The president is a humiliation to his country on so many levels
It is almost one year since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45 th US president. Will he last another 12 months? Day after tumultuous day since 20 January 2017, Trump has provided fresh evidence of his unfitness for America’s highest office.
It is not only that his politics and policies, from taxation cuts and climate change to Palestine and atomic weapon, are disastrously wrong-headed. It is not just that his idea of leadership is divisive, confrontational and irresponsible. Nor does the problem lie solely with his blatant racism, misogyny and chauvinism, though these are indeed massive problems.
The fundamental failing underlying Trump’s presidency is his wilful ignorance. His frequently petulant, childish behaviour combinations with a staggering absence of knowledge and disdain for facts to create serial, chronic misjudgments. Trump, in power, cannot be trusted. He has been uncovered as lacking in empathy, shamelessly mendacious, cynical and unversed or uninterested in the enduring human and constitutional values its term of office is sworn to uphold. Trump is the first and hopefully the last of his kind: an anti-American chairwoman. He is a humiliation and a danger to his country. The sooner he is sent packing, the better.
How much longer will Americans tolerate his embarrassing presence in the White House? His tenancy runs until November 2020, when he could seek a second word. But the problem is getting worse , not better. A series of scenarios, fuelled by his endlessly damaging, unacceptable words and actions, is beginning to unfold that could bring about his early departure.
The first and, democratically speaking, the most desirable scenario is that the electorate is as simple as reject Trump. This process is already well under way, if opinion poll are to be believed. Trump’s personal approval rating has averaged below 40% over the past year, a record for presidential unpopularity. More telling, perhaps, were the findings of a Pew Research Center poll last month that debunked the myth that Trump’s ” base” – his core supporting- is impervious to his daily blundering. Trump’s backing among key groups that helped elect him- white humen, Protestant evangelicals, the over-5 0s and the non-college trained- has fallen significantly across the board. At the same time, a Gallup survey discovered the number of voters redefining themselves as uncommitted “independents” rose to 42%.
London mayor brushes off interruption by White Pendragons, describing them as what some would call very stable geniuses
A group of protesters backing Brexit and Donald Trump have disrupted a speech by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Khan’s address on gender equality to the Fabian Society in central London was suspended for several minutes on Saturday morning while a small number of demonstrators from a recently formed far-right group called the White Pendragons built their protest.
Shortly after Khan began speaking at the society’s new year conference, one human told the audience:” Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here today to make a non-violent, peaceful citizen’s arrest .”
One man wailed “No to the EU” and another displayed a US flag.
Audience members began to heckle and slow-clap, but the protesters resisted attempts to remove them, claiming they would sue anyone who touched them for” common assault “.
Several police officers then moved in to escort them from the venue.
The protesters claimed the Fabian Society was ” subverting our English constitution”, with one quoting the Magna Carta.
Outside the vestibule, the ITV News reporter Paul Brand asked them several times in the interests of clarity about their objection to the society, but failed to get a clear response.
He said in a tweet that they claimed to be neither a racist , nor a far-right group.” But they told us Sadiq Khan has no right to be Mayor of London, referencing his religion .”
” We feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr Al Fayed and ” members of the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace ,” Ward said.
It was not clear when it would be removed from the cellar of Harrods, or whether Fayed would seek to keep the statue on public display.
A Fayed family spokesman told the Times the latter are “grateful” to the Qatari fund for preserving the memorial of the couple, adding:” It is now time to bringing them home .”
When the statue was unveiled, Fayed said it was a more” fitting tribute” to Diana than the official memorial fountain in Hyde Park that he described as a “sewer”.
The Harrods statue shows Diana in a low-cut dress with a slit up to the thigh and Dodi in an open shirt. The couple are shown dancing in Mediterranean waves beneath the wings of an albatross, which supposedly symbolised freedom and eternity.
” I have named the sculpture Innocent Victims, because for eight years I have fought to prove that my son and Princess Diana were murdered ,” Fayed said in 2005.
” This is a statue to stay here for ever. Until now nothing has been done to preserve her memory and legacy. She was an amazing girl who brought joy to the whole world .”
The statue was designed by Harrods artistic design adviser Bill Mitchell, who had worked for the Fayed family for more than 40 years.
While few people believe that Trump’s decision to stay away has nothing to do with the prospect of having to face some of the UK’s biggest street protests, many have also debunked other asserts in his tweet.
The Obama administration sold the embassy
Not quite. On the embassy’s UK website, a press release dated October 2008– one month before Barack Obama was elected president and three months before his inauguration- details plans to move the embassy south of the river Thames, from Mayfair to Nine Elms, in Wandsworth. The decision to relocate the building was made by the Bush administration.
The Chancery building’s sale price was never disclosed, although in July 2000 it was estimated at PS500m.
The new embassy has been built in an’ off location’
While the new place may lack the opulence of Mayfair, Trump might find much to his taste in Nine Elms. The 230 -hectare district has been transformed from a once bleak landscape of depots and sorting offices to house some of London’s most expensive apartments and growths- about 30 of them.
Among the residential developments is neighbouring Embassy gardens, where a three-bedroom flat will set you back PS1. 7m ($ 2.3 m ). Within the regeneration area, designers including Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Richard Rogers are chipping in to the aesthetic; and the interiors of one block of flats were designed by Donatella Versace.
Design uncovered for newspaper, online and apps to replace blue and white masthead in use since 2005
The Guardian has unveiled a new design for its masthead that will be used across the newspaper, online and apps.
The masthead has been revealed in a teaser video narrated by the actor Maxine Peake before the launch of the Guardian’s tabloid format on Monday.
The design replaces the blue and white masthead that has been used since 2005.
Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian and Observer, posted the 30 -second video on Twitter. The video describes the Guardian as a” space for notions “.
Viner wrote to Guardian and Observer subscribers between Christmas and the new year to explain the changes to the newspapers’ formats and designs.
” The new design is the result of months of suppose, ingenuity and vision by a squad of talented designers and senior editors, and I hope you love it as much as I do ,” she said in the letter.” We are thrilled by the new newspapers. They are visual and serious; explanatory and keepable; full of life and narratives and ideas.
” As editor-in-chief of the Guardian and the Observer, my job is to ensure that our independent journalism continues to be enjoyed by as many readers as is practicable and that our print newspapers make a positive fiscal contribution to procuring a sustainable future. Moving to the tabloid format strengthens our ability to do both, and strengthens our ongoing is committed to print .”
In January 2017, the Nordic nation began paying a random but mandatory sample of 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 a monthly EUR5 60( PS475 ). There is no obligation either to try or accept employment during the two years the trial lasts, and any who do take a undertaking will continue to receive the same amount.
With the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bernie Sanders all proponents of a universal basic income( UBI) model, Finnish officials and participants have been inundated with media requests from around the globe. One participant who hoped to start his own business with the help of the unconditional monthly payment complained that, after speaking to 140 Tv crews and reporters from as far afield as Japan and Korea, he has simply not been able to find the time.
But amid this unprecedented media attention, the experts who devised the strategy are concerned it is being falsified.” It’s not really what people are portraying it as ,” said Markus Kanerva, an applied social and behavioural sciences specialist working in the prime minister’s office in Helsinki.
” A full-scale universal income trial would need to study different target groups , not just the unemployed. It would have to exam different basic income levels, look at local factors. This is really about seeing how a basic unconditional income affects matters of employment of unemployed people .”
While UBI tends often to be associated with progressive politics, Finland’s trial was launched- at a cost of around EUR2 0m( PS17. 7m)- by a centre-right, austerity-focused government interested primarily in spending less on social security and bringing down Finland’s stubborn 8% -plus unemployment rate. It has a very clear purpose: to see whether an unconditional income might incentivise people to take up paid work.
Authorities believe it will shed light on whether unemployed Finns, as experts believe, are put off taking up a job by the fear that a higher marginal tax rate may leave them worse off. Many are also deterred by having to reapply for benefits after every casual or short-term contract.
” It’s partly about removing disincentives ,” explained Marjukka Turunen, who heads the legal division at Finland’s social security agency, Kela, which is running the experimentation. Kanerva describes the trial as” an experiment in smoothing out the system “.
To maintain privacy and avoid bias, Kela is not contacting any of the 2,000 participants for the duration of the two-year trial. A handful have given interviews to journalists( several have said they feeling less emphasized thanks to the scheme ), but no official conclusions are yet being drawn from these anecdotal experiences.
According to Kanerva, however, the core data the government is seeking- on whether, and how, the job take-up of the 2,000 unemployed people in the trial differs from a 175,000 -strong control group- will be” robust, and usable in future economic modelling” when it is published in 2019.
The idea of UBI had been circulating in left-of-centre political circles in Finland since the 1980 s, mainly as a way to combat the economic and social the effects of falling industrial job by freeing all- from students to the elderly; stay-at-home parents to the unemployed- to attain meaningful contributions to society by, for example, volunteering.
Ecuadors foreign minister discloses to reporters in Quito that Wikileaks founder was awarded citizenship a month ago
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was made an Ecuadorian citizen last month, the nation’s foreign ministry has disclosed, in an attempt to resolve the political impasse over his continued presence in the UK.
The 46 -year-old has been naturalised after living for five and a half years in the cramped, Latin American country’s embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.
Exclusive: conformity committee deems complaint alleging government violated Aarhus convention by not consulting populace over withdrawal bill
The British government may have breached a major” environmental democracy” law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation.
A UN-backed committee has confirmed it is considering a complaint from Friends of the Earth that the government’s EU withdrawal bill breached the Aarhus convention, which requires public consultation on any new environmental statute.
Most of the UK’s environmental laws derive from or interact with EU law, and Friends of the Earth( FoE) has raised concerns that the bill dedicates pastors” unique and wide-ranging powers” to amend or delete EU-derived environmental statute without public consultation, if ministers consider it appropriate.
According to Defra,” over 1,100 core pieces of immediately applicable EU legislation and national implementing legislation” fall within the department’s remit.
William Rundle, lawyer for Friends of the Earth, said:” The government said Brexit was about taking back control, yet it has ignored the views of the UK people in taking it forwards. There has been no consultation on what the withdrawal bill could mean for the environment and environmental legal protections, or what is the best route forwards.
” The Aarhus convention requires effective consultation when new laws are being prepared that can significantly affect the environment, such as the EU withdrawal bill. This would have allowed environmental issues to be debated and understood, but also constructed democratic accountability and public confidence.
” The current approach by government in conducting Brexit fails to do this; they didn’t even try. Nobody believed Brexit would be easy, but the government cannot ignore its legal obligations, or the views of the people .”
According to the Aarhus convention’s three pillars, datum relating to environmental legislation must be provided by public authorities” in a timely and transparent manner “, and the public must be allowed to participate in the development of new laws at an early stage of their preparation. The third pillar is public access to justice, should a party violate or fail to adhere to environmental statute or the convention’s principles.
The government may have breached the convention in two ways, FoE says: by failing to set out a consistent legal framework to allow public participation in the preparation of new environmental legislation( article 3 ), and by not dedicating the public an opportunity to comment on the bill before it was presented to parliament to be made into law( article 8). FoE says the governmental forces failed to consult with the public, and by calling a snap election, any possible involvement with the bill’s white paper was prevented.
In a letter to Friends of the Earth, the Aarhus convention conformity committee says:” the committee has, on a preliminary basis, ascertained the communicant’s allegation concerning the preparation of the draft’ great repeal bill’ and the alleged absence of a clear, transparent and consistent framework to implement article 8 … to be admissible “.
Michael Mason, associate professor at the London School of Economics, says the government remains legally bound by the Aarhus convention after withdrawal from the EU, and by abolishing laws relating to Aarhus provisions the UK would be in breach of the treaty.
He says:” The UK would not be able to cherry-pick provisions in the convention: the UK is either fully in or would have to pull out from the treaty. To stay in, the UK government will have to retain all EU-derived law implementing Aarhus obligations.
” A withdrawal from the Aarhus convention would be disastrous for UK environmental policy .”
A House of Lords report calls the EU withdrawal bill a” bill of the first order in terms of law-making powers being granted to ministers “. It says” this bill is expected to generate another 800 to 1,000 statutory instruments in the near future .”
The bill does not require that current environmental standards are preserved after Brexit , nor does it contain a general requirement that the public should be consulted on potentially significant changes to environmental legislation. It does not require pastors to replace the existing European committee objections procedure on any infringement of EU-derived environmental law, which is currently available to UK citizens free of charge. The UK government could still include a requirement for public consultation, however.
A government spokesperson said:” The purpose of the withdrawal bill is to provide a functioning statute book on the day we leave the EU- it is an essential bill in the national interest. While we can’t comment on proceedings, we believe we have complied with all of the relevant obligations in developing this crucial legislation and remain committed to maintaining the highest environmental standards. We will be submitting our full reply in due course .”
The government now has until 5 June to offer its written response to the complaint. The committee will then decide whether the UK government is in breach of its obligations.
EHRC will write to corporation as journalists who publicly supported former China editor are told they cannot now report on gender pay row
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission will write to the BBC to attempt answers about allegations of pay discrimination following the abdication of Carrie Gracie as its China editor over its” secretive and illegal” pay culture.
The BBC is also facing the prospect of lawsuits from female employees who believe they have been paid less than men for doing the same jobs.
The EHRC has the power to bringing legal action- as well as name-and-shame organisations about inequality and discrimination- and its intervention into the pay row is embarrassing for the BBC.
A spokesperson for the public body said:” We are aware of claims by Carrie Gracie of unlawful pay discrimination at the BBC. Women have a legal right to equal pay with men for equal work.
” We will be writing to the BBC and requiring them to provide us with information on their pay policy and the facts in this individual occurrence. We will consider whether further action is required based on the information collected .”
Gracie announced her resignation in an explosive open letter that was published on her website on Sunday. She accused the BBC of violating pay laws and said she did not trust management to deal with gender inequality.
The journalist, who has worked for the BBC for 30 years, said the corporation had offered to increased her pay from PS135, 000 a year to PS180, 000 but she refused because it did not guaranty her equality with its other international editors. Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, collects between PS200, 000 to PS249, 999.
The corporation also became embroiled in a censorship row on Monday after it emerged that journalists who tweeted support for Gracie were blocked from presenting on-air segments about the pay row.
Dozens of the biggest names at the BBC, including Today presenter Mishal Husain and Newsnight host Evan Davis, backed Gracie on social media after her letter was published. Many use the hashtag #istandwithcarrie.
More than 130 female employees at the BBC signed a statement conveying their “wholehearted” support for Gracie and calling for action to ensure equal pay for equal jobs.
However, editors at the BBC moved to enforce its editorial guidelines by stopping journalists reporting on the issue if they had supported Gracie or have been campaigning for pay equality.
The BBC said:” Where a presenter or reporter has publicly expressed a position on a particular issue, they would no longer be perceived as an impartial voice, therefore it is right they do not conduct interviews on that issue. This is in keeping with editorial guidelines .”
The City lawyer advising Gracie said she and other female BBC staff could sue if the corporation failed to deal with the pay gap internally. Gracie had a grievance hearing in November but is yet to hear the result so concluded that” enough was enough” and resigned.
Jennifer Millins, job partner at Mishcon de Reya, is advising more than 10 senior women at the BBC. She said:” They don’t feel their complaints are being dealt with in a meaningful route. The process has taken a very long time. If the BBC does not resolve this internally, then individuals will be forced to sue .”
Asked what the chances were of the BBC resolving the issue internally, Millins said: “Low.”
Up to 200 women at the BBC have made a formal complaint about pay. This includes a collective grievance lodged on behalf of 121 women by the National Union of Journalists.
Michelle Stanistreet, the secretary-general of the united nations of the NUJ, said:” Carrie is one of many women at the BBC who are not being paid equally compared to male journalists doing the same jobs or work of equal value.
” The initial shock that many women felt was accompanied by said that he hoped the BBC would do the right thing- this has been replaced by a mounting sense of indignation and frustration that a swifter resolution has not been reached to this scourge of unequal pay at our public service broadcaster .”
The pay row began last summer when the BBC published a list of its top-earning starrings, which revealed that merely a third were women and the top seven were all men.
In response to heavy criticism, the BBC published a series of pay reviews and audits in October that concluded that men were being paid 9.3% more than women on average- less than the UK median of 18. 1%- but that there is” no systemic discrimination against females “.
However, this judge-led review did not include the vast majority of on-air presenters, editors and senior managers, sparking annoyance among women at the BBC. The review also found that in about one in ten cases where there was substantial change in pay between men and women doing similar jobs there was no clear reason for the gap other than gender and it did not rule in individual cases of discrimination.
The row is likely to take a further twist when the BBC publishes a highly-anticipated report by accountancy firm PwC into the pay of on-air staff, which is expected within the next couple of weeks. BBC insiders say this will analyse whether there are differences in pay and that the corporation will” stand by the judgements be they helpful or unhelpful “.
However, Millins said:” I suspect day and fund is being thrown at it[ research reports] but whether it will be significant is another matter .”
In response to the EHRC’s intervention, a BBC spokesperson said:” The BBC was one of the first to publish a gender pay report demonstrating we are significantly better than national median. We have already published an independent judge result equal pay report for rank and file faculty, which proved no systemic discrimination.
” Also a PwC led report on presenter pay will be published shortly and people will be able to stimulate informed judgements on that report and how we act on it .”