Australia unveils plan to become one of worlds top 10 arms exporters – Trending Stuff

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull wants Australia to be one of the worlds biggest weapons exporters, saying it will support high-end manufacturing jobs and support the capability of the Australian defence force. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Australia is set to become one of the worlds largest arms exporters under a controversial plan of the Turnbull governments.

The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has unveiled a new defence export strategy setting out the policy and strategy to make Australia one of the worlds top 10 weapons exporters within the next decade.

Hailing it a job-creating plan for local manufacturers, the Coalition says Australia only sells around $1.5bn to $2.5bn in defence exports a year and it wants the value of those exports to increase significantly.

It has identified a number of priority markets: the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

It will set up a new Defence Export Office to work hand in hand with Austrade and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability to coordinate the commonwealths whole-of-government export efforts, and provide a focal point for more arms exports.

A $3.8bn Defence Export Facility, to be administered by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), will provide the finance local companies need to help them sell their defence equipment overseas.

A new Australian Defence Export Advocate position, set up to support the Australian Defence Export Office, will provide industry with the constant high-level advocacy needed to promote Australian-made weapons overseas.

It is an ambitious, positive plan to boost Australian industry, increase investment, and create more jobs for Australian businesses, Turnbull said in a statement.

A strong, exporting defence industry in Australia will provide greater certainty of investment, support high-end manufacturing jobs and support the capability of the Australian defence force.

The controversial plan has been anticipated since mid-2017 when Christopher Pyne, the defence industry minister, said he wanted to start selling far more Australian-made weapons overseas.

At the time, Tim Costello, the World Vision Australia chief advocate, attacked the plan, saying the government had cut humanitarian aid which saved lives while simultaneously discussing the merits of becoming a major weapons manufacturer and exporter. The government says this is an export and investment opportunity, but we would be exporting death and profiting from bloodshed, Costello said last year. There is only one purpose in making a weapon and that is to kill someone with it. Do we really want that to be what people think of when they see the brand made in Australia?

Costello said at the time that the contemporary Syrian war now in its eighth year could not have lasted for more than a year without armaments profiteering. As a result, there had been more than 300,000 people killed, including thousands of children, 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, 6.3 million people internally displaced and five million people turned into refugees.

Defence industry minister Christopher Pyne says he wants Australia to become a major arms exporter on par with Britain, France and Germany and use exports to cement relationships with countries in volatile regions such as the Middle East. Is it really a good idea to sell weapons in a volatile region? he said.

A government fact sheet says the strategy sets a new direction for Australian defence exports.

The government will set aside $20m a year to implement the strategy, including $6.35m to implement strategic multi-year export campaigns, an additional $3.2m to expand the Global Supply Chain program, and an additional $4.1m for grants to help build the capability of small and medium enterprises to compete internationally.

This strategy is about job creation, Turnbull said in a joint statement with Pyne, the minister for defence Marise Payne, and the minister for trade Steven Ciobo.

It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability.

It will make Australian defence exports among the best in the world.

Between 2012 and 2016, the 10 largest arms exporters were, in order: the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel.

Australia was the 20th largest arms exporter during that period, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Trump tells Pentagon to plan a military parade – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has asked for a military parade and the Pentagon is reviewing potential dates, Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday.

In response to the news, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had asked the Defense Department to “explore” the idea.

“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great servicemembers who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation,” Sanders said.

The Washington Post first reported Trump told top Pentagon brass last month he wants a military parade.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the paper. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Trump’s meeting with senior military leaders last month included Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Trump was French President Emmanuel Macron’s guest on Bastille Day last year, and later called the French military parade he witnessed “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen.

He said last September in a conversation with Macron that when he came back from France he wanted a military parade on the Fourth of July in Washington.

Trump’s call for a military parade might be hitting a few snags. The Post said shipping tanks and military hardware into Washington could cost millions of dollars, and that military officials said they were unsure how to pay for it.

After the Gulf War in 1991, the US put on a victory celebration replete with servicemembers and military gear.
The news of Trump’s call for a military parade in the US comes as North Korea plans to show off dozens of long-range missiles during a February 8 parade, sources with deep knowledge of North Korea’s intentions told CNN last week.
The parade is expected to include dozens of intercontinental-range Hwasong-15 missiles, which the North Koreans test-fired for the first time in late November, the sources said.

The display of “hundreds” of missiles and rockets would be an attempt “to scare the hell out of the Americans,” one of the sources said.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Senator Calls Trumps Denial of Shithole Comment Not True – Trending Stuff

A key Democratic senator who was at the Oval Office meeting on immigration said President Donald Trump’s denial that he called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “not true” and that Trump made the “vile and racist” comments.

“He said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Senator Dick Durbin, of Illinois, who was at the meeting, told reporters Friday morning. “I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that oval office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”

Furthermore, Durbin said that “my thought that we might get a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died yesterday.”

Durbin’s statement came after Trump attempted to deny comments that were widely reported by news organizations after the closed-door meeting. “The language used by me,” Trump said in a Twitter posting on Friday morning, “was tough, but this was not the language used.” Durbin said he had read press reports on the comments and hadn’t seen any inaccuracies in the reporting.

Trump made the apparent denial after the White House didn’t dispute the quotations a day earlier. Asked about the account, White House spokesman Raj Shah said “certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.” The White House didn’t immediately respond Friday to a request for comment about whether Trump was specifically denying using the term “shithole countries.”

The president ignored shouted questions about the vulgar remark during a White House signing ceremony Friday for a proclamation marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. “No matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God,” Trump said before signing the document.

Trump’s remarks prompted criticisms from around the world, including some of those countries named. The African Union said it was “frankly alarmed” by the comments, according to the Associated Press. An opposition lawmaker in Ghana called upon developing nations to boycott the U.S. until Trump leaves office. The United Nations human rights office in Geneva called the remarks “shocking, shameful,” Agence France Presse reported in a tweet.

U.S. Criticism

The language was also condemned by lawmakers in the U.S. — mostly Democrats but including at least one prominent Republican.

“If the reports are true, he should take them back. I disagree with them completely,” Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, told Fox News Friday. “We have very good legal immigration in our state.”

Trump’s remarks were made in a meeting with lawmakers who suggested restoring protections for people from those countries as part of a broader bipartisan agreement on immigration issues, the three people said. The Washington Post first reported Trump’s comments.

Shah went on to list the White House’s demands for an agreement that would protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children and stressed that the president favors merit-based immigration.

‘Big Step Backwards’

“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards,” Trump said in a series of tweets Friday. He criticized lack of funding for a border wall between U.S. and Mexico, provisions he said would worsen chain migration and the diversity visa lottery and that the U.S. “would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly.”

“I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level,” Trump continued. “I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs.”

The president made the comments on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, killing as many as 300,000 people. On Thursday, Haitian President Jovenel Moise demanded a meeting with the top American diplomat in the country, Charge d’Affaires Robin Diallo, according to State Department officials. Moise was expected to lodge a formal protest. Michele Sison has been confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador, but has not yet arrived.

Protests in Haiti?

The officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a diplomatic matter, are concerned that the episode may provoke protests in Haiti because commemorations have been planned to mark the anniversary.

The Post reported that Trump singled out Haitian immigrants further, telling lawmakers they should be dropped from any deal.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to the newspaper, which cited people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”

Trump waited hours before denying making the reported comments about Haitians and alleging that they were made up by political foes. “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country,” he tweeted Friday. “Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”

In the U.S., strong criticism followed initial reports of the Oval Office episode, with most though not all of it coming from Democrats.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who wasn’t in the meeting, in a tweet called the president’s remarks, “Breathtakingly offensive. Worse, it’s ignorant of American ideals.”

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, said the president’s statement “reinforces the concerns that we hear every day, that the President’s slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again.’ ”

‘Unkind, Divisive’

In the strongest reaction from a Republican, Representative Mia Love of Utah, a child of Haitian immigrants, demanded an apology and said the president’s remarks were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

“My parents,” Love said, “came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with.”

Senators Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, were among the lawmakers who met with Trump at the White House to present a deal that a small group of lawmakers had reached on immigration issues. 

About a half dozen lawmakers were in the meeting, which also included Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, legislative director Marc Short and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, according to one person briefed on the meeting.

Representative Steve King, Republican from Iowa, supported Trump on Twitter Friday. “Hang in there Mr. President @realDonaldTrump. If those countries aren’t as you described, Democrats should be happy to deport criminal aliens back to them. &End #AnchorBabies, too,” he tweeted.

Restoring Protections

The lawmakers discussed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the Post reported, which for nearly three decades have been granted to help people who are temporarily unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, disasters or other conditions. The administration announced this week that it would end the protection for people from El Salvador in 2019.

For more on Trump’s tweets, check out the podcast:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Post, which quoted two people briefed on the meeting. Trump then suggested the U.S. should instead accept more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday.

Trump was reported in December to have made similarly disparaging comments last year about people who had received U.S. visas in 2017. He said that people from Haiti “all have AIDS” while people from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts,” the New York Times said.

Shah said in an email that Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation. He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

US outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoes UN vote on status of Jerusalem – Trending Stuff

Nikki Haley furious over resolution, describing it as an insult and saying US wont be told where it can put its embassy

A UN security council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital has been backed by every council member except the US, which used its veto.

The unanimity of the rest of the council was a stark rebuke to the Trump administration over its unilateral move earlier this month, which upended decades of international consensus.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution did not specifically mention the US or Trump but expressed deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.

A spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, responded to the veto by saying it was unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it.

The UK and France had indicated in advance that they would would back the text, which demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UN security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The resolution was denounced in furious language by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who described it as an insult that would not be forgotten. The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy, she said.

Its scandalous to say we are putting back peace efforts, she added. The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of Americas role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the security council.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted: Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump.

Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict betweenIsraeland the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.

Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the citys boundaries and annexed it an act that was never recognised internationally.

Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its united and eternal capital. For their part, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. The unequivocal international view, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the citys status must be addressed in peace negotiations.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israels capital puts the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimises Israeli settlement-building in the east considered illegal under international law.

Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP

The tabling of the resolution followed a weekend of negotiations aimed at securing the widest consensus possible on the issue. The vote has underlined once again the widespread international opposition to the US move, even among some of its closest allies.

It came ahead of a planned trip by the US vice-president, Mike Pence, to Jerusalem on Wednesday that was set to take place amid a deep rupture in US-Palestinian relations.

However, Pence announced on Monday night that he was postponing the trip until February, citing the imminent congressional votes on tax reform, set to take place in the House and Senate starting on Tuesday. The vice-president is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line, his spokeswoman said.

Abbass Fatah party has called for a day of demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories to coincide with the Pence trip.

Palestinian officials had warned that in the event of a US veto on the security council, they would also seek a resolution at the general assembly.

The push for a vote which came in the knowledge that the US would use its veto followed Trumps decision to overturn decades of policy by declaring that the US recognises Jerusalem as Israels capital and that he plans to move its embassy there.

Speaking before the vote, the UKs ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the text was in line with Londons position on Jerusalem as an issue that must be resolved through negotiations.

In an apparent rejection of the authority of the security council, Israels ambassador to the UN, Danny Dann, said before the vote: Members of the council can vote again and again a hundred more times. It wont change the simple fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the capital of Israel.

In the immediate aftermath of the US veto, Abbas announced that the Palestinian leadership would move to seek full membership of the United Nations, and try to raise the issue at an emergency meeting of the UN general assembly.

Palestine was admitted to the UN under the same observer status as the Vatican, but the road to full state membership is more complicated than persuading 14 security council members to back existing resolutions on the status of Jerusalem.

While Palestinians would probably get sufficient votes in the UN general assembly, it would first need to secure nine affirmative votes in the security council for the recommendation, with no vetoes.

The Palestinians and their supporters in the UN appear to be attempting to force the Trump administration into using its veto in ways that isolate both Israel and the US, in the hope of drawing in wider international mediation of the peace process.

Its a diplomatic battle we are fighting, one official told the Guardian. And so far we are having results. It is clear to us that the United States cannot be a mediator and we need international assistance.

Abbas is expected to visit Saudi Arabia and France this week to rally support.

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

China to Overtake U.S. Economy by 2032 as Asian Might Builds – Trending Stuff

The growing importance of Asia’s major economies will continue in 2018 and beyond, according to a league table that sees the region dominating in terms of size in just over a decade.

The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London sees India leapfrogging the U.K. and France next year to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy in dollar terms. It will advance to third place by 2027, moving ahead of Germany.

In 2032, three of the four largest economies will be Asian — China, India and Japan — and, by that time, China will also have overtaken the U.S. to hold the No. 1 spot. India’s advance won’t stop there, according to the CEBR, which sees it taking the top place in the second half of the century.

Also by 2032, South Korea and Indonesia will have entered the top 10, supplanting the Group of Seven nations of Italy and Canada.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

France bans fracking and oil extraction in all of its territories – Trending Stuff

French parliamentarians have passed a law banning fossil fuel extraction. President Macron says he wants France to lead the world with switch to renewables

Frances parliament has passed into law a ban on producing oil and gas by 2040, a largely symbolic gesture as the country is 99% dependent on hydrocarbon imports.

In Tuesdays vote by show of hands, only the rightwing Republicans party opposed, while leftwing lawmakers abstained.

No new permits will be granted to extract fossil fuels and no existing licences will be renewed beyond 2040, when all production in mainland France and its overseas territories will stop.

Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho said she hoped the ban would be contagious, inspiring bigger producers to follow suit.

France extracts the equivalent of about 815,000 tonnes of oil per year an amount produced in a few hours by Saudi Arabia.

But centrist president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants France to take the lead as a major world economy switching away from fossil fuels and the nuclear industry into renewable sources.

His government plans to stop the sale of diesel and petrol engine cars by 2040 as well.

Above all the ban will affect companies prospecting for oil in the French territory of Guyana in South America, while also banning the extraction of shale gas by any means its extraction by fracking was banned in 2011.

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

Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Ibuprofen has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. When taking ibuprofen in doses commonly used by athletes, a small sample of young men developed a hormonal condition that typically begins, if at all, during middle age. This condition is linked to reduced fertility.

Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. CNN has contacted Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the makers of both brands, for comment.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications and supplements, “supports and encourages continued research and promotes ongoing consumer education to help ensure safe use of OTC medicines,” said Mike Tringale, a spokesman for the association. “The safety and efficacy of active ingredients in these products has been well documented and supported by decades of scientific study and real-world use.”

The new study is a continuation of research that began with pregnant women, explained Bernard Jégou, co-author and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France.

Jégou and a team of French and Danish researchers had been exploring the health effects when a mother-to-be took any one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.

Their early experiments, published in several papers, showed that when taken during pregnancy, all three of these mild medicines affected the testicles of male babies.

Testicles and testosterone

Testicles not only produce sperm, they secrete testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.

All three drugs then are “anti-androgenic,” meaning they disrupt male hormones, explained David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital.

The three drugs even increased the likelihood that male babies would be born with congenital malformations, Kristensen noted.

Tringale noted that pregnant and nursing women should always ask a health professional before using medicines.

Knowing this, “we wondered what would happen in the adult,” he said. They focused their investigation on ibuprofen, which had the strongest effects.

A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen is often taken by athletes, including Olympians and professional soccer players for example, before an event to prevent pain, Jégou said. Are there health consequences for the athletes who routinely use this NSAID?

The research team recruited 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Of these, 14 were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day, explained Jégou. (This 1200-mg-per-day dose is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.) The remaining 17 volunteers were given a placebo.

For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, their luteinizing hormones — which are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone — became coordinated with the level of ibuprofen circulating in their blood. At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased, a sign of dysfunctional testicles.

This hormonal imbalance produced compensated hypogonadism, a condition associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke.

For the small group of young study participants who used ibuprofen for only a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Jégou said. However, it’s unknown whether the health effects of long-term ibuprofen use are reversible, he said.

After this randomized, controlled clinical trial, the research team experimented with “little bits of human testes” provided by organ donors and then conducted test tube experiments on the endocrine cells, called Leydig and Sertoli cells, which produce testosterone, explained Jégou.

The point was to articulate “in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro” — in the living body, outside the living body and in the test tube — that ibuprofen has a direct effect on the testicles and so testosterone.

“We wanted to understand what happened after exposure (to ibuprofen) going from the global human physiology over to the specific organ (the testis) down to the endocrine cells producing testosterone,” Kristensen said.

More than idle curiosity prompted such an extensive investigation.

Questions around male fertility

The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experiences childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy.
A separate study estimated that more than 45 million couples, or about 15% of all couples worldwide, were infertile in 2010, while another unrelated study suggested that men were solely responsible for up to 30% and contribute up to 50% of cases overall.
Meanwhile, a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update found that sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging. Researchers recorded a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011.

Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, noted that most drugs are not evaluated for their effects on human male fertility before marketing. Drobnis, who was not involved in the new study, has done extensive research into sperm biology and fertility.

“There is evidence that some medications are particularly harmful to the male reproductive system, including testosterone, opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, immune modulators and even the over-the-counter antacid cimetidine (Tagamet),” she said. “However, prescribing providers rarely mention these adverse effects with patients when prescribing these medications. 

She believes the new study, though small, is “important” because ibuprofen is among the most commonly used medications.

Though the new research indicates that ibuprofen disrupts the reproductive hormones in healthy young men, she thinks it’s possible there’s an even greater negative effect in men with low fertility. The other OTC drugs concerning for potential fathers are cimetidine and acetaminophen. She recommends that men who are planning to father a child avoid drugs for several months.

“Larger clinical trials are warranted,” she said. “This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring.”

Jégou agrees that more study is needed to answer many questions, including whether ibuprofen’s effects on male hormones are seen at low doses and whether long-term effects are reversible.

See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

“But the alarm has been raised now,” he said. “if this serves to remind people that we are really dealing with medical drugs — not with things which are not dangerous — this would be a good thing.”

“We need to remember that it is a pharmaceutical compound that helps a lot of people worldwide,” Kristensen said. He noted, though, that of the three mild analgesics examined, ibuprofen had “the broadest endocrine-disturbing properties identified so far in men.”

Categories CNN

UN votes resoundingly to reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital – Trending Stuff

The United Nations bodys debate and vote highlighted for a second time in a week the international isolation of the United States over the Jerusalem issue

The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital.

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries disrespected America by voting against it.

Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal. Countries which voted for the resolution included major recipients of US aid such as Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although largely symbolic, the vote in emergency session of the world body had been the focus of days of furious diplomacy by both the Trump administration and Israel, including Trumps threat to cut US funding to countries that did not back the US recognition.

But only nine states including the United States and Israel voted against the resolution. The other countries which supported Washington were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

‘We will remember this: US slams UN Jerusalem vote video

Twenty-two of the 28 EU countries voted for the resolution, including the UK and France. Germany which in the past has abstained on measures relating to Israel also voted in favour.

Thirty-five countries abstained, including five EU states, and other US allies including Australia, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. Ambassadors from several abstaining countries, including Mexico, used their time on the podium to criticise Trumps unilateral move.

Another 21 delegations were absent from the vote, suggesting the Trumps warning over funding cuts and Israels lobbying may have had some effect.

While support for the resolution was somewhat less than Palestinian officials had hoped, the meagre tally of just nine votes in support of the US and Israeli position was a serious diplomatic blow for Trump.

Immediately after the vote the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, described the result as a victory for Palestine. The Palestinians UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, described the result as a massive setback for the US.

They made it about them, Mansour told AFP. They did not make it about Jerusalem, so when you make it about them and to only be able to get nine votes to say no to it, I think it was a complete failure for their campaign.

Israels prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the UN vote out of hand.

Israel thanks President Trump for his unequivocal position in favour of Jerusalem and thanks the countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth, said a statement from Netanyahus office.

Speaking to the assembly before the vote, Haley who earlier in the week told members that the US would be taking names returned to the offensive.

I must also say today: when we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have expectation that we will be respected, she said. Whats more, we are being asked to pay for the dubious privileges of being disrespected.

Haley added: If our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our investment in other ways The United States will remember this day.

Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict betweenIsraeland the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.

Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the citys boundaries and annexed it an act that was never recognised internationally.

Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its united and eternal capital. For their part, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. The unequivocal international view, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the citys status must be addressed in peace negotiations.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israels capital puts the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimises Israeli settlement-building in the east considered illegal under international law.

Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP

In his own speech Israels UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said UN members who backed the resolution were being manipulated. You are like puppets pulled by your Palestinian masters, he told the session.

While Thursdays resolution was in support of existing UN resolutions on Jerusalem and the peace process, the clumsy intervention by Trump and Haley also made the vote a referendum on Trumps often unilateral and abrasive foreign policy.

The debate and vote highlighted for a second time in a week the international isolation of the United States over the Jerusalem issue, following a similar vote in the security council on Tuesday in which it was outnumbered 14-1.

The threatening US posture, which had been denounced as both counter-productive and bullying, only seemed to have hardened the resolve of countries in opposing Trumps 6 December move.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen, called Trumps recognition null and void and reaffirmed 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also demands that all states comply with security council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not to recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.

Earlier on Thursday, as it had become clear that the US and Israel would be heavily defeated, Netanyahu preemptively denounced the vote calling the UN a house of lies.

The state of Israel rejects this vote outright, Netanyahu said. Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, whether or not the UN recognises this. It took 70 years for the United States to formally recognise this, and it will take years for the UN to do the same.

Michael Oren, Israels deputy minister for diplomacy, called for Israel to cut its ties with the UN and expel the organisation from its Jerusalem offices.

We must evict the UN from the scenic Governors House, where its bloated staff does nothing, and give this historic site to a school, a hospital or best yet a new US embassy.

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

Trump threatens to cut aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote – Trending Stuff

General assembly to vote on rejecting US recognition of city as Israeli capital with Trump warning: Were not going to be taken advantage of any longer

Donald Trump has threatened to withhold billions of dollars of US aid from countries which vote in favour of a United Nations resolution rejecting the US presidents recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

His comments came after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, wrote to about 180 of 193 member states warning that she will be taking names of countries that vote for a general assembly resolution on Thursday critical of the announcement which overturned decades of US foreign policy.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump amplified Haleys threat.

Let them vote against us, he said.

Well save a lot. We dont care. But this isnt like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars, he said. Were not going to be taken advantage of any longer.

The warning appeared aimed largely at UN members in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are regarded as more vulnerable to US pressure.

Egypt, which drafted Mondays UN security council resolution which the US vetoed, is particularly vulnerable, receiving $1.2bn in US aid last year.

But Trumps comments may also resonate elsewhere including in the UK, which is hoping to negotiate a quick post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

The emergency UN general assembly meeting was called for Thursday to protest against the US veto at Mondays security council meeting on a resolution the Jerusalem issue which was supported by all other 14 members.

The security council resolution demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UN security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour on Monday, and were expected to do the same at the assembly on Thursday.

Diplomats expect strong support for the resolution, which is non-binding, despite the US pressure to either abstain or vote against it. However, a council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure and not support the draft resolution.

Critics point out the the Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as well as the US veto are both in opposition to numerous security council resolutions.

Trumps extraordinary intervention marked the latest escalation of diplomatic tensions over a decision that has seen the US widely criticised and isolated. It came after a day of high drama.

In a letter to UN ambassadors, Haley told countries including European delegations that she will report back to the US president with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US move at the UN general assembly on Thursday, adding that Trump took the issue personally.

The new draft resolution for Thursdays general assembly is very similar to Mondays defeated security council resolution. Unlike the security council, however, where permanent members can wield a veto, there are no veto rights in the general assembly.

The resolution reaffirms 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.

The draft resolution demands that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.

Referring to Haleys letter, which was disclosed by the Guardian and other media organisations on Wednesday morning, Trump said: I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations.

Our great citizens who love this country are tired of this country being taken advantage of were not going to be taken advantage of any longer.

In her letter, Haley wrote: As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally.

The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us, she continued.

Haley followed the letter by tweeting: At the UN were always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we dont expect those weve helped to target us. On Thurs therell be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.

The council is composed of 15 members. There are five permanent members:

China
France
Russia
United Kingdom
United States

There are also 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the UN general assembly. The current non-permanent members are listed below (end of term date in brackets):

Bolivia(2018)
Egypt(2017)
Ethiopia(2018)
Italy(2017)
Japan(2017)
Kazakhstan(2018)
Senegal(2017)
Sweden(2018)
Ukraine(2017)
Uruguay(2017)

Photograph: Xinhua / Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media

Responding to the US threats, the Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, and the foreign minister of Turkey a co-sponsor of the UN vote Mevlt avuolu told reporters at Istanbuls Atatrk airport that they believed UN member countries will ignore pressure from Haley.

No honourable state would bow to such pressure, avuolu said.

The world has changed. The belief that I am strong therefore I am right has changed. The world today is revolting against injustices.

A senior diplomat from a Muslim country said of Haleys letter: States resort to such blatant bullying only when they know they do not have a moral or legal argument to convince others.

A senior western diplomat, described it as poor tactics at the United Nations but pretty good for Haley 2020 or Haley 2024, referring to speculation that Haley might run for higher office.

Shes not going to win any votes in the general assembly or the security council, but she is going to win some votes in the US population, the western diplomat said.

A senior European diplomat agreed Haley was unlikely to sway many UN states.

We are missing some leadership here from the US and this type of letter is definitely not helping to establish US leadership in the Middle East peace process, the diplomat said.

The tabling of the resolution followed a weekend of negotiations aimed at securing the widest consensus possible on the issue. The vote has underlined once again the widespread international opposition to the US move, even among some of its closest allies.

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

Macron awards US scientists grants to move to France in defiance of Trump – Trending Stuff

Frances president awards millions of euros to 18 American scientists to relocate in effort to counter Donald Trump on the climate change front

Eighteen climate scientists from the US and elsewhere have hit the jackpot as Frances president, Emmanuel Macron, awarded them millions of euros in grants to relocate to France for the rest of Donald Trumps presidential term.

The Make Our Planet Great Again grants a nod to Trumps Make America Great Again campaign slogan are part of Macrons efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.

More than 5,000 people from about 100 countries expressed interest in the grants. Most of the applicants and 13 of the 18 winners were US-based researchers.

Macrons appeal gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do, said winner Camille Parmesan, of the University of Texas at Austin. She will be working at an experimental ecology station in the Pyrenees on how human-made climate change is affecting wildlife.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Parmesan described funding challenges for climate science in the US and a feeling that you are having to hide what you do.

Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming and said the Paris accord would hurt US business by requiring a reduction in climate-damaging emissions.

We will be there to replace US financing of climate research, Macron told the winners in Paris on Monday.

If we want to prepare for the changes of tomorrow, we need science, he said, promising to put in place a global climate change monitoring system among other climate innovations.

The research of the winning recipients focuses on pollution, hurricanes and clouds. A new round of the competition will be launched next year, alongside Germany. About 50 projects will be chosen overall, and funded with 60m ($70m) from the state and French research institutes.

Initially aimed at American researchers, the research grants were expanded to other non-French climate scientists, according to organizers. Candidates need to be known for working on climate issues, have completed a thesis and propose a project that would take between three to five years.

The time frame would cover Trumps current presidential term.

Some French researchers have complained that Macron is showering money on foreign scientists at a time when they have been pleading for more support for domestic higher education.

Macron unveiled the first winners at a startup incubator in Paris called Station F, where Microsoft and smaller tech companies announced projects to finance activities aimed at reducing emissions.

Mondays event is a prelude to a bigger climate summit Tuesday aimed at giving new impetus to the Paris accord and finding new funding to help governments and businesses meet its goals.

More than 50 world leaders are expected in Paris for the One Planet Summit, co-hosted by the UN and the World Bank. Trump was not invited.

Other attendees include Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took a spin on a Parisian electric bike Monday to call attention to health problems caused by pollution.

The Hollywood star and former California governor argued that Trumps rejection of the Paris climate accord doesnt matter, because companies, scientists and other governments can pick up the slack to reduce global emissions.

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