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16 Jun

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.

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World Politics

Australia

Julie Bishop will not follow US lead, despite pressure from her party to do so

Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull

Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull at the Liberal party council in Sydney. Bishop has ruled out moving Australia’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Australia will not be following Donald Trump’s lead and moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Julie Bishop has said, despite strong support from the party’s base.

The Liberal party’s youth arm had called on the government to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s legislative capital, and to suspend all aid to Palestine “until it terminates its ‘Martyr’s fund”.

The motion, which is non-binding, was carried in a vote 43 to 31, but the foreign minister said there was no chance the government would adopt it as policy. There are 110 council delegates who have voting rights at the national council.

“While I understand the sentiment behind this resolution, the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem,” Bishop said.

“Jerusalem is a final status issue and we have maintained that position for decades and we are doing all we can do to ensure that any support we give to the Palestinian Authority is only used for purposes that we determine.”

Bishop said she had recently written to her Palestinian counterpart to ensure Australian aid, about $43m in the next financial year, was being spent on health, education and governance.

“Our funding to the Palestinian Authority is subject to a memorandum of understanding, defining precisely how it is used and subject to very close audit to ensure that no funds are diverted to the so-called Martyr’s fund,” she said.

But Australia did side with the United States to vote against a UN human rights council motion for an independent investigation into last month’s “March of Return” protest deaths.

In explaining why Australia was the only other nation, other than America, to vote against sending in investigators, Australian officials said they were concerned the investigation “was not independent or impartial.

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United States

Trump on North Korean nuclear threat: ‘I have solved that problem’ – video

CBS News

President Trump defended his praise of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and claimed credit for solving the nuclear threat. In a wide-ranging press appearance, Mr. Trump also said he would not sign a moderate immigration bill and claimed the IG report “exonorated” him. Democratic strategist Lynda Tran, Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez and CBSN political contributor Caitlin Huey-Burns joined CBSN with analysis.

The McGlynn: Obviously he hasn’t “solved” anything. He has gotten almost as far as Presidents have done several times before, and he has done it by giving legitimacy and praise to one of the most brutal dictators in modern history.

President, in blatant mischaracterization of official justice department report, claims it found ‘total bias’ at FBI

Russia inquiry: how Trump’s inner circle could bring him down – video explainer

Donald Trump has falsely claimed a report issued on Thursday by a Department of Justice watchdog “totally exonerates” him of allegations of collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice.

The president also claimed to have the support of “the real FBI. Not the scum on top.”

Trump was responding to the inspector general’s review of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state – not alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Nonetheless he attempted to conflate the two, telling reporters at the White House: “I think the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion, there was no obstruction, and if you read the report you’ll see that.”

Trump added: “What you’ll really see is you’ll see bias against me and millions and tens of millions of my followers that is really a disgrace and yet, if you look at the FBI, and you went in and polled the FBI, the real FBI, those guys love me and I love them.”

The investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump aides and Moscow by special counsel Robert Mueller has, Trump claimed, been “totally discredited”.

The DoJ inspector general’s report found no evidence that the former FBI director James Comey was motivated by political bias and did not fault his decision that Clinton should not face prosecution. It did conclude that he was “insubordinate” in failing to follow protocol and that he himself used a personal email account to conduct official business.

FBI agents were also criticised for making politically charged remarks in text messages. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were having an affair at the time, showed a “willingness to take official action to impact” Trump’s election chances, the report said.

Trump rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was no political bias in the FBI’s actions. “The end result was wrong,” he said. “There was total bias. That was the most biased set of circumstances I’ve ever seen in my life. Comey was the ringleader of this whole, you know, den of thieves. It was a den of thieves.”

Asked if Comey should be jailed, the president said: “What [Comey] did was criminal. What he did was a terrible thing to the people. What he did was so bad in terms of our constitution, in terms of the wellbeing of our country. What he did was horrible. Should he be locked up? Let somebody make the determination.”

Trump held the impromptu question-and-answer session after appearing on Fox & Friends, the reverently pro-Trump morning show which conducted its broadcast from the North Lawn of the White House.

In a basic and blatant mischaracterisation of the report, Trump said it had shown the FBI was biased against him “at the top level” and was “plotting against my election”. He added: “I’m actually proud because I beat the Clinton dynasty, I beat the Bush dynasty. Now, I guess, hopefully I’m in the process of beating very dishonest intelligence.”

Discussing his supporters, Trump told Fox: “I have the real FBI. Not the scum on top, not Comey and that group of people.” He then repeated a threat to “get involved” with the Department of Justice, a possible move which, though never defined, has prompted alarm among constitutional experts.

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Enbridge wants to build a new tar sands pipeline 

Trucks and machinery along routes within the Suncore tar sands site near to Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta.

Trucks and machinery along routes within the Suncore tar sands site near to Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels. These are low-quality heavy tar-like oils that are mined from sand or rock. Much of the mining occurs in Alberta Canada, but it is also mined elsewhere, in lesser quantities.

Tar sands are the worst. Not only are they really hard to get out of the ground, requiring enormous amounts of energy; not only are they difficult to transport and to refine; not only are they more polluting than regular oils; they even have a by-product called “petcoke” that’s used in power plants, but is dirtier than regular coal.

This stuff is worse than regular oil, worse than coal, worse than anything. Anyone who is serious about climate change cannot agree to mine and burn tar sands. To maintain climate change below critical thresholds, tar sands need to be left in the ground.

This fact is what motivated me to testify to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last November, to inform my state’s ruling commission about the impact of tar sands on the climate. Canadian energy company Enbridge has petitioned to put a pipeline through my state to carry this dirty tar to refining sites on the coast.

The proposed pipeline is called “Line 3.” The pipeline would carry approximately 760,000 barrels per day – the new pipeline would make it easier and cheaper for the oil companies to transport tar sands and consequently, would boost their bottom line. We already move over two million barrels per day through Minnesota in Enbridge pipelines. This new pipeline would encourage them to extract and sell more tar sands.

So, how much pollution would this pipeline carry? 170bn kilograms of carbon dioxide each year. The emissions are equal to approximately 50 coal power plants. These are huge numbers, but more importantly, approval of pipelines like this make it more likely that all of the tar sands in Alberta will be extracted. If that happens, global temperatures will increase by approximately 0.65°F (0.36°C). An astonishing number – approximately three decades worth of global warming.

If you care about climate change, then it is not logically possible to approve any pipeline or other infrastructure that may further worsen our climate. We are already screwing up the climate enough as it is.

The decision-making body in my state has heard climate arguments before. In fact, in 2016, the same body ruled against the coal giant Peabody. That ruling decided that fossil fuel companies low-balled the social cost of carbon. Back then, Peabody brought in a group of climate contrarians to argue their nonsense. My colleagues and I were able to convince the Commission that the facts were clear – we are causing climate change, and our decisions today can make tomorrow’s climate worse. This ruling was used when evaluating the social cost of carbon pollution for a new Line 3 pipeline. A judge found that emissions from this project would impose $287bn in social costs over 30 years……………I would hate to be a fossil fuel lawyer, or executive, or lawmaker who fights for climate destruction today and has to justify his actions to his kids tomorrow. History will be a very harsh judge to them; but of course it will be too late for the rest of us.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, if we cannot say no to tar sands, what can we say no to?

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