Donald Trump and a world of disorder – BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Trump has often cut an isolated figure on the world stage At a moment when America has been focussed myopically on the highest court in the land, the Trump administration stands accused of being a bystander to lawlessness around the world.
The forced disappearance of the Interpol chief, Meng Hongwei, who it turns out is being held by the Chinese authorities.
Mounting evidence underscoring the Kremlin’s involvement in the chemical poisonings in Salisbury.
The seemingly gruesome case of Jamal Khashoggi, the missing journalist who Turkish authorities suspect was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
All point to a world of disorder: of a slide towards unruliness; of a new era of strongman authoritarianism and a waning of international law.
Traditionally the United States has viewed itself as the upholder of norms, an exemplar of moral leadership, the policeman of global bad behaviour – an idealised notion it has not always lived up to.
But this week has driven home not just how much Donald Trump has been reluctant to perform that role. It also speaks of how his doctrine of patriotism is at risk of being interpreted by other nations as a doctrine of anything goes.
In the red, white and blue of America First do other countries see a green light to act with impunity?
On Wednesday, the president described Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance as “very serious” and said his administration had raised the case at the “highest levels” with Riyadh. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A young protester clutches a photo of the Saudi journalist
The national security adviser, John Bolton, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Plans are also afoot for a White House meeting with the journalist’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
But the president has stopped short of condemning or criticising the Saudi Arabians, even though the Washington Post reports US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials plotting to capture Khashoggi, one of the newspaper’s columnists and a prominent critic of the Saudi Arabian government. The journalist who vanished into a consulate
The Khashoggi disappearance has been absent from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, his preferred outlet for presidential outrage.
He has not mentioned it at his campaign rallies, another forum where he regular gives vent to his most visceral feelings. Though he smiled on Tuesday night when a rally crowd in Iowa aimed a “Lock Her Up” chant at Senator Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said nothing about the journalist’s disappearance.
Clearly, the White House is keen to avoid a rush to judgment and says it is “demanding” answers from Riyadh. But is Donald Trump’s circumspection merely a cover to avoid reproaching his Saudi allies?
For a president who does not normally hesitate, it could easily be construed as moral foot-dragging and an abdication of traditional American leadership.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have been more damning. Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said “there will definitely be consequences” if it turns out the Saudis were involved. Lindsey Graham, the president’s golf buddy, said it would be “devastating” to US-Saudi relations. No such public warnings have come from the White House.
President Trump has befriended the Crown Prince, and been staunch in his support of the Saudi leadership.
His first international visit was to Saudi Arabia, where he took part in that that mystical-looking ceremony during which he placed his hands on a glowing orb. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One of the more bizarre photos of 2017
The Trump administration has backed the Saudi-led bombing campaign of Yemen, part of Riyadh’s proxy war with Tehran.
Last November, the president endorsed the royal purge of Saudi princes, businessman and government ministers under the auspices of an anti-corruption drive. He has approved a $1bn (£757m) arms package to the royal kingdom.
On Wednesday, President Trump also reiterated his admiration for the 33-year old crown prince, calling him a “fine man”. He continues to speak of the Crown Prince with almost fatherly pride.
One of the most marked features of President Trump’s foreign policy has been his denigration of close allies and acclamation of leaders who flatter him, whatever their human rights records.
Presently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is organising a second summit with Kim Jong-un. And even though the dictator has been accused among other brutalities of carrying out executions with anti-aircraft guns and of detaining up to 130,000 North Koreans in gulags, the president told a rally in West Virginia last week he “fell in love” with the North Korean at the Singapore summit.
Donald Trump has praised Egypt’s autocratic president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, describing him as “a fantastic guy.” Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Why does Trump admire strongmen leaders?
He has commended Rodrigo Dutertes, the president of the Philippines, for an “unbelievable job on the drug problem,” even though the crackdown has led to the killing of 12,000 suspected drug dealers and users, according to Human Rights Watch.
He has given Recep Erdogan of Turkey “very high marks”, despite widespread criticism of the president’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Then there is his well-documented averseness to criticising Vladimir Putin.
The die was arguably cast in the first weeks of the Trump presidency during an interview with the former Fox News host Bill Reilly. “Putin is a killer,” said O’Reilly, when Trump expressed respect for the former KGB spymaster.
“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” replied the US president, with almost a shrug of the shoulders. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
As well as suggesting moral parity between the thuggishness of the Kremlin and the actions of successive US administrations, his remarks signalled a temporary end to American exceptionalism, the idea the US should hold other countries to a higher standard and exemplify them itself.
The departure of Nikki Haley is another inflection point. When she steps down as the UN ambassador at the end of the year, the administration will lose its most outspoken defender of international norms. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Trump took decisive action in Syria which prompted protests in New York
Haley has been a strident critic of Moscow and Damascus especially. But she, too, has been criticised by human rights groups, for advocating US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council and defending Israel’s use of lethal force in Gaza that left 150 demonstrators dead.
Not every international crime has gone unpunished. Twice Donald Trump has authorised limited airstrikes against the Assad regime in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons, enforcing the kind of red lines that Barack Obama paid lip service to but failed to uphold.
Yet President Trump has often been reluctant to take punitive action.
As Bob Woodward’s new book Fear chronicled, the president fumed at aides for pushing him to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies in retaliation for the Salisbury nerve agent attack. He wanted a more limited response.
Countdown on for world’s longest non-stop flight – BBC News
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright SIA The battle to offer the world’s longest non-stop flight steps up a gear on Thursday, when a new Singapore-to-New York service takes off.
Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after they withdrew it because it had become too expensive.
It will cover more than 15,000km and is scheduled to take just under 19 hours.
Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha. Have passengers been snapping up the tickets?
The flight from Changi Airport to Newark’s international airport in New Jersey will be taking off amid much fanfare and with barely a seat to spare.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover.
The airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked.
However, there were “a very limited number” of premium economy seats left.
The airline is not planning to offer any economy bookings on the route.
A business class ticket will entitle passengers to two meals, and the choice of when they are served, plus refreshments in between. They will also have a bed to sleep in.
Premium economy fares will get three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between. Do people want to fly for 19 hours? Image copyright EPA Image caption Qantas is using a 787-9 Dreamliner for its Perth to London route
The brand new Airbus plane that SIA is using has been configured to seat 161 passengers in all – 67 business passengers and 94 premium economy passengers. Jet makes history on flight from Australia
“The thinking behind that is that they are selling a premium product – it’s for the top end of town,” says aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, who will be on board Thursday’s flight.
“This is a route between two massive financial hubs, and so they will fill this plane up with business people, or well-heeled travellers who want the convenience of a non stop flight.
“It’s also been proven that when carriers introduce a new non-stop route, the traffic on that route increases threefold.”
Mr Thomas, the editor-in-chief of airline rating site Airlineratings.com, has been on several such inaugural flights, including Qantas’ new long-haul from Perth to London, inaugurated earlier this year , and he says he is looking forward to being a part of history.
“The Qantas flight to London was a huge event. We were basically on our feet for the entire flight, it was incredibly exciting. There’s almost a party atmosphere on board.” Which route will the flight take?
Of two possible routes that SIA could take on Thursday to Newark, SIA has already told its passengers which one it will take – the NOPAC route, or the North Pacific route.
Mr Thomas says it will cover a distance of some 15,341km, but reminds non-aviation experts that while the distance between destinations remains constant, the distance flown and flight times can vary because of tailwinds, headwinds and any need for weather-related diversions.
News story: Government announces that medicinal cannabis is legal
Government announces that medicinal cannabis is legal Patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis by specialist doctors from 1 November 2018. Published 11 October 2018 Home Office and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
For the first time in the UK, expert doctors have been given the option to legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines when they agree that their patients could benefit from this treatment.
The law change, laid in Parliament today, came after the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, listened to concerns from parents of children with conditions such as severe epilepsy.
Over the summer he called for an urgent review of cannabis-based medicinal products and accepted recommendations that followed from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and the UK’s Chief Medical Adviser.
The new law will not limit the types of conditions that can be considered for treatment and doctors will no longer need to seek approval from an expert panel in order for patients to access the medicines.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis.
We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need. I’m grateful to the expert panel – who have been considering cases in the interim – and to those who’ve worked hard to bring about this change at the earliest possible opportunity.
The decision to prescribe these unlicensed medicines must be made by a specialist doctor – not a GP. These doctors focus on one field of medicine such as neurology or paediatrics and are listed on the General Medical Council’s specialist register. They must make decisions on prescribing cannabis-based products for medicinal use on a case-by-case basis, and only when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products.
Patients under the care of a specialist should discuss their treatment plan with them.
NHS England, the British Paediatric Neurology Association and the Royal College of Physicians will provide clinical advice to doctors ahead of the law change. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has been commissioned to develop more detailed guidelines for clinicians in the longer term.
President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Ashok Soni OBE, said:
This news will be welcomed by many patients with serious health conditions.
The prospect of a future where safe and effective licensed cannabis-based medicines can be prescribed to help relieve suffering is genuinely exciting. We will work with the NHS to help support specialists in making the right prescribing decisions.
The Home Secretary has made it clear that today’s announcement does not pave the way towards legalising cannabis for recreational use. The penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged. Share this page
Mohammed Dewji: Africa’s ‘youngest billionaire’ abducted in Tanzania – BBC News
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright AFP Image caption Financial magazine Forbes says Mohammed Dewji is worth $1.5bn (£980m) The man said to be Africa’s youngest billionaire has been kidnapped by masked gunmen in Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam, police say.
Mohammed Dewji, 43, was abducted outside a swanky hotel gym where he was going for his routine morning workout.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident and two of the abductors were believed to be foreign nationals, police added.
The motive for Mr Dewji’s abduction is still unclear. Who is Mohammed Dewji?
Financial magazine Forbes puts his wealth at $1.5bn (£980m), and has described him as Tanzania’s only billionaire.
In a 2017 report, it said Mr Dewji was Africa’s youngest billionaire.
Mr Dewji is also a major sponsor of one of Tanzania’s biggest football teams, Simba.
He promised in 2016 to donate at least half his fortune to philanthropic causes, Forbes said.
Mr Dewji, locally known as Mo, is credited with turning his family business from a wholesale and retail enterprise into a pan-African conglomerate, reports the BBC’s Athuman Mtulya from Dar es Salaam.
His company, METL, has interests in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in at least six African states.
Mr Dewji served as a ruling party MP for a decade until 2015. He told the BBC in a 2014 interview that this possibly made it easier for him to meet top politicians, but it did not give him an unfair advantage, as other businessmen also had access to them. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji spoke to the BBC in 2014
Environment Minister January Makamba, a friend of Mr Dewji, tweeted that he had spoken to Mr Dewji’s father and the family confirmed that he had been kidnapped. What more do we know about his abduction?
The abduction took place in the affluent neighbourhood of Oysterbay.
The kidnappers fired shots in the air before driving away with the billionaire, eyewitnesses said.
Mr Dewji, a fitness enthusiast, had no security guards with him and had driven to the gym on his own, Dar es Salaam regional police commissioner Paul Makonda told reporters.
Two of the kidnappers were white men, he added.
Security personnel across Tanzania have been put on high alert in the hunt for the abductors, police said. Are kidnappings common in Dar es Salaam?
By Athuman Mtulya, BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam
The city’s name comes from Arabic, and literally means Abode of Peace. And Dar es Salaam is very safe, in comparison to Lagos or Johannesburg, the main cities in Nigeria and South Africa respectively.
Although Tanzania has seen a wave attacks and abductions of opposition politicians and perceived government critics, this is the first time a businessman of Mr Dewji’s standing has been kidnapped in the country.
Businessmen have never felt at risk of being kidnapped and they often move around on their own. Some may have chauffeurs, but not bodyguards. So Mr Dewji’s abduction has come as a huge shock. Related Topics
Hurricane Michael: Record-breaking ‘hell’ storm mauls US – BBC News
Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Hurricane Michael strikes Florida
It was a category two hurricane by Tuesday, and a borderline category five on Wednesday morning, packing 155mph winds.
Florida Governor Rick Scott warned of “unimaginable devastation”, saying it would be the worst storm in 100 years.
Michael reportedly killed at least 13 people in Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.
More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate, but officials reckon many ignored the warning. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Florida’s Panama City is one of the worst-hit areas Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Local residents said they were “catching some hell”
The coastal city of Apalachicola reported a storm surge of nearly 8ft (2.5m).
“We are catching some hell,” Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City Beach, Florida, told the Associated Press news agency.
Michael has already knocked out power to a quarter of a million homes and businesses, as power lines were smashed by falling trees.
“We are in new territory,” Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Hurricane Michael as seen from space
“The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle.”
Reuters news agency reports that Michael is the third-most powerful storm ever to make landfall in the mainland US, after Hurricane Camille in Mississippi in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in Florida.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.
“We just hope those structures can hold up,” President Donald Trump responded. “And if not, that they’re not in those structures.” Hurricanes
A guide to the world’s deadliest storms
Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.
Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters. Warm air rises into the storm.
Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.
The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.
When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)
The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.
A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land. These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.
“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”Tweet from the National Hurricane Center
The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.
Winds 119-153km/hSome minor flooding, little structural damage. Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m
Roofs and trees could be damaged. Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m
Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York
Winds 209-251km/hSome roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses. Storm surge +4m-5.5m
Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths
Winds 252km/h+Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland. Storm surge +5.5m
Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless
“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008 Click arrow to proceed
Swipe to progress Go back to start
States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
The hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, according to the NHC.
Forecasters warned parts of Florida could experience storm surges of up to 14ft (4m) and flash floods from up to 12in (30cm) of rain.
Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.
Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops.
At 03:00 GMT on Thursday, maximum sustained winds decreased to 75mph, the NHC said in a bulletin.
“Michael will steadily weaken as it crosses the south-eastern United States through Thursday night, becoming a tropical storm by Thursday morning.
“Michael is forecast to re-strengthen some Thursday night and Friday when it moves off the east coast of the United States and becomes a post-tropical cyclone on Friday,” the NHC added.
More than 300 miles of coastline were under threat, the National Weather Service said. Ask a question Share this chatbot.
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