International: Trump’s Appointment of Stephen Bannon Stirs Controversy

US President-elect Donald Trump has stirred controversy over his appointment of Stephen Bannon as the White House chief strategist.

Bannon was Trump’s campaign leader and the chief executive of conservative website Breitbart News, which he declared in July as “the platform for the alt-right”. The website has accused President Barack Obama of importing “more hating Muslims”, relating influx of refugees to disease spread, and telling female victims of cyberbullying to “just log off” and stop “screwing up the internet for men”.

Bannon has been accused of changing the Breitbart site to attract far-right, extremist followers, with anti-“globalist” views. Southern Poverty Law Centre tweeted, “Stephen Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white, ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations also criticised the website for publishing “misogynistic and racist stories targeting women, people of colour and immigrants.”

“[Bannon] is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies,” Ben Shapiro, former Breitbart editor said earlier this year.

In 1996, Bannon’s ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard accused him of domestic violence. In 2007, Bannon allegedly objected sending his daughters to a California school because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews”.

Bannon also said that women leaders in the US “wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the 7 Sisters schools”, but they would instead be “pro-family” and “have husbands”.

Bannon has expressed dislike of cultural and political elites. In 2010, Bannon told Political Vindication Radio, “What we need to do is bitch-slap the Republican Party.” Last year, he accused House speaker Paul Ryan of being “a total and complete sellout of the American people.”

“What drives Steve is the way the political establishment is holding back American politics,” said Joel Pollak, editor at large at Breitbart.

“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed antisemites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the people’s house,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive at the Anti-Defamation League.

 

International: 1960s Activist and Politician Tom Hayden Dies

American social activist and politician Tom Hayden has died at the age of 76 in California following stroke-related complications.

Hayden was a key figure for the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s. He was the founding member of Students for a Democratic Society and the main author of the group’s 1962 manifesto Port Huron Statement.

Hayden was one of the organizers of the 1968 anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention, for which he was convicted on incitement and conspiracy charges. He was also involved in Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience campaign against racial segregation.

Hayden won the 1982 election to California state Assembly after a number of losses and went on to win a state Senate seat in 1992. In total, Hayden served for 18 years.

Hayden has written and edited 20 books on politics and inequality and has taught at UCLA, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Occidental College, and the Harvard Institute of Politics.

International: Thailand Dispels Concerns Following King’s Death

Thailand has reaffirmed that royal succession and election will not be a concern following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The king died at the age of 88 and was the world’s longest-reigning monarch, having presided the country for 70 years.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn said he would delay the ascension to the throne to mourn his father with the people for an unspecified period. In the meantime, the head of the royal advisory council, Prem Tinsulanonda will stand in as regent.

“[The prince] said at this time everyone is sad, he is still sad, so every side should wait until we pass this sad time,” said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

“When the religious ceremony and funeral have passed for a while, then it will be an appropriate time to proceed.”

The Bangkok Post newspaper also reported that the general election scheduled for next year will not be delayed.

“The government has reaffirmed its commitment to following the roadmap for general elections scheduled for late next year,” the newspaper said.

The government also stated that the economy and government will continue to work as normal.

International: Fox News’ Chinatown Segment Sparks Outrage

Fox News’ segment on Chinatown has attracted criticism for its “racist stereotyping” of Chinese American communities.

The “Watters’ World” is a regular segment hosted by Jesse Watters in The O’Reilly Factor. In an episode aired on October 3, Watters was shown going to Chinatown to ask the community’s political opinion following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statement on China.

Critics argue that Watters made fun of Chinese Americans’ culture and portrayed Chinese American citizens who are unable to speak English as politically ignorant for not being able to answer Watters’s questions. Critics also condemn Watters for asking a man if he knew karate (a Japanese martial art) and staging a mock fight in a taekwondo (Korean martial art) center that was followed by a clip of Bruce Lee (a Hong Kong-American man).

The video has received over 21,680 dislikes on Youtube, with one user commenting, “This video was a burning dumpster fire of racist stereotypes and lazy attempts at humor at the expense of Chinese Americans”.

Watters said on Twitter, “My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.” Shanghaiist website called this tweet “non-apologizing”, while The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng responded with a video showing his own interview in Chinatown and telling Watters, “If you’re gonna be racist, at least get your stereotypes right…”

More than 19,000 people have signed a petition calling on Fox News to issue an apology, cancel the “Watters’ World” segment and meet with representatives of Asian American community to address the on-air racism.

International: Clown Sightings Terrify the World

A significant number of clown sightings have been recorded around the world in the past couple of months.

The first sighting was reported in Greenville, South Carolina in late August. The New York Times reported witness statements that “people in clown makeup had been terrorizing both children and adults”. The phenomenon then spread to other states in the US, such as North Carolina, New Jersey and Ohio, as well as other countries including Canada and Australia. In the latter, clowns have been spotted in Brisbane, Ipswich, Wollongong, East and North Sydney, and more.

While most of the clowns were just roaming around, a number of reports state that some clowns were chasing people using tools such as knives or baseball bats or vandalizing private property, leading to police arrests. Clown Sightings Australia page on Facebook announced that some clowns were spotted throwing eggs at cars in Randwick.

Some theories about this clown ‘uprising’ have been put forward. Many believe it is part of a promotional stunt for upcoming horror film “It” (2017) which heavily features clowns. However, others think it is just another social media fad. Benjamin Radford, author of non-fiction book “Bad Clowns” told CNN, “The scary clown image is perfect for social media. It is custom-made to go viral.

“You have something that is both scary and funny. It’s this combination of horror and humor, laughter and fears… People see this scary clown narrative happening on the news, and they’re like, ‘Hey I want to be a part of this!'”

International: UN Continues Delivering Aid to Syrians After Attack

The United Nations said it is ready to continue delivering aid to Syria, only days after at least 18 trucks were hit by an airstrike, killing 20 people and triggering the suspension of the humanitarian relief operations.

“The preparation for these convoys has now resumed and we are ready to deliver aid to besieged and hard-to-reach areas as soon as possible,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Wednesday, September 21.

“The United Nations continues to call for safe, unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to all Syrians in need, wherever they are.”

The attack happened after Syria broke the ceasefire agreement due to US-led coalition attack on Syrian army camp. US officials blamed Russia for the airstrike, while Moscow rejected the claims that Russia or Syria carried out the attack, in keeping with the ceasefire obligations.

According to the UN, the attacked trucks were heading to rebel-held town Urem al-Kubra, west of Aleppo.

The UN OCHA’s emergency relief officer, Stephen O’Brien called the continuous conflicts between the countries “a stain on the world’s collective conscience”.

“it appears that we have moved – once again – into reverse gear,” said O’Brien in a statement. “Active conflict and insecurity, as well as numerous delays in getting the necessary approval, have been limiting factors in reaching people in need these past many weeks.

“We need all necessary action from the parties and their supporters to ensure safe, sustained, unhindered and unconditional access. And we need an immediate end to the sieges which still collectively punish hundreds of thousands of civilians mercilessly. Anything less than the full lifting of the sieges will never be enough and we cannot pretend otherwise.”

International: Hillary Clinton Returns To White House Race

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has returned to campaigning after three-day rest at home from pneumonia.

“Sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be,” Clinton spoke to the crowd in North Carolina yesterday as a part of her campaign trail. Clinton’s speech focused mostly on her vision for American families and children rather than her rival, Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Concerns arose after Clinton was reportedly taken ill and stumbling to get into her vehicle at the 9/11 memorial event.

Three days after the event, Clinton’s personal physician Lisa Bardack, MD confirmed that Clinton’s condition has improved.

“She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest,” Bardack’s statement reads. “She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as President of the United States.”

In response to this incident, Trump has released his medical report on The Dr Oz Show following a recent examination by his personal doctor, Dr Harold Bornstein. The report states that Trump is in “excellent physical health”.

“When you’re running for president of the United States, or maybe any other country, I think you have an obligation to be healthy,” Trump told the show’s host, Mehmet Oz.

“I just don’t think you can do the work if you’re not healthy; I don’t think you can represent the country properly if you’re not a healthy person.”

Bornstein claimed in December that Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”.

International: The Face Of The Syrian War

On August 17th, 2016 scarring footage was released of a young little boy covered in blood rescued from the rubble after an airstrike in Northern Syrian city Aleppo in the midst of the country’s civil war.

The boy was identified as Omran Daqneesh. Silenced and paralysed with extreme shock, the video shows the little boy being carried outside and into an ambulance by a civil defense worker, covered in dust and the left side of his face bleeding.

Miraculously, most of Omran’s relatives survived as the boy was reunited with his family. Amongst others, 18,598 civilians were killed in Aleppo province including 4,557 children.

Source: CBS News
Source: CBS News

This haunting and heartbreaking video moved the entire nation, circulating around social media and shedding a horrific light on the Syrian War.

International: John Oliver Tells Donald Trump To Drop Out

Notorious for his hilarious political commentary, John Oliver delivers a sincere “fuck off” message to Donald Trump on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The video shows John Oliver dissecting the Republican candidate, highlighting the funny and incredibly disturbing parts of Donald Trump. Oliver begins by addressing and disproving the false claims arguing that Trump is a ‘strong’ and ‘economical’ potential leader.

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 9.21.52 PM

Oliver also mentions the numerous controversial cases where Donald Trump has been involved in such as his usual tirade of racial slurs, and even the time when Donald Trump wished everyone a “Happy 9/11”.

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Reiterating the serious level of success following Trump’s campaign’s, Oliver continues to stress how terribly unprofessional and unqualified he is as the next president of the United States.

International: Uzbekistan President Died at 78

Uzbekistan President, Islam Karimov has died at the age of 78 from a stroke. The country’s government and parliament confirmed the death on Friday, September 2.

Karimov’s funeral will be taking place on Saturday, September 3 at his hometown, Samarkand. His potential successor, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, will be overseeing the funeral.

Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim was the first foreign leader to issue condolences over Karimov’s death.  Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his condolences, describing the late leader as a statesman “who had contributed to the security and stability of Central Asia”.

Islam Karimov and Vladimir Putin
Source: kremlin.ru

Karimov was the first, and so far the only, president of Uzbekistan. Having ruled the country for 27 years, Karimov had long been criticized by the West and various organizations for human rights abuses, with the United Nation describing the use of torture under his leadership as “systematic”.

Karimov had not named any potential successor during his presidency, and analysts believe his replacement will be chosen privately behind the doors with family members and senior political figures.

Bordering Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia with over 30 million people.