TDB Top 5 International Stories: Friday 28th April 2017


5: A Week in the Life of a Marine Le Pen Campaigner

We gave a disposable camera to National Front councillor Damien Obrador to see what life is like for a supporter of the far-right French presidential candidate.

On the night of the 23rd of April, the result of the first round of the French presidential elections became clear – social-liberal candidate Emmanuel Macron won with 24.01 percent of the votes, while far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen came in close second with 21.30 percent. One of them will become France’s new president after the second round of elections, on Sunday, the 7th of May.

Before the first round of the elections, VICE France handed out disposable cameras to supporters of each of France’s presidential candidates to document their week, while canvassing for their favourite candidate. Today, VICE UK is publishing the photos taken by supporters of the two winners of the first round – Macron and Le Pen. Click here to see what a week in the life of a Macron supporter looks like.

Damien Obrador is a councillor for the National Front in the department of Gironde in southwest France, and deputy assistant to Steeve Briois – Vice President of the National Front, MEP and mayor of the town of Hénin-Beaumont (where Le Pen celebrated becoming a finalist after the first round of the presidential elections). After receiving his photos, I briefly called him to ask about the campaign.

Vice News

4: “A Land Grab by the Ruling Elites”: Trump’s Tax Plan Derided for Benefiting the Rich

The White House has outlined a plan to give the nation’s millionaires and billionaires a massive tax break while adding trillions of dollars to the U.S. deficit. The plan would lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, end the estate tax and end the alternative minimum tax—a move that would solely benefit the richest Americans, including President Trump. A leaked 2005 tax return shows Trump paid out $36.6 million in federal income taxes that year—most of it due to the alternative minimum tax. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich described Trump’s tax plan as a form of class warfare. The tax plan was unveiled on Wednesday by two former executives at Goldman Sachs—Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—who hailed the tax cuts. We speak to economist James Henry of the Tax Justice Network.

Democracy Now

3: ‘Israeli strikes’ hit arms depot in Damascus

Israeli strikes have hit an arms depot operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport, Syrian opposition sources told Al Jazeera.

Witnesses said a total of five strikes occurred near the Damascus airport road, about 25km from the capital, early on Thursday.

Syrian state TV quoted a military source saying rockets fired from Israeli territory targeted a military area in the southwestern part of the airport which caused explosions.

Later on Thursday, Israeli military reported shooting down an aerial “target” over the Golan Heights.

Israeli media said residents in the northern Israeli town of Safed reported seeing two missiles being launched and of explosions occurring afterwards.

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Beirut, said the missiles were so powerful that the impact was felt several kilometres away in the Damascus countryside.

“In recent weeks, Israel has increasingly carried out a number of strikes against Hezbollah targets for what they describe as a ‘red line’,” he said.



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AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST Barrett Brown was re-arrested and taken into custody Thursday, the day before he was scheduled to be interviewed for a PBS documentary.

Brown quickly became a symbol of the attack on press freedom after he was arrested in 2012 for reporting he did on the hacked emails of intelligence-contracting firms. Brown wrote about hacked emails that showed the firm Stratfor spying on activists on behalf of corporations. Brown also helped uncover a proposal by intelligence contractors to hack and smear WikiLeaks defenders and progressive activists.

Faced with the possibility of 100 years in prison, Brown pleaded guilty in 2014 to two charges related to obstruction of justice and threatening an FBI agent, and was sentenced to five years and 3 months. In 2016, Brown won a National Magazine Award for his scathing and often hilarious columns in The Intercept, which focused on his life in prison. He was released in November.

Jay Leiderman, Brown’s lawyer, told The Intercept Brown was arrested Thursday during a check-in. According to his mother, Brown had not missed a check-in or failed a drug test since he was released to a halfway house in November. Neither his mother nor lawyer has been informed where he is being held.

According to his mother, who spoke with Brown by phone after his arrest, Brown believes the reason for his re-arrest was a failure to obtain “permission” to give interviews to media organizations. Several weeks ago, Brown was told by his check-in officer that he needed to fill out permission forms before giving interviews.

The Intercept

1: ‘We are a target’: South Korean village wakes up on frontline with North

It took just a few hours to transform Seongju from a sleepy farming village in the South Korean foothills into a symbol of the US military might ranged against North Korea.

Once a retreat for amateur golfers, the Lotte Seongju country club is now in the hands of the most powerful military in the world and its South Korean allies.

On land where dispirited golfers once cursed a badly sliced drive, work is under way to rush into service a defence system able to locate and destroy North Korean missiles before they threaten the South – or the 28,500 US troops stationed there.

Villagers complained about the disruption caused by the arrival of the terminal high altitude area defense system, or Thaad, but the impact has been spread far beyond the bucolic hills of Seongju.

The deployment has dominated the final days of South Korea’s election campaign, pushed Seoul’s relations with Beijing to breaking point, and cast doubt on the wisdom of Donald’s Trump’s decision to dispense with “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang.

The Guardian