06 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Obama faces TPP deal balancing act as Congress considers approval

President looks to quell criticism of trade agreement from the likes of Bernie Sanders on the left and Senator Orrin Hatch on the right after international talks

Barack Obama<br>FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in Emmitsburg, Md. The White House is expected to announce Monday, Oct. 5, the designation of two new marine sanctuaries in the tidal waters of Maryland and Wisconsin?s Lake Michigan, the first chosen in 15 years. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Barack Obama is walking a narrow path between the political left and right on the TPP deal. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

The White House began lobbying Democrats to take a fresh look at a controversial free trade agreement on Monday after concessions aimed at appeasing some critics on the left risked fracturing fragile support among Republicans.

Despite narrowly securing congressional approval to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 other countries, Barack Obama still has to persuade a majority of US lawmakers to pass the final deal, which aims to remove thousands of import tariffs.

The White House warned it would take several months before a vote on TPP but said officials had already begun to contact members of Congress to persuade them the deal walked a sensible line between critics on the left and right.

“Our goal here is to talk about the benefits of the agreement,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. “There are well-known differences of opinion on this and I don’t anticipate we are going to persuade every member of Congress.”

Republicans reacted coolly to the announcement that international negotiations had concluded on Monday, particularly news that measures favouring tobacco and pharmaceutical industries had been left out of the agreed text, making negotiations more difficult for Obama.

“While the details are still emerging … I am afraid this deal appears to fall woefully short,” said Orrin Hatch, chair of the finance committee, which is responsible for trade, in the Senate.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the US should not settle for a mediocre deal that fails to set high-standard trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come,” he added. “Closing a deal is an achievement for our nation only if it works for the American people and can pass Congress.”

The deal was also slammed by critics on the left, particularly presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who called it “disastrous” despite the minor concessions on tobacco and pharmaceuticals……………….


Binyamin Netanyahu promises ‘harsh’ action after days of rising violence, as protests mount at prime minister’s handling of crisis

in Jerusalem

Residents wander through the rubble left after Israeli security forces destroyed the family homes of two Palestinians who carried out deadly attacks in Jerusalem last year. The demolition explosion, which took place before dawn on Tuesday, blew out the interior of the structure but the supporting pillars remain intact. The houses destroyed were the former homes of Ghassan Abu Jamal and Mohammed Jaabis who carried out separate attacks

Israeli security forces have demolished the homes of two Palestinians behind lethal attacks on Israelis last year, and sealed off another, following prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s threat of “harsh” action amid sharply mounting unrest.

The acceleration of the controversial policy of house demolitions was one of a package of measures announced in recent days by Netanyahu to quell days of escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis, amid mounting criticism of Netanyahu’s leadership.

The houses destroyed were the former homes of Ghassan Abu Jamal and Mohammed Jaabis. Abu Jamal, with his cousin Uday Abu Jamal, killed four rabbis and a police officer in a bloody attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in 2014, before being shot and killed.

Jaabis rammed an earthmover into a bus in August, killing an Israeli and wounding several others. He was shot dead by police at the scene.

The demolitions took place hours after several thousand largely right-wing Israelis demonstrated outside Netanyahu’s home to protest his handling of the crisis.

The protest was attended by prominent figures in Israel’s national religious and right-wing political communities, including MPs from Netanyahu’s own Likud party, amid concern that the current tensions are in danger of being transformed into a new intifada (uprising).

Netanyahu has also faced criticism within his own cabinet, including from right-wing education minister Naftali Bennett and justice minister Ayelet Shaked, whom sources in the prime minister’s office accused of exploiting the current unrest “for political gain”………………….


  • Kenney Bui was injured during game on Friday
  • Evan Murray died at end of September
Kenney Bui

Kenney Bui died late on Monday morning. Photograph: Don Campbell/AP

Yet another tragedy has hit high school football, with the news that a Seattle senior died on Monday morning, reportedly from a traumatic brain injury suffered during a game last week.

The death of Kenney Bui of Evergreen High School comes a week after Evan Murray, a New Jersey student, died from massive internal bleeding after taking a hit during a game. Two other high school football players were killed in September – on the 19th Ben Hamm of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, died from injuries sustained eight days earlier, and on 4 September Tyrell Cameron of Winnsboro, Louisiana, died during a game.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, five players died last season from injuries directly related to high school football. Since 2005, the number to have died is 30.

“It is with great sadness that school board president Bernie Dorsey and I share with you that TEC High School senior Kenney Bui, who was critically injured in Friday night’s Evergreen v Highline football game, died this morning at the hospital,” Highline public schools superintendent Susan Enfield said in a statement.

“This is a devastating loss for all of us – Evergreen students, families, and staff, and our entire Highline community. Our deepest condolences go out to Kenney’s family and all who knew him. Please join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.”………………


Attorney general announces pilot open-source program to track police-involved deaths paralleling methodology used by the Guardian’s The Counted project

attorney general, Loretta Lynch

The attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said: ‘The department’s position and the administration’s position has consistently been that we need to have national, consistent data.’ Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The US government is trialling a new open-source system to count killings by police around the country, in the most comprehensive official effort so far to accurately record the number of deaths at the hands of American law enforcement.

The pilot program was announced by the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on Monday and follows concerted calls from campaigners and lawmakers for better official data on police killings, after a nationwide debate about race and policing was sparked by protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

In anticipation of the launch, further details of the Department of Justice program were shared with the Guardian, which publishes The Counted, a crowdsourced investigative project that attempts to track all those killed by US law enforcement in 2015. The program is understood to be already active, with a view to full implementation at the start of 2016.

The program will be run by the DoJ’s statistics division, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and is seen internally as a more robust version of the currently defunct Arrest Related Deaths Count, which published annual data between 2003 and 2009 using statistics supplied by some of the United States’ 18,000 law enforcement agencies. The BJS eventually stopped collecting this data in 2014 as the level of reporting varied dramatically from state to state, due to the voluntary nature of the program.

The new program, Lynch said on Monday, will start by procuring open-sourced records, such as media reports, of officer-involved deaths, and then move towards verifying facts about the incident by surveying local police departments, medical examiner’s offices and investigative…………….





Eleven-year-old boy is in custody for murder after fatally shooting eight-year-old neighbor in chest using his father’s shotgun, Tennessee sheriff said

police tape

Tennessee boy allegedly shot his eight-year-old neighbor after she refused to let him see her two new puppies, Jefferson County authorities said. Photograph: Steve Skjold / Alamy/Alamy

An 11-year-old eastern Tennessee boy was in custody for murder on Monday for shooting and killing an eight-year-old neighbor girl with a shotgun because she would not show him her puppies, authorities said.

The unidentified boy was talking to three girls who were outside the window of his mobile home on Saturday evening and asked one of them if he could see her two new puppies, but the girl refused, according to Jefferson County sheriff GW “Bud” McCoig.

The boy retrieved his father’s 12-gauge shotgun, shot the girl in the chest from the window, and then threw the weapon outside by the girl’s body, McCoig said.

The girl has been identified as Maykayla Dyer, a third-grader at White Pine elementary school. The boy was in fifth grade at the same school, where counselors were on hand Monday to help the other children deal with the news, McCoig said.

“It is a sad, sad situation,” said McCoig. “We hope this don’t ever happen again.”

McCoig said the girl was unresponsive at the scene, and was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital. The boy, who was unidentified, was taken into custody at his home……………….




Masai Mara’s annual migration, deer rutting season, manatees and curious macaques are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world


A Sulawesi black macaque tries to see his own reflection in the rearview mirror of a motorcycle at Tangkoko national park in Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Photograph: Sijori Images/Barcroft India


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