TDB Top 5 International Stories: Wednesday 19th April 2017

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5: Trump Is Keeping His White House Visitor Log Under Wraps
4: ‘Deadly US air strike in Syria hit peaceful mosque’
2: Trump Rejects Calls for Transparency, Vowing to Keep Tax Returns & White House Visitor Logs Secret
1: Theresa May calls for UK general election on 8 June

5: Trump Is Keeping His White House Visitor Log Under Wraps

Members of the public won’t be able to request to see who stopped by the White House for at least five years after Trump leaves office.

The Trump administration decided to break with another Obama-era rule on Friday and announced it would keep all the White House visitor logs private, meaning the public won’t have access to who’s stopping by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue until after the president leaves office, TIME reports.

The administration sees the Workers and Visitors Entry System, which usually falls under the care of the US Secret Service, as “presidential records” and ineligible for Freedom of Information Act requests. The move was confirmed Friday by White House communications director Michael Dubke, who told TIME that the decision to keep the logs under wraps was due to “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”

During Obama’s term, the administration voluntarily published more than 6 million records containing most of its visitors on the website, which became available about three months after they had stopped by. The only exceptions were some celebrity visitors, top donors, or those in for a private, personal meeting, like potential nominees. That website also published the salaries of various White House staff, as well as appointments, in an effort to promote transparency.

Vice News

4: ‘Deadly US air strike in Syria hit peaceful mosque’

US forces failed to take necessary precautions before launching a lethal drone strike in northern Syria last month that hit a mosque full of worshipers, three separate investigations have revealed.

Research by Human Rights Watch (HRW), London-based Forensic Architecture and open-source investigative unit Bellingcat reveal that US air strikes hit a western Aleppo mosque on March 16, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens of others.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) claimed they targeted “an al-Qaeda in Syria meeting location”, killing “dozens of core al-Qaeda terrorists” after thorough surveillance.



JEAN-LUC MÉLENCHON, an insurgent left-wing candidate for France’s presidency, is surging. His candidacy, organized under the newly-established party La France Insoumise (“Unsubmissive France”) has gone from a quixotic bid to a viable challenge in just a few months.

Railing against growing economic inequality, participation in foreign wars, and political corruption, Mélenchon has skyrocketed in the polls from distant fourth to within a hair’s breadth of the frontrunners. (This rise has been accompanied by the release of a web-based video game called “Fiscal Kombat” where Mélenchon fights corrupt politicians and bankers.)

The Financial Times demonstrated his surge through an aggregation of French national opinion polls:


2: Trump Rejects Calls for Transparency, Vowing to Keep Tax Returns & White House Visitor Logs Secret

The White House is facing new criticism over its lack of transparency, as President Trump is refusing to release his tax returns as well as logs of White House visitors. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump did not plan to release his tax returns, saying Trump was under an audit. Spicer’s comments came just two days after more than 100,000 people took to the streets on Saturday to call on Trump to release his taxes. Crowds gathered in more than a dozen cities from coast to coast, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and in South Florida, where activists marched to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort, where Trump was staying over the weekend. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are vowing not to work with Trump on reforming or rewriting the tax code unless Trump releases his own taxes. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers are also calling on Trump to release his taxes. For more, we speak with Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. She was on the steering committee for the NYC Tax March.

Democracy Now

1: Theresa May calls for UK general election on 8 June

Theresa May has said she wants to hold a snap general election on 8 June, despite repeatedly claiming that she was against the idea of an early vote.

In a surprise statement outside Downing Street on Tuesday morning, the prime minister claimed that opposition parties were jeopardising her government’s preparations for Brexit.

“We need a general election and we need one now,” she said. “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion but now I have concluded it is the only way to guarantee certainty for the years ahead.”

May claimed the decision she would put to voters in the election, the announcement of which was a tightly guarded secret known only by her closest aides, would be all about “leadership”.

The Guardian 


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