

The LFI, in turn, rejected Laurence Tubiana, an economist and climate specialist without political affiliation, who had the backing of the Socialists, Communists and Green party.

Leftist deputy Francois Ruffin on Tuesday called the NFP’s infighting “shameful,” while Green deputy Sandrine Rousseau said the disagreements made her “very angry.”

On Saturday, Attal was voted in as leader of his party’s National Assembly contingent, as he eyes his own future outside government, saying he would “contribute to the emergence of a majority concerning projects and ideas.”

Macron and Attal, observers say, are still hoping to find a right-of-center majority in parliament that would keep both the LFI or the far-right RN out of any new coalition.

Once Attal resigns, he and other cabinet members will be able to take their seats in parliament and participate in any coalition-building.

Parliament reconvenes on Thursday and will start by filling the National Assembly speaker job and other key positions.

Cracks have appeared between Attal and his former mentor Macron, whom the prime minister appears to blame for the electoral defeat only six months after being appointed France’s youngest ever head of government at 34.

Macron still has almost three years to go as president before elections in 2027, at which far-right leader Marine Le Pen is expected to make a fresh bid for power.

your ad here

Germany says it saw fewer security problems than expected during Euro 2024

BERLIN — German authorities had fewer security problems and crimes to deal with than they expected at the European Championship, the country’s top security official said Monday.

The tournament ended on Sunday with Spain beating England 2-1 in the final in Berlin and no reports of serious disturbances. That capped a month-long event that mostly saw only isolated and relatively minor incidents, a contrast with violence at some past tournaments.

Germany’s Interior Ministry said that about 2.6 million people attended matches in the 10 host cities, and another 6 million watched games in the designated fan zones.

Over the course of the tournament, it said, there were a total of about 170 arrests and 320 temporary detentions. Police recorded about 2,340 offenses linked to the tournament, including some 700 involving bodily harm and 120 thefts. There were about 140 cases involving violence against police officers.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the country had been “prepared for all conceivable dangers from Islamist terrorism, through hooligan violence to cyberattacks and dangerous drone flights.”

“There were significantly fewer security incidents and offenses than our security authorities had expected beforehand at an event with millions of people,” Faeser said in a statement. “Above all, the very high police presence across the country was decisive in this.”

Germany introduced temporary border controls at all its frontiers during Euro 2024, something that has become standard practice during such events in Europe’s nominally ID check-free travel zone, the Schengen area. Those are due to run through Friday.

They will then be dropped at the borders with Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. However, the government is ordering checks on the border with France before and during the upcoming Olympic Games, and longer-standing checks on the eastern and southern borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland that were motivated by concerns about migration will be kept in place.

your ad here

Russian court orders general under house arrest on fraud charges 

moscow — A court in Moscow ordered house arrest Monday for a general in custody on fraud charges, in a ruling that represents an about-face from just weeks ago, when the same court refused to release the general from jail.

Major General Ivan Popov was ordered to be placed under house arrest until at least October 11 by the 235th Garrison Military Court.

Popov, who had commanded the 58th Guards Combined Arms Army, was arrested in May along with several top military officials, including former Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, a close associate of then-Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Some of these officials have been charged with bribery, while Popov has faced charges of fraud on an exceptionally large scale.

President Vladimir Putin dismissed Shoigu as defense minister on May 12, appointing him the secretary of the national security council. Shoigu had been widely criticized for Russia’s setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine and was accused of incompetence and corruption by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who launched a mutiny in June 2023 to demand the dismissal of Shoigu and military chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov.

Less than a month after Prigozhin’s failed uprising, Popov was dismissed. He said he had complained about problems that his troops were facing in Ukraine to the Russian military command, and that his dismissal was a “treacherous” stab in the back to Russian forces in Ukraine.

Popov’s forces were fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast of Ukraine, which is now partially occupied by Russian forces. His dismissal came one day after the 58th Army’s command post in the occupied city of Berdyansk was hit in a Ukrainian strike, killing a high-ranking general.

Popov has been in detention since late May. His lawyers appealed the ruling to put him behind bars but lost. In a development that is relatively rare for the Russian justice system, authorities also filed a petition to release Popov under house arrest, but their request was initially turned down by the 235th Garrison Military Court. The investigators filed another request with the court, and it was approved Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the court to change its position on Popov’s pretrial detention.

your ad here

Hungary’s Orban briefed EU leaders on his meetings with Putin and Xi, ally says

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has sent a letter to the heads of other European Union countries briefing them on a recent set of foreign visits he made that angered other leaders in the bloc, Orban’s political director said Monday.

Orban this month visited Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, China, and the United States on a world tour he’s touted as a “peace mission” aimed at brokering an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. His government has gone against the policy of most EU countries by refusing to supply Kyiv with weapons to deter Russia’s invasion and by threatening to block financial assistance to the war-ravaged country.

The long-serving prime minister’s visits to Moscow and Beijing, where he held talks with leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, angered his EU counterparts, who said they had not been informed in advance of Orban’s plans. They rushed to clarify that Orban — whose country is currently filling the bloc’s six-month rotating presidency — was not acting on behalf of the EU.

In an interview with Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Monday, Orban’s political director said the prime minister had briefed the leaders of other EU countries “in writing about the negotiations, the experiences of the first phase of the peace mission and the Hungarian proposals.”

“If Europe wants peace and wants to have a decisive say in settling the war and ending the bloodshed, it must now work out and implement a change of direction,” said Balazs Orban, who is not related to the premier. “A realistic assessment of the situation, realistic goals and the right timing — that’s our approach.”

Hungary’s government has long argued for an immediate cease-fire and peace negotiations in the conflict in Ukraine, but has not outlined what such moves might mean for the country’s territorial integrity and future security. It has exhibited an adversarial posture toward Ukraine while maintaining close ties to Moscow, even after its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Orban’s critics have accused him of acting against the unity and interests of the EU and NATO, of which Hungary is a member, and of pursuing an “appeasement” strategy concerning Russia’s aggression.

Following Orban’s unannounced trip to Moscow for talks with Putin on July 5 — the first such visit from an EU head of state or government in more than two years — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused him of trying to mollify the Russian leader, writing on X: “Appeasement will not stop Putin. Only unity and determination will pave the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

Orban’s unannounced meetings, which included a visit with former U.S. President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate last week, have led some governments to consider boycotting or limiting participation in a series of upcoming informal meetings in Budapest related to the rotating EU presidency.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said last week that ministers from his country, along with Finland and the Baltic countries, would not participate in such meetings this summer, while other reports suggest a planned summit of foreign ministers in Budapest in late August could be disrupted by an EU-wide boycott.

your ad here

UN alarmed as childhood immunization levels stall

Geneva — Global childhood vaccination levels have stalled, leaving millions more children un- or under-vaccinated than before the pandemic, the U.N. said Monday, warning of dangerous coverage gaps enabling outbreaks of diseases like measles.

In 2023, 84% of children, or 108 million, received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP), with the third dose serving as a key marker for global immunization coverage, according to data published by the U.N. health and children’s agencies.

That was the same percentage as a year earlier, meaning that modest progress seen in 2022 after the steep drop during the COVID-19 crisis has “stalled,” the organizations warned. The rate was 86% in 2019 before the pandemic.

“The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children,” UNICEF chief Catherine Russell said in a joint statement.

In fact, 2.7 million additional children remained un- or under-vaccinated last year compared to the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, the organizations found.

‘Off track’

“We are off track,” World Health Organization vaccine chief Kate O’Brien told reporters. “Global immunization coverage has yet to fully recover from the historic backsliding that we saw during the course of the pandemic.”

Not only has progress stalled, but the number of so-called zero-dose children, who have not received a single jab, rose to 14.5 million last year from 13.9 million in 2022 and from 12.8 million in 2019, according to the data published Monday.

“This puts the lives of the most vulnerable children at risk,” O’Brien warned.

Even more concerning is that more than half of the world’s unvaccinated children live in 31 countries with fragile, conflict-affected settings, where they are especially vulnerable to contracting preventable diseases, due to lacking access to security, nutrition and health services.

Children in such countries are also far more likely to miss out on the necessary follow-up jabs.

A full 6.5 million children worldwide did not complete their third dose of the DTP vaccine, which is necessary to achieve disease protection in infancy and early childhood, Monday’s datasets showed. 

‘Canary in the coal mine’

The WHO and UNICEF voiced additional concern over lagging vaccination against measles — one of the world’s most infectious diseases — amid an exploding number of outbreaks around the world.

“Measles outbreaks are the canary in the coal mine, exposing and exploiting gaps in immunization and hitting the most vulnerable first,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.

In 2023, only 83% of children worldwide received their first dose of the measles vaccine through routine health services — the same level as in 2022 but down from 86% before the pandemic.

And only 74% received their second necessary dose, while 95% coverage is needed to prevent outbreaks, the organizations pointed out.

“This is still too low to prevent outbreaks and achieve elimination goals,” Ephrem Lemango, UNICEF immunization chief, told reporters.

He pointed out that more than 300,000 measles cases were confirmed in 2023 — nearly three times as many as a year earlier.

And a full 103 countries have suffered outbreaks in the past five years, with low vaccination coverage of 80% or lower seen as a major factor.

By contrast, 91 countries with strong measles vaccine coverage experienced no outbreaks.

“Alarmingly, nearly three in four infants live in places at the greatest risk of measles outbreaks,” Lemango said, pointing out that 10 crisis-wracked countries, including Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan, account for more than half of children not vaccinated against measles.

On a more positive note, strong increases were seen in vaccination against the cervical cancer-causing HPV virus.

But that vaccine is still only reaching 56% of adolescent girls in high-income countries and 23% in lower-income countries — far below the 90% target.

your ad here

A decade afterMH17 crash, victim’s father waits for Russia to say sorry

HILVERSUM, Netherlands — Quinn Schansman dreamed of becoming the youngest-ever CEO of an American company. A decade ago, he’d just finished the first year of an international business degree in Amsterdam as a step toward that lofty goal.

But the 18-year-old dual Dutch American citizen’s future — whatever it may have held — was cruelly cut short when he was one of the 298 people killed as a Soviet-era Buk surface-to-air rocket, launched from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels, destroyed Malaysia Airlines flight 17.

The conflict in Ukraine has since erupted into full-scale war following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

On Wednesday, Quinn’s father, Thomas Schansman, will read out his name and those of other victims during a commemoration marking 10 years since the tragedy at a monument near Schiphol, the airport flight MH17 left on its way to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014.

Schansman has learned to live with the loss of his son, but what he still can’t accept is Moscow’s blunt denials of responsibility for the downing of the Boeing 777, which shattered in midair and scattered bodies and wreckage over agricultural land and fields of sunflowers in eastern Ukraine.

An international investigation concluded that the Buk missile system belonged to the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade and that it was driven into Ukraine from a Russian military base near the city of Kursk and returned there after the plane was shot down.

In 2022, after a trial that lasted more than two years, a Dutch court convicted two Russians and a pro-Russian Ukrainian in absentia of murder for their roles in transporting the missile. They were given life prison sentences but remain at large because Russia refused to surrender them to face trial. One other Russian was acquitted.

Russia steadfastly denies any responsibility.

More legal action is underway at the European Court of Human Rights and the International Civil Aviation Organization Council to hold Russia to account under international law for the attack.

If those organizations rule that Moscow was responsible, Schansman says it will be a moment to celebrate — but it wouldn’t be the end of the story.

“That does not provide closure. For me, closure is the acknowledgment by Russia that they delivered the Buk, the recognition that they must also take responsibility for it,” Schansman told The Associated Press. “I want to hear apologies. The simple ‘Sorry.’”

Nationals of 16 countries killed

People killed in the crash were citizens of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, the Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, Vietnam, Israel, Italy, Romania, the United States and South Africa.

Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus will also be in the Netherlands for the commemoration. He honored families of the dead in a statement earlier this month, saying that 38 of the victims “called Australia home.”

“I pay tribute to their bravery, their strength and their perseverance. Seeking justice for those aboard flight MH17 has required many of those who loved them most to tell and re-tell their stories of loss in successive legal proceedings,” he said.

Dreyfus said the anniversary and a commemoration at Parliament House in Canberra would be “a moment to pause and remember those whose lives were tragically cut short in a senseless act of violence. It will be a moment to commit ourselves to continue to seek accountability for those responsible for this despicable crime.”

Schansman said he no longer cares if other people who were involved in firing the missile are brought to justice because “it won’t bring my son back.”

He just wants Russia to admit responsibility.

“The fact that for all these years — right up to today — they continue to deny and to spread disinformation, that hurts,” Schansman said. “That is irritating and it makes you at certain times a bitter person.”

Mark Rutte, the former Dutch prime minister who was in office when the Boeing 777 was shot down, said the disaster and its decade-long aftermath was “perhaps the most drastic and emotional event of my entire premiership. I have always tried to be a support to the relatives.”

Rutte’s administration helped coordinate a complex operation to repatriate the remains of the victims to the Netherlands. Thousands of people solemnly lined highways as convoys of hearses carried coffins from a military airbase to a barracks where the painstaking process of identification took place.

Wednesday’s ceremony will be held at the national MH17 memorial, a park near Schiphol Airport that is planted with 298 trees — one for each victim — and sunflowers, reflecting the flowers that grew at the crash scene.

And while Wednesday will mark the 10th anniversary of Quinn’s death, his name lives on. His sister Nerissa recently gave birth to her first daughter, named Frida Quinn Schansman Pouw.

your ad here