TDB Top 5 International Stories: Sunday 19th March 2017

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5: How Being Unpresidential on Twitter Helps Trump
4: G20 fails to agree on free trade endorsement
3: The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America
2: Trump Administration Ousts U.N. Official to Protect Israel From Criticism
1: Ralph Nader Denounces Trump Budget as Corporatist, Militarist & Racist: “The Mask is Off”

5: How Being Unpresidential on Twitter Helps Trump

In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump explained why he wasn’t going to stop ranting on social media.

I don’t have much in common with Donald Trump, but something we both share is a perennial love of Twitter. On Wednesday night, as he sat with conservative bow-tie aficionado Tucker Carlson for an interview held in what appeared to be an extremely patriotic Truman Show soundstage, Trump didn’t necessarily answer Carlson’s questions so much as expound on whatever came to his mind. When Twitter came up, Trump didn’t back off of the unsubstantiated wiretap allegations he made against Barack Obama on the microblogging platform. Instead, he explained that Twitter was his way around the dishonest media.

Vice News

4: G20 fails to agree on free trade endorsement

Finance ministers from 20 world powers have failed to reach an agreement to endorse free trade and rejection of protectionism in the face of US opposition, according to the communique of the G20 participants.

The ministers and central bank chiefs of the G20 countries ended talks in the German town of Baden Baden on Saturday, making only a token reference for the need to strengthen the contribution of trade to the economy.

“This is not a good outcome of the meeting,” a G20 delegate quoted Germany’s central bank chief Jens Weidmann as saying. Germany has a $65bn trade surplus with the US.

Aljazeera

3: The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America

Ever since Donald Trump became US president, certain sectors of American society have felt particularly embattled. His statements on Mexicans and Muslims are notorious, but there is another community, less heard about, that has also been sent reeling: scientists.

If politics has never been a world that is overly respectful to empirical research, Trump’s victory exploited a growing popular suspicion of expertise, and a tendency to seek out alternative narratives to fact-based analysis. Conspiracy theories, anti-vaccination campaigns and climate change deniers have all traded on this rejection of science, and their voices have all been heard, to differing degrees, in the new administration. But for the science community perhaps the most provocative act so far of Trump’s short time in office was the appointment of Scott Pruitt, a Republican lawyer and climate change sceptic, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“I’d say a lot of Trump’s cabinet picks are not ideal,” says Shaughnessy Naughton, of the science activist group 314 Action. “But Pruitt is really an offence to the organisation. He’s spent his career suing the EPA. He’s for state rights when it’s for polluters and against state rights when it’s for conservation or protecting the environment.”

The Guardian 

2: Trump Administration Ousts U.N. Official to Protect Israel From Criticism

ON WEDNESDAY, a U.N. agency published a report noting that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Yesterday, the author of that report, who has served as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalef, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the U.N. secretary-general to demand that she withdraw the report.

Khalef, a Jordanian national who has served in multiple high government positions, refused the demand to repudiate her own report, instead choosing to resign. The report — which was co-authored by the Jewish American Princeton professor and former U.N. official Richard Falk, a longtime critic of Israeli occupation — has now been removed from the UNESCWA website.

What makes this event most remarkable is how unremarkable the report’s conclusion is: It’s a point that a former Israeli prime minister — as well as Trump’s own defense secretary — has made unequivocally. Back in 2010, Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister and its most decorated soldier, explicitly warned that Israel was on a path to what he called a permanent “apartheid” state. As he put it: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

The Intercept

1: Ralph Nader Denounces Trump Budget as Corporatist, Militarist & Racist: “The Mask is Off”

Longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader responds to President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal to Congress, which calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending while slashing environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. “The mask is off. The fangs are now out,” Nader says. “He is collaborating with what is, on the record, the most vicious, ignorant Republican Party in its history, since 1854.”

Democracy Now

 

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Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.