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13 Jul

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.

World Politics

United States & Great Britain

Theresa May and Donald Trump hold joint press conference

Theresa May and Donald Trump hold joint press conference

(now), and (earlier)

Trump backtracks over Brexit criticism, calling Sun interview ‘fake news’ – live

President’s first official visit to UK off to shaky start after president said Theresa May’s Brexit plan would ‘kill’ trade deal with US

Corbyn says UK should not be ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for Trump

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has given a TV interview about President Trump’s visit. He said the UK should not be rolling out the red carpet for Trump. He said:

Whatever the decision the Queen decides to take about whether to invite him to tea or not and what advice the prime minister gives on that is between them, I don’t know what went on. But personally I don’t think we should have been rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump.

We should be having meetings with the US government, the administration, as we always should, as we should with every other government in the world. We have to relate to other governments but you’ve got to be clear what you’re doing. Are we rolling out the red carpet uncritically or saying, hang on, there are issues where we fundamentally disagree?

He also particularly criticised what Trump said about Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London. Corbyn said:

It is quite without precedent and quite unreasonable the way Trump treats London and treats Sadiq Khan.

When a terrible incident happened… then surely you should recognise that the police and community have a job to do and what Sadiq has sought to do is bring people together in unity to keep London together, just as happened after 7/7 all those years ago.

The statement by Donald Trump condemning the mayor and then going on with a general condemnation of Muslim migration into the United States is not helpful, in fact is very dangerous to community relations, and I think the statement that Sadiq has made in response is very good.

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Trump’s first official visit to UK off to shaky start after president said Theresa May’s Brexit plan would ‘kill’ trade deal with US

(now), and (earlier)

The moment Trump baby blimp lifts off – video

Jessica Elgot,: Donald Trump told reporters as he landed at Chequers that he and Theresa May had “probably never developed a better relationship” than during last night’s dinner at Blenheim. The pair are expected to talk now about trade and security, and emerge for a press conference in the garden at 1.45pm.

Around 15 minutes earlier there was excitement on the ground as two military helicopters passed overhead – while the blimp was fully inflated but moored to the ground. “Quick turn him around, turn him around,” went up the cry, but organisers said he wasn’t allowed to take to the air before 9.30am. If Trump had been in the helicopter and looking out of the window, he might have caught a glance of the behind of the baby blimp.

Sheila Menon: One of the “Trump babysitters” said that the humorous protest was the perfect antidote to the misery created by Trump. “For me this is British political satire at it’s finest,” said Menon. “You can’t dismiss this as childish or offensive – it is a creative, safe and non-violent way to make a real political statement and hold oppressors to account.”

As the blimp went up an American thanked one of the organisers saying, “As an American it means so much to us that you have done this, thank you so much.”

Jessica Elgot: Bleary-eyed political correspondents were told to arrive at Lancaster House this morning at 6am, almost eight hours before the press conference was due to start at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat in Buckinghamshire, just an hour’s drive away.

The reason given was the tight US security, reporters were scanned and then travelled on buses to the country house, at the insistence that the press arrive ahead of Trump. Outside, police have come from as far away as Staffordshire.

In the walled garden, a temporary media village in a marquee has been set up for the parliamentary lobby and the White House press corps. Reporters are here from all the major US networks and papers, as well as agencies and channels from all over the world, with hours to wait in the sunshine before the president has finished his bilateral talks with May.

On the big screen TV in the marquee, the news channel is playing Trump’s damning quotes about May on loud repeat, background noise that can’t be helping the nerves of the Downing Street staffers.

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FBI Agent rejects GOP allegations of anti-Trump bias in contentious hearing>>

Up to 250,000 without shelter having fled birthplace of uprising where surrender agreed

The Syrian national flag flies in Deraa after troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad entered the city.

The Syrian national flag flies in Deraa after troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad entered the city. Photograph: Mohamad Abazeed/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations has called for unimpeded access to almost 250,000 Syrians stranded in the desert near Jordan and Israel, who fled as forces loyal to the regime of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, entered rebel-controlled parts of Deraa, the birthplace of protests that led to the country’s civil and proxy war.

The UN high commissioner for refugees said 234,500 people had fled the violence in the country’s south since mid-June. The international body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said their situation was “dire”. It said they were residing without shelter or protection from desert heat and winds and had dwindling food supplies, as it called on all warring sides to allow the passage of aid deliveries to civilians.

The UN’s call came hours after a symbolic victory for Assad’s forces that illustrates the turning tides of the conflict. Syrian state media said they hoisted their flag for the first time in years in the rebel-controlled parts of the city after a surrender deal was agreed with local rebels, which included a planned handover of weapons and the exile of opposition fighters and activists.

“Units of the Syrian Arab army entered the district of Deraa al-Balad and raised the national flag in the main square … a declaration that Deraa is now clear of terrorism,” said the state news agency Sana, referring to the opposition groups as terrorists.

Protests in Deraa in March 2011 against the incarceration and torture of teenagers who had scrawled anti-government graffiti on their school wall, sparked a nationwide outcry against the Assad family. A violent crackdown on protesters would later lead to an armed uprising.

The victory over rebels in the cradle of the uprising, and the reclaiming of the entire city for the first time in seven years, is a powerful symbol heralding the military defeat of a rebellion that aimed to unseat the Assad dynasty but was waylaid by violent government repression, the rise of Islamist extremists, the unwavering support of the regime’s allies Russia and Iran and the dithering of western powers.

“People have accepted the reality that the entire world is fighting against the revolution, and therefore it cannot continue,” said one aid worker from Deraa who requested anonymity in order to avoid retribution from government forces that now control the province.

The surrounding province of Deraa also has great strategic significance due to its proximity to the border with Israel, and it straddles the Jordanian border. Tel Aviv has warned it would not tolerate Iranian-backed militias close to the Golan Heights.

The Syrian government announced an offensive last month to reclaim all of the province of Deraa, where western-backed rebels controlled swathes of territory in what was ostensibly a “de-escalation” zone.

But the offensive, backed by Russia, months after a brutal assault on the region around Damascus known as eastern Ghouta that killed 2,000 people and involved the use of chemical weapons, prompted the flight of more than 250,000 civilians from the area in one of the largest single displacements in the conflict.

Rebels quickly sought to negotiate with Assad’s Russian sponsors after the US, which for years had backed the southern rebels, said it would not intervene militarily to protect them. One western diplomat said the “moral hazard” of intervening in the crisis has increased with time.

The surrender deal mirrors that in other parts of Syria: the handover of heavy weapons and forced displacement of those who oppose the agreement to the country’s northern territories, which are controlled either by rebel groups or proxies of Turkey.

Government forces are expected to turn to Idlib in the north, where Islamist militias and al-Qaida-linked militants control territory hosting more than two million internal refugees.

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From Europe to Africa, extreme and widespread heat raises climate concerns in hottest La Niña year to date on record

Dried up River Kennet in Wiltshire following the prolonged heatwave in England

The dried up River Kennet in Wiltshire following the prolonged heatwave in England. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Record high temperatures have been set across much of the world this week as an unusually prolonged and broad heatwave intensifies concerns about climate change.

The past month has seen power shortages in California as record heat forced a surge of demand for air conditioners. Algeria has experienced the hottest temperature ever reliably registered in Africa. Britain, meanwhile, has experienced its third longest heatwave, melting the roof of a science building in Glasgow and exposing ancient hill forts in Wales.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the rising temperatures were at odds with a global cyclical climate phenomena known as La Niña, which is usually associated with cooling.

“The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the WMO.

Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies.

Last week, a weather station at Ouargla in Algeria’s Sahara Desert, reported a maximum temperature of 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa.

Even when the sun goes down, night is not providing the cooling relief it once did in many parts of the world. At Quriyat, on the coast of Oman, overnight temperatures remained above 42.6C, which is believed to be the highest “low” temperature ever recorded in the world. Downtown Los Angeles also saw a new monthly July minimum overnight record of 26.1C on 7 July.

Globally, the warmest year on record was in 2016, boosted by the natural climate cycle El Niño. Last year, temperatures hit the highest level without that amplifying phenomenon. This year, at the other cooling end of the cycle, is continuing the overall upward trend.

Swathes of the northern hemisphere have seen unusually persistent warmth due to strong, persistent high pressure systems that have created a “heat dome” over much of Eurasia.

“What’s unusual is the hemispheric scale of the heatwave,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “It’s not just the magnitude in any one location but that high temperatures are being seen over such a large area.”

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