US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website – Trending Stuff

Privacy advocates call warrant for IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited inauguration protest website an fishing expedition

The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in is an fishing expedition for dissidents.

The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justices (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for each and every bit of information it owned which was related to a website which was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trumps inauguration. The warrant covers the people who own and run the site, but also seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited it, as well as the date and time of the visit and information about what browser or operating system they employed.

The website, www.disruptj20.org, was utilized to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 January, when Trump was inaugurated.

This case and this particular warrant are prosecutorial overreach with a department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions, said Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. You should be concerned for visiting a website that anybody should be targeted.

The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The government has aggressively prosecuted activists detained during the 20 January protests in Washington DC. In April, the US attorneys office in Washington DC filed a single indictment charging over 217 people with identical crimes, including felony rioting.

Ghazarian said that DreamHost provided the authorities when it obtained a grand jury subpoena after the protests happened. However, the government came back in July with the broader search warrant.

Were a gatekeeper between the authorities and tens of thousands of people who visited the website and the website, said Ghazarian. We want to keep them protected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been advising DreamHost, characterized the warrant as unconstitutional and a fishing expedition.

I cant conceive of a justification other than casting your net attorney Mark Rumold told the Guardian.

Logs of IP addresses dont uniquely identify users, but they link back to specific addresses if no tools are utilised to mask it.

What they would be getting is a list of everyone who has ever been interested in seeing what went on in the protests or attending those protests and thats the aspect. Its a step after you’ve got the list to join the IP address to someones identity, he said.

While the content of a site is illegal such as pirated movies or child abuse imagery wide-reaching warrants for user data are occasionally issued, but speech is seldom prohibited.

This [the website] is first amendment advocacy advocacy’s sort promote and the first amendment was created to protect, Rumold added. Frankly Im glad DreamHost is currently pushing back on it.

Its not the first time that the US government has sought to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a branch of the homeland security department, ordered Twitter to deliver the phone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, an account which purported to convey the views of dissenters within the government.

The accounts, whose username is a reference to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of dozens of Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to provide an uncensored view of civil servants who disagreed with Trumps policies.

To protect the identity of the person running the accounts, Twitter launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that it would have a grave chilling effect on the address of that account in particular and the many other alternative agency accounts which have been made to voice dissent to government policies.

After public outcry over the administrations overreach, CBP dropped the request.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

US federal department is censoring use of term ‘climate change’, emails reveal – Trending Stuff

Firefighters battle a wildfire in California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and indicates it be passed on. She writes that we wont change the modeling, just how we talk about it there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the sail [sic], climate mitigation is only one of them, and that a colleague from USDAs public affairs team gave advice to tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.

In contrast to these contentious climate conditions, Moebius-Clune wrote that references to economic development, emerging business opportunities in the rural US, agro-tourism and aesthetics should be tolerated if not valued by all.

In a separate email to senior employees on 24 January, only days after Trumps inauguration, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, said: It is now clear one of the previous administrations priority is not consistent with that of the incoming government. That priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of the change in perspective within the executive branch.

Bramblett said the agencys work on air quality regarding these gases could be discontinued and added when talking greenhouse gases that prudence should be used.

Emails show the talks between staff unsure of what is forbidden. On 16 February, a staffer called Tim Hafner write to Bramblett: I would like to know correct conditions I need to use instead of climate fluctuations and anything related to carbon … I want to ensure to integrate correct terminology that the agency has approved to use.

On 5 April, Suzanne Baker, a New York-based NRCS employee, emailed a query as to whether staff are permitted to publish work from outside the USDA that use climate change. A colleague advises that the issue be determined in a telephone call.

Some staff werent enamored with one worker stating within an email on 5 July that we would rather keep the language as is and stressing the need to maintain the scientific integrity of their work.

In a statement, USDA said that on 23 January it had issued operating procedures outlining procedures to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review statements, laws, budgets and regulations .

The statement added: This guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover scientific publications and data. This was not the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions.

Kaveh Sadeghzadeh of the Natural Resources Conservation Service added that his organisation hasn’t received direction from USDA or the government to modify its communications on some other topic or climate change.

Trump has questioned the veracity of climate change research suggesting that it’s part of an elaborate Chinese hoax. The president has started the process of withdrawing the US in the Paris climate arrangement, has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scrap or amend various regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases, and has transferred to open up more public land and waters to fossil fuel activity.

The nomenclature of the federal government has also shifted as these new priorities have taken hold. Mentions of the dangers of climate change have been eliminated from the websites of the White House and the Department of the Interior, while the EPA scrapped its entire online climate division in April pending a review that will be upgrading language to reflect the approach of new leadership.

The series of emails. Before the emails were released some components were redacted. The Guardian has additional redacted phone numbers, and highlighted passages.

These records reveal Trumps active censorship of science in the title of his political agenda, said Meg Townsend, open government lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity.

To think that agency staff who report about soil, water and the air that sustains the health of our state must conform their coverage with the Trump administrations anti-science rhetoric is appalling and dangerous to America and the larger international community.

The Center for Biological Diversity is currently suing several government agencies, including the EPA and state department, to induce them to release information.

Although a few of these changes to government websites may have occurred the emails from within the USDA are the clearest sign that staff have been instructed to steer clear of acknowledging climate change or its myriad impacts.

US agriculture is a major source of gases, with 15 percent of the countrys emissions. A USDA plan to deal with the far reaching impacts of climate change is still online.

However, Sam Clovis, Trumps nomination are the USDAs chief scientist, has labeled climate research junk science.

Last week it was revealed that Clovis, who’s not a scientist, once ran a blog where he called progressives race traders and race traitors and likened Barack Obama to a communist.

My son’s tattoo hurt me deeply – Trending Stuff

When Tess Morgan’s son came home she was griefstricken. She knew her response was OTT (he’s 21) but it signalled a change in their relationship

Put out the bunting, crack open the beers, stand there at the kitchen smiling from ear to ear, because hes house our student son is home and the family is together again. And after dinner, after the washing up is done, the others his sisters drift off to watch television, and he says: Would you like to see my tattoo?

I say, Youre joking.

He says, No, Im not.

But still I wait. Any minute hes going to laugh and say, You should see your faces because this has been a joke for years, this concept of having a tattoo the hard man act, iron muscles, shaved head, Jason Statham, Ross Kemp. Hes a smart boy. Maybe during his school years he believed academic achievement’s glory could balance.

His father says, Where?

He says, and touches his bicep.

His shoulder that is lovely.

In the silence, he says, I didnt think youd be this upset.

After a time, he says, It wasnt a whim. I thought about it. I went to an expert. It cost 150.

150? I think, briefly, of all of the things I could purchase with 150.

Its just a tattoo, he says, once the silence goes on that we have nearly fallen into a pit of nothingness over its edge. Its not like I said and came home Id got somebody pregnant.

It appears to me, unhinged that this could have been the better option.

His father asks, Does it hurt?

Yes, I say, cutting across this male bonding. It does. Very much.

For three days, I cant speak to my son. I can hardly bear to look at him. I decide that this is rational. The last thing we need, I think, is an explosion of white-hot words that everybody carries around for the rest of their lives. In any case, Im not sure what it is I wish to say. In my minds eye I stand there, my black-gloved hands being wrung by a bitter woman with lips. Hes done the one thing that Ive said for years, please dont do this. If you did this, I would be upset by it. And its happened. So theres nothing left to say.

I understand. Why would you want to, anyway? If you controlled what they did, youd just pass on your rubbish tip of imperfections. You hope the next generation will be better, stronger, more generous. I understand all you can do as a parent is to pack their luggage and wave as you watch them go.

So I cry. I have a lump in my throat which stops me from eating. I feel like someone has died. I keep thinking of his skin, his skin that is precious, inked like a pig carcass.

My neighbor says, Theres a good deal of it about. So many teenagers are currently doing it. I stare at images of David Beckham with his sleeves, Angelina Jolie all veins and scrawls. Tattoos are everywhere. They seem no option than piercings these days. But I still dont know. Sam Cam with her dolphin that is smudgy, the heavily tattooed at Royal Ascot these people are role models?

My niece had tattooed on her breasts, says a friend, And her father said, you wait, in a couple of years time theyll be vultures.

Its makes me weep. As if the Joker had made face paints from acid. Your youthful passion for ever on screen, like a CD of the Smiths stapled to your forehead. The British Association of Dermatologists recently surveyed just under 600 patients with tattoos. Nearly half of these were inked between the ages of 25 and 18, and almost a third of them regretted it.

I look up laser removal. Which is a possibility, I think in case you want a tattoo removed, miserably, that only works. And Im not in charge here. My son is.

My husband asks, Have you seen it?

My head shakes. Like a kid, I hope that if I keep my eyes the entire thing will disappear.

He says gently. His choice.

But what if he needs to be a attorney?

A attorney?

Or an accountant.

Hell be wearing a suit. Nobody will ever know. And he doesnt want to be a attorney. Or an accountant.

I know. I know.

I meet a colleague for lunch. He knew how much it would hurt me, I say, tears running down my face. For years Ive said, dont do it. Its there for ever, even after youve changed your mind about who you are and what you want to look like. Youre branded, like meat. It can harm your work prospects. People may turn before youve even opened your mouth.

She says, Tell him how you are feeling.

But I cant. To begin with, I know Im being completely ridiculous. This level of despair is absurd. Hes not dying, he hasnt killed anyone, he hasnt volunteered to fight on behalf of a dictatorship. But I feel like a knife is currently twisting in my guts.

I get angry with myself. This is nothing but snobbery, I think latent anxiety about the trappings of class. As if my son had deliberately turned his back Victoria sponge and stuffed his face. I’m aware, also, that I associate tattoos on guys with aggression, the kind of arrogant swagger that goes with vest tops, dogs on chains, beer glasses that are broken.

Is this? Or perhaps, I think, with an lurch of realisation, just what women feel. I stand, a tyrannosaurus that is lone, bellowing in a world I dont know.

Tattoos are the preserve of toffs and offenders. And sailors. In the 1850s, the corpses of seamen washed up on the coast of north Cornwall were strangely adorned with blue, according to Robert Hawker, the vicar of Morwenstow initials, or drawings of anchors, flowers or spiritual symbols (Our blessed Saviour on His Cross, with on the one hand His mother, and on another St John the Evangelist). It is their object and intent, when they assume these signs, says Hawker, to procure identity for their bodies if their lives are lost at sea.

Tattoos, then, were practical.

Perhaps even this was a fashion statement. Or just what you did after too much rum. Later, body art was flirted with by the aristocracy. According to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich (they know a whole lot about tattoos), Edward VII had a Jerusalem cross on his arm while both his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later George V), had dragon tattoos. Lady Randolph Churchill, Winstons mum, had a snake on her wrist.

But you can do what you like if youre rich.

In a fog of misery, still on day three, I say to him, Shall we talk?

We sit down with cups of coffee. I open my mouth to speak and end up crying instead. I say, You couldnt have done anything to hurt me more.

He is cool and detached. He says, I think you will need to re-examine your prejudices.

I think, but I have! Ive done nothing for three days! But I dont say that since we arent talking to each other. These are rehearsed lines insults flung across the box. (This is what comes of not exploding in anger in the heat of the moment.)

I say, Why couldnt you have waited until left home? Why now when youre living here?

Its something Ive been thinking about for a long time. There didnt seem any reason to wait.

Which makes it worse.

Im an adult, he says. I paid for it with my money. Money I earned.

But supported you too, I think. As far as I know, you dont have separate bank account for your various income streams. Who knows? Perhaps we paid for it. ” he says, if you thats fine. When Im at home, Ill cover this up. Your house, your rules.

Inside my mind, I think, I thought it was your home.

He states, Im upset that youre upset. But Im not going to apologise.

I dont want you to apologise, I say. (A lie. Grovelling self-abasement might help.)

He states, Im still the same person.

I look at him, sitting there, my son. I feel Im being interviewed for a job I dont want. I say, But youre not. Youre different. I’ll never look at you in precisely the same way. Its a feeling that is visceral. Perhaps because Im your mother. All those years of fretting about sunscreen and green vegetables and cancer and looking after your body allow you to drink milk and taking the dentist you. Then you let some stranger inject ink. Like self-mutilation, it feels to me. If youd lost your arm in a car accident, I would have known. I’d have done everything to make you feel better. But this this is desecration. And I hate it.

We look at each other. There seems nothing left to say.

Over the next few days, my son always covered talks up to me like the row had never occurred. I speak to him, also, but warily. Because Im no longer sure I understand him.

And this is when I realise that all of my endless self-examination was pointless. What I think, or dont think, about tattoos is immaterial. Because this is the point. Tattoos are fashionable. They might even be beautiful. (Just because I hate them doesnt mean Im right.) But my son took a meat cleaver to my apron strings. He might not have wanted to hurt me. I hope he didnt. But my feelings, as he made his decision, were completely irrelevant.

The stars aren’t wanted now: put out every one; dismantle the sun and pack up the moon.

I am redundant. And thats a legitimate cause for despair, I think.

Tess Morgan is a pseudonym

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

David Tennant and Michael Sheen to save the world in TV adaptation – Trending Stuff

Terry Pratchett would be over the moon in the casting according to his estate, while co-author Neil Gaiman reminds Hollywood to give both equal credit

The late Terry Pratchett would have been over the moon in the dream casting of David Tennant as the demon Crowley in the forthcoming adaptation of Good Omens, according to the Discworld authors long-time assistant Rob Wilkins.

Amazon confirmed that Michael Sheen will play the angel Aziraphale, and Tennant will take on the role of Crowley, in Amazon Studios six-episode adaptation. Co-authored by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the 1990 dream bestseller Good Omens informs of Crowley and Aziraphales tries to prevent the apocalypse, following the birth of the antichrist, Adam, in Lower Tadfield, Oxfordshire.

I swear to god, Terry would be absolutely over the moon. Wed already discussed our fantasy Aziraphale and Crowley, and David Tennant was there, Wilkins told the Guardian. I cant begin to tell you what a fan he was of David and Michael Hed be looking down and are incredibly pleased.

Pratchett had particularly enjoyed Tennants role as Doctor Who, Wilkins added. Terry didnt use magic as a get out of jail free card in his writing, and he felt that after David, Doctor Who used the screwdriver to get himself out of trouble. And Terry would groan, as he’d never use magic in the identical way.

Gaiman, who scripted all six episodes of the coming series, which will be co-produced with BBC Studios, wrote on Twitter after learning of the casting: You go down to the bottom of the garden to compose, and leave your phone behind, and then something like this happens.

The novelist, who just agreed to accommodate Good Omens after reading a letter sent posthumously to him by Pratchett giving him his blessing to do so, also reminded Variety that the book had two authors after the magazines headline referred to the publication as Neil Gaimans Good Omens.

Psst. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchetts Good Omens, wrote Gaiman, while Wilkins made the same point: My job as executive producer on #GoodOmens is primarily to remind the world the book had TWO FECKING AUTHORS.

Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob)

My job as Executive Producer on #GoodOmens is primarily to remind the world the book had TWO FECKING AUTHORS @Variety.

August 14, 2017

Pratchett expired at the age of 66 in 2015, leaving behind him over 70 books. My job is to be sure the world speaks his name thats what Ive always said since Terry died, said Wilkins, adding that he’d recently joined a writers meeting at Narrativia, the independent production company launched by Pratchett five decades back. One of the authors stood up and said that of the authors that are dead there have been, Terry Pratchett is the most alive. For the next hour of the meeting, I was so filled up with those words, and I have kept them.

Wilkins said that Gaimans scripts would make fans content. He has completely blown us away, he said. They are magnificent This is the Good Omens of my fantasies. It is a dream come true when you have six hours to tell the story, using a film budget. And Neil has taken the words on to the display.

Amazon confirmed the casting in a statement, after it was first reported in Variety. In the announcement, Sheen said that Good Omens was one of his favorite stories since he first read it. To be part of the group is a tiny dream come true. To work together with Neil, who I believe is one of the greatest storytellers of all time, is exciting. And, exactly like the rest of the world, Im a huge fan of Davids so I love trying to save it with him, he said.

Tennant called it a dream gig and a fantasy team, including: I am very excited that Ive been asked to be part of this project. Bring on the apocalypse!

Good Omens will air on Amazon Prime in 2019 and will be broadcast on BBC Two at a later date.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Bus seats mistaken for burqas by members of anti-immigrant group – Trending Stuff

Opinions posted on Norwegian Fatherland first Facebook group call seats on Oslo bus terrifying

A Norwegian anti-immigrant group has been roundly ridiculed after members mistook a photograph of six bus seats posted on its Facebook page to get a group of girls wearing burqas.

Tragic, terrifying and disgusting were among the comments posted by members of the closed Fedrelandet viktigst, or Fatherland first, group beneath the photograph, based on screenshots on the Norwegian news site Nettavisen.

Other members of this 13,000-strong group, for individuals who love Norway and appreciate what our ancestors fought for, wondered if the non-existent passengers might be carrying bombs or weapons beneath their garments. This looks scary, composed one. Should be banned. You cant tell whos underneath. Could be terrorists.

Further comments read: Ghastly. This should never occur, Islam is and always will be a curse, Get them out of our country frightening times we’re living in, and: I thought it would be like this in the year 2050, but it is happening NOW, based on thelocal.no and other media.

The picture was posted to get a joke a week by Johan Slttavik, who has described himself as Norways worst net of it, beneath a query What do people think of this?

Slttavik told Nettavisen and Norways TV2 he wished to underline the difference between legitimate criticism of blind and immigration racism, and was curious to see how individuals perceptions of an image are influenced by others around them react. I ended up having a good laugh.

It went viral in Norway after Sindre Beyer, a former Labour party MP who said he’s been following Fatherland first for a while, published 23 pages of screenshots of those groups outraged comments.

What happens when a photo of some bus seats that are vacant is posted to a disgusting Facebook group, and nearly everybody thinks they see a whole lot of burqas? He asked in a post shared more than 1,800 times.

The comments suggested the huge majority of the groups members saw the photo as evidence of the Islamification of Norway, even though a small number pointed it out was in fact an image of bus seats. One warned the group made itself look ridiculous.

Beyer told Nettavisen: Im shocked at just how much news and hate is spread [on the Fedrelandet viktigst page]. So much hatred against bus seats that are vacant demonstrates that wisdom is won out over by bias.

The mind of Norways Antiracist Centre, Rune Berglund Steen, told are harmful Muslims.

Norway recently became the latest European country to propose restrictions on the wearing of burqas and niqabs, tabling a law which will bar them from kindergartens, schools and universities. France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria all limit veils in some places.

The countrys minority government, a coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress party that faces elections next month, said in June it was confident it would find resistance support.

Per Sandberg, then acting integration and immigration minister, told a media conference that garments like burqa or the niqab don’t belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Australian Justine Damond shot dead by US police in Minneapolis – Trending Stuff

As stepson says, Say officials reveal, body cameras were not turned on: My mum Has Been shot for reasons I dont Understand

US police officers have shot dead an Australian woman who called 911 after hearing a noise near her home in Minneapolis.

Minnesotas public security department said a woman was shot in Minneapolis after two officers responded to a callout about a possible assault on Saturday at 11.30pm local time. The police officers did not have their body cameras.

The woman has been named as Justine Damond, who conducted meditation workshops at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community. Damond, initially Justine Ruszczyk, used the name of the guy she was due to wed in August, Don Damond, the local Star Tribune reported.

Her stepson, Zac Damond, stated she had called police.

Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S just before 11.30pm Saturday, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. At one point, an officer fired their weapon striking a woman.

The BCAs investigation is in its early stages. More details will be available once interviews with episode participants and any witnesses are complete The officers body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not catch the episode. Investigators are trying to determine if any video of the incident exists.

The two officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

Her stepson said Damond, 40-year-old Sydneysider, was his best friend and passionate.

Basically my mum was taken for reasons I dont know, he said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday morning.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Challenges to Silicon Valley wont just come from Brussels – Trending Stuff

Eric Schmidt, Googles previous executive chairman. Picture: Getty

Silicon Valley is a truth distortion field whose residents think about it as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0. (Rapidly gotten wealth has effective imaginary impacts on individuals.) In a weird method, they share the previous United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfelds view of our continent as old Europe, a civilisation whose time has actually reoccured. When German people object intensely to having their houses photographed by Google Street View, or the Bundestag thinks about a law that would enforce swingeing fines on social media business that do not without delay eliminate hate speech from their services, or the European commission enforces a great equivalent to 3% of Googles international profits, they fume into their almond-coconut Frappuccinos and vow vengeance.

If thats how they see things, then its time they recalibrated. They are all kids of a hegemony thats started to deteriorate. When Europeans and their federal governments quailed prior to American business power might be ending, the age. The French were constantly a bit resistant to it (however then, being French, they would be, wouldnt they?) Now even the Germans have actually concluded that Europe can no longer rely on the United States (or the UK) and should battle for its own fate. In such a way, the US-based digital giants ought to thank their fortunate stars that Europe, for the many part, still includes societies where the guideline of law counts for something. Even when the business do not like the result of our legal procedures, they ought to be grateful that a minimum of we follow them.

The very same can not be stated for other parts of the world that Google &co wish to control. China and Russia do things their own method, for instance, and are completely untroubled by legal niceties. As far as China is worried, in 2010 Google was offered the option of following federal government needs or closing down its Chinese online search engine; it picked the latter alternative and is needing to consent to federal government controls if it is to be permitted back. In Russia, Google reached a settlement with the regional regulator to loosen up limitations on online search engine constructed into its Android mobile os, to enable Russian rivals a share of the pie. Comparable concessions will be needed to run in Iran and other Middle Eastern states. These programs are the genuine opponents that United States paranoids need to fear. While the 2.4 bn fine might be unpalatable (though quickly cost effective) for Google, it ought to thank its fortunate stars. A minimum of it got a hearing.

John Naughton is teacher of the general public understanding of innovation at the Open University. He composes a weekly column in The New Review.

What wrapping Helmut Kohl’s coffin in flags can’t do – Trending Stuff

One can expect a public spectacle that will exemplify a post-Brexit and Trump-era Europe trying to overcompensate for its dire, lonely position in the world by displaying an outburst of symbolic assertions of its brilliant present and future.

Politicians from around the world will speak — most likely about Kohl’s vision for a truly united European Union, his role in establishing the euro, his rather heroic fight for German unification.

Officially, it was Kohl’s European spirit that made European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker push for the funeral to be accompanied by this ceremony he called a “European act of state,” the first of this kind ever to take place.

But the scene, which will be live-streamed on the Internet, seems too powerful of a move to be only about Kohl’s impressive legacy. Instilling the importance of a “European state” could be the other objective.

At a time when Europe is in fact further away than ever from inspiring a belief of anything like statehood, it seems like a desperate attempt to save a vision that is trembling.

The resilience against a more integrated European Union that we saw displayed in 2005 in the French and Dutch referenda on a shared constitution has today turned into resentment.

It’s true that the EU might “only” be crippled by the departure of the UK, but will survive, and France and the Netherlands did not elect hard-core right-wing nationalist state leaders.

However, a Europe where there is even the slightest possibility for figures like Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders to become leaders of European states — and create more of the governments that we see in Hungary and Poland — must urgently ask itself how it can inspire trust in a European path.

Wrapping the coffin of an influential creator of Europe in European flags won’t do. Perhaps demonstrating its ability to tackle issues of importance like the economy, migration and security, would be better. But in this, Europe is failing.

Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus are only slowly recovering from the debt crisis that began 2009 when these countries successively began to announce their inability to repay or refinance their government debt or to bail out over-indebted banks under their national supervision.

Greece is still on the brink of leaving the single currency and lived through its worst-ever recession over the past several years.

In a sense the EU has been very unlucky in terms of how hard it has had to prove itself and how embarrassing its failures have been.

On top of its bleeding economy, which was already shattered by the global economic crisis of 2006 before the credit crisis, unprecedented external pressures kicked in.

When the influx of refugees hit European borders in 2015 — reportedly the biggest influx since World War II — the border agency Frontex was understaffed and resourceless. Coastal nations like Italy and Greece were left to fend for themselves.
While some efforts at easing their lot succeeded, some countries still simply refuse to take the refugees allocated to them by European institutions, while others, such as Germany, take on a disproportionate share of the responsibility.

If the EU managed to act collectively in taking in refugees, then the refugee crisis would be less of a crisis.

The same would hold true if the renewed confrontation between Russia and Europe were ever to escalate. While there is a lot of talk about military integration from the EU, the reality looks different.

Again it is Germany that is left to put forth the greater effort. This time it is to form a European army under the label “Framework Nations Concept.”

So far, this has meant only announcing the integration of its armed forces with the Czech Republic and Romania — not exactly the most powerful armies in the EU. And since the well-equipped UK military is also leaving Europe, the military heavyweights like France might be stepping up to help Germany form a more unified defense. But that hasn’t happened yet

After President Donald Trump’s meeting with G7 and NATO leaders, this integration has seemingly become more crucial. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe could no longer completely rely on its allies, and must take its fate into its own hands.
It’s a sentiment that is shared by other allies of the US. Polls show that the confidence in Trump as an ally has diminished.

So while there is a populist outburst against the EU, people also understand that America might not be there to help.

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That lonely place might in fact be a moment to call for greater collective commitment to European institutions that will be necessary for it to act effectively.

But emotional funerals and processions won’t be enough to win people over. New suggestions for an economic and defense strategy are required.

Thousands of Mosul civilians trapped in Isis territory as Iraqi forces close in – Trending Stuff

For civilians held as human shields by the extremists, supplies have run low and drinking water is scarce

Hundreds of civilians fled Mosuls Old City on Friday as Iraqi forces slowly squeezed the last pockets of Islamic State resistance, and the UN warned that the intense and concentrated fighting put innocent lives in even greater danger.

People climbed over mounds of rubble and through narrow alleys as gunshots and explosions rang out nearby. The neighborhoods where government forces are fighting have been under siege for months as grueling urban warfare drew out the operation to retake Iraqs second-largest city.

For the civilians held as human shields by the extremists, supplies have run low and drinking water is scarce, according to residents interviewed at screening centres and clinics.

The battles came a day after Iraqi forces made significant gains against the militants and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the groups self-proclaimed caliphate.

After a dawn push on Thursday, Iraqi forces retook the symbolic site where the al-Nuri Mosque once stood. It was from the pulpit of the 12th century mosque, which the militants blew up last week along with its famous leaning minaret, that their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed the caliphate in 2014.

During the evening, al-Abadi announced the full liberation of Mosul was near and that Iraqs brave forces will bring victory.

Lt Gen Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said by Friday afternoon the special forces were within 700 metres of the Tigris River, which roughly divides Mosul into eastern and western halves.

The operation to retake Mosul, backed closely by the US-led coalition, began in October, with the Iraqi government initially vowing the city would be liberated in 2016.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/01/thousands-of-mosul-civilians-trapped-in-isis-territory-as-iraqi-forces-close-in

Why African students are ditching the US for China – Trending Stuff

(CNN)The rise in the variety of African trainees in China is exceptional. In less than 15 years the African trainee body has actually grown 26-fold– from simply under 2,000 in 2003 to nearly 50,000 in 2015.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics , the United States and UK host around 40,000 African trainees a year. China exceeded this number in 2014, making it the 2nd most popular location for African trainees studying abroad, after France which hosts simply over 95,000 trainees.
This significant boost in trainees from Africa can be discussed in part by the Chinese federal government’s targeted concentrate on African personnel and education advancement. Beginning in 2000, China’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation tops have actually assured political and monetary assistance for African education in your home and abroad in China.
Since 2006, China has actually set scholarship targets to help African trainees pertaining to China for research study. At the most current 2015 top, China vowed to supply 30,000 scholarships to African trainees by 2018.

Although China stopped releasing local scholarship information in 2008, our information analysis utilizing the 2003-2008 information to create scholarship quotes recommends that this target is on the method to being satisfied. China appears to be supporting the promises made to African education.

Mutual Benefit – in education and company

For the Chinese federal government, supplying education to Africans is an extension of China’s soft power — cultivating the next generation of African scholars and elites. The experience that these trainees get in China can equate into a desire to deal with China and see China’s external or internal policies positively in the future.
Based on a number of studies , the majority of trainees have the tendency to be registered in Chinese-language courses or engineering degrees. The choice for engineering might be because of that lots of engineering programs provided by Chinese universities for global trainees are taught in English .
The quality of education has actually gotten combined evaluations. Some research studies have actually revealed that African trainees are usually pleased with their Chinese education, as long as they can conquer the language barriers . Others discovered that even if trainees were not impressed with their education, they valued the trade and organisation opportunities that a Chinese education provided to them back house.

The next generation

It’s tough to understand precisely which African nations are sending out the most trainees to China. These information are not kept by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The stats from Tsinghua University supply an insight. In the 2015-2016 scholastic year, most of the university’s 111 African trainees originated from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Morocco, Eritrea, and Cameroon– a little favouring East Africa.
African trainees in France extremely originated from francophone West Africa. It suggests China is a progressively essential gamer in the education of nations outside of West Africa if Tsinghua’s profile holds real for the bigger African trainee body in China.
Due to Chinese visa guidelines, the majority of worldwide trainees can not remain in China after their education is total. This avoids brain-drain and indicates that China is informing a generation of African trainees who– unlike their equivalents in France, the United States or UK– are most likely to return house and bring their brand-new education and abilities with them.

It’s still prematurely to inform how these brand-new characteristics may be forming geopolitics on the continent.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/29/africa/african-students-china-us/index.html