18 Mar

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses


English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.


Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>


Le Monde>>

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Officials in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria examine Brenton Tarrant’s travels before attack

A police officer stands guard near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch after the attack.

A police officer stands guard near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch after the attack. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Authorities in Europe are working to establish whether the man suspected of carrying out the most deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history had any links to far-right groups on the continent.

Since Friday, officials in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece have begun formal investigations into the alleged gunman’s extensive travel through Europe in the years before he moved to New Zealand.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, appears to have travelled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including to Turkey, France, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Hungary and North Korea.

The “manifesto” published online in the minutes before Tarrant’s alleged attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, which left 50 people dead, claimed that it was while travelling through western Europe in 2017 that his views on immigration “dramatically changed”.

Tarrant wrote that while traveling through France, Portugal and Spain he was horrified by the killing of Ebba Åkerlund, an 11-year-old girl, when an Uzbek man, Rakhmat Akilov, rammed his truck into a group of pedestrians in Stockholm in April 2017.

Two of the rifles used in the Christchurch shooting had references to Åkerlund scrawled on them, among other messages.

Brenton Tarrant appears in court on a murder charge in Christchurch on Saturday.


Brenton Tarrant appears in court on a murder charge in Christchurch on Saturday. Photograph: Mark Mitchell/AAP

The manifesto also referenced the 2017 French elections, saying he felt “despair” at the defeat of the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen.

The manifesto gives the impression of being particularly aggrieved about immigration in France. He wrote that he felt “fuming rage and suffocating despair” at “invaders”, claiming French people were “often in a minority themselves”.

While Tarrant was not on the radar of intelligence agencies in Australia or New Zealand, experts believe it is likely he had been influenced by the far-right “identitarian” movement.

Formed in France in 2016, the movement features common tropes about what adherents claim is the replacement of European culture with a non-European one, many of which were echoed in the document, titled “The great replacement”.

The counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton, from Deakin University in Melbourne, said it appeared Tarrant shared a number of ideas with the movement.

“It’s just speculation of course, but it would make sense in that context that he has picked up on those ideas while travelling in Europe at that time,” he told Guardian Australia.

The manifesto also expressed environmental concerns, something Barton said was a tenet of the “dominion movement”, a group he described as “a New Zealand manifestation of European identitarianism”.

The dominion movement took down its website after Friday’s shooting, and put out a statement saying it “categorically and without reservation condemns the events in Christchurch”.

“[Neither] our movement nor any of its members have ever had any communication or association with the perpetrator,” the group said in a note on the closed page.

Its website previously stated that “Europeans are the defining people of this nation”.

The document claims its author made money on the cryptocurrency Bitconnect, which was widely described as a Ponzi scheme before it was shut down in 2018. Reports have also stated that in other social media posts Tarrant indicated he used inheritance money after his father’s death to fund some of his travel.

Greek officials said on Sunday that Tarrant had visited Greece briefly in 2016.

A statement from the ministry of citizen protection said he flew in from the Turkish city of Istanbul on 20 March and stayed a few days on the islands of Crete and Santorini.

Tarrant also had two stopovers at a Greek airport in November and December that year. A Greek police source told Agence France-Presse that investigations into Tarrant’s movements were continuing.

He also made two trips to Turkey in 2016 for a total of 43 days, according to the Turkish state broadcaster TRT World. He visiting the country from 17-20 March and arrived back on 13 September before leaving on 25 October.

The broadcaster quoted a Turkish official saying authorities were “currently investigating the terrorist’s movements and contacts within the country”.

The manifesto contained many explicit references to the Ottoman empire, Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, stating Muslims should be driven out of the part of Turkey that lies west of the continental divide between Europe and Asia.

On Sunday, Erdo?an used an edited version of Tarrant’s video of the shooting to galvanize support before local elections at the end of the month.

According to Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, Tarrant visited Bulgaria from 9-15 November last year, claiming he wanted “to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country”.

Local media quoted Tsatarov as saying the country would investigate whether this was “correct or if he had other objectives”.

Investigators said Tarrant arrived in Sofia from Dubai on 9 November and hired a car the following day to visit historical sites in 10 locations. He left on 15 November on a flight bound for neighbouring Romania’s capital, Bucharest, where he hired a car to travel to Hungary, Tsatsarov said.

The Australian also travelled by bus across Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 28-30 December 2016.

In the livestream of the attack on Friday, a Serbian nationalist song could be heard playing through his car speakers.

According to radio reports, Tarrant also visited Spain last year. The Cadena Ser network said he spent one night in a hotel in the southern city of Jerez in February 2018. Hotel staff told the local station that Tarrant’s behaviour had been that “of a normal man – a little reserved”.

Spanish police said they had no information on Tarrant or his stay.

‘We can’t afford to stand by and do nothing’: 10 everyday heroes fighting to save the planet

Schoolchildren around the world are joining a global strike against climate change this week. But they’re not the only everyday people inspired to take action. We talk to 10 UK activists on the frontline of our most serious environmental issues

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‘We should be told more about air pollution – we have a right to know’ … Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah.

‘We should be told more about air pollution – we have a right to know’ … Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, London
Air pollution advocate

Founded the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, in memory of her nine-year-old daughter who died in 2013. She is campaigning for a new inquest into her daughter’s death, which she believes is linked to air pollution.

My daughter suffered terribly – she would stop breathing, have seizures and I would take her to A&E – but no one could explain why it was happening. When she died, I wanted answers. I wanted to know how she became so ill, so quickly; how she died so quickly.

She died of an asthma attack, but all the doctors could come up with as a trigger was “something in the air”. She was allergic to pollen, but the consultant said there was no way that her seizure was an allergy to pollen. The first inquest did not come up with any answers.

I did not think of air pollution. This was new to me. If you’re a scientist and this is your specialist area, it might not be surprising, but I didn’t know about particulates and nitrogen dioxide.

Awareness is key, and so is education – I would say that, as I am a teacher. We should be told more about monitoring air pollution. We have a right to know. So many children are at risk – we believe that the deaths of 16 children in the past 18 months are linked to air pollution. Children continue to get ill, to die. Voices are not being heard. If parents could speak about their experiences – telling a politician not just, “I am worried about my children”, but that “My child had to be resuscitated in A&E last night” – it might make a difference.

Two weeks ago, my friend went to buy a new car, and they tried to sell her a diesel car – they told her it was “green”. Who is allowing people to say this in 2019?

I continue to be devastated [by Ella’s death], it is still unbearable. What I am learning is how I can use what I have been through to help other young children. I don’t feel like giving up. I feel very strongly that people should shout about this. FH

Holly Gillibrand (centre) leading a climate protest in Fort William.

Holly Gillibrand (centre) leading a climate protest in Fort William. Photograph: Iain Ferguson

Holly Gillibrand, Fort William
School striker

It took about a month to persuade my parents that striking was a good idea. I’m 13 and I had seen a video of Greta Thunberg on Twitter, and I thought that was something I could do too. I asked some of my friends, but only one joined me; now we’re averaging about four students and 15 adults .

At the first strike, it was quite scary because I didn’t know what people’s reactions would be. It really helped having my friend there. We tried to ignore the people in cars, sitting and pointing at us, but there were a lot of people beeping in support.

My mum phoned my headteacher about a week before I started. He can’t support it and he says my school has a lot of climate and environmental education, but I don’t think it does. I get laughed at quite a bit. I’ve met quite a few climate-deniers in school. It makes me really annoyed because people don’t understand, or they don’t care when you try to explain it to them.

I’m surprised at how the movement has taken off. Education is valued and if children are sacrificing that, it must be important. The government’s response has been pitiful. At the climate change debate, 610 MPs skipped it – that’s a shocking representation of how little our political leaders care about the very existence of life on this planet.

I think there will be hundreds of thousands [of children striking on the 15th]. I wish people knew that we can’t change this unless everyone is working together. ES

‘People forget that we are animals, too’ … Mya-Rose Craig.

‘People forget that we are animals, too’ … Mya-Rose Craig. Photograph: Handout

Mya-Rose Craig, Somerset

Wildlife and environmental diversity campaigner

A birder and activist from the Chew Valley, she campaigns for endangered wildlife and organises nature camps for inner city minority ethnic teenagers

I’m 16 and my parents have taken me birdwatching since I was a baby. It has always been part of my life. When I was seven, my parents heard that the first ever eastern crowned warbler had been seen in Britain. Luckily, I had a day off school, and we drove five hours to see it. It was around the edge of a huge quarry like an amphitheatre and I was amazed to see so many people cared about this little brown bird.

I’ve been very lucky to travel around the world. During half-term in Spain recently, I saw my 5,000th bird species in the world. It was a rock bunting, which is a brilliant bird.

My parents have always been very open about what is going on in the world. I was 12 or 13 and had built up a relatively large online following when I started campaigning. The first proper campaign I launched was to save the spoonbill sandpiper in Bangladesh, where my mum is from. I also campaigned over the 2014 oil spill in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.

In 2015, I read an American Birdwatching Association article about how the environmental sector is incredibly white. It made me stop and think. I knew I was the only one like me as a kid. I just felt sad because others should have that opportunity. Since then I’ve campaigned to bring diversity into wildlife conservation. In three-and-a-half years, I’ve seen so much change.

People forget that we are animals, too. The NHS has started prescribing going out into nature because it is good for our mental health. If we care for nature, it’s not entirely altruistic. We get benefits, too. PB

Read Full Article>>

World Politics

United States

From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to universal healthcare, the Democrats’ goalposts are moving, with consequences for the whole planet

Sunrise Movement occupies Nancy Pelosi's office

‘Days after the Democrats reclaimed the House, activists occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office, forcing their demand for a Green New Deal into the spotlight.’ Photograph: Michael Brochstein/Zuma/Rex/Shutterstock

A generational battle is taking place in US politics that could have profound consequences not just for the global left but also for the future of the planet. Ever since the freshman class of Democrats entered Congress in January, many of them young women of colour and supported by a young activist base, they have met resistance from more established members of the party. When the newly elected representative Rashida Tlaib, from Detroit, called Donald Trump a “motherfucker”, hours after being sworn in, she was the subject of finger-wagging from politicians and pundits. “I don’t really like that kind of language,” house judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler said. CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote that Tlaib’s choice of words was a gift to the president.

When 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surprised everyone by seeing off an established Democratic rival and going on to win a seat in Congress, her triumph – after a shock primary victory in New York over the longstanding incumbent, Joe Crowley, who was the third most powerful House Democrat – was played down by the House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who chose to emphasise that voters had merely “made a choice in one district”. Since then, Ocasio-Cortez, who has become an internationally recognised figure, has faced a backlash from an array of party insiders – some of whom seem to resent her public profile and Twitter-star status – for her refusal to play by the normal rules of Washington politics.

‘A better world is possible’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected to Congress – video

One member of the Democratic caucus told Politico: “She doesn’t understand how the place works yet”, while another suggested, somewhat condescendingly: “There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.”

The message is clear: the new, young politicians – and the activist movements that put them in office – need to sit down and learn how things work in the grownup world of Congress. But the new politics is conquering the old. However uncomfortable the style and tactics of this radical crop of young Democrats make the party’s elite feel, the truth is that young activists are successfully remaking the Democratic party from the bottom up.

Take, for example, the Justice Democrats, a leftwing grouping who are backing radical, diverse challengers to more established Democrats. Ocasio-Cortez’s New York triumph demonstrated their growing influence; and putting an unapologetically leftwing, working-class candidate in office is a sign of how times are changing. The issues Ocasio-Cortez and others like her are raising – the abolition of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee – are starting to shift the party’s goalposts.

Nowhere is the influence of young activists more evident than in climate change. Days after the Democrats reclaimed the House, in the November midterms, activists from the Sunrise Movement occupied Pelosi’s office, forcing into the spotlight their demand for a Green New Deal – a radical plan to convert the country to renewable energy over 10 years. In February, it was the turn of the 85-year-old senator Dianne Feinstein to be confronted, again underlining the stark contrast in urgency between the generations. Bolstered by a new UN study that showed that the world has until just 2030 to head off climate catastrophe, Sunrise activists demanded politicians address the issue with the gravity that it deserves.

In Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has helped roll out the Green New Deal resolution, which sets goals that include transitioning to renewable energy by 2030, guaranteeing green jobs and overhauling the country’s transportation and buildings. So far 11 senators – among them the presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand – and more than 80 House members have become co-sponsors of the resolution. This is a dramatic ideological shift, and one that can be traced directly to young activists who have refused to settle for incremental change. As one Sunrise Movement board member told the New Republic magazine: “Young people are the most politically liberated force in our country right now. We have less to lose than any other generation, and everything to gain. We can be radical. We can be visionary.”

The renewal of the US left, driven by youthful energy and activism, has been coming. Over the past decade, young people from movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter have drastically shifted the way we think about inequality and race. The latter is one of the most successful campaigns in recent history. For example, police brutality and mass incarceration have become such integral issues to the Democratic party platform – in large part thanks to Black Lives Matter activists – that having a career as a prosecutor has become a liability, rather than a strength, for 2020 candidates like Harris.

Young activists, and the politicians they have helped put in office, have blown open the ways in which politics is supposed to work. The question now is not whether or not they have succeeded in remaking the Democratic party but rather how fast and how far they will be able to go. All our futures depend on that answer.

  • Absence follows furore over comments about Ilhan Omar

  • President: ‘Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigour’

Jeanine Pirro speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March.

Jeanine Pirro speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Before attending church on Sunday, Donald Trump defended a Fox News host who was taken off air after she questioned whether a Muslim congresswoman’s religious beliefs were compatible with the US constitution.

“Bring back [Judge Jeanine] Pirro,” the president tweeted from the White House, before a trip across Lafayette Square for a St Patrick’s Day service at St John’s Episcopal church. Fox should “be strong and prosper”, he added, rather than “be weak and die”.

Ilhan Omar, the subject of Pirro’s remarks, came to the US from Somalia and is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Her remarks about Israeli influence on US politics have caused controversy on both sides of the aisle.

Pirro is an ardent supporter of the president on a channel with close links to the White House that are the subject of growing criticism.

On her show on Saturday 9 March, the former New York judge and district attorney said of the Minnesota representative: “Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which, according to the Qur’an 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested.

“Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States constitution?”

Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigour. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct

Donald Trump

Amid outcry, Fox News said it “strongly condemned” the comments and had “addressed the matter with [Pirro] directly”.

In her own statement, Pirro said she had not called Omar “un-American” and said her intention had been to “ask a question and start a debate”.

“Of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the constitution,” she said, inviting Omar to appear on her show.

For her part, Omar thanked Fox and tweeted: “No one’s commitment to our constitution should be questioned because of their faith or country of birth.”

A week later, Pirro’s show did not appear. Citing an anonymous source, CNN reported that Pirro had been suspended but not fired. Fox repeated that it was “not commenting on internal scheduling matters”.

On Sunday, the president called for Pirro to be brought back and claimed “Radical Left Democrats working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media” were working to “silence a majority of our country”.

“They have all out campaigns against Fox News hosts who are doing too well,” the president wrote. “Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigour. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong [and] prosper, be weak [and] die! Stay true to the people that got you there.”

The president also defended the Fox host Tucker Carlson, who is under pressure over offensive comments made on talk radio beginning in the mid-2000s. Advertisers have said they will withdraw from his show and the show hosted by Pirro.

“Keep fighting for Tucker,” Trump wrote, “and fight hard for Judge Jeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Read Full Article>>

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