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May 29, 2017, 07:31 AM
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 1 
 on: Today at 06:20 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Here are 8 embarrassing things Shitstain Trump did on his European tour

Kali Holloway, AlterNet
29 May 2017 at 07:56 ET                  

For nine days, Donald Trump has been traveling across the Middle East and Europe, bringing every terrible stereotype about “ugly Americans” to vivid life. He labeled Germany (where he doesn’t have business interests) “very bad” after saying nary a critical word in Saudi Arabia (where he does have business interests). He chastised our partners in NATO while revealing he doesn’t actually understand how it all works. He literally threw his weight around like an attention-starved problem child, and he broadcast his every move to the world via his cellphone, which would be a security risk if we had a president anyone wanted to kidnap.

Mostly—when he wasn’t trading arms for political and personal gain—Trump acted like an embarrassing boor. He can’t help proving that he and his followers are the punchlines to a joke the rest of the world is laughing at.

Here are eight examples.

1. Lied to the new French president about supporting him in the election even though it’s really easy to find out he didn’t.

“You were my guy,” Trump reportedly said to newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron, a quote that suggests the president doesn’t know many of us have eyes and ears and internets that prove he’s lying. For someone so practiced at lying, the president remains terrible at it.

While Trump never explicitly endorsed noted Islamophobe, Holocaust revisionist and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen, he gushed over her racist bonafides during the French election. “She’s the strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France,” he said in an April interview with the Associated Press. “Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election.”

On April 21, a couple days shy of the first round of voting, and 24 hours after the shooting of a police officer on the Champs-Élysées, Trump tweeted, “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

2. Tried to pull that weird, aggressive handshake move with Macron and failed.

Probably because of his insecurity about his wittle Vulgarian fingers, Trump turns every handshake into a textbook display of macho posturing and heterosexual male insecurity. It’s happened enough times now that word has gotten around, and Macron had reportedly been forewarned by French ambassador Gérard Araud. The result, as you can see in a video below, was that Macron was fully ready for a hands-only cagematch and Trump found himself out-muscled by his French counterpart. Quelle tristesse!

3. Tried the handshake thing again with Macron. Failed again.

Arriving at NATO headquarters, Macron doubled down, and then tripled down on his Trump diss. First, as Macron walked toward Trump in a cluster of world leaders, he did a super conspicuous dodge of the U.S. president and instead veered toward German chancellor Angela Merkel and also anyone not named Donald Trump. Only after Macron ran out of ways to avoid Trump did he finally take Trump’s extended hand, but immediately turned the American president’s yank-and-pull tactic against him. Watching the video, below, you can almost hear every single person thinking, is this guy for real?

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejzaTsDTvbg

4. Asked Macron for his private cellphone number.

Of course, it makes sense that Trump would develop a new respect, and probably a reverence for anyone who beats him in a pissing match. After repeatedly witnessing Macron’s feats of strength, Trump turned fanboy and decided he wanted Macron for a new best friend. “Do you want my cell phone [number] so we can speak directly to each other?” Trump reportedly asked the big, strong Frenchman.

5. Physically pushed Montenegro’s leader out of his way.

Trump wanted to be in the front row when pictures were taken so he pushed his way to the front of the crowd of assembled leaders. That included shoving Montenegro Prime Minister Duško Marković to one side. A lot was written about Trump’s offensive behavior, but CNN pointed out a mostly overlooked bit about NATO, Montenegro and Trump’s idol, Vladimir Putin:

    This was Markovic’s and Montenegro’s first NATO summit. The tiny Balkan country has just been accepted into the alliance, much to Moscow’s chagrin. How much chagrin? Authorities in Montenegro say they stopped a Russian-backed plot to kill Markovic’s predecessor, which was aimed at preventing Montenegro from joining NATO. They have arrested 14 people, including two Russians. (Russia denies involvement.) The plot, prosecutors say, sought to install a new government loyal to Russia and opposed to Montenegro’s efforts to grow closer to the West and to NATO. The plot failed, and now Montenegro is becoming NATO’s 29th member.

Watch how, after bullying his way to the front, cocky Trump tugs on his suit jacket with smug satisfaction. Because he is the absolute worst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iimj0j4NYME

6. Made a NATO speech that gave world leaders a good, derisive laugh.

“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” Trump said in a lecture he delivered at NATO headquarters. “But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying, and what they are supposed to be paying, for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.”

Trump seems to think NATO is like a social club, with member nations paying dues into some central kitty. It isn’t. A 2014 agreement established that member countries should be spending 2 percent of their GDP on their own military defense. Those countries have until 2024 to hit that goal. Trump is trying to be the world’s policeman on a policy that’s neither set in stone nor even a concern for another seven years. It’s also rich coming from someone whose most noted business practice is a refusal to pay his debts.

The speech went over like a lead balloon with assembled world leaders, who smirked, snickered and whispered to each other as Trump spoke. In the video below, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel and France’s Macron seem to share a giggle at Trump’s expense.

“And I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump added. “I refuse to do that.”

You can see the stifled giggles on the faces of Estonian prime minister Jüri Ratas, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French president Emmanuel Macron.

7. Riding in his golf cart while everyone else walks in Italy,

A summation of Trump’s afternoon on Saturday, from the Times of London:

    The distance between Donald Trump and his G7 partners was spelled out dramatically today when Theresa May and the leaders of Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada strolled the streets of Taormina, Sicily — while he followed in a golf cart.

    The six are planning to put pressure on Mr. Trump over his opposition to free trade and efforts to combat climate change. They walked the 700 yards from the traditional G7 group photo, taken at a Greek amphitheater, to a piazza in the hilltop town, but Mr. Trump stayed behind until he could take a seat in the electric vehicle.

    He had been the last to arrive for the photo, keeping the others waiting at the amphitheater…

“She doesn’t have the stamina,” Trump, probably on the verge of being winded, said of Hillary Clinton last year. “I said she doesn’t have the stamina, and I don’t believe she does have the stamina.”

8. Complained that he hasn’t been given carte blanche to make a fast buck in Europe.

“Every time we talk about a country, he remembered the things he had done. Scotland? He said he had opened a club. Ireland? He said it took him two and a half years to get a license and that did not give him a very good image of the European Union,” according to a source who spoke with Belgian outlet Le Soir. “One feels that he wants a system where everything can be realized very quickly and without formalities.”

 2 
 on: Today at 06:04 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
USA

‘Mind-boggling’: Ex-KGB spy aghast over reports ‘naive’ Kushner asked Russian envoy for backchannel

Elizabeth Preza
Raw Story
29 May 2017 at 17:46 ET                  

A former KGB spy on Saturday reacted to news that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner asked Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to establish a backchannel line of communication, calling the reports “mind-boggling.”

Speaking on CNN, Jack Barsky noted Kislyak “was KGB or was reporting to the KGB” when he first came to the United States, arguing “you don’t know what you’re getting when you’re dealing with this guy.”

“I just don’t want to believe somebody could be that naive, to suggest that it is safe to use Russian communications channels instead of American ones,” Barsky said. “That’s mind boggling.”

Barsky later argued the Trump administration is helping the Kremlin by stoking chaos in the U.S. and abroad.

“What they’re trying to do is create chaos,” Barsky said of Russia’s diplomatic goals. “We’re helping a great deal by acting the way we are with our leadership here.”

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdUap6gq8EQ

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Chuck Todd And Former DNI James Clapper Did Massive Damage To Trump On Russia

By Jason Easley on Sun, May 28th, 2017 at 12:23 pm
PoliticusUSA

Chuck Todd interviewed former DNI James Clapper on Meet The Press, and the picture that was painted did major damage to the Trump White House’s version of the Russia scandal.

Chuck Todd began the segment with a timeline of the Trump transitions contacts with Russia.

Todd asked Clapper about Kushner’s conversations with the Russians, “”I have to say that, without specifically affirming or confirming these conversations, since, even though they’re in the public realm, they’re still classified, just from a theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.”

Clapper also stated what it was so dangerous for Kushner to be talking to Kislyak, “Given the fact that he oversees the very aggressive intelligence operation in this country, the Russians have more intelligence operatives than any other nation that is represented in this country, still even after we got rid of 35 of them – and so to suggest that he is somehow separate or oblivious to that is a bit much.”

The former DNI also reminded Republicans who are supporting Trump that Russia is not a friend to the United States, but the nation’s greatest adversary.

Meet The Press host Chuck Todd asked all the right questions, and Clapper connected all the dots to explain why the contacts with Russia are so troubling. Clapper did say that while he didn’t see any smoking gun evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, there was enough there to necessitate an FBI investigation.

The Clapper interview was the type of story that is incredibly damaging for the White House because it blows holes through all of the tales that they are trying to spin to justify their actions. What Trump, Kushner, and the campaign did was not part of the normal course of political business.

As the White House tries to normalize the Russia scandal, it is vital that journalists and experts continue to point out the facts and emphasize reality.

If members of the intelligence community are willing to leak information, things must be perilous. The dots are connecting, and the picture that is being painted is of a corrupt president and administration who may have committed crimes against the United States of America.

Interviews like that of James Clapper on Meet The Press help contribute to the public understanding of what the Trump administration has potentially done.

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvsrA6VidM

**************

Adam Schiff Just Annihilated The White House’s Defense Of Jared Kushner

By Jason Easley on Sun, May 28th, 2017 at 10:26 am
PoliticusUSA

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, put the pieces together and ripped apart the White House’s defense Jared Kushner’s secret communications with Russia during an interview on ABC’s This Week.

Transcript:

SCHIFF: No, but I think that anyone within the Trump orbit is at risk of being used. And what the general said here, that may be true in the context where you’re trying to arrange secret talks with the Taliban to negotiate a peaceful resolution, or you’re trying to achieve the release of hostages.

But for people associated with the campaign after that campaign has ended and where the Russians during that campaign were helping you, to try to establish a backchannel and hide it from your own government, that’s…

RADDATZ: The New York Times and…

SCHIFF: … a serious allegation.

RADDATZ: … ABC News have both reported that the talks were about Syria, about the crisis in Syria and other policy matters.

SCHIFF: Well, that I don’t think necessarily mitigates this because, of course, the Russians have their own object in Syria very different than ours. They want to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Our policy, at least at that time, if these allegations are correct, was very much in opposition to the Russian policy.

And if American policy was going to change for the wrong reason, that is, as a thank you to their intervention in the campaign, obviously, that’s very problematic, just as problematic as it would have been if the conversation was on relief of the sanctions over Ukraine.

Now, again, this is all in the category of allegation, but it is something that our committee needs to get to the bottom of as well as Bob Mueller.

Schiff got to the heart of the matter. The White House’s defense of Kushner is based on a denial that the Russians meddled in the presidential election, and that they interfered to help Trump.

Rep. Schiff brought up the key point that why would one of the closest people to Trump want to establish a secret communications channel with Russia that couldn’t be monitored right after an election that the Russians are suspected of helping them win?

This wasn’t innocent communication, and no previous recent administration felt the need to establish secret communications with Russia. The ‘why’ matters here.

Adam Schiff demonstrated why he has become a nightmare for the Trump White House. The California Democrat is using his skills as a former prosecutor to cut through the White House smokescreens like a hot knife through butter.

The line that the White House is peddling that back channel communications are a good thing is falling flat, and if anything has heightened the suspicion of investigators, which is the absolute last thing that the Trump White House needed.

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Republican Sen Chuck Grassley calls for probe into promotion of Kushner

Reuters
29 May 2017 at 06:13 ET                  

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has called for an investigation into “potentially fraudulent statements and misrepresentations” made by companies promoting investment in a property development involving the family company of White House advisor Jared Kushner.

Citing a May 12 report by Reuters, Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, requested a review of claims made by Chinese migration agency Qiaowai and the U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF) in the marketing of the One Journal Square project in Jersey City, New Jersey to potential investors in China.

Grassley flagged his concerns to the Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission in a May 24 letter that was later posted on his website.

Jupiter, Florida-based USIF contracted with Beijing-based Qiaowai to market projects including One Journal Square to potential investors through the controversial EB-5 scheme. The program offers qualified foreign investors the chance at a green card in exchange for a $500,000 investment in a U.S. business.

Kushner Companies is also working with KABR Group, a private equity fund, on the One Journal Square project, according to marketing materials on Qiaowai’s website. The developers are seeking to raise $150 million, or 15.4 percent of the funding, from EB-5 investors.

Because the SEC considers some EB-5 investments securities, companies and individuals that market these investments must comply with U.S. securities laws.

EB-5 schemes must also comply with immigration rules. Under United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines, EB-5 investors must put their capital at risk and the green card is not guaranteed. USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

In an emailed response to a request for comment on Grassley’s letter, Stu Loeser, a spokesman for USIF, said: “Qiaowai and U.S. Immigration Fund are fully in compliance with all laws relating to the sale of securities to immigrant investors. These allegations are gross distortions and unsupported by the facts.”

Reuters previously revealed that Qiaowai’s promotional materials online and on social media, including for the One Journal Square project, sometimes referred to a green card guarantee or “safeguard” and the safety of capital invested in EB-5 projects.

After Reuters contacted Qiaowai for comment, these phrases were deleted. Qiaowai has also dropped the phrase “government-supported” from its online promotion of the One Journal Square project.

“It is a fundamental rule of the EB-5 program that an applicant’s investment must remain “at risk” up to the end of the alien’s conditional permanent resident status, and a “guaranteed” investment fails this basic EB-5 test; if Qiaowai is in fact guaranteeing the safety of the investment principal, all related EB-5 petitions should be rejected by USCIS,” wrote Grassley, who has long advocated for reform of the EB-5 program.

Qiaowai’s assurances to investors that their green cards were guaranteed and their funds were safe appeared to violate U.S. securities laws, Grassley’s letter said. It also cited a report on the project’s promotion by the New York Times.

Kushner Companies and the SEC declined to comment. Qiaowai, KABR Group and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment over the weekend.

Chinese investors account for around 80 percent of the nearly 10,000 EB-5 visas issued annually.

Criticism of the program has centered on instances of fraud and the fact that most of the funds in a program originally intended to help impoverished areas have instead gone to wealthy urban districts. Despite these concerns, earlier this month, Congress extended the EB-5 program until September 30.

The Chinese road show for One Journal Square earlier this month also attracted criticism. Kushner Companies apologized for Nicole Kushner Meyer’s reference to her brother, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, during the road show.

The company stressed that he was only mentioned in order to make clear that he was not involved with the project. Kushner Companies representatives skipped some later road show events.

Jared Kushner, whose White House portfolio includes relations with China, sold his stake in Kushner Companies to a family trust early this year.

(Additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom and Caren Bohan in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

****************

Shistain ‘obsesses’ over Russia probe as Bannon fears he’s the victim of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy

Elizabeth Preza
Raw Story
29 May 2017 at 00:05 ET                  

Donald Trump “obsesses” over the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government, Politico reports.

“The more people talk to him about it, the more he obsesses about it,” one adviser told the publication.

Trump has contemplated beefing up his communications team as a series of damning leaks threaten his ability to push through a robust legislative agenda. So far, the president — whose party controls both chambers of Congress — has had only one major “win” in his first 129 days: The passage of the American HealthCare Act in the House of Representatives. That bill still has to go through the Senate, a process leaders warn could take months.

Aides described a chaotic White House reeling from the latest revelations that Trump’s son-in-law contacted the Russian ambassador to establish a backchannel line of communication between Trump’s transition team and the Russian government.

“We are letting others dictate entirely how we are perceived,” one official told Politico. “The calendar changes every day. There is no rhyme or reason to a lot of it.”

As scandal ensnares the White House, the president Sunday pushed back on charges from what he described as “the fake news media.”

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote. “Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names…it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!”

While insisting the sources listed in news reports are fabricated, the president also called for the prosecution of such supposedly fabricated sources.

Trump aides, including chief White House counselor Steve Bannon, see the leaks as a product of the “deep state,” suggesting they’re the target of a vast conspiracy against the Trump White House. Kushner, meanwhile, reportedly blames a series of unflattering leaks about his team on Bannon, who’s called Trump’s son-in-law a “globalist” and a “cuck.”

Despite reports that the president is mulling yet another staff shake-up, the president remains defiant, insisting the fake news media is trying to muddy his message.

“The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter.

**************

Shistain Trump administration unable to fill Justice Department jobs because lawyers are avoiding him ‘like the plague’

Tom Boggioni
Raw Story
28 May 2017 at 11:22 ET                  

The Trump Administration — already behind in making political appointments — now finds itself unable to fill important jobs connected to the Justice Department because attorneys, mindful of  their reputations, want nothing to do with the scandal-plagued White House.

According to Politico, the President’s staffers are are coming up empty when it comes to tracking down legal minds interested in working for the president.

“They were dealing with a pool that had already shrunk and, now, of course, some people will be avoiding it like the plague,” one GOP lawyer who worked in President George W. Bush’s administration told Politico. “The lesser-known folks are wondering if they’re going to take a huge reputational hit if the president of the United States starts tweeting about them. … There’s definitely some poisoning of the well going on in terms of who would take a job at this point.”

At issue: Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey — who he also referred to as a “nut job” — and fear of being caught up in the looming Russian scandal that could bring the whole administration down and lead to Trump’s impeachment.

Politico notes that the pool of candidates the White House had to choose from was extraordinarily small to begin with, as many mainstream conservative attorneys signed “Never Trump” pledges prior to the 2016 elections — which could also prove a hindrance since the White House has pushed for appointees to make a “loyalty pledge” to the president.

As it stands now — as Trump enters the fifth month of his presidency — the administration has yet to fill scores of seats on the federal bench and 93 U.S. attorney posts around the country sit empty after the president demanded the immediate resignation of all attorneys appointed by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Additionally the Trump administration has also found it difficult to find a replacement for Comey with potential nominees wondering how they’ll last working for a volatile president currently under investigation by the same department.

“It certainly doesn’t help when the stated basis for firing your predecessor is that he was a ‘nut job,’” suggested Paul Rosenzweig, a lawyer who served under President George W. Bush. “I look around at people considering going into the Trump administration and the same names come up for every open job…It’s the same six names for every open job—the people who are both qualified and willing to serve.”

One anonymous Trump adviser said that the hiring problems at the Department of Justice aren’t as bad as they seem and that things are actually worse at the State Department.

“That’s been a bit of a problem for the administration, but not as much at DOJ,” the adviser said. “That’s been a very serious problem over at the State Department. A lot of the conservative foreign policy establishment were ‘Never Trumpers…’ The proportion is much higher at the State Department and the White House.”

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‘He is trying too hard’: Psychologists sound off on Shitstain's ‘ridiculous’ handshake

Elizabeth Preza
Raw Story
28 May 2017 at 16:59 ET                  

Donald Trump’s handshake is the stuff of legend—but not necessarily the good kind. In fact, as observed throughout the president’s first trip abroad (as well as his prior meetings with heads of state), Trump’s handshake—unlike his policies—has resonated with one clear message across the globe: As one psychologist put it, “I’m the alpha.”

“It goes down to asserting dominance,” University of Illinois associate psychology professor Florin Dolcos told the Huffington Post. “Why he wants to do that? I don’t know. It looks, to me, like he is trying too hard.”

“It looks ridiculous,” Dolcos added.

Trump’s bizarre hands-on experience at the NATO summit made headlines this week when he met his “death-grip match” with newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron. Macron later told reporters his handshake with Trump “wasn’t innocent.”

    Emmanuel Macron: My handshake with Trump "wasn’t innocent", it was "a moment of truth" https://t.co/kUMCeff04H pic.twitter.com/IF7EnJyand

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 28, 2017

Hours later, Trump tried to reestablish dominance, reaching out to Belgium’s King Philippe as Macron walked toward the group. According to Dolcos, that was a strategic move intended to intimidate Macron.

“That’s a signal Trump was sending: ‘This is where you should come first because I’m the alpha here,’” Dolcos said. “‘Initiated with the other guy.’”

“It’s an intimidation tactic. There are self-preservation strategies and intimidation is one of the main ones,” Frank Bernieri, an associate professor in the psychology department at Oregon State University told the Huffington Post.

Bernieri, who’s written extensively about handshakes, added Trump’s use of intimidation tactics “are perfectly consistent with Trump.”

“He pretty much says that’s what I do to make a deal,” Bernieri said.

Sam Nurnberg, an ex-Trump aide, told the Huffington Post the president is jus “very cognizant of the optics of what it looks like at these multilateral meetings with world leaders.:

“I even think it’s is symbolic to the America First theme of his presidency and campaign,” Nurnberg added.

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Shitstain Is Back and Angry as Ever As He Labels the Press Reporting WH Leaks the “Enemy”

By Sarah Jones on Sun, May 28th, 2017 at 9:18 am
PoliticusUSA

He’s back!

The embattled President of the United States is back in town, and just as angry and resentful as before he lost his phone privileges.

Trump’s message early Sunday morning: Forget about Russia! The real issue is the leaks coming from the White House, which are fabricated lies made up by the media.

    It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

    Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names….

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

    ….it is very possible that those sources don't exsist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

Trump deleted that tweet and redid it:

    ….it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

I think this translates in Trump speak to: Jared will not lose his security clearance today and although Trump issues no actual denials, he offers his usual cloak of smoke, subterfuge and redirection.

Of course, this could change in a moment because Trump rules with the mercurial temperament of many infamously bad leaders, leaving his entourage hanging in desperation and pitted against one another.

Trump’s message is any reporting on RussiaGate is “fake news”, and now that Republicans had a “big win” in Montana by electing yet another assaulter — specifically someone who assaulted a reporter — you should know that the press is the “enemy”.

    Big win in Montana for Republicans!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

The problem for Donald Trump is that while under normal circumstances leaking is frowned upon, the Trump administration’s seeming collaboration with Russia, a hostile foreign power, is a national security issue and a matter of protecting democracy.

So the people leaking are probably whistleblowers or think they are. Leaks are coming from Trump’s own White House, but the majority are coming from the intelligence community, since they are the only power committed to the USA at this point, as the Republican-led Congress continues to look the other way on RussiaGate.

Trump played dumb by pretending that the closeness of the Montana race was “fake news” until the Republican won, which ignores that Trump carried the state by 21 points and Republican Greg Gianforte won by 7 after he assaulted a reporter.

    Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

When you do the math, especially since so many had voted before Gianforte assaulted the reporter (although I’m not sure that wouldn’t have been a plus in his column for Trump voters), this was good news for Democrats, not Republicans.

According to Donald Trump, “Fake news” is the enemy; not his alliance with an adversary to the United States or his son-in-law, who wanted to set up a back channel to talk to the Kremlin.

The real fake news Americans need to be worried about is either coming from the White House or Moscow via Macedonia – and sometimes planted in right wing websites.

Trump needs his followers to keep believing him and keep blaming the press. This hatred for the press is what enabled Gianforte’s assault on a reporter, and it’s a hallmark of the loss of freedom.

Trump is trying to smear the press because he can’t answer for the revelations coming out of his own White House.

It was so relaxing when Trump was in a different time zone and not allowed to tweet. But he’s back. Buckle up.

 3 
 on: Today at 05:43 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

Pig Putin is a bigger threat than Isis, John McCain says

Republican also says he is concerned by reports Jared Kushner discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Moscow and Trump’s team

Paul Karp in Canberra
Guardian
Monday 29 May 2017 11.54 BST

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is the biggest threat to global security, even greater than Isis, John McCain has declared on his tour of Australia.

In an interview on ABC’s 7:30 on Monday the Republican senator said president Donald Trump made him “nervous” and expressed concern at reports that White House adviser Jared Kushner allegedly discussed creating a secret communication channel with Russia.

Asked to evaluate the threat to global security posed by Putin, McCain said: “I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than Isis.”

McCain said that while Isis “can do terrible things and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith ... but it’s the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election”.

McCain said that he’d “seen no evidence [the Russians] succeeded but they tried and they are still trying to change elections”.

He cited an attempt to influence the French election and said Russia had “dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation” as reasons for viewing Putin as the greatest threat.

The chairman of the Senate committee on armed services said that the United States should respond with sanctions, complaining that it had “done nothing” since the election in November to respond to the attempted interference.

Asked about allies concerns’ about international security with Trump at the helm, McCain conceded that he was “nervous from time to time” , but praised the president’s national security team.

“I do believe most of the time that he accepts their advice and counsel.

“Can I tell you that he does that all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me.”

Asked about reports that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, allegedly discussed establishing a back-channel to Russia, McCain said: “I don’t like it, I just don’t.”

McCain dismissed administration officials’ claims it was standard procedure, noting it was not standard procedure “prior to the inauguration of the president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position”.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this FBI issue and the whole issue of the Russians, it’s a scandal of significant proportions and it’s going to be with us for quite a while,” McCain is quoted to have said in an ABC report of the interview.

McCain said that he judges Trump by what he does rather than what he says and compared his record favourably with Barack Obama. He criticised Obama for saying Syria had crossed a line using chemical weapons, saying America had lost credibility because it “then didn’t do anything about it”.

“I believe if you’re looking at the standard of what actually happens versus what is said, then I’ll be glad to compare Donald Trump to Barack Obama – including the latest when chemical weapons were used, and we saw these dead children – at least we saw cruise missile strikes in retaliation.”

McCain warned that North Korea had the potential to become a ”serious crisis along the lines of the Cuban missile crisis, unless we do everything we can to restrain North Korean behaviour”.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to have an intercontinental ballistic missile — or a missile aimed at Australia — with a nuclear weapon on it, and depend on our ability to counter it with an anti-missile capability.”

Asked about the fact Trump had not committed to stay in the Paris climate agreement, McCain said that European leaders were “legitimately concerned” that the US may pull out.

But he argued that Obama entered the agreement without approval from Congress, allowing the president to revoke it.

 4 
 on: Today at 05:40 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Shitstain Trump's America: 'We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands'

German Chancellor says traditional western alliance threatened by new presidency and UK's Brexit

Samuel Osborne
Independent
5/29/2017
   
Call to action: Ms Merkel was underwhelmed by Mr Trump opting to mull whether the US should stay in 2015’s Paris climate deal

Angela Merkel has suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Donald Trump.

Speaking at a campaign event held in a Bavarian beer tent, the German Chancellor emphasised the need for friendly relations with the US, Britain and Russia, but added: “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”

Ms Merkel said that as the traditional western alliance is threatened by the new US presidency and Brexit, “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”

While Germany and Europe would strive to maintain relations with the US and Britain, Ms Merkel said, “we need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny.”

Her comments came after Mr Trump said he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats.

Mr Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, came under concerted pressure from the other leaders to honour the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions.

    I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2017

Although he tweeted to say he would make a decision next week, his apparent reluctance to embrace the first legally binding global climate change deal, signed by 195 countries, clearly annoyed Ms Merkel.
   
“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” she told reporters.

“There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”

G7 leaders went on to blame the US for the failure to reach an agreement on climate change, in an unusually frank statement which read: “The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.

“Understanding this process, the heads of state and of government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom and the presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement."

Mr Trump has reportedly told “confidants” including the head of the Environmental Protection Angency Scott Pruitt, he wants the US to leave the international agreement on climate change, the Axios news outlet reported, citing three sources with direct knowledge.

A source who has been in contact with people involved in the decision told Reuters a couple of meetings were planned with chief executives of energy companies and big corporations and others about the climate agreement ahead of Mr Trump¦s expected announcement later in the week.

It was unclear whether those meetings would still take place.

Despite the Trump administration’s talk of an “America first” policy and ongoing criticism of Germany for its massive trade surplus, the G7 summit in Sicily did vow to fight protectionism, reiterating “a commitment to keep our markets open”.

They also agreed to step up pressure on North Korea, to forge closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism, on the possibility of imposing more sanctions on Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine.

***************

Shistain Trump acted like 'a drunk tourist' on Europe trip that led Angela Merkel to proclaim end of US alliance

President took harsher stance against European allies than against leaders of Middle East in Riyadh

Rachael Revesz
Independent
5/29/2017

Donald Trump was like a “drunk tourist” on his first trip abroad, which saw awkward handshakes with the French Prime Minister, shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro and causing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare the end of the US alliance with Europe.

A US State Department official blasted the “arrogance” of the President as he flew from Saudi Arabia and Israel to Europe last week.

“When it comes to diplomacy, President Trump is a drunk tourist,” the unnamed official told The Daily Beast.
   
“Loud and tacky, shoving his way around the dance floor. He steps on others without realising it. It’s ineffectual.”

Most concerning was Mr Trump’s vow to make a final decision on the Paris climate change agreement “next week” – a measure which 195 nations have already agreed upon before his election.

He was accused of undermining the international diplomacy when he took a tougher stance on the G7 than on Saudi Arabia, where he made no mention of human rights violations in Yemen and was feted with lavish ceremonies and received the highest civilian honour.

At a ceremony to celebrate Nato member nations' strength after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr Trump said Germany was “bad, very bad” for its trade surplus and told off the 28 countries for “not paying what they should be paying”.  He also refused to commit to upholding Article 5 of the Nato Treaty, and did not utter the words “all for one, one for all”.

Mr Trump flew back to the US with a $100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and tweeted, “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!”

His trip led French leader Emmanuel Macron, with whom Mr Trump was seen gripping hands and gritting teeth, to announce that the handshake with the President was “not innocent”.

Ms Merkel declared to a crowd in Bavaria that Europe’s ability to rely on the US was “over, to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands”, Ms Merkel added.

He also appeared to push aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic to stand at the front of a group of Nato leaders. Mr Markovic said the move was "inoffensive".

The signalling of the potential end of the US-German alliance could be described as good news for Russia, which has so far been restrained by Nato from provoking further aggressions in other countries like those in Crimea.

Democrats railed against “missed opportunities” by Mr Trump during his first venture.

Senator Cory Booker told CNN that Mr Trump did not focus on the “core issues” like climate change, human rights issues or Russian “aggression”.

“Not talking about the real human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, it’s almost like reducing America from the light and hope in the world to just a utilitarian kind of transactional relationship,” he said.

 5 
 on: Today at 05:32 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hope hard to kindle for the forgotten refugees of Central African Republic

After fleeing conflict at home, 11,000 Central Africans have found safety at Mbilé camp in Cameroon. But the demise of a scheme that meant women no longer had to scavenge for firewood has added to concern

Kate Lyons in eastern Cameroon
AFP
Monday 29 May 2017 07.00 BST

In Mbilé refugee camp in the east of Cameroon, home to 11,000 people from Central African Republic, making even a small fire has all too often been the stuff of nightmares.

Until last year, the women in charge of such chores would have to walk up to five hours a day to pick up what firewood they could scavenge. Stories of women being attacked on these journeys – beaten and raped – were common.

“There was violence, I didn’t experience it, but it happened frequently,” says Hammadou Aishaidu, 23, a refugee in the camp. “I was very, very afraid.”

Last April, a scheme to make small fuel briquettes out of sawdust and clay changed things. No longer obliged to travel outside the camp in search of wood, the women felt safer.

There were other benefits, too. The briquettes– neat, environmentally friendly lumps of fuel – provided work and helped relations with the local population, who were unhappy about refugees felling trees and the competition for firewood.

But Bouba Rabiatou, president of the women’s committee at Mbilé, wishes the venture had never begun. “If the programme is going to end, it would have been better if they never started it,” she says. “Now it’s introduced, the women have changed their lives and have some security.”

In June, the scheme will stop operating. It was funded for just 18 months and the last four months of this period will be taken up with evaluation and reporting. So next month, the 12,000 francs a week that the refugees have received for their labour will stop and, crucially, there will be no more money available to transport sawdust – a key ingredient of the briquettes – into the camp.

This is just one of the short-term projects 43-year-old Rabiatou has seen arrive, only to disappear shortly after. Last year, a market garden scheme was launched to allow women to grow food to sell. It ended before a second crop could even be planted.

At Timangolo camp, three hours away, Ali Salihou, president of the refugee youth committee, tells of a sewing programme, meant to give young people the skills and equipment to make a living. The scheme was a success, he says, for the four people who were able to get on it. But it was never expanded and there are roughly 2,000 people aged 20-35 at Timangolo camp, many of whom are unemployed.

Perversely, these income-generating activities are disappearing at the precise moment refugees need them. Global funding for their plight is drying up, and in January the situation facing refugees from Central African Republic in east Cameroon was labelled a “forgotten crisis” by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

The region, about the size of Iceland, hosts 274,000 Central African refugees, roughly 60% of those who fled into neighbouring countries after violence broke out between predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels and the Christian anti-balaka militia group in December 2013.

The first phase of response to the crisis, according to Basème Kulimushi, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Batouri, was about “saving maximum lives possible”. When this cycle ended in 2015, attention and funding started to wane, the situation eclipsed by events in the north, where refugees were streaming across the border from Nigeria as they fled the violence of Boko Haram.

Last year, the UNHCR office in Cameroon needed $55m (£43m); they received $21m, said Kulimushi. By April, they had received pledges equivalent to just 5% of the $49m required to support refugees in the country this year. Cash for the World Food Programme’s work with Central African refugees in Cameroon has also dropped off: last October, food rations for refugees had to be halved.

On the monthly food distribution day at Mbilé, Nouhu Habiba, 28, gets up very early, waiting for hours to collect food for herself and her three children, aged nine, six and six months. She drags three plastic sacks off a shelf – one containing sorghum, another yellow peas, and the third corn-soya blend – together with a container of cooking oil.

“This has to last for one month,” says Habiba. But it will not, leaving her and her husband struggling to find food for themselves and the children.

Habiba ran away from Bossembélé after her village was attacked by anti-balaka militia in 2014; seven members of her family died. It took her four months to walk to Cameroon. They walked for days without food, drinking water from puddles that was hot, because it was the dry season. A few days into the journey their group was set upon by bandits and one of her daughters was held hostage until the family gave up all the possessions with which they had fled.

She welcomes the security of the refugee camp but the lack of food is a struggle. “The advantage is there is a hospital, the disadvantage is that there is not enough food,” she says.

The majority of Central African refugees in Cameroon live in local villages rather than camps.

Françoise Collet, EU ambassador to Cameroon, says the poverty that afflicts the country’s east makes the situation there of at least as much concern as that in the dangerous north.

“A number of visitors consider the situation in the eastern region is worse than the far north because of the poverty, the lack of development, the lack of attention from the authorities,” says Collet.

“In the north, it’s a much more deteriorated situation in terms of security, but in the eastern part, the under-development is much more obvious and indeed is aggravated by the refugee crisis.”

The poverty is evident driving along the red dirt roads between villages in the east. These are lined by houses, sometimes made of brick, sometimes of sticks and mud. Outside the houses – on stoops, overturned barrels, tree stumps – people place their wares for passersby to inspect: a hand of plantain or bananas, a bowl of green mangoes, piles of dried white cassava.

Many locals are pleased refugees have arrived, since it means aid agencies will follow.

“The presence of the refugees is an advantage for us because aid agencies one so much for them,” says Amina, a Cameroonian mother of eight who lives on the outskirts of Boubara, a village that has taken in 2,000 people from CAR. “They have helped with the schools, the water points, even food; they renovated the health centre.”

Collet says balancing help for refugees with help for local people is important but difficult, as it goes beyond responding to a crisis, ranging into the development of infrastructure and services. Responsibility for the latter lies primarily with national and local authorities, she says.

“We are very careful to bring basic services not just to the refugees but also to the local population. It would not be fair to have refugees who are better cared for than the local population.

Kulimushi says: “They are a very poor community, sometimes poorer than the refugees themselves.”

Despite their poverty, says Kulimushi, locals were the “first responders to the CAR crisis”. Before the UN arrived to assist refugees, Cameroonian villagers were giving them food, water and shelter.

“When the refugees arrived the host community welcomed them,” says Amina. “Now, when refugees have food, they give some back to those who helped them.”

There are tensions, especially over refugees grazing their cattle on pastoral land. And if funding for refugees dries up, so that they are no longer seen as a way of improving conditions in a local village but rather as a drain upon them, things could worsen.

For now, though, relations are mostly amicable between locals and villagers, whose shared concern is ensuring they are not forgotten by the aid agencies upon which they both rely so heavily.

 6 
 on: Today at 05:30 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Tampons that care: helping girls across the world to end 'shame of periods'

By buying certain menstrual products, consumers can trigger a donation of supplies to poorer countries, where women are often forced to rely on old rags

Rebecca Ratcliffe
Guardian
Sunday 28 May 2017 00.05 BST

Menstruation is getting its moment: there have been tampon selfies, tampon tax campaigns around the world, and even a day dedicated to menstrual hygiene. Now, a growing crop of companies is promising consumers they can help bring sanitary products to women who cannot afford them.

Buy a pack of pads and a supply will be donated to a woman in a developing country. It’s a bit like Toms shoes, the original one-for-one social enterprise, but for tampons. In the US, such companies have grown rapidly in popularity. Among them is L., founded by Talia Frenkel, a photojournalist who worked for the Red Cross and UN. It now sells its products in stores across the US, and distributes sanitary products and condoms through a network of more than 3,000 “female entrepreneurs” in poorer countries, including Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and India. The company says it will donate more than 28 million health products this year.

Another company, Lunapads, runs a One4Her scheme, where every sanitary towel sold in the US pays for a pad for a girl in east Africa. So far, it says 17,000 women have benefited from the scheme, where pads are produced through the social business Afripads. Other companies running similar projects include Be Girl, which sells knickers - with pouches to hold liners, and Thinx, maker of special absorbent underwear.

The trend may be about to catch on in the UK. Companies such as L. are already eyeing up Europe, and London-based startup Freda is promising women in the UK that for every subscription for sanitary products it sells, it will pay for a supply to be produced by KiliPads, a women-run social enterprise in Tanzania. The pads, which are reusable, will then be handed out in local schools.

The project is still in its initial stages – there are only five women working for Kilipads, and neither Kilipads nor Freda are profitable yet. By ordering products from social enterprises such as KiliPads, Freda aims to avoid flooding the local market with western products – a criticism made of Toms shoes. “We’re trying to make it all more local – local materials, employing local women, supplying local girls,” says Freda founder Affi Parvizi-Wayne.

Freda is aimed at socially conscious young people, who are willing to pay extra for ethical products. “They are very much anti big brands. They want to know where their products have come from, and if they can do good, they will do,” she says. A subscription costs around £6.99 a month.

The issue of periods and the impact they have on girls’ health and education has been neglected in many poorer countries. Research has found girls often aren’t given enough information about puberty: a study by menstrual health charity Femme International found that 75% of girls in Nairobi’s Mathare Valley slum had no idea what their period was before it arrived. Once girls do start menstruating, many have no access to reliable sanitary products.

Researchers in rural Kenya found that girls rely mostly on old rags, and in some cases, cotton wool, grass, socks, plastic and paper. In India, only 12% of women and girls use sanitary products. Many girls go to school dreading their period will stain their clothes, or that other students will smell an odour. In sub-Saharan Africa, one in 10 girls miss school during their period, according to a Unesco report.

Classroom practices, such as an expectation in some countries that students stand up to answer questions, make matters worse, says Marni Sommer, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University.

“Walking to the front of the classroom is already scary but it becomes a lot more scary if you’re worried about everybody staring at the back of your uniform.” Menstruation is one reason why girls drop out of school altogether.

Handing out reusable pads, and providing education, does help, says Paul Montgomery, professor of social intervention at the University of Birmingham. He led a research project that tracked school absence rates among 1,000 girls at eight schools in Uganda. In the two schools where sanitary pads or puberty education were not provided, levels of absenteeism among girls were 17% higher, on average, compared with schools where girls received pads, education, or both.

But startups offering to distribute products must be transparent about the impact they’re having, and commit to monitoring their impact, says Frenkel at L. in the US: “They must vet their partners to ensure that what they give ends up in the hands of the people who need it most, and isn’t languishing in a warehouse somewhere, or in a clinic.”Making sanitary products available will only solve part of the problem, though. Education, awareness among teachers and toilet facilities in schools are also crucial, says Sommer. In about 50% of the least developed countries, there’s no safe place for girls to change their pad while at school. “Either they don’t have toilets, or they don’t have toilets that are clean or safe,” she adds. This might mean there’s no door, or no clean water nearby.

For girls using washable products, another concern is having access to soap, water or a private place to clean and dry pads. “That was more of an issue than people might think,” says Montgomery. “If you think in terms of infection control, what you want is to dry them outside in the sunlight, and those are conditions which are not always very easily possible.” While researching the issue in Uganda, Montgomery’s team found examples of girls in boarding schools drying their pads under their bunk beds because of the stigma attached to menstruation. In other studies, women have reported attempting to dry cloths under other layers of clothing so that they remain hidden.

While reusable products might work for some, Montgomery questions projects that sell a disposable pad to women in the US or UK, but donate a washable pad to women elsewhere. “We have a very colonial view sometimes. These reusable products are supposed to be all very well in low and middle income countries, but they’re not the prevalent thing here,” he said. “Why aren’t Always and those kinds of products – and to be frank, I’m not sure they’re the best – good enough for them? It’s very patriarchal to say they can have some arguably inferior product.”

Others arguing in favour of reusable products say that these are preferred by some women, and they’re more environmentally friendly. Disposing of throw-away pads is a challenge in some areas, and it’s further complicated by taboos surrounding menstruation, such as the belief held by some communities that menstrual blood cannot be burned. These issues are still neglected, says Sommer.

While periods have become popular topics, waste management is not. “Saying to people ‘let’s talk about sewage and waste disposal’ – it’s just not sexy. It’s hard to get people to say I’m going to put my money into coming up with disposable waste management systems.”

Whether it’s better to donate money directly or to a use a “buy one, give one” product depends on the project in question, but more attention and awareness of the issue is helpful, said Sommer. Donations won’t transform girls’ lives overnight though. “That comes when social norms around talking about this issue, when the education system provides adequate safe toilets, when girls are across the board given the information and support they need as they come of age and as their bodies change as they try to manage their periods in school. That large scale buy-in of the public sector, and of the social norms of the community and the society are what will make the biggest changes ultimately.”

Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/global-development/video/2017/may/27/girls-challenge-the-stigma-surrounding-periods-in-nepal-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 7 
 on: Today at 05:22 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Fisherman says great white shark jumping in his boat was 'just a mundane thing'

Terry Selwood was hurt when 2.7-metre shark, which weighed 200kg, leapt into his boat near Evans Head

Elle Hunt
AFP
Monday 29 May 2017 03.44 BST

A fisherman who watched a 2.7-metre great white shark land in his boat has downplayed the experience, calling it “just a mundane thing”.

Terry Selwood, 73, was caught by surprise while fishing off Evans Head, on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, on Saturday afternoon when the shark launched itself into his 4.5-metre boat.

The shark’s pectoral fin hit Selwood on his forearm and knocked him on to his hands and knees as it scaled the boat’s engine and landed on the floor.
Great white shark study could be used to drop protected status, Greens warn
Read more

“There I was on all fours and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him and then he started to do the dance around and shake and I couldn’t get out quick enough on to the gunwale,” Selwood told the ABC. “I was losing a fair amount of blood, I was stunned. I couldn’t register what happened and then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to get out of here.’”

Selwood alerted marine rescue volunteers at Evans Head. A crew picked him up before returning to retrieve the boat, still with the 200kg shark on board.

Conditions were calm on Saturday afternoon and there was no obvious reason the shark had breached, said Selwood, who had been fishing for snapper.

“For some unknown reason he just launched himself out of the water and he must have come up four feet out of the water to clear my outboard motor and drop straight in the boat.”

NSW police said they had been called to the scene about 4.45pm after reports of a shark attack. Selwood was treated on shore for the minor injury to his arm caused by the shark’s fin, and later conveyed to Lismore hospital by ambulance paramedics.

The Department of Primary Industries removed the shark from the boat with a forklift and took it to its Wollongbar office to confirm its age and gender.

A spokeswoman confirmed it was a 2.7-metre white shark and that a postmortem was standard procedure for “any deceased shark in good condition”, enabling the department to take tissue and blood samples for science and research purposes.

Selwood said he had never had a similar experience in nearly 60 years of fishing.

“I’ve had ’em come up and brush the side of my boat, I’ve had a white pointer swim around my boat, I’ve had ’em take fish off my line but I’ve never had one do this,” he told the ABC.

It would not deter him from fishing, he said, though he would have to repair the damage to his boat.

“It’s not a great story, it’s just a mundane thing that just happened and it’s over and done with, but something that I’ll remember.”

Also on Monday, the state government announced that controversial shark nets being trialled at Evans Head and four other beaches in northern NSW were being removed ahead of schedule in an attempt to protect migrating whales

Nets at Ballina’s Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shelly beaches, Lennox Head’s Seven Mile beach and Evans Head beach would be removed two weeks before the slated end of the six-month trial, said the NSW primary industries minister, Niall Blair.

The decision was due to an increase in sightings as whales headed north for the winter, Blair said on Monday. Helicopters would continue to operate every weekend on the north coast and daily flights and drones would resume in the July school holidays.

Almost three times as many marine animals died in the north coast nets during the second month of the trial as in the first month.

“While we are ending the trial slightly earlier, we now have almost six months’ worth of data for our shark scientists to analyse,” Blair said. “The research from this trial is world-class and will provide great insight to researchers not only in NSW but right across the world.”

Just one of the 72 animals caught in the newly installed nets off Ballina – a great white shark – was among the NSW government’s targeted species in the most recent trial period. A bottlenose dolphin, six manta rays and two turtles were also killed, along with nine hammerhead sharks.

The department recorded 32 animal deaths between 8 January and 7 February, compared with 12 deaths a month earlier. Of the 153 animals caught in the first two months of the six-month trial, five were target shark species – a strike rate of 4.3%.

Blair said the government would make a decision on the future of the nets in spring, after consultation with the public, scientists and the commonwealth.

 8 
 on: Today at 05:20 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
A treasure trove of beetles

The Meadows, Chester The brightest colours drew my novice eyes: a vivid yellow ladybird, a tiny blue weevil and the polished emerald of a dock beetle

Ella Davies
Guardian
Monday 29 May 2017 05.30 BST

A gentle breeze shimmers through the grass and the babble of the breeding season surrounds me. This patch of water meadows, just across the river Dee from the city centre, invites us to take things easy. But last time I visited I was carrying a petrol-powered leaf blower, helping Julie Rose of the Friends of the Meadows users group and entomologist Clive Washington with their beetle biodiversity survey.

Just off the path from Bottom Lane, Clive thrashed a blossoming hawthorn with a big stick, holding a white tray underneath to catch his quarry. A hand lens revealed common leaf weevils, Phyllobius pyri, rose-gold and speckled with pollen. A bronze bead was identified as Anaspis maculata, a tumbling flower beetle; a small longhorn beetle, Grammoptera ruficornis, stood out with its statement headwear and pewter sheen.

As we moved into the sedges, Clive switched to the suction sampler – a pipe fitted to the intake of the leaf blower. At the other end a netted plant pot collected our targets with minimum disturbance. It was noisy, though. Once shaken into the tray everything played dead, so we had to wait to inspect our finds. The brightest colours drew my novice eyes: a vivid yellow 22-spot ladybird, a tiny blue weevil (Perapion violaceum); the polished emerald cabochon of a dock beetle (Gastrophysa viridula).

Clive reeled off Latin names like a herald in a royal court and within a couple of hours we’d been formally introduced to around 50 species. Sadly, our scrutiny was prompted by the attention of developers: a recently approved watersports centre will pave one of the outlying fields.

For now, the macro focus seems to have stuck with me. I retrace our steps along a diagonal desire line through the grass, bordered with splashes of red clover and bird’s foot trefoil. An iridescent lozenge catches my eye at the bottom of a buttercup – it’s a false oil beetle, Oedemera nobilis.

A change of perspective is clearly needed to value these grassland gems. They feed the birds which fill this open space with song and boost our wellbeing. The Meadows’ riches reach far beyond recreation.

 9 
 on: Today at 05:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Baby elephant steps out for public debut at Sydney’s Taronga zoo – video

Guardian
5/29/2017

Taronga zoo trumpets its newest delivery, a Asian elephant calf, who has made his public debut under the watchful eye of his mother Pak Boon and fellow elephants. The 130kg calf was born Friday morning following his mother’s 22-month pregnancy, and is the first arrival of his kind in nearly seven years

Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/global/video/2017/may/28/baby-elephant-steps-out-for-public-debut-at-sydneys-taronga-zoo-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 10 
 on: Today at 05:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
84% of People Now Consider Climate Change a 'Global Catastrophic Risk'

By Nadia Prupis
Ecowatch
5/29/2017

A majority of people in eight countries say they are ready to change their lifestyles if it would prevent climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats released Wednesday found.

The poll of 8,000 people in eight countries—the U.S., China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany—found that 84 percent of people now see climate change a "global catastrophic risk."

It comes as President Donald Trump goes to Italy for his first conference with the Group of 7 (G7) to discuss inequality and the environment. Anti-poverty groups are urging the president not to pull out of the Paris climate deal, as he has threatened to do.

On climate, "there's certainly a huge gap between what people expect from politicians and what politicians are doing. It's stunning," Mats Andersson, vice chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation, which commissioned the survey for its annual Global Catastrophic Risks report, told the Thompson Reuters Foundation on Wednesday.

Many people now see climate change as a bigger threat than other issues like population growth, weapons of mass destruction and artificial intelligence, among other concerns, the poll found.

Still, those fears also ranked high, and the survey found that about 70 percent of respondents would support a new global organization designed to address international risks.

"Whether it's the specter of nuclear conflict over North Korea or the planet tipping into catastrophic climate change, the need for effective global cooperation has never been greater," Andersson said.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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