Antony Blinken

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Blinken pushes back against lawmakers' criticism of Afghanistan withdrawal.

Top of The World: The US’ top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, defended the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And, Pope Francis has begun a four-day visit to Slovakia after a seven-hour stop in Hungary. Also, nearly 45% of young people interviewed in a global survey say they feel anxiety or distress about climate change

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US top diplomats visit Persian Gulf to reassure allies

Top of The World: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin are in Qatar for talks aimed at reassuring Gulf allies that the Biden administration is not abandoning its partners in the Middle East by withdrawing from Afghanistan. And, the pre-trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is set to resume at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Also, El Salvador has become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

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China holds high-level talks with the Taliban

Top of The World: China Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks on Wednesday with high-level Taliban officials. And, a vital roadway and lifeline that supplies humanitarian aid to the war-torn Tigray region in northern Ethiopia is blocked. Also, one of the world’s largest container ships that blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March — causing global supply chain havoc — has reached the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands

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Blinken continues diplomatic mission in the Middle East

Top of The World: Sec. Blinken announced plans to reopen a diplomatic office in Jerusalem that oversees outreach to the Palestinians. And, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko is defending his decision to divert a passenger jet. Also, Syrians living in government-held areas are heading to the polls on Wednesday, for the second presidential election since the uprising-turned-war started in the country 10 years ago.

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EU imposes sanctions on Belarus over Protasevich arrest

Top of The World: The EU has agreed to impose sanctions on Belarus, in response to the forced diversion of a commercial flight to detain activist and opposition journalist Roman Protasevich. And, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East following a deadly 11-day war between Israel and Hamas and vowed to aid Gaza. Also, Tuesday marks one year since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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