Congress scrutinizes US arms export policy amid Ukraine invasion


The U.S. Capitol constructing is pictured in Washington, Jan. 26. Congress held a listening to on Tuesday to look at U.S. arms export coverage after years of permissive exports underneath then-U.S. President Donald Trump. (Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

Estimated learn time: 1-2 minutes

WASHINGTON — Congress held a listening to on Tuesday to look at U.S. arms export coverage after years of permissive exports underneath then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

The listening to got here amid strain on President Joe Biden’s administration and allies to provide anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons to Ukraine because it battles a Russian invasion.

Throughout a U.S. Home of Representatives Armed Providers Committee listening to, Jessica Lewis, the State Division’s assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, who oversees weapons offers, mentioned the Biden administration’s philosophy is to steer with diplomacy, however nonetheless, present “urgently wanted ammunition and Javelin anti-tank missiles” to Ukraine whereas concurrently authorizing transfers of U.S.-origin navy know-how from NATO allies.

Javelin anti-tank missiles are made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Applied sciences.

Over the weekend, Biden’s administration authorised as much as $350 million value of further weapons transfers from U.S. shares to Ukraine, together with anti-aircraft programs, anti-armor munitions, small arms, physique armor and numerous munitions. Over the previous 12 months, america has dedicated greater than $1 billion in safety help to Ukraine.

On the listening to Mike Rogers, the highest Republican on the committee, criticized the Biden administration’s arms transfers as “too little, too late.”

Biden’s administration overhauled the U.S. arms export coverage final 12 months to extend an emphasis on human rights when evaluating offers. When the brand new standard arms switch coverage is made public, it would formalize the departure from Trump’s prioritization of the financial advantages of arms gross sales.

Gross sales of U.S. navy gear to international governments fell 21% to $138 billion in fiscal 2021, based on U.S. State Division figures.

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Amid outcry over ‘pornographic material,’ Canyons School District revamps its book review policy


Canyons College District has returned six of the 9 books that had been beforehand held from circulation at district libraries final fall after dad and mom contacted the district upset over the content material discovered within the books, claiming them to be express. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 8-9 minutes

SANDY — Canyons College District has returned six of the 9 books that had been beforehand held from circulation at district libraries final fall after dad and mom contacted the district upset over the content material discovered within the books, claiming them to be express.

“We had obtained quite a few emails and telephone calls from dad and mom within the Canyons College District expressing concern about a number of the titles that had been in our college libraries,” stated Jeff Haney, communications director for Canyons College District.

Haney added that the district additionally obtained two GRAMA requests to assessment the titles of a whole assortment of books at one highschool, two center colleges and two elementary colleges within the district.

Parental outcry

“I’ve come throughout many movies on social media about sexually express books in our Utah college libraries, and at school libraries across the nation,” a Canyons College District mum or dad wrote in an e-mail obtained by KSL.com by means of a public information request. “I’m asking that you’ll spend the time to assessment the movies under for inappropriate materials. There are lots of extra however it’s exhausting mentally, watching and reviewing these books’ content material.”

“It wasn’t only one mum or dad who despatched an e-mail that triggered a assessment of the books and a have a look at our coverage to see how we may strengthen and enhance it — it was quite a few,” Haney stated. “This has been a really lengthy course of with lots of voices.”


“Proper now our kids are uncovered to pornography at school libraries.”

–Nichole Mason, Utah Mother and father United


Utah Mother and father United is a mum or dad group that has been pushing college districts throughout the state to take away books they are saying include “pornographic or indecent materials,” in addition to lobbying in help of HB374, a invoice that bans “delicate supplies” and requires college districts to guage objectionable content material in libraries or lecture rooms and report it to the Utah State Board of Schooling and, finally, the Legislature.

The Home Schooling Committee on Friday voted 11-2 to cross HB374.

“Proper now, our kids are uncovered to pornography at school libraries,” stated Nichole Mason, president of Utah Mother and father United. “They’ve unrestricted entry to graphic pornographic novels that, actually, are in opposition to the regulation.”

Mason stated that the group went to the Legislature to “ask for assist” with eradicating the titles from college libraries after being unsuccessful by means of district channels in addition to by means of the state college board.

Holding a replica of “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison, Marcus Carr, a grandparent who has college students in Utah colleges, stated that he does not have an issue with the ebook however does not assume it must be accessible to college students.

“That is very offensive, as an African American — interval,” Carr stated. “I learn this entire ebook and was very disgusted.”

“Why would any mum or dad need their children studying stuff like this at that delicate of an age?” he requested.

Remodeling the coverage

The outcry sparked Canyons College District to take a step again and reevaluate its coverage for reviewing college library supplies.

Underneath the previous coverage, the one individuals who may formally problem a ebook in a Canyons College District library had been dad and mom who had a scholar within the college the place the ebook being challenged was situated. Within the occasion of an official problem, the ebook or books in query would stay in circulation till the assessment might be accomplished.

Talking in regards to the 9 titles that had been quickly faraway from circulation, Haney instructed KSL.com, “There wasn’t an official problem as a result of these dad and mom did not have standing (to request a assessment) underneath the coverage.” Thus, the books had been faraway from circulation whereas the district labored to replace its ebook assessment coverage.

“The books had been positioned underneath assessment till the brand new coverage might be reviewed and clarified,” Haney stated.

Underneath the brand new coverage, which has been in place because the Canyons Board of Schooling accepted it on Jan. 4, dad and mom, guardians, college directors and members of the board of training can request native critiques of books.

“As we improved and strengthened the coverage, the books that had been underneath assessment had been then evaluated primarily based on the standards that had been established in that new coverage,” Haney stated.

The books that had been faraway from circulation in November embody:

  • “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison: a novel a couple of younger Black lady who prays to alter her race so she may be accepted. Some are involved in regards to the books sexually express materials and graphic language.
  • “Past Magenta,” by Susan Kuklin: a nonfiction ebook about six transgender teenagers.
  • “Monday’s Not Coming,” by Tiffany Jackson: a fiction ebook a couple of Black center college lady who goes lacking and nobody notices. The ebook has a 14-and-older suggestion for sexual content material.
  • “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez: a novel set in 1937 in New London, Texas, that examines segregation, love, household and racism.
  • “The Reverse of Harmless,” by Sonya Sones: a coming-of-age novel a couple of 14-year-old in love with an grownup male good friend of her dad and mom.
  • “Garden Boy,” by Jonathan Evison: a semi-autobiographical coming of age novel that examines race, class and whether or not everybody has entry to the American dream.
  • “Lolita,” by Vladimir Nabokov: the story of a middle-aged professor who’s obsessive about a 12-year-old lady and engages in a pedophilic relationship along with her. This is likely one of the few classics on the record, as it’s extensively thought-about among the many prime 100 novels written.
  • “Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe: a graphic novel wherein Kobabe discusses sexual orientation and gender id. This ebook has made headlines lately for inflicting controversy in different states, together with Texas.
  • “L8R G8R,” by Lauren Myracle: a novel written in on the spot messaging textual content that has develop into the nation’s No. 1 banned ebook resulting from sexual content material.

“‘Garden Boy,’ ‘Gender Queer,’ and ‘Lolita’ had been faraway from the catalog both as a result of they had been weeded as a part of the common de-selection course of finished by librarians, or had been checked out by a scholar and by no means returned,” Haney stated.

“Primarily based on studies that the Canyons College District has returned the beforehand banned books to their library cabinets, we have now closed our investigation into that subject. However this incident is a reminder that college students have rights that colleges should respect, even within the face of stress to restrict these rights. We are going to stay vigilant for any additional situations of library ebook removals or limitations at Canyons,” stated John Mejia, ACLU of Utah authorized director, in an announcement.

Jason Stevenson, spokesman for ACLU of Utah, instructed KSL.com that they had been wanting into the three titles that had been faraway from circulation.

‘One kind of voice issues’

For the reason that books had been initially faraway from Canyons College District libraries, some organizations have spoken out in opposition to elimination, saying that the books being eliminated deal with various tales from various views.

“Sadly, various tales, individuals and themes make some individuals uneasy, and people books are probably the most challenged by dad and mom. A scarcity of illustration in library books and applications is a disservice that impacts college students, households and the entire group,” stated Rita Christensen, president of the Utah Library Affiliation.


“The worth of literature exists to spark thought and reflection about our personal experiences and the experiences of others. This strengthens our college students and group.”

–Rita Christensen, Utah Library Affiliation


Christensen stated that eradicating books from circulation resulting from parental outcry units a precedent “that one kind of voice issues,” and “that voice does not need to comply with the foundations, and that the voices of the marginalized haven’t any place on library cabinets. It erodes belief in libraries (and) it erodes democracy.”

Christensen added, “Abandoning constitutional ideas, bypassing authorized and clear processes and ignoring the rule of regulation whereas imposing private, political, or ethical values on others is a harmful sample that’s anti-rule of regulation, anti-democracy and anti-American.”

When requested about critics of HB374 saying that the books being focused had been disproportionately specializing in the experiences of various teams, Mason stated that the difficulty is with pornography.

“Pornography is pornography,” Mason stated. “It doesn’t matter what coloration the writer is or what coloration the individuals partaking within the intercourse acts are, pornographic, express materials shouldn’t be proven to minors in Ok-12 colleges.”

Christensen stated that “academics and librarians stand with dad and mom in acknowledging the significance of conserving college students protected.” However, he added, “Limiting entry to various titles limits studying and scholar success. The worth of literature exists to spark thought and reflection about our personal experiences and the experiences of others. This strengthens our college students and group. College students ought to have the ability to learn and see themselves in tales, which helps to form a constructive id and to have new experiences and alternatives to find out about completely different cultures and folks, creating empathy, cultural understanding and connection to others in our group and the world.”

Haney stated that because the onset of this debate, the district has maintained two positions: “No ebook had been banned within the Canyons District and that we wanted to make clear the coverage that ruled library-book acquisition and assessment in our colleges. This really has been about course of — and we adopted our clear inner processes to guarantee that the replace to the coverage was conscious of the various voices in our group whereas additionally adhering to authorized and academic pointers.”

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Germany to ramp up military spending in major policy shift | Russia-Ukraine crisis News


Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the nation will make investments greater than 2 p.c of GDP in defence; additionally pronounces development of recent fuel terminals.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a serious shift for Germany’s defence coverage, has dedicated 100 billion euros ($113m) in army spending as he promised a revamp of the nation’s armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s clear we have to make investments considerably extra within the safety of our nation, with a purpose to shield our freedom and our democracy,” Scholz mentioned on Sunday throughout a prolonged particular sitting of the German parliament in Berlin.

“We are going to any more, 12 months after 12 months, make investments greater than two p.c of gross home product (GDP) in our defence,” he mentioned.

Germany, Europe’s strongest economic system, has come beneath criticism from the US and different NATO allies for not investing adequately on defence. At a 2014 NATO assembly, former Chancellor Angela Merkel had pledged to extend the nation’s army expenditure to greater than 2 p.c of its GDP by 2024, however later mentioned the nation wouldn’t have met that focus on till nicely after the agreed timeframe.

“We are going to arrange a particular ‘Bundeswehr’ fund,” Scholz instructed legislators, including that the funds might be used for investments and armaments tasks and that the particular military fund must be written into the structure.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane mentioned the speech marked a “clear change of coverage” that “successfully tore up the playbook of successive German governments because the finish of the Chilly Conflict”.

Crucially, Scholz additionally introduced the development of two new terminals for liquefied pure fuel in response to what some critics mentioned was Germany’s over-reliance on Russian fuel.

The terminals are to be positioned in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven in northern Germany, he mentioned.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany placed on maintain the Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline venture designed to convey Russian pure fuel on to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

Germany intends to section out its nuclear energy manufacturing by the top of this 12 months, leaving observers questioning how Europe’s largest economic system will fulfill all of its vitality wants.

Scholz additionally famous that heavy sanctions imposed by Western allies towards Russia have been already exhibiting impact, warning that additional embargoes may come if Moscow failed to alter course.

“Already within the final week, the Russian inventory markets sank by greater than 30 p.c. That reveals: our sanctions are working,” mentioned Scholz. “And we reserve the appropriate to impose additional sanctions,” he warned.

On Sunday, Germany additionally imposed a three-month ban on all Russian flights from its airspace from 14:00 GMT, the transport ministry mentioned, including that humanitarian flights can be exempted.

Latest abatement shows Salt Lake City is plagued by bad homeless policy


(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Salt Lake Metropolis Police take part within the abatement of Fort Pioneer, on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Just lately I used to be witness to a different instance of Salt Lake Metropolis’s failed homeless coverage because the residents of Fort Pioneer have been evicted. The camp abatement, below an nameless and industrial-feeling overpass very a lot out-of-the approach and satirically inside eyeshot of the silo at Deseret Industries’ “welfare sq.,” displaced effectively over 100 individuals.

Some individuals left early out of self-preservation, however many weren’t in a position or just refused. Residing on the road has price these working folks and any who refused to be evicted their technique of survival – tents and heat bedding, work instruments and garments, and the rest price holding on to from very important medicines to members of the family’ ashes, even the identification wanted to entry future providers.

And what’s the price to the taxpayers of this abuse of energy? We’ll by no means know the true price of the numerous law enforcement officials in bullet-proof vests making time and half, the a number of dump vans making journeys backwards and forwards to the dump, the tow vans trailing vehicles and RVs to the already overcrowded impound tons from different sweeps, well being division and metropolis pickups roaming round. All of those assets we assign again and again to repeatedly upend the lives of some stray people after which do it once more subsequent week. The greenback price for every operation is measured in a whole lot of 1000’s absolutely, to not point out the fundraisers that comply with for impound and bail charges. The emotional trauma and fallout from shedding your property and having nothing is even tougher to measure, not to mention overcome.

Mayor Mendenhall blames different cities within the valley for kicking the homeless down the highway. Different metropolis mayors within the valley blame the state Legislature or the well being division for the abatements. If you happen to ask round sufficient, the sweeps would seem like no one’s accountability.

However the police are usually not funding themselves, they have an inclination to do what they’re informed.

Though no one with the required energy was keen to cease this specific abatement (regardless of solely 4 shelter beds out there that day), the latest sweep has been however one in all many, and it’ll absolutely not be the final. The evicted individuals are doubtless tenting in one other nameless spot; I hope their sleep goes uninterrupted.

Reasonably than persevering with to spend tax cash on police-driven well being abatements, why don’t we simply present the lacking providers corresponding to bogs and showers, rubbish removing, warming tents and blankets?

Jake Trimble, Salt Lake Metropolis

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