North America

PH, US Balikatan exercises open with fewer troops

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The annual military exercises between the United States and the Philippines, called “Balikatan [shoulder-to-shoulder],” opened in Quezon City on Monday, but on a smaller scale, amid the government’s declared pivot to China and Russia. Philip C. Tubeza Inquirer  WITH A REPORT FROM AFP Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led the opening ceremonies of the 33rd Philippine-US Balikatan military exercises at… Exercise Balikatan 2017, which… PH, US Balikatan… Read More »

Coalition counts cost of delay to US refugee deal in budget

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$713,000 has been allocated to fund the Nauru and Manus centres – well above the $434,000 the government forecast The Guardian Spending on offshore detention centres has not been reduced in the federal budget to reflect the refugee resettlement agreement with the United States because of the deep uncertainty surrounding the arrangement. For 2017-18 the government has budgeted $713,641 for offshore detention, lower than the… Coalition counts cost… Read More »

In Trump’s Firing of James Comey, Echoes of Watergate

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WASHINGTON — In dramatically casting aside James B. Comey, President Trump fired the man who may have helped make him president — and the man who potentially most threatened the future of his presidency. PETER BAKER The New York Times Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an… In his letter firing Mr. Comey, the F.B.I. director, Mr. Trump made a… In Trump’s Firing… Read More »

F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump

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WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MATT APUZZO The New York Times The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the… It immediately ignited… F.B.I. Director James… Read More »

Rein in the executive: let the people, via Parliament, decide whether we go to war

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Rein in the executive: let the people, via Parliament, decide whether we go to war Julian Cribb The Canberra Times Australia may soon be sucked into a new war. Possibly more than one war. And Australians will again have no say in the matter. In two months, United States President Donald Trump has launched military actions in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, turned up the heat on North Korea and… Rein in the… Read More »

Will the South China Sea Become the New Crimea?

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Xi Jinping has successfully avoided maritime overreach—but that might be about to change. Nicholas Lyall The National Interest The burgeoning friendship between President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin in recent times reflects the similarities in their personal leadership styles. Both regimes are defined by an… Will the South… Read More »

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked

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A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose? by Carole Cadwalladr The Observer “The connectivity that is the heart of globalisation can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims.[…] The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty.” ... Read More »

America’ is in desperate need of, well, a miracle

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For more than a half century, the United States has operated what might be called a “Miracle Machine.” Eric S. Lander and Eric E. Schmidt The Washington Post Powered by federal investment in science and technology, the machine regularly churns out breathtaking advances. The Miracle Machine has transformed the way we live and work, strengthened national defense and revolutionized… America’s ‘Miracle Machine… Read More »

‘Keep at it, it’s great’: Turnbull praises Trump for major step in dismantling Obamacare

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‘ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised President Donald Trump for winning a vote that marks a major step towards dismantling Obamacare. 9news © Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017 Mr Turnbull began his remarks at a commemoration dinner marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea by congratulating the president on his bid to roll back Barack… “Well done, congratulations,” Mr Turnbull… ‘Keep at it… Read More »

Obamacare v Republican plan compared

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Republican politicians have campaigned on repealing President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms pretty much since they were enacted in 2010. Anthony Zurcher BBC Now, with a governing majority, they’ve had to come up with a replacement plan – a task that has proved much more challenging than they may have imagined. Here’s a look at some key differences between the existing law, informally known as Obamacare, and the… Obamacare v Republican… Read More »

Hillary Clinton joins the ‘Trump resistance’

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The election may be over, with Donald Trump’s presidency more than 100 days old, but Hillary Clinton isn’t ready to let go. Anthony Zurcher BBC In a brief but frank interview with foreign affairs reporter Christiane Amanpour at the Women for Women International event in New York City on Tuesday, Mrs Clinton said that she… What has she learned? While admitting that she… Hillary Clinton joins… Read More »

Rex Tillerson Spells Out U.S. Foreign Policy

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The Trump administration’s “America First” agenda just became a little clearer. Aria Bendix The Atlantic U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed the State Department on Wednesday, shedding light on various aspects of the Trump administration’s “America First” foreign-policy agenda.While President Trump has made clear…. Rex Tillerson Spells… Read More »

Values vs. Interests: How Should America Deal with Bad Guys?

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The United States needs flexibility and discretion in foreign policy, not a straitjacket of moral or ethical principles. Aaron David Miller The National Interest President Trump’s decision to extend an invitation to Philippine strongman President Rodrigo Duterte is only the latest and perhaps the extreme example of the Trump administration’s seeming… The decision to strike Syria in the wake of the… Values vs. Interests… Read More »

Barack Obama’s $400,000 speaking fees reveal what few want to admit

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His mission was never racial or economic justice. It’s time we stop pretending it was Steven W Thrasher The Guardian he reason many of us have been critical of Barack Obama’s outrageous $400,000 speaking fee is that it robs us of a fantasy: that sooner or later, the first black president was going to use… That Obama’s project was or ever would be racial and economic justice was… Barack Obama’s $400,000… Read More »

Time for Donald Trump to Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Kim Jong-un

Trump walks into the Diplomatic Receiving Room of the White House Flickr The White House

Forget Duterte: this is the Asian dictator Trump should be welcoming. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Donald Trump is inviting the wrong Asian dictator to meet him in Washington. Instead of focusing on Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, he should extend an invitation to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. His comments today that… Time for Donald… Read More »

Will Trump release the missing JFK files?

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Unless the president intervenes, we’ll soon know more secrets about the Kennedy… PHILIP SHENON Politico The nation’s conspiracy-theorist-in-chief is facing a momentous… Will President Donald Trump allow the public to see a trove of thousands of long-secret government files about the event that, more than any other in modern American history, has fueled… The answer must come within… Will Trump release… Read More »