TDB Top 5 International Stories: Tuesday 14th May 2019



WASHINGTON — Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban has been widely accused of rolling back democracy, undermining press freedom, villainizing refugees and trampling over the independence of his country’s court system.

But to President Trump, he’s “probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s okay,” Trump said on Monday afternoon, welcoming Orban to the Oval Office.

“You’ve done a good job and you’ve kept your country safe,” Trump said. “He’s a tough man, but he’s a respected man.”

Vice News


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4: China to increase tariffs on $60bn worth of US goods

Deepening a trade battle and sending financial markets into a tailspin, China announced Monday it was raising tariffs on $60bn of US goods after the latest increase in American tariffs on its exports.

The move comes after the United States escalated the bitter trade war with a tariff hike on $200bn of Chinese products on Friday.

China will impose tariffs on a total of 5,140 US products from June 1, the finance ministry said in a statement.

“China’s adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism,” the ministry said. “China hopes the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway.”



3: Sweden Reopens Investigation of Julian Assange for Rape, Complicating U.S. Extradition

SWEDEN’S PROSECUTION AUTHORITY reopened an investigation of Julian Assange for rape on Monday and will seek his extradition from Britain, the country’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, told reporters in Stockholm.

The Swedish request will force British authorities to decide whether to send the detained WikiLeaks founder to Sweden or the United States, or neither, at the end of his 50-week jail sentence. He is currently serving for violating bail conditions in 2012, when he took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy after losing his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.

“On 20 August 2010, a police report was made regarding a suspected rape in Enköping, Sweden on 17 August 2010. The alleged offender was reported as being the Australian citizen, JA, born 3 July 1971,” the prosecution authority said in a written explanation of the decision. “The courts in Sweden have, on several occasions during the preliminary investigation, considered the decision to detain JA in his absence, and on each occasion found there exists probable cause for JA to be suspected of rape.”

The Intercept


2: Arundhati Roy on Why She Admires WikiLeaks & Opposes Assange’s Extradition to the U.S.

In Sweden, prosecutors are reopening an investigation into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and are seeking his extradition to face charges in Sweden. Prosecutors had dropped the investigation in 2017 because they said the case could not proceed while Assange was holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he lived for seven years before being forcibly removed by British police last month. Assange has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in Britain for skipping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Assange has denied the sexual assault accusations. Assange previously faced another sexual misconduct allegation but its statute of limitations expired in 2015. The United States is also seeking Assange’s extradition over the publication of leaked documents by Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which showed evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. We speak with award-winning writer Arundhati Roy, who has criticized the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange. Roy and other public intellectuals in India called for Assange’s immediate release, writing in a statement, “The journalism WikiLeaks and its Editor-in-Chief stand for is a journalism of outrage — outrage against the injustices and atrocities that take place round the world — but always with an eye to factuality, substantiation, and precision… If the U.S. had charged Assange and Wikileaks for publishing classified material, the legal case would have been no different from charging The New York Times with publishing the Pentagon Papers”.

Democracy Now


1:Trump defends China tariffs as trade war leaves allies and opponents in bind