themcglynn.com

02 May

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Asia. 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.

Some of the available newspapers:

Asia & CIS

www.newscentralasia.com/

China

english.peopledaily.com.cn/home.html

China & Hong Kong

www.scmp.com/news

France

www.france24.com/en/france/

Israel

www.haaretz.com/

Norway

www.newsinenglish.no/category/news/

Palestine

english.pnn.ps/

Russia

english.pravda.ru/

Ukraine

www.ukrainianjournal.com/

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asia

Taipower to invest US$12 billion in green energy

Source: Focus Taiwan
Edmond Yin

The state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) recently announced a plan to invest more than US$12 billion for the development of renewable energy in the next 15 years, with the aim of expanding the country’s total installed offshore wind power capacity to 180 megawatts and the total installed solar power capacity to 100 MW by 2030.

The company also aims to bring the land-based wind energy capacity and thermal power capacity up to a total of 70 MW by that time.

Over the past 15 years, Taipower has completed six wind power projects, involving the installation of 169 wind turbines. The company has completed the first phase of a solar energy development project, which includes 16 energy generation plants with total capacity of 1.82 MW. The cumulative installed wind power and solar power capacity is about 30 MW, according to the company.

Work on an offshore wind power development project in Changhua County’s Fangyuan is set to start in 2018, which is expected to attract over US$1.34 billion in investment in related fields.

The company also plans to harness energy from geothermal resources in volcanic areas of Taitung and Tatun District in Taipei’s Yangmingshan in the next four years.

It has also concluded feasibility studies on several hydro-power generation projects using water resources from Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli, Hushan Reservoir in Yunlin and Jiji Weir in Nantou. Work on the Liyutan Reservoir project is due to start in 2017 and the hydro-power plant there is set to start commercial operations in 2020, according to Taipower.

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Facing suspicious potential buyers, the US is acting as a ‘midwife’, encouraging law enforcement agencies to use the guns that can only be fired by their owners

Barack Obama speaks about gun violence in 2015.

Barack Obama speaks about gun violence in 2015. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

For more than a decade, smart guns have been stuck in a Catch-22: personalized guns don’t have a proven market, and buyers don’t want a gun they think is untested or hard to find. Now Barack Obama is trying to break that stalemate by creating a market for smart guns among law enforcement agencies around the US.

Some gun rights advocates view smart guns with suspicion, fearing that the new technology will be pushed on gun owners unwillingly, as a New Jersey law tried to do in 2002. The guns use fingerprint sensors or RFID tags to prevent the weapons from being fired by anyone except an authorized user.

“As long as we’ve got the technology to prevent a criminal from stealing and using your smartphone, then we should be able to prevent the wrong person from pulling a trigger on a gun,” the president wrote in a White House Facebook post late last week.

In a Friday report, touted by the White House as a milestone in the president’s uphill battle to reduce gun violence, federal agencies said they were working with law enforcement officials to develop standards for smart guns that could be used by police officers. Once those new standards are released, the agencies will encourage law enforcement officers to volunteer to test smart guns in the field. They have promised that federal funding will be available to help police departments and other agencies buy new guns.

If the technology can meet the standards – and if agencies can cooperate – the purchasing power of the federal government could be an enormous boost to the nascent industry………

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Greenpeace says internal documents show US attempts to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health

Protesters wear masks of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel as they demonstrate against TTIP free trade agreement

Protesters wear masks of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel as they demonstrate against TTIP free trade agreement. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, according to leaked negotiating texts.

The two sides are also at odds over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection.

President Obama said last week he was confident a deal could be reached. But the leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, paint a very different picture.

“Discussions on cosmetics remain very difficult and the scope of common objectives fairly limited,” says one internal note by EU trade negotiators. Because of a European ban on animal testing, “the EU and US approaches remain irreconcilable and EU market access problems will therefore remain,” the note says.

Talks on engineering were also “characterised by continuous reluctance on the part of the US to engage in this sector,” the confidential briefing says.

These problems are not mentioned in a separate report on the state of the talks, also leaked, which the European commission has prepared for scrutiny by the European parliament.

These outline the positions exchanged between EU and US negotiators between the 12th and the 13th round of TTIP talks, which took place in New York last week………….

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Ninety-nine people are believed to have drowned in two separate incidents off the coast of Libya over the weekend

Survivors arrive at the Lampedusa harbour

Survivors arrive at the Lampedusa harbour. Eighty-four people are still missing after an inflatable craft sank off the coast of Libya. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A newborn baby is among 99 people believed to have drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the Libyan coast this weekend, according to survivors who arrived in Italy.

Twenty-six survivors were rescued by a commercial vessel after a rubber dinghy in which they were travelling sank in the Mediterranean on Friday, a few hours after departing from Sabratha in Libya. They were transferred to Italian coastguard ships before being brought ashore in Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The baby was among 84 people still missing on Saturday.

“The dinghy was taking on water, in very bad conditions. Many people had already fallen in the sea and drowned,” said Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM spokesman in Italy.

“They are all very shocked,” Di Giacomo said, adding they would receive psychological support in Lampedusa.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said that after taking on water the boat broke into two pieces and 26 people were saved from the sea.

Survivors from a second shipwreck arrived in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo on Sunday, after an accident during a search-and-rescue operation the day before. Two bodies were recovered and brought ashore along with eight of about 105 people saved, who were taken to hospital in serious condition….

eur

Long before we knew the ex-president suffered from Alzheimer’s, reports of his issues with lucidity were fair game – why can’t satire be the great equalizer?

It took less than 24 hours for Will Ferrell to back out of playing President Ronald Reagan.

It took less than 24 hours for Will Ferrell to back out of playing President Ronald Reagan. Composite: Wireimage/AFP/Getty Images

It took a little more than 12 hours for Will Ferrell to drop out of a starring role in a satirical film about Ronald Reagan’s struggles with Alzheimer’s – just long enough for conservatives to muster up a bit of outrage with which to knock the comedian into submission, and to raise questions about whether the free speech brigade has become PC. Hadn’t they said self-censorship and worrying about offending people are signs of the apocalypse? Aren’t I a bleeding heart liberal who needs to lighten up? Partisan gaming aside, how far can satire go – is there a line? I’d argue yes, even when it comes to leaders round the world.

It’s easy to make fun of politicians, especially presidents. Most have big, honking targets on their backs, or, in the case of Bill Clinton, a massive nose on his face – ready material for cartoonists, journalists and comedy writers. It’s also cathartic for the public to needle our fellow citizens who wield the bloody cudgel of authority.

We see our leaders every day, on television, the internet, or the front page of a tabloid – the ubiquity of heads of state is rivaled only by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, who seems to hold more sway over the average human life than the president of Brazil, impeached or unimpeached. I could probably draw Barack Obama’s face from memory faster than I could my own face (to be fair, I mostly know my face from absolute necessity – it’s unavoidable when I have to take on a pimple or measure the width of my bald spot).

Politicians are especially inviting for mockery when you realize that they control our lives and may or may not be unrepentantly corrupt. The image of David Cameron, the British prime minister, defiling a pig knocks him down to our level, or slightly below us – I don’t know many pig defilers at this stage.

The moralistic ones are even more tempting. The “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” meme is funny only because the man persists in telling everyone else on the planet how to behave, like some kind of beady-eyed Miss Manners. I hate to explain how comedy works, but if he actually murdered anyone, we probably wouldn’t laugh quite as much………….

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A jackal squares up to a lion and a gorilla prepares to fight his own reflection. Motion-sensitive ‘camera traps’ capture some startlingly unguarded animal behaviour

US politics

Election 2016

Bernie Sanders vows a contested convention despite ‘tough road’ ahead

Who will Hillary Clinton’s running mate be? Here are some ideas

Mississippi advocates fear abuse ‘epidemic’ after senate kills divorce bill

Ted Cruz rails against Trump-Clinton ‘cartel’ in final push ahead of Indiana

Donald Trump forced from his motorcade amid chaotic protests at California convention

Opinion

From abortion and refugees, to the endless debates and that thing on Ted Cruz’s lip – everything about this election makes me miserable

‘The next time some rightwing dillweed drops a turd like woman card, will anyone remember we’ve already debunked this?’

‘The next time some rightwing dillweed drops a turd like woman card, will anyone remember we’ve already debunked this?’ Photograph: Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

I was chatting with a friend recently – a successful actor who does abortion-rights advocacy on the side – about a big pro-choice fundraiser she’s currently orchestrating. It was past midnight at her house, but she was still up, still working, clacking away at her laptop, tying up loose ends, pushing ticket sales, gathering auction items – her “side” project looking suspiciously like a second full-time job.

“You’re a hero,” I said.

“No, I am not,” she snapped, vehement. “Somebody’s got to do it. It’s a fucking embarrassment that I have to.”

She was right. “Our country is a septic tank,” I sighed. “On fire.”

“Full-on fail.”

I still think that choosing to take on the exhausting, sisyphean, largely thankless work of abortion advocacy (we are not taught to say “thank you” for abortion; we are taught to never speak of it at all) is heroic. She could choose to leave that work to others, but she doesn’t. That’s significant.

But that reaction – somebody’s got to do it, so I do – triggered a familiar weariness in me. We shouldn’t have to spend our spare time working, pro bono, to remove stigma from a procedure so common that a full third of the women you know have had one; or to raise money to help impoverished pregnant people travel hundreds of miles, to other states, to exercise a legal right; or to convince a supposedly free and enlightened nation, in 2016, that people with uteruses are autonomous human beings deserving of basic medical care. Each of these things should be a given, and we’ve been having this conversation since before my grandmother was born, so why are we still talking about it now? When will the “debate” end so that women can finally be fully invested in their work and passions and lives?

It was when I sat down to write about Donald Trump’s statement – he said: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card” – that I realised: it’s the same thing. How many times do feminists have to deconstruct and debunk the notion of the “woman card”? How many rounds are we going to go this time? How many thinkpieces do we need before society accepts that sexism is real and we can move on to the far more important work of repairing the damage it has caused? The next time some rightwing dillweed drops a turd like “woman card”, will anyone remember that women have already done this labour? Or will we just have to do it all over again?………….

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