March 1, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:35 PM


Bloody Islamic State video puts China in cross-hairs (AFP, 2/28/17)

Islamic State terrorists from China's Uighur ethnic minority have vowed to return home and "shed blood like rivers," according to a jihadist-tracking firm, in what experts said marked the first IS threat against Chinese targets.

Posted by orrinj at 10:36 AM


India frets that American welcome is over after Kansas bar killing : Shooting of two Indian engineers shakes New Delhi's view of Trump administration (Amy Kazmin, 2/27/17, Financial Times)

[T]he link does not seem at all absurd in India, which sends several hundred thousand of its citizens to the US every year to study and work, as well as 1m tourists. In an emotional press conference at Garmin's headquarters, Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Kuchibhotla, spoke for an anguished nation, when she declared, "I need an answer from the government. I need an answer for everyone out there: what is it that they are going to do to stop this hate crime?"

The Indian media has echoed her call. "President Donald Trump and his political allies, who fanned the red-hot coals of white nationalist tendencies through the course of their election campaign, must answer questions raised by this murder," the Indian Express newspaper wrote in an editorial on Monday.

An editorial in the The Hindu newspaper noted Mr Trump, a compulsive tweeter, has been silent on Kuchibhotla's killing, though few doubt he would be so restrained if an immigrant had killed a white American. "The selective social media outrage of Mr Trump on violent acts across America is disturbing," it said. "This intensifying trend of racist xenophobia may make the US a far more dangerous emigration destination than it has been so far."

Underlying the furore is a deeper angst over the India-US relationship, which could be headed for a rough patch -- despite the bonhomie of Mr Trump's initial phone calls with Narendra Modi, India's prime minister.

Over the past 15 years or so, Washington's approach to New Delhi was driven by the belief that facilitating India's economic rise -- and military modernisation -- would yield long-term benefits to the US, even without immediate pay-offs.

But Mr Trump has made clear he wants America to get "better deals" in its relations with allies and other friendly countries, and bring American jobs back from overseas, which could hit the strategic ties with India.

For many Indians, especially young engineers, the most emotive question is whether they will still be welcomed, wanted and safe in the US.

Posted by orrinj at 7:03 AM


Can refugees save a town? : Refugees have infused a new sense of energy into Akron, Ohio, as it battles population decline. President Trump's temporary refugee ban is a concern.  (Simon Montlake, FEBRUARY 28, 2017, CS Monitor)

[N]aresh Subba is the new face of immigration in Akron. He opened his grocery store in 2011, catering to refugees from his native Bhutan and elsewhere whose recent influx has restocked a fading neighborhood. The store has expanded, adding a snack counter and more space for pulses, rice snacks, and the flower garlands that brighten Bhutanese festivities.

"We like this place. It's very, very welcoming," says Mr. Subba.

Since 2007, Akron has welcomed about 3,500 refugees, mostly from Bhutan, along with thousands of other foreign-born migrants. That's a modest slice of total United States immigration, which exceeds 1 million a year. But the resettlement of working-age refugees has become a lifeline for cities like Akron that are struggling to hang onto their workforce and revive urban districts. That pits them against President Trump's controversial effort to cap refugee flows and suspend all resettlement from Syria.

Posted by orrinj at 6:58 AM


President Trump quoted as an anonymous source just days after demanding a ban on anonymous sources (Jeva Lange, February 28, 2017, The Week)
President Trump was quoted anonymously in a CNN story published Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reports. He was apparently referred to in the article simply as "a senior White House official."

Posted by orrinj at 6:31 AM


Beshear Responds to a Speech Trump Chose Not to Give (Ed Kilgore, 2/28/17, NY Mag)

[T]he effectiveness of Beshear's response was undermined by a Trump speech that was not dark and divisive, and did not address in any kind of detail the issues the Kentuckian raised, including Obamacare. The president stayed at 30,000 feet on most policy issues, and provided no more than a few minutes on health care, and even less on two other topics Beshear discussed: the intelligence community and financial regulation.

The Democratic Party as an institution is bereft of ideas, so what was he supposed to talk about?

Posted by orrinj at 5:21 AM


Postman Caught Having 'Spontaneous' Sexual Relations With Mailbox (Heat Street, 3/01/17)
An Irish postman has expressed his "enormous shame and regret" after he was discovered performing sex acts using a mailbox.

Posted by orrinj at 4:38 AM


FBI Talked With Author Of Dossier (Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, 3/01/17, The Washington Post)

The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump's political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.

The agreement to compensate former MI6 agent Christopher Steele came as U.S. intelligence agencies reached a consensus that the Russians had interfered in the presidential election by orchestrating hacks of Democratic Party email accounts. [...]

Steele was familiar to the FBI, in part because the bureau had previously hired him to help a U.S. inquiry into alleged corruption in the world soccer organization FIFA. The FBI sometimes pays informants, sources and outside investigators to assist in its work. Steele was known for the quality of his past work and for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.