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23 Sep

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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Bannon vows to set up ‘war rooms’ to boost anti-EU radical ri

FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP

US President Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday said he would set up “war rooms” across Europe to help form a pan-continental right-wing movement ahead of European parliamentary elections in 2019.

Speaking at the congress of the Italian far-right Fratelli d’Italia party, Bannon called for people across Europe to join him in an anti-EU campaign against traditional political parties.

“We will provide and do pollings and data analytics and set up war rooms that people need to win elections,” Bannon told a crowd in Rome, watched on by dozens of journalists.

Bannon, Trump‘s former advisor who has said being called racist is a “badge of honour”, has visited various European countries in recent months in the hope of building a so-called populist revolt in European politics.

>> Read more: Will Europe’s nationalists welcome Bannon’s attempt to unite the right?

He has focused on touting plans for a Brussels-based foundation called “The Movement” and met leading anti-immigration politicians including Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

“After the November [US mid-term] elections, when President Trump defeats the cultural Marxist Democratic parties, and he is not impeached, I will be spending 80% of my time in Europe in preparation for the European Parliamentary elections,” Bannon said.

Austrian resistance

Bannon also heaped praise on European populist leaders, including Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing, anti-migrant League party.

Salvini, who addressed the forum earlier Saturday, said the European elections in May would give right-wingers across the continent “a chance to send a force into government in Europe that’s not socialist” – even though conservatives have dominated the European Parliament for the past two decades.

Bannon’s increased visibility in Europe comes after he was pushed out of the White House and departed the right-wing Breitbart media empire, condemned by some commentators as spreading racist and misogynist views.

His European forays have not always been welcomed by the continent’s far-right parties.

Earlier this month the Austrian far-right Freedom Party, part of the country’s ruling coalition, said it was not keen on collaborating with Bannon.

“We want to forge alliances in Europe but we do it independently of the US, Russia or anyone else,” said party leader Harald Vilimsky.

“We want to grow, expand on our own and develop our programme and ideas on our own, but surely not under the leadership of someone active in the United States,” he added.

World Politics

United States

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused supreme court nominee of sexual assault, has provisionally agreed to appear in public

Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before the Senate judiciary committee on Capitol Hill on 4 September.

Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before the Senate judiciary committee on Capitol Hill on 4 September. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has reportedly reached a tentative agreement to testify before the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday. Should the hearing proceed, it may prove a decisive moment in the confirmation of the conservative judge.

Multiple reports on Sunday indicated that Ford, a 51-year-old professor at Palo Alto University who alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the early 1980s, had provisionally agreed to appear in public late next week. Kavanaugh, who has denied the allegations, is expected to appear.

The finer points of Ford’s appearance were reportedly being negotiated by lawyers for Ford and bipartisan committee representatives. Senate Republicans on the judiciary panel, all of whom are men, were seeking to hire a female attorney.

The committee’s Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley, has rejected an application from Ford’s lawyers for her to appear after Kavanaugh, which would give her the opportunity to rebut his comments.

The senator from Iowa also rejected Ford’s requests to call additional witnesses, including a Mark Judge, a high school friend of Kavanaugh who was allegedly present in the room at the high school party where the violent assault is alleged to have occurred. Judge has said he has no recollection of events described by Ford and does not wish to testify.

Every accuser deserves the right to be heard. But at the same time I think the accused deserves the right to be heard

Nikki Haley

On Sunday, a Fox News poll indicated a slump in support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, with just 40% of voters approving his suitability for the highest court in the land. With the midterm elections less than two months away, the White House remains concerned Ford’s potential appearance could not only derail Kavanaugh but also damage the Republican party among female voters.

The outcome of Kavanaugh’s confirmation could determine the ideological balance of the court for years. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement prompted Donald Trump’s second nomination, was the swing vote on a number of key decisions.

Trump, himself accused by at least 16 women of sexual misconduct, has offered his full support to Kavanaugh. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, he described the judge as a “fine man, with an impeccable reputation” and attacked Ford’s credibility, asking: “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”

A number of senior female Republicans hit back. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday: “Every accuser always deserves the right to be heard. But at the same time I think the accused deserves the right to be heard.”

Haley added: “Accusers go through a lot of trauma. Some handle it one way, some handle it another. Regardless, it’s not something we want to do to blame the accuser or to try and second guess the accuser.”

I’m going to do everything I can to make sure she can tell her story free of intimidation

Mazie Hirono

Senator Susan Collins of Maine branded Trump’s tweets “completely inappropriate and wrong”.

“I was appalled by the president’s tweet,” she said. “We know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist.”

Nonetheless, Republican senators on the judiciary committee have indicated they support Kavanaugh. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News Sunday he would view Ford’s appearance “from a prism of being reasonable and fair to Judge Kavanaugh”…………..

In an interview with the Washington Post, she said she was able to escape but remained traumatized by the incident into adulthood, describing it as a “rape attempt”.

According to a report in the Post on Saturday, Kavanaugh has been taking practice questions from White House aides. Citing anonymous sources, the paper reported that the judge grew frustrated by practice questions relating to his drinking habits and sexual experience, declining to answer some questions altogether.

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Conservative groups such as Pilf publish voters’ details online in what experts say amounts to ‘insidious modern-day intimidation’

With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, and with so much riding at both national and state level on voter turnout, the stakes could not be higher.

With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, and with so much riding at both national and state level on voter turnout, the stakes could not be higher. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

In June last year, Luis, a resident of Virginia, was astonished to discover that his name and personal details, including home address, had been posted on the internet by a group known as the Public Interest Legal Foundation (Pilf).

Luis’s data had been released by the group, along with hundreds of other names, as an appendix to Pilf’s two-part report called “Alien Invasion”. The front cover showed a UFO hovering ominously over a billboard on which the famous tourism slogan “Virginia is for lovers” had been photoshopped to read: “Virginia is for aliens”.

In lurid language, Pilf claimed that it had uncovered proof that “large numbers of ineligible aliens are registering to vote and casting ballots”. It warned its readers: “Your vote is at risk. New alien voters are being added to the rolls month after month, and swift changes must be made to ensure that only Americans are choosing American leaders.”

The only problem was that Luis, in common with dozens of other Virginians on the list posted by Pilf, was not in fact an “alien”. He was born in Los Angeles and has always enjoyed US citizenship, with full rights to vote since the age of 18.

He also happens to be a federal employee of the US immigration service. Yet here he was, his name attached to a report in which Pilf claimed to have discovered more than 5,000 non-citizens in Virginia who had cast 7,474 votes – every one a criminal act amounting to a felony.

The insinuation was deeply troubling to Luis. As a federal worker he could face intense scrutiny as a result of any suggestion of illegal activity (for the same reason he asked the Guardian to use only his first name).

Luis was also disturbed on behalf of hundreds of other people who also had their personal details – names, addresses and in some cases even home phone numbers – posted in the appendices of the Pilf reports. “I thought if my name is on the list, and I’m a US citizen, how many others were wrongly accused of being illegal ‘alien’ voters?”

Alien Invasion is one of the more startling examples of a growing rightwing push to pressurize election officials across the country to purge large numbers of people from the registered voter rolls. With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, and with so much riding at both national and state level on voter turnout, the stakes could not be higher.

Voting rights experts warn that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters could face hurdles as they try to get to polling stations in November. African American, Hispanic or other minority communities, as well as young voters, are especially vulnerable to purges as they more frequently experience the kind of bureaucratic hiccups that can lead them to them being mistakenly ruled ineligible.

They are promoting purges that prevent eligible voters from participating in our democracy

Chiraag Bains, Demos

A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that since 2013, when the US supreme court drastically reduced federal controls against discriminatory behavior by largely southern states, there has been a dramatic uptick in voter purges. The numbers affected are breathtaking: between 2014 and 2016 alone, 16 million people nationwide were removed from register rolls.

The US Department of Justice, which has the task of protecting the voting rights of Americans, has increasingly switched its focus under Donald Trump from policing purges to encouraging them. The president has personally championed conspiracy theories about “alien” voters, claiming that 3m illegal votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election – conveniently, precisely the number by which his rival Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.

In June, the US supreme court lent its weight to the wave of purges sweeping the country when it ruled in favor of Ohio’s tough stance in which citizens can be thrown off voter lists simply for missing an election and then fail to respond to official correspondence. Should other states follow in Ohio’s footsteps, the Washington Post estimates that millions of legitimate American citizens who should be fully entitled to participate in the democratic process will be in peril of being cast adrift.

Pilf and its president, J Christian Adams, a former senior official in the DoJ, are at the forefront of the wave. Justin Levitt, one of the country’s foremost election experts who was a senior official in the civil rights division of the justice department and is now a professor of election law at Loyola in Los Angeles, said: “Pilf wants to sweep people off the lists in ways that are unreliable, and poor and transient people are more likely to get knocked off the rolls and then find it harder to get back on.”

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