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21 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

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Exclusive: Representatives of all opposition parties say ministers must change stance

The letter cited the death of Jamal Khashoggi alongside the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

The letter cited the death of Jamal Khashoggi alongside the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA

The government is facing renewed pressure over its continued ties to Saudi Arabia following the death of Jamal Khashoggi and the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, after all five main Westminster opposition parties signed an unprecedented joint letter calling for a change of stance.

The foreign affairs representatives for Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens wrote to Jeremy Hunt saying it was “hard to imagine what crime the Saudi government would need to commit” for the UK government to condemn it.

The letter to the foreign secretary, shown to the Guardian, says that reports the dissident journalist Khashoggi was tortured and murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul constituted “the latest in a litany of charges that have been laid before the Saudi regime by the international community”.

Saudi Arabia conceded on Friday that Khashoggi died at the consulate, but claimed it was the result of a “fistfight”, an explanation dismissed by a succession of other nations. On Sunday the UK Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, said it did not seem credible, adding: “There is a serious question mark over the account that has been given.”

The letter also cites alleged Saudi war crimes in the conflict in Yemen and the wider crisis in the country, where the UN says up to 14 million people are at risk of famine.

Signed by Labour’s Emily Thornberry, Stephen Gethins of the SNP, Christine Jardine from the Lib Dems, Jonathan Edwards of Plaid Cymru and Caroline Lucas from the Greens, it also mentions the imprisonment of activists, repression over LGBT rights and religion, and the widespread use of capital punishment.

“Given the repeated nature of these violations and atrocities, it is now hard to imagine what crime the Saudi government would need to commit in order for the UK government to condemn them,” says the letter, which was organised by the SNP.

“It cannot be business as usual with a regime that displays blatant contempt and disregard for international law and human rights. The consistent inaction of your government is utterly incompatible with our most basic value as a democracy. We regard it as unacceptable that the UK government not only remains silent, but actively enables this Saudi regime.”

The UK, the letter goes on, “has continued to supply Saudi Arabia with weaponry which has been used in the devastating war in Yemen, has shamefully rolled out the red carpet for the Saudi crown prince in a state visit earlier this year, and has repeatedly excused their actions in statements before the House of Commons”.

While some concern expressed about the Khashoggi case and other moves were welcome, the signatories wrote, “the time for rhetoric and photocalls is over – it’s time to act”.

The letter calls for a full condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s “reckless and barbaric” behaviour; a suspension of arms sales for use in Yemen pending an investigation of alleged war crimes; a halt to UK military operations in Saudi; details on what diplomatic representations had been made to the Saudis, and support for an independent inquiry into Khashoggi’s fate.

Read Full Article>>

Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi killed but claims he died in ‘fistfight’>>

World Politics

United States

‘Toxic Christianity’: the evangelicals creating champions for Trump

The McGlynn: Some very sick people.

 

Donald Trump poses with the Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr. Photograph: Steve Helber/AP

At Liberty University, students and faculty have faith in the president to help ‘create generations of rightwing Christians’ – but some are uneasy

by in Lynchburg, Virginia

Three times a week, 15,000 students stream into the Vines Center, a huge silver-domed building on the campus of Liberty University for “convocation”, an intoxicating mix of prayer, political rally and entertainment. Thousands more watch a live stream of the event.

The star attraction has twice been Donald Trump, in 2012 and 2016. His first appearance was as a successful businessman and reality TV star, the second as the man campaigning to be the Republican party’s candidate for president. Last year, he made a third appearance at Liberty, to address the university’s graduation ceremony. By then, he was one of the most divisive leaders in the country’s history.

But not at Liberty. The Christian university which dominates the town of Lynchburg, Virginia, has become almost synonymous with Trump. It sits at the heart of the alliance between the president and conservative evangelical Christians – an alliance forged in part by Jerry Falwell Jr, Liberty’s president, Lynchburg’s most prominent citizen and Trump’s close associate.

Falwell was instrumental in delivering 81% of white Christian evangelical voters for Trump in 2016. Ahead of next month’s midterm elections, that support appears to be holding up, although there has been some erosion among evangelical women. A survey published in early October by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 72% of white evangelical Protestants had a favourable opinion of the president.

In Liberty’s coffee bars, random conversations with a dozen or so students found they all backed Falwell’s full-throated support for Trump. But not everyone in the town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains is happy. A minority at the university, along with a few churches in town, are deeply concerned. Some speak of a “toxic Christianity”.

Falwell endorsed Trump’s candidacy two weeks after his January 2016 appearance at Liberty’s convocation, a move which triggered the resignation of a member of the university’s board of trustees, Mark DeMoss.

Later, Falwell dismissed the furore around the candidate’s “grab them by the pussy” comments, saying: “We’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot.” He has defended some of the president’s most egregious remarks and tweets since taking office.

He recently sent 300 Liberty students to Washington to demonstrate in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the supreme court. The next day, he tweeted: “Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing ‘nice guys’. They might make great Christian leaders but the US needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!”

Falwell told the Guardian that Trump was a “good moral person, a strong leader, a tough leader – and that’s what this country needs”, and that support among white evangelicals was solid in the run-up to the midterms. “The sentiment is there, it’s going to come down to turnout,” he said in an interview.

According to Bill Leonard, professor of church history at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, the context to white evangelicals hitching their wagon to Trump is “panic at the precipitous decline of Christianity” in US society.

Polls show a drop in the proportion of white evangelicals from a peak in the 1990s of around 27% of the population to between 17% and 13% now, alongside a significant rise in religious pluralism and those – particularly young people – who say they have no religion.

Changing attitudes and legislation on abortion, divorce, gender equality and LGBT rights were “powerful indicators of the loss of Protestant privilege and a prelude to white evangelicals moving in such large numbers to supporting Trump”, said Leonard.

Crucially, they wanted a president who would nominate conservative supreme court justices. “Presidents come and go, but appointments to the supreme court are for life. With the right nominees, you could change the supreme court majority for half a century. [Evangelicals] tell themselves that Trump is the vehicle God has chosen to drive the conservative evangelical agenda.”

Read Full Article>>

Donald Trump and Joe Biden exchange blows in Nevada as midterms loom>>

Republicans break ranks with Trump over Saudi dissident’s death>>

Khashoggi mourners demand justice as Congress urges full US investigation>>

Khashoggi murder exposes Trump administration’s dependency on Saudis>>

Trump says he’d prefer to choose woman as US ambassador to UN>>

Why rural Britain would be a sadder place without beautiful hares

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21 Oct

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

.

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

Damn The WarCriminals,Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England.

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The McGlynn

Share
20 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

View All>>

Hi, I’m Harper! I’m 5 months old and am on an epic trip around the USA. I’m going to visit all 50 states before the end of the year, which could make me the youngest person to do it. Will you join me for this final part

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International pressure builds on Saudi Arabia as colleagues of murdered journalist demand punishment for his killers

Demonstrators protest against Jamal Khashoggi’s death outside the White House. Bob Corker said the US must make its own ‘independent, credible’ determination on what happened.

Demonstrators protest against Jamal Khashoggi’s death outside the White House. Bob Corker said the US must make its own ‘independent, credible’ determination on what happened. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Amidst international scorn for Saudi Arabia’s official explanation of the death of Jamal Khashoggi, friends and colleagues of the reporter on Saturday resumed their vigil outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was killed two weeks ago.

They were there to mourn his death and demand “true justice”.

In the US, Saudi Arabia’s major ally, the Trump administration remained cautiously supportive of the Riyadh line. But pressure was building. Bob Corker, chair of the powerful Senate foreign relations committee, doubted the Saudi version of events and said the US “must make its own independent, credible determination of responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder”.

After more than two weeks of stubborn denials from Saudi Arabia that it had anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance, statements carried on the state news agency in the early hours of Saturday finally acknowledged his death – the result, it said, of a “fistfight” inside the consulate on 2 October.

The statements said 18 men had been arrested in connection with the “cover-up” and two senior officials – confidantes of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman – had been sacked. Khashoggi’s body was disposed of by a “local collaborator”, officials added.

Khashoggi was a Saudi national but a US permanent resident. Saudi Arabia had been under significant pressure from the White House to offer an explanation in an escalating diplomatic crisis. Its eventual account met with widespread scepticism, however, in the face of mounting evidence from the Turkish investigation into Khashoggi’s death pointing to a sophisticated assassination operation that could not have been carried out without the sanction of the Saudi royal court.

Turkish officials have coordinated sustained leaks to local and US media that suggest Khashoggi was tortured and murdered and dismembered with a bone saw.

Investigators allege 15 men who arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh on jets owned by the Saudi royal family were sent to kill the reporter. Several of the suspects – including members of the crown prince’s security detail and a forensics expert – were captured in security camera footage entering the consulate building on the day Khashoggi died.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s allies in the region expressed support. The UK, another ally, cautiously acknowledged the Saudi version of events. A statement from the Foreign Office said the government was considering its next steps.

But it was not clear the explanation of Khashoggi’s murder, the sackings and purported arrests would contain the damage to Riyadh.

At the United Nations, a spokesman said secretary general António Guterres was “deeply troubled” and “stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death and full accountability for those responsible”.

Outside government circles, Amnesty International called for “an impartial and independent investigation by the UN”.

In the US, the White House put out a statement “acknowledging” the Saudi account of what it called “this tragic incident” and adding that it would follow developments. Donald Trump’s son, Eric, went on Fox News to repeat the line that US-Saudi relations are too important, for commercial and strategic reasons, to give up because of the death of a journalist.

Bob Corker said: ‘We should not assume their latest story holds water.’

Bob Corker said: ‘We should not assume their latest story holds water.’ Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

But it was becoming increasingly clear that Republican leaders in Congress were not going to give credibility to the Saudi version of events and would insist on a full investigation by US intelligence, potentially followed by sanctions mandated by legislation known as Global Magnitsky, after a murdered Russian lawyer.

“Saudi Arabia’s changing stories on Khashoggi’s murder is getting old,” the Florida senator Marco Rubio tweeted. “The latest one about a fistfight gone bad is bizarre. We must move forward with Global Magnitsky investigation we requested, find out what really happened and sanction those responsible.”

Corker said: “The story the Saudis have told about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance continues to change with each passing day, so we should not assume their latest story holds water.

“They can undergo their own investigation, but the US administration must make its own independent, credible determination of responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder under the Global Magnitsky investigation as required by law.”

The administration has 120 days from the day the Senate invoked Magnitsky, 10 October, to present the results of an investigation and a decision on sanctions.

The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, derided the Saudi account, saying: “This ridiculous assertion is further evidence of a cover-up. We need an international investigation and relentless pressure on Saudi Arabia from the Trump administration, if we ever hope to get to the truth.”

At the consulate in Istanbul, TuranK??lakç?, president of the Arab Turkish Media Association, said in a speech: “We want Jamal’s murderers to be punished … and punishment also for the authority that gave the orders.”

The deputy head of Turkey’s ruling party, Numan Kurtulmu?, vowed that Turkey would “never allow a cover-up” of the killing. “We don’t immediately blame anyone. But we won’t go along with leaving details buried,” he said.

Separately, a senior Turkish official told Reuters investigators were close to finding out what happened to Khashoggi’s body. Police were searching Belgrad forest, north of Istanbul, and farmland near Yalova, 55-mile drive south of the city, after using CCTV footage to track two vehicles owned by the Saudi consulate after Khashoggi was killed.

Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, questioned in a tweet what had happened to his body. “The heart grieves, the eye tears, and with your separation we are saddened, my dear Jamal,” she said.

Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni Nobel peace prize laureate, told the Guardian: “Personally I have lost a friend and adviser. But the world has lost an important voice and the Arab Spring one of its most important defenders.

“Saudi Arabia wanted to silence him forever but instead he has become an international icon for freedom of expression. This crime cannot go unpunished. Spilling his blood has only made the case stronger against the cruelty and repression of Saudi Arabia.”

Read Full Article>>

World Politics

United States

Journalists grilled GOP politicians on climate change. It didn’t go well

President Donald Trump points to the sun during the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the White House in Washington.

President Donald Trump points to the sun during the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the White House in Washington. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Major climate science reports usually pass by largely unnoticed, but in the wake of the latest IPCC report a number of journalists laudably grilled Republican lawmakers about its findings. While their responses were predictably terrible, it’s nevertheless crucial for journalists to hold GOP politicians accountable for their climate denial and policy inaction. Donald Trump’s answers were particularly ignorant and nonsensical in his 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl.

Welcome to Stage 2 climate denial

None of the Republicans exhibited Stage 1 climate denial (denying that it’s happening), but several remain in Stage 2 (denying humans are responsible). Trump was the worst of the lot, telling Stahl:

Something’s happening [with the climate] and it’ll change back again … I don’t know that it’s manmade.

Earth’s climate isn’t magical. Each of its changes has physical causes and will only “change back” if something causes them to do so. Trump’s claim is akin to arguing that if he gains 50 lbs by eating McDonald’s fast food every day he’ll eventually ‘change back’ to his less obese self. Doing so would require a physical cause, like a change in diet. Fossil fuels are the climate’s greasy fast food.

Similarly, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow said to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week:

how much of [climate change] is manmade, how much of it is solar, how much of it is oceanic, how much of it is rain forest and other issues? I think we’re still exploring all of that.

And Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told CNN’s Jake Tapper:

I can’t tell you to what percentage of [climate change] is due to human activity

Climate scientists can. It’s 100% since 1950.

This is settled science, about which there’s a 97% expert consensus. But of course, Republican politicians prefer the beliefs of the less than 3% of contrarian climate scientists.

Republicans have their own “scientists”

When Stahl pressed Trump on the conclusions of expert climate scientists, Trump cited some “scientists” whose opinions he prefers.

We have scientists that disagree with [human-caused global warming] … You’d have to show me the [mainstream] scientists because they have a very big political agenda

The only ‘political agenda’ of the climate scientists writing the IPCC reports is to accurately communicate our understanding of climate science to policymakers. The latest IPCC report cited over 6,000 scientific studies. Marco Rubio used the same tactic as Trump, saying:

And I think many scientists would debate what percentage is attributable to man versus normal fluctuations

Trump’s Fox friends also echoed this sentiment:

There are of course “other scientists.” The question is why we should believe the tiny minority of contrarians are right and the 97% of climate science experts who are convinced by the evidence that humans are driving global warming are wrong.

For example, one of deniers’ favorite contrarian scientists is Richard Lindzen, formerly of MIT. Last week, Lindzen told the Daily Mail “Warming of any significance ceased about 20 years ago.”…………………..

Republicans deny basic economics too

After denying that we know humans are driving climate change, the Republican politicians shifted to economics denial, with Trump again the worst of all:

I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want to be put at a disadvantage.

Rubio similarly said “I’m also not going to destroy our economy.” But Trump and Rubio seem to think that any efforts to cut carbon pollution will destroy the economy, and that’s just willful ignorance. As Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) said:

We ought to be talking about the things that we can do and still maintain a strong economy, because we’re not going to be able to address it unless we keep a strong economy

Rounds is right. Republicans ought to be looking for policies to address climate change that will maintain a strong economy. But with a few exceptions, they (including Mike Rounds, who’s voted against the climate 100% of the time) are not. Kudlow noted:

Bill Nordhaus from Yale got a Nobel Prize on his own economic work with respect to climate change … I respect that he’s a really brilliant guy.

In 2012, Nordhaus wrote an editorial entitled, “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong.” In that piece, he noted:

The cost of waiting fifty years to begin reducing CO2 emissions … is $4.1 trillion … Current economic studies also suggest that the most efficient policy is to raise the cost of CO2 emissions substantially, either through cap-and-trade or carbon taxes … The claim that cap-and-trade legislation or carbon taxes would be ruinous or disastrous to our societies does not stand up to serious economic analysis.

It’s ironic that Trump says he’s worried about losing trillions of dollars as the economist who his top economic advisor cites as a brilliant expert says that waiting to cut carbon pollution would cost trillions of dollars.

The latest IPCC report cited a study finding that 1.5°C global warming would lead to climate damage costs of $54tn, 2°C of $69tn, and 3.7°C of $551tn. We’re currently on track for 3.4°C warming by 2100, and the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to increase carbon pollution and global warming. For perspective, the $551tn estimated cost of climate damages at 3.7°C far exceeds the current global wealth of around $100tn.

Read Full Article>>

John James: ‘Battle-tested, ready to lead’ … and a black American for Trump >>The McGlynn: Stupidity Reins!

Alaska governor Bill Walker drops re-election bid and backs Democrat>>

Cheering supporters greet activists at prison gates after sentences are overturned

‘Your planet needs you’: Fracking activists urge public to act after sentences overturned – video

Three protesters jailed for blocking access to a fracking site have walked free after the court of appeal quashed their sentences, calling them “manifestly excessive”.

Simon Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, were sent to prison last month after being convicted of causing a public nuisance with a protest outside the Preston New Road site near Blackpool, Lancashire. Blevins and Roberts were sentenced to 16 months and Loizou to 15 months.

But on Wednesday afternoon the court of appeal ruled their sentences were inappropriate and they should be freed immediately. Soon after, the trio walked free from Preston prison, where they were greeted with hugs and cheers from dozens of supporters.

To applause from the crowd, Loizou said: “If people break the law out of a moral obligation to prevent the expansion of fossil fuel industries they should not be sent to prison.

“The fracking industry threatens to industrialise our beautiful countryside. It will force famine, flooding and many other disasters on the world’s most vulnerable communities by exacerbating climate change.

“Fracking is beginning right now, so there has never been a more critical time to take action. Your planet needs you.”

He urged people to join a mass demonstration at the Preston New Road site on Saturday.

Loizou, Blevins, Roberts

Left to right: Rich Loizou, Simon Blevins and Richard Roberts. Photograph: Lancashire Constabulary/PA

Questions over the original trial judge’s family links to the oil and gas industry were also raised in court on Wednesday. Judge Robert Altham’s father and sister run JC Altham and Sons, a company believed to be part of the supply chain for energy giant Centrica, which has invested tens of millions of pounds in fracking.

The judicial conduct investigations office later confirmed it had “received a complaint regarding HHJ Robert Altham, which will be considered in accordance with the judicial conduct (judicial and other office holders) rules 2014”.

Read Full Article>>

More On The Environment:

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20 Oct

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

.

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

Damn The WarCriminals,Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England.

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The McGlynn

Share

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