We're Live Bangla Sunday, April 02, 2023



China’s growing military might

China plans to transform its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a force that rivals the U.S. military within 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s new annual report on China’s military and security developments. Not only have China’s navy, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, and air defense systems recently surpassed those of the United States, but the country has also entirely restructured the PLA, forged closer ties to foreign militaries, and expanded its presence overseas. The modernization of the PLA is part of the government’s plans for “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049, and its ambitions are far from symbolic: The government’s goal, according to the report, is to use the PLA as a tool in its statecraft to bolster China’s place in the international order and help the country “lead the reform of the global governance system.”

U.S. sanctions ICC officials  

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced sanctions on top International Criminal Court officials who investigate or prosecute American service members and personnel without the consent of the U.S. government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. sanctions first unveiled in June will be slapped on ICC’s top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and its head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko, freezing their American assets and hitting them with harsh travel restrictions typically reserved for war criminals. One of just a few nations that have not signed up to the court, U.S. grievances against the Hague-based body come as it is investigating whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

Campaign cash: Biden campaign, DNC raise record $364.5 million in August

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) pulled in a combined $364.5 million in August, more than doubling their haul from July with a massive fundraising boon in the days surrounding the Democrats' national convention. The staggering total marks the best monthly fundraising sum for Biden and the Democrats to date, and the best month of online fundraising in U.S. political history. Of the $364.5 million raised, $205 million came from online, small-dollar contributions, Biden’s campaign said.

“That figure blows me away,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters on Wednesday. “And we raised it the right way, from people across the country stepping up to own a piece of this campaign, investing in the future we want to see for our kids and grandkids.” In August, 1.5 million people gave to Biden’s campaign for the first time, bringing his total number of donors to more than 4 million, the campaign said. Ninety-five percent of the contributions to the former vice president’s campaign came from grassroots supporters.

The $364.5 million figure is a staggering increase over July, when Biden’s campaign and the DNC brought in a combined $140 million. That same month, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) together raised more than $165 million.

Trump and the RNC have not yet disclosed their August fundraising numbers. The GOP held its national convention from Aug. 24-27, just days after the end of the Democratic convention.

Biden’s campaign did not say how much money it had on hand at the end of August, though its figures from July showed the former vice president narrowing the once-yawning cash gap with Trump’s reelection operation.

Malaysia drops 1MDB criminal charges against Goldman Sachs

Malaysian prosecutors on Friday withdrew criminal charges against three Goldman Sachs units accused of misleading investors over $6.5 billion in bond sales they helped organise for a state fund, the Bernama state news agency reported. The move comes after Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $3.9 billion to Malaysia to settle a probe into its alleged role in the scandal involving the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which counts former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak as one of its co-founders.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise. As part of its deal with Malaysia, Goldman has paid $2.5 billion in cash and guaranteed the return of $1.4 billion in 1MDB assets seized around the world.

At least six countries including Switzerland and Singapore have opened money laundering and graft probes into 1MDB in a scandal that implicated Najib and high-level officials of the fund.

In July, Najib was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in prison in the first of several trials he faces over 1MDB. Najib has maintained that he is innocent.


At a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump urged his supporters to vote twice-once by mail and once in person-in the upcoming presidential election. Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, which is widely seen as an attempt to discredit the election results.

Voting twice is illegal in the United States, but White House officials denied that Trump was actually urging his supporters to commit voter fraud. But when Attorney General William Barr was asked about Trump’s remarks, he balked at the question, repeatedly claiming that he didn’t know what the particular laws were for voting twice in any given state. Voting twice in a single election is illegal across the United States under federal law.

An especially uncomfortable episode seems to have taken place behind-the-scenes of the United States’ historic summit with North Korea in Singapore in 2018. In a new book describing her tenure in the Trump administration, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote that during a meeting between U.S. and North Korean leaders, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to nod and wink at her.

“Kim winked at you?” Trump said when Sanders shared the incident with him. “Are you telling me Kim Jong-un hit on you!?!?” Trump, she said, then joked that “you’re going to North Korea and taking one for the team!”