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TDB Top 5 International Stories: Tuesday 16th May 2017

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5: Trump Gets His Fake News the Old-Fashioned Way
3: Palestinians mark 69th ‘Nakba’ anniversary with rallies
2: Donald Trump is Deep into Watergate Territory Now: Former Congresswoman Who Probed Nixon Speaks Out
1: US accuses Syria of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners

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5: Trump Gets His Fake News the Old-Fashioned Way

The president’s aides hand-deliver Trump articles, and some of them are total BS.

According to a new report from Politico, President Donald Trump gets some of his information from fake news stories his aides intentionally leave on his desk. So much so, that his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, recently had to issue a warning to senior staff members and update the White House policy on providing the president information.

Apparently aides drop all kinds of printed stories on Trump’s desk in an attempt to sway policy, vie for his good graces, or some combination of the two. Just recently, Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland reportedly handed the president two covers of Time. The first, ostensibly from the 1970s, claimed the world was on the brink of an impending ice age. The second, from 2007, contained a guide to surviving global warming.

Vice News


IMMIGRATIONS AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT imprisons more than 10,000 parents of American citizens in California each year, according to a report released today by Human Rights Watch.

The report, entitled “I Still Need You,” analyzes the impact of immigration enforcement policy on immigrant families in California and finds that parents with U.S. citizen children were more likely to be deported from detention rather than released. The report also finds that from January 2011 through June 2015 nearly half of the immigrants detained in California had no criminal history, findings that directly contradict claims President Obama made about his immigration enforcement policy at that time. Under President Trump, the report’s authors believe, the trends suggested by the data have likely become even more pronounced.

In 2014, Obama announced a new immigration enforcement policy known informally as “felons, not families,” which purported to prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants with serious criminal histories and avoid separating families. But as the Marshall Project has shown, less than a fifth of the immigrants deported nationwide under the policy had been convicted of violent or potentially violent crimes. More than 40 percent had no criminal convictions whatsoever.

An even higher proportion — 47 percent — of immigrants detained by ICE in California from October 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 had no criminal history, according to Human Rights Watch’s review. (The data showed criminal history only for this shorter period of the overall time span.) The report estimates that only 9 percent were convicted of a violent felony.

“Instead of focusing on violent criminals, U.S. immigration policy has ripped apart American families and communities through the deportation of large numbers of lawful residents and undocumented immigrants with less serious criminal histories,” the report argues.

Human Rights Watch also estimates that 42 percent of the immigrants ICE detained in California over that time period were parents of U.S. citizen children. After being detained, parents of American citizens were more likely than others to be deported. Close to 47 percent of those who were deported had a child with U.S. citizenship, versus 35 percent of those who were released.

Together, the figures indicate that contrary to Obama’s avowed policy, a huge part of ICE’s enforcement efforts resulted in the separation of families, and a much smaller portion went toward deporting people who posed legitimate public safety threats.

The long-term consequences of the vast number of families shattered by this indiscriminate deportation regime are difficult to measure but disturbing to contemplate. “One of the things that’s important to understand is the ripple effects when someone is deported from the U.S., on our schools, in dependency on the foster care system, the juvenile delinquency system,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. “For so many kids that pain and trauma stunts their growth and development. Also, the deported parent is often the primary breadwinner. It throws a curveball into their lives.”

The Intercept

3:  Palestinians mark 69th ‘Nakba’ anniversary with rallies

Palestinians are commemorating the 69th anniversary of the “Nakba”, the “day of catastrophe” in which Israel was officially declared a state following the forced removal of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of over 500 villages and towns.

People across historic Palestine – including Israel, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip – are holding rallies, marches and candlelight vigils on Monday, as well as sounding sirens.

Israel has made publicly commemorating the Nakba increasingly difficult for Palestinians, with a “Nakba Law” that authorises Israel’s finance minister to revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish state” or mark the country’s “Independence Day” as a day of mourning.


2: Donald Trump is Deep into Watergate Territory Now: Former Congresswoman Who Probed Nixon Speaks Out

Fallout continues to grow over President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last week. The firing came just days after Comey requested more resources to probe Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Senate Democrats are now threatening to refuse to vote on a new FBI director unless a special prosecutor is named to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Meanwhile, pressure is growing on the administration to reveal whether Trump has been secretly recording conversations at the White House. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump’s possible recording of White House conversations has led many comparisons between Trump and former President Richard Nixon, who resigned on August 8, 1974—three days after the release of an audio recording of Nixon discussing the Watergate break-in. Nixon had fought off congressional subpoenas to release the tape, but eventually the Supreme Court forced him to hand it over. It later became known as the smoking gun tape. We speak to Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. congressmember from New York who served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
Democracy Now


1: US accuses Syria of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners

The US has accused the Syrian regime of building a crematorium to cover up the mass killings of detainees in a military prison outside Damascus.

The state department distributed photos on Monday of a large building it said had been adapted for the large scale burning of bodies at Saydnaya military prison, 45 minutes drive from the Syrian capital, where it said that up to 50 detainees are hanged in mass executions on a daily basis.

“Although the regime’s many atrocities are well documented, we believed building a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass killings taking place in Saydnaya prison,” said Stuart Jones, the top US diplomat dealing with the Middle East.

Jones distributed satellite images of Saydnaya prison, labelling the structure which the US alleges is the new crematorium. In February, Amnesty International published a report on what it described as a secret campaign of mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya. The report said as many as 13,000 people had been hanged over the first five years of the war, in what it described as a “human slaughterhouse”. The regime is thought to have detained more than 100,000 people in jails and detention camps all over the country, where severe overcrowding, torture and summary executions are reported to be commonplace.

The Guardian 



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