January 28, 2018
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Headlines: January 3

Trump Threatens North Korea with “Bigger & More Powerful” Nuclear Button

In North Korea, leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the reopening of a hotline with South Korea’s leaders—bringing the biggest thaw in relations between the two Koreas in years. The overture came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he’s open to talks next week in the so-called truce village in the Demilitarized Zone. The moves came as President Trump took to social media to make a threat of nuclear war steeped in sexual bravado. Trump tweeted from the White House, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump’s tweet was among a torrent of 16 messages he posted to Twitter on his first full day of work in the new year, with attacks on Pakistan, the Palestinians, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, James Comey and The New York Times.

Trump Admin Seeks U.N. Security Council Meeting on Iran Protests

Trump also tweeted his support for protests that have sprung up in cities and towns across Iran over the past week, proclaiming ”TIME FOR CHANGE!” Trump’s tweets came as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on the Security Council to convene emergency meetings to discuss Iran. This is White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “America longs for the day when Iranians will take their rightful place alongside the free people of the world. As the president said in October, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. And the Iranian people long to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization and its cooperation with its neighbors.”

Iran: Supreme Leader Khamenei Accuses Enemies of Fomenting Protests

On Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader accused the country’s enemies of fomenting unrest, as anti-government demonstrations continued for a sixth day and spread to the northwestern city of Tabriz. At least 20 people have been killed in the clashes so far—the largest protests in Iran since 2009. This is Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “The enemy is poised for an opportunity, a breach to penetrate through. Look at the incidents in the past few days! All those who are against the Islamic Republic of Iran, those with cash, politics, weapons and intelligence apparatus, join hands so they may be able to create troubles for Iran, for the Islamic Republic.”

The protests are largely targeting Iran’s high unemployment, housing costs and wealth inequality. They’re focused on both hardline clerics and reformers. Newly surfaced video from a New Year’s Day protest in Tehran shows protesters chanting, “Down with the clerical regime.”

Trump Threatens to Cancel U.S. Aid to Palestinian Refugees

President Trump threatened Tuesday to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of annual aid to the U.N.'s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, dealing another blow to the prospect of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump tweeted, “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.” Trump’s comment on Jerusalem contradicts his statement, made just a few weeks ago, that his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would not impact the final status of the city in peace talks. Trump’s tweet came just after Israel’s parliament passed a new law Tuesday that would make it far more difficult for the government to divide Jerusalem as part of any future negotiated settlement. Israel seized control of East Jerusalem in 1967 and has occupied the territory ever since. Palestinians, however, have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and both the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly have passed dozens of resolutions calling for Israel to end its occupation. A spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared, “Jerusalem is not for sale.” And senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement, “We will not be blackmailed. President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!”

Trump Administration Will Withhold Pakistan Military Aid

At the United Nations in New York, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday that President Trump will withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. The announcement came a day after President Trump took a swipe at Pakistan on Twitter, sparking widespread anti-U.S. protests across Pakistan. This is Pakistani politician Imran Khan, speaking in Islamabad.

Imran Khan: “Trump has no understanding of the war in Afghanistan and the destruction it has caused in Pakistan. It seems like he has no background knowledge about it at all. … Pakistan has made sacrifices in the American war. It has suffered losses in the process. Our tribal areas have been devastated. And on top of all this, we are being humiliated. An American president who lacks sense and who does not understand much and who is following the agenda of our enemies, he is insulting us in the end.”

Trump Calls Justice Department “Deep State,” Wants Huma Abedin Jailed

Meanwhile, President Trump attacked Hillary Clinton and her longtime aide Huma Abedin on Twitter, calling for Abedin to be jailed. Trump labeled his own Justice Department as part of the “deep state,” while saying it should “act” on “Comey and others.”

Report: Up to 30 Percent of Earth Could Be in Drought by 2050

In climate news, a new report warns that without immediate, large-scale action to limit global greenhouse gas emissions, as much as 30 percent of the Earth’s land could fall into a state of perpetual drought, threatening the food supplies of billions of people. The report in the journal Nature predicts the desertification would follow a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius—or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit—by 2050. That’s the upper limit set by the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, which has been embraced by every nation on Earth except the United States, under President Trump.

Interior Secretary Asks Trump to Shrink Marine Monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is urging President Trump to radically shrink three marine monuments and to open them up to commercial fishing. The monuments, which were expanded under President Barack Obama, are vast, covering an area about three times the size of California. Zinke’s proposal comes after President Trump shrank national monuments including Bears Ears in Utah, opening up the protected federal lands to mining, logging, drilling and other forms of extraction.

Honduras: Presidential Candidate Salvador Nasralla Calls for Uprising

In Honduras, presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla and other opposition leaders have called for an uprising against incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández, saying the November 26 presidential election was stolen. Last month, an election tribunal controlled by Hernández’s government declared Hernández the winner by a narrow margin—after early counts put Nasralla in the lead by 5 points. On Tuesday, Salvador Nasralla said protests would continue right up to Hernández’s scheduled inauguration date of January 27.

Salvador Nasralla: “The electoral officials have to respect my victory. If they don’t want to respect it, if they don’t respect it, then the people will respect my victory. Our objective is that on January 27 the popular will come to pass, regardless of what the electoral officials want to say.”

Election observers and the Organization of American States have called for a new election, saying the first vote was so filled with irregularities that it was impossible to declare a winner.

German Police Press for Incitement Charge Against Far-Right Lawmaker

In Germany, police have asked a prosecutor to investigate a lawmaker with the far-right AfD party on charges of “incitement to hatred,” after she posted an Islamophobic and racist comment on social media. Beatrix von Storch, a member of parliament with the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, was criticizing a local police department for tweeting a New Year’s greeting in Arabic. Her tweet, translated from German, reads, “What the hell is going on in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Are they trying to appease the barbarian, Muslim, gang-raping male hordes?” Von Storch’s account was later suspended. In September, her party won 94 out of 709 seats in Germany’s parliament.

Sen. Orrin Hatch to Retire, Prompting Speculation over Mitt Romney

Back in the United States, the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, Utah’s Orrin Hatch, said Tuesday he will not run for re-election in 2018. During his 42 years in the Senate, Hatch supported U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and played a prominent role in passing the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. Hatch also helped pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hatch’s retirement will set up a likely primary battle in Utah, a majority-Republican state. There’s speculation that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will run for the seat.

Georgia: Police Arrest 60+ at House Party over 1 Ounce of Marijuana

In Georgia, police arrested more than 60 people at a house party in an Atlanta suburb Saturday night, after they found a small amount of marijuana at the scene. Those arrested ranged in age from 15 to 31 years old. They say police entered the home without permission and without a warrant, and arrested everyone inside when they couldn’t determine the owner of the less than an ounce of marijuana they seized.

Trump Claims Credit for Worldwide Airline Safety Record

The Aviation Safety Network reported Monday there were no commercial passenger jet deaths anywhere in the world last year—making 2017 the safest year on record for commercial aviation. President Trump quickly took credit, tweeting, “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news.” Trump’s boast prompted retired astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former Congressmember Gabby Giffords, to respond on Twitter, “If you’re going to take credit for zero airline deaths in 2017 then you should take responsibility for the tens of thousands of gun deaths, too. #lawsmatter.”

Iceland: New Law Will Fine Employers Who Fail to Close Gender Pay Gap

And in Iceland, a new law that took effect in the new year will see companies that fail to ensure equal pay among male and female employees subjected to heavy fines. The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association says the pay equity law is the world’s first of its kind. Under the law, companies employing 25 or more workers will have to prove to the government that they’re paying men and women equal salaries, or face penalties.

Courtesy of Democracy Now

The original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


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