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27 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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.

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Expatica

Autographs and fruit threats as Trump strides into Davos

AFP/The Local

Thousands rally against Donald Trump in Zurich, Switzerland.

Photos by Fabian Eberhard

A fawning female admirer grabbed Donald Trump’s autograph while others longed to pelt him with fruit as the US president Thursday strode enthusiastically into the Davos economic forum.

Trump smiled and waved as hundreds of onlookers at the elite gathering lined the lobby and a high staircase of the conference venue in the Swiss resort to get a glimpse of him.

Some muttered disapprovingly about him even as they got out their phones to take pictures, torn between fascination and revulsion at the man who has vowed to tear down their globalist world.

“Can we throw things?” asked one bystander, a middle-aged American woman in a purple jacket, peering from the staircase at the crowds awaiting Trump’s arrival.

“I’ve an apple in my bag,” said another woman.

“No,” replied the first, walking away. “He doesn’t even merit that.”

– God’s gift? –

On the front line of the welcoming committee, however, was one devoted fan.

Deborah O’Hara Rusckowski, 58, held out a book for him to sign called “God and Donald Trump”, a study on whether supernatural intervention brought the US leader to power.

“Yes, president,” shouted Rusckowski, an American who serves as a permanent observer to the United Nations for the conservative Catholic movement the Order of Malta, before Trump approached and signed her book.

“He was very, very hospitable and personal. He just said ‘Yes, I’ll sign that for you’,” she told AFP afterwards.

“I like him. I like what he stands for. I think we needed it after eight years of what we had (before Trump) that did nothing but hurt us.”

– Dinner with Trump –

Swiss protesters hung a giant banner on a nearby mountain reading “Trump not welcome”.

In a statement, the progressive campaign group that hung the banner, Campax, said it hoped the US leader would see it as he flew by in his helicopter.

It said 17,000 people had signed a petition against Trump’s visit to Switzerland, protesting what it said were his racist and sexist views and “misanthropic” policies.

At the summit, delegates were waiting nervously to hear what Trump will say during his address to the forum on Friday.

He was scheduled to dine with European company executives on Thursday evening in the posh Swiss ski resort.

But some business leaders “are leaving” already, a top European diplomat who asked not to be named told AFP.

“So many we speak to say they don’t want to be here for the speech.”

By attending the annual Davos meeting, Trump came face to face with the liberal economic elites whom he insulted during his election campaign.

But on arrival he was all smiles.

“It’s very exciting to be here, we’re very happy to be here. The United States is doing very well,” he told the crowd, before disappearing upstairs for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and others.

“This will be a very exciting two days.”

World Politics

Ireland

Leo Varadkar to campaign to liberalise Irish abortion laws>>

Czechoslovakia

Czech president Miloš Zeman wins second five-year term>>

United States

President declares US open for business as he accuses media for being nasty, mean and fake

The US president uses an address at Davos to attack the ‘mean and vicious’ media, prompting boos and hisses from the audience. The founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, was also booed when he introduced Trump

President declares US open for business as he accuses media for being nasty, mean and fake

Donald Trump has taken his battle with the media on to the global stage by using a speech in Davos declaring the US open for business to accuse his press and TV critics of being mean, vicious and purveyors of fake news.

Some members of the audience of business leaders, politicians, academics and media representatives at the World Economic Forum responded to the president’s renewed onslaught by hissing.

Speaking to a packed hall on Friday, Trump boasted of his record since entering the White House and said there had never been a better time for businesses to hire and build in the low tax and low regulation economy he was creating.

It came as the latest figures showed the US economy growing at an annual rate of 2.6% in the final three months of 2017, weaker than the 3% growth Wall Street had been expecting.

“The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America,” he said. “I’m here to deliver a simple message. There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest and to grow in the United States. America is open for business and we are competitive once again.

“After years of stagnation, the United States is once again experiencing strong economic growth. The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America.”

But the speech, which contained a threat of fresh protectionist measures and a warning that other countries should spend more on defence, was greeted less warmly than that of Emmanuel Macron earlier this week.

There was derision from the audience when Trump said in a question and answer session that he had not understood how “nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake the media can be” before entering politics.

There was also hissing at the start of Trump’s speech when, in introductory remarks, the WEF founder, Klaus Schwab, said the president’s strong leadership was “open to misconception and biased interpretations”.

Fears that Trump would use his speech to announce new protectionist measures proved unfounded and he stuck to a script in which he insisted the US was committed to free and open trade, provided the rules were fair. He also sought international cooperation to “ denuke the Korean peninsula”.

While wooing big business, Trump made it clear that the address was also intended for a domestic US audience. “Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all,” he said.

The rich and powerful people at the Swiss mountain resort had the power to transform lives and shape their countries’ destinies, Trump added. “With this power comes an obligation, however, a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, customers, who made you who you are,” he said.

The US president said the stock market had reached record highs on more than 80 separate occasions over the past year and tax cuts that offer most to corporations and the well-off were trickling down to workers.

“We lowered our corporate tax rate from 35% all the way down to 21%. As a result, millions of workers have received tax cut bonuses from their employers in amounts as large as $3,000,” he said.

Trump said he had cut 22 “burdensome” regulations for every new rule, saying this was freeing businesses and workers to flourish as never before. “Regulation is stealth taxation,” he said, attacking unelected bureaucrats for imposing anti-business and anti-worker rules. “In America, those days are over.”……………Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam International, said the speech amounted to a “billionaires-first” policy.

“President Trump’s boastful sales pitch was a victory lap for the trillions of tax cuts that the wealthy elites and corporations have clamoured for. The evidence is clear: these tax cuts are looting the US treasury to enrich the 1%,” she said.

Phillip Jennings, the general secretary of the UNI global trade union, said: “Trump seems to think that America is all right if the stock market is all right.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu urged not to expel 38,000 people facing ‘suffering, torment and death’

Eritrean migrants wear chains to mimic slaves at a demonstration against the Israeli government’s policy to forcibly deport African refugees and asylum seekers

 

Holocaust survivors in Israel have pleaded with the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, not to expel 38,000 African migrants, citing their own experiences as outcasts.

“We, who know precisely what it’s like to be refugees … homeless and bereft of a state that preserves and protects us from violence and suffering, cannot comprehend how a Jewish government can expel refugees and asylum seekers to a journey of suffering, torment and death,” the 36 signatories wrote in a letter in Haaretz on Friday.

Saturday is Holocaust Remembrance Day. On 3 January, Netanyahu told illegal immigrants, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, to leave voluntarily or face prison.

He defended his decision at the weekly cabinet meeting last Sunday, denying that the potential deportees were refugees. “We are acting against illegal migrants who come here not as refugees but for work needs,” he said. “Israel will continue to offer asylum for genuine refugees and will remove illegal migrants from its midst.”

He did not say which country they would be sent to, but Israel tacitly recognises it is too dangerous to return the Sudanese and Eritreans home. Aid workers and media have named Uganda and Rwanda, but Uganda has publicly denied being a destination.

The website of the Aid Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) says that of 10,000 asylum requests from Eritreans in Israel, only seven have been granted, while one Sudanese has received asylum. It does not state the number of Sudanese applicants, but government figures from October 2016 list 8,066 Sudan nationals among the migrants.

A 2016 UN commission of inquiry into Eritrea’s regime found “widespread and systematic” crimes against humanity and said an estimated 5,000 people flee the country each month. The international criminal court has indicted the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide linked to his regime’s counter-insurgency tactics in the 14-year-old Darfur conflict.

ASSAF says that there are thousands from the Darfur region of western Sudan among those seeking asylum in Israel whose applications have not yet been answered.

Read Full Article>>

At least 30 people drown as boat capsizes amid reports of gunfire used against those on board

International Organization for Migration staff assist Somali and Ethiopian migrants in Yemen.

 

At least 30 people drowned when their migrant boat capsized off war-torn Yemen this week, the UN has said, adding that it had received reports of gunfire being used against those on board.

At least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians were on board the overcrowded vessel, which left Aden in southern Yemen on Tuesday, the UN refugee and migration agencies said in a joint statement.

“The vessel is believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were attempting to take refugees and migrants to Djibouti, while also trying to extort more money from these refugees and migrants,” the statement said.

The boat turned back and “capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers”, it said, adding that it was working with the Yemeni coastguard to try to establish what happened.

“At least 30 people have died in this tragic incident,” it said.

More than 9,200 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 against Houthi rebels with the aim of restoring the country’s internationally recognised government to power.

But the impoverished country continues to draw migrants from the Horn of Africa, many of them seeking work in prosperous Gulf countries further north.

The UN Refugee Agency said it was “outraged” by the latest deaths.

“Prolonged conflict and insecurity in Yemen continues to expose vulnerable refugees and migrants to heightened risks of human rights violations including arbitrary arrest, detention, trafficking and deportation,” it said on Twitter.

In August last year, dozens of migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia died after human traffickers forced them off two Yemen-bound boats and into the sea.

Last March, a helicopter opened fire on a vessel carrying more than 140 migrants in the Red Sea off the Yemen coast, killing 42 civilians.

A confidential UN report seen by AFP said the attack was most likely carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

Read Full Article>>

FBI agent fatally shot kidnap victim during raid in Houston, authorities say

‘The system failed. Whether it was accidental or not, the man is not going home to his family,’ the Conroe police chief said

An FBI agent fatally shot the victim of a kidnapping during a raid early Thursday at a Houston home

 

An FBI agent fatally shot the victim of a kidnapping during a raid early Thursday at a Houston home, authorities said.

FBI spokeswoman Christina Garza said the agent shot the man shortly before 4am during an “operation” at the home. The man, whose name was not immediately released, died later at a hospital.

Police in Conroe, about 40 miles north of Houston, confirmed the man had been kidnapped and held for ransom.

“The system failed. Whether it was accidental or not, the man is not going home to his family,” Conroe police chief Philip Dupuis said.

Two men and one woman are charged with aggravated kidnapping, police said. The men also are charged with aggravated robbery.

Police said the men broke into a home in Conroe and abducted the man. His 12-year-old son called police, who called the FBI for assistance.

The FBI followed cellphone signals to a motel near Houston, where two suspects – both of them men – were found. The suspects directed FBI agents and police officers to a house where another suspect – a woman – was located along with the man who was being held captive. Other people, including children, also were at the home, according to authorities.

It is unclear what led to the gunfire. Garza said the agent who fired the fatal shot is on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Read Full Article>>

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