Breaking World News

Breaking World News

(Video) Trump in Riyadh: Controversy follows US president
“President Trump is one of the world’s most famous Twitter users – and that fact isn’t being forgotten during his trip.

In addition to his main address he’ll also make a short speech at a social media conference in Riyadh…” (Al Jazeera)

Riyadh summit discusses ways of rooting out terrorism
“US President Donald Trump, leaders and representatives of 55 Arab and Muslim-dominated countries kicked off their Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh on Sunday, focusing on unity in the fight against terrorism.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia was the first to address the summit, telling the gathering that Islam provided the best example for coexistence and “will always be the religion of mercy and coexistence…” (Al Jazeera)

Hassan Rohani Declared Winner Of Iran’s Presidential Vote
“President Hassan Rohani has been declared the outright winner with nearly all the ballots counted from Iran’s May 19 presidential election, a seemingly emphatic endorsement of the incumbent’s efforts to reengage internationally and seek modest reforms within Iran’s clerically dominated society…” (Payvand Iran News)

Scapegoating Iran Will Not Resolve Middle East Challenge
“During his Middle East trip, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to pursue an ambitious list of objectives. Paramount among these is to strengthen regional cooperation in defeating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) and Islamist terrorism in general. He will also try jump-starting the effort to build peace between Israel and the Palestinians that, if successful, could eliminate a major source of tensions in the region…”
(Payvand Iran News)

May school lunch cut ‘would hit 900,000 children of struggling families’
“About 900,000 children from struggling families will lose their right to free school lunches under a cut unveiled in the Conservative manifesto.

The total includes more than 600,000 young children recently defined as coming from “ordinary working families”, according to analysis for the Observer by the Education Policy Institute…” (The Guardian)

Theresa May under pressure over ‘dementia tax’ social care shakeup
“Theresa May is coming under pressure to drop or water down her controversial shakeup of social care that has been branded a “dementia tax”, amid warnings that it is unfair and could deter older people from seeking care…” (The Guardian)

The Kurds’ changing alliances
“The defence of Kobane has become a symbol of the struggle against IS. But Kurdistan remains deeply fragmented, and its divisions have grown wider even though there is now a common enemy…” (Le Monde diplomatique)

France’s Chinese citizens stand up for their rights
“There are over half a million people of Chinese origin in France, and they run 35,000 small businesses. The younger generation are so French that they’ve taken to protest…” (Le Monde diplomatique)

Right-wing protesters try to storm justice ministry over ‘hate speech law’
“Members of the right-wing Identitarian movement attempted to storm the German justice ministry in Berlin on Friday over a proposed law to fight hate speech on social media.
About 50 people from the right-wing, anti-immigrant movement gathered before the justice ministry in the afternoon and then tried to force their way into the building, according to police…” (The Local)

Merkel awards first integration prize to small town that took in extra refugees
“Altena, a town in western Germany, was on Wednesday honoured by Chancellor Angela Merkel for its achievements in integrating refugees. It was the first place to win the National Integration Prize, and received €10,000 for its efforts…” (The Local)

California Grid Smashes Record – Getting 67% of Energy From Renewables
“On 13 May 2017, California smashed through another renewable energy milestone as its largest grid, controlled by the California Independent System Operator (CISO), got 67.2 percent of its energy from renewables – not including hydropower or rooftop solar arrays…” (Science Alert)

Now Artificial Intelligence Is Inventing Sounds That Have Never Been Heard Before
“As well as beating us at board games, driving cars, and spotting cancer, artificial intelligence is now generating brand new sounds that have never been heard before, thanks to some advanced maths combined with samples from real instruments…” (Science Alert)

Is President Trump’s intel share that bad?

Reflections on President Trump's speech before congress

President Trump has taken an extraordinary amount of flack in the international Press, and beyond, for his recent foreign policy controversy, when he shared intelligence information with Russia regarding laptop security issues on planes for flights in key areas.

To be sure, President Trump is a naive player on the political scene. He was elected by the American People primarily based on his experience as a businessman and entrepreneur, not as a career politician. In fact, he’s never held political office, other than the Presidency. So it’s to be expected that his learning curve will be steep, and his methods and solutions will differ from those of experienced politicians working under similar circumstances.

His refusal to embroil himself in political intricacies is both admirable, and problematic. Politics is clearly a science with the aim of solving the nations problems, and promoting the welfare of The People, in the long run. However, since World War II, the world has been greatly and negatively influenced by the Cold War. As the two Super Powers vied for control and dominance on the world stage, politics got dirtier and dirtier. It’s no wonder President Trump doesn’t want to play the conventional game. However, to achieve one’s goals politically in this complicated world, a certain amount of deference to the system is needed to get things done.

The issue is compounded by Trump’s personality. He seems to have disdain for the opinions of others, particularly those who disagree with him. His personality has been described in terms ranging from arrogant to sociopathic. But it’s clear he’d much rather trust his own instincts, informed by years of business experience, in order to solve the complex problems the U.S. faces. Arguably this strategy, taken to the extreme, is flawed, and it would be best if Trump abandoned it in favor of a more inclusive and balanced management style.

However, does the President’s leadership style, and even his gafs, warrant the level of criticism that’s been levied in recent days? If you listen to many news outlets, President Trump’s actions are criminal, tantamount to treason, and impeachment proceedings should commence as soon as possible. This level of hyperbole isn’t justified by the facts. Shouldn’t there at least be a thorough investigation BEFORE an impeachment of a sitting President?

The President has wide powers of discretion when it comes to declassifying documents, and other forms of national security data. So the disclosures, right or wrong, were legal. That should settle the impeachment issue, since the litmus test is “high crimes and misdemeanors.” A proper investigation would help sort out exactly what happened, and determine the severity.

In addition, Russia, though widely viewed as a U.S. adversary, is technically a collaborator in the fight against ISIS. It’s therefore a logical choice to keep Moscow informed of recent developments. This may defy the conventional wisdom, but the middle east, and ISIS, are tricky places. Do we really know and understand everything that’s going on? Can we afford to ignore the input and help of a powerful nation that’s grappled with its own terrorist threats?

Journalist Greta Van Susteren (MSNBC) recently broadcast from Mosul, and discovered that ISIS was using chemical weapons to attack civilians. But we don’t hear about this on the evening news. Why not? Perhaps the conventional news media is missing some important points. Could they be too eager to “get Trump” that they don’t take into consideration all the facts, nor cast a broader net of questions to better elucidate those facts? Only time will tell.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The management team of Face Activities wishes our members and visitors a very Happy Mother’s Day!

This holiday, founded over a century ago to honor the most important person in our lives, has grown tremendously, and is celebrated now the world over.

Please enjoy this short video about this holiday, and the woman who made it possible:

Video: The History Channel

Photo: painting by Gari Melchers, public domain, wikimedia Commoms

Breaking World News

Breaking World News

Obama Calls On Congress To Have ‘Courage’ In Health Care Debate
“Former President Barack Obama called on Congress to have “courage” in the debate over health care for millions of Americans.

While accepting the Profile in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Library on Sunday, Obama reflected on how some lawmakers voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, even though they knew their seats were vulnerable and the vote could cost them…
(Huffington Post)

Republicans Are Building An Alternate Reality Around Their Health Care Bill“President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail that he would not cut Medicaid, the government program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans. But now Trump and Republicans are moving a health care bill that would slash Medicaid funding dramatically.

Confronted with Trump’s campaign promise on Sunday, the president’s health secretary Tom Price insisted there would be no Medicaid cuts at all under the GOP plan, even though the cuts are undeniable…” (Huffington Post)

Richard III staging in Leicester Cathedral condemned
“A screenwriter who spearheaded the project to find the remains of Richard III has condemned plans to stage Shakespeare’s play in the cathedral where he was reburied in 2015…” (The Guardian)

Two-thirds of Britons have had mental health problems – survey“Two-thirds of British adults say they have experienced mental ill-health at some point in their lives, according to a survey.

The World Health Organisation says one in four people globally are affected by problems such as depression or panic attacks at some point. Research published by the Mental Health Foundation on Monday suggests that the prevalence is far wider in the UK…”
(The Guardian)

Rivalries threaten in post-ISIS Mosul
“The highway into Mosul bears the scars of battle to dislodge ISIS from Ninewa. Deep craters, ruined buildings and the distant sound of airstrikes mark the steady advance of Iraqi security forces into militant-held territory. All this also highlights the immense task Baghdad faces as it looks to restore infrastructure, essential services and institutions to those living in Mosul and the towns scattered across the surrounding Ninewa plains…”
(Le Monde diplomatique)

Who judges the EU laws?
“The EU believes the rule of law is the foundation of the union. But on what basis does its own law supersede and even countermand national legislation?”
(Le Monde diplomatique)

Netanyahu’s wife to be indicted over corruption charges
“Israeli police have moved to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife on allegations of corruption, Israeli broadcaster Channel 10 revealed on Friday.

The Israeli channel said that the indictment is related to the case referred to by the media as the prime minister’s real estate on which Sara Netanyahu was investigated over her alleged use of state funds for private spending…” (Middle East Monitor)

Amnesty: Algeria must safeguard freedom of speech
“Amnesty International has called on Algeria to amend its laws to remove “restrictions imposed unduly” on media outlets and to release those detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression…” (Middle East Monitor)

Why taps in Nairobi will remain dry despite rains
“By Josphat Thiong’o | Updated Mon, May 8th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 SHARE THIS ARTICLE Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Residents of Nairobi Langata Southlands Kijiji area line up for water in the early hours. (Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard) Nairobi residents may soon get more water if the rains persist. However, until the water level hits the 30 per cent mark at Ndakaini Dam, city residents will continue to get water twice a week…”
(The Standard – Kenya)

How Kenyans make money through online writing
“NAIROBI, KENYA: About 50 000 graduates are churned out of public and private universities in Kenya every year piling into the number of unemployed youths in the country estimated at 2.3 million…” (The Standard – Kenya)

Photo: Kennedy Center / Youtube (screen capture)

Emmanuel Macron Squarely Defeats Marine Le Pen in Presidential Race

Emmanuel Macron Squarely Defeats Marine Le Pen in Presidential Race

The French People have spoken. In the tradition of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, they elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, the youngest French President in history, who soundly defeated Arch Conservative Marine Le Pen, known for her strong anti-immigrant xenophobia and anti-European Union beliefs. And Liberals around the world have enjoyed a collective sigh of relief.

Macron’s victory comes at the end of a long and tumultuous political campaign, during which both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump weighed in: President Obama officially threw his hat in the ring behind Macron, while President Trump unofficially offered support to Le Pen by praising her policies, abilities and character.

It’s hard not to compare the French Elections to the U.S. Presidential Elections in November, 2016. Both races pitted centrist candidates with more traditionally liberal views (Clinton and Macron) against extreme right wing populists with strong anti-immigration stances. And both elections featured e-mail hacking scandals affecting the liberal candidates.

But while Clinton failed to make her case to the American People, Macron made his case to the French People with resounding success, capturing 65% of the vote—-a true electoral mandate. Of course, Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote by a small margin, losing thanks to the anachronistic electoral college system that’s unique to the U.S. system. But the relative strength and popularity of Emmanuel Macron in France can’t be denied.

While Clinton represented the old, tired status-quo to many Americans, Macron, in contrast, represented youth, vigor and optimism, capturing the minds and hearts of a significant majority of French voters, even after several devastating terrorist attacks have made many French citizens wary of immigrants and immigration policies. For the times, this is a significant achievement.

Learn more about Emmanuel Macron’s victory (France24)

 

Photo: By OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking World News

Breaking World News

Flynn was warned by Trump transition officials about contacts with Russian ambassador
“Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by senior members of President Trump’s transition team about the risks of his contacts with the Russian ambassador weeks before the December call that led to Flynn’s forced resignation, current and former U.S. officials said…” (Washington Post)

Health care is now set to be a defining issue in the next election cycles
“With one hasty and excruciatingly narrow vote, House Republicans have all but guaranteed that health care will be one of the most pivotal issues shaping the next two election cycles — including congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative races in the 2018 midterms and President Trump’s likely reelection bid in 2020…” (Washington Post)

Matthew Fisher: How Canadian commanders will use hockey to keep soldiers safe from Russian ‘honey pots’
“ADAZI, Latvia — As Canada prepares to stand up a multi-national NATO battle group here this summer, army commanders have come up with a plan to prevent their soldiers being exploited by the Kremlin via “honey pots,” “gentlemen’s clubs”and other such temptations: hockey, hockey and more hockey…” (National Post)

Attacker who killed soldier in 2014 was ‘living in delirium’ and needed psychiatric help: Quebec coroner
“Martin Couture-Rouleau was “living in delirium” when he drove his car at three soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. in 2014, killing one of them, Quebec’s coroner concluded in a report released Friday…” (National Post)

Russia says has stopped bombing proposed Syria safe zones
“Russia on Friday said it had already stopped bombing in areas of Syria set to be designated safe zones under an agreement it inked with Iran and Turkey…” (Al Arabiya)

ISIS leader warns Muslims to avoid Christian gatherings in Egypt
“ISIS leader warned Muslims in Egypt to avoid Christian gatherings, posing a threat of further attacks against Christians in the country following two suicide bombings that targeted two churches last month…” (Al Arabiya)

Does the FN have an economic strategy?
“The FN has campaigned on national rather than class consciousness, a cultural more than economic classification, which pundits have interpreted as anything from Marxism to local capitalism…” (Le Monde diplomatique)

The creation of Emmanuel Macron
“Macron rose to presidential frontrunner against Le Pen helped by new celebrity status in France. It was enthusiastically crafted for him by friends, allies and contacts in the media…” (Le Monde diplomatique)

50,000 in Hanover prep for second biggest post-war bomb defusal
“Experts were able to confirm the existence of five unexploded Second World War bombs out of 13 possible locations within the Lower Saxon capital, the fire department said on Thursday. Seven care and elderly homes are among the buildings to be evacuated, along with a clinic, and a Continental tire plant…” (The Local de)

German ‘refugee’ soldier case lays bare asylum chaos
“Posing as a Damascus fruit seller, army lieutenant Franco Albrecht, 28, had managed to gain asylum in his home country, obtaining a space in a shelter and monthly benefits of €409 ($447) even though he speaks no Arabic, investigations found…”
(The Local de)

 

Photo: By DonkeyHotey (Michael Flynn – Caricature) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

House Republicans pass Health Care Legislation; Bill Heads to Senate

House Republicans pass Health Care Legislation; Bill Heads to Senate

Donald Trump had a reason to celebrate as House Republicans carried the day, after a long fight, voting by a narrow margin for the bill that will repeal and replace Obamacare. This was one of the President’s prime campaign promises, and has proven much harder than he first anticipated during the campaign.

The bill, laden with compromises and provisions to win the support of the more extreme conservatives in the House, like members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, who had blocked a previous effort, must now face scrutiny in the Senate, which will be a tough road to travel.

Democrats presented a unified front, with no defectors, voting 293 against the republican bill, and 0 for it, while republicans voted 217 for, 20 against, permitting the bill to pass by 217 to 213 (with one abstention)—-a victory by a very narrow 4 vote margin.

Since the bill must still pass through a skeptical Senate, with only a narrow 2 seat majority for republicans, and since there are several republican Senators publicly critical of the bill, there’s no guarantee that repeal and replace will become the law of the land.

Republicans have long bristled at the notion that Americans must purchase insurance products under a government mandate of any kind, which is how they viewed the Affordable Care Act. The new legislation affords a number of opt-out opportunities to quell this concern.

But if the bill does pass, democrats and concerned citizens fear that 24 million Americans will lose health insurance coverage over the next decade. In addition, many fear that protections for patients with pre existing conditions, one of the strengths of the Affordable Care Act, will be greatly weakened, potentially endangering the lives of many sick and injured Americans.

Learn more about what the new health care bill faces in the Senate (The New York Times)

 

Photo: By Peter Larson/Medill News Service – Detail from http://www.flickr.com/photos/medilldc/5431598714/, CC BY 2.0, Link

Police Officer fired for killing unarmed teenager in Dallas Suburb

Police Officer fired for killing unarmed teenager in Dallas Suburb

A terrible, unnecessary tragedy has struck Balch Springs, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). A police officer shot and killed Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old boy sitting in the front passenger seat of a car leaving the vicinity of a party. The four boys in the car were unarmed.

Most telling, the explanation that the cops gave at the scene didn’t match video footage shot at the scene. The police officers said that the teens were driving in reverse towards the officers, but the video evidence clearly showed the teens driving away from the police when Officer Roy Oliver discharged multiple rounds from a rifle into the car, hitting Edwards in the head, and killing him.

Edwards was never in trouble with the law, and reports indicate he was both a good student and a star athlete. The shooting appears to be completely unjustified, and joins a long list of police shootings of young black men and boys, many of whom were unarmed. Officer Oliver was fired from the Dallas police force, and department officials indicated that he violated multiple departmental policies.

Officer Oliver fired for killing unarmed Jordan Edwards (Huffington Post)

 

Photo: screen capture

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