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02 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

Chinese-Americans discontent with White House’s refusal to ban controversial song

(People’s Daily Online)  December 02, 2016

[File photo]

The U.S. government has officially refused the online appeal to ban a controversial song “encouraging violence and crimes” against Chinese people, which has upset the Chinese-American community.

“The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech in the United States. The White House doesn’t make decisions about whether particular songs are available publicly. Individual platforms determine their choice of content and the rules of participation and conduct for their sites,” read a reply on the official White House website on Dec. 1.

The reply came in response to a petition launched on Sept. 21, which had collected over 114,000 signatures as of press time, demanding that the U.S. government ban the song “Meet the Flockers” by hip-hop artist YG from public media, and also “investigate the legal responsibilities of its writers.” Any petition that collects over 100,000 signatures within one month is guaranteed to receive a response from the White House.

“I’m very upset about the result. When other ethnic groups, for instance African Americans, suffer mistreatment or injustice, the government always stands up and tries to defend them. When it comes to Asians, we cannot even get a decent apology or official criticism for such appalling discrimination. We expected the result, though, and we will resort to other legal actions to voice the beliefs of our group,” Wang Tian (pseudonym), a New York-based Chinese-American activist, told People’s Daily Online on Dec. 2.

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Daimler executive in trouble over remarks about China

(China.org.cn)

A senior German business executive is now under fire on China’s social media over his insulting remarks about China.

Rainer Gartner, president and CEO at Daimler Trucks & Buses China Ltd., has made a disparaging comment on Chinese people, saying that “I have been in China one year already; the first thing I learned here is: All you Chinese are bastards.”

His gaffe came after a parking row with a Chinese driver at a residential community in Beijing’s northeastern Shunyi District.

The quarrel drew passersby to come and defend the Chinese, but they were pepper sprayed by the German executive.

The Chinese driver said he will seek legal actions against Gartner for his actions and remarks.

“The German executive should apologize for his wrongdoings immediately,” said a microblogger on China’s twitter-like Sina Weibo.

“Expats should behave themselves and never put on airs even if they are rich or superior,” said another microblogger.

Another German political leader also triggered outrage for his rude remarks in October this year.

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US politics >>

Trump blasts ‘dishonest press’ as he kicks off victory tour – video

President elect Donald Trump accuses the press of being ‘extremely dishonest’ at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday, as he begins his self-described ‘thank you tour’. Trump says the old rules of politics no longer apply, and asks his followers to denounce hatred and come together under his presidency

Trump starts ‘thank you tour’ to states he won>>

Trump reverts to campaign mode on victory tour, bashing Clinton and media>>

Donald Trump announces James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as secretary of defense>>

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Ban Ki-moon said deadly outbreak that killed up thousands ‘leaves a blemish’ on United Nations’ reputation, ending six years of refusing to claim responsibility

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon apologises for the UN’s role in the cholera outbreak which killed over 9,000 people in Haiti. He admits that the world body “simply did not do enough”.

The United Nations has admitted for the first time that its peacekeepers were directly responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti, bringing to an end a six-year delay in which the world body consistently ducked responsibility for importing the disease that has potentially killed up to 30,000 people.

In a 16-page report released on Thursday setting out what is being billed as a new approach to fighting cholera in Haiti, the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, cites expert opinion about the cause of the deadly outbreak. It found that “the preponderance of the evidence does lead to the conclusion that personnel associated with the [UN’s peacekeeping] facility were the most likely source”.

The comment marks the first time that the UN chief has admitted that the devastating disease was brought to the country by the organization’s own peacekeepers when they were transferred from Nepal to assist with emergency rescue work in the wake of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Ban presented his report to a special meeting of the UN general assembly in New York on Thursday. He spoke directly to the Haitian people in three languages – Creole, French and English. In English, he said: “We apologize to the Haitian people. We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

He added that the UN’s handling of the epidemic “leaves a blemish on the reputation of UN peacekeeping and the organization worldwide. For the sake of the Haitian people, but also for the sake of the United Nations itself, we have a moral responsibility to act and a collective responsibility to deliver.”

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Save the Children say £950m is needed by those affected by Boko Haram, with tens of thousands of children at risk of death in areas held by the group

A young boy in Borno

A young boy in Borno, north-east Nigeria, with severe acute malnutrition. Photograph: Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images

Money looted from Nigeria in corrupt practices and laundered through the UK should be used to help save the lives of thousands of children at risk of starvation in the conflict-hit north-east of the country, a leading aid organisation says.

More than $1.2 bn (£950m) is needed to save children from starvation and help families to try to piece together their lives at the end of a brutal armed conflict, according to Save the Children. It is appealing for UN agencies and donor governments to step up, warning that the region has high levels of child malnutrition and is teetering on the brink of famine.

In a briefing issued as the Nigerian government issued its appeal for help to the UN on Friday, Save the Children proposed that some of the cash desperately needed by more than 2 million people uprooted by Boko Haram could come from the millions seized in the UK.

“Large sums of illicit finance from Nigeria are laundered through banks and the property markets in the United Kingdom,” it says. “Four years ago, when James Ibori, a former government of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state, pleaded guilty to £50m in fraud and money laundering, the presiding judge described the theft as ‘financial criminality on an eye-watering scale’.”

Funds have been seized by the UK authorities in a number of such cases. Following a memorandum of understanding signed in September, the money can be returned to Nigeria for projects to help the poorest in society. “It is difficult to think of any project more deserving of support against this criterion than the humanitarian effort in north-east Nigeria,” said Save the Children.

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Descendant given document revealing chain of responsibility for death, from Soviet leader to three executioners

Stepan Karagodin

Stepan Karagodin, a Cossack farmer who was killed in 1938 after being accused of spying for Japan. Photograph: Denis Karagodin

A young designer in Russia plans to sue the state in an unprecedented case after an archivist sent him evidence appearing to name the agents of Joseph Stalin’s secret police who executed his great-grandfather.

Denis Karagodin, 34, received the document in the post after repeated requests to the Federal Security Service (FSB) for information about the circumstances of his great-grandfather’s execution.

The typewritten paper appears to be a report in which three secret security officers confirm to a court that they have carried out the court’s death sentence in the city of Tomsk. The stamped document featured the names and scrawled signatures of the three secret police agents who took responsibility for shooting Stepan Karagodin.

The dead man’s great-grandson believes it is the first time that names of actual perpetrators of Stalin’s crimes have been directly associated with the deaths of their victims, and described it as a “stunning discovery”.

Karagodin does not know why the document was not stamped secret. He claims he can now establish a direct chain of responsibility from Stalin, to the secret police head, Nikolai Yezhov, to the local security officials in Tomsk, to the members of the tribunal who rubber-stamped the verdict, to the three executioners who pulled the trigger and, presumably, dumped Stepan Karagodin’s body into a mass grave on the edge of the city.

“The historians and specialists I have spoken with cannot believe that I managed this,” he said. “Some of them were simply in shock that such documents even exist and that you can access them.”

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Opinion

Donald Trump with Mitt Romney

‘If this photo had a caption, it would be: “Honey! What are you doing back so early?”’ Donald Trump with Mitt Romney. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

You could get lost in that photo of Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, couldn’t you? Every time you look at it, another new detail rises to the surface and breaks your heart. The angle of Romney’s eyebrows. The self-satisfied lurch in Trump’s neck. The bottle of wine in the background and the glasses of water on the table. The sensation that Trump has shoved away his plate of scallops and demanded that someone bring him a big bowl of Sugar Puffs and a mixing spoon.

But it is Romney’s face that makes this such a fascinating picture. Look at it. There is no way on Earth that Romney expected the photo to be taken. He is, remember, the most presidential-looking non-president in the history of the United States. He looks like what you would get if you asked a beachside cartoonist on Martha’s Vineyard to draw a human version of a bald eagle. Yet here he is, three mouthfuls into a meal, looking sheepish and squirming as if he has just been caught in bed with another woman. If this photo had a caption, it would be: “Honey! What are you doing back so early?”

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

‘Nigel Farage looks like a competition winner who lost all bladder control because he got to meet an American off the telly.’ Photograph: ?@Nigel_Farage/Twitter

We’re told that Trump is a master of distraction, that every time he tweets or barks or honks it is a carefully stage-managed ploy to keep our attention away from his hidden agenda. There will be those who claim that this photo is one such distraction. However, I cannot agree. It strikes so hard at the essence of what it is to be Romney – a failed presidential candidate so desperate for power in any form that he is willing to make a humiliatingly public display of affection towards a man he once called a fraud. And it is an aspect of Trump’s strategy that is vitally important to highlight.

Trump does this over and over again. Forget about dealmaking or galvanising the white working class; his greatest talent is his ability to make you reveal your true self in photographs. He is such an overt character, and inspires such polarised reaction, that people become totally incapable of hiding their feelings around him. This is my theory: if you’re a public figure of any description, history will remember only what you looked like when you were photographed with Trump.

Romney – sagging and broken as though Trump has ambushed him with a mariachi band playing Tonight You Belong To Me on an orchestra of sex toys – is only one example. And you don’t have to look far for others.

Chris Christie and Donald Trump

Chris Christie looks on as his political ambitions burn. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters

A year ago, for instance, Chris Christie was a genuine presidential contender: an old-school political heavyweight who, as governor of New Jersey, prided himself on his ability to push through ideas, even managing to unite the gaping political chasm between the left and the right as he did so. Close your eyes and think of him now, though. What do you see? You see a shaved bear, don’t you? You see someone slow-witted and concussed standing behind Trump like a hypnotised heavy from a 1960s episode of Batman. No matter what he does for the rest of his life, no matter how many orphanages he builds or diseases he cures, you will always remember Christie as a lumbering, clueless henchman. Why? Because someone took a photograph of him with Trump.

It works for his opponents, too. Before he met Trump, Barack Obama was the model of cool positivity. He was young and powerful, cresting on a wave of strong opinion polls. He was “yes we can”, he was “fired up, ready to go”. But that persona evaporated for ever during his first press conference with Trump. Youth abandoned him in that moment; suddenly, he looked old and tired, like Danny Glover staggering around immediately before the White House is taken out by an oceanliner halfway through the film 2012. His true self was dragged to the surface by Trump.

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