27 Apr

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>>


The Age>>

The Observer>>

France blasts US for weakened UN resolution on sexual violence in conflicts

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

The UN Security Council on Tuesday approved a watered-down resolution on sexual violence in conflicts, eliminating language on providing survivors “sexual and reproductive health care” to get US support in a move criticised by France.

Tuesday’s vote on the German-drafted resolution was 13-0, with Russia and China, which had submitted a rival draft, abstaining.

Both Russia and China said they opposed sexual violence in conflicts, but denounced “lax interpretations” in the text and a “manipulated” struggle to create new UN structures and “override” mandates already approved.

France vehemently criticised the US for threatening to use its veto over a reference in the text to reproductive rights, seen by Washington as an encouragement of abortion.

“It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict — and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant — should have the right to
terminate their pregnancy,” French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre told the 15-member body after the vote.

“We deplore that the veto threats were brandished by permanent members of the council to challenge 25 years of gains in favour of women’s rights in situations of armed conflict,” he said.

The resolution expresses the council’s deep concern at “the slow progress” in addressing and eliminating sexual violence in conflicts around the world. It says such acts often occur with impunity “and in some situations have become systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality”.

The language promoting sexual and reproductive health is long-agreed internationally, including in resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 2009 and 2013 and several resolutions adopted annually by the 193-member General Assembly.

The text adopted on Tuesday simply reaffirms the council’s commitment to the 2009 and 2013 resolutions. A reference to the work of the International Criminal Court in fighting the most serious crimes against women and girls was also watered-down to win over Washington, which is not a member of the institution.

Nobel laureates decry failure to act

Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege decried the international community’s failure to act.

“Not a single person has been charged for sexual slavery,” said Murad, speaking before the vote about the massacres of her Yazidi community by the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria.

“The hopes of an entire generation have been destroyed,” the Iraqi human rights activist added, speaking of the “collective failure” of the international community to intervene.

“We give speeches at the UN but no real measures have been taken (in terms of obtaining justice) and nothing has been done.”

Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who like Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, asked: “What is the international community waiting for to give justice for the victims?”

He also called for the establishment of national and international courts to try the perpetrators of sexual violence in conflicts.

‘Epidemic of sexual violence,’ says Clooney

Amal Clooney, the star human rights lawyer who represents Murad and other Yazidi victims, also denounced the weak international response.

She accused the US and Russia of opposing a judicial system to hold the perpetrators of these crimes to account, as has been done for past horrors committed in Bosnia, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda or at the Nuremberg trials.

“If we don’t act now, it will be too late,” Clooney said, pointing to the thousands of IS group militants currently being held. “I agree that we are facing an epidemic of sexual violence. And I believe that justice is the antidote.”

‘Americans have taken negotiations hostage’

The German text initially sought to establish a formal working group, set up a mechanism to help bring to justice those responsible and develop victims’ protection by giving formal recognition to their sexual and reproductive rights.

China, Russia and the US opposed the mechanism, the working group was scrapped and Washington threatened a veto if the text spoke of reproductive rights.

A diplomat said the resolution had been “reduced so much that it’s now inadequate and there isn’t much left”.

Another added: “The Americans have taken negotiations hostage based on their own ideology. It’s scandalous.”


The week in wildlife – in pictures


World Politics

United States

‘Bad guys aren’t giving up their guns and you’re not going to either’, says Trump – video

Donald Trump announced at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting that the United States will drop out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by then president Barack Obama but opposed by the NRA and other conservative groups. Trump told members of the gun lobby that he intends to revoke the status of the US as a signatory to the Arms Trade Treaty, which was never ratified by the US Senate. In a pre-emptive attack against his 2020 challengers, Trump claimed that Democrats ‘want to take away your guns’ and told the thousands in the crowd: ‘You better get out there and vote’

  • Democrats condemn Trump’s ‘myopic’ decision to withdraw

  • President at NRA summit vows to defend second amendment

Trump says he ‘will never ratify the UN arms treaty’ as he pulls US out – video

Donald Trump has announced that the US will withdraw its support for a United Nations treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade.

Addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis, the president said he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

“My administration will never ratify the UN arms trade treaty,” Trump said. “We’re taking our signature back. The United Nations will soon receive a formal notice that America is rejecting this treaty.”

Trump added: “Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone. We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your second amendment freedom. I’m officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty.”

The US signed the treaty in 2013 but never ratified it. The NRA has long claimed the treaty poses a threat to the second amendment. On Friday its members stood, applauded and chanted “USA! USA!” as Trump signed a letter to Congress halting the ratification process, then tossed his pen into the crowd.

A delighted Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said: “Barack Obama and John Kerry tried to force us to accept international gun control under the power of the UN, but Donald Trump has said: ‘Not on my watch.’”

But the move drew sharp criticism.

Bob Menendez, top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, said: “This is yet another myopic decision that jeopardizes US security based on false premises and fearmongering. While Americans from all walks of life have come to painfully understand the threat posed by not doing enough to prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands, it is disturbing to see this administration turn back the clock on the little progress we have made to prevent illicit arms transfers.”

Democrats are obsessed with hoaxes, delusions and witch-hunts. We can play the game just as well or better than they do

Donald Trump

The Senate has so far failed to approve the treaty because of Republicans’ “paralyzing fear of backlash from the NRA”, Menendez added. “This is another reminder that if we’re going to get anywhere to break the inaction on the kind of commonsense steps to stop gun violence and keep people safe, we must stop letting the NRA set the agenda in Washington.”

Rachel Stohl, the managing director of the Stimson Center thinktank in Washington, and a consultant to the arms trade treaty process, said: “Today the president once again walked away from America’s leadership role in the world and undermined international efforts to reduce human suffering caused by irresponsible and illegal arms transfers.

“Un-signing the treaty will undermine international peace and security, increase irresponsible and illegal sales of conventional weapons, and harm the American economy.”

Beset by internal turmoil, financial troubles and a public backlash following mass shootings, the NRA, which has 5.5 million members, welcomed the chance to rally around Trump, the first president to address its annual convention for three consecutive years. Thousands gathered at the Lucas Oil Stadium, many wearing red Make American Great Again caps.

Pledging to defend the second amendment, Trump warned: “In recent days Democrats have proposed banning new guns and confiscating existing guns from law abiding citizens. What they don’t tell you is the bad guys don’t give up their guns. And you’re not going to be giving up your guns either.”

He also raged against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference. “They tried for a coup; didn’t work out so well. And I didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?”

Trump added that he has seen “corruption at the highest levels. A disgrace. Spying. Surveillance. Trying for an overthrow, and we caught ‘em. We caught ‘em … Democrats are obsessed with hoaxes, delusions and witch-hunts. We can play the game just as well or better than they do.”

The audience listens to Trump’s speech.

The audience listens to Trump’s speech. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

In lines reminiscent of a Trump campaign rally, the president also touted the economy, promised to build 400 miles of border wall by the end of next year and complained: “The level of corruption and dishonesty in the media is unbelievable.”

Earlier, the vice-president, Mike Pence, returning to his home state, predicted: “Despite the fact that this president has faced unprecedented opposition, obstruction, and resistance, I believe that when this president’s story is written, when he finishes his term in office, six years from now, I believe history will record: no other president in all the modern era has done so much for so many in so little time. President Trump has delivered.”

Pence warned of the threat of socialism and took a swipe at Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders over his proposal to allow prison inmates to vote. “The same people who want to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding citizens believe the Boston Marathon bomber should be given the right to vote on death row. I got news for you, Bernie: not on our watch!

“Violent convicted felons, murderers, and terrorists should never be given the right to vote in prison – not now, not ever.”

The partisan political messages appeared to resonate with NRA members. Shelley Grafmyre, 68, a registered nurse from Elgin, Illinois, did not vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016 but will back the president next year. She said of Democrats: “They’re liars; they can’t con me. Every one of them is going so far left. Confiscating guns is their goal. I’m a senior woman who likes to protect herself and go shooting. Leave me the hell alone.”

Charlie Morgan, 67, a retired police officer from Chicago, said: “I’m disgusted with Democrats. Ever since the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the way they treated that man with his kids in the room, I would never vote for another Democrat. They’ve lost me ever since that hearing.”

Reinhold Toerek, 62, an engineer from Cleveland, Ohio, joined the NRA a month ago. “What prompted me to do it was the threat of our second amendment rights being lost. I think the antagonism between the Republicans and the Democrats because of Trump has heightened the threat to the second amendment and we have to do our bit to protect it.”

Andrew Napolitano argued in an op-ed the president obstructed justice with ‘unlawful’ behavior related to the Russia inquiry

Andrew Napolitano in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, New York, on 15 December 2016.

Andrew Napolitano in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, New York, on 15 December 2016. Photograph: Albin Lohr-Jones / Pool/EPA

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano has argued that Donald Trump did obstruct justice, with “unlawful, defenseless and condemnable” behavior related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the opinion column Did President Trump obstruct justice?, the host of the Liberty File on Fox Nation argued that the Mueller report illustrates clear and intentional obstruction of justice, constituting legal grounds for impeachment.

Napolitano, a former superior court judge in New Jersey, thereby contradicted the attorney general, William Barr, who decided there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president had committed obstruction of justice.

Napolitano’s column was accompanied by a video, shot outside Fox News HQ in New York, which spread rapidly on social media. Trump is an avid viewer of the network and user of Twitter. He did not immediately respond.

An FBI investigation into contacts between Trump aides and Russia began before Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. Mueller’s investigation expanded to include instances of possible obstruction, among them the firing of FBI director James Comey, who told investigators he believed Trump fired him after he refused to call off an investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Read Full Article>>

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