North America

With Oceans Under Greatest Threat Ever, Trump Administration Urges Even Less Protection for Marine Life

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“It shouldn’t be too much to ask to protect two percent of the U.S.’s exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast for future generations.” Julia Conley Common Dreams With the world’s oceans more severely threatened than ever before, President Donald Trump’s Interior Department is recommending even less protection for the fraction of ocean life the U.S. has guarded from commercial fishing and other activities in recent years. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed that three ocean monuments in the Pacific ... Read More »

Donald Trump’s Biggest Fear: A Romney 2020 Primary Challenge

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The retirement of Sen. Orrin Hatch sets up a bigger political play. With Sen. Orrin Hatch’s announcement that he will not run again in 2018, Mitt Romney is on the verge of gaining his revenge against President Donald Trump. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Until now, the Republican establishment has lacked a figurehead behind which it could mobilize against Trump. If Romney runs for Hatch’s position, he will be poised to challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primary and to ... Read More »

Pakistan summons US ambassador over Trump’s angry tweet

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Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador in protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s angry tweet about Pakistan’s “lies and deceit,” while Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif dismissed the outburst as a political stunt. ISLAMABAD – Reuters Hurriyet David Hale was summoned by the Pakistan foreign office on Jan. 1 to explain Trump’s tweet, media said. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad confirmed the meeting took place. In a withering attack, Trump on Jan. 1 said the United States had “foolishly” ... Read More »

The notion that lower corporate tax rates will lead to a repatriation of corporate cash and an influx of job creation in the United States is a complete nonsense.

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When the founders of the United States framed the American Constitution, one of the concerns that guided their work was the knowledge that popular democracy would eventually become an entirely commercial proposition. Christopher Whalen The National Interest This fear is clearly illustrated by the tax “reform” legislation just passed by the Republican majority in Congress. It seeks to buy votes next November with reductions in federal tax revenue that must ultimately be funded with ever larger amounts of public debt. ... Read More »

Joe Hockey discussed Alexander Downer’s Russia revelations with FBI

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The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey personally steered Australia’s dealings with the FBI on explosive revelations of Russian hacking during last year’s presidential campaign in a sign of how politically sensitive the Australian government regarded the bombshell discovery, Fairfax Media understands. David Wroe Brisbane Times It is also understood there is now annoyance and frustration in Canberra that the High Commissioner to Britain Alexander Downer has been outed through leaks by US officials as the source of information ... Read More »

The South China Sea fell off Trump’s radar last year. He may have to pay attention in 2018.

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HONG KONG — President Trump railed against a lot of things in 2017. Chinese construction in the South China Sea was not really one of them, despite his campaign tough talk. Emily Rauhala The Washington Post Focused on North Korea and evidently enamored of President Xi Jinping, the voluble U.S. president said relatively little as China continued to build on disputed islands, rocks and reefs.A recent Chinese report hailed progress in the South China Sea last year, noting construction totaling 290,000 square meters, or 72 acres.That included ... Read More »

It’s now colder than Mars in parts of North America

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If you live in North America, you don’t need a news website to tell you: It’s cold out. It’s really, really cold out. NIGEL RODDIS/REUTERS Newsweek As CTV News reported, the Canadian government issued weather alerts for “extreme cold” in much of the country on Thursday. The network also put together a list of places that were warmer than Canada, including Hell (the one in Norway), Antarctica and, yes, parts of Mars. The daily high on Mars reached -9.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, which, ... Read More »

Sessions Says to Courts: Go Ahead, Jail People Because They’re Poor

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Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidance to state courts that was meant to end debtors’ prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. CHIRAAG BAINS The New York Times This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us. The Justice Department helped shine a light on ... Read More »

A New Space Race?

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After a long time, the issue of outer space affairs is assuming a central position in the discourse of both national and international security Martand Jha The National Interest On December 11, Donald Trump signed a new space policy directive which instructs NASA to focus on sending humans to the moon. The last time the United States sent its astronauts to the moon was way back in December 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission. After a gap of forty-five years, ... Read More »

Canada expels Venezuela diplomat in tit-for-tat move

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Canada has announced it is expelling Venezuela’s ambassador to Ottawa, Wilmer Barrientos Fernández, and its charge d’affaires, Ángel Herrera. BBC Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the move was in retaliation for the expulsion of its most senior diplomat from Caracas over the weekend Venezuela had accused Canada of meddling in its internal affairs. Canada has criticised the government of President Nicolás Maduro over its human rights record. More than 120 people were killed during months of… Canada expels Venezuela… Read More »

How politics screwed Puerto Rico out of billions in disaster aid

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The hurricane-wracked island was denied billions in extra Medicaid funds. Now Republicans and Democrats are sniping over who’s to blame. JOHN BRESNAHAN and HEATHER CAYGLE Politico On Wednesday night, as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his top lieutenants struggled to pass the disaster aid package — as well as a funding bill to keep the government open — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise reached out to Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) with an offer: Would Democrats back the disaster supplemental if Republicans added ... Read More »

STM opening metro stations as shelters for homeless during freezing weather

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STM metro stations will serve as shelters for the homeless during the cold winter months STM has teamed up with several other organizations to provide those in need with a warm place to stay and social services at various metro stations. DH Montreal Staff The initiative has been in place for five years. Social workers will also be on site offering those in need a shuttle service when the stations close for the evening. “Homelessness is a complex social phenomenon that challenges ... Read More »

In Britain, the productivity problem has a clear solution

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The UK is lagging in productivity, but it has a secret weapon to leapfrog ahead of its competitors. Deborah Sherry Over the past year, Brexit has been the all-consuming storyline looming over the British economy. Politico As growth has lagged, people have looked to the country’s impending exit from the European Union for explanations. But Brexit or no Brexit, the real crisis is British productivity. In 2016, the U.K. ranked well below the other major economies of Europe in productivity, ... Read More »

PA looks to Russia, China, to upstage United States

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas has said repeatedly that the US has forfeited its role as a mediator due to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. BEN LYNFIELD JPost Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched delegations to Moscow and Beijing on Tuesday, as part of efforts to find new sponsorship for the peace process, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The move came as Ahmad Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member who is leading the delegation to China, ruled ... Read More »

Alicia Garcia-Herrero: What US Tax Reform Means for China

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How will the new U.S. tax system affect the world’s second largest economy? Maurits Elen The Diplomat Since the 1980s, the American corporate income tax rate has remained unchanged, all while OECD countries consistently started to reduce their own. With lower rates soon to be signed into law, a key economic policy objective of Trump is taking shape: to make the United States more competitive. The tax overhaul is unlikely to significantly affect the Chinese economy, nor will it pressure China ... Read More »

The reconfiguration of the New Syria

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Whatever happens, the New Syria which is currently reshaping will be the breaking point that will give rise to the new Middle East from which, however, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and even the United States will no longer be excluded or marginalized. Giancarlo Elia Valori Modern Diplomacy Those who currently think of a repetition of the Cold War on the banks of the Euphrates are badly mistaken. Russia does not want the US expulsion from the ... Read More »