North America

Saudi nukes on Chinese rockets?

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared in a ’60 Minutes’ interview that Saudi Arabia would quickly acquire a nuclear bomb if Iran develops a nuclear weapon first Uwe Parpat Asia Times When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS for short) meets US President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday (March 20), nuclear weapons will be high on the agenda. MBS made sure of that when he said in a CBS “60 minutes” interview aired on Sunday, but in part released three days ... Read More »

‘You Will Not Destroy America’: A Trump Battle Is No Longer One-Sided

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WASHINGTON — Usually, top intelligence and law enforcement officials withdraw to lives of tight-lipped relative anonymity after their careers end. (Suffice it to say, they are not exactly known for viral Twitter battles.) Katie Rogers The New York Times But as President Trump has voiced his grievances against the F.B.I. with a series of insult-laden tweets, his targets have responded nearly in kind, turning a conflict that would in the past have stayed behind closed doors into a brawl for ... Read More »

Developing countries at risk from US rate rise, debt charity warns

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Jubilee Debt Campaign says 126 nations spend more than 10% of revenues on interest Larry Elliott The Guardian The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned. The Jubilee Debt Campaign said a study of 126 developing nations showed that they were devoting more than 10% of their revenues on average to paying the interest on money borrowed – the ... Read More »

Why Pompeo may not be good news for Ankara

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The diplomatic reshuffle in Washington may be the harbinger of a new era of further confrontation with Ankara. Yavuz Baydar The Arab Weekly Regardless of the rosy expectations of some, US-Turkey relations may enter a critical phase if CIA Director Mike Pompeo takes over the US State Department from Rex Tillerson. Pompeo and Tillerson have very little in common. Tillerson represented a “softer” American approach to issues and the notion that Washington needs to take its allies into account. Pompeo ... Read More »

‘Testilying’ — a Stubborn Police Problem

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Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility. Joseph Goldstein The New York Times Officer Nector Martinez took the witness stand in a Bronx courtroom on Oct. 10, 2017, and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God. There had been a shooting, Officer Martinez testified, and he wanted to search a nearby apartment for evidence. A woman stood in ... Read More »

Getting smarter, knowing less

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To work out what matters, we need the cognitive equivalent of decluttering guru Marie Kondo Robert Armstrong Financial Times Erik Hagerman is my new hero. Sadly, reports of my admiration will never reach him. Hagerman — subject of a recent New York Times profile — decided to block out all news after the election of Donald Trump. Living in rural Ohio, the former corporate executive reads no newspapers and watches only basketball on TV. He takes in the games without ... Read More »

An American Imam Talks Islam and Money

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf came to America as a child, and learned that prosperity presented its own religious riddles. WealthSimple Feisal Abdul Rauf is a longtime Imam, public intellectual and the author of numerous books about Islam’s place in the West, including What’s Right With Islam is What’s Right with America. There’s a passage in the Bible that says it is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a ... Read More »

Articulate US teenagers could finally force action on gun control

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On Wednesday in the US, thousands of students left their classrooms in a national day of action designed to force political change on gun crime. George Rennie The Conversation Following the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this walkout is part of an extraordinary national movement. Young people across the US are doing what countless others have tried and failed to do: using grassroots strategies to take on the powerful gun lobby. The US has an epidemic of ... Read More »

#NeverAgain: do student protests work? History tells us they can

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When 17 students and teachers were murdered on what should have been a peaceful school day, students across the US took to the streets to demand change. Claire Cooke The Conversation The outpouring of protests in the wake of the tragic mass-shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year is an important reminder that students can challenge the status quo. The #NeverAgain movement, led by high-school and college students, is asking for gun reform in the US to improve safety in ... Read More »

Mike Pompeo on Muslims, torture and Guantanamo Bay

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Newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a controversial history. Where does he stand on the issues? Creede Newton Al Jazeera The appointment of former CIA director Mike Pompeo as US secretary of state occurred on Tuesday after months of rumours that Rex Tillerson was on the way out. Tillerson was often depicted as a calm hand of “peaceful pressure” while US President Donald Trump usually opted for hasty decisions, bombastic rhetoric, and controversial policy positions. The two men disagreed on many issues, including the Iran ... Read More »

The U.S. Must Not Appease Turkey’s Erdogan

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It is often invidious to draw historical parallels, but in the case of Turkey’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, one parallel is justified: Nazi Germany’s claim to the Sudetenland in Czechslovakia in 1938, where Britain and France adopted a policy of appeasement. Robert Ellis International Policy Digest When Germany invaded Poland a year later, Britain and France were forced to declare war. And we all know what that led to. The U.S. is now in ... Read More »

The Next Phase of Finance

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Today’s strengthening economic recovery has not overcome the understandable but devastating loss of trust in the financial system that followed the crisis a decade ago. Restoring trust will require reasserting control over the financial sector, to ensure that it is serving the economy, not the other way around. Bertrand Badré Project Syndicate WASHINGTON, DC – The decade since the global financial crisis has been tumultuous, to say the least. True, no great war has erupted, and we have more or ... Read More »

Destroying the notorious Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo is a huge mistake

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Preserving sites with the most shameful or contested histories is critical for building democracy Liz Ševčenko The Guardian The Pentagon this week announced it will tear down Camp X-Ray, the first temporary facility at Guantánamo where “enemy combatants” were imprisoned in 2002. Despite a US federal court’s preservation order, the Pentagon argued it did not need to preserve the physical site because the FBI has created a 3D digital reconstruction. Such a virtual tour is in no way a substitute for preserving the original ... Read More »

The Modest Diplomatic Promise of North Korea’s Charm Offensive

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Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Christopher Green ICG Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers. The surprise announcement on 8 March that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by… The Modest Diplomatic… Read More »

Migration is a successful climate adaptation strategy

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Governments across the world should legalise and regulate temporary climate migration, rather than try to prevent it. Alex Randall Al Jazeera After a particularly bad year for rainfall, Miguel told a group of researchers that he was leaving Mexico for the US. This wasn’t a permanent move he explained, he would be back. In fact, he’d made the move several times before. “The only solution is to go away, at least for a while. Each year, I’m working for three to five ... Read More »

U.S. moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

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In an effort to repair tattered relations, the Trump administration has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, according to U.S. and… By Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The first step and “the crux of the matter,” a senior Turkish official said, is to withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the ... Read More »