05 Dec

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

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.


Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>


The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Wildlife photographer of the year: Lumix people’s choice shortlist 2019 – in pictures

Fans of wildlife photographs can pick their favourite for the Lumix-sponsored award from 25 images pre-selected by the Natural History Museum in London. The institution whittled down its shortlist from more than 48,000 submissions from 100 countries. Voting ends on 4 February

Mother Knows Best by Marion Volborn (Germany)

Findings confirm reliability of projections of temperature changes over last 50 years

A climate emergency protest in Bangalore, India

A climate protest in Bangalore, India. Based on modern projections, the world is on track for about 3°C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100, which the IPCC and others predict would be catastrophic. Photograph: Jagadeesh Nv/EPA

Climate models have accurately predicted global heating for the past 50 years, a study has found.

The findings confirm that since as early as 1970, climate scientists have had a solid fundamental understanding of the Earth’s climate system and the ability to project how it will respond to continued increases in the greenhouse effect. Since climate models have accurately anticipated global temperature changes so far, we can expect projections of future warming to be reliable as well.

The research examines the accuracy of 17 models published over the past five decades, beginning with a 1970 study and including 1981 and 1988 models led by James Hansen, the former Nasa climatologist who testified to the US Senate in 1988 about the impacts of anthropogenic global heating. The study also includes the first four reports by the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

“We found that climate models – even those published back in the 1970s – did remarkably well, with 14 out of the 17 model projections indistinguishable from what actually occurred,” said Zeke Hausfather, of the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of the paper, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Based on modern climate model projections, if countries follow through with current and pledged climate policies, the world is on track for about 3C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 – a situation the IPCC and others predict would be catastrophic.

The challenge in evaluating climate model accuracy lies in the fact that due to computing power limitations, simulations are only run for a few specific future greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. There are an infinite number of such possible scenarios, but real-world emissions will follow only one path, and it will never exactly match the few scenarios input into climate models. Thus, if Earth warms less than in a climate model projection, it does not necessarily mean the model was inaccurate.

Put simply, climate scientists are not in the business of predicting human fossil fuel consumption but are attempting to accurately simulate how the climate will change in response to a given rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Future emissions depend on human behaviour, not physical systems, and climate models should be evaluated on their physics rather than the future emission projections,” said Hausfather.

In nearly half of the model projections examined in the paper, the input scenarios were significantly different from the real-world changes in greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, projected temperature changes were only consistent with observed global warming in 10 of the 17 models, with four projecting more warming and three projecting less than subsequently occurred.

However, the study authors addressed these inconsistencies by evaluating the change in temperature per change in “radiative forcing” – the global energy imbalance caused by the increased greenhouse effect and other factors – in models against what happened in the real world. This metric reveals whether the climate models are accurately producing the temperature response to a given emissions change – in essence, whether are accurately simulating the physical response of Earth’s climate system. With this factored in, 14 of the 17 models were accurate.

“The rate of warming we are experiencing today is pretty much exactly what past climate models projected it would be,” said Hausfather.

Those who oppose policies to limit the impacts of global heating have long sought to undermine the credibility of climate models. If the model projections are considered unreliable, they argue, then we do not know how urgent slowing global warming is. As a result, “climate models are unreliable” has become a popular myth propagated by climate deniers.

The latest study adds to the body of evidence supporting the accuracy of climate models, and will be welcomed by those arguing that more aggressive climate policies are needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. The UN climate summit in Glasgow in 2020 will be crucial, as countries will be expected to commit to scaling up the emission reductions that were pledged in the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Giuffre tells Panorama she was instructed to have sex with royal by Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell

Virginia Giuffre: Prince Andrew’s accuser asks Britain to ‘stand beside her’ – video

Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked as a teenager to have sex with friends of Jeffrey Epstein, including the Duke of York, has implored the British public to “stand by her” and “not accept this as OK” in her first UK television interview.

Giuffre, who alleges she had sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions in 2001 and 2002 when she was 17 years old, told Panorama she stood by her claims she was instructed to have sex with the royal by Ghislaine Maxwell, socialite and close friend of Epstein, the wealthy financier and convicted sex offender who killed himself in August.

The prince, 59, has consistently denied the allegation.

In the programme The Prince and the Epstein Scandal, screening at 9pm on Monday on BBC One, Giuffre, then called Virginia Roberts, repeated her claim she had sex with Andrew after he bought her a drink and asked her to dance at Tramp nightclub in London.

She said: “He is the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere. I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me.”

She alleged that after they left the club: “In the car Ghislaine tells me that I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that just made me sick.” She alleges that she had sex with Andrew upstairs at Maxwell’s house in Belgravia later that evening.

Giuffre was interviewed by Panorama last month. Before it was ready to air, the prince agreed to an interview with BBC’s Newsnight. The fallout from that disastrous interview led to him being forced to withdraw from public life.

Though Giuffre does not directly address Andrew’s account in her interview, which had already been filmed, she has since told Panorama she stands by every word.

In his interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis last month, Andrew said: “I can categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady – none whatsoever.” He claimed he had a medical condition that meant he did not sweat, and argued sex could not have taken place, insisting he had been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the same day.

Asked about a photo that appears to show him with his arm around Giuffre’s waist, the prince said he did not recall the photograph being taken, and raised questions in the interview over whether it was his hand.

Giuffre told Panorama: “The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored. I mean I’m calling BS on this. He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth.”

She said: “I implore the people in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK.

“This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guy’s royalty.”


Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

Maxwell has denied the allegations made against her. She has not been seen in public for months, amid speculation over her continued contact with the prince.

Buckingham Palace has said the duke “unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein” and that Andrew “deeply sympathises with those affected who want some form of closure”. It said: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”

The Panorama programme is broadcast as the prince faces calls for a parliamentary inquiry into his business dealings after the Mail on Sunday claimed he had been enabling a friend’s business interests while working as a British trade envoy.

The newspaper said it had seen a cache of documents, including leaked emails, about Andrew’s links with David Rowland, and claimed the duke had been helping his business interests, including promoting his private bank, while a trade envoy for Britain.

World Politics

United States

‘No choice but to act’: Pelosi asks Congress to proceed with Trump impeachement

The US Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has announced the House will proceed with articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. ‘The president leaves us no choice but to act,’ she said. ‘Sadly but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment’

‘No one is above the law’: read Nancy Pelosi’s full impeachment statement>>

I shall taunt you a second time: North Korea threatens Trump ‘dotard’ insults>>

US government edict puts international film-makers in danger, lawsuit claims>>


03 Dec

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

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.


Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>


The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Inside the mission to create an army of Greta Thunbergs – video

Melanie Harwood is an education entrepreneur and self-styled ‘disruptor’, who has partnered with the United Nations to educate teachers about climate change. The Guardian’s Richard Sprenger joined her on a trip to Dubai, to witness her unorthodox approach first hand

World Politics

United States

Tuesday’s top story: GOP report defends Trump over impeachment hearings. Plus, being part of a downwardly mobile generation

Jim Jordan (left), Devin Nunes (right) and Michael McCaul

The report was prepared for Jim Jordan (left), Devin Nunes (right) and Michael McCaul, the ranking members on the House oversight, intelligence and foreign affairs committees, respectively. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

Report offers blueprint to Trump’s congressional defenders

Republicans have released a 123-page draft report on last month’s impeachment hearings. Defending the president over his dealings with Ukraine, it describes his actions as “entirely prudent” and involving “no quid pro quo, bribery, extortion, or abuse of power”. The document is designed to act as both a pre-emptive strike against a Democratic report and as a blueprint for Trump’s GOP defenders at future impeachment hearings and prospective Senate trial.

  • Giuliani associates. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two Ukraine-linked associates of Rudy Giuliani accused of using foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions, are very likely to face upgraded indictments at their trial, a prosecutor has said.

  • Bloomberg news. The Trump 2020 campaign plans to deny press credentials to the outlet owned by the Trump critic and Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.

Trump’s re-election could doom Nato alliance, members fear

Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London on Tuesday.

Trump meets the Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, in London on Tuesday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump has arrived in London with other Nato leaders for a summit to mark the 70th anniversary of the transatlantic military alliance, of which he remains a noted skeptic. He has already lashed out at his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and denied he wanted the UK’s health service to be part of a trade deal. Other Nato members reportedly fear his re-election in 2020 would cast serious doubt on the future of the organisation. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is trying to play down his ties to Trump during the president’s British sojourn, apparently fearful that their closeness could damage his standing during an increasingly tight UK general election campaign.

An advocacy group report criticises Alec, a group which brings together conservative lawmakers and corporate interests

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush speaks at a 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council meeting.

The former Florida governor Jeb Bush speaks at a 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. Photograph: M Spencer Green/Associated Press

Alec, the rightwing network that brings conservative lawmakers together with corporate lobbyists to create model legislation that is cloned across the US, has been accused of spreading racist and white supremacist policies targeted at minority communities.

A report published on Tuesday by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other advocacy groups charges Alec with propagating white supremacy.

In one of the sharpest criticisms yet levelled at the controversial “bill mill”, the authors warn that “conservative and corporate interests have captured our political process to harness profit, further entrench white supremacy in the law, and target the safety, human rights and self-governance of marginalised communities”.

The publication comes on the eve of the latest gathering of Alec, officially known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, which will be attended by hundreds of largely Republican state-level legislators and their big business allies.

The four-day States & Nation Policy Summit will open at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday with an agenda touching on several of Alec’s core principles including “election integrity”, privatisation of education and support for homeschooling, and protection for pharmaceutical companies.

Watchdogs have also learned of a dinner to be held on Wednesday and jointly hosted by Alec and the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT coalition devoted to re-criminalising homosexuality in the US in the name of Christianity.

The Alec summit will be picketed by protesters convened by organisations at the forefront of the race equality movement such as Black Lives Matter and Puente Arizona. The demonstrators will seek to highlight one of the most contentious legislative moves made by Alec: 2010 Arizona law SB1070, which heralded the most extreme crackdown on undocumented migrants then seen in the US under a model bill drafted at an Alec conference the previous year.

The report, produced by CCR with Dream Defenders, Palestine Legal, the Red Nation and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, calls Alec a “highly effective incubator and platform for spreading a broad swath of corporate and conservative policies”.

The network, it says, amounts to a “shadow state apparatus” in which “private industry seizes control of the authority of the state, writing legislation and public policy for the general public behind the closed doors of a CEO suite”.

To support its contention that Alec is responsible for strengthening white supremacy, the joint report cites four of the network’s most hotly disputed policy interventions.

The first are the “Stand Your Ground” laws that became notorious after the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was shot by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida.

In 2005, Florida had passed a “Castle Doctrine” law, SB 436, that extended the right to “stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force” to anyone in any public place who “reasonably believes” it is necessary to do so “to prevent death or great bodily harm”.

The law was picked up by Alec and turned into a model bill that, as the report points out, has now been adopted in some form in 27 states.

Alec insists it has never backed legislation allowing gun owners to attack people who pose no imminent threat and that it no longer lends its name to any “stand your ground” law.

The joint report argues the damage has already been done.

It cites studies that show that states that have adopted such laws are much more likely to rule homicides justifiable in cases of white-on-black killings than states that have not adopted such laws.

The second example used in the report is voter ID bills that require proof of identity in order to vote. CCR and its co-authors locate these efforts as part of the long history in the US of attempts to disenfranchise people of colour.

In 2009 Alec approved a “voter ID act” produced by one of its “task forces” that devise new model legislation. The provision required voters to show certain forms of personal identification before being allowed to cast their ballot.

Some 35 states now have voter ID laws. Numerous studies have found that non-white voters are much more likely than whites to lack photographic identification, and therefore face discrimination where ID is made a condition of voting.

Alec has distanced itself publicly from voter suppression efforts and says it now has no policy on voter ID.

Bill Meierling, Alec’s head of external relations, told the Guardian: “Alec members advance individual liberty and free enterprise across the states, creating opportunity for a better life for all Americans.”

He added: “Alec is routinely targeted because its member legislators are nearly 300% as effective as any other group of elected officials. In fact, this year, USA Today reported that of 10,000 bills analyzed in state legislatures from 2010-2018, 2,900 were based on Alec model policy and more than 600 became law.”

The other examples of measures allegedly supporting white supremacy cited in the joint report are “critical infrastructure bills” that originated with a 2017 law introduced in Oklahoma to clamp down on indigenous and other protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Alec turned the Oklahoma template into a model bill that has spread through the US, threatening indigenous protesters with fines and jail time.

The final Alec intervention cited by the authors concerns moves to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to pressure Israel to abide by international human rights laws.

As the Guardian reported last month, Alec has hosted discussions on banning criticism of Israel on US campuses.

Former US president Jimmy Carter hospitalized for urinary tract infection

Buttigieg discusses ‘moral crisis’ of poverty amid struggle to draw minority voters

Republicans issue 123-page defense of Trump ahead of Democrats’ impeachment report

01 Dec

Rosa Parks Passes Away At 92

Rosa Parks’ Life After the Bus Was No Easy Ride

What history misses about Rosa Parks, according to her niece.

The McGlynn:

At age 81, Parks was robbed and assaulted in her home in central Detroit on August 30, 1994. The assailant, Joseph Skipper, broke down the door but claimed he had chased away an intruder. He requested a reward and when Parks paid him, he demanded more. Parks refused and he attacked her. Hurt and badly shaken, Parks called a friend, who called the police. A neighborhood manhunt led to Skipper’s capture and reported beating. Parks was treated at Detroit Receiving Hospital for facial injuries and swelling on the right side of her face. Parks said about the attack on her by the African-American man, “Many gains have been made … But as you can see, at this time we still have a long way to go.” Skipper was sentenced to 8 to 15 years and was transferred to prison in another state for his own safety.

Suffering anxiety upon returning to her small central Detroit house following the ordeal, Parks moved into Riverfront Towers, a secure high-rise apartment building. 

Al Taubman paid for her apartment in the Riverfront Towers.

The McGlynn

It was an electric day in Detroit for those passing through Cobo Hall at a NAACP celebration dinner in April of 1995. Rosa Parks and her niece, Urana McCauley, had come for the event following the death of McCauley’s grandmother. At just 19 years old, McCauley was in awe. The black political elite of the decade filled the room. John Conyers walked the hall. Kweisi Mfume, the organization’s sitting president, gave a fiery speech, inspiring the crowd. It was a happy reprieve from the darkness surrounding death—a spectacle of black joy.

Read Full Article>>

Rosa Parks Obituary

DETROIT (AP) – Rosa Lee Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday. She was 92.

Mrs. Parks died at her home of natural causes, said Karen Morgan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title ”mother of the civil rights movement.”

At that time, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs and neighborhoods in the North.

The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.

Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.

Speaking in 1992, she said history too often maintains ”that my feet were hurting and I didn’t know why I refused to stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long.”

Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little -known Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

”At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this,” Mrs. Parks said 30 years later. ”It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.”

The Montgomery bus boycott, which came one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark declaration that separate schools for blacks and whites were ”inherently unequal,” marked the start of the modern civil rights movement.

The movement culminated in the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public accommodations.

After taking her public stand for civil rights, Mrs. Parks had trouble finding work in Alabama. Amid threats and harassment, she and her husband Raymond moved to Detroit in 1957. She worked as an aide in Conyers’ Detroit office from 1965 until retiring Sept. 30, 1988. Raymon d Parks died in 1977. Mrs. Parks became a revered figure in Detroit, where a street and middle school were named for her and a papier-mache likeness of her was featured in the city’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mrs. Parks said upon retiring from her job with Conyers that she wanted to devote more time to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. The institute, incorporated in 1987, is devoted to developing leadership among Detroit’s young people and initiating them into the struggle for civil rights.

30 Nov

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

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.


Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>


The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Plan is part of ‘green new deal’ but campaigners say it is not enough to tackle climate crisis

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen, the European commission president-elect, has pledged to bring forward the proposal within 100 days of taking office. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

The first EU-wide “climate law” would enshrine a legally binding target of reaching net-zero carbon by 2050, and Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions would be halved by 2030, under a set of proposals being discussed by the incoming European commission.

Cars would be subject to new air pollution standards, following the disastrous cheating that allowed diesel pollutants to be masked, and all vehicles may be brought within the EU’s carbon emissions trading scheme, which would affect drivers across the bloc. Three quarters of road transport would have to be moved to rail and inland waterways, and pricing would have to be adjusted to reflect the carbon output of different modes of transport, which is likely to prove controversial.

The proposals are part of the “green new deal”, the centrepiece of the new commission’s action plan, focused on climate and the environment. Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the commission, has pledged to bring forward the proposals within 100 days of taking office on 1 December.

According to a draft seen by the Guardian, moving to zero transport emissions will be a key goal, as will radical reform of the common agricultural policy, which has been widely criticised in recent years for drastic damage to the natural environment. There will be measures for an EU-wide industrial strategy, and innovation funding for promising clean technologies.

The central pledge to cut greenhouse gases by “at least 50% and towards 55% in a responsible way” had been long expected, but will not satisfy green campaigners, who say more urgent action is needed. Many measures in the five-page draft are also still vague, missing or hedged with question marks, and many have no firm target date attached.

Ministers and government officials from around the world are starting to arrive in Madrid for two weeks of difficult negotiations on implementing the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, beginning on Monday. While scientific warnings have grown clearer, countries have stalled on strengthening their emissions-reduction targets to keep up with the Paris goals.

Green campaigners criticised the EU’s draft for not going far enough, and said tougher targets should be enacted sooner in order to meet the Paris obligations.

Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network, called for the central emissions reduction target to be 65% by 2030, in line with scientific advice on holding temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. He also called for that goal to be set out in the first half of next year, instead of October as planned in the document, to aid international negotiations on the Paris commitments which will reach a conclusion next November.

“The commission’s reluctance to propose a new, much higher target early next year shows its failure to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis. Delaying this decision could put the EU in the back seat of global climate negotiations and undermine its role in shaping the discussions on the increase of the targets next year,” Trio said. “It would be a blow to [the] millions of Europeans who take to the streets demanding immediate action to tackle the climate crisis.”

The plan marked an improvement from the priorities of the last commission, said Franziska Achterberg of Greenpeace, but failed to measure up to the scale of change needed.

European parliament declares climate emergency: ‘do we want to leave our children a world?’ – video

“This is a vast policy programme that marks a shift away from the Juncker commission’s deregulation agenda,” she said. “But you just have to look beyond the top lines to see that the proposed measures are either too weak, half-baked or missing altogether. Responding to the climate and ecological crises requires a fundamental rethink of the economic system that for decades has rewarded pollution, environmental destruction and human exploitation. This plan barely scratches the surface.”

On Thursday, the European parliament voted to declare a “climate emergency”, which campaigners said would be meaningless if not backed up by strong and swift action.

World Politics

United States

Altered rules would also cut monthly benefits and end free or discounted lunches to nearly a million students

A vendor picks up the yellow chips that people on Snap use to buy food at a San Francisco farmers’ market.

A vendor picks up the yellow chips that people on Snap use to buy food at a San Francisco farmers’ market. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

Millions of Americans face losing access to food assistance under proposed rule changes by the Trump administration, a new analysis has found.

The changes, if they had been instituted last year, would have resulted in 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1m fewer households receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as Snap or food stamps, during an average month, according to the study.

The altered rules would also reduce benefits received by many people, with 2.2m households set to have their average monthly assistance cut by $127. Nearly one million students would lose access to free or discounted lunches.

The analysis, by the not-for-profit Urban Institute, said that three planned changes to Snap would “significantly alter” food-based help provided to poor Americans, with disparities across the country in terms of impact. Benefits would be cut in most states, although states including Vermont, New York, Nevada and Connecticut would fare particularly badly.

The Urban Institute said Snap had a “proven track record of reducing both poverty and food insecurity”.

The US Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Snap program, has put forward new rules that would create stricter work requirements to be eligible for Snap and cap deductions for utility allowances. The third change would restrict the way 40 states automatically provide Snap to families once they get other types of federal assistance.

Sonny Perdue, the US agriculture secretary, wrote in a USA Today op-ed that the Trump administration was “taking steps to restore integrity to Snap and move people toward self-sufficiency”.

The rule changes, Perdue wrote, restore “the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population, while it is also respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program”.

Medals were awarded for ‘gallantry’ and ‘bravery’ after US soldiers killed hundreds of mostly unarmed Native Americans in 1890

Sioux Village, 1891, Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

Sioux Village, 1891, Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Photograph: MPI/Getty Images

The Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Merkley have announced legislation that would strip Medals of Honor from US soldiers who carried out the Wounded Knee massacre, killing hundreds of mostly unarmed Native Americans.

A House bill on the subject was introduced in June by representatives including Deb Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat who is one of the first female Native American US lawmakers.

“The horrifying acts of violence against hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee should be condemned, not celebrated with Medals of Honor,” said Warren, from Massachusetts, who is campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“The Remove the Stain Act acknowledges a profoundly shameful event in US history, and that’s why I’m joining my House colleagues in this effort to advance justice and take a step toward righting wrongs against Native peoples.”

In a statement, Haaland said the act was “about more than just rescinding Medals of Honor from soldiers who served in the US 7th Cavalry and massacred unarmed Lakota women and children [in 1890] – it’s also about making people aware of this country’s history of genocide of American Indians.”

Donald Trump has referenced Wounded Knee in mocking Warren’s claim to Native American heritage.

The senators’ announcement came on Wednesday, a day before Thanksgiving, the federal holiday commemorating a 1621 harvest meal shared by Native Americans and Pilgrims. Thanksgiving has increasingly drawn criticism for glossing over the disastrous impact of white settlement on Native Americans.

Since 1970, the United American Indians of New England organisation has held a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving day, to remember “the genocide of millions of native people, the theft of native lands and the relentless assault on native culture”, according to the Associated Press.

The National Day of Mourning takes place in Plymouth, Massachusetts, an early place of European settlement.

Wounded Knee, described by the Washington Post as “one of most shameful and bloody acts of violence against indigenous people in American history”, occurred on 29 December 1890.

Chief Big Foot, who led the Minneconjou Lakota, was guiding his people to refuge in South Dakota when US soldiers stopped them. The group surrendered and was taken to Wounded Knee Creek, “surrounded by 470 soldiers and their formidable artillery”, the Post wrote.

While exact details of the massacre have proved difficult to determine, it is believed there was a dispute while soldiers were trying to disarm the chief’s men. It is also thought a gunshot prompted American forces to attack. Between 150 and 400 Native Americans were killed. Historians agree most of the victims were women and children.

Twenty members of the 7th cavalry involved in Wounded Knee received the Medal of Honor, which is described by the Army as “the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to members of the armed forces”.

A large number of the medals were awarded for “gallantry” and “bravery” even though there are few details of purported acts of heroism, the Post noted.

Maj Gen Nelson A Miles, an army commander, wrote of the incident: “I have never heard of a more brutal, cold-blooded massacre than that at Wounded Knee.”

According to a letter cited by the Post, Miles described the victims as “women with little children on their backs, and small children powder-burned by the men who killed them being so near as to burn the flesh and clothing with the powder of their guns, and nursing babies with five bullet holes through them”.

While the Medal of Honor was granted more loosely in the 19th century, scholars have noted that the number of Wounded Knee recipients is high. Antietam, an 1862 civil war battle considered the “bloodiest day in US history”, also led to 20 awards.

Native Americans have long pushed for the revocation of medals awarded to Wounded Knee soldiers. Since 1997, the National Congress of American Indians has greenlighted resolutions requesting the removal of medals.

Congress formally apologized in 1990, stating “deep regret on behalf of the United States to the descendants of the victims and survivors and their respective tribal communities”. But, the Associated Press reported, lawmakers did not offer any type of reparations.

What is the Green New Deal?>>

O’Malley slams acting DHS deputy: ‘You cage children for a fascist president’>>

Fired navy secretary blasts Trump over ‘shocking’ handling of Navy seal case>>


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