In the news this week #22

Disclaimer, this relies mostly on reliable journalistic sources listed at the bottom and just a bit of my brain to entertain

International shenanigans

France

Macron’s party did get an unprecedented win, but 57% abstained, a record in recent French history. 75% of the country’ national assembly members are now rookies, which is quite unprecedented as well. The Socialists are badly beaten and Mélenchon, former president candidate, far left, is set to be the main opposition leader on the left. Marine Le Pen was elected as well, which conveniently gives her Parliamentary immunity – she was implicated in at least 2 enquiries.

The government slightly changed following the elections, but not nly because of them – the center-right party, to which belonged three ministers including he Minister of Justice, has been accused of using European funds to pay for French jobs within the party so they resigned – to fight the accusations because they’re not guilty, as they put it. The new government has 20 Ministers ans 10 Secretaries of state (less than previous ones, admirably), and counts 15 women and 15 men. Let’s see where this goes.

In less popular ideas Macron would like to codify into law the state of emergency, which would mark clear and worrying restrictions on liberties, for minor gains.

A man drove into a police convoy on the Champs-Elysées, a terrorist inquiry will be opened.

UK

Brexit talks began this week, and the UK began by caving: the country agreed to decide the “divorce bill” before beginning trade talks, a clear sign that the EU has the upper hand now. Both said they want to preserve Ireland’s open border, a good idea, and the government seems to be open to extend citizen rights to EU nationals who arrived before Brexit.

Meanwhile Theresa May forged a deal with the DUP to get her majority in Parliament. Something about Faust might be in order here.

A cyberattack was launched against the Parliament, leading to the hacking of under 90 emails. Russia is suspected to be behind it, and the race for cyber security is about to get wild.

Revelations continue around the Grenfell Tower fire, including that there were calls to modernize the sprinklers prior to the fire. Residents remain angry at the authorities for their inadequate response, and Theresa May’s credibility remains damaged.

In Finsbury Park a man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside a Mosque, killing one and injuring 8; the authorities are investigating this as a case of terrorism. may did say Islamophobia is a form of extremism, a welcome change in rhetoric.

Ukraine

Another round of talks began in Belarus but prospects re not that good. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was in DC but did not get to meet Trump (who will be seeing Putin at the G20 next month), and Tillerson said he does not want to be “handcuffed to Minsk”, leaving us to guess what that will mean in terms of policy.

Europe

European Unions governments are discussing whether to allow the European Commission to negotiate a new pipeline with Russia. It can sound dull but it could mean deepening the EU’s energy dependency to Russia – or increase its energy supplies, and in any case the route would bypass Ukraine, making it feel a bit lonely.

Saudi Arabia

The King replaced his nephew the Crown Prince by his son, who will remain deputy prime minister, defence minister and head of economic reforms. It’s almost as if he first name was Jared.

Yemen

The civil war is not stopping, and WHO warned that the country is facing the world’s worst cholera outbreak with over 200,000 cases.

Belgium

Soldiers shot dead a suspected terrorist after he detonated a small bomb in Brussels’ central station, with no other casualties.

Turkey

The country is now trying senior journalists on charges of supporting the failed coup last year; this thing is proving really convenient to restrict liberties. I would also like to mention they’re dropping evolution from textbooks, because who cares about facts after all.

Portugal

Forest fires have killed at 60 people and injured over 50 in the past days. Residents are fleeing entire areas, and France and Spain have sent planes to help.

Syria

Things do not get simpler as the US shot a Syrian government plane for allegedly bombing US-backed rebels. Things are not easy when you’re together but not but fighting terrorists but not the same ones. Russia then warned the US that its fighter jets are now potential targets, clearly not making this simpler and making an escalation of the conflict more likely.

Russia

The “gay propaganda” law passed by the country, which prohibits open demonstrations of homosexuality (naming it propaganda) has been judged illegal by the European Court of Human Rights. It is doubtful whether the Douma will care.

Gabon

Following the complicated re-election of President Ali Bongo (he won thanks to his home district of Haut-Ogoué, where voter turn out incredibly reached 99.93%) the ICC has sent a team to investigate a complaint by his opponent Jean Ping. A former inquiry could haunt the rest of his seven year presidency.

Venezuela

The Organisation of American States’ foreign ministers gathered this week to try and come up with a resolution addressing the ongoing violence in the country, but so far Caracas’s allies (led by Nicaragua and Bolivia) have managed to block anything resembling a decision. The regime will hold elections next month to constitute a constituent assembly, which would bypass the current Parliament, led by the opposition. The end does not seem to be near.

Philippines

On the island of Mindanao fighting continues between the army and ISIS militants, who have seized parts of the town of Marawi and use civilians as human shield. Neighbors in the region are getting nervous.

Greece

The country opposed a joint EU statement criticizing China for its crackdown on dissidents; for the first time the EU will not object to Chinese repression during the Human Rights Council. Some already worried by China’s growing influence, including on Hollywood, might be worried to note that China has recently invested heavily in Greece’s suffering economy.

Asia

India and Pakistan officially joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the “OTAN of the East” founded by Russia and China among other. The move might worry those wary of balance and East-West cooperation.

 

US Politics

Foreign Policy

 

It seems Congress Republicans are advancing an agenda opposed to Trump, friendlier to NATO and tougher to Russia – as shown by the bill passed by the Senate blocking the President from easing sanctions on the Putin regime.

Trump has yet to offer condolences for the Finsbury Park incident in London, which has been remarked upon at length considering he never failed to acknowledge – and rant about – attacks when the perpetrators where Muslim, but remained silent when they were the victims. The Washington post also underlined that for the first time in 20 years there might not be a dinner at the White House for Ramadan. Seems like a speech in Saudi Arabia is not enough.

Russia investigation

Trump finally declared he does not have tapes of his conversations with Comey. Apparently he just said that to ake him say the truth. Like, yeah. Also Flynn was present at CIA briefings for weeks when the Administration already knew he was susceptible to blackmail, because who cares apparently.

Environment

Energy Secretary Rick Perry denied that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are the main reason for climate change, following in the footsteps of EPA head Scott Pruitt. It’s so great to see those people not listen to science.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will consider the travel ban, as well as the case of a baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

Elections

The Guardian reported that the Obama Administration got a report from the CIA last August detailing the Russian effort, ordered by Putin, to damage Clinton’s candidacy and support Trump. It seems that, out of fear of seeming partial and further damaging the election, they failed to react strongly enough. I do hope that piece of news is not overshadowed by something else.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider a case on gerrymandering and will decide whether it is against the Constitution – which could change the face of politics.

On a different topic Democrat Jon Ossoff lost his runoff against Karen Handel in Georgia’s sixth district’s special election. The district has been staunchly Republican for almost 40 years, but Democrats were hoping to win it as a testimony to the wave of anger against Trump. It seems people just ain’t angry enough.

Healthcare

The Democrats have vowed to use every possible maneuver in the Senate to protest the secrecy around the Republican healthcare bill, and force it into committee. Can’t really blame them actually. The Senate bill came out, and it is every bit as bad as the House one – including gutting Medicaid, Planned Parenhood, and generally punishing poor and sick people – which is of course everything you want in a healthcare bill. Moderate GOP have expressed concerns, especially as far as Medicaid is concerned, and might prove key in preventing its passing.

?

Sean Spicer has taken to forbid filming and recording press briefings sometimes, because after all people deserve to know but not everything.

Favorite article

Because it needs to be out there: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/06/pride-in-all-its-glory/

For your trivia needs

The information contained in this article mostly comes from:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Foreign Policy
The Guardian
The Hill
Le Monde
Le Courrier International
The Christian Science Monitor
Pink News
The Advocate
LGBTQNAtion
Human Rights Campaign
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