Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Jul 17, 2018, 05:38 AM
Pages: 1 ... 284 285 [286] 287 288 ... 293   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE, GLOBAL WARMING, AND CULTURE  (Read 1125825 times)
0 Members and 11 Guests are viewing this topic.
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4275 on: Jul 09, 2018, 04:49 AM »


'These changes are unprecedented': how Abiy is upending Ethiopian politics

New PM has electrified country with his informal style, charisma and energy

Jason Burke
Guardian
9 Jul 2018 11.54 BST

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, has accelerated a radical reform programme that is overturning politics in the vast, strategically significant African country.

Since coming to power as prime minister in April, Abiy has electrified Ethiopia with his informal style, charisma and energy, earning comparisons to Nelson Mandela, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The 42-year-old – who took power following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Haile Mmariam Dessalegn – has so far reshuffled his cabinet, fired a series of controversial and hitherto untouchable civil servants, reached out to hostile neighbours and rivals, lifted bans on websites and other media, freed thousands of political prisoners, ordered the partial privatisation of massive state-owned companies and ended a state of emergency imposed to quell widespread unrest.

In recent days, Abiy fired the head of Ethiopia’s prison service after repeated allegations of widespread torture, and removed three opposition groups from its lists of “terrorist” organisations.

On Sunday, the former soldier met president Isaiah Afwerki of Eritrea in a bid to end one of Africa’s longest running conflicts. The two men hugged and laughed in scenes unthinkable just months ago.

“You don’t want to exaggerate but for Ethiopia, a country where everything has been done in a very prescriptive, slow and managed way, these changes are unprecedented,” said Ahmed Soliman, an expert in East African politics at London’s Chatham House. “His main task is to satisfy all expectations of all groups in a huge and diverse country. That’s impossible but he’s trying to do so with some gusto.”

Despite an International Monetary Fund forecast predicting that Ethiopia would be the fastest-growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, even the officially sanctioned press has admitted the country’s serious difficulties.

The Addis Ababa-based Reporter described “the spectre of catastrophe hanging over Ethiopia” and called on the new prime minister to pull the nation “back from the brink”.

Ethiopia is facing a critical shortage of foreign currency, only temporarily solved by an infusion of cash from the United Arab Emirates. There is growing inequality, a shortage of jobs for a huge number of graduates, significant environmental damage, ethnic tensions and a hunger for change.

Different interest groups have come together in recent years to constitute a powerful groundswell of discontent, with widespread anti-government protests led by young people. At least 70% of the population is below the age of 30.

“The youth [are] the active force behind the country’s growth. Now there must be a new model to make Ethiopia progress economically by creating more job opportunities for the youth while respecting political and civil rights,” said Befeqadu Hailu, a 37-year-old blogger jailed repeatedly for his pro-democracy writings.

Abiy has apologised for previous abuses and promised an end to the harassment.

“I have always lived in fear but I feel less threatened when I write than I did before,” Hailu said. “It’s not only his word … the moment he spoke those words the security personnel down to the local levels have changed.”

But not all back Abiy’s efforts. Last month, a grenade was thrown at a rally organised to showcase popular support for the reforms in Addis Ababa’s vast Meskel Square, where many among the tens of thousands supporters wore clothes displaying the new prime minister’s image and carried signs saying “one love, one Ethiopia”. Two people died and more than 150 were injured in the blast and the stampede that followed.

“Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded,” Abiy said in an address shortly after the attack.

Officials said there had been other efforts to disrupt the rally, including a power outage and a partial shutdown of the phone network. At least 30 civilians and nine police officers were arrested.

Since Abiy took power, there have been “organised attempts to cause economic harm, create inflation[ary] flare-up and disrupt the service delivery of public enterprises”, state media said.

One possible culprit could be a hardline element within Ethiopia’s powerful security services – Abiy has replaced military heads with civilians and admitted past human rights abuses. Another could be a faction opposed to the effort to find peace with Eritrea.

Strafor, a US-based consultancy, said the perpetrators of the “amateurish” attack were more likely to be from one of Ethiopia’s restive regions.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the rebel coalition that ousted the Derg military regime in 1991, is split by factional battles between four ethnically based parties as well as fierce competition between institutions and individuals.

Tigrayans, an ethnic community centred in the north of Ethiopia, make up about 6% of the population but are generally considered to dominate the political and business elite.

Abiy was seen as a relative political outsider before being picked for the top job by the EPRDF council. He is the first leader from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic community, the Oromo, who have complained for decades of economic, cultural and political marginalisation.

Born in western Ethiopia, Abiy joined the resistance against the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as a teenager before enlisting in the armed forces, reaching the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He has a doctorate in peace and security studies. After a stint running Ethiopia’s cyberintelligence service, he entered politics eight years ago and rose rapidly up the ranks of the Oromo faction of the EPRDF, which has historically been at odds with the Tigrayans.

Analysts say Abiy’s mixed Christian and Muslim background, and fluency in three of the country’s main languages allow the new leader to bridge communal and sectarian divides. He has also reached out to women, making an unprecedented mention of his wife and mother in his acceptance speech.

One personal acquaintance described the new prime minister as “always looking ahead for the future”.

“He is also a good listener but with a bit of headstrong attitude towards people who don’t deliver,” said Yosef Tiruneh, a communications specialist who worked under Abiy at the science and technology ministry.

Tiruneh, said shelves of books on religion, philosophy and science filled Abiy’s office. “He is physically active and very well organised ... He did not have a secretary because he wanted his office to be accessible. His office door was literally never closed.”

Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen unexpectedly pardoned in May after four years on death row on alleged terrorism charges, said Abiy was “very intelligent and a quick learner” who was committed to democratisation.

“Abiy invited me to meet him two days after my release. We spoke for 90 minutes and a lot of issues were discussed. It was a meeting of minds. This guy means business,” Tsege, who was abducted by Ethiopian security services while in transit in Yemen four years ago, said.

But some point out that the autocratic nature of decision-making in Ethiopia has yet to change, even if Abiy is using his new powers to reform.

“The country is still being led by one person and his cabinet,” said Tigist Mengistu, an executive in Addis Ababa. “Sadly we have been there for 27 years and we want that to change. It is bad for a country as diverse as Ethiopia,” she said.

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


* Abiy Ahmed.jpg (26.63 KB, 620x372 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4276 on: Jul 09, 2018, 04:54 AM »


Trump administration's opposition to breastfeeding resolution sparks outrage

US delegation to the World Health Assembly reportedly deployed threats to try and browbeat nations into backing off the resolution

Ed Pilkington in New York
9 Jul 2018 21.31 BST
Guardian

Advocates for improved nutrition for babies have expressed outrage over reports that the Trump administration bullied other governments in an attempt to prevent the passage of an international resolution promoting breastfeeding.

The US delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva reportedly deployed threats and other heavy-handed measures to try and browbeat nations into backing off the resolution.

Under the terms of the original WHO text, countries would have encouraged their citizens to breastfeed on grounds that research overwhelmingly shows its health benefits, while warning parents to be alert to inaccurate marketing by formula milk firms.

The New York Times first reported how the Trump administration reacted forcefully to the resolution, which otherwise had the consensus support of all other assembly members. It pushed to remove a phrase from the draft text that would exhort governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding”.

The administration also used its network of diplomats to lean on member states. Turning on the delegation from Ecuador, the US government said that unless the South American nation withdrew its backing of the resolution it would face punitive trade moves and even the potential loss of military help in its battle against gang violence.

The resolution was eventually passed with US support, but only after the Russian government reintroduced it using a modified text.

Lucy Sullivan, executive director of 1,000 Days, the US-headquartered international group working to improve nutrition for babies and infants, said in a Twitter thread that the US intervention amounted to “public health versus private profit. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children’s lives. It is also bad for the multibillion-dollar global infant formula (and dairy) business.”

The online network of mothers, Moms Rising, called the US government’s move “stunning and shameful. We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding moms.”

Patti Rundall of the UK-based campaign Baby Milk Action told the New York Times: “We were astonished, appalled and also saddened. What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the US holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health.”

Under an internal code of the World Health Organisation, baby formula companies are banned from explicitly targeting mothers and their health carers. Advertising is also controlled.

A Guardian investigation with Save the Children earlier this year found that formula milk firms were using aggressive methods to skirt around the regulations in order to press mothers and healthcare professionals to choose powdered milk over breastfeeding. The measures were particularly intensively deployed in the poorest regions of the world, where most growth in the baby milk formula business is now concentrated.

A plethora of studies have shown the stark health improvements brought about by breastfeeding in the US and around the world. A Harvard study in 2016 estimated that 3,340 premature deaths a year among both mothers and babies could be prevented in the US alone given adequate breastfeeding.

The milk formula industry has been struggling against stagnating sales in recent years, but is still worth $70bn annually. The small number of giants that produce it are concentrated in the US and Europe.

One of those giants, Abbott Nutrition, is part of the healthcare multinational Abbott Laboratories that contributed to Trump’s inauguration ceremonies in January 2017.

During the deliberations over the breastfeeding resolution, according to the New York Times, the US delegation made threatening suggestions that Washington would cut its funding for the World Health Organisation. As the single largest donor to the world body, awarding $845m last year, that threat would not have been taken lightly.


* 5123.jpg (14.77 KB, 620x372 - viewed 12 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4277 on: Jul 09, 2018, 05:01 AM »

Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?

A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

By Jonathan Chait
New York Magazine
July 9, 2018 9:00 pm  

On June 14, 2016, the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s files and gained access to its research on Donald Trump. A political world already numbed by Trump’s astonishing rise barely took notice. News reports quoted experts who suggested the Russians merely wanted more information about Trump to inform their foreign-policy dealings. By that point, Russia was already broadcasting its strong preference for Trump through the media. Yet when news of the hacking broke, nobody raised the faintest suspicions that Russia wished to alter the outcome of the election, let alone that Trump or anybody connected with him might have been in cahoots with a foreign power. It was a third-rate cyberburglary. Nothing to see here.

The unfolding of the Russia scandal has been like walking into a dark cavern. Every step reveals that the cave runs deeper than we thought, and after each one, as we wonder how far it goes, our imaginations are circumscribed by the steps we have already taken. The cavern might go just a little farther, we presume, but probably not much farther. And since trying to discern the size and shape of the scandal is an exercise in uncertainty, we focus our attention on the most likely outcome, which is that the story goes a little deeper than what we have already discovered. Say, that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort told their candidate about the meeting they held at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer after they were promised dirt on Hillary Clinton; and that Trump and Kushner have some shady Russian investments; and that some of Trump’s advisers made some promises about lifting sanctions.

But what if that’s wrong? What if we’re still standing closer to the mouth of the cave than the end?

The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility.

What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect. After all, treating a small probability as if it were nonexistent is the very error much of the news media made in covering the presidential horse race. And while the body of publicly available information about the Russia scandal is already extensive, the way it has been delivered — scoop after scoop of discrete nuggets of information — has been disorienting and difficult to follow. What would it look like if it were reassembled into a single narrative, one that distinguished between fact and speculation but didn’t myopically focus on the most certain conclusions?

A case like this presents an easy temptation for conspiracy theorists, but we can responsibly speculate as to what lies at the end of this scandal without falling prey to their fallacies. Conspiracy theories tend to attract people far from the corridors of power, and they often hypothesize vast connections within or between governments and especially intelligence agencies. One of the oddities of the Russia scandal is that many of the most exotic and sinister theories have come from people within government and especially within the intelligence field.

The first intimations that Trump might harbor a dark secret originated among America’s European allies, which, being situated closer to Russia, have had more experience fending off its nefarious encroachments. In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies began picking up evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic states shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The contents of these communications have not been disclosed, but what Brennan learned obviously unsettled him profoundly. In congressional testimony on Russian election interference last year, Brennan hinted that some Americans might have betrayed their country. “Individuals who go along a treasonous path,” he warned, “do not even realize they’re along that path until it gets to be a bit too late.” In an interview this year, he put it more bluntly: “I think [Trump] is afraid of the president of Russia. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.”

While the fact that the former CIA director has espoused this theory hardly proves it, perhaps we should give more credence to the possibility that Brennan is making these extraordinary charges of treason and blackmail at the highest levels of government because he knows something we don’t.

Suppose we are currently making the same mistake we made at the outset of this drama — suppose the dark crevices of the Russia scandal run not just a little deeper but a lot deeper. If that’s true, we are in the midst of a scandal unprecedented in American history, a subversion of the integrity of the presidency. It would mean the Cold War that Americans had long considered won has dissolved into the bizarre spectacle of Reagan’s party’s abetting the hijacking of American government by a former KGB agent. It would mean that when Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the president and his inner circle, possibly beginning this summer, Trump may not merely rail on Twitter but provoke a constitutional crisis.

And it would mean the Russia scandal began far earlier than conventionally understood and ended later — indeed, is still happening. As Trump arranges to meet face-to-face and privately with Vladimir Putin later this month, the collusion between the two men metastasizing from a dark accusation into an open alliance, it would be dangerous not to consider the possibility that the summit is less a negotiation between two heads of state than a meeting between a Russian-intelligence asset and his handler.

A crazy quilt of connections. (Click or tap to zoom in.) .. see this picture below .. click on the 'jpg' to enlarge it....

It is often said that Donald Trump has had the same nationalistic, zero-sum worldview forever. But that isn’t exactly true. Yes, his racism and mendacity have been evident since his youth, but those who have traced the evolution of his hypernationalism all settle on one year in particular: 1987. Trump “came onto the political stage in 1987 with a full-page ad in the New York Times attacking the Japanese for relying on the United States to defend it militarily,” reported Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The president has believed for 30 years that these alliance commitments are a drain on our finite national treasure,” a White House official told the Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. Tom Wright, another scholar who has delved into Trump’s history, reached the same conclusion. “1987 is Trump’s breakout year. There are only a couple of examples of him commenting on world politics before then.”

What changed that year? One possible explanation is that Trump published The Art of the Deal, which sped up his transformation from an aggressive, publicity-seeking New York developer to a national symbol of capitalism. But the timing for this account does not line up perfectly — the book came out on November 1, and Trump had begun opining loudly on trade and international politics two months earlier. The other important event from that year is that Trump visited Moscow.

During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly would have been bugged. There is not much else in the public record to describe his visit, except Trump’s own recollection in The Art of the Deal that Soviet officials were eager for him to build a hotel there. (It never happened.)
How do you even think about the small but real chance that the president of the United States has been influenced or compromised by a hostile foreign power for decades?

Trump returned from Moscow fired up with political ambition. He began the first of a long series of presidential flirtations, which included a flashy trip to New Hampshire. Two months after his Moscow visit, Trump spent almost $100,000 on a series of full-page newspaper ads that published a political manifesto. “An open letter from Donald J. Trump on why America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves,” as Trump labeled it, launched angry populist charges against the allies that benefited from the umbrella of American military protection. “Why are these nations not paying the United States for the human lives and billions of dollars we are losing to protect their interests?”

Trump’s letter avoided the question of whom the U.S. was protecting those countries from. The primary answer, of course, was the Soviet Union. After World War II, the U.S. had created a liberal international order and underwritten its safety by maintaining the world’s strongest military. A central goal of Soviet, and later Russian, foreign policy was to split the U.S. from its allies.

The safest assumption is that it’s entirely coincidental that Trump launched a national campaign, with himself as spokesman, built around themes that dovetailed closely with Soviet foreign-policy goals shortly after his Moscow stay. Indeed, it seems slightly insane to contemplate the possibility that a secret relationship between Trump and Russia dates back this far. But it can’t be dismissed completely. How do you even think about the small but real chance — 10 percent? 20 percent? — that the president of the United States has been covertly influenced or personally compromised by a hostile foreign power for decades?

Russian intelligence gains influence in foreign countries by operating subtly and patiently. It exerts different gradations of leverage over different kinds of people, and uses a basic tool kit of blackmail that involves the exploitation of greed, stupidity, ego, and sexual appetite. All of which are traits Trump has in abundance.

Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counterparties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. Trump also reportedly circulated at parties for wealthy men featuring cocaine and underage girls.

One might think this notoriety immunizes Trump from blackmail. Curiously, however, Trump’s tolerance for risk has always been matched by careful control over information. He maintains a fanatical secrecy about his finances and has paid out numerous settlements to silence women. The combination of a penchant for compromising behavior, a willingness to work closely with criminals, and a desire to protect aspects of his privacy makes him the ideal blackmail target.

It is not difficult to imagine that Russia quickly had something on Trump, from either exploits during his 1987 visit or any subsequent embarrassing behavior KGB assets might have uncovered. But the other leverage Russia enjoyed over Trump for at least 15 years is indisputable — in fact, his family has admitted to it multiple times. After a series of financial reversals and his brazen abuse of bankruptcy laws, Trump found it impossible to borrow from American banks and grew heavily reliant on unconventional sources of capital. Russian cash proved his salvation. From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million. In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” said Donald Jr. in 2008. “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,” boasted Eric Trump in 2014.

Since Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, rose to power in 1999, money has become a key source of Russian political leverage. The Russian state (and hence Putin) controls the most lucrative sectors of its economy, and Russian investment is not designed solely to maximize return. Shady business transactions offer the perfect cover for covert payments, since just about the entire Russian economy is shady. Trump’s adamant refusal to disclose his tax returns has many possible explanations, but none is more obvious than the prospect that he is hiding what are effectively bribes.

During the Obama administration, Russia grew more estranged from the United States as its aggressive behavior toward its neighbors triggered hostile responses from NATO. Putin grew increasingly enamored of reactionary social theories portraying traditional, conservative, Christian Europe as pitted in a civilizational struggle against both decadent liberalism and radical Islam. Also during this time, Trump carved out a brand as a populist hero of the right by publicly questioning Obama’s birthplace and legitimacy.

In July 2013, Trump visited Moscow again. If the Russians did not have a back-channel relationship or compromising file on Trump 30 years ago, they very likely obtained one then. Former FBI director James Comey recounts in his book that Trump was obsessed with reports that he had been recorded in a hotel room watching prostitutes urinate on a bed that Barack Obama had once slept in. Trump, Comey wrote, “argued that it could not be true because he had not stayed overnight in Moscow but had only used the hotel room to change his clothes.” The journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have reconstructed Trump’s trip to Moscow and established that he did in fact stay overnight.

This was not the only allegation Trump forcefully and implausibly denied in his early meetings with Comey. He also denied that he had offered a pornographic-film star money to come to his room, grabbed a woman sitting next to him on an airplane, and mocked a disabled reporter at a rally. The other denials have gained no credence in the media. (Indeed, the last incident was broadcast on national television.) But Trump’s dismissal of the Moscow-hotel-room allegation has been given the benefit of the doubt by most reporters, who typically describe the charge as “salacious” and “unverified,” which it most certainly is, and treat that to mean “absurd,” which it is not. There is growing reason to think the pee tape might indeed exist.

There has never been much doubt about Russia’s motive to engineer a caper like this. Russian intelligence has a documented and long-standing practice of gathering compromising intelligence on visiting dignitaries. The use of prostitutes and the bugging of hotel rooms are standard. The skepticism has instead focused on both the source of the allegations, former British-intelligence official turned private investigator Christopher Steele, and Trump himself.

Steele’s dossier burst into public view in January 2017, introducing so many astonishing claims into the public domain that it read like politicized fiction, a modern-day Protocols of the Elders of Zion. “There has been no public corroboration of the salacious allegations against Mr. Trump, nor of the specific claims about coordination between his associates and the Russians,” the Times stated authoritatively last fall. “In fact, some of those claims have been challenged with supporting evidence. For instance, Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, produced his passport to rebut the dossier’s claim that he had secret meetings in Prague with a Russian official last year.”

The truth is that much of the reporting of the Russia scandal over the past 18 months has followed the contours of what Steele’s sources told him. Steele reported that “the Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” in June 2016, days after the Trump Tower meeting occurred but a year before it would be publicly confirmed. Steele obtained early news of the Kremlin’s strategy to exploit divides within the Democratic Party through social media; the role of Carter Page, a member of Trump’s foreign-policy team whom Russia had been trying to cultivate as a spy since at least 2013; and other now-familiar elements of the story.

Even the accusations in the dossier that have purportedly been refuted have gained support from law enforcement. Mueller has reportedly obtained evidence that Cohen actually did visit Prague during the 2016 campaign, contrary to his denials. The FBI has learned that Cohen “was in frequent contact with foreign individuals” who “had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling,” according to BuzzFeed News.

Then there is Trump himself. While the president’s character has never been exactly deemed above reproach, some doubts have lingered about whether he would really hire prostitutes to defile a bed merely because Obama had slept there and whether a tape of such a thing would truly shame him.

These questions have been answered in the affirmative. Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels and other women proves that he holds his sexual privacy dear. And the obsessive hatred of Obama that grew out of Trump’s humiliation at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner has blossomed into a perverse and often self-destructive mania. People both inside and outside the administration report that Trump will ultimately pick whatever option he believes is the negation of Obama’s legacy. “He will ask: ‘Did Obama approve this?’ And if the answer is affirmative, he will say: ‘We don’t,’ ” a European diplomat told BuzzFeed News.

Isikoff and Corn reported that Trump and many of the people who accompanied him on the 2013 trip to Moscow had, earlier that year, visited a club in Las Vegas that regularly performed “simulated sex acts of bestiality and grotesque sadomasochism,” including shows in which strippers simulated urinating. Isikoff and Corn do not establish what kind of performance was on display the night Trump visited. It may or may not have involved bodily fluids. But the notion that a display of exotic sex acts lies totally outside the range of behavior Trump would enjoy is quaint and unfounded.

It’s not necessary to believe that Putin always knew he might install Trump in the Oval Office to find the following situation highly plausible: Sometime in 2015, the Russian president recognized that he had, in one of his unknown number of intelligence files, an inroad into American presidential politics. The Republican nominees from 2008 and 2012 had both run on a hawkish position against Russia (Mitt Romney had called the country America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe”). Now, on the fringes of the GOP primaries, there was a candidate opening up what was, from Putin’s standpoint, a much-needed flank against not just Obama but his former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aggressive position against Russia.
Trump praised Putin’s toughness and called for a thaw in relations between the two countries. At first, Putin likely considered him simply a way to goad his American foes. Then Trump captured the nomination and his value increased exponentially.

At that point, it would have been strange if Russia didn’t help Trump. After all, Russians covertly support allied politicians abroad all the time. Putin naturally sees intelligence work as central to foreign policy, and his foreign policy is fundamentally threatened by democratic, socially progressive Western Europe. During his tenure, Russia has formed overt or covert ties to right-wing parties in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, and Bulgaria. France’s right-wing party received an $11 million loan from Russia; its counterparts in Bulgaria and Greece were alleged (but not proved) to have taken funding under the table, too. More often, Russians intermingle financial dealings with political subterfuge in a complex web that appears superficially legitimate.

The closest model for how Russia covertly operates may be the Brexit campaign in the U.K., which took place months before the 2016 American election. Driving Britain out of the European Union advanced the decades-long Russian goal of splitting Western nations apart, and Russia found willing allies on the British far right. Not only did Russia use social media to covertly promote Brexit, but Russian officials also met secretly several times with Arron Banks, the millionaire British businessman who supported the Brexit campaign, with the largest political donation in British history. Leaked documents reveal that the Russians discussed letting Banks in on a gold-mining deal that could have produced several billion dollars in easy profit. It might seem preposterous that a national vote that changed the course of British history was determined by a secret Russian operation. British conservatives long dismissed suspicions of covert Russian involvement as a “conspiracy theory.” Yet the conspiracy appears to have been very real.

Another useful model can be found in Ukraine, where a Russian oligarch backed the 2010 political campaign of the pro-Russian apparatchik Viktor Yanukovych. The effort to install Yanukovych prefigured many elements of Trump’s campaign. His campaign exploited ethnic divisions and portrayed his opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, as corrupt and the election as rigged. Yanukovych called for closer ties with Russia while obscuring the depth of his own furtive Russian connections. Most significant, the consultant brought in to manage Yanukovych’s campaign was the same one who managed Trump’s six years later: Paul Manafort.

For all the ambiguous, suspicious facts surrounding Trump’s ties to Russia, Manafort’s role is the most straightforward. He is an utterly amoral consultant and spent at least a decade directly advancing Russian foreign-policy interests while engaging in systemic corruption.

The story begins in 2005, when Manafort proposed to work for billionaire Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. Manafort, a Republican operative who had hired himself out to a variety of global villains, promised he would “influence politics, business dealings, and news coverage inside the United States, Europe, and former Soviet Republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government” in a memo described by the Associated Press.

Russia’s oligarchs put their wealth and power at Putin’s disposal, or they don’t remain oligarchs for long. This requirement is not lost on Deripaska. “I don’t separate myself from the state,” Deripaska told the Financial Times in 2007. “I have no other interests.” A 2006 U.S. diplomatic cable described him as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.” Working for Deripaska meant working for Putin.

There’s no doubt Manafort’s offer was taken up. Deripaska hired Manafort for $10 million a year, and Manafort worked to advance Russian interests in Ukraine, Georgia, and Montenegro. Manafort brought on as his business partner in these endeavors Konstantin Kilimnik, a former member of Russia’s foreign military-intelligence agency who — according to an indictment by Mueller — still has ties to Russian intelligence.

The mystery is exactly when, or whether, Manafort’s service to Deripaska — which is to say, to Putin — ended. He has hidden many of his proceeds and indeed now faces charges of money laundering. In 2010, Manafort received a $10 million loan from Deripaska, which he funneled through his shell company. (Manafort had used the same shell company to buy an apartment in Trump Tower, for cash, in 2006.)

Spending lavishly and deep in debt, Manafort went underground in 2014. Deripaska, seeking to recover funds he believed Manafort owed him, went to court, where one of his lawyers stated, “It appears that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates” — Manafort’s longtime associate — “have simply disappeared.” Two years later, Manafort resurfaced as Trump’s campaign manager, with Gates as his deputy, and set out to use his position to regain favor with his estranged patron. In leaked emails to Kilimnik, Manafort referred to his new standing and asked, “How do we use to get whole?” Kilimnik assured Manafort, “We will get back to the original relationship.” That is, Manafort was asking about, and Kilimnik was confirming, the possibility of trading his position as Trump’s campaign manager for debt forgiveness from Deripaska.

This much was clear in March 2016: The person who managed the campaign of a pro-Russian candidate in Ukraine was now also managing the campaign of a pro-Russian candidate in the United States. And Trump’s campaign certainly looked like the same play Putin had run many times before: Trump inflamed internal ethnic division, assailed the corruption of the elite, attacked Western allies while calling for cooperation with Russia, and sowed distrust in the fairness of the vote count. And in addition to deploying social-media bots and trolls, Russia apparently spent directly to help elect Trump. The FBI is investigating Alexander Torshin, a Russian banker who built ties to Republicans and allegedly funneled campaign funds to the National Rifle Association, which spent three times as much to help Trump as it had on behalf of Romney four years earlier.

Trump surrounded himself with several staffers, in addition to Manafort, with unusually close ties to Russia. His national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, had traveled to Moscow in 2015 to fête Putin at a banquet; George Papadopoulos met with Russian officials during the campaign; Russia had marked Carter Page as a possible asset. Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, the two business associates of Trump’s with decades-long ties to Russian organized crime, engaged in a mix of diplomatic and commercial negotiations with Russia during the campaign.

Several Trump advisers knew Russia was working to help Trump. Papadopoulos let it slip that Russia had dirt on Clinton; Roger Stone, a former longtime business partner of Manafort’s who communicated regularly with Trump throughout the campaign, knew what material WikiLeaks had obtained, according to two associates. Stone also repeatedly boasted of his back-channel contacts to Julian Assange and flaunted advance knowledge of what dirt Assange had. Between a pair of phone conversations Donald Jr. had to set up his Trump Tower meeting, he spoke with someone with a blocked phone number. (His father has a blocked phone number.) John K. Mashburn, a former campaign and current White House staffer, testified in March that he recalled receiving an email in early 2016 that Russia had negative information on Clinton.

Russia’s hacking appears, in short, to have been common knowledge within the campaign. Despite that, Trump repeatedly denied that Russia had any involvement with the email hacking, suggesting China or a 400-pound man might be the true culprit. Trump and his advisers also made at least 20 false public denials that they had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign.

It is possible that the current list of known campaign contacts accounts for most, or even all, of the direct cooperation. But that is hardly a safe assumption. Very little of the information we have about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was voluntarily disclosed. The pattern of anyone implicated is to lie about everything, construct the most plausible-sounding cover story for the known facts, and when their lies are exposed, retreat to a new story. The Trump Tower meeting alone required three different cover stories over the course of two days as the truth dribbled out. (There is circumstantial evidence that Putin himself helped shape one of the stories: Trump admitted to speaking with the Russian president about adoption policy at a G20 dinner and, the next morning, dictating his son’s misleading explanation that the meeting was about adoptions.) Stone testified to Congress that he had had no illicit contacts with Russians and repeated this defense fervently in public. When the Washington Post reported that he had been offered campaign dirt by a man with a heavy Russian accent, Stone insisted he had forgotten about the episode.

How much more evidence of collusion is yet to come out? Maybe a lot more.

One example of the kind Trump’s campaign may still be hiding came briefly to light two summers ago. In July 2016, a loose-knit community of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts discovered a strange pattern of online traffic between two computer servers. One of those servers belonged to Alfa Bank in Moscow and the other to the Trump Organization. Alfa Bank’s owners had “assumed an unforeseen level of prominence and influence in the economic and political affairs of their nation,” as a federal court once put it.

The analysts noted that the traffic between the two servers occurred during office hours in New York and Moscow and spiked in correspondence with major campaign events, suggesting it entailed human communication rather than bots. More suspiciously, after New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau asked Alfa Bank about it but before he brought it up with the Trump campaign, the server in Trump Tower shut down. The timing strongly implied Alfa Bank was communicating with Trump.

In October, Slate’s Franklin Foer broke the story of the servers and the computer scientists’ analysis about what it seemed to mean, which he called “a suggestive body of evidence that doesn’t absolutely preclude alternative explanations.” When Foer’s story landed, the political world treated it as insane. Vox, which had dismissed reports about Trump’s secret Russian ties as “poorly evidenced conspiracy theories,” savaged the server report. The Intercept called it “wacky.” Lichtblau reported that the FBI was investigating the server but that it “ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.”

That story became famous primarily for its headline conclusion, “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” And yet, CNN reported in March 2017 that the FBI’s investigation into the server remained open. Meanwhile, the biggest mystery of Foer’s story — why did Trump and Russia need a computer server to communicate? — now has a coherent answer.

It was already apparent in 2016 that the highest-profile parts of Russia’s messaging machine, like RT and Sputnik, were biased toward Trump. But now we know that its social-media activity employed precise demographic and geographic targeting — far more precise than a foreign country would be expected to have and notably concentrated on “key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal,” CNN reported. That information is highly valuable: When a Republican staffer named Aaron Nevins received stolen Democratic Party voter-profile data from Guccifer 2.0, the Russian-backed hacker, that summer, he wrote to the hacker, “This is probably worth millions of dollars.” The Alfa Bank server connection might not have been put to the exact same kind of collaborative purpose, but Russia’s social-media operation needed some fine-grained expertise to direct its targeted messages. It likely got it from somebody connected to Trump and quite possibly used the server to transmit directly with Trump Tower. If that server was transmitting data to and from Moscow, who in Trump Tower was feeding it?

Since the election, Trump and his advisers have continued to act like people who have a great deal to hide. In January 2017, Cohen solicited consulting payments from a firm controlled by a Russian oligarch and, when Flynn became national-security adviser, delivered to him a “peace plan” that would have consolidated the gains from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In December 2016, Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador discussed setting up a back-channel communications line through the Russian embassy. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and brother of Trump’s Education secretary, traveled to the Seychelles and met with a Putin ally in what European and Middle Eastern officials believe was another attempt to establish a back channel. Prince also appears to have lied to Congress about the meeting.

Of course, at that point, if Trump had legal diplomatic business to discuss with Russia, the president-elect could have held a normal meeting. It is possible to construct an innocent explanation for all the lying and skulduggery, but it is not the most obvious explanation. More likely, collusion between the Russians and the Trump administration has continued beyond the campaign.

The largest source of suspicion and curiosity is, again, Manafort. He left the campaign in August, when some of his ties to Deripaska were exposed and the campaign was floundering. But contrary to Trump’s recent efforts to depict his relationship with Manafort as distant and short-lived, the two continued to speak regularly even after the inauguration. We know this because U.S. investigators had convinced a FISA judge to wiretap Manafort’s phone.

Mueller has indicted Manafort on a series of white-collar crimes unrelated to the election itself. He has also convinced Rick Gates to cooperate with the investigation and plead guilty to conspiring against the United States. Trump has dangled the prospect of a presidential pardon to dissuade his former campaign manager from spilling his guts, but the pardon alone is not likely to spare Manafort a lengthy prison sentence. (Presidents can pardon only federal crimes, and Manafort is also facing prosecution for state-level crimes committed in Virginia and appears vulnerable to state charges in New York.) Manafort even allegedly took the reckless step of trying to coach a fellow witness to coordinate his story and was thrown in jail for it while he awaits trial.

Why would Manafort, who has a law degree from Georgetown and years of experience around white-collar crime, behave like this? Of all those in Trump’s camp, he is the furthest thing from a true believer, and he lacks any long-standing personal ties to the president or his family, so what incentive does he have to spend most or all of his remaining years in prison rather than betray Trump? One way to make sense of his behavior is the possibility that Manafort is keeping his mouth shut because he’s afraid of being killed.

That speculation might sound hyperbolic, but there is plenty of evidence to support it. In February, a video appeared on YouTube showing Manafort’s patron Deripaska on his yacht with a Belarusian escort named Anastasia Vashukevich. In the video, from August 2016, Deripaska could be seen speaking with a high-ranking Kremlin official. The video was such a source of embarrassment to Moscow that it fought to have it removed from YouTube. Vashukevich, who was then in a Thai jail after having been arrested there for prostitution, announced that she had heard Deripaska describe a plot to interfere in the election and that she has 16 hours’ worth of audio recordings from the yacht to support her charges. In a letter to America authorities, her associate wrote, “We risk our lives very much.”

Vashukevich’s name has disappeared from the news media. In all probability, either the FBI or Russian intelligence has gotten to her. Whatever has happened to her, her testimony suggests both that Russia is still hiding secrets about its role in Trump’s election and that someone who knows Deripaska well believes he would and could kill her for violating his confidence.

The latter fear is hardly paranoid. Russia murders people routinely, at home and abroad. In the nine months after Trump’s election, nine Russian officials were murdered or died mysteriously. At least one was suspected to have been a likely source for Steele. The attorney for the firm that hired Steele told the Senate last August, “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier.”

Here is another unresolved episode that might be weighing on Manafort’s decision. In the summer of 2016, veteran Republican activist Peter W. Smith set out to obtain hacked emails from Clinton and contacted Matt Tait, a cybersecurity expert, for help in the project. Smith represented himself as working for the Trump campaign, though he had formed a Delaware-based company, as Smith wrote to Tait, “to avoid campaign reporting.” Tait later said that he warned Smith that such a search would bring him into likely collusion with Russian hackers but that Smith “didn’t seem to care.”

At minimum, the episode is just another example of a person working for Trump who was eager to collude with Russia. It might indicate something more. In the spring of 2017, Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris found Smith and asked about this episode. Smith told Harris he had been acting independently of the Trump campaign. Within ten days of speaking with Harris, the 81-year-old Smith was found dead in a hotel room, with a bag over his head attached with rubber bands and two helium tanks. His suicide note claimed “no foul play whatsoever” and attributed his decision to a “recent bad turn in health since January, 2017” and the timing of his decision “to life insurance of $5 million expiring.” Asphyxiation is not unheard of as a method of suicide, and Smith had sold his condominium the previous year under a foreclosure threat, evidence in favor of the hypothesis that Smith did indeed kill himself for financial reasons.

Harris noted, however, that when they spoke, “I had no indication that he was ill or planning to take his own life.” Local police, who initially ruled the death a suicide, stopped taking questions shortly after his role in the campaign became widely known. Smith’s family has not publicly affirmed that he committed suicide or that they had an expiring life-insurance policy, nor has the FBI made any statement about his death.

Smith may well have killed himself for the reasons cited in the note. Alternatively, he might have killed himself out of fear of being questioned by the FBI, or potentially he was killed by somebody else for that same reason. If he was, or if Manafort merely suspected he was, it would explain his otherwise senseless refusal to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

In a Republican meeting a month before Trump clinched the 2016 nomination, the recording of which later leaked, House Speaker Paul Ryan mused about how Russia “hacked the DNC … and, like, delivered it to who?” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy replied, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” When others laughed, he added, “Swear to God.”

When the Washington Post published this exchange in May 2017, Ryan and McCarthy indignantly insisted they were joking — but if so, it was a “joke” akin to a workplace watercooler joke that the angry misfit downstairs might one day shoot up the office. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has been known for years in Washington as “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his idiosyncratic attention to, and support for, a wide array of pro-Russian positions. (He has worked to weaken sanctions meant to punish Russia for human-rights violations, compared pro-Russian separatists who helped Russia seize Ukrainian territory to the American Founders, and denounced the “hypocrisy” of U.S. opposition to the Crimean invasion.) He is widely suspected of having an ulterior motive. That Republican leaders would either gossip or joke about Rohrabacher and Trump in the same breath indicated a deep concern about the man who — as none of them expected at the time — would go on to win the presidency.

The leaked conversation also revealed something else about the Republican Party: Putin had, by then, made very few American allies. Among elected officials, Trump and Rohrabacher stood alone in their sympathy for Russian positions. Trump had drawn a few anomalously pro-Russian advisers into his inner circle, but by early 2017, Manafort had been disgraced and Flynn forced to resign, and Page had no chance of being confirmed for any Cabinet position. Trump’s foreign-policy advisers mostly had traditionally hawkish views on Russia, with the partial exception of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO who had won a Russian Order of Friendship award for his cooperation in the oil business. (Romney had been Trump’s initial choice for that position, The New Yorker reported, but Steele, in a separate dossier with a “senior Russian official” as its source, said that Russia used “unspecified channels” to influence the decision.)

Now that he’s in office, Trump’s ties to Russia have attracted close scrutiny, and he has found his room to maneuver with Putin sharply constrained by his party. In early 2017, Congress passed sanctions to retaliate against Russia’s election attack. Trump lobbied to weaken them, and when they passed by vetoproof supermajorities, he was reportedly “apoplectic” and took four days to agree to sign the bill even knowing he couldn’t block it. After their passage, Trump has failed to enforce the sanctions as directed.

Trump also moved to return to Russia a diplomatic compound that had been taken by the Obama administration; announced that he and Putin had “discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit” to jointly guard against “election hacking”; and congratulated the Russian strongman for winning reelection, despite being handed a card before the call warning: “Do not congratulate.”

More recently, as Trump has slipped the fetters that shackled him in his first year in office, his growing confidence and independence have been expressed in a series of notably Russophilic moves. He has defied efforts by the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, and Canada to placate him, opening a deep rift with American allies. He announced that Russia should be allowed back into the G7, from which it had been expelled after invading Ukraine and seizing Crimea. Trump later explained that Russia had been expelled because “President Obama didn’t like [Putin]” and also because “President Obama lost Crimea, just so you understand. It’s his fault — yeah, it’s his fault.”

During the conference, Trump told Western leaders that Crimea rightfully belongs to Russia because most of its people speak Russian. In private remarks, he implored French president Emmanuel Macron to leave the European Union, promising a better deal. Trump also told fellow leaders “NATO is as bad as NAFTA” — reserving what for Trump counts as the most severe kind of insult to describe America’s closest military alliance. At a rally in North Dakota last month, he echoed this language: “Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends or allies, right?”

Last summer, Putin suggested to Trump that the U.S. stop having joint military exercises with South Korea. Trump’s advisers, worried the concession would upset American allies, talked him out of the idea temporarily, but, without warning his aides, he offered it up in negotiations with Kim Jong-un. Again confounding his advisers, he has decided to arrange a one-on-one summit with Putin later this month, beginning with a meeting between the two heads of state during which no advisers will be present.

“There’s no stopping him,” a senior administration official complained to Susan Glasser at The New Yorker. “He’s going to do it. He wants to have a meeting with Putin, so he’s going to have a meeting with Putin.”

Even though the 2018 version of Trump is more independent and authentic, he still has advisers pushing for and designing the thrusts of Trumpian populism. Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross are steering him toward a trade war; Stephen Miller, John Kelly, and Jeff Sessions have encouraged his immigration restrictionism. But who is bending the president’s ear to split the Western alliance and placate Russia?

If you’re Putin, embarking upon a summit with the most Russophilic president since World War II, who is taking a crowbar to the alliance of your enemies, why wouldn’t you help him again in 2018 and 2020?

Trump’s determination to conciliate Putin can’t be dismissed as casual trolling or some idle attraction to a friendly face. It has a serious cost: He is raising suspicions among the public, and among probably some hawkish Republican senators, whose support he very much needs against Mueller. His motive for these foreign-policy moves is obviously strong enough in his mind to be worth prolonging an investigation he is desperate to terminate.

There is one other way in which Trump’s behavior has changed in recent months. As Mueller has plunged deeper into his murky dealings with Russia, the president has increasingly abandoned the patina of innocence. Trump used to claim he would be vindicated, and his advisers insisted his periodic fits sprang from an irrational resentment that Mueller was tarnishing his election and obscuring his achievements.

Trump barely puts much effort into predicting a clean bill of health anymore. He acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify, dangling pardons to keep witnesses from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole investigation, and endorsing Russia’s preposterous claims that it had nothing to do with the election at all. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks nothing like that of a leader of a country it attacked and exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.

“After” could be optimistic. The logic of Russia’s role in helping Trump has not changed since the election. If Trump’s campaign hired hackers to penetrate his opponent’s communications or voting machines, they would risk arrest. But Putin can hire hackers with impunity. Mueller can indict Russians, and he has, but he can’t arrest them unless they decide to leave Russia. Outsourcing Trump’s hacking work to Putin made perfect sense for both men in 2016, and still does.

And if you’re Putin, embarking upon a coveted summit with the most Russophilic president since World War II, who is taking a crowbar to the alliance of your enemies, why wouldn’t you help him in 2018 and 2020? Ever since the fall of 2016, when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately turned down an Obama-administration proposal for a bipartisan warning to Russia not to interfere in the election, the underlying dynamic has been set: Most Republicans would rather win an election with Putin’s help than lose one without it. The Democrats, brimming with rage, threaten to investigate Russian activity if they win a chamber of Congress this November. For Putin to redouble his attack — by hacking into voting machines or some other method — would be both strategic and in keeping with his personality. Why stop now?

Meanwhile, the White House has eliminated its top cybersecurity position. That might simply reflect a Republican bias against bureaucratic expertise. But it might also be just what it looks like: The cop on the beat is being fired because his boss is in cahoots with the crooks.

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, according to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, Israeli intelligence officials gathered at CIA headquarters, where they were told something astonishing: Russia, the agency believed, had “leverages of pressure” over the incoming president. Therefore, the agency advised the Israelis to consider the possibility that Trump might pass their secrets on to Russia. The Israelis dismissed the warning as outlandish. Who could believe that the world’s most powerful country was about to hand its presidency to a Russian dupe? That the United States government had, essentially, fallen?

A few months later, Trump invited Russian diplomats into the Oval Office. He boasted to them that he had fired “nut job” James Comey. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” At the same meeting, Trump passed on to the Russians a highly sensitive intelligence secret Israel had captured from a valuable source inside ISIS. It was the precise danger Israel had been cautioned about.

Like many of the suspicious facts surrounding Trump’s relations with Russia, it was possible to construct a semi-innocent defense. Maybe he just likes to brag about what he knows. Maybe he’s just too doddering to remember what’s a secret. And as often happens, these unwieldy explanations gained general acceptance. It seemed just too crazy to consider the alternative: It was all exactly what it appeared to be.

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

Click the 'jpg' below to enlarge this picture on your computer screen: it is mind boggling ......


* 05-collusion-map.jpg (1153.87 KB, 3277x1943 - viewed 16 times.)
« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2018, 05:18 AM by Darja » Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4278 on: Jul 09, 2018, 05:12 AM »

NATO leaders fear Trump crisis at key summit

Agence France-Presse
09 Jul 2018 at 06:26 ET                  

NATO leaders face a major threat to the credibility of their military alliance at their summit this week– not from traditional foe Russia, but from the head of their most powerful member, US President Donald Trump.

The gathering at NATO headquarters in Brussels, days before Trump meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, is shaping up to be the most difficult in years, analysts and officials told AFP.

Allies are braced for a barrage of invective from Trump for not spending enough on defence, and are apprehensive that his often sceptical tone on the alliance that has underpinned European security for 70 years might turn into outright hostility.

The 28 other NATO leaders fear a repeat of what happened at last month’s G7 summit, which ended in disarray when Trump abruptly rejected the closing statement.

“What Trump says will be decisive for the future of the alliance, but we do not know what he will say,” a diplomat from a NATO country said.

“It is a shadow that hangs like the sword of Damocles over the summit.”

Diplomats fear an acrimonious meeting could undermine efforts to show unity in the face of the growing threat on the alliance’s eastern flank — particularly with Trump set to meet Putin in Helsinki a few days later.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Friday told Bloomberg TV that the summit must show unity, warning that “our opponents would be delighted if there is a division in NATO”.

Trump’s own ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison made a similar plea for harmony during a call with reporters Thursday.

– ‘Schmucks’ –

But the mercurial tycoon set the stage for a fractious meeting by writing to around a dozen NATO allies to berate them for lagging on a 2014 pledge to try to spend two percent of GDP on defence by 2024.

Currently only three European countries hit the two percent target, and while alliance officials are hopeful that four more will join the list by the July 11-12 summit, it is unlikely to satisfy Trump.

He accuses European NATO allies of freeloading, telling a rally this week that they had treated the US like “schmucks”.

Trump has even called into question NATO’s principle of collective defence — under which an attack on one member draws a response from all — for allies he feels are not paying their dues.

NATO officials all the way up to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg point to increased military investment by the US in Europe since Trump took office as evidence of Washington’s continuing commitment to the alliance.

But comments made by Trump have undercut this, most recently when he told other leaders at the G7 that NATO was “as bad as NAFTA”, the North American trade deal he has threatened to tear up.

Unwavering support for NATO has been a basic tenet of US foreign policy since the alliance was founded in 1949, but as Trump’s emerging trade tariff war with Europe shows, the president has no qualms about upending conventional thinking on major international issues.

– Putin ‘will enjoy’ summit –

Stoltenberg has stressed the alliance’s ability to overcome differences in the past, but Tomas Valasek, director of the Carnegie Europe and former Slovak ambassador to NATO, said the situation with Trump had already undermined its ability to deter would-be aggressors.

“We’ve had violent falling outs over Libya, Iraq in 2003, but it’s qualitatively different in that the biggest of the allies doesn’t just have disagreements with us, but actually seems willing to walk away,” Valasek said.

“The deterrence has already been weakened.”

Tobias Bunde, the head of policy and analysis at the Munich Security Conference, went even further telling AFP “whether NATO can survive his presidency might very well be up to debate”.

Bunde said NATO would “very likely never be defeated by outside forces” so long as it keeps to shared democratic values.

“But this prerequisite is now undermined from within — by a couple of illiberal governments in the Alliance, and now even by the US president.”

The tensions with Trump look all the more stark in the context of a summit that will take important decisions to boost NATO’s ability to defend itself from the threat it sees from Russia.

They will sign off on two new military commands — one to protect Atlantic shipping lanes and one to coordinate troop movements in Europe — as well as a plan to beef up NATO’s ability to mobilise forces quickly in the event of a crisis.

But any divisions will overshadow these concrete steps — and play well in Moscow.

Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Putin “will enjoy the NATO summit from the perspective that it embodies further division and fragmentation.”

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

‘Foreign policy expert warns Trump meeting Putin alone is ‘beyond unusual’ and ‘really dangerous’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
09 Jul 2018 at 06:48 ET                  

Foreign policy expert Richard Haass explained the risks President Donald Trump faced in his planned one-on-one meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The president has agreed to meet alone with Putin, with no other U.S. officials present, which panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” agreed was incredibly unusual and dangerous.

“It’s almost as if he has something to hide,” said host Joe Scarborough.

Haas, the longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the meeting was fraught with peril.

“It’s beyond unusual,” Haass said. “You often have small meetings. I worked for presidents, usually the president and his opposite number and one staffer, most often the national security adviser — that would be the small meeting. Then you have the larger meeting and each side would have six or ten people.”

Trump also met alone with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month in Singapore, but a follow-up meeting this weekend with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went poorly — in part because the president failed to reach a conclusive agreement on nuclear disarmament.

“Last time it was done was Singapore,” Haass said. “We’ll be dealing for a long time with the fallout of that.”

He said the stakes in a Trump-Putin meeting were too high to come out with dueling narratives, which happened after his meeting with Kim.

“This meeting, of all meetings, given the stakes, given the political backdrop, given the stakes, you really need a careful record for followup,” Haass said. “You need to document what Putin said, you want to document what the president said.”

“The consequences here of the United States and Russia,” he added, “whether it’s over Ukraine, Syria, we could talk about the specific issues of the two having the same kind of reaction of the United States and North Korea, where you essentially have two different readouts of the meeting, is really dangerous.”

Watch: https://vimeo.com/279027967

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

Morning Joe destroys Rudy Giuliani’s slur against Mueller with epic rundown of Trump corruption

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
09 Jul 2018 at 07:26 ET                   

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called out Rudy Giuliani for accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of running a “tainted” investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign.

Giuliani said the former FBI director was overseeing “the most corrupt investigation” he had ever seen, and said the president would not sit down with Mueller until he could prove the probe was legitimate — and the “Morning Joe” host was flabbergasted.

“It would be breathtaking if he had not beclowned himself such a long time ago,” Scarborough said. “He will tell you that he’s been knighted by the queen of England. The queen of England would probably tell you she wishes she could have her knighthood back.”

Then he called Giuliani’s bluff and started a lengthy rundown of every Trump campaign officials who has pleaded guilty to or been indicted on charges in the Mueller investigation, along with a list of ethical violations by administration officials.

“Since Rudy mentioned most corrupt, let’s look at some examples of corruption,” Scarborough said. “After about a year and a half in the White House, here is a snapshot of Donald Trump and his administration that Rudy Giuliani is claiming to be this moral beacon for the rest of the world.”

Four top campaign officials have pleaded guilty so far, along with another plea by a campaign associate, and Trump’s former campaign chairman is currently jailed on various felony charges, and Mueller has also indicted 14 Russian nationals and three Russian companies.

“Yeah, that’s what you call corrupt, Rudy,” Scarborough said.

He compared Trump’s personal character to Mueller’s, and shamed Giuliani for defending the president against a man who had dedicated his life to public service.

“Robert Mueller was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam while Donald Trump was graduating from an Ivy League university, on the same day that dozens of Americans were killed,” Scarborough said. “We know, we know who is corrupt here, we know who is not corrupt here.”

“We just want to thank you for reminding us of all the corrupt things the guy that you’re shaming yourself for has engaged in over the past year and a half,” he continued. “Here is the amazing thing, it’s only a year and a half. Rudy, you know how things get when somebody is out of power — can you imagine what we’re going to find about Donald Trump when he’s out of the White House?”

Watch:


* calling shitstain.jpg (100.28 KB, 690x388 - viewed 7 times.)

* shitstain in golf cart at eu summit.jpg (362.75 KB, 900x660 - viewed 8 times.)

* e18712f5fe47694a24229b576da80889--political-satire-political-cartoons.jpg (72.66 KB, 640x858 - viewed 10 times.)
« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2018, 05:38 AM by Rad » Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4279 on: Jul 09, 2018, 05:16 AM »


Donald Trump to face 'carnival of resistance'

Dozens of groups and thousands of individuals will try to make US president’s visit uncomfortable

Alexandra Topping
Guardian
Mon 9 Jul 2018 06.00 BST

The organisers of anti-Donald Trump protests have promised a “carnival of resistance” that will begin as soon as the US president lands in the UK on Thursday.

While major protests have been prepared for London, the organisers said preparations had taken on “a life of their own” and would be carried out by dozens of groups and thousands of individuals across the country.

Protests will start as Trump arrives from Brussels with pockets of protesters co-ordinating around the country to ensure that while the president may avoid the largest gatherings in the capital, they will not escape his notice.

From drag artists to dreamers, meet UK’s coalition of anti-Trump protest...Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/07/uk-coalition-of-trump-protest-drag-artists-to-dreamers

Trump is expected to be at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London, overnight and at 5.30pm on Thursday protesters plan to greet him with a “wall of sound”. More demonstrations are planned for Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, later in the evening, when Trump and his wife, Melania, will be guests of honour at a dinner for 100 guests.

A website, Top Trump Targets, has been set up, encouraging people to donate to groups “he has sought to exclude or marginalise”.

The Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who set up the site with Sophie Livingstone, said it was an attempt to bring something positive from a highly divisive event. “There will be a lot of people on Friday who just want to be angry, but imagine if the legacy of this Trump visit was a massive funding boost to all the organisations he hates,” she said. “Standing with these organisations is probably the best thing we can do.”

On Friday morning, a six-metre “angry Trump baby” balloon will fly over Westminster from Parliament Square after the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave permission for it, before mass marches begin at midday.

Women’s March London – which brought 100,000 people to the streets of the capital in 2017 – will assemble at 11am outside the BBC offices in Portland Place before leaving at 12.30pm to move along Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall, culminating in a rally at Parliament Square.

For the Bring the Noise rally, organisers are encouraging marchers to take “pots and pans out of the kitchen ... and on to the streets, banging to show our disapproval and claiming our political voice in public space”.

“The Women’s March is led by women but it is not just about women, we will have every voice in society represented,” said Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, its London co-organiser. “The Trump-Pence administration has overseen a massive regression in women’s rights, and it is not enough to say this is happening somewhere else, this is not our business. We have to stand up.”

The march’s youngest protester is likely to be the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson’s two-week-old baby, Gabriel, while the eldest may be an 86-year-old member of the Moving Memory Theat-re Company, who will teach protesters how to do a haka, while marchers will be entertained by opera singers from Opera Resistance.

A second London demonstration led by Stop Trump – which includes members of the TUC, Stop the War and Friends of the Earth – will also start outside the BBC’s headquarters at 2pm, ending at 5pm in Trafalgar Square, where organisers hope “very large numbers” – in the tens of thousands – will attend.

Shaista Aziz, one of the organisers of the London march, denied there was any division between the different protesting groups, despite calls from some that the marches be united. Aziz said the Women’s March would start the day and the protest would continue.

“I think protesters have learnt from the past that people have to be able to protest and mobilise however they wish – whatever people are doing it is still part of the same mass movement.”

Aziz said that while the march was incited by Trump’s visit, its message was wider. “We are protesting against Trump, but we are also protesting against the politics of discrimination, bigotry and hate. People are making the connection – this is not just happening in the States, but across the EU and the UK.”

There will also be demonstrations on Friday evening in Glasgow and on Saturday in Edinburgh at noon.


* Capture.JPG (18.63 KB, 406x337 - viewed 8 times.)

* 3204.jpg (80.02 KB, 620x372 - viewed 8 times.)

* Mexican artist Bosco Sodi builds Muro, a wall on London’s South Bank to protest against Donald Trump.jpg (56.5 KB, 620x372 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4280 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:17 AM »

Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks

Yet again, your brain is working against you, and it’s because of a phenomenon called the urgency effect.

By Tim Herrera
NY Times
July 10, 2018

Here’s a list of things I did before starting this newsletter: I filled out the documents to renew my passport; clipped my cat’s nails; bought some household items; responded to a few Instagram DMs; and ate a snack because I was hungry.

Sound familiar?

Some of those tasks were relatively urgent — I need to get my passport in order soon, and those Instagram DMs were weighing on me. But none of those tasks were as important as writing this newsletter. I know I needed to get this done, but the call of those minor-yet-urgent tasks was too strong.

To all of my procrastinators out there, I offer an explanation: Your brain is working against you, and it’s because of a phenomenon called the urgency effect.

Our brains tend to prioritize immediate satisfaction over long-term rewards (you probably remember this from the famous marshmallow experiment). But a study from February found that subjects were more likely to perform urgent, smaller tasks with a deadline than more important tasks without an immediate time constraint, even if the option to perform the urgent task is objectively worse than performing the larger one.

“Normatively speaking,” the researchers wrote, “people may choose to perform urgent tasks with short completion windows, instead of important tasks with larger outcomes, because important tasks are more difficult and further away from goal completion, urgent tasks involve more immediate and certain payoffs, or people want to finish the urgent tasks first and then work on important tasks later.”

In other words: Even if we know a larger, less-urgent task is vastly more consequential, we will instinctively choose to do a smaller, urgent task anyway. Yet again, thanks for nothing, brain.

So what are we to do? To answer that, let’s talk about boxes — specifically, one developed by our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Picture a 2x2 square with four boxes. At the top of the square are two labels: Urgent and non-urgent. On the left are two other labels: Important and not important.

Here’s a visual (thanks to James Clear, a friend of Smarter Living): https://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/eisenhower-box.jpg

On any given day, try to put every task you have to do into one of those four boxes. You’ll quickly see that the things tied to approaching deadlines are quite often not the most important things you have on your plate. Accordingly, schedule time to finish them later or, if possible, delegate them.

Similarly, it’s very likely you’ll wind up with tasks that don’t have a deadline and aren’t important. Immediately and aggressively remove them from your to-do list.

Two crucial bits I’ll leave you with:

    If you’re struggling to figure out whether something is important to you, spend some time looking inward to see if it’s truly core to who you are and what your ambitions are.

    Once you’ve mapped out all of your tasks, embrace the magic of micro-progress and slice them up into tiny goals to make them more manageable.

What are your systems for finding out what’s important to you? Tell me on Twitter at @timherrera or email me at tim@nytimes.com.

Have a great week!

— Tim
Best of Smarter Living

How to Clean Those Pesky Summer Stains It’s the season of hot dog condiment blobs, stubborn sunscreen residue and sweat stains … everywhere. Here’s how to clean things up.

The Rise of the Millennial Prenup Engaged? Congrats! Here’s when to consider a prenuptial agreement — and how to get started.

Confused About Blockchains? Here’s what you need to know.

What Travel Insurance Does and Doesn’t Cover When you book travel with a credit card, you usually get some kind of travel insurance — but what it doesn’t cover can leave you vulnerable. Here’s what you really get, and why you might want to buy additional coverage.

5 Cheap(ish) Things to Get You Started With Trail Running Trail running is like stepping into a different world. Here’s the gear to get you there.

18 Ways to Navigate Stress at the Airport Even before takeoff, the airport itself can be a stressful phase of travel. Here are strategies for dealing with anxieties and annoyances, large and small. 
What We’re Reading

As you probably know, I’m a Twitter obsessive, so I eagerly lapped up this look at “Local Twitter” from Taylor Lorenz, ace tech reporter at The Atlantic.

A certain generation remembers the “away status” from our angsty youths — intimate places where we could post inane-yet-personal messages meant more to broadcast a feeling than any particular message, whether that was excitement, heartbreak or simply boredom. (I posted my fair share of lyrics to Brand New when I was feeling particularly emotive.)

“Though most users do mainly follow people from their hometowns, local Twitter has more to do with what you tweet than where you live,” Ms. Lorenz writes. “The typical local Twitter user is a teen who is ‘in their own bubble of simple life pleasures and desires,’ doesn’t live their entire life online, ‘and uses Twitter to connect to their real-life friends like they used to do on Facebook,’ explains Raeequaza, a 22-year-old in New York.”


* 09sl-newsletter2-superJumbo.jpg (569.14 KB, 2048x1366 - viewed 3 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4281 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:19 AM »


Summer Heat Waves Break Records Across Northern Hemisphere

Ecowatch
7/10/2018

The summer of 2018 is shaping up to be one for the record books. Locations across the Northern Hemisphere have recorded their hottest temperatures ever this past week, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. While the Post points out that no single heat record can be linked to climate change, this summer's high temperatures follow a trend of record-setting years and open a window into what will be the new normal if we don't act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Records were set across the U.S. as people prepared to kick off summer with outdoor Fourth of July celebrations. Denver tied its record of 105 degrees Fahrenheit on June 28, but while temperatures soared across the nation, it was the usually mild New England that broke the most records. On July 1, both Mount Washington, New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont tied and set their highest low temperatures of 60 degrees and 80 degrees respectively, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. wasn't the only country where typically milder climes faced scorching heat. In Canada, Montreal recorded its highest temperature since it began keeping records 147 years ago. Thermometers rose to 97.9 degrees on July 2, and the city also suffered its most extreme midnight combination of humidity and heat. The heat wave in Eastern Canada has turned deadly, killing at least 19 people in Quebec, 12 of them in Montreal, RTE reported Thursday.

"My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have died in Quebec during this heat wave. The record temperatures are expected to continue in central & eastern Canada, so make sure you know how to protect yourself & your family," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter, according to RTE.

To the west, Ottawa also recorded its most extreme heat and humidity combo July 1 but RTE said no deaths have been reported in its province of Ontario.

Eastern Canada is expected to see some relief Thursday and Friday as temperatures fall, but it can expect more of the same in years to come.

"All the predictions illustrate that going forward in Canada, things are going to be hotter, wetter and wilder," University of Waterloo climate scientist Blair Feltmate told Global News. "It's not any particular year that matters. What matters is the overall, the long-term trend."

Across the Atlantic, a heatwave in the United Kingdom also broke records. Scotland has provisionally announced its highest ever temperature of 91.8 degrees in Motherwell on June 28 and Glasgow recorded its hottest day of 89.4 degrees. Shannon, in Ireland, recorded its hottest day of 89.6 degrees, and in Northern Ireland, Belfast and Castlederg both broke their records of 85.1 degrees on June 28 and 86.2 degrees on June 29 respectively, the Washington Post reported.

The UK heatwave, which began two weeks ago, is expected to persist for two more. It is already causing wildfires in Wales and putting agriculture at risk, the Independent reported Thursday.

"It could be a bad summer for dairy farmers, with the National Farmers Union (NFU) warning that in many areas the grass has stopped growing, crops are ripening too early and milk yields and animals' winter food supplies could be hit," the Independent wrote.

Temperatures in Eurasia and the Middle East are also spiking. Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, broke its record July 4 when temperatures reached 104.9 degrees. The Armenian capital of Yerevan tied its record of 107.6 degrees on July 2, also breaking its record for July. Parts of southern Russia also tied or broke records June 28, according to the Washington Post.
Finally, Quriyat, in Oman, broke the world's record for hottest low temperature with a whopping 108.7 degrees recorded the night of June 26.


* Capture.JPG (21.5 KB, 729x422 - viewed 3 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4282 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:22 AM »

Heat Waves and How to Cope With Them

By Jennifer Weeks
Ecowatch
7/10/2018

Oppressive heat across much of North America since the end of June has buckled roads and driven Major League Baseball players off the field. July is the warmest time of year for much of the nation, so more heat waves could develop in the coming weeks. These articles from our archive offer insight into heat wave impacts, and some ways to cope with them.

1. Air conditioning: Solution and Problem

As incomes rise in developing countries, millions of people are buying air conditioners. That's good news, since fewer people will be exposed to unhealthy temperatures. For example, economist Lucas Davis of the University of California, Berkeley predicts that nearly 100 percent of Mexicans will have air conditioning within a few decades.

But generating electricity to run all those ACs will produce huge quantities of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion, plus emissions of refrigerants that also are powerful greenhouse gases. Paradoxically, then, the spread of air conditioning could worsen climate change, heating the planet up even more.

To avoid that scenario, air conditioners will need to become more energy-efficient, and power generation will have to shift to low- and zero-carbon sources, such as wind and solar power. In Davis' view, adopting a carbon tax would promote those shifts and provide incentive to design cooling features into buildings. "We need efficient markets if we are going to stay cool without heating up the planet," he wrote.

2. Urban Hot Spots

City dwellers are especially at risk during heat waves because built surfaces, such as roads and buildings, trap heat during the day and release it at night. And within these urban heat islands, groups with the fewest resources—typically, minorities and the poor—are most vulnerable.

In a study in Hartford, University of Connecticut anthropologist Merrill Singer found that low-income Latino residents were well aware that climate change was making their city hotter and worried about coping with summer heat waves:

    "Participants reported feeling excluded from local preparatory efforts to mitigate adverse impacts. They said they received no information about preparing for climate change, except for notices that the city had started opening up a few cooling stations in the lobbies of air-conditioned buildings during the summer."

Singer's research shows the need to reach out to disadvantaged groups in analyzing how climate change will affect cities – and to ensure that all residents have a voice.

3. Many Tools for Cooling

Emergency cooling centers are one way to mitigate the effects of heat waves, but cities need to do more. Nick Rajkovich, assistant professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo, has worked with planners around Cleveland to understand how they prepare for hot weather. Strategies there include planting more trees and shrubs, which provide shade and cool the air; weatherizing buildings with window shades and light-colored, reflective materials; and preparing emergency kits for power outages that include food, water and radios.

Most importantly, in Rajkovich's view, different agencies and organizations need to talk to each other and plan together so they can take complementary steps. "In Cleveland, preparing for extreme heat events has brought professionals together and encouraged overlapping approaches because no single strategy is foolproof," he observed. Officials "should pursue multiple solutions rather than looking for one 'best' option."

4. Rooftop Solutions

One way to make buildings more heat-proof is to weatherize their roofs, either by painting them white to reflect heat (so-called "cool roofs") or covering them with plants, which cool by absorbing water. But both options require careful planning to ensure that they will be effective in particular locations.

Ashish Sharma, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Notre Dame, studied how well green and cool roofs reduced urban heat island effects in Chicago. He found that while both techniques had a net cooling effect, they also reduced breezes from nearby Lake Michigan and altered air circulation in their immediate neighborhoods.

Each of these approaches has pluses and minuses, Sharma notes. Green roofs provide habitat for plants and insects and can help clean the air by absorbing pollutants. However, they also increase humidity by releasing water from their leaves and cost more to install and maintain than cool roofs. Geography can factor into the choice:

    "Cities in northern latitudes, such as New York, Portland and Toronto, can benefit from green roofs because they have adequate water to irrigate them. In contrast, cool roofs are more appropriate for cities in arid and semi-arid environments such as the southwestern United States."

5. Grounded by the Heat

Extreme heat affects physical structures as well as the people inside them. In 2017 extreme heat forced dozens of flight cancellations at airports in the U.S. Southwest—just when their passengers were probably thrilled to be escaping 120-degree temperatures.

As Columbia University's Radley Horton and Ethan Coffel explain, airplanes fly by generating lift through the flow of air over and under their wings. The amount of lift that a wing generates is affected by the density of the air, and warmer temperatures make air less dense. They write:

    "The lower the air density, the faster an airplane must travel to produce enough lift to take off. It takes more runway to reach a higher speed, and depending on how long the airport's runway is, some airplanes might risk running out of room before reaching sufficient speed."

Sometimes airlines are forced to manage this issue by limiting how much weight planes can carry. Typically this happens at airports in hot regions, like Phoenix, or those with short runways, such as LaGuardia in New York City. But such measures could become much more common. Ultimately, Horton and Coffel predict, manufacturers could even have to redesign airplanes to operate safely in a hotter world.

Editor's note: This article is a roundup of stories from The Conversation's archive. Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.


* Capture1.JPG (130.79 KB, 798x524 - viewed 11 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4283 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:25 AM »


Historic Floods in Japan Kill More Than 100, Force Millions to Flee

Ecowatch
7/10/2018

At least 109 people have died in Japan following historic flooding and mudslides over the weekend that prompted evacuation orders covering about five million people, The Guardian reported Monday.

The flooding was prompted by Japan's heaviest rainfall in decades. Parts of western Japan saw three times July's regular rainfall since Thursday, BBC News reported.

"We've never experienced this kind of rain before," a weather official told BBC News.

What The Guardian labeled the country's worst weather disaster since 2011 is in line with government predictions for the impact of climate change on Japan. A 2012 report found that global warming could increase the risk of flooding and landslide disasters due to heavy rain.

"The record rainfalls in various parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale floods and landslides in several areas," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told CNN Sunday.

Naoaki Ogawa, a 69-year-old from Hiroshima, told BBC News how a landslide trapped him in his car.

"I turned the car to the right, and saw another wave of mud ... sweep away three cars that were in front of me," he said. "I have lived here for more than 20 years, but there has never been something like this. I was so scared."

As rains dissipated Sunday, the search and rescue operation kicked off in earnest.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a trip planned this week to France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and dedicated more than 70,000 workers to relief efforts.

He said relief personnel were "working against time," according to BBC News.

"There are still many people missing and others in need of help," he said.

One such person was Shigeyuki Asano, a 79-year-old patient who was one of 170 evacuated from a hospital balcony in Kurashiki via paddle boat Sunday, according to The Guardian.

"I'm really grateful to the rescuers," Asano said. "I feel so relieved that I've been freed from such a bad-smelling, dark place."

The rains began with a typhoon last week, according to BBC News, and have been especially destructive in the southwest, including the city of Hiroshima, The Guardian reported.

The rains damaged thousands of homes and left nearly 17,000 without power, CNN reported.

There are now concerns that a heat wave could further endanger those left without power.

"We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low," Yumeko Matsui told The Guardian.

While the weekend's floods were historic, they are part of a pattern in increased heavy rainfall that could be linked to climate change. The 2012 government study, Climate Change and Its Impacts in Japan, found that the number of days with one millimeter (approximately 0.04 inches) or more of rain had decreased while the number of days with 100 millimeters (approximately four inches) or more of rain had increased.


* Capture.JPG (72.05 KB, 830x417 - viewed 12 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4284 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:26 AM »


7.5 Billion and Counting: How Many Humans Can the Earth Support?

By Andrew D. Hwang
Ecowatch
7/10/2018

Humans are the most populous large mammal on Earth today, and probably in all of geological history. This World Population Day, humans number in the vicinity of 7.5 to 7.6 billion individuals.

Can the Earth support this many people indefinitely? What will happen if we do nothing to manage future population growth and total resource use? These complex questions are ecological, political, ethical—and urgent. Simple mathematics shows why, shedding light on our species' ecological footprint.

The Mathematics of Population Growth

In an environment with unlimited natural resources, population size grows exponentially. One characteristic feature of exponential growth is the time a population takes to double in size.

Exponential growth tends to start slowly, sneaking up before ballooning in just a few doublings.

To illustrate, suppose Jeff Bezos agreed to give you one penny on Jan. 1, 2019, two pennies on Feb. 1, four on March 1, and so forth, with the payment doubling each month. How long would his $100 billion fortune uphold the contract? Take a moment to ponder and guess.

After one year, or 12 payments, your total contract receipts come to US$40.95, equivalent to a night at the movies. After two years, $167,772.15—substantial, but paltry to a billionaire. After three years, $687,194,767.35, or about one week of Bezos' 2017 income.

The 43rd payment, on July 1, 2022, just short of $88 billion and equal to all the preceding payments together (plus one penny), breaks the bank.

Real Population Growth

For real populations, doubling time is not constant. Humans reached 1 billion around 1800, a doubling time of about 300 years; 2 billion in 1927, a doubling time of 127 years; and 4 billion in 1974, a doubling time of 47 years.

On the other hand, world numbers are projected to reach 8 billion around 2023, a doubling time of 49 years, and barring the unforeseen, expected to level off around 10 to 12 billion by 2100.

This anticipated leveling off signals a harsh biological reality: Human population is being curtailed by the Earth's carrying capacity, the population at which premature death by starvation and disease balances the birth rate.

Ecological Implications

Humans are consuming and polluting resources—aquifers and ice caps, fertile soil, forests, fisheries and oceans—accumulated over geological time, tens of thousands of years or longer.

Wealthy countries consume out of proportion to their populations. As a fiscal analogy, we live as if our savings account balance were steady income.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank, the Earth has 1.9 hectares of land per person for growing food and textiles for clothing, supplying wood and absorbing waste. The average American uses about 9.7 hectares.

These data alone suggest the Earth can support at most one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living.

Water is vital. Biologically, an adult human needs less than 1 gallon of water daily. In 2010, the U.S. used 355 billion gallons of freshwater, over 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) per person per day. Half was used to generate electricity, one-third for irrigation, and roughly one-tenth for household use: flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns.

If 7.5 billion people consumed water at American levels, world usage would top 10,000 cubic kilometers per year. Total world supply—freshwater lakes and rivers—is about 91,000 cubic kilometers.

World Health Organization figures show 2.1 billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation. Even in industrialized countries, water sources can be contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer and insecticide runoff, heavy metals and fracking effluent.

Freedom to Choose

Though the detailed future of the human species is impossible to predict, basic facts are certain. Water and food are immediate human necessities. Doubling food production would defer the problems of present-day birth rates by at most a few decades. The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the "savings account" of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum.

The drive to reproduce is among the strongest desires, both for couples and for societies. How will humans reshape one of our most cherished expectations—"Be fruitful and multiply"—in the span of one generation? What will happen if present-day birth rates continue?

Population stays constant when couples have about two children who survive to reproductive age. In some parts of the developing world today, couples average three to six children.

We cannot wish natural resources into existence. Couples, however, have the freedom to choose how many children to have. Improvements in women's rights, education and self-determination generally lead to lower birth rates.

As a mathematician, I believe reducing birth rates substantially is our best prospect for raising global standards of living. As a citizen, I believe nudging human behavior, by encouraging smaller families, is our most humane hope.

Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.


* Capture.JPG (114.08 KB, 823x401 - viewed 11 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4285 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:28 AM »


This Boot Camp Trains Young People to Fight Plastic Pollution

By Shaima Shamdeen
Ecowatch
7/10/2018

The impact of young people's activism has not gone unnoticed. From 16-year-old Jamie Margolin leading the upcoming Zero Hour youth climate marches in Washington, DC to the lawsuit Juliana v. United States filed on behalf of 21 youths suing the government for failing to address climate change—youth are leading the way on climate action.

And climate change isn't the only big environmental problem that youth are stepping up to address. They're also asserting leadership around the issue of plastic pollution.

The Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in New Orleans brought together nearly 1,000 youth activists ages 11 to 18 in early June. The camp gave attendees tools and knowledge to build new campaigns aimed at reducing plastic. It was organized by youth activists in collaboration with 10 national environmental organizations including the Captain Planet Foundation and Lonely Whale.

During the camp, participants were organized into teams, or squads. Each squad had a youth activist and an adult from a partnering environmental organization who led the team in planning and presenting campaign strategies to reduce single-use plastic straws in their home communities. Youth squad leaders also helped train the participants in campaign organizing strategies.

The production of plastics has dramatically increased over the past 50 years, according to a 2016 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, from 15 million tons in 1964 to 311 million tons in 2014. The report estimates that at least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean each year.

"All the data shows that if we don't stop this now and don't execute serious policies, then we are going to have surpassed the point where we can manage the plastic pollution," said Leesa Carter, executive director of the Captain America Foundation, a lead organizer of the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp.

At the rate that plastic is being produced today, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports, there may be more plastic than fish, by weight, in the ocean by 2050.

At the boot camp, youth and mentors led workshops and activities to build skills in things like clear and confident communication and how to pitch a campaign. The camp also gave youth the opportunity to collaborate internationally. Seven international on-site locations, including Vancouver, Canada, and Nairobi, Kenya, participated in the boot camp through a virtual summit organized by Ocean Wise, which took place concurrently with the on-site event in New Orleans.

"We've had so many youth activating around the plastic pollution issue, so being able to provide them with a forum to meet their counterparts on this issue was extraordinary," Carter said.

Youth like Hannah Testa, 15, who partnered with senators from her home state of Georgia to develop a resolution to educate members of their communities about the growing plastic pollution crisis. Testa served as a one of the squad leaders during the boot camp.

Ten-year-old Robbie Bond from Honolulu and 11-year-old Sophia Albalita and 12-year-old Liam Burns, both from Atlanta, were also there. During the boot camp, the three collaborated on a plan to approach Hawaiian Airlines about the removal of plastics from all flights.

On the last night of the boot camp, Bond—while out to dinner with his family near the French Quarter—convinced the restaurant owner to commit to transitioning from plastic straws to paper straws on the spot.

"They really began to understand their role in shifting awareness [and] building and shifting policy around single-use plastics," Carter said. "It just goes to show the power of radical collaboration and the energy around this crisis."

Eight of the participants presented their campaigns virtually to world leaders at the G7 Summit in Quebec, Canada, earlier this month. Among these were 17-year-old Carter Ries and his sister, 15-year-old Olivia.

"I asked the G7 leaders to make a legally binding global treaty that would end plastic pollution by 2020," Carter said. "We got them to commit in front of everyone to fight to stop plastic pollution."

Carter and Olivia started their organization, One More Generation, when they were 9 and 8 years old to help protect endangered species. They have since launched their One Less Straw Campaign to encourage businesses from around the world to eliminate plastic straws. The five-year program, which began two years ago, has already had over 600 businesses make this commitment, including the Hilton, which announced in May that they will be removing plastic straws from its 650 managed properties by the end of the year.

"We are starting to realize that we need to make a change now. If we don't, then the next generation may not have that chance," Olivia said.

Partners of the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp put together the event in a couple months.

"It was amazing how many folks came forward and wanted to participate. It was crazy fast," Carter said. "We are so fired up by what we saw [that] we are already on board for [another boot camp in] 2019."

In anticipation for next year's event, the Ocean Heroes Action Toolkit has been launched to help young activists develop a campaign in their local communities to keep single-use plastics out of the ocean and request funding for their projects. Youth who submit campaigns through the action toolkit will be prioritized for participation in next year's boot camp.

"Anybody can make a difference. You just have to show people that you are passionate. That's what our entire Ocean Heroes Bootcamp was about," Carter said. "The real change happens when you educate people and find other passionate people. It makes you more passionate and creates a ripple effect."

Reposted with permission from our media associate YES! Magazine.


* Capture.JPG (65.46 KB, 814x397 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4286 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:30 AM »


Krill fishing firms back Antarctic ocean sanctuary

Creation of the world’s largest marine reserve comes a step closer as major companies add support

Matthew Taylor Environment correspondent
Guardian
10 Jul 2018 22.00 BST

The creation of the world’s biggest ocean sanctuary, protecting a huge tract of remote seas around Antarctica, has come a step closer after major fishing companies came out in favour of the plan.

A global campaign – spearheaded by Greenpeace and backed by 1.7 million people – had put massive pressure on the krill fishing industry and retailers amid fears it was endangering one of the world’s last great wildernesses, undermining the global fight against climate change.

On Monday evening that pressure appeared to have paid off when companies responsible for 85% of krill fishing in Antarctic waters announced a “voluntarily permanent stop” to their operations in key areas, including the proposed sanctuary and “buffer zones” around penguin breeding grounds.
Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet's most important stories
Read more

“The momentum for protection of the Antarctic’s waters and wildlife is snowballing,” said Frida Bengtsson, of Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign. “This is a bold and progressive move from these krill fishing companies, and we hope to see the remainder of the krill industry follow suit.”

Krill are small crustaceans that play a key part in the delicate Antarctic food chain. They feed on marine algae and are a key source of food for whales, penguins and seals. They are also important in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by eating carbon-rich food near the surface and excreting it when they sink to lower, colder water. Campaigners have warned that industrial fishing and climate change is driving a sharp decrease in their numbers.

The Guardian has been investigating the threat posed to the Antarctic ecosystems by the krill fishing industry for the past six months, with the articles widely shared by readers and supporters.

In February, the Guardian visited the region to highlight how the delicate eco-system was under threat with potentially dire consequences, not just for wildlife, but for the wider fight against climate change.

On Monday, ocean experts described the move by the krill fishing industry as “visionary”, adding they now expected governments to back the sanctuary proposals at a meeting in October.

Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean conservation with Pew Charitable Trusts, said: “The Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies’ [ARK] support for the creation of a network of marine protected areas, including large no-fishing zones, is a truly visionary step that more commercial fishing interests in Antarctica and around the world should follow.”

She said that cooperation among scientists, governments, industry, and conservation groups was “the surest bet to protecting the 30% of the ocean that scientists tell us is needed to maintain global ocean health”.

Kristine Hartmann, from Aker BioMarine, the largest krill fishing company in the world, explained the decision to agree a voluntary halt to fishing, saying that “safeguarding the Antarctic ecosystem in which we operate is part of who we are”.

She added: “Our ongoing dialogue with ARK members, scientists and the community of environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, is what makes additional efforts like this possible. We are positive that ARK’s commitment will help ensure krill as a sustainable and stable source of healthy omega-3s for the future.”

The companies which have made the announcement are all members of ARK and represent 85% of the krill fishing industry in the Antarctic.

The campaign for the sanctuary had seen people target krill products in stores around the world and had already led to some leading retailers – including Holland and Barrett – removing krill-based supplements from the shelves.

Greenpeace said Monday’s decision meant there would be no Antarctic krill fished near critical ecosystems in any products sold in the UK.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), whose members include 24 national governments and the EU, manage the seas around Antarctica and will decide on the sanctuary proposal at a conference in Australia in October. The move is being put forward by the EU and is being backed by the UK.


* 2342.jpg (21.16 KB, 620x372 - viewed 12 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4287 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:50 AM »


Intercaste marriages and grooms who pay their way: welcome to the new India

Survey of young people shows traditions surrounding caste and hierarchy falling by the wayside as technology redefines attitudes

Amrit Dhillon in New Delhi
Guardian
10 Jul 2018 05.00 BST

Greater openness to intercaste marriage and an increased willingness among men to help with wedding costs point to the emergence of a more liberal generation in India, a study of young people’s attitudes in the country has found.

A “pulse of the nation” survey of 130,000 18- to 35-year-olds, carried out by Inshorts, a news app that has been downloaded by 10 million Indians, found 70% were happy with marriages between people of different castes, turning on its head the the country’s entrenched caste hierarchy.

In addition, 70% of men said a woman need not change her name on marriage and 90% that they were ready to split the cost of the wedding – a dramatic departure from the traditional attitude that the bride’s family should pay for everything.

About 84% of women said it didn’t matter if their husbands earned less than them, and only 7% of men said they were uncomfortable with their wife earning more.

“The findings show a new generation emerging with none of the baggage of the old notions of caste or patriarchy or a subservient status for women,” said Azhar Iqbal, CEO of Inshorts, who revealed that the survey was conducted in order to establish whether the views of the millennials employed by the company were reflected in wider society.

The findings appear at odds with the more conservative attitudes common in India about marriage, the role of wives, the privileges and entitlements accorded to men, and the importance of marrying someone of the same caste.

Intercaste marriages remain rare. In an effort to encourage them, many state governments now offer money to couples when one partner is from a low caste or is a Dalit (formerly known as untouchable). On 3 July, the Orissa government increased the cash “incentive” from 100,000 rupees (£1,095) to 250,000 rupees.

Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of dating app TrulyMadly, believes there are two reasons for the enlightened views expressed in the survey. One is that young Indians, as users of the internet and social media, are exposed to new ideas that challenge traditional social mores.

The other is that, as more millennials choose their partners using dating apps and websites, they are more likely to focus on personality and compatibility than caste and religion.

“In an arranged marriage, the parents are going to stick to tradition and to caste considerations,” said Dhingra. “But when young people are out there looking for a partner themselves, then the criteria change. Caste, religion, and income are not uppermost. It’s the person’s personality and behaviour that are important. The whole approach becomes more open-minded.”

In a previous Inshorts survey on attitudes towards live-in relationships, 80% of the 140,000 respondents supported the concept, with 26% saying they would choose a lifelong live-in relationship.

“What we are seeing are the markers of a new generation that has been shaped by the internet and influenced by attitudes and behaviour they see in developed countries,” said Iqbal.


* 6024.jpg (49.73 KB, 620x372 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4288 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:53 AM »


'Mum, please pay or they'll kill me': Congo's child kidnapping crisis

Beset by political and economic turmoil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces a fresh threat in the form of brutal abductors who hold children to ransom

Sam Mednick in Goma
Guardian
10 Jul 2018 10.58 BST

It’s been a year since Chantal buried her eight-year-old son. “I lost my mind that day,” says the 46-year-old, wiping tears from her cheeks.

Curled on the porch outside her small house in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern town of Goma, Chantal says she’ll never forget the day when a man, wearing a hat that covered his face, delivered a letter saying that her son Charles had been kidnapped.

“They told me if I ever wanted to see my son again I had to call this number,” the mother of eight recalls.

Over the course of a week, the family was told to send varying amounts of money directly to the kidnappers if they wanted to see Charles again.

“That week was so devastating, thinking about how he was doing and the conditions he was living in,” she says. Helped by friends and neighbours, Chantal and her husband cobbled together roughly $1,000 (£755), which they sent to the kidnappers in small amounts using mobile cash transfers.

But seven days after Charles was abducted, his decapitated body was found dumped in a nearby neighbourhood.

Over the past three years, there have been a growing number of kidnaps in Congo’s conflict-ridden Kivu provinces.

    People are even abducting themselves and getting a friend to say they've been kidnapped, to get money
    Mutete Mwenyemauli

More than 730 people in North and South Kivu have been abducted or kidnapped for ransom since the beginning of the year, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, a joint project between Human Rights Watch and the Congo Research Group that has tracked the number of kidnappings since April last year.

But the kidnapping of children for ransom is a relatively new phenomenon, particularly in Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Exact figures are hard to come by, but one child protection group in North Kivu says that, in 2017, 215 children were abducted in the province and 34 killed. Between January and June this year, 97 children have been abducted and 21 killed.

It is unclear who is responsible, but authorities say conflict, high unemployment and the country’s dire political situation are driving people to desperate extremes. Meanwhile, international humanitarian groups are withdrawing from the area amid security fears, taking local jobs with them.

“People are even abducting themselves, getting friends to call family members to pretend they’ve been kidnapped so they can get money,” says Mutete Mwenyemauli, chief administrator for Goma’s Himbi district. The number of abductions in his neighbourhood has already reached 10 this year, the same number there were in all of 2017, he says. In April, three boys from the same family were kidnapped and killed.

“People have given up and are asking what they can do to survive. They’re looking for other ways to make a living,” says resident Fiston Materanya, 30, who hasn’t had a job in five years. Materanya says a lack of alternatives has persuaded many of his unemployed friends to join armed groups.

He has heard that other young men in the area have resorted to kidnapping.

The kidnappers are understood to be men, mostly, although some women are involved. “People realised there’s money to be made through kidnapping,” says a Goma-based international researcher, who did not want to be named. “I don’t know for sure why children are being targeted, but I reason that children are comparatively more gullible, less resistant and their kidnapping evokes greater panic in loved ones.”

Jean Claude Buuma Mishiki, a researcher at the National Youth Reflection Circle, blames Congo’s broken justice system. “This is a problem that is happening in many parts of the country and the phenomenon is spreading fast because impunity reigns everywhere,” he says.

In June last year, Goma resident Bridgette Ndoola received a call from an unknown number two hours after dropping her son, eight-year-old Josefat, at school.

“They asked me if I’d heard about kids who had recently been abducted and killed,” says the 30-year-old, clasping her hands. The man on the phone told Ndoola that he had kidnapped her son and wanted $6,000 for his release.

A single mother of five with no job, Ndoola didn’t have any money. During a subsequent call with the abductors they put Josefat on the phone, beating him and forcing Ndoola to listen to his screams. They told her it would be the last time she would ever speak to her son.

“He was crying and saying ‘Mum, please give money or they’ll kill me,’” she says.

With help from the community, Ndoola transferred more than $1,000 to her son’s captors. Six days after he was taken, Josefat was released. But his condition was critical. He had been stabbed several times in the chest, his ears were cut and five of his teeth had been pulled out.

Goma’s mayor, Timothée Muyisa, says the city has launched an investigation aimed at uncovering “who these men really are”. But residents remain wary of local authorities, believing they may be complicit. Josefat says one of his captors was a neighbour, but Ndoola has been too afraid to report him. “Many police collaborate with the abductors,” she says.

Jean-Paul Lumbulumbu, a prominent lawyer in the region, says kidnapping has existed in this part of the country for years, albeit it was once less prevalent. “There were rare cases,” he says. “But since 2014, the phenomenon has amplified and become a phenomenon of society, a means of easy gain of money.”

Lumbulumbu believes it can be stopped if the authorities act. As well as adopting a zero-tolerance policy on kidnapping, he says the government must compel mobile companies to establish geolocation software so that kidnappers can be found and stopped.

“The majority of cases of kidnapping prove to have a purely financial motivation. It is possible to put an end to it and we have proposed solutions to the authorities,” he says.

Josefat has now switched schools, attending one closer to home. Seated on the couch in his living room, the young boy smiles as he fiddles with a piece of string. “I like school because I’m free and happy there,” he says. “But sometimes I have bad dreams.”

Ndoola doesn’t like to talk to Josefat about the kidnapping because, she says, he finds it difficult to cope with the memories. Helped only by family and friends, he has not received any psycho-social support from aid groups in the area.

While she is happy to have him back, Ndoola worries it could happen again. She pulls out a plastic bag full of bloodstained clothes. “This is what he was wearing when he was taken,” she says. “It makes me sad, but I keep them to remember what happened.”

Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6025


« Reply #4289 on: Jul 10, 2018, 04:58 AM »


Interview
'Are they going to shoot me?': Statue of Liberty ​climber on her anti-Trump protest

Exclusive: Patricia Okoumou says her four-hour standoff with police was fired by outrage at caging of migrant children

Joanna Walters
Guardian
10 Jul 2018 16.23 BST

The grainy aerial images of a woman clinging to the skirts of the Statue of Liberty were beaming live around the world for hours on Independence Day, as police tried to talk her down from her protest against Trump immigration policies.

But what was going through the woman’s mind as she huddled against the green metal folds of the statue’s robes, 30 meters above the ground, was: “Are they going to shoot me?”

“I wanted protection from Lady Liberty,” Therese Patricia Okoumou – who goes by Patricia – told the Guardian, in her first one-on-one interview since her dramatic lone act on Wednesday.

Okoumou had wanted to climb as high as she could – even up to the famous torch that Liberty holds aloft – if that had been possible, she said.

“I had thought, ‘It’s the Statue of Liberty, it’s the Fourth of July and there are children in cages, we are doing a protest but I want to send an even stronger message and this is the perfect day for it.’ All of those elements together were necessary to give me the courage,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Okoumou had been taking part in a protest with Rise and Resist, a New York activist group of which she is a member. About 40 people from the group had traveled to the Statue of Liberty, on its tiny island off the tip of Manhattan.

Ten members of the group had unfurled a banner from the stone pedestal, saying: “Abolish ICE” – in reference to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which has sparked uproar with increasingly hardline enforcement of immigration policies. Seven of the protesters were arrested.

0:36..Statue of Liberty protester arrested after standoff – video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/fewYXQTx5eI?embed_config=%7B%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22nonPersonalizedAd%22%3Afalse%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com&widgetid=1

But Okoumou, a 44-year-old personal trainer, had other plans. She had intended to scale the statue without telling the rest of the group, and secretly brought her American passport to use as ID in the event of her arrest.

Okoumou said growing up in her native Republic of Congo, she had enjoyed climbing on things. But her dramatic protest was unusual for her. “My heart told me to do it,” she said.

Millions became transfixed not long after 3pm local time, when TV news cameras began showing live footage of Okoumou clambering on the Statue of Liberty itself, waving her Rise and Resist T-shirt.

Okoumou explained she had been huddling against the green metal folds of the statue’s robes to stay out of the sight line of the police officer pursuing her, while also trying not to be blown off the slippery structure by circling media and law enforcement helicopters.

Speaking to the Guardian at an undisclosed location in New York City, as she sought to avoid a media crush, she demonstrated in a doorway how she had tried to wedge her hands and feet against the folds of Liberty’s robes in the hope of climbing higher.

“I tried to go like Spiderman. But it didn’t work. My legs were shaking, I was dizzy, it was windy. I said ‘God, please help me up,’” Okoumou said.

At one point in the standoff with police, she took a brief nap, she said.

“I was thinking of Lady Liberty above me, you are so huge, you have always been a symbol of welcome to people arriving in America and right now, for me under this sandal, she is a shelter.”

She awoke to police banging on the inside of the thin copper structure. The island had been evacuated of its Independence Day visitors. The police officer standing at the top of a ladder introduced himself as Brian, she said.

“I said ‘Don’t come up.’ He said ‘I care about you.’ I said, ‘No, you don’t, you could shoot me the way you shot Claudia Gomez and killed the trans woman,’” she said, referring to Gomez, a 20-year-old Guatemalan woman shot by the border patrol in Texas last month, and Roxana Hernández, from Honduras, who died in Ice custody in May after reportedly spending five days in a form of chilled detention dubbed the ice box.

Okoumou said she feared she would be shot or tranquilized, and shouted to the officer that “my life doesn’t matter to me now, what matters to me is that in a democracy we are holding children in cages”.

Her standoff with police eventually came to an end when Okoumou was arrested in a heart-stopping moment, as the officers edged around the statue’s base and grabbed her.

Sleepless in federal custody that night, she says she experienced a strange tranquility.

“I felt peaceful, that I was with those children in spirit. I could feel their isolation and their cries being answered only by four walls,” she said.

“Those children” refers to the 2,000 - 3,000 who remain separated from their parents after crossing the border into the US unlawfully. The government has admitted it is not sure exactly how many children were separated from their parents, or how and when they will be reunited.

Donald Trump called out Okoumou’s protest in a speech he gave at a rally on the following night in Montana, calling her a “clown” and saying the police should have waited for her to jump rather than risk their safety climbing up after her.

“Trump is inciting violence and division and the Republican party should not tolerate him,” Okoumou said. “It’s impeachable – you don’t talk about human beings as ‘an infestation’ as he has done. It’s disrespectful of the Founding Fathers and I don’t sleep well at night thinking about those babies crying for their parents.”

Okoumou immigrated from Congo 24 years ago and is a US citizen. She declined to discuss why she left Congo but said she admired the American ideal of “everyone work hard and work together for prosperity”.

She was charged in federal court on Thursday with three misdemeanors.

Outside, surrounded by cameras, she riffed on something that became a slogan for Michelle Obama, saying: “Michelle Obama – our beloved first lady that I care so much about – said, ‘When they go low, we go high,’ and I went as high as I could.”


* Patricia Okoumou.jpg (52.88 KB, 520x312 - viewed 11 times.)

* Capture.JPG (28.37 KB, 527x343 - viewed 11 times.)

* Patricia Okoumou raises her hand in the air after leaving federal court from her arraignment..jpg (47.91 KB, 860x516 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 284 285 [286] 287 288 ... 293   Go Up
Print
Jump to: