President Trump Announces Nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – YouTube
Belarus president closes western borders, puts army on high alert |NationalTribune.com
Belarus’s president, beleaguered by six weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, has announced he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania. President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision on Thursday underlined his repeated claim that the wave of protests is driven by the West. He faces increasing criticism from…
Belarus’s president, beleaguered by six weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, has announced he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania.
President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision on Thursday underlined his repeated claim that the wave of protests is driven by the West. He faces increasing criticism from the United States and the European Union.
Protests began after the disputed August 9 presidential election. Official results gave the authoritarian leader a sixth term in office but opponents say the results were manipulated.
“We are forced to withdraw troops from the streets, put the army on high alert and close the state border on the west, primarily with Lithuania and Poland,” Lukashenko said at a women’s forum.
Lukashenko also said Belarus’s border with Ukraine would be strengthened.
“I don’t want my country to be at war. Moreover, I don’t want Belarus and Poland, Lithuania to turn into a theatre of military operations where our issues will not be resolved,” he said.
“Therefore, today in front of this hall of the most beautiful, advanced, patriotic people I want to appeal to the peoples of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine – stop your crazy politicians, don’t let war break out!”
He did not mention neighbouring Latvia, which like Poland and Lithuania is a NATO member.
Identifying officers allegedly involved in violence
Earlier on Thursday, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition candidate in the disputed presidential election, said activists are compiling a list of law enforcement officers who were allegedly involved in violence against protesters denouncing the results of the vote.
Nearly 7,000 people were detained and hundreds were brutally beaten by police during the first several days of post-election protests.
Human rights groups are working with opposition activists to identify the officers and officials, Tikhanovskaya said, adding the list will be shared with the US, the EU and Russia.
Tikhanovskaya, who left for Lithuania in the wake of the election under pressure from Belarusian authorities, said the opposition will name the list in honour of Alexander Taraikovsky, a protester who died in Minsk the day after the election as police dispersed peaceful demonstrators.
Authorities initially said an explosive device Taraikovsky intended to throw at police blew up in his hands and killed him. However, a video by The Associated Press news agency showed he was not holding any explosives when he fell to the ground, his shirt bloodied.
‘A hostage to conventional cliches’
The US and the EU have criticised the presidential election as neither free nor fair, and urged Lukashenko to start talks with the opposition – a call he has rejected.
Washington and Brussels have been pondering sanctions against Belarusian officials for alleged vote-rigging and the violent response to protests.
On Thursday, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution rejecting the official election results and saying it would not recognise Lukashenko as the legitimate president once his current term expires on November 5.
Belarus’s foreign ministry responded strongly, saying: “We are disappointed that the European Parliament, positioning itself as a serious, objective and democratic structure, could not find the political will to look beyond its nose, overcome one-sidedness and not become a hostage to conventional cliches.”
Russia, Lukashenko’s main ally and sponsor, has maintained staunch support for the Belarusian leader.
Moscow announced this week it would offer a new $1.5bn loan to his government.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday during a trip to Lithuania the two countries – both Belarus’s neighbours – will continue to offer medical and material assistance to Belarusians who were hurt and persecuted during the protests.
He argued the EU and international lenders should offer at least one billion euros ($1.18bn) in economic support for Belarus and its businesses.
Lebanon president accepts gov’t resignation after Beirut blast |NationalTribune.com
Lebanon’s government has stepped down as Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed endemic corruption for a devastating explosion last week that tore through the capital. President Michel Aoun accepted Diab’s resignation on Monday and asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet was formed. Tensions have been boiling over in the…
Lebanon’s government has stepped down as Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed endemic corruption for a devastating explosion last week that tore through the capital.
President Michel Aoun accepted Diab’s resignation on Monday and asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet was formed.
Tensions have been boiling over in the country following the massive explosion at Beirut’s port that killed some 200 people and wounded 6,000 others, according to the latest tally.
“This crime” was a result of corruption that is “bigger than the state”, Diab said in a televised statement, adding that he was taking “a step back” so he could stand with the people “and fight the battle for change alongside them”.
“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” Diab said, repeating the last phrase three times.
The developments follow a weekend of angry, violent anti-establishment protests in which 728 people were wounded and one police officer killed amid a heavy crackdown by security forces.
Through analysis of videos and images of the security response by the army and men in plain-clothes on the day, and examination of medical documents and interviews with doctors who treated the wounded, Al Jazeera established that security forces violated international standards on the use of force.
Political and economic reforms
The August 4 disaster, which was caused by highly explosive ammonium nitrate that was stored at Beirut’s port for more than six years, has fuelled popular anger and upended politics in a country already struggling with a major economic crisis.
Most Lebanese blame their leadership’s corruption and neglect for the explosion, which has caused damage to the extent of an estimated $15bn and left nearly 300,000 people homeless.
Since October, there have been mass demonstrations demanding the departure of the entire sectarian-based leadership over entrenched corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.
But the ruling oligarchy has held onto power for so long – since the end of the civil war in 1990 – that it is difficult to find a credible political figure not tainted by connections to them.
Although Diab’s resignation had appeared inevitable after the catastrophe, he seemed unwilling to leave and only two days ago made a televised speech in which he offered to stay on for two months to allow for various factions to agree on a road map for reforms. But the pressure from within his cabinet proved to be too much.
‘Historic turning point’
Diab’s government was formed after his predecessor, Saad Hariri, stepped down under pressure from the protest movement. It took months of bickering among the leadership factions before they settled on Diab.
His government, which was supported by Hezbollah and its allies and seen as one-sided, failed to implement the sweeping political and economic reforms that it had promised.
Now the process must start again, with Diab’s government in a caretaker role as the same factions debate a new one.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Beirut, said the change is going to be challenging because Lebanon’s electoral system is set up “to protect the political elite in the country”.
“To change that system, those political elites have to agree to it,” Smith said.
“Even an explosion as catastrophic as Tuesday’s might not be enough to get those elites easily give up their grip on power … That’s why international pressure, people believe, is necessary.”
On Sunday, world leaders and international organisations pledged nearly $300m in emergency humanitarian aid to Beirut, but warned no funds would be made available until Lebanese authorities committed themselves to the political and economic reforms demanded by the people.
Rami Khouri, a professor at the American University of Beirut, described the developments of the past week as “a historic turning point in the modern political governance of Lebanon” that is “just at the beginning”.
Khouri said there were essentially two main forces currently in Lebanon: “One is Hezbollah and its close allies, and the other one is the protest movement, or the revolution as they call themselves – these are all kinds of people but they do represent the majority of the population.”
“The question is, will there be a serious negotiation now,” he said, noting that the formation of “a hybrid government” tasked to address Lebanon’s critical issues was likely.
“They will have to agree on whether the transitional government that comes in is a serious reformist government, with ‘clean’ and efficient people that can get the support of the international community and do a quick deal with the IMF.”
Meanwhile, Habib Battah, a Lebanon-based journalist, questioned how long the caretaker government would remain in place since it is “very difficult” to form a government in Lebanon.
“The Diab government was many months in the making,” Battah said.
He said while the resignation could be seen as a victory for the protesters who view the government as a “corrupt system”, it is important to note that others benefit from it.
Political parties control schools and hospitals, among other things across the country.
“These parties are really tough to compete against in elections,” Battah said, adding that it was up to the international community to stop supporting these parties if it were serious about helping Lebanon.
President Trump signs memo to exclude undocumented migrants |NationalTribune.com
President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday that aims to prevent undocumented migrants who are in the United States from being counted when US congressional voting districts are redrawn in the next round of redistricting. US Census experts and lawyers said the action would be legally dubious, likely benefitting Trump’s Republican Party by eliminating…
President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday that aims to prevent undocumented migrants who are in the United States from being counted when US congressional voting districts are redrawn in the next round of redistricting.
US Census experts and lawyers said the action would be legally dubious, likely benefitting Trump’s Republican Party by eliminating the largely non-white population of migrants in the US without documentation.
Redistricting occurs both at the state level to draw maps for state house legislatures and at the federal level to draw maps for US congressional districts. The latter are known as congressional apportionment.
Proponents of citizens-only voting districts argue each vote should carry the same weight. If one district has far fewer eligible voters than another, they say, each vote there has more influence on election outcomes.
Democrats and immigrant rights activists say including non-voters ensures that elected leaders represent everyone who depends on public services like schools and rubbish pickup, regardless of voting eligibility.
The memo argues that eliminating undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment maps is necessary to ensure that only legal US residents have a voice in federal politics.
“President Trump’s Executive Order on Excluding Illegal Immigrants From the Apportionment Base is another decisive step toward fulfilling his solemn pledge to ensure only American citizens have congressional representation, not illegal aliens,” a senior administration official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of Government,” the memo states.
It cites one states where there are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented migrants constituting more than six percent of the state’s population. Counting the migrants “for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated,” according to the memo.
But the move carries major legal questions, and will probably draw litigation.
The US Supreme Court in June rejected President Donald Trump’s move to rescind the DACA program that offers protections to 700,000 undocumented migrants brought to the US as children [Nicholas Kamm/AFP]
Citizens-only voting districts are viewed as potentially legal for state-level voting districts, but the US Constitution explicitly says congressional apportionment should be based on the “whole number of persons” in each state. Multiple federal laws have reinforced that reading, and the US Supreme Court has upheld that interpretation.
“All of this makes Trump’s position outrageous,” said Joshua Geltzer, a constitutional law expert and professor at Georgetown Law, adding that the move will almost certainly meet litigation.
Another question is how the Trump administration would acquire data on undocumented immigrants. The 2020 US Census does not ask respondents whether they are citizens, legal or otherwise.
In theory, officials could determine citizenship data through such administrative records as driver’s licence databases, along with citizenship estimates gathered in other Census Bureau surveys. But that data is incomplete, and demographers and immigration advocacy groups have argued they are unreliable.
The government’s census count helps in determining where taxpayer money is spent for building public facilities like schools, hospitals and fire departments, as well as calculating states’ apportionment in the US House of Representatives. The US Constitution mandates that the US count its population every 10 years.
Trump’s planned executive order could prove popular with the president’s base of support as he tries to generate enthusiasm for his re-election in November.
Trump has spent much of his presidency seeking to limit the number of migrants who illegally enter the US, particularly from Central America, and his executive order was another part of his immigration agenda.
It has long been a Trump administration strategy to use the census to identify and limit the political power of undocumented immigrants. But the efforts have faced roadblocks.
In 2018, the administration said it would ask respondents to the 2020 census whether they were citizens, a move ultimately nixed by the Supreme Court.
Following the defeat, Trump issued an executive order in July 2019 aimed determining citizenship status through a trove of administrative records. The order, which called on states to turn over such data to the US Census Bureau, is still facing litigation from immigration advocates including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
A woman carries belongings to a different part of the campsite near US ports of entry at Chamizal Park on December 19, 2019, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. In the mud and biting cold of a makeshift camp in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, more than 1,000 Mexican migrants had been waiting for weeks, some for months, for a chance to file for asylum in the US [Paul Ratje/ AFP]
Politics7 years ago
In Spanish-Language Interview, Marco Rubio Says He Believes Obama’s Executive Amnesty ‘Is Important’
Politics7 years ago
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Bans Cruises for Welfare Recipients in Sweeping Crackdown
Politics7 years ago
New Bill Seeks To Ban Former Lawmakers From Becoming Lobbyists
Politics7 years ago
Marco Rubio says ‘same-sex marriage is not a constitutional right’
Politics7 years ago
Obama signals support for medical marijuana bill backed by Rand Paul
Duterte2 years ago
Duterte presidency unravels as coronavirus ravages Philippines |NationalTribune.com
China's2 years ago
US says China’s South China Sea missile launches threat to peace |NationalTribune.com
Belarus2 years ago
Belarus heads to polls as protests rattle Lukashenko |NationalTribune.com