The Foreign Ministry of Indonesia issued remarks on Thursday insisting it was not offended that no American government officials greeted President Joko Widodo upon his arrival in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
The Foreign Ministry cited as proof that President Joe Biden did not mean any offense by not sending representatives of his administration to meet the top government official of Indonesia by noting the fact that the Biden administration similarly snubbed the heads of the governments of Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
The leaders are in Washington for a high-level summit hosted by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“The Special Summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to ASEAN, recognize its central role in delivering sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges, and commemorate 45 years of U.S.-ASEAN relations,” according to the State Department.
President Joko Widodo, known in his country as “Jokowi,” traveled 24 hours to attend the summit in person. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended the first session on Thursday virtually. Blinken had retreated from the public eye due to a Chinese coronavirus infection but ended his quarantine on Thursday.
The south Asian outlet Coconuts observed on Wednesday that Indonesians had begun to express dismay in the past day after video began circulating of Jokowi’s arrival to the United States. Jokowi appears to be greeted by a small group of Indonesian officials and no American politicians. He arrived at 9:40 p.m. – not an outrageous hour for an official to make time to meet him.
“The talking point back home was what seemed a peculiar scene (shown in the YouTube video below) of Jokowi, along with First Lady Iriana, stepping off the plane and not being greeted by any high-ranking US official. In fact, the footage shows that Jokowi was greeted by Indonesia’s Ambassador to the US, Rosan Roeslani,” Coconuts explained. “Many in Indonesia perceived that the lack of a grand welcome was a slight against Jokowi. Critics of the president particularly had a field day, claiming that this proved their belief of Jokowi’s insignificance in world politics.”
The Indonesia Foreign Affairs Ministry addressed the concerns by calling criticism of the situation “regrettable” and noting that the other South Asian leaders traveling to Washington for the conference similarly failed to receive greetings from Biden officials upon landing.
President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and U.S. President Joe Biden at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
“The Indonesian president’s visit to Washington D.C. is not a bilateral visit. He’s there to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit,” a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman insisted, according to Coconuts.
“We saw that all [ASEAN countries] arriving [in the US] received the same treatment,” he insisted.
Coconuts observed that the other heads of government the Indonesian government used as examples – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính – also appeared in similar videos greeted only by citizens and officials of their respective countries.
Cambodian news outlets noted that Hun Sen “was warmly welcomed upon his arrival at Willard Intercontinental hotel by many Cambodian Americans and Cambodian Canadians,” but did not report any American officials greeting him upon landing.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri “was greeted on arrival by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah,” but similarly not by Biden officials, according to that country’s New Straits Times.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh did reportedly shake hands with one American official upon landing: American Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (L) poses for photos with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) in Hanoi, Vietnam, on March 21, 2022. Sabri was not greeted by any U.S. officials upon arriving for the ASEAN summit, while the only U.S. official to greet Chinh upon arrival was the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. (NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Biden boldly declared, “democracy is back!” during his first foreign policy address after taking office in February 2021, condemning predecessor Donald Trump’s alleged lack of attention to friendly nations.
“Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people are going to merge from this stronger, more determined and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy – because we have fought for it ourselves,” Biden claimed.
The ASEAN controversy follows similar incidents, however, that have tarnished planned meetings at the highest levels with some of America’s closest allies, neighbors, and countries with whom Washington had no previous significant animosity. In December, for example, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, refused to attend a State Department “democracy summit” in protest of Biden imposing a travel ban on his country. Biden banned South Africans from entering America in response to the discovery of the omicron variant of Chinese coronavirus. While South African scientists were the first to identify the variant and alert global health authorities, evidence later revealed that the variant most likely originated in Europe. Biden did not impose a similar travel ban on the European countries implicated, such as the Netherlands and Belgium.
Los Angeles is set to host next month’s Summit of the Americas, bringing together member nations of the Organization of American States (OAS). Multiple presidents – including those of the two largest economies in Latin America, Mexico and Brazil, and Argentina and Bolivia – have already signaled that they either have no interest in attending or will not do so, in the case of the leftist regimes, out of concern that communist dictators from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela may not be invited.
The Biden administration has not officially barred the dictatorships from attending at press time.
Markel Trial Day 3: Important agreements, diverging theories, and high emotion
There was a lot more alignment between the two teams than before — at least on a few key things.
It is common for opening statements by prosecutors and defense attorneys to be in direct contradiction to one another, offering competing theories or interpretations about evidence.
During Katherine Magbanua’s 2019 trial for the killing of Dan Markel, when she and co-defendant Sigfredo Garcia were first tried for their alleged roles in this murder-for-hire, opening statements largely matched those patterns.
But during Wednesday morning’s opening arguments in Magbanua’s retrial, there was a lot more alignment between the two teams than before — at least on a few key things.
Some basic but important agreements
Defense attorneys and prosecutors expressed agreement on the following set of facts: Charlie Adelson paid for it, Garcia did it, and Wendi Adelson is protecting her family and herself. They also shared the sentiment that Markel’s murder created a sea of loss for so many, his children in particular.
Assistant State Attorney Sarah Kathryn Dugan began the morning acknowledging the “loving father” that Markel was. So did defense attorney Tara Kawass, saying, “One thing everyone in this courtroom agrees on, Dan Markel lived his life for those two boys.”
More specifically, the two legal teams are aligned on motive. Both sides told the jury how Markel’s ex-wife Wendi was “desperate” to relocate to Miami with the couple’s young boys following their divorce, and that she and her mother Donna Adelson were upset by a court motion Markel filed that would have removed Donna’s ability to have unsupervised visits with the children due to disparaging remarks she had made about him to them. While neither lawyer mentioned that Markel had also written motions alleging financial wrongdoing by Wendi in their divorce — a serious allegation that could have had consequences for her law license — acrimony such as that may have also contributed to the family’s motive to “take care of the problem.”
The state and defense also agree that Charlie paid for Markel’s murder, noting his peculiar habit of stapling money, and Wendi’s admission to multiple people including law enforcement that Charlie had looked into hiring a hitman before the murder.
Finally, there appears to be an agreement between teams about Wendi herself. Dugan referred to Wendi’s motive to relocate to Miami, and Kawass spoke of the same. Dugan shared how Wendi achieved this desired move to South Florida only days after the murder and quickly changed the children’s last name from Markel to Adelson. “Just like that,” Dugan said, “their father was effectively erased from their lives.”
Kawass told the jury that when Wendi takes the stand, she thinks she’ll deliver a fantastic performance — “but that’s all it will be.” Kawass continued, “Watch her. She has motive to protect her brother, and motive to protect herself.”
Kawass asserted that Charlie and Garcia alike manipulated Magbanua, and that both men got what they wanted from her. “More importantly,” Kawass ended, “Wendi got what she wanted.”
But then, theories diverged, and the defense showed strain
While not captured on livestream video, courtroom viewers noticed Kawass shaking her head “no” repeatedly throughout Dugan’s opening statements, and rolling her eyes, sometimes mouth agape. Her co-counsel Christopher DeCoste was overheard nudging and coaching Kawass to raise objections while Dugan was speaking, but the few times Kawass did, Judge Robert Wheeler overruled her. Kawass’ demeanor did reflect passion, even if not professionalism.
That temperament was maintained in Kawass’ opening statement, where she presented the defense’s theory of the case. In short, Kawass contends that Charlie and Garcia orchestrated Markel’s murder behind Magbanua’s back, using her as a “toy” or pawn to achieve their separate goals. For his part, Kawass contends, Charlie wanted Markel dead, and for Garcia’s part, he wanted Charlie to stop dating Magbanua so that they could reunite their family.
Kawass said that she would prove this theory based in part on Charlie “ghosting” Katie after the murder and Garcia moving back in shortly thereafter, although these patterns may be contested with actual data.
More confounding, Kawass told jurors that the only reason Magbanua is “sitting here today” is that the FBI decided to place her name in the middle of the conspiracy after learning she was a common contact of both the Adelson family and Garcia.
They’ve been “pushing this theory” for eight years, Kawass said, arguing that if the FBI hadn’t “planted” Katie’s name during the undercover bump operation, all subsequent conversations between conspirators would have gone differently.
Kawass’ theory and performance were on par with mainstream crime drama, but to prosecutors, implausible.
For example, Kawass’ contention that the FBI somehow manipulated Magbanua’s involvement is easily contested by the series of events that took place during and after the “bump.” The undercover FBI agent did say Magbanua’s name to Donna, but this was not repeated when Donna called Charlie immediately after. Donna simply referred to “an ex-girlfriend” when speaking with her bachelor son in a highly coded conversation intercepted by wiretap.
Dugan told the jury they’d get to hear these wiretaps themselves — but that Charlie never asked Donna, “Whose ex? Which ex?” Nevertheless, Magbanua was the only ex-girlfriend he reached out to afterward.
State starts strong, previewing “to paths” of evidence
Dugan was decisive, calm, and clear in outlining the “two paths” of investigation that ultimately both led back to Magbanua. The first path, she said, was based on Dan Markel’s personal life and the hunt for a motive — leading from Adelson family members to their various connections.
The second path, Dugan shared, was the light-colored Prius that Markel’s neighbor witnessed driving away from the crime scene. Extensive tracking through SunPass data, rental agreements, bus videos, phone records, and more, identified this very car as the one Garcia and Luis Rivera used to stalk Markel and then return to South Florida.
Dugan previewed for the jury some of the evidence they would see in the coming days. She referred to how Magbanua’s GPS records place her near Charlie’s house the night of the murder and then at Rivera’s home the next day — consistent with how and when Rivera confessed the money was transferred in his plea deal. She shared how phone records confirm that the first call placed by the hitmen after the murder was to Magbanua’s phone — also consistent with Rivera’s confession. And Dugan prepared the jury for hearing extensive evidence that the lines of communication between conspirators were consistent leading up to the murder and after the FBI bump, with information tracking from Donna to Charlie, then Charlie to Magbanua, then Magbanua to Garcia, and back again.
“Evidence will show that both of these paths led to this defendant,” Dugan said. “Two investigations, one conclusion.”
A heartbreaking crime scene, and an unflappable detective
The first set of witnesses included Markel’s neighbor who had heard the gunshots and discovered him unresponsive in his car in his driveway, the crime scene photographer, a forensic video analyst, and the medical examiner who had conducted Markel’s autopsy. These heartbreaking images and accounts were uncontested by defense attorneys.
But there were a whole lot of objections raised by the defense in the next testimony of Craig Isom, a veteran detective who had been with the Tallahassee Police Department for over 28 years. Isom’s presentation was everything one would hope for or expect from a seasoned investigator — steady, solemn, unflappable.
On direct examination by prosecutor Georgia Cappleman, Isom attested to the voluminous, contentious records in the Markel-Adelson divorce and provided jurors with images of the rented Prius as the hitmen stalked Markel on the morning of his killing. DeCoste objected to multiple questions asked of Isom, including the divorce record itself, Isom’s interviews with Luis Rivera, and Magbanua’s arrest. Over defense objections, Isom was permitted to tell the jury that immediately after Managua’s arrest and her first permitted phone call, Isom received a call from Charlie’s lawyer, David Oscar Markus.
On cross-examination, the tension between DeCoste and Isom amplified. DeCoste overtly accused Isom of giving Rivera “a script” of what to say in his confession, to which Isom insisted, “I would never consider telling him anything … I did not give him a script of what to say in this case.”
DeCoste attempted to goad Isom into agreeing with the defense theory of the case, suggesting it was possible to draw a direct line between Garcia and Charlie, but Isom didn’t bite.
“She’s it,” Isom said of Magbanua. “She’s the only connection.”
DeCoste accused Isom of “looking at everything through dirty windows instead of clean windows,” and was promptly chided by Judge Wheeler for being argumentative.
DeCoste’s interactions with Isom seemed to dig the hole deeper for his case. And when Cappleman came back on redirect, a fire had clearly been lit, blowing those holes open even wider.
For example, DeCoste had moved Isom to agree that even after national television coverage on the case had aired, Magbanua went about her “normal life.” But on redirect, Cappleman asked Isom to clarify — at which point he recounted that after attention amplified, Magbanua had in fact left her home and never returned, buying a burner phone to communicate with Garcia.
More pointedly, Cappleman provided the jury with context regarding Magbanua’s paychecks from the Adelson Institute. DeCoste had tried to coax Isom into admitting Magbanua had done legitimate work for Charlie’s dental practice, pointing to a few text messages and wiretap recordings between them where they referenced contacting “patients.”
But on redirect, Cappleman asked Isom to share his thoughts on whether the co-conspirators were talking about actual patients or using that word as a code with one another. The use of words such as “patients” or “tenants” was common in their conversations, but in context, it suggested to investigators that Adelson and Magbanua suspected they were being listened to and were referencing something else. “Yes,” Isom said, “it appears that’s staged language.”
Even more discrediting to the defense theory, on redirect, was Isom’s clarification of a text exchange between Magbanua and Charlie. DeCoste had indicated to the jury that Magbanua was referencing employment when she told Charlie, “put me on the schedule.” But when Cappleman got back up, Isom clarified that Magbanua was in fact referring to scheduling a wisdom tooth removal in this message.
Finally, Cappleman asked several questions of Isom to undermine the defense claim that Rivera’s confession was scripted by law enforcement and contained only evidence Rivera had read about in prior police reports. Isom shared that much of Rivera’s admission contained fresh information, not content that had been either known or released, and then subsequently corroborated.
Major witnesses set to testify on Thursday
Thursday’s witnesses are expected to include three major witnesses Wendi Adelson, Jeffrey Lacasse, and Rivera.
Florida Politics is providing daily coverage of Katherine Magbanua’s retrial for the 2014 murder-for-hire of FSU law professor Dan Markel. The case has drawn international media attention to Florida’s capital city, and we’ll share with readers the top things to watch for and discuss as proceedings unfold. Our reporting will draw from many sources, including contributor Karen Cyphers of Sachs Media, who with attorney Jason Solomon advocate with the grassroots group, Justice for Dan, to draw attention to this case and provide analysis of relevance to Florida’s political, advocacy, and legal communities.
Post Views: 0
Research shows Ron DeSantis with second-worst LGBTQ reputation of any Governor
Signal AI finds only Texas Gov. Greg Abbott fares worse on the issue.
Gov. Ron DeSantis holds one of the worst reputations in the country for policies targeting LGBTQ Americans.
That’s the finding from corporate consulting firm Signal AI, which researched media coverage of Governors in all 50 states to find which holds the best (and worst) media sentiment as it relates to LGBTQ issues.
The firm found DeSantis behind only Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding bad reputation related to the topic.
The research shows DeSantis’ actions around LGBTQ issues generated 131 negative stories in top-tier media and newspaper coverage in a timespan spreading from April 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. By comparison, there were 61 positive stories.
The level of attention places DeSantis second among all Governors in terms of close association with queer politics, with the second-most negative coverage.
The study specifically notes the level of attention to a parental rights law labeled by critics as the “don’t say gay” bill. The new law forbids instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and requires those topics to be handled in an age-appropriate manner in all grades.
The study also found DeSantis’ attention to LGBTQ issues also drew the most positive media attention, 61 pieces, of any of the 10 governors most associated with this policy area. Abbott, by comparison, tallied just one positive article in the 13 months studied. DeSantis also led in terms of neutral coverage.
Abbott’s decision to direct state welfare workers to investigate parents of trans children for child abuse generated the most negative coverage on LGBTQ issues. Notably, state Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican who has carried many of DeSantis’ priority bills, has called for similar action in Florida.
Other Governors to make the list are included in order: Republican Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas; Republican Kristi Noem of South Dakota; Democrat Gavin Newsom of California; Republican Kim Reynolds of Iowa; Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado; Democrat John Bel Edwards of Louisiana; Republican Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma; and Democrat Phil Murphy of New Jersey.
The data was released Tuesday on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The day marks the anniversary of a 1990 decision by the World Health Organization to no longer list homosexuality as a mental disorder.
“LGBTQ+ rights is one of the foremost civil rights battles of our time,” said David Benigson, Signal AI’s CEO and founder. “And with that in mind, we wanted to dig into the media sphere around LGBTQ+ and find out which individuals and companies have the biggest negative and positive perception around the topic ahead of this year’s historic International Day Against Transphobia.”
More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies employ Signal AI to make market decisions.
Post Views: 0
UF named Top-10 bargain in Money magazine ranking
It was the only Florida institution to be named among the top 10.
The University of Florida climbed into the Top-10 on Money magazine’s 2022 ranking of best colleges in terms of value.
UF jumped eight spots from 2021 and landed at No. 8 in “The Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value.” It was the only Florida institution to be named among the top 10 in a list that includes over 600 colleges and universities nationwide. Florida State University, by comparison, landed at No. 89.
Other schools in the top 10 included the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“UF is committed to providing an excellent education that is affordable,” said Chris Hass, UF’s associate provost for academic and faculty affairs. “We are honored that the exceptional quality of our teaching combined with the talents of our students and the success of the graduates are being recognized.”
Money noted that 90% of first-time students graduate UF within six years and 64% of them do so without debt.
The financial bargain students obtain at UF is just one of the elements Money considered for this list. To be included, universities and colleges had to reach the median graduation rate for its category, which included public, private or historically black colleges and universities. The ranking also required the university or college to have a higher graduation rate than other institutions of similar size.
Money also considered 24 factors within the categories of quality, outcomes and affordability.
When determining the quality of education provided at an institution, Money considered six-year graduation and value-added graduation rates, while also focusing on transfer student populations and Pell Grant recipients. As for outcomes, Money reviewed the employment data and typical earnings of the institution’s graduates.
To assess affordability, the cost-effectiveness of a university was assessed from both a short- and long-term standpoint, accounting for the net price of a degree, the amount of student loans and other financial factors.
Post Views: 0
Best tips for adventuring solo to Tahiti
Luxurious looking plants for your home
Try Something New: Fun Family Activities for Your Next Vacation
Proposed law in Maryland would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 28 days after birth
California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth
100+ nations have global agreement now being deployed called ‘Project Sandman’ to drop and end dominance of U.S. dollar and petrodollar
Miami Gardens woman arrested after she told neighbors she killed her husband and buried him in her backyard
HHS Secretary admits Biden administration knew about baby formula shortage last year, did nothing about it
AEW Dynamite: Owen Hart Tournaments begin, FTW title match, MJF/Wardlow contract signing for Double Or Nothing
Politics24 hours ago
We have the emails: Search through the new database of Hunter Biden’s ‘laptop from hell’ emails
Politics23 hours ago
BREAKING: Democrats Introduce Bill To Put Americans In Quarantine Camps
Politics23 hours ago
“Cobalt Magnet” is the codename for dirty bomb drills in Austin, TX – new intel on radicalized terrorists who will combine cobalt-60 with explosive suicide vests
Politics19 hours ago
‘F You Guys!’: Tom Brady Reveals How He Deals with Media Critics
Empty Talk19 hours ago
Pearl Jam drummer walks back Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins death claims
News19 hours ago
South Florida inflation dips, still outpaces nation
News13 hours ago
Jimmy Butler Scores 41, Heat Take Game 1 From Celtics 118-107
Politics19 hours ago
Doug Mastriano Wins Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial Primary