Political divisions in Europe are like a civil war – Macron

French president calls for defence of European liberal democracy in face of illiberalism and nationalism.

Emmanuel Macron: ‘In the future we must struggle to defend our ideals

Emmanuel Macron: ‘In the future we must struggle to defend our ideals.’ Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images


Emmanuel Macron has likened the political divisions in Europe to a civil war and warned against growing illiberalism on the continent.

In his first speech to the European parliament, the French president called for the defence of a European liberal democracy that offered protection of the rights of its minorities, and attacked those who took their countries out of the EU to pursue fairytale “adventures”, in a passing mention of Brexit.

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US, UK, Germany and France unite to condemn spy attack

Joint statement deplores ‘assault on UK sovereignty’ and says only plausible explanation is that Russia is responsible.

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The leaders of Britain, the US, Germany and France have released a joint statement strongly condemning the Salisbury nerve agent attack as “an assault on UK sovereignty” and saying it is highly likely Russia was behind it.

The rare united comment from Theresa May, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, released by Downing Street, follows extensive UK efforts to drum up international support for its response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripaland his daughter.

After the statement’s release Donald Trump said that Russia appeared to be behind the attack. “It looks like it,” he told reporters. “I’ve spoken with the prime minister and we are in discussions. A very sad situation. It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it. Something that should never, ever happen, and we’re taking it very seriously, as I think are many others.”

May, speaking on a visit to Salisbury on Thursday, said the statement showed the UK’s allies “are standing alongside us” in protest at Russia’s behaviour.

The statement said the use of novichok “constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the second world war”, noting that the four leaders “abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal”.

“A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened,” it read. “We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

“It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a state party is a clear violation of the chemical weapons convention and a breach of international law.

“It threatens the security of us all. The United Kingdom thoroughly briefed its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack.

“We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia’s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility.”

The unambiguous tone of the comments about Russia will greatly please British ministers, who have spent the past few days seeking to persuade allies to take this line, notably France, where Macron’s spokesman warned the UK on Wednesday against “fantasy politics”.

Speaking after visiting businesses in Salisbury and speaking to emergency services, May said the four countries were “vey clear in attributing this act to Russia”.

“What is important in the international arena – and we have taken this into Nato, into the United Nations, we’ve taken it through into the European Union – is that allies are standing alongside us and saying this is part of a pattern of activity that we have seen from Russia in their interference, their disruption that they have perpetrated across a number of countries in Europe,” she said.

“This happened in the UK, but it could have happened anywhere and we take a united stance against it.”

There was overwhelming support for the UK from its allies, including the US, at a UN security council meeting overnight.

Washington’s envoy, Nikki Haley, said: “Let me make one thing clear from the very beginning: the United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent.”


The joint statement calls on Russia to “address all questions related to the attack” and provide full disclosure of the novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

“Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN security council to uphold international peace and security,” it ends.

On Wednesday, May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK and a range of other measures to crack down on “corrupt elites”, including new measures to combat spying.

The expulsion was the largest such move since the cold war, and marked a considerable escalation on the expulsion of four diplomats after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.


Earlier on Thursday, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, told BBC News: “There is something in the kind of smug, sarcastic response that we’ve heard that indicates their fundamental guilt. They want to simultaneously deny it, yet at the same time to glory in it.”
He suggested Vladimir Putin had some responsibility for the attack. “There is very little doubt in people’s minds that this is a signature act by the Russia state, deliberately using novichok, a nerve agent developed by Russia, to punish a Russian defector as they would see it, and in the runup to Vladimir Putin’s election.”

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, confirmed Moscow would soon expel British diplomats from the country in a tit-for-tat response, Russian state news agencies reported.

Asked by journalists at a press conference on Thursday whether diplomatic expulsions would be included in a Russian response, he said: “Absolutely.” Asked when those statements would be made public, he said: “Soon.”

“As polite people, we’ll first be delivering our response to our British counterparts,” Lavrov said.


SOURCE: The Guardian, UK

US students in walkout to end gun violence

  • About 3,000 schools across America protest in coordinated riposte
  • Students step out of classrooms to spur action for change

Thousands of students poured out of classrooms in the US on Wednesday in an unprecedented expression of mourning and a demand for action to stem the country’s epidemic of gun violence.

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In a stunning visual riposte to the public inertia that has followed mass shootings in the US, crowds of students at an estimated 3,000 schools across the country marched on running tracks, through parking lots and around building perimeters, carrying signs that read “Enough” and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, gun violence has got to go”.

The walkout fell one month after a student gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, in the deadliest high school shooting in the country’s history. Survivors of that massacre joined other student activists to organize Wednesday’s demonstration, which was promoted by the Women’s March movement that sprang up after the election of Donald Trump.

“There were lots of emotions, many people were crying. We were thinking of the 17 we lost,” said Florence Yared, a third-year student at Stoneman Douglas, who joined 3,000 of her schoolmates on the school’s football pitch, where exactly one month ago many were running for their lives.

Students elsewhere filled sidewalks in Brooklyn, kneeled in hallways in a Georgia high school, stood silently in a row in Virginia, and sat in a group with backs turned on the White House. Most demonstrations were planned to last 17 minutes, one for each of the Parkland victims.

In some school districts, students gathered against the warnings of administrators. At Booker T Washington high school in Atlanta, Georgia – once attended by Martin Luther King – a public announcement warned that any protester who left school hallways would incur “swift and severe consequences”.

“Dr King carries a legacy even in death,” said Markail Brooks, a senior. “So I feel as if it’s an obligation to carry on what he wanted and what he was trying to fight for and that’s why this day is very important.”

At an elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia, children synchronized their watches and a captain in each room led students outside two minutes before the planned 10am protest start time.

“Some parents have felt that we’re not old enough to know about it,” said one student, Carter, 11, about school shootings. “They think because we’re fifth-graders we don’t know anything about what’s happening.”

Another student, Henry Gibbs, 10, said: “Just the sensation that we are going to make a difference makes me feel proud.”

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In Chicago, public schools changed class schedules to accommodate the walkouts, while the archdiocese announced that about 80,000 students at 200 Catholic schools would participate in assemblies to discuss gun violence.

The protesters called for new gun safety legislation, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and the introduction of universal background checks. They also opposed the additional fortification of schools with fences and armed guards, policies endorsed by the NRA, America’s powerful gun lobby group.

The NRA’s “national school shield” proposal to prevent school shootings calls for the “hardening” of school sites with not only armed guards and armed teachers but also the elimination of trees, parking lots and some windows, and the construction of fences.

“Let’s work together to secure our schools and stop school violence,” the NRA said as the walkouts began. Shortly afterwards, the group tweeted a picture of a semi-automatic rifle with an American flag sticker and the caption: “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”

Neither Trump nor the White House offered a statement.

At the Academy for Young Writers high school in Spring Creek, Brooklyn, New York, students used the walkout to also bring attention to discrimination against people of color, women, and other groups.

“Our protest brings together many things and I do empathize with those in Parkland in Florida, but this is Brooklyn, East New York, and we have our own separate struggles and I wanted to advocate for that as well,” said Nathaniel Swanson, 16.

“We have policing [issues]. Discrimination in housing [and the] workforce. Gentrification is really getting bad in Brooklyn. Gun violence … these are the things that happen in our community.”

The youthful protesters seemed to be the latest indicator that a carapace of resistance to gun policy changes in the United States could be cracking. Recent polling has indicated that as many as seven in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws, the highest such figure in 20 years.

A recent Monmouth University poll found that 83% of Americans support requiring comprehensive background checks for all gun purchasers, including private sales between two individuals. Among NRA members, 69% support comprehensive background checks, the poll found.

The gun policy reform group Everytown for Gun Safety reported a 25% leap in members in the two weeks after the Parkland shooting, and at least 20 corporations changed age limits for buying guns or stopped selling some semi-automatic rifles altogether after the shooting, according to activists.

“While Congress sits on its hands, students like my son will stand and walk out of school this morning to demand action on gun violence,” tweeted Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, on Wednesday morning. “Next we march. Then we vote to #ThrowThemOut.”

Gun safety activists are focused on the midterm elections in November as an opportunity to expunge pro-gun legislators, whose ranks are increasingly out of proportion with the national mood.’

As protesters filled the streets, the Senate judiciary committee convened a hearing on school safety in light of the Parkland massacre. Republican chairman Chuck Grassley gave voice to “the imminence and necessity of passing some legislation quickly” but he hewed in his questioning to minor proposals that even the NRA supports, such as the banning of certain gun accessories.

Multiple gun control bills are currently pending in the US Congress, including bills that fit with the student protesters’ demands relating to assault weapons and background checks. But Congress in the past has repeatedly taken up such legislation only to shelve it, year after year, including in the wake of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Ninety-six Americans are killed each day by guns, and Americans overall are “25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries”, gun control advocates say.

In Connecticut, Washington and New York, the signs were hoisted by growing hands: “Disarm hate”, Protect kids not guns” and “We call BS.”

On the football pitch in Parkland, Florida, the students listened to a recording of the song Shine – “heaven let your light shine down” – as sympathy banners sent from around the world draped an adjacent building.

Then, 17 minutes later, the students filed back inside.


SOURCE: The Guardian. Uk

‘This is not a war. It’s a massacre’: dozens killed in Syrian enclave

Assad regime uses barrel bombs and attacks hospitals in rebel-held eastern Ghouta where dozens have been killed and thousands badly injured.

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The child arrives at a makeshift hospital. Five hospitals were also bombed on Monday. Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP/Getty Images

Pro-regime forces continued to bombard the opposition-controlled enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria on Tuesday, leaving dozens dead, after more than 100 people were killed and hundreds wounded on a day of “hysterical” violence on Monday.

The surge in the killing came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week.

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An injured child looks on at people who were injured in bombings. Two hospitals had to suspend operations and one has been put out of service. Photo: Mohammed Badra/EPA

Five hospitals were also bombed on Monday in eastern Ghouta, which was once the breadbasket of Damascus but has been under siege for years by the government of Bashar al-Assad and subjected to devastating chemical attacks. Two hospitals suspended operations and one has been put out of service.

“We are standing before the massacre of the 21st century,” said a doctor in eastern Ghouta. “If the massacre of the 1990s was Srebrenica, and the massacres of the 1980s were Halabja and Sabra and Shatila, then eastern Ghouta is the massacre of this century right now.”

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An injured child receives treatment at a hospital in Douma. Photo: Mohammed Badra/EPA

He added: “A little while ago a child came to me who was blue in the face and barely breathing, his mouth filled with sand. I emptied it with my hands. I don’t think they had what we do in any of the medical textbooks. A wounded child breathing with lungs of sand. You get a child, a year old, that they saved from the rubble and is breathing sand, and you don’t know who he is.

“All these humanitarian and rights organisations, all that is nonsense. So is terrorism. What is a greater terrorism than killing civilians with all sorts of weapons? Is this a war? It’s not a war. It’s called a massacre.”

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An injured child receives treatment. Photo: Mohammed Badra/EPA

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said 194 people had died in 4o hours – a toll that encapsulated the unbridled violence of the war in Syria. After seven years and interventions by regional and global powers, the humanitarian crisis has heightened instead of abating, as forces loyal to Assad’s regime and his Russian and Iranian backers seek an outright military victory instead of a negotiated political settlement.

Aid workers said the latest violence in eastern Ghouta, where 1,300 people died in 2013 after the Assad regime deployed sarin gas, has included the use of notorious barrel bombs. The weapons are so inaccurate that their use is seen as a war crime by human rights watchdogs. The regime has also used fighter jets and artillery bombardment, on top of the punishing siege.

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Children wait at a makeshift hospital. Photo: Hamza al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images

“The situation in eastern Ghouta is akin to the day of judgment,” said Mounir Mustafa, the deputy director of the White Helmets, the volunteer group that rescues people from under the rubble of bombed buildings.

The White Helmets said one of its volunteers, Firas Juma, died on Monday while responding to a bombing.

In Geneva, the UN children’s fund issued a blank “statement” to express its outrage at the casualties among Syrian children, saying it had run out of words.

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Injured children are treated. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA

Medical organisations said at least five clinics and hospitals, including a maternity centre, were bombed on Monday, some of them multiple times. An anaesthetist was killed in the attacks.

“The bombing was hysterical,” said Ahmed al-Dbis, a security official at the Union of Medical and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which runs dozens of hospitals in areas controlled by the opposition in Syria. “It is a humanitarian catastrophe in every sense of the word. The mass killing of people who do not have the most basic tenets of life.”


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/EPA/The Guardian, UK/Agencies

Florida school shooting: all you need to know from the biggest gun shooting recently

Valentine’s Day began in a happy frame of mind for many of the 3,200 students arriving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, some clutching handmade love hearts for classmates and flowers for their teachers.

But by the end of the day, 17 people would be dead, allegedly killed by a former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from the school for unspecified disciplinary reasons. The mass shooting is at least the eighth episode involving gun death or injury at a US school this year.

Terrified teenagers huddled together with their teachers in classrooms, closets and bathrooms as the gunman, armed with smoke grenades, a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle, and wearing a gas mask, moved from room to room, opening fire indiscriminately.

Seventeen people have been killed and 15 hospitalised after gunman attacked Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

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Families reunited after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas school. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Here is what we now know about the events that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday.

  • Seventeen people – children and adults – were killed when a gunman entered the high school on Wednesday afternoon and launched an attack. Twelve people were found dead inside the school, two were killed outside the building, one in the street, and two died later in hospital from their injuries.
  • The suspect was named by police as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. He was arrested in the nearby city of Coral Springs, and charged with 17 counts of murder on Thursday morning.
  • The killer was armed with an AR-15 rifle and “multiple magazines”, police said. He bought the gun legally
  • Cruz was formerly a student at Douglas, but was expelled for disciplinary reasons. A teacher at the school said staff had been warned not to let him back on campus. The suspect had reportedly been receiving treatment for mental health issues. The FBI was reportedly alerted to a post he made on YouTube claiming “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
  • Twelve of those killed have been identified, police said on Wednesday evening. No names of victims have yet been released, but Sheriff Scott Israel said a football coach was among those lost, and the parents of a student named her on Facebook.
  • Fifteen victims remain in hospital: five in a life-threatening condition and 10 with injuries that are not life-threatening.
  • Students who had been at school with Cruz said many classmates had predictedhe could “do something” to harm them and that he had previously brought guns to school.
  • Teacher Melissa Falkowski said drills for a code red (active shooter) situation had been well rehearsed:

We could not have been more prepared for this situation … we have trained for this, we have trained the kids for what to do … We did everything that we were supposed to do.

I feel today like our government, our country, has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.

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Students are reunited with their parents outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Photo: Orit Ben-Ezzer/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

  • Distressing messages from children in lockdown inside the school to their parents show the terror as teachers barricaded their students into classrooms and closets to evade the gunman.
  • The tragedy appears to be the eighth deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. It is also one of at least eight US school shootings so far in 2018 that have caused injury or death.
  • President Donald Trump tweeted his “prayers and condolences” to those affected, but decided not to speak about the attack, reports said. On Thursday morning, he tweeted again: “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
  • But others said thoughts and prayers were not enough. Chris Murphy, senator for Connecticut – site of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 26 children and adults were killed – said:

This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting.

It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible.

Asked if the tragedy should lead to stricter gun control for people with mental health issues, a parent replied: “I don’t want to get into a gun debate. I really don’t. What are you going to do? Confiscate everybody’s guns? We have millions and millions of weapons … I’m a gun owner. I don’t want the government taking my gun.”

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Students reunited with parents after the shooting. Photograph: Giorgio Viera/EPA

Michael Irwin, another parent whose son attended the school, shared Crescitelli’s view.

“All the regulation in the world wouldn’t have prevented necessarily what happened today. It’s something that’s tragic, but what regulation can you pass that takes away the guns that are already out there?” he said.

His son was waiting to hear if one of his close classmates was among the dead. By late Wednesday evening, Irwin said, the student was still missing.

Such a perspective was not shared by Israel, who argued during an evening press conference that people with mental health issues should not be able to purchase or use firearms.

Among those absent from the debate was Donald Trump. By the late evening, reports emerged that the president would not be speaking in public about the mass shooting, despite aides advising him otherwise.

Earlier in the day Trump had tweeted a message to send his “prayers and condolences”, adding: “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”


SOURCES: The Bloomgist/CNN/New York Times/The Guardian, UK and agencies

Donald Trump orders Pentagon to hold grand military parade

President reportedly seeks grand parade in model of France’s Bastille Day celebration, prompting one veterans’ group to call him ‘a wannabe banana republic strongman’.

Donald Trump orders Pentagon to hold grand military parade

Melania and Donald Trump attend the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on 14 July 2017. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to plan a military parade that would see soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the streets of Washington, it was reported on Tuesday.

The move was instantly criticised, with one veterans’ group comparing the president to “a wannabe banana republic strongman”.

Trump is seeking a grand parade similar to the Bastille Day celebration in Paris, according to the Washington Post. He outlined the plan at a meeting at the Pentagon on 18 January that included defense secretary Jim Mattis and joint chiefs of staff chairman General Joseph Dunford, the paper said, citing an unnamed military official.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” the official told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

The White House confirmed that an event is in the works, though it did not offer further details. “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

Trump, who did not serve in the Vietnam war after receiving five draft deferments, has long spoken of his admiration for tough military figures such as General George Patton and frequently makes reference to “my generals”.

The president was deeply impressed by a parade in Paris on 14 July last year.American and French soldiers marched together on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees to mark the centenary of America’s entry into the first world war and France’s annual Bastille Day holiday. It included tanks, armoured vehicles and a flyover of US and French military jets.

Trump told reporters in September: “To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on the Fourth of July in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue. We’re actually looking into it.”

But not for the first time in Trump’s short political career, such a display is likely to prove divisive. On Tuesday retired general Paul Eaton, senior adviser to VoteVets, a progressive political action committee for military veterans, said: “Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example.”

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The Trumps watch the military parade in Paris alongside Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

In the past, Eaton noted, Trump has praised the tactics of autocrats such as Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin. He added: “Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief right now as much as have a wannabe banana republic strongman.”

Richard Painter, former White House ethics lawyer for George W Bush, tweeted: “Cool. Just like in North Korea and Russia. But what do we do about those traitors who don’t clap during our Dear Leader’s speech?” – a reference to Trump’s criticism of Democrats who did not applaud during his state of the union address.

And journalist Joy Reid wrote on Twitter: “Oh my god … he wants to be Kim Jong-un.”

A date for the event has not yet been chosen. Options include Memorial Day on 28 May, Independence Day on 4 July and Veterans Day on 11 November, which would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war. If the route includes Pennsylvania Avenue, it would pass by Trump’s controversial hotel.

But the Post added: “The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.”

Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said: “We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process.”


SOURCE: Guardian, UK/New York Times, CNN

Saudi Arabia woman punished by police for driving

Saudi Arabia woman was filmed driving a car, but the Police have meted out punishment on the grounds that the ban on female drivers has not yet been lifted – till June 2018.

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According to AFP, authorities summoned the woman and booked her for flouting traffic regulations after she appeared in a video driving out of Ritz Carlton hotel in the capital, Riyadh.

We call on all Saudi citizens to respect the law and wait until the ban on women driving formally ends,” the police spokesman said.

He added that the woman had not been arrested. He said the owner of the car was separately booked for violating traffic regulations.

White House has become an adult day care center | Corker blasts Trump

Following Trump’s weekend Twitter attacks on Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the outgoing Senator has launched a counter-attack at the President, describing the White House as an “adult care centre”.
White House has become an adult day care center | Corker blasts Trump

RALEIGH, NC – JULY 5: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stands next to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) during a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on July 5, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Earlier in the day Hillary Clinton campaigned in Charlotte, North Carolina with President Barack Obama. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

• The Twitter attack

Trump in a series of tweets on Sunday morning said, “Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without…..my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!.. Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”

Senator Bob Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said “NO” and he dropped out (said he could not win without, hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run! – Trump twitted.

• Corker’s epic response

In his own response, Corker wrote in a tweet, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning”.

It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

• The beginning of the feud

Trump’s attack is predicated on Corker’s comment on last week’s NBC News report which alleged the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to have described President Trump as a moron. Corker in reference to the report underscored Trump and instead praised his cabinet officials. He told reporters, “I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos”.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/CNN/YNaija

North Korea says Trump’s threat is like the “sound of a dog barking”

he North Korea government has mocked the fierce warning issued by US President Donald Trump in his first address at the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Trump threatens 'fire and fury' against North Korea

According to The Guardian, Trump in the speech said the US would be forced to “totally destroy” North Korea if pushed to the wall. He also echoed his earlier tweet where he called Kim “rocket man”. The President said, “Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the foreign minister said, “There is a saying that the marching goes on even when dogs bark,” citing a Korean proverb.

“If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that’s really a dog dream,” he added. In Korean, a dog dream is one that makes little sense.

When asked what he thought of Trump’s description of Kim as rocket man, Ri replied, “I feel sorry for his aides.”

Trump’s stern warning came on the heels of North Korea’s defiance at pursuing its nuclear adventure which has seen the regime fired six nuclear missiles, the latest being the launch of two ballistic missiles over Northern Japan.

Meanwhile, varying with China’s continuous push for a dialogue, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, told the UN General Assembly that previous talks had yielded nothing and called for a global blockade that would deny North Korea access to “goods, funds, people and technology” for its missile and nuclear programmes – arguing that sanctions was preferable to negotiation.

Restating his support for US’ position that all options, including military action, remained on the table, Abe said “We must make North Korea abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. What is needed to do is not dialogue, but pressure”.

While warning that enough time has passed over the North Korean crisis, Abe cited the failure of a 1994 agreement between the North and the US to freeze Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, and the stalling of six-party talks almost a decade ago was proof the regime would not respond to dialogue.

North Korea had “no intention whatsoever of abandoning its nuclear or missile development. For North Korea, dialogue was instead the best means of deceiving us and buying time. In what hope of success are we now repeating the very same failure a third time?” He added.

South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, equally berated the idea of continued dialogue as posited by China and instead related with Washington’s stand.

In a statement from the presidential Blue House, Moon’s office said he welcomed Trump’s “firm “ speech to the UN. “It clearly showed how seriously the United States government views North Korea’s nuclear programme as the president spent an unusual amount of time discussing the issue,” the statement said.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/CNN/YNaij and agencies