North America

Assange’s new indictment: Espionage and the First Amendment

Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with a slew of Espionage Act violations that could keep him in prison for… Ofer Raban The Conversation The new indictment expands an earlier one charging Assange with conspiring with Chelsea Manning, the former soldier convicted of leaking classified documents to… Assange is responsible for the dissemination of troves of classified American documents, including hundreds of thousands of military reports, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic ... Read More »

Trump approves $8bn Saudi weapons sale over Iran tensions

US President Donald Trump is approving the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, citing Iranian threats to its arch rival. BBC Mr Trump invoked a rarely used aspect of federal law to push through the $8bn (£6bn) deal – bypassing Congress. He did so by declaring that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national emergency. The move has angered those who fear the weapons may be used against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces. ... Read More »

The Ankara Ultimatum

Subtlety and nuance are not a priority in Trump’s dealing with Turkey James Gorrie The Epoch Times Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy is less than subtle. It has been said that wherever he—the bull—goes, he brings his own China shop with him. But in some cases, like Turkey, it has an advantage: Everybody knows where they stand. A Deteriorating Relationship It’s no secret that relations between Turkey and the United States have deteriorated over the years. U.S. interests are ... Read More »

US Bill introduced to deter China in South China, East China Seas

WASHINGTON – Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Party Senator Ben Cardin on Thursday (May 23) formally reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that would “impose… Nirmal Ghosh The Straits Times The bipartisan Bill is intended to put the brakes on China’s consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea – claimed by Taiwan and… Experts said the Bill was overdue. ... Read More »

Could One of America’s Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Michael Peck The National Interest What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has ... Read More »

A Path to War With Iran

How Washington’s Escalation Could Lead to Unintended Catastrophe Philip H. Gordon Foreign Affairs When President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last May, many critics argued that he risked setting off a chain of events that could lead to war. The nuclear deal wasn’t perfect, supporters of the deal acknowledged, but if the United States precipitously walked away and the deal collapsed, Iran might resume its nuclear enrichment program, and to stop it, the ... Read More »

Why the US and China will have to make it work

Earlier this month, the US and China seemed on the point of a trade rapprochement. The tariffs Washington and Beijing have slapped on each other in recent months were about to be reversed. Brisbane Times / Telegraph, London Then Donald Trump took to Twitter – a phrase future historians will be using a lot, perhaps – signalling Sino-US trade negotiations had shifted from sweet to sour. “The trade deal with China continues, but too slowly,” Trump tweeted. “They broke the ... Read More »

Sweden v USA – What Happens Next In Assange?

It was confirmed this week that the Swedish authorities have reopened the criminal investigation into Julian Assange over allegations of rape in 2010. Gherson The decision comes as Assange is serving a prison sentence in the UK for breaching bail in the original extradition proceedings. Assange is also facing extradition to the USA in connection with hacking allegations. After years of deadlock with Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy there is finally significant movement and many people are asking ... Read More »

Thousands of mixed-race British babies were born in World War II – and adoption by their black American fathers was blocked

Around 2.2% of the population of England and Wales is now mixed race and 3.3% are from black ethnic groups. Lucy Bland The Conversation During World War II, over 70 years ago, these figures were far lower. And so unsurprisingly, life was difficult for the 2,000 or so mixed race babies who were born in World War II to black American GIs and white British women. They grew up in predominately white localities and experienced significant racism. I have interviewed ... Read More »

NKorea suffering worst drought in decades

North Korea says it is suffering its worst drought in nearly four decades amid reports of severe food shortages. The Canberra Times Australian Associated Press The official Korean Central News Agency said an average of 54.4 millimetres of rain fell throughout the country in the first five months of this year. It said that is the lowest level since 1982, when North Korea received 51.2mm of rain on average during the same period. The report came after United Nations food ... Read More »

Taking the U.S. and Iran Off Collision Course

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. ICG It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war. For the past year, relations between the U.S. and Iran have brought to mind a slow-motion train wreck. Of late, the pace has dangerously accelerated, and tensions could soon lead to a… ... Read More »

One million face hunger in Gaza after US cut to Palestine aid

UN relief agency warns of crisis next month unless donor countries provide $60m Jennifer Rankin The Guardian More than a million people in Gaza risk going hungry next month unless international donors fill a $60m (£46m) funding black hole largely created by cuts to Palestinian refugee aid by the Trump administration, a UN agency has said. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which provides food for more than 1 million people in the Gaza strip, is calling on ... Read More »

Alabama passes bill banning abortion

Alabama has become the latest US state to move to restrict abortions by passing a bill to outlaw the procedure in almost all cases. BBC Supporters say they expect the law to be blocked in court but hope that the appeals process will bring it before the Supreme Court. They want the court, which now has a conservative majority, to overturn the 1973 ruling legalising abortion. Sixteen other states are seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion. Earlier this year ... Read More »

Charging asylum application fees is the latest way the US could make immigrants pay for its red tape

The Trump administration wants to make people fleeing persecution in their home countries pay for something they’ve long gotten for free: the right to apply for asylum in the United States. Sarah R. Sherman-Stokes The Conversation As an immigration attorney and a law professor who has represented people seeking asylum for over a decade, I believe this change, which could go into effect as soon as the summer of 2019, would be not just cruel but also unusual. At present, ... Read More »

Missile deal between Russia and Turkey stopped

No S-400 For Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (65) changes his mind. von: SINAN SENYURT Bild The Turkish military was originally supposed to receive the first delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems this summer – against the will of US President Donald Trump (72). The lira crisis has obviously caused Erdogan to change his mind, however. As BILD has learned from diplomatic circles in Ankara, the missile deal between Moscow and Ankara will apparently no… Background: The relationship ... Read More »

Presidency comms director Altun refutes Bild report claiming Turkey scrapped S-400 deal

Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Friday refuted a report by a German daily claiming Turkey has decided against the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems. Daily Sabah Bild’s foreign policy editor Julian Röpcke on Friday tweeted a “scoop,” saying, “Diplomatic sources tell @BILD, Erdogan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” The German journalist added a link to Bild’s report titled “Erdoğan makes a surprising missile back-out.” Responding to Röpcke, Altun told him that their sources “are ... Read More »