Friday, June 02, 2017

Trump vs the world: Paris edition

The United States will formally withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but will seek to re-enter the agreement under more favourable terms. Speaking at the White House this morning, US President Donald Trump said: “We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great”. Trump’s decision triggers a formal withdrawal process that will culminate in November 2020, the same month he will seek re-election. World leaders reacted furiously, with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel calling the US withdrawal a “brutal act”. In a statement, former president Barack Obama said “even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I am confident that our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way”.

Before the decision, Coalition backbenchers were already urging the government to rethink Australia’s commitment to the Paris accord if the US withdrew. Liberal MPs Eric Abetz, Ian Goodenough, Ian Macdonald, Tony Pasin and environment and energy committee chair Craig Kelly have departed from the government line that Australia will stay committed to its Paris obligations regardless of the US position, with Goodenough telling Fairfax Australia should “not take unilateral action without consultation and national debate”. The news will embolden climate sceptics in the government and deepen the divide between backbench conservatives and Cabinet, placing additional pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has been named as a person of interest in an FBI investigation into ties between Russian intelligence and the Trump presidential campaign. While Farage has not been accused of wrongdoing and is not a suspect in the investigation, his links with hacker Julian Assange, Trump adviser Roger Stone and White House chief of staff Steve Bannon have placed him on the FBI’s radar as a possible source of information. The divisive UKIP figure has appeared on Russian news outlet RT several times, and was an outspoken Trump supporter during the campaign.

And in news that seems especially timely today, a crack in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf has grown 17 kilometres in the last six days. The speed and direction of the rift’s progress suggest the rift will soon break a large section of ice away from the shelf’s main body, creating an iceberg roughly the size of Trinidad and potentially causing the entire shelf to collapse. It is unknown whether the ice shelf has considered the importance of coal jobs in Wyoming.

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That’s like saying they’re all blokes. Do you think there’s a link between testicles and terrorism?

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The secret evangelicals at Planned Parenthood

“The only place Elizabeth could think to turn was the one place she’d been taught forever to avoid. There are many more women like her, all around the country. Women who grew up in conservative Christian environments that push abstinence-only education, unwavering anti-abortion attitudes, and adherence to the Republican party line – and who, out of necessity, are secretly visiting Planned Parenthood clinics for pap smears, birth control, STD tests, and other reproductive health services, including abortions.” marie claire

At his own wake, celebrating life and the gift of death

“Two days before he was scheduled to die, John Shields roused in his hospice bed with an unusual idea. He wanted to organize an Irish wake for himself. It would be old-fashioned with music and booze, except for one notable detail – he would be present.” the new york times

The rise and fall of Torontos classiest con man

“Regan is a man at war – with landlords, car dealers, courts, hotels, clubs, and civic institutions. He is at war with the NHL and the Catholic Church. He is at war with law, at war with facts, at war with human nature. He’s even at war with gravity – as his cons come crashing down, he refuses to do anything but pretend to rise. One of the great Canadian swindlers, he’s drifted penniless into the upper class on audacity, legal chicanery, and empty talk. More important, he is at war with himself, convinced, against mounting evidence, that he is good.” the walrus



Which nation is resisting efforts to outlaw child marriage?

“Mention child marriages and images of adolescent girls with middle-aged men sporting beards and wearing long traditional robes is what springs to mind for most people. It’s a practise largely attributed to Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures, as if people in the West are no longer involved in such habits.”   trt world


The United States.

“Contrary to widespread perceptions, child marriages are still prevalent in the United States as well. Even though the US government vehemently criticises other countries for their records of child marriages – a US State Department document describing it as a ‘human rights abuse that contributes to economic hardship’, for instance – the numbers are quite shocking within US borders. More than 167,000 children below the age of 17 have taken marital vows in 38 American states between 2000 and 2010.”  trt world


and finally:

Google’s breakdown of what Americans don’t know how to spell, state by state

“In honor of the National Spelling Bee, which starts Wednesday, Google decided to see what words people in each of the 50 states struggle to spell. To do this, employees looked at Google searches of ‘how to spell ______’ in each of the states from Jan. 1 to April 30 this year. Whatever word filled that blank most often in each state became denoted as that state’s ‘most misspelled word’. People in Wisconsin, for example, most frequently searched for how to spell Wisconsin.” the washington post