What To Know About the 2022 G7 Summit

Leaders from seven of the world’s wealthiest countries are meeting at this year’s G7 Summit in Germany’s Bavarian Alps on Sunday to discuss the globe’s most pressing issues. On the agenda at the June 26-28 event are Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global economic crises exacerbated by the war, vaccine equity, and the climate emergency.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is the G7 chair this year, previously said at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin in March that the war in Ukraine “must not lead us as the G7 to neglect our responsibility for global challenges such as the climate crisis or the pandemic.”
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What is the G7?

The G7 consists of seven of the world’s richest countries, which meet annually to typically discuss global security, economic, and climate concerns. This year, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and U.S. President Joe Biden are expected to be in attendance.

E.U. President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will attend this year as well, as is customary for the bloc’s leaders.

“It’s a gathering of some of the most economically and politically powerful democracies in the world…that’s happening at a time when we have the greatest authoritarian expansionist threat since Nazi Germany invaded Europe,” says Nicole Sedaca, executive vice president of Freedom House, a U.S. nonprofit that tracks democracies. “What we’ll be looking for is how much of their political and economic might will they bring to bear to really push back on on Russian aggression.”

The G7 chair can invite other nations, and the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal, and South Africa are expected to attend.

Although Russia joined the group in 1998—and the name changed to G8—the country has been excluded since 2014 after annexing Crimea.

The G7, as it is now known, was first formed in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, which had led to a deep recession and rising inflation. France, Italy, Japan, the U.K., the U.S., and West Germany formed the initial Group of Six in 1975 to discuss the ensuing economic concerns. Canada joined the group in 1976.

Read more: What Is the G7? Here’s the History of the Conference

What’s on the agenda?

Despite Scholz’s comments that the …read more

Source:: Time – World


A Japanese Court Says the Country’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Constitutional. LGBT Activists Say That Won’t Stop Their Fight

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images Plaintiffs march to the Osaka District Court before a judgment on same-sex marriage in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture on June 20, 2022.

LGBT rights and the Japanese legal system

The ruling was the second in response to a series of lawsuits filed by more than a dozen same-sex couples at district courts around Japan on

LGBTQ rights in Japan suffered a blow on June 20, when a court in the country’s third-most populous city ruled that freedom of marriage in the constitution referred only to male-female unions, and that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage was therefore constitutional.

The Osaka District Court also rejected demands for compensation for one million yen ($7,400) in damages, per couple, by three couples who said their right to free union and equality had been violated, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Activists say that although the decision is disappointing, the fight for marriage equality is far from over, and they are making progress.
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“There is momentum in society for change and the LGBT community will not stop,” says Kanae Doi, the Japan director of NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW). While conceding that “the judiciary is slow to change and more conservative,” Doi says “Japanese public opinion is already supportive of marriage equality” and “It can take time for the LGBT rights movement to change the existing [legislature] and the judiciary, but it is surely changing.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images Plaintiffs march to the Osaka District Court before a judgment on same-sex marriage in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture on June 20, 2022.
LGBT rights and the Japanese legal system

The ruling was the second in response to a series of lawsuits filed by more than a dozen same-sex couples at district courts around Japan on Valentine’s Day in 2019. In the first ruling, made in March last year, the Sapporo District Court said Japan’s definition of marriage, which excludes same-sex couples, violated constitutional guarantees of equality.

According to Makiko Terahara, the executive director of the activist group Marriage For All Japan the Osaka plaintiffs have indicated their intention to appeal and the argument will now move to the city’s High Court. According to the AP, Akiyoshi Tanaka, a plaintiff, said at a news conference that he will keep fighting. “We don’t have time to feel discouraged,” he said.

“It has become increasingly important for as many people as possible to raise their voices to have these courts make the right decisions and to have the law revised in the [legislature] as soon as possible,” adds Terahara.

Read More: Japan Failed to Improve LGBTQ Rights Ahead of the Olympics. Japanese Athletes Are Coming Out Anyway

Same-sex unions are not recognized across most of Asia. Taiwan became the first in Asia to …read more

Source:: Time – World


As Russia Threatens Captured American Vets, U.S. Invokes Laws of War

A day after the Kremlin said two American veterans captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine had committed war crimes and could face the death penalty, the Biden Administration expressed outrage and called on Russia to abide by international law.

The State Department said Tuesday that U.S. officials are in talks with Russian authorities about the two men, Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 29, who had volunteered to fight with the Ukrainian government’s forces. The U.S. is also in touch with the families of the two men, both of whom are from Alabama, and with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the department said.
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Drueke and Huynh were detained by pro-Russian forces while fighting in eastern Ukraine, and their case raises concerns about the status of thousands of foreign volunteers currently fighting in the war-torn country. Human rights observers and legal scholars say foreign fighters serving under Ukrainian military command are entitled to prisoner-of-war (POW) status and according to long-standing rules laid out by the Geneva Conventions should not be prosecuted.

But Russian officials have instead labeled all foreigners who fight alongside the Ukrainians “mercenaries,” a legal term that means many international protections do not apply. Earlier this month, two British men and a Moroccan national caught fighting in Ukraine were sentenced to death by firing-squad for “war crimes” in a legal process that was widely condemned as a “show trial” in the pro-Russian breakaway republic of Donetsk.

Those men had spent more than a year in Ukraine, reportedly as part of the Ukrainian marines, and have a month to appeal their verdicts. But even other foreigners, like Drueke and Huynh, who were part of Ukraine’s International Legion should also be entitled to POW status, international law experts say. “If they were incorporated into the Ukrainian military, then they would be entitled to POW status,” said Laura Dickinson, a professor at the George Washington University Law School. “Even if they were not, if they were carrying arms openly, then in many cases they would be entitled to POW status.”

Read More: TIME’s Interview with Volodymyr Zelensky

Every fighter claiming to be a legal combatant is entitled to a hearing to learn if their conduct in any way violated the law of war, such as failing to wear a uniform or some form of insignia while engaging in military operations, said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at …read more

Source:: Time – World


Google Exec Warns U.N. Security Council: Ukraine Is ‘A Crystal Ball’ For Information Warfare

UNITED NATIONS — A Google executive warned the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that cyberattacks, disinformation and other forms of information warfare being waged in Ukraine are a “crystal ball” for future problems elsewhere.

“States must find a way to turn the volume down and settle on some kind of deterrence doctrine for the cyber domain,” Jared Cohen said at a council meeting on hate speech, incitement and atrocities in Ukraine.

Read More: The Leadership Brief: U.S. Companies Should Prepare for Putin’s ‘Gangster Diplomacy’ As Risk of Russian Cyberattacks Grows

He argued that while tech companies have needed expertise, “there is no magical algorithm or single fix for this,” and finding a solution will take a lot of experimentation.
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Cohen heads Jigsaw, a part of Google that aims to build technology to combat disinformation, censorship and extremism online.

He said Ukraine “has been disproportionately targeted” by advanced cyberattacks since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding: “It is essentially our crystal ball for what is likely to come.”

The war in Ukraine upped pressure on tech companies to work harder to combat hate speech, disinformation and other harmful content online. The European Union is working on sweeping new rules that would require Google, Facebook parent Meta and other tech giants to police their platforms more strictly.

Western powers on the Security Council have accused Russia of a campaign of propaganda, disinformation and hate directed at undermining Ukraine. A recent report from Mandiant, a cyber security firm, found that Russia used disinformation, fear and propaganda to demoralize Ukraine and divide its allies.

Read More: How Ukraine Is Crowdsourcing Digital Evidence of War Crimes

“Hate speech can also be a war crime,” British deputy U.N. Ambassador James Kariuki said Tuesday, calling on Russia to “stop making such statements.”

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia repeated his country’s counterclaims that Ukrainian authorities’ rhetoric has poisoned citizens against Russia and Russian-speaking populations in Ukraine, with Western encouragement.

“We see, from our side, a real incitement to violence and Russophobia in Ukraine,” he said.

Albania, which currently holds the council’s rotating presidency, called for Tuesday’s meeting.

…read more

Source:: Time – World