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Growing concerns as China steps into the Afghanistan gap

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Russia, India and China are set to form relations with the Taliban following the groups return to power after two decades

The Taliban’s return to power after 20 years has left Afghanistan’s neighbours forced to come up with a plan on how to adjust to the group that’s now in charge.

US President Joe Biden in April ordered the Pentagon to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively ending America’s longest war.

As U.S. military presence wound down, the Taliban made rapid battlefield advances despite being outnumbered by the Afghan military.

Within just a matter of weeks, the group seized major cities and provincial capitals before entering capital Kabul on Sunday August 15 – forcing the Afghan Government out and taking control of the presidential palace.

Western Nations like Australia, the US and the UK have now began to ramp up efforts to shut down embassies and evacuate civilians, following the fall of Kabul.

However, China and Russia have been the first to make overtures, revealed on Monday, that suggest they could be among the first countries to recognise the group as leaders of the country.

Concerns over China’s relations

China says it is ready to move ahead in its relations with the Taliban.

However – foreign policy experts say Beijing remains apprehensive about what comes next and may not devote a vast security and economic commitment to Afghanistan in the near future.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Monday with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi about developments in Afghanistan.

The State Department stated that the two nations discussed the security situation and the two countries’ respective efforts to bring their people back home to safety.

“China keeps in contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban on the basis of fully respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty and the will of all parties in the country”

China Said

According to reports, A Chinese Government official met with Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Tianjin in the hopes that Afghan Taliban would “unite with various political parties and ethnic groups to form a broad and inclusive political structure.”

China, one of the countries that neighbours Afghanistan, pulled out its diplomats in 1993 following the civil war in Afghanistan. The Beijing government never established an official relationship with the Taliban after it seized power in 1996.

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President Biden says it’s time to ‘pass the torch’

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President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he is “passing the torch to a new generation” as he explained his abrupt departure from the 2024 presidential race to Americans for the first time, in an Oval Office address capping over 50 years in politics.

“I revere this office,” Biden said. “But I love my country more.”

Biden, 81, rebuffed weeks of pressure from Democrats to step aside after a disastrous debate performance on June 27, saying at one point that only the “Lord Almighty” could convince him to go.

Unite the nation

“I have decided the best way forward is to pass the torch to a new generation. That is the best way to unite our nation,” Biden said.

Biden made his decision after days of soul-searching and agonizing over internal polling that predicted he could lose against Republican Donald Trump in November and drag down fellow Democrats with him.

“The great thing about America is here, kings and dictators do not rule. The people do. History is in your hands. The power is in your hands. The idea of America – lies in your hands,” Biden will say, according to the speech excerpts.

It will be Biden’s first extended public remarks since he relented to pressure from fellow Democrats and announced on Sunday via social media that he had decided not to seek reelection on Nov. 5.

Biden is the first incumbent president not to seek reelection since 1968 when Lyndon Johnson, under fire for his handling of the Vietnam War, abruptly pulled out of the campaign on March 31.

Biden also joins James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Calvin Coolidge and Harry Truman as presidents who all decided not to stand for a second elected term.

Biden faced calls to step aside after his rocky performance in the debate against Trump raised troubling questions about his mental acuity.

Since he stepped aside, however, Democrats have rallied around him, paying tribute to his character and his record as president.

Watching together

A crowd of staff walked into the White House earlier in the evening to watch the speech together. An official said a reception and “viewing party” were being held across the White House’ state floor for Biden’s address.

The White House has denied that Biden has any cognitive issues despite a recent increase in verbal slipups.

Biden said he will focus on his job as president over his remaining six months in office. He is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday on efforts to negotiate a Gaza ceasefire.

It was the fourth time Biden used the formal setting of the Oval Office since taking office in 2021. His last Oval Office speech was on July 15 when he urged Americans to cool the political rhetoric after the attempted assassination of Trump.

Biden’s political career began when he was elected to the Senate in 1972 at age 29, becoming the sixth youngest U.S. senator. He will conclude his White House tenure on Jan. 20, 2025, as the oldest American president when he will have already turned 82.

“The defense of democracy is more important than any title,” Biden said. “I draw strength, and find joy, in working for the American people. But this sacred task of perfecting our Union is not about me. It’s about you. Your families. Your futures. It’s about ‘We the People.’”

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AI enters the Big Brother house, raising concerns around the truth of reality TV

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How will the integration of AI into reality TV impact audience engagement and what role will this have on the future of entertainment?

The latest season of Big Brother has left fans scratching their heads with the introduction of Big Brother AI, also knowns as BB AI, taking centre stage.

Tom Finnigan from Talkingbrands.ai joins to discuss all the curious AI cases of the week. #featured

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UN initiative aims to set international standards for AI ethics

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The United Nations has launched a comprehensive initiative aimed at establishing international guidelines for the governance of artificial intelligence.

The UN seeks to address ethical concerns, regulatory frameworks, and human rights implications associated with AI advancements.

Dr. Karen Sutherland from the UniSC joins to discuss the latest. #featured

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