13 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


His unwavering calm and freedom to confess his own frailty has resonated with a nation watching him navigate the aftermath of the killing of five of his officers

Dallas police chief David Brown on Monday gave an update on the investigation into the shooting deaths of five officers last Friday in the city, saying police were still working to identify the meaning behind the letters ‘RB’ that were scrawled in blood by the shooter, Micah Johnson. Brown also spoke about the extreme pressures faced by officers in the US, saying that we put it on the police to solve every societal failure

Source: Reuters

There’s a paradox in the way Dallas police chief David Brown has handled the crisis in his city this past week.

The words he says seem detached from, and even opposite to, his manner.

“That I’m able to stand here and discuss this with you is a testament to God’s grace and his sweet, tender mercies,” he said at a news conference on Monday. His face looked like granite. His voice remained as even as his pressed uniform. “I’m running on fumes,” he said.

This combination of qualities – unwavering calm, alongside the freedom to confess frailty – has captured the imagination of the nation as it has watched him navigate the worst loss of life for police since 9/11.

The attacker, a US army veteran named Micah Johnson, killed five officers Thursday night using the cover of a peaceful protest march against police violence around the country.

Before the shooting, Brown was known in law enforcement circles for his successful, progressive measures to turn around a troubled department. Since the shooting, his reputation has only expanded. On social media there has arisen an earnest movement to put Brown forward as a presidential candidate in November, including the trending Twitter hashtag #DavidBrownForPresident.

“I’m torn between ‘David Brown for president’ and not wanting you to leave Dallas,” a resident named Rebecca Stevenson wrote to Brown on Twitter.

So where does it come from, this authoritative calm coupled with emotional honesty in the face of crushing stress and heartbreak?

The police chief’s experience with crime is more than just professional. He knows violence from every angle; he is an expert in anguish……………..


Guardian investigation of large US cities found Pennsylvania city had some of the most outdated testing practices, using three methods the EPA warned against

Tap water

The Philadelphia water department has faced intense pressure to chase its testing methods. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

The Philadelphia water department announced it will stop using water tests that scientists have said could conceal dangerous levels of lead.

Such tests are intended to monitor for corrosion, and protect the public from lead that can leach into water from home plumbing. But scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have warned for 10 years that Philadelphia’s testing protocols underestimate the amount of lead, thus potentially deeming dangerous water sources safe.

A Guardian investigation of large cities in the eastern US found that Philadelphia had some of the most outdated testing practices on the eastern seaboard, using three methods the EPA warned against. Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular, has struggled with elevated blood lead levels in children…………….


Asma Bougnaoui, who lost her job at an IT consultancy, should have been allowed to wear headscarf, says EU court advocate

A French Muslim demonstrates against the banning of headscarves.

A French woman at a protest against the banning of headscarves in state schools. Photograph: Alamy

A French design engineer who was dismissed for wearing an Islamic headscarf should have been allowed to cover her head at work, the European Union’s highest court has recommended.

In an influential preliminary opinion, an advocate general at the European court of justice found in favour of Asma Bougnaoui who lost her job with Micropole SA, a French IT consultancy, in June 2009.

The court has advised that the Muslim woman’s dismissal amounted to discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

Bougnaoui, who had worked for Micropole for a year, was fired without prior warning. After she had travelled to a meeting with clients at a big French insurance firm in Toulouse, the insurance firm complained to her superiors that her headscarf had “embarrassed” some of its staff working with her. The insurance company also demanded “no headscarf next time”.

Micropole asked Bougnaoui to comply with the request for no headscarf on her next visit. When she refused she was dismissed, and she challenged her dismissal in the French courts.

A French industrial tribunal and an appeals court compensated Bougnaoui over the fact that she was fired without prior warning but ruled that her dismissal was founded on a“real and serious cause”. Micropole had said it felt her wearing a headscarf hindered the company’s development because it meant the company could not properly interact with its client……………..


Beijing warns of possible military escalation after UN tribunal overwhelmingly rejects its claims to ownership of strategic waterway

Beijing claims the Philippines concocted a ‘pack of lies’ in order to undermine its interests in the South China Sea

Beijing claims the Philippines concocted a ‘pack of lies’ in order to undermine its interests in the South China Sea. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Beijing has criticised an international court’s stinging rejection of its territorial claims in the South China Sea, with Communist party-controlled newspapers warning of a military escalation in response to what they denounced as a US ploy to thwart China’s rise.

One day after a UN tribunal ruled overwhelmingly against Chinese claims to huge swaths of the strategically important waterway, Beijing rebuffed the verdict, calling it “a piece of paper that is destined to come to naught”.

In a 13,900-word white paper, Beijing claimed the Philippines, which brought the case, had “distorted facts, misinterpreted laws and concocted a pack of lies” in order to undermine Chinese interests.

The ruling against China had been based on “woefully weak pieces of evidence”, the white paper fumed, according to a copy of the text published by Xinhua, Beijing’s official news agency.

A front page commentary in the Communist party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, continued the offensive, dismissing the tribunal as “a……………….


Hashtags won’t solve the endless cycle of violence that’s engulfed America. That’s why I’m calling on my fellow athletes to stand up and do more

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony: ‘There’s nothing political about taking a stand and speaking on what you believe in.’ Photograph: Noam Galai/FilmMagic

My first thought when I heard about the shooting of Alton Sterling last Tuesday was: OK, here we are again. Then after reading about the killing of Philando Castile the next day, and the shooting of police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas the day after, the domino effect of violence left me paralyzed. I felt in my heart it was time to put something out there and call on my fellow athletes to band together. I had to say something. I just didn’t know what.

Every time something like this happens, people rush online to Twitter and Instagram to share their opinions. Everybody says the same thing but we never get anywhere. At first I wasn’t going to post anything because I wanted to get all the information first. I slept on it overnight and woke up in the middle of the morning to a nagging voice: What am I going to say? I didn’t want it to be the same things as everybody else: #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile, #DallasPoliceShooting. When I chose to speak out, it was a matter of being honest, speaking from the heart about what’s going on and calling on my colleagues to step up, get out there and put pressure on the people in charge to not let this happen anymore. No more hashtags.

Do athletes have a responsibility to stand up? I don’t want to put it all on athletes. I believe all people need to rise up and make their voices heard. But I do think that athletes have the biggest reach, especially now with social media and all the people that follow us. We have one of the biggest platforms to speak out, one where people pay attention to what we have to say, whether it’s everyday civilians or those in positions of power. We have that influence. It’s just a matter of if we want to use it or not. Everybody uses it for different reasons. But at a time like this, you have to put aside the politics of business and whether a sponsor or somebody from a company that you represent is going to call you about it. If you’re a human being, this affects everybody…………

US politics

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Sierra Club report finds science of climate change accepted by leaders of every country recognized by US – including Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un

Donald Trump would be the planet’s only national leader to reject climate change science.

Donald Trump would be the planet’s only national leader to reject climate change science. Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

Donald Trump would be the only national leader in the world to dismiss the science of climate change should he become president, putting him out of step even with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.

The potential isolation of the US on climate change has been laid bare by a new Sierra Club report which found universal acceptance of climate science among the leaders of the 195 countries recognized by the US state department.

Close US allies such as Britain, Israel, Canada and France all have heads of government who have voiced their understanding that the world is warming primarily due to human activities.

Even totalitarian or undemocratic leaders accept mainstream climate science, with Assad calling for nations to “respond more effectively” to the issue and Kim supporting a tree-planting initiative to mitigate greenhouse gases. The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, has labelled climate change a “major global challenge”.

By contrast, Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has called global warming “bullshit” and a “hoax” that was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing noncompetitive”.

Trump has vowed to remove the US from the Paris climate accord, which was agreed by 195 countries last year in an attempt to curb planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. He has also threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, which has come under sustained fire from Republicans over its role in Barack Obama’s emissions-cutting Clean Power Plan………..

Donald Trump: I would end Paris climate deal – video

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledges to cancel the Paris climate agreement at an oil and natural gas conference in North Dakota on Thursday. It was Trump’s first speech detailing the energy policies he would advance from the White House

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