19 Jun

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.

World Politics

United States

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the US-Mexico border, in McAllen, Texas

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the US-Mexico border, in McAllen, Texas. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Photographer John Moore, whose viral image of a weeping two-year-old girl at the US border has become the potent symbol of the outrage over Donald Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy, including family separations, knew what he had captured was “important”.

What he could not guess, however, was how great an impact his picture would have on the debate as it was published around the globe.

Moore, a veteran Getty Images photographer, who has spent a decade documenting immigration and US border issues, had been accompanying a patrol along the Rio Grande Valley.

“I was on a ride-along with the US Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas, last week,” he told the Guardian. “[It’s] in the Rio Grande Valley, the most heavily trafficked part of the entire US-Mexico border for undocumented immigration. I was with them from afternoon into evening.”

Over the years, Moore had become familiar with both the routes over this border and the way different people reacted: how those who crossed individually, usually men, would run and try to hide from the border patrols. Many families, tired from their often weeks-long journey, would seek to surrender almost immediately to the officers whom they encountered.

Night had fallen and Moore was waiting in the scrub by the riverside for rafts carrying undocumented migrants, when the sound of four boats and a dozen people became audible. Those crossing were arrested almost immediately by border officers.

And unlike those in the boat, Moore knew what was likely to happen.

“I have photographed many immigrant families seeking political asylum at the border over the last few years.

“I am sure that most of these families had no idea of the new US policy to separate children from their parents during the immigration court proceedings.

“I knew, however, what would happen to many of them next – separation – after they were taken away, so it was difficult for me to witness.

“The agents grouped everyone together,” he recalled. “[They] looked over their documents and noted their names and home countries.”

Each of the adults was frisked before being loaded into a van to take them to a processing centre, he said.

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Homeland security secretary claims administration is simply enforcing the law as photos and audio of children fuel anger

James Hansen, who gave a climate warning in 1988 Senate testimony, says real hoax is by leaders claiming to take action

James Hansen: ‘All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem.’

James Hansen: ‘All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem.’ Photograph: Ali Smith for the Guardian

Thirty years after a former Nasa scientist sounded the alarm for the general public about climate change and human activity, the expert issued a fresh warning that the world is failing “miserably” to deal with the worsening dangers.

While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.

Hansen provided what’s considered the first warning to a mass audience about global warming when, in 1988, he told a US congressional hearing he could declare “with 99% confidence” that a recent sharp rise in temperatures was a result of human activity.

Since this time, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have mushroomed despite repeated, increasingly frantic warnings about civilization-shaking catastrophe, from scientists amassing reams of evidence in Hansen’s wake.

“All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem,” Hansen told the Guardian. “We agreed that in 1992 [at the Earth summit in Rio] and re-agreed it again in Paris [at the 2015 climate accord]. We haven’t acknowledged what is required to solve it. Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.”

Hansen’s long list of culprits for this inertia are both familiar – the nefarious lobbying of the fossil fuel industry – and surprising. Jerry Brown, the progressive governor of California, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are “both pretending to be solving the problem” while being unambitious and shunning low-carbon nuclear power, Hansen argues.

James Hansen is arrested outside the White House for protesting on 27 September 2010.

James Hansen is arrested outside the White House for protesting on 27 September 2010. Photograph: Alamy


There is particular scorn for Barack Obama. Hansen says in a scathing upcoming book that the former president “failed miserably” on climate change and oversaw policies that were “late, ineffectual and partisan”.

Hansen even accuses Obama of passing up the opportunity to thwart Donald Trump’s destruction of US climate action, by declining to settle a lawsuit the scientist, his granddaughter and 20 other young people are waging against the government, accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.

“Near the end of his administration the US said it would reduce emissions 80% by 2050,” Hansen said.

“Our lawsuit demands a reduction of 6% a year so I thought, ‘That’s close enough, let’s settle the lawsuit.’ We got through to Obama’s office but he decided against it. It was a tremendous opportunity. This was after Trump’s election, so if we’d settled it quickly the US legally wouldn’t be able to do the absurd things Trump is doing now by opening up all sorts of fossil fuel sources.”

Hansen’s frustrations temper any satisfaction at largely being vindicated for his testimony, delivered to lawmakers on 23 June 1988.

Wearing a cream-coloured suit, the soft-spoken son of Iowan tenant farmers hunched over the microphone in Washington to explain that humans had entered a confronting new era. “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now,” he said.

Afterwards, Hansen told reporters: “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.” He brandished new research that forecast that 1988 was set to be the warmest year on record, as well as projections for future heat under three different emissions scenarios. The world has dutifully followed Hansen’s “scenario B” – we are “smack on it” it, Hansen said last week – with global temperatures jumping by around 1C (1.8F) over the past century.

These findings hadn’t occurred in a vacuum, of course – the Irish physicist John Tyndall confirmed that carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas in the 1850s. A 1985 scientific conference in Villach, Austria, concluded the temperature rise in the 21st century would be “greater than in any man’s history”. The changes in motion would “affect life on Earth for centuries to come”, the New York Times warned the morning after Hansen’s testimony.

James Hansen testifies before a Senate transportation subcommittee on 8 May 1989, a year after his history-making testimony regarding climate change.

James Hansen testifies before a Senate transportation subcommittee on 8 May 1989, a year after his history-making testimony regarding climate change. Photograph: Dennis Cook/AP

Three decades of diplomacy has blossomed into an international consensus, albeit rattled by Trump, that the temperature rise must be curbed to “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times. But in this time emissions have soared (in 1988, 20bn tons of carbon dioxide was emitted – by 2017 it was 32bn tons) with promised cuts insufficient for the 2C goal. Despite the notable growth of renewable energy such as solar and wind, Hansen believes there is no pathway to salvation without a tax on carbon-producing fuels.

“The solution isn’t complicated, it’s not rocket science,” Hansen said. “Emissions aren’t going to go down if the cost of fossil fuels isn’t honest. Economists are very clear on this. We need a steadily increasing fee that is then distributed to the public.”

Hansen faced opposition even before his testimony – he recalls a Nasa colleague telling him on the morning of his presentation “no respectable scientist” would claim the world is warming – and faced subsequent meddling and censorship from George HW Bush’s administration.

He eventually retired from Nasa in 2013 and promptly reinvented himself as an activist who was arrested, wearing his trademark hat, outside the White House while protesting against the Keystone oil pipeline.

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