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January 7, 2018
AFRICA CONTINENT
TUNISIA, NORTHERN AFRICA
Tunisians Protest Price Hikes and Economic Hardship
 
Tunisia in Brief
Tunisia is a sovereign state in Northwest Africa, its boundaries start at the northernmost point on the African continent. 

In ancient times, Tunisia was primarily inhabited by Berbers.  In later times it was a military rival of the Roman Republic, who eventually defeated the nation and occupied it for nearly 800 years.  The Muslims, were the next to conquer Tunisia and also held it for about 800 years.  Following the Muslims, the Ottoman Empire controlled Tunisia for about 300 years.  Finally, the French colonized it in 1881 and maintained control for about 75 years.

The Tunisian Republic claimed its independence in 1957.

2015 Tunisia Receives a Near $3 Billion Loan
After the International Monetary Fund gave Tunisia a loan worth $2.9 billion in 2015, the country’s debt rose to 60.6% of the GDP in 2016.

International Monetary Fund Logo
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), formed in 1945, is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of "189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

January 1, 2018: Price Hikes to Reduce Deficit
On January 1, 2018, in an effort to cut the country’s deficit, a new finance law came into effect.  The Tunisian government raised prices on everyday goods, including gasoline, medicine, sales taxes, and an increase in the price of internet usage.  Before the price hikes, Tunisians of all walks of life were already complaining that their living conditions had deteriorated and that they are unable to make ends meet each month.

January 7, 2018: Protests Opposing Rise in Cost of Living
On Sunday, January 7, 2018, a small, spontaneous protest began against the recently imposed price hikes and the rise in the cost living.  On the following Monday, the protest had spread throughout multiple town and cities after a protestor was killed, even though he appeared to have died of natural causes.

Military Response
Over 2100 armed military personnel was deployed, and by the third day of protests, over 600 people had been arrested and placed into custody for attacks against security forces, theft, looting, and arson.

January 11, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WASHINGTON DC
Donald J. Trump, U.S. President
President Trump Ends Immigrant Protections in US if From "Shithole" Countries
 
In a bipartisan meeting held in the Oval Office of the White House, President Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as shithole countries when lawmakers brought up protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.  It was reported that the President asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”  He followed his question with a statement that the U.S. should let in more people from countries like Norway.

Program Ends for Immigrants
from Haiti and Salvador
The Trump administration announced that they would end the humanitarian program, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that allowed citizens from other countries to temporarily remain in the U.S.  The January announcement applied to Salvadorians, while the program was terminated for Haitians in November 2017.

February 7, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
HERZLIYA ISRAEL
Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
African Migrants Protest Deportations by Israel at Rwanda Embassy
 
On February 7, 2018, over 2000 African migrants protested outside the Rwanda Embassy in Herzliya, Israel against the government’s policy of forced deportation of African refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda.

In January 2018, Israel began deporting tens of thousands of African migrants, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese who fled from danger in their homelands, but who entered the country illegally. 

Leave Now with $3500
or Be Incarcerated
The government of Israel has given the African migrants 60 days to accept an offer to leave the country for Rwanda, in exchange for $3,500 and a plane ticker.  Those who do not leave by April 1, 2018 will be incarcerated indefinitely.



 

 

 

February 23, 2018
WORLD STAGE
UNITED STATES: ARABS VS JEWS
Donald J. Trump, US President (L), Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel (C), and Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestinian National Authority & PLO
Official Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel
U.S. to Move of U.S. Embassy
 
A State Department spokesperson, of the Trump administration, announced that the United States has decided to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, into a temporary facility, and by the end of the year have a new Embassy constructed. This move intended as official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Arabs vs Jews: Israel and Palestine Both Claim Jerusalem as Their Capital
Both Israel (Jews) and Palestine (Arabs) claim Jerusalem as their "historic" capital, so Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the announcement. On the other hand, Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that Trump is intending to "destroy the two-state solution". And, across the Middle East, Palentinians and Muslims were infuriated and took to the streets in protest.

Israel Establishes Jewish State
Palestinians Want to Return to Homelands
The Unied States and Israel tend to consider the PLO a terrorist organization. However, the PLO, acknowledged representative of the Palestinian people, considers that it is fighting for its rights. The PLO contends that the Jews unjustly expelled the Palestinians from Palestine and established a Jewish state instead, and have demanded that the refugees be allowed to return to their once home.

US Takes Sides by Acknowledging Israel's Claims Over Palestinians
By moving the Embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the United States has completely disavowed the claims of the Palestinians, and thrown support behind the aggression of Israel in their decades long battle against the Palestinians over their displacement.

February 25, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
CHINA
Xi Jinping, President
People's Republic of China
Jinping President for Life:?
China Abolishes
Presidential Term Limits
 
According to the current Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the President's term of office is the same as the term of the National People's Congress (currently five years), and the president and vice-president were both limited to two consecutive terms.

China's Road to a
New De facto Monarchy
However, on February 25, 2018, an amendment by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the 13th National People's Congress abolished presidential term limits. After the vote in favor by the National People's Congress, it is now possible for China's current leader, Xi Jinping, to serve in office for life. The two-term limit had been in effect since the 1990s.

On paper, the National People's Congress is the most powerful legislative body in China, similar to the parliament in other nations, and the presidency is largely a ceremonial office with limited powers that serves at the pleasure of the National Peple's Congress. But, while serving in office, Xi Jinping has amassed a lot of power, infuence and respect.

March 3, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WHITE HOUSE
Donald J. Trump, U.S. President
U.S. President Praises
Communist China
Considers Alternative to
American Democracy Favorable
 
While speaking to Republican donors at an event in Florida, U.S. President Donald Trump was heard to have said, "He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great... he was able to do that... I think it's great.
Maybe we'll give that [president for life] a shot someday.
Donald J. Trump, 45th U.S. President


March 8, 2018
AFRICA CONTINENT
AFRICA - NORTH AMERICA - CHINA
U.S. vs China
Donald J. Trump, US President and Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
US Secretary of State Warns
African Nations Against
Accepting Loans From China
 
Rex Tillerson and Moussa Faki
November 16, 2017. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki before meeting at US Department of State in Washington D.C.

The African continent is host to five of the world’s top-10 growing economies.

The nations of Djibouti (home of US and China military bases), Kenya, Chad, Nigeria and Ethiopia are all key U.S. allies on security and counter-terrorism.  Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda were among the top-10 recipients of US foreign aid in 2016.

On March 8, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, embarked upon his first diplomatic tour on behalf of the Trump administration, scheduled to visit each of its allied nations in Africa.

Tillerson Warns Against Accepting Assistance from China
In Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Rex Tillerson warned African nations against accepting Chinese cash in agreement which could “forfeit their sovereignty”.

We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa… It is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements (with China) and not forfeit their sovereignty… Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few if any jobs in most countries
Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of  State

 

Trade Between Africa and China Soars
Driven by their demand for the minerals in Africa, in recent years, since the early 2000s, China has increased its influence on the African continent.  And, in 2009, passed the US as Africa’s largest trade partner. 
Oftentimes, the financing models are structured in a way that the country, when it gets into trouble financially, loses control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default
Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State

In many ways, the Chinese presence has been a boon for African economies.  In addition, the Chinese have provided billions of dollars for improvements to long-neglected infrastructure, including roads and modern highways in a number of countries, including the building of modern structures, such as the African Union headquarters visited by Tillerson.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched China's One Belt, One Road strategy, which centers on pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into ports, rail lines and other projects across Asia, Europe and Africa.  Critics maintain the program has saddled developing countries with crippling debts and increased their dependence on China

China’s Response to Tillerson Warning
On the day of Tillerson’s comments, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the National People’s Congress in Beijing that “Africa’s concerns are China’s concerns.  Africa’s priorities are China’s priorities”.

Russia Weighs in On Tillerson Comments
Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, on his own tour of Africa, commented while speaking in Zimbabwe, that it was "not appropriate" for Mr. Tillerson "to criticize the relations of his hosts, when he was a guest there". 

March 13, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WASHINGTON DC
Rex Tillerson, 69th U.S. Secretary of State
(2017 - 2018)
Civil Engineer, former Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil
(2006 to 2017)
President Trump Fires Rex Tillerson While On His 1st Diplomatic Visit as U.S. Secretary of State
 
On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced in a social media "tweet" that U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was fired and was to be replaced by Mike Pompeo, current Director of the CIA.

Trump Fires Tillerson in Tweet
James Mattis
Secretary of Defense
Jan 20, 2017 - Present

Mike Pompeo Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo
70th US Secretary of State
Attorney, Former Army Officer, Former Director of CIA (2017 to 2018), US House Representative (2011 to 2017), Member of the Tea Party Movement of Republican Party, RNC Representative, Member of the Italian American Congressional Delegation

The White House responded that Tillerson was notified of his firing prior, by Chief of Staff John Kelly, when the media questioned whether or not Tillerson was fired via social media.
Steve Goldstein Rex Tillerson Aide
Steve Goldsteing, Rex Tillerson's top spokesperson, fired after contradicting the White House version of events in the firing of Rex Tillerson

However, when Rex Tillerson's top spokesman, Steve Goldstein, contradicted the White House message, with a different version of events, he was also fired.

March 18, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
RUSSIA
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Vladimir Putin Elected to Fourth Term
 
Valdimir Putin has extended his rule for another six years, after winning his 4th term in the presidential election.

Many analysts believe that it is unlikely that Putin will leave power after his current term, in spite of the current rule of law. Russian presidents are not allowed to serve more that two consecutive terms, so without constitutional reform, Putin will not be able to run for a fifth term. Putin, however, said "I never changed the constitution, especially for it to benefit me and I do not have this kind of intention today".

April 6, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
SOUTH KOREA
Park Geun-hye, President South Korea 2013 - 2017
1st Female President
Receives 24 Year Prison
Sentence After Impeachment
 
2012  Meeting that Would Lead to President Park’s Downfall
Shortly after Park Geun-hye was elected President of South Korea, Ko Young-tae (36 years), operator of a bag manufacturing company, met Choi Soon-sil (56 years), the president’s aide, who commissioned him to design 40 bags made of ostrich skin and crocodile leather, as well as 100 clothing items for President Park, for tens of thousands of dollars.  Two years later, a personal disagreement between the two would eventually lead to President Park’s downfall.

President Park’s former clothier, Ko Young-tae (L) and former personal aide Choi Soon-sil (R) at court appearances., 2014.

2014 Ko Young-tae Resents Being Disrespected by Choi Soon-sil
Ms. Choi left a dog, belonging to her only child, in the care of Ko Young-tae, and when Ms. Choi discovered that Ko neglected the dog and went out to play golf instead, she strongly berated him. Mr. Ko stated that it was this incident was the last straw in his resentment of Ms. Choi, who often cursed at him and “treated him like a slave”. He then decided to expose the relationship dynamics of Ms. Choi to President Park that he’d witnessed over time. He began video tapping Ms. Choi, recording her giving orders to two presidential aides as if they were servants.

2015 Ko Young-tae Begins Leaking Information to the Media
In 2015, Mr. Ko turned his video over to Chosun TV, but the news channel held on to it as journalist conducted an investigation of Ms. Choi and President Park, including the investigation of two foundations set up by Ms. Choi to receive donations from business conglomerates (in exchange for favorable treatment by the government).

Later, media investigations revealed that the personal aide, Choi Soon-sil used her position to seek donations of money from several business conglomerates (known as cahebol), and that she and President Park's senior staff used their influence to extort $60 million from Korean chaebols -- family-owned large business conglomerates -- and set up two culture- and sports-related foundations, Mir and K-sports foundations.

In 2016, Mr. Ko was still peddling information to the media that Ms. Choi directly influenced and interfered with government policies, even though she had no official position in government. When interviewed by JTBC in October 2016, stated “Choi’s favorite thing to do is edit presidential speeches”. After the interview, JTBC somehow came into possession of a tablet previously owned by Ms. Choi that contained drafts of 44 speeches and statements President Park had given between 2012 and 2014.

October 24, 2016 The Media Releases Leaked Information and Reports on Its Investigation
On October 24, 2016, aired its findings, and Chosun TV followed up by releasing its incriminating video, supplied by Mr. Ko, the following day.

October 25, 2016 President Park Makes Televised Apology
In a televised address, President Park apologizes to the nation for giving Choi access to draft speeches during the first months of her presidency.

Protests against President Park
Massive rallies held across South Korea supporting the impeachment of President Park

October 26, 2016 Protests Against Park Spread Across South Korea
Protests began across South Korea calling on President Park's resignation and her approval rating dropped to 4%.

October 29, 2016 Park Dismisses Staff
President Park dismissed her top aides, two members of the cabinet, and attempted to replace prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn with Kim Byong-joon, former aide to former president Roh Moo-hyun, but this was rejected by the National Assembly.

October 31, 2016 Choi Soon-sil Arrested
On October 31, Choi Soon-sil was arrested and formally charged with abuse of power and fraud the following month.

November 4, 2016 President Park Makes Apology
President Park made yet another apology, promising to take responsibility if she was found guilty.

November 29, 2016 President Park Makes Third Apology
Days after Ms. Choi is charged with abuse of power and fraud, President Park made a third public apology, and called for the National Assembly to decide how she should leave the office of the presidency. The following day, she appointed Park Young-soo, former head of the Seoul High Prosecutor's Office, as a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations.

December 3, 2016 Parks Impeachment Proposal Moves to National Assembly
With opinion polls showing that 78% of South Koreans support the impeachment of President Park, Woo Sang-ho of the Democratic Party, Park Jie-won of the People's Party, and Roh Hoe-chan of the Justice Party moved the "President (Park Geun-hye) impeachment proposal" in the National Assembly on behalf of 171 members of their respective parties and other independent representatives, on the grounds that Geun-hye had violated the Constitution and the law

December 9, 2016 Impeachment of Park Approved
The National Assembly approved the impeachment motion by a vote of 234 in favor and 56 against in a secret ballot.

As a result of the motion's passage, President Park's powers and duties were suspended for up to 180 days while the Constitutional Court of Korea considered the validity of the impeachment motion. It was necessary for six of the nine judges on that court to agree with the impeachment for the removal to take effect.

Protests against President Park
Supporters of President Park gather in massive rallies across South Korea

Citizens who have been rallying in massive numbers against Park rejoiced at the news, while Park's supporters called the parliamentary impeachment a "witch-hunt" without concrete evidence of Park's wrongdoings.

President Park Holds Final Cabinet Meeting
President Park held a final cabinet meeting acknowledging the impeachment motion and apologized for causing uncertainty, before Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumed presidential powers and duties, on an interim basis.

March 10, 2017 Parks Impeachment Upheld, Park’s Presidency Ends
The Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment in a unanimous 8–0 decision read out by Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung mi which formally ended Park's presidency.

As a result of impeachment, Park was stripped of her post-presidential benefits such as retirement pension, free medical services, state funding for her post-retirement office, personal assistants and a chauffeur and right to burial at the Seoul National Cemetery after death. However, she is entitled to retain security protection under the Presidential Security Act.

March 31, 2017 Park Arrested and Charged
Park was arrested and placed into custody after indictment by prosecutors on charges of bribery, abuse of power, coercion, and leaking government secrets.

April 6, 2018 Park Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison
Former President Park Geun-hye, age 66, was found guilty on multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery and coercion and formally sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined $17 million.

May 17, 2018
WORLD STAGE
SYRIA, RUSSIA, NORTH KOREA, US
Presidents Vladimir Putin, Russia President (L) and Bashar al-Assad, Syria President
New Era of Diplomatic Certainty and Normalization
 
May 17, 2018: Syrian Diplomatic Moves by Russia
Russia is a key ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Military support from Moscow has allowed the Syrian president to make large territorial gains in recent months against rebels in the war-torn country.

On May 17, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured his Syrian counterpart and ally Bashar al-Assad that all foreign troops will leave Syria. According to an official Kremlin statement, Putin told Assad that in light of the Syrian army's recent "victories and success," foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from Syria.

Foreign troops currently in Syria:
  • Russian
  • Iranian
  • Turkish
  • American
  • Lebanon's Hezbollah
  • other pro-Assad militias

As far as U.S. interests, on April 3, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump said, that he wants U.S. troops to leave Syria soon and will make a decision “very quickly” on how much longer they will stay. He also stated, “I want to get out, I want to bring the troops back home, I want to start rebuilding our nation,” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House with leaders of Baltic nations. He added that “our primary mission” of fighting the Islamic State terrorist group is “almost completed.”

May 22, 2018: North Korea Diplomatic Moves by U.S.
U.S. and North Korea Summit Commemorative Coin
 
Ahead of the planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the White House Communications Agency began accepting pre-order for a Korea Peace Talks Summit Commemorative Coin, for delivery by August 1, 2018.

The coin depicts Trump and Kim, described as North Korea’s “Supreme Leader”, in profile facing each other in front of the flags of their countries.

Even though the White House Communications Agency regularly issues commemorative coins to present to foreign guests, diplomats and members of the military, it is a bold and unusual move of the Trump administration to “prematurely” offer such relics, at tax payer cost, to the general public, under absolute certainty of future achievement.

The two "bad boys" of international relations (Bashar al-Assad, Syria and Kim Jong-un, North Korea) appear to be on the verge of the normalization of diplomatic relations and the sovereignty of their nations no longer questioned.
 

May 21, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH AMERICA
U.S. vs North Korea
Mike Pence, US Vice President
and Kim Jong-un, Leader North Korea
US Vice President
Threatens North Korea:
Make Nuclear Deal or Else
 
Just three weeks ahead of a planned US-North Korean nuclear summit, Vice President Mike Pence threatens the North Korean government. 

In an interview on “The Story with Martha MacCallum”, of Fox News, Vice President Pence said that President Trump has made it clear that “this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal”. His comment bolstered previous comments made by both John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor and President Donald Trump.

John Bolton U.S. Security Advisor
John Bolton
US National Security Advisor

During an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Bolton said that if the Trump administration were to make concessions, it would be “looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004” in terms of North Korea being required to surrender its nuclear weapons.

April 9, 2018. President Trump with John Bolton, National Security Advisor in White House Oval Office

On April 9, 2018, President Trump contradicts (then confirms) his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, saying,  “The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have [in mind]at all when we’re thinking of North Korea.

“If you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him,” he said, whereas “if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.”

However, he warned, the Libyan model “would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely”. 

Libya Leader Gaddafi
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
In agreement with the U.S., voluntarily gave up his country's nuclear weapons program in 2003, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.  Eight years later, Gadhafi was overthrown and killed by rebel forces backed by the U.S. government.

Pence also said that President Donald Trump is willing to “walk away” from the table if his planned summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un fails.

When it was noted that his comparison between Libya and North Korea could be perceived as a threat, he responded: "Well, I think it's more of a fact."
"It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump."

May 22, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH KOREA
U.S. vsNorth Korea
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea
North Korea Responds to Blitz of Threats Coming from the United States
 
North Korea has responded to the barrage of gangster-styled threats delivered by the U.S. government ahead of the US-North Korean Nuclear Summit, scheduled for June 12, 2018.  U.S. Security Advisor Bolton seemed to punctuate the current U.S. administration's diplomatic stance, while Vice President Mike Pence was unequivocal in his open threat.

John Bolton's 'Absurd Comparison' 
North Korea views the result of Libya surrendering it nuclear capabilities as an example justifying its reason for building and keeping nuclear weapons.  During the 2011 civil war, North Korea said it was a mistake for Libya to agree to dismantle its nuclear program, describing it as “an invasion tactic to disarm the country”.  And North Korean officials condemned Trump’s national security advisor for referencing Libya as a model for dealing with North Korea, in a statement that read:
“World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate... It is absolutely absurd to dare compare North Korea, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development”.

North Korea Top Official
Choe Son Hui
North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs (North America Portfolio)

Mike Pence an 'Unbridled and Impudent', 'Political Dummy'
The North Koreans are notoriously known for not being accepting of bullying, and a top North Korean official, Choe Son Hui, addressed the comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence by calling him a “political dummy” who made stupid remarks.

Choe Son Hui threatened that North Korea would reconsider the upcoming nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after Pence’s “unbridled and impudent” comments.

Statement: North Korea Ready for Nuclear Showdown
Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States.

May 23, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WORLD STAGE
Civil Resistance Condemned by Trump and so Outlawed by NFL
 
On May 23, the National Football League (NFL) announced its compliance with President Trump’s stand against campaigns of civil resistance by U.S. citizens employed by the league, by regulating on field, pre-game protests.

Prompted by the actions of NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, many NFL players, across multiple teams, engaged in civil resistance, by taking a knee during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem, in protest of racial profiling and a shocking increase in (and often publicized)  killing of African Americans by law enforcement.

In public statements, President Donald J. Trump blasted NFL anthem protesters.
Get that son of a bitch off the field [and maybe they] shouldn't be in the country.

Donald J Trump
45th President of the U.S.
The NFL’s announcement that it altered its policy regarding the national anthem was made after a two-day meeting of the league’s 32 owners.  The NFL will no longer require players to be on the field during the playing of the national anthem before games, and will allow teams to impose disciplinary measures and the league to impose disciplinary fines on players deemed disrespectful while in public when the song is played.

The changes met quick approval from Vice President Mike Pence of the Trump administration.

Perspective on
Civil Resistance
(without Trump Narrative)
Players kneeling during the national anthem pre-game, to protest racial injustice and the killing of African Americans by laws enforcement is a form of civil resistance. 

Civil resistance has been practiced in hundreds of societies and cultures around the world, for various purposes throughout history. 

In the Eye of the Beholder
As witnessed by the narrative being popularized by Donald Trump, civil resistance is often portrayed as an expression of contempt for laws, norms and nation.  However, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. regarded civil resistance as a display and practice of reverence for laws and the good that a nation represents.
Any man who breaks a law (or convention) that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is at that moment expressing the very highest respect for law (or convention).

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Common Reasons for Civil Resistance
  • Holding governments, corporations and other non-state actors accountable
  • Achieving women’s rights, minority rights, indigenous rights, labor rights, and democratic rights.
  • Anti-corruption and transparency campaigns
  • Self-determination struggles
  • Resisting foreign occupation
  • Campaigns for public and community safety and reducing deadly violence in conflict zones
  • Environmental sustainability and conservation
  • Land reform
  • Law enforcement reform
Specific Examples of Resistance
  • The British gave up their occupation of India after a decades-long nonviolent struggle by the Indian population led by Mohandas Gandhi.
  • The Danes, Norwegian Norsks and other peoples in Europe used civil resistance against Nazi invasion during World War II.
  • Labor movements around the world have consistently used tactics of civil resistance to win concessions for workers throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  • African Americans used civil resistance in their struggle to dissolve segregation in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Polish workers used factory-occupation strikes in 1980 to win the right to organize a free trade union, which was a major victory in a communist country at a time when tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers were stationed there.
  • The Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet were brought down by nonviolent movements in the 1980s.
  • The anti-apartheid movement in South Africa employed boycotts and other nonviolent sanctions for decades.  Nonviolent methods superseded violence in the 1980s to become the driving force that weakened the white-dominated government, forcing it to negotiate a transition.
  • In 1989 thousands of Chinese mobilized in support of democracy and occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing—but the movement was suppressed when hardliners in the government took control and ordered violent repression.
  • In 2000, Serbs ousted Slobodan Milosevic, after a nonviolent movement helped co-opt the police and military, thereby dividing his base of support.
  • In 2002, citizens in Madagascar organized nonviolently to enforce their presidential election results.
  • In 2005, vast protests in Lebanon brought an end to Syrian military control.
  • In 2006, Nepali used nonviolent methods to restore democratic rule to their country.

Reference: ICNC (International Center of Nonviolent Conflict), “Where has Civil Resistance been used?”, https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/where-has-civil-resistance-been-used/

May 24, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH AMERICA
U.S. vs North Korea
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea
President Trump Cancels Nuclear Summit after North Korean Offical Calls V.P. a "Political Dummy"
 
On May 24, 2018, because of what he termed “anger and open hostility” on the part of North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled for June 12, 2018.   Trump also warned that the U.S. military was ready for any reckless acts by North Korea.

Even though just days prior, North Korea called Vice President Pence a 'political dummy' and stated that they were ready for a 'nuclear showdown', North Korean Vice Foreign Minister, Kim Kye Gwan, said appeasingly in response to Trump’s announcement that Pyongyang remained open to resolving issues with Washington “at any time in any way”, adding, “We had set in high regards President Trump’s efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic North Korea-U.S. summit”. 

The summit would have been the first-ever meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

May 25, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH AMERICA - CHINA
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Xi Jinping, President of China
President Trump Sweetens the Pot by Lifting Sanctions Against China's ZTE for Trade Violations
 
President Donald Trump announced a deal to save Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE. In a series of tweets, Trump said that he will allow ZTE to “reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board.” The agreement will also require the Chinese phone maker to purchase parts from the US and pay a $1.3 billion fine.

If ZTE accepts, the government will lift an order banning US companies from doing business with ZTE for seven years – an order that had prevented ZTE from buying microchips and other components and has crippled its operation.

Background

ZTE sells smartphones and other technology devices and 53 US companies sell components to ZTE, making America the company's second biggest supplier after China, providing about  25% - 30% of the components used in ZTE's manufacturing operation.

ZTE Violates Trade Sanctions
in Exporting Technology to Iran
In 2012, under the Obama administration, the FBI found that ZTE had sold banned technology to Iran and tried to cover up its transaction to block investigation into its violation of trade sanctions and restrictions.

ZTE pleaded guilty in a US federal court for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.

In 2017, ZTE paid $1.19 billion to settle criminal and civil charges for illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. 

As part of the 2017 settlement, ZTE agreed a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, "which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not met and/or if the company committed additional violations of the Export Administration Regulations."

Also as part of the settlement, ZTE promised to fire four senior employees and discipline 35 others by reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them.

ZTE admitted that it fired the four senior employees but didn't take action against the others.

On April 16, 2018, for violating the terms of its sanctions case, the U.S. Department of Commerce banned all American companies from selling components directly, or via another country, to ZTE for seven years.

ZTE has been struggling under the ban.

May 27, 2018
AFRICA CONTINENT
CENTRAL AND WESTERN AFRICA
Emmanuel Macron, President of France

2017 - Present
French President Announces Development Funds for Africa
 
At one point in time, the French Colonial Empire was one of the largest in history.  After a series of wars with Great Britain and other European powers during the 18th century and early 19th century, France lost most all of its colonies.

In the late 1800's France began to rebuild a new empire, concentrating mostly West and Central Africa.  Since that time, France has maintained a centuries-long relationship and close ties with Africa, even post-colonial, unlike Britain.  Current French President Macron has visited Africa seven times within the first year of his presidency, with a view of Africa as an important to the French business and economic development efforts.

Today, Macron announced that the Agency of French Development (AFD) will back a new $76 million digital project that offers funding for African technology startups. Macron emphasized that the energy and potential that exists, and that he intends to fill some of the gap of lack of funding that is inhibiting growth.

May 29, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
CHINA
U.S. vs China
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
Trade Diplomacy Falters U.S. President Imposes Steep Trade Tariffs Against China
 
Less than two weeks after U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that the issue of Chinese trade tariffs was on hold, and just days after China’s top economic advisor, Vice Premier Liu He, led a delegation to the U.S, President Donald Trump announced that he will proceed with its proposal to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China, and put into place new limits on Chinese investments in U.S. high-tech industries.

China’s Commerce Ministry said in an announcement that Trump’s acts were “obviously in violation” of their recent agreement, and urged the U.S. to move in the direction of the spirit of their joint communication.

The Trump administration said that it is moving forward with tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods as punishment for intellectual property theft.

May 31, 2018
WORLD STAGE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
U.S. President Fuels Trade Wars by Imposing Steep Trade Tariffs on U.S. Allies
 
On May 31, 2018, in an attempt to reduce a trade deficit, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed steep metal tariffs on U.S. allies.  Mr. Trump completed this act after announcing the tariffs two months ago, when he offered a temporary reprieve by extending temporary exemptions.

U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, said that Canada, Mexico and the European Union would be subject to the whopping 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum, beginning immediately on June 1, 2018.  Mr. Ross offered that Brazil, Argentina and Australia agreed to limit steel exports to the U.S. to avoid tariffs.

End of NAFTA?
During his election campaign, candidate Donald Trump threatened to rip up the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The intent of NAFTA is to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with the phased elimination of tariffs.

Most economic analyst agree that NAFTA has been beneficial to the economies of North America, for the average citizen. They do agree, however, that a small minority of workers in industries exposed to trade competition have been harmed.

Canada has received significant net benefit in the industries that experienced the deepest tariff cuts. And after a temporary increase, unemployment has fallen.

Mexico and the United States have benefited more from the tariff reductions. Trade increased 41% for the U.S., 118% for Mexico, but only 11% for Canada.

Many American manufacturers move their assembly operations to Mexico, with a loss in jobs for Americans and a 15.5% increase in income for Mexican citizens. However, NAFTA has added $80 billion to the US economy since its implementation. In addition, many American small businesses depend on exporting their products to Canada or Mexico under NAFTA, supporting over 140,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.

Newly Elected Trump and NAFTA
Shortly after his election, President Trump said he would begin renegotiating the terms of NAFTA and has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA.

In July 2017, the Trump administration provided a detailed list of changes that he wanted made, with a focus on reducing the U.S. trade deficit.

Negotiations have been ongoing.

Wide-Ranging Impact of New Tariffs
The economic lives of over one billion people are expected to be directly impacted by this change in trade relations prompted by the U.S. President, including the 323 million citizens of the US, the 128 million citizens of Mexico, the 36 million Canadian citizens, and the 508 million inhabitants of the European Union.

Allies Impacted by New Policy


 

Ally Response: Retaliation
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said that the “tariffs are totally unacceptable” and “are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States”. Officials said at a press conference that Canada would enact tariffs on $12.8 billion in US exports, effective July 1, 2018.

President of the European Commission said that Europe would impose duties on a “number of imports from the U.S.”, such as alcohol, U.S.-made vehicles, cigarettes, peanut butter, cranberry juice, and denim. It was also added that they did everything to avoid this outcome.

Mexico’s economic minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said that Mexico would place tariffs on U.S.-made pork, flat steel, apples, grapes, cheese, fruit, lamps and other products. 

He also said that tit-for-tat measures would complicate talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to revise NAFTA, saying that it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal before Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.

May 31, 2018
WORLD STAGE
RUSSIAN OFFICIAL IN NORTH KOREA
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
and Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea
Top Russian Official Meets with North Korean Leader
 
On May 31, 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea in Pyongyang.  Lavrov's meeting with Kim Jong-un was the first by a senior Russian official since Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011.

Invitation to Visit Russia Extended to Kim Jong-un
While in attendance, Lavrov extended an invitation, on behalf of President Vladimir Putin, for Kim Jong-un to attend an economic forum in Vladiovostok in September 2018.

North Korean Diplomacy Visit to U.S. Concurrent with Lavrov's Visit
By coincidence, as Lavrov met with Kim, senior North Korean officials were in New York meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempt to get the US-North Korea nuclear summit back on track, after it was cancelled by President Trump.

On June 4, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Kim Jong-un has not responded to Putin's invitation.

June 1, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
UNITED STATES - CANADA - MEXICO
U.S. vs Canada & Mexico
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (L) and
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
NAFTA Negotiations Stall when White House Forces Preconditions
 
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect on January 1, 1994, 

Originators of NAFTA
41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush (L), 18th Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (C) and 53rd Mexican President Carlos Salinas

and was signed by U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas. The agreement lifted tariffs (taxes on imports and exports) on virtually all goods traded among the US, Canada, and Mexico.

In April 2017, President Trump threatened to pull out of NAFTA and with that, Canada and Mexico pushed for renegotiation instead.

Today, canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that he has declined further meetings with the U.S. to discuss new terms of the NAFTA deal. Trudeau said that because he felt that they were close to an agreement that only required a "final deal-making moment", that he offered to travel to Washington to complete talks on the renegotiation.

President Trump applauded by VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (c) being applauded by Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Trudeau said that as follow-up to his offer, Vice President Mike Pence called to say that President Trump would only meet with him if he agreed to put a five-year sunset clause into the deal.

Prime Minister Trudeau said that such a precondition was "totally unacceptable". In fact, Trudeau has long said that he wouldn't agree to a sunset clause because businesses need certainty when they make long-term investments.  He also said that he stressed to the White House that "there was no possibility of any Canadian prime minister signing a NAFTA deal that included a five-year sunset clause".

The White House released a statement saying, "Earlier today, this message was conveyed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada: The United State will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all." During his election campaign, President Trump labelled NAFTA "the worst trade deal" ever signed by the United States, and blamed NAFTA for wiping out US manufacturing jobs because it allowed companies to move factories to Mexico for cheaper labor costs.

Trudeau made a statement saying, "We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the U.S. administration".

June 1, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WASHINGTON DC
Scott Pruitt

14th Administrator of US EPA

Oklahoma Attorney General and State Senator
EPA Becomes More Lenient on Regulating Asbestos
 
On June 1, 2018, Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator announced revision of the Toxic Substances Control Act to scale back safety evaluations for 10 chemicals.  In addition, it will no longer prohibit new uses (or review existing use) of asbestos, one of the world’s most notorious carcinogens that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

Health Risks of Asbestos No Longer Considered
The EPA will no longer consider health risks and impacts of asbestos already in the environment when evaluating dangers associated with the chemical compound.   It will evaluate and require approval for new uses but not inquire into existing environmental use.

EPA Given More Power
Under Obama Administration
In 2016, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, which amended Toxic Substances Control Act to give the EPA power to ban asbestos and other dangerous chemicals.  The law gave the EPA up to three years to weigh the risks of asbestos to human health and the environment before taking action.

In 1989, the EPA banned most products containing asbestos, but the regulation was overturned by an appeals court two years later, after the EPA was sued by an asbestos manufacturer. 

Asbestos is completely banned in more than 50 countries, but despite more than 15,000 American deaths from mesothelioma, asbestosis and other diseases triggered by asbestos exposure, the United States remains one of the few advanced countries in the world that has not banned all uses.

President Trump’s Views on Asbestos
In his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, Trump argued that the association of the asbestos with health risks was part of a mob-created conspiracy. “I believe that the movement against asbestos was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal. Great pressure was put on politicians, and as usual, the politicians relented”.

June 1, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH AMERICA
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea
President Trump Restores Previously Cancelled Nuclear Summit
 
On June 1, 2018, after meeting with a top aide of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, President Trump announced that the US-North Korean Nuclear Summit, that he rescinded the week prior (due to North Korea’s ‘anger and open hostility’), was back on.

June 4, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
RUSSIA
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Vladimir Putin, Russian Presiden
Russian Counter-Sanctions Retaliate Against the U.S. and Its Allies
 
Putin Signs Legislation
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a bill approved by Russian lawmakers last month that is intended to defend Russia's "economic interests and security". The bill was drafted by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and the heads of all four parliamentary caucuses. It was drafted in April after the U.S. Treasury Department placed 24 Russians, including 14 corporations on a sanctions list.

Ties Can Be Severed with Unfriendly Countries
The legislation gives Putin the power to sever ties with unfriendly countries, and to ban trade of goods with those countries.

Russian Citizens Not to Be Impacted by Legislations
Even though the legislation intends to force firms to choose between doing business with Russia or with Russia antagonists, it carefully avoids hurting the Russian economy and dealings with current business partners. The countersanctions do not apply to imported essential items needed by Russian citizens, for which no replacements are produced in Russia.

June 5, 2018
EUROPE CONTINENT
GERMANY
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Angela Merkle, German Chancello
German Lawmakers Call for Dismissal of US Ambassador
 
Richard Grenell, US Ambassador to Germany
Richard Grenell
U.S. Ambassador to Germany
Longest Serving U.S. Spokesman at UN
Highest-Ranking Openly Gay Official in a Republican Administration

September 2017: Trump Nominates for Ambassador to Germany
In September 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Grenell as U.S. Ambassador to Germany.  On April 26, 2018, he was confirmed by a 56-42 vote. 

May 7, 2018: Grenell Sworn in by Vice President Pence
On May 7, 2018, Grenell was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence, making him the highest-ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration.

June 3, 2018: Breach of Diplomatic Protocol
In a June 3, 2018 interview, while in Berlin, Germany, Grenell said, There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on… I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders." 

This was described as a breach of diplomatic protocol, as ambassadors are expected to be politically neutral in the domestic politics of the countries where they serve.

June 5, 2018: German Lawmakers Call for Dismissal of Undiplomatic Diplomat
German lawmakers are angry and irritated by remarks made by the newly appointed ambassador.  A member of the German parliament said, "In the past, Germany was fortunate to have great US ambassadors who built bridges and did not do party politics”.  Several prominent German politicians have called for Grenell's dismissal. 

Martin Schulz, former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, said, "What this man is doing is unheard of in international diplomacy. If a German ambassador were to say in Washington that he is there to boost the Democrats, he would have been kicked out immediately."

June 5, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
MEXICO
Donald J. Trump, US President and
Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico President
Mexico Retaliates with $3 Billion in Tariffs on U.S. Goods
 
In retaliation for the Trump administration's recently announced tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum products, Mexico has announced 15% to 25% tariffs on several agricultural products, as well as on American bourbon and U.S. pork.

Mexico, Largest Market for U.S.
Mexico is the largest volume market for U.S. pork producers, or 25% of all U.S. pork shipments.  Mexico, as well as China, are important to the U.S. pork industry because they buy product that American typically don’t buy, giving an edge in profits.

 

June 5, 2018
WORLD STAGE
NORTH AMERICA
United Nations Calls on President Trump to Stop Violating Human Rights
 
United Nations Opinion:
Trump Administration is
in Violation of Human Rights

The United Nations human rights office has called on U.S. President Donald J. Trump to stop violating human rights and to bring an "immediate halt" to its current practice of separating the children of immigrants from their parents when crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. The UN states that there is "nothing normal about detaining children".

United Nations Opinion:
Children Should Come First
U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Ravina Shamdasani, remarked "The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles... The child's best interest should alway come first."

United Nations Opinion:
The U.S. Must Stop
Strongarm Immigration Policy
The Trump administration announced adoption of a "zero tolerance" immigration policy in April 2018.

The U.N. rights office doesn't believe that children or adults should be jailed for illegal migration, saying it should not be seen as a crime, but an administrative offense, and advises the US to immediately cease the practice of criminalizing what should be an administrative matter.

June 6, 2018
AFRICA CONTINENT
GHANA
Nana Akufo-Addo
President of Ghana

January 2017 - Present

Attorney General (2001-2003)

Minister for Foreign Affairs (2003-2007)
Ghana President Dissolves Ghana Football Association
 
Football (soccer) was brought to the Gold Coast near the end of the 19th century by merchants from Europe, who had by then conquered the coastal areas and built forts and castles to facilitate trade. In their leisure time, the sailors would play football among themselves and with the indigenous people.

Ghana Football Association Logo

The popularity of the game spread quickly along the coast and the first football club was formed. As the popularity of the game grew even larger, other amateur clubs were formed along the coast, including. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) was the governing body of association football in Ghana from 1957 to 2018.

President Akufo-Addo has dissolved the Ghana Football Association (GFA) after a private investigative company documented bribery and corruption related to the game. Sports Minister Isaac Asiama confirmed that the dissolution was effective immediately, with all activities and functions ceased, and all GFA officers prohibited from identifying themselves as FA officials.

Kwesi Nayantakyi
Former GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi
Under Investigation

The President of the Association (and FIFA Council member), Kwesi Nyantakyi, was filmed allegedly collecting $65,000 from 'investors' to influence the President Akufo-Addo and his vice-president to get contracts.

The Ethics Committee of FIFA organization banned Nyantakyi from soccer and all football activities for 90 days, while he is under investigation for accepting cash gifts.  Nyantakyi submitted his resignation.

All of this became apparent after the screening of a documentary film, titled "Number 12", that showed Nyantakyi taking cash from undercover reporters posing a businessmen. The Police have begun investigating all persons indicted in the documentary.

June 6, 2018
EUROPE CONTINENT
EUROPEAN UNION
Donald J. Trump, US President and
European Union Flag and Member States
European Union Retaliates with $3-$4 Billion in Tariffs on U.S. Imports
 
In retaliation for the Trump administration recently announced tariffs on U.S. allies, including the European Union, the EU has announced that as of next month, July 2018, tariffs of $3-$4 billion will be imposed on U.S. steel, agricultural and other products, including bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

The EU has stated that they have been forced to introduce “rebalancing” tariffs.

June 6, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
WASHINGTON DC
Scott Pruitt

14th Administrator of US EPA

Oklahoma Attorney General and State Senator
EPA Ordered to Share Evidence of Anti-Science Climate Change Claims
 
On June 6, 2018, a judge in Washington D.C. ordered the EPA to comply with a legal request to produce scientific evidence backing Pruitt’s claims about climate change.  The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) previously filed a Freedom of Information Act Request to the EPA, for release of studies and documents that support the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claims regarding global climate change.  Pruitt’s claims stand in disagreement with 97% of climate scientist.

February 17, 2017: Pruitt Nominated by President Trump Assumes EPA Office
Scott Pruitt was nominated for the EPA position by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 17, 2017.

As Attorney General of Oklahoma
Pruitt Sued EPA 14 Times

As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA at least 14 times regarding the agency’s actions.  In his campaigns for Attorney General, he received major corporate and employee campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

March 10, 2017:Pruitt Claims No Relationship Between Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming
In a speech, the new head of the U.S. EPA suggested that the EPA had no legal right to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.  On the other hand, a signature effort of the Obama administration was to use agencies like the EPA to reduce emission of greenhouse gases.

Despite a consensus in the scientific community that carbon dioxide, a bi-product of burning fossil fuels is one of the significant drivers of climate change, when interviewed, Mr. Pruitt stated that carbon dioxide emissions were not the primary cause of global warming, saying “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see”.

Environmental activists quickly condemned his comments. “This is like hearing the head of NASA saying the Earth is flat,” said Vera Pardee of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s absolutely terrifying that the man in charge of the EPA denies fundamental facts about climate change.”

August 31, 2017: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility File FOIA Case Against EPA
On August 31, 2017, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEERS) file a Freedom of Information Act case against the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce evidence of research and scientific facts to support claims made by EPA head Scott Pruitt regarding climate change.

February 18, 2018: Pruitt Suggests Global Warming May Be Beneficial to Humans
Ignoring the findings of climate science, EPA head Scott Pruitt suggested that humans might benefit from climate change.  He admitted that humans are contributing to climate “to a certain degree”, but that humans have flourished most during times of warming trends, and that the climate warming is not necessarily a bad thing.

June 6, 2018
WORLD STAGE
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT IN CHINA
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Vladimir Putin Vows Contribution to Success of US-North Korea Summit
 
While visiting China, in preparation for a scheduled security meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to work and contribute to the success of the UN-North Korean nuclear summit in any possible way, indicating that his government is willing to jointly negotiate with the U.S. and North Korea.  Putin said, “We will be waiting for the outcome of the meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and will contribute to the success of this meeting in every possible way”.

Putin also said that the international community should agree to help North Korea’s economic development in exchange for denuclearization. 

June 6, 2018
WORLD STAGE
UNITED STATES - CHINA
Donald J. Trump, US President
and Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
Trump Administrations Offers China's ZTE a 'Do-Over' by Removing Imposed Sanctions for Trade Violations
 
Deja Vu: Commerce Secretary Announces $1 Billion Fine
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday announced a deal with Chinese telecommunications company ZTE that includes a $1 billion fine. This is the second fine of $1 billion imposed on ZTE in its trade violations case.  In 2017, ZTE paid the U.S. $1.19 billion to settle criminal and civil charges for illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea.

Stipulations of Original Agreement Required 7-Year Sanctions to Be Imposed for Violations
Along with the required payment of $1.9 billion in 2017, a seven-year export ban was applied, as stipulated by the agreement. However, the 7-year sanction was lifted and suspended, on the condition of no further violations by the Chinese company.

When U.S. regulators found that ZTE was once again in violation of the agreement, the seven-year ban was imposed as promised.

Trump Administration Lifts 7-Year Sanctions to Offer ZTE a “Do-Over”
On May 13, 2018, President Trump tweeted "too many jobs in China" were being lost  because of the penalty suffered by ZTE for their twice violation of agreements.  Trump then set his administration to the task of relieving the company of the consequence of their violations.

Only Minor Changes from Original Agreement Violated by ZTE
On June 6, 2018, U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross announced a “do-over”  --- ZTE would once again pay a $1 billion fine, reopen its company to U.S. regulators, and change its board of directors and executive team --- per the original agreement.  However, with this new agreement, the company is also required to set aside $400 million in escrow to cover any future violations.

June 8, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
CHINA - RUSSIA
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and
Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
Vladimir Putin Arrives in China for State Visit
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing for a state visit.  China is Russia’s largest trading partner, accounting for up to 15% of Russian international trade in recent years, representing approximately $90 billion.

Jinping and Putin, both authoritarian rulers of communist countries, represent the most powerful Chinese and Russian leaders in decades. Putin was recently elected to his fourth term in office and Jinping has had all term limits removed while serving as president, opening the door for a lifetime of service as leader of China.

Both have been instrumental and influential in pushing the upcoming nuclear summit between U.S. Presdient Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

June 8, 2018
WORLD STAGE
UNITED STATES - RUSSIA - U.S. ALLIES
Donald J. Trump, U.S. President and Vladimir Putin, Russia President
U.S. President Advocates for Russian Leader at G7 Summit
 
44th Annual G7 Summit Begins
The Group of Seven (G7) is a membership forum of the seven of countries that possess the world’s largest and advanced economies, representing $280 trillion, or 62%, of global net wealth.  The organization, which typically meets annually, was founded to facilitate management of shared, global economic interests, in response to the collapse of the exchange rate in 1971 and the 1970s energy crisis and the recession that followed.

G7 Member Countries
  1. Canada
  2. France
  3. Germany
  4. Italy
  5. Japan
  6. United Kingdom
  7. United States
In addition, the European Union is also represented at summit meetings.

G8 - 1 = G7
Russia Ejected
In 1998, Russia, even though not a major advanced economy with the financial weight of other members, formerly joined the group and the Group of Eight (G8) was formed.  However, Russia was ejected from the group sixteen years later, in 2014, following the Russian annexation of Crimea.

44th G7 Summit in Canada
Trump Advocates for Russia
On June 8, 2018, just prior to the 44th G7 summit in Quebec, Canada, U.S. President Donald Trump advocated for Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that Russia should be  reinstated to the G7.
"… Russia should be in this meeting… Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?  They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table… we have a world to run.
US President Donald Trump

June 9, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
RUSSIA - CHINA
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and Xi Jinping, President People's Republic of China
Russia and China Strengthen Economic and Trade Alliance
 
On Vladimir Putin's state visit to China, he and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has agreed to increase the use of the ruble and yuan in trade settlements, to increase trade volumes, and to strengthen collaboration on trade and economic matters.

With trade growing steadily between Russia and China, they are moving towards bypassing the US dollar and other Western currencies altogether, in favor the the ruble and yuan, Russian and Chinese currency units, respectively. With the passing of years and the strengthening of their relationship, the percentage of trade payments in their own currencies has been on the rise.

June 9, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
WORLD STAGE - EURASIA
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Logo
Communist Bloc World Leaders Arrive in Qingdao China for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit
 
One of World's Most
Powerful Organizations
World leaders arrive in China for the 18th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the world's most power organizations.  The SCO is a political, economic, and security organization, created jointly in 2001 by the leaders of: 
  • China
  • Russia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan
and on June 9, 2017, two other countries joined as full members:
  • India
  • Pakistan
Observer States
Along with the eight permanent member states, there are four recognized observer states, who have applied for full membership:
Russia and Iran Handshake
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • Iran
  • Mongolia
Dialog Partners
In observance of share goals and principles, and an expressed desire to participate in partnerships, the following two countries have been designated as "dialog partners":
  • Sri Lank
  • Turkey

June 9, 2018
WORLD STAGE
UNITED STATES - U.S. ALLIES
Donald J. Trump, U.S. President
U.S. President Trump Calls for Elimination of Tariffs in Favor of Free Trade with Allies
 
Several days after announcing steep increases in tariffs against all U.S. allies --- 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, President Trump held a news conference at the G7 summit in Canada saying,
Ultimately that's what you want. You want a tariff free. You want no barriers. And you want no subsidies... I did suggest it. [But] because you have some cases where countries are subsidizing industries... that's not fair.


June 9, 2018
WORLD STAGE
UNITED STATES - U.S. ALLIES
44th Annual G7 Summit of Allied World Leaders Comes to a Close
 
G7 and the European Union
The G7 is composed of the seven wealthiest advanced countries in the world, representing over 70% of global net wealth. Of the group, which actually includes the European Union, the European Union is the wealthiest, followed (in order) by the United States, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada.

The People's Republic of China would actually rank second-largest, holding over 10% of the worlds net wealth, but is excluded because they are not considered an "advanced" country.

44th Annual G7 Meeting
and a U.S. Plea for Russia
Since 1975, the group meets annually to discuss economic policies. On June 8-9, 2018, the 44th annual G7 summit was held in Quebec Canada.

On the first day of the summit, US President Donald Trump made a public announcement pushing for the reinstatement of Russia, suspended from the G8 group in 2014. This a second-level of opposition posed against U.S. allies prior to the summit. Several days earlier, his administration imposed stiff tariffs on trade with all historical allies and partners of the United States, in an effort to "protect national security" and create a "fair balance in trade".

Post Summit Statements: Donald Trump, United States 
Relationship with Allies a Perfect 10
Upon his early leave from the summit, Donald Trump stated to the press, "“I would say that the level of the relationship is a 10. We have a great relationship — Angela and Emmanuel [Macron] and Justin [Trudeau]. I would say the relationship is a 10... The relationship that I’ve had [with the other leaders] is great, so you can tell that to your fake friends at CNN".

Post Summit Statements:
Justin Trudeau, Canada
Consensus Among Allies
In Justin Trudeau's press conference, he announced that the leaders of the G7 alliance were able to agree to a joint communique, based on wording that allowed them to come to a consensus on difficult issues like Russia and trade.

Post Summit Statements:
Donald Trump, United States
Rescinds Agreement 
So Much for a Perfect 10
Just hours after agreeing to the joint communique with G7 allies, President Trump tweeted that he would rescind his support of the agreement and that he told his officials to abandon American support for the document.

Trump spewed vile derisions of Trudeau, calling him "weak" and a "liar", saying in a tweets:

Trump G7 Tweet 1 of 2
"... I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique..."


Trump G7 Tweet 2 of 2
"... Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our G7 meeting only to give a news coference after I left... Very dishonest & weak."



June 10, 2018
ASIA CONTINENT
ITALY - MALTA
Matteo Salvini

Deputy Prime Minister of Italy

Minister of the Interior

Federal Secretary of Northern League
Over 600 Rescued African Migrants Seeking Asylum Denied Entry Forced to Stay Aboard Ship
 
Charity Conducts 6 Rescue
Operations to Recover
Migrants from Sea
In six separate rescue operations, over 600 migrants were rescused off of Libya's coast and placed aboard the Aquarius, a ship ran by the charity SOS Méditerranée. SOS Mediterranee is now tyring to gain permission to unload the passengers at a safe port.

Italy Refuses Entry
Orders Ship to Stay at Sea
Italy is the main entry for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe. However, when a request was made to dock in Italy, the request was denied. Instead, the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre ordered them to stand by in their current position, 35 miles from Italy and 27 miles from Malta.

Italy Takes Hardline on Immigration
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, has chosen to stand by Italy's new tough policy stance on immigration and suggested that the ship, Aquarius, dock in Malta instead.

President of Malta
Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
President of Malta

Malta Denies Jurisdiction
and Also Refuses Entry
However, Malta refused entry, stating that because the migrants were rescused from Libyan waters, they are out of Malta's jurisdiction and are instead the responsibility of Italy.

In response to Malta's position, Salvini replied, "Malta takes in nobody," he said. "France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons... It is not possible for Malta to say 'no' to every request for help. The Good Lord put Malta closer than Sicily to Africa."

Italy Planning to Increase
Migrant Deportations,
Considers Suing Rescuers
Mr. Salvini, who is hoping to increase Italy's deportations of migrants, says that he is considering action against organizations that rescue migrants at sea. He also thinks that those seeking asylum, who wind up in Italy, should be relocated throughout the European Union.

Desperate Journey of African Migrants by Sea
African Migrants at Sea

African men, women, and children (some unaccompanied by adults) leave their homes in sub-Saharan African for various reasons. Most are fleeing the brutally and harsh living conditions brought by war and violence. In desparation, the leave from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya by sea to seek refuge and asylum in other countries.

Journey Often Leads
to Slavery in Libya
Attempts to reach European countries from Africa, requires most migrants to travel through waters controlled by Libya.  And, often they are intercepted by Lybian authories and placed in detention centers.

Once under Lybian control they are starved, beaten, raped, and used and loaned out as slaves.





June 11, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
NATIONWIDE
Donald Trump Officially Ends Obama-Era Net Neutrality Consumer Protections
 
Internet Services Providers Must Treat All Users Equally When Providing Services
Net neutrality occurs when Internet providers treat Internet traffic equally, so that speeds are not slowed or increased based upon the amount of money you're able to pay Internet Service Providers. It levels the playing field in access to modern technology, so that a person attempting a successful venture with the Internet as the backbone of their services or operation, will have an equal chance of success against someone who has more money to pay for speed.

Internet Service Providers Cannot Block or Slow Customer Access to Bandwidth and Speedy Services
It also protectes Internet users from service providers who over sell their services, without making additional investment in expansion, so block or slow down internet services to manage greater numbers of users, at the same or increased costr.

Trump Administration Ends
Consumer Protection of
Net Neutrality
In November 2017, Donald Trump, new U.S. President announced plans to totally repeal net neutrality as established in the Obamaa-era.

June 11, 2018
NORTH AMERICA CONTINENT
UNITED STATES - RUSSIA
Donald J. Trump, U.S. President and Vladimir Putin, Russia President
After Advocating for Russia Trump Administration Issues Politically Correct Sanctions
 
When meeting with U.S. allies at the 44th G7 summit, at a news conference, President Trump advocated for the inclusion of Russia at the summit, stating that it might not be "politically correct", but thought that Russia should be reinstated because they "have a world to run".

Putin a Trump Ally in
U.S.-North Korea Summit
And while in China, with reliance upon Russian leader Vladimir Putin for concilatory aid in meeting the goals of the U.S.-North Korea nuclear summit, President Trump's administration announced the most politically correct actions against Russia to counter Trump's opoen promotion of the Russia leader, in announcing sanctions against Russia for violations against U.S. national security.

Context of
Trump Administration's Announced Sanctions

July 27, 2017
The U.S. Congress votes nearly unanimously, in a bipartisan vote, to pass legislation for setting new sanctions on Russia.  The bill was designed to punish Russia for alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and cyber attacks. 

In addition to provisions for sanctions, the legislation limits the U.S. President Trump's ability to lift prior sanctions or return diplomatic compounds seized from Russia under the Obama administration.

August 2, 2017
President Trump Opposes
"Flawed Legislation" But Signs
President Donald Trump opposed the legislation as it worked its way through Congress, claiming that it was “flawed legislation”.  He believed that it impinged upon his executive powers and interfered with his goal of improving relationships with Russia.  However, in August 2017 President Trump signed Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act into law.

January 29, 2017
Despite Congressional Mandate Trump Declines to Impose Sanctions on Russia
When the January 29, 2018 deadline arrived for imposing  Russian sanctions, the Trump administration refused to do so, telling Congress just the mere passing of the legislation was already “serving as a deterrent”, so there was no actual need to implement further penalties against Russia for violations of U.S. national security. 

The administration used a clause in the legislation that gives permission to the President to postpone imposing sanctions on people or entities if he determines they are scaling back their transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors, as long as he notifies the appropriate congressional committees at least every 180 days about such progress.

 A spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, Heather Nauert, commented as follows: “From that perspective, if the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent… Today, we have informed Congress that this legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defense sales… Since the enactment of the ... legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions.”

Eliot Engel US Congressman
Eliot Engel
U.S. House of Representative
New York 16th District
House Foreign Affairs Committee

U.S. Congressman
Eliot Engel Addresses Trump
Administration's Failure to Impose Russia Sanctions

Eliot Engel address the Trump administration’s failure to uphold law and statements made by Heather Nauert of the U.S. State Department by saying, “The State Department claims that the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia’s aggressive behavior. How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that’s already underway? It just doesn’t make sense… I’m fed up waiting for this Administration to protect our country and our elections.

MARCH 15, 2018
Trump Administration Claims
Mantle of Being “Tough on Russia”  After Finally Yielding to Congressional Mandate
The Trump administration announced that it will enact new sanctions on Russia for its attempts to interfere in the 2016 US election through cyber intrusion.

The sanctions are primarily aimed at Russian intelligence agency, but also includes sanctions aimed at the Russian Internet Research Agency, responsible for producing divisive political posts on American social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

March 20, 2018
President Trumps Calls
Vladimir Putin to Congratulate
On Re-election 
In other news, it was reported that the Russian Presidential election involved ballot box stuff and forced voting.

March 26, 2018
Following Chemica Attack
U.S. Joins NATO Allies
in Expelling Russian Diplomats
The U.S. joined its NATO allies in expelling Russian diplomats for spying and use of chemical weapons on allied soil. This following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury England on March 4, 2018.

The Trump administration announced that it had ordered the expulsion of over 60 Russian officials from the United States as spies, and the closure of a Russian consulate located in Seattle, in close proximity to a U.S. submarine base.

An official of the administration spoke saying,  "The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies, and partners around the world in response with Russia's use of a military grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom — the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world… Today's actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia's ability to spy on Americans, and to conduct covert operations that threaten America's national security… With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences."

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement, "We welcome today's actions by our allies, which clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law."

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, called the U.S. decision to expel Russian diplomats "wrongful" and said it was harming already weak U.S.-Russian ties.

APRIL 15, 2018
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
Announces New Economic Sanctions to be Imposed
On April 15, 2018, two days after U.S.-led airstrikes on Syrian chemical weapons facilities, U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. Treasury Department would address new economic sanctions against Russia for enabling the government of Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, stating, “Russian sanctions will be coming down, [U.S. Treasury] Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those Monday if he hasn’t already and they will have to do with chemical equipment used by Assad”.

 Ambassador Haley further stated that Russia has blocked six attempts by the UN Security Council to make it easier to investigate the use of chemical weapons.

April 16, 2018
White House Press Secretary
Announces No New Economic Russia Sanctions
On the day following Nikki Haley’s announcement, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced there was no plan in the works to impose sanctions on Russia for its involvement in Syria’s use of chemical weapons, stating, “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

April 17, 2018:
White House Economic Adviser Announces Nikki Haley's 'Momentary Confusion'
On April 17, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that Haley “got ahead of the curve” when she announced that the administration would roll out sanctions the following day, stating, “There might have been some momentary confusion about that.”

April 17, 2018
Nikki Haley Responds
to "Momentary Confusion" Comment
In response to Larry Kudlow's comments regarding "momentary confusion", Nikki Haley responded, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused”.