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Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat meet amid spy balloon tensions



The diplomats met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference

Diplomats from the United States and China met for the first time since the U.S. military shot down a balloon that the Pentagon says was part of China’s massive surveillance program run by its military.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Blinken told him the violation of American airspace by a Chinese balloon can never happen again.

After traveling across the continental U.S. from coast to coast, the U.S. government shot down the Chinese spy balloon on Feb. 4 over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.

According to Blinken, Wang did not apologise for the incident during their meeting.

Before their sit-down Wang accused the U.S. of violating international norms with behaviour that he characterised as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘almost hysterical’ by shooting down the balloon.

Blinken rebutted by saying that the U.S. did not overreact in shooting down the balloon and that there was no doubt it was attempting to engage in active surveillance.

“What I can tell you is this, what is what is clear is that once the balloon was over the United States and flying basically west to east, it attempted to surveil very sensitive military sites in some cases it loitered or returned to them as it progressed east,” Blinken said.

“There is no doubt in our minds at all that ‘a’ this was a surveillance balloon and ‘b’, it was attempting to engage in active surveillance,” he explained.

In the week following the take down of the Chinese spy balloon, the U.S. military also shot down three mysterious objects—one over northern Alaska, the Yukon and Lake Huran.

On Saturday, the U.S. announced that it has called off the recovery operation for the Chinese spy balloon and the search for the mysterious downed objects.

Veronica Dudo is the U.S. Correspondent for Ticker News covering America’s biggest headlines. As an Emmy® Award nominated global journalist, Veronica has traveled across the country and around the world reporting on historical events that connect all citizens. Lauded as an award-winning international journalist, Veronica has executed stellar news coverage for NBC News, CBS News, The Hill, ME-TV Network and AOL. Her stories have highlighted a plethora of topics ranging from breaking news and politics to economic affairs across the USA, European Union, and Asia; cultural affairs; globalization; governance; education; and sustainability.

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Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?



Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.

Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.

While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.

Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY

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What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry



Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.

The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.

The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.

New Zealand example

Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.

The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.

With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.

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Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’



Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.

The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.

In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.

We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.

Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.

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