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December 9, 2015

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

Petition calls for Trump UK ban – Wikinews, the free news source

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2016 United States presidential election
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A petition reached over 300,000 signatures today urging Donald Trump, considered the front runner to become the Republican Party‘s candidate for President of the United States, be banned from entering the United Kingdom. This follows Mr Trump’s comments that Muslims should be blocked from entering the US.

Donald Trump defended his policy on Tuesday of banning Muslims from the US
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Also, Scotland‘s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, removed Trump from his role as business ambassador for Scotland.

On Monday, Mr Trump said he wants a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US” until the country can understand “what the hell is going on” with regard to terrorism. He said in a statement that a large number of Muslims show “great hatred towards Americans”.

Trump’s comments on Monday came days after a shooting in San Bernardino, California by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, in which fourteen people were killed. US President Barack Obama said in an address from the Oval Office on Sunday the attack was an act of terrorism.

Donald Trump’s statement has been widely criticised, including by members of his own political party. Republican Matt Moore said the policy is a “bad idea” and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said “this is not Conservatism”.

Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton described Trump’s comments as “shameful”. Secretary of State John Kerry argued Trump’s statement would not help in the ongoing fight against Islamic State (IS), saying his remarks were “not constructive”.

Trump argued that his policy idea is “no different” to that of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy which saw large-scale confinement of Japanese US citizens in internment camps following Japan’s attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Mr Trump also said the policy should not be implemented on Muslims currently living within the US.

Kassem Allie from the Islamic Center of America, accused Trump of evoking fear “reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalin“. The Pentagon expressed concern Trump’s demands could be counterproductive in the fight against IS, saying it “bolsters Isil’s narrative”.

Mr Trump also said on Tuesday that police in London are “afraid for their lives” in some areas because of radicalisation in the city. These comments were rebuffed by the United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron who said Trump was “simply wrong” and Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the claim was “ridiculous”.



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June 1, 2015

Kerry hospitalized after cycling accident

Filed under: Archived,John Kerry,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Kerry hospitalized after cycling accident

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Monday, June 1, 2015

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a cycling accident yesterday and as a result has broken his right leg. The accident happened near Scionzier, France; reportedly he may have hit a curb.

Official portrait of John Kerry, 2013.
Image: US Department of State.

Kerry was in Geneva on Saturday for talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, on the Iranian nuclear program. As a result of the accident Kerry has canceled his official trips, including an international conference on Islamic State (ISIS).

Kerry was taken to Geneva’s HUG medical centre by helicopter and after an X-ray examination it was confirmed his right femur is fractured. John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said “The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery”.

Kerry is expected to receive further treatment in Boston by a doctor there who operated on him for a previous hip injury located, Kirby said, near the current injury.



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January 12, 2015

Millions march in France and around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo

Millions march in France and around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo

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Monday, January 12, 2015

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Marchers in Paris.
Image: Yann Caradec.

Following the shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, millions of people turned out yesterday for marches in Paris, in cities across France, and around the world. Reported estimates of between 1.5 and 2 million people rallied in Paris, and the French interior ministry estimated 3.7 million or more rallied across France.

44 world leaders attended the Paris march including French President François Hollande; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British Prime Minister David Cameron; Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy; Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority; King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan; Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu; the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov; the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.

US Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley attended. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest responded to criticism for not sending a higher level representative on behalf of the United States: “It is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile.” Earnest said the rally had been planned on Friday and President Obama attending the rally on such short notice presented “significant security challenges”. Secretary of State John Kerry said he already had a prior engagement in India.

Charlie Hebdo has previously published cartoons featuring the Islamic prophet Muhammed. These include original depictions and reprints of controversial cartoons originally by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Some of these cartoons were on display at the marches.

Marche Charlie Hebdo Paris 07.jpg

Paris: flowers and tributes to the victims of the shooting.
Image: Guerric Poncet.

6 Marche républicaine 11 janvier 2015 Paris - Le crayon comme pancarte AB P1340202.jpg

Paris march: a protester holding up two colouring pencils, in solidarity with journalists and cartoonists killed in the attack.
Image: Basili.

Crayons libres 2.jpg

Paris march: protestors holding up two giant pencils.
Image: Eric Walter.

Les crayons.jpg

Paris march: more protestors holding up giant pencils.
Image: Eric Walter.

Foule en défilé.jpg

Paris march: marchers fill the street.
Image: Eric Walter.

Marche du 11 Janvier 2015, Paris (4).jpg

Paris march: more marchers filling the streets.
Image: Yann Caradec.

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Paris march.
Image: Eric Walter.

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Paris march: marchers moving up Boulevard Beaumarchais.
Image: Poulpy.

2 Marche républicaine 11 janvier 2015 Paris - Foule des manifestants quai station Mirosmenil AB P1340193.jpg

Paris march: marchers fill the platform at the Miromesnil Métro station.
Image: Basili.

Rassemblement de soutien à Charlie Hebdo - 11 janvier 2015 - Bordeaux 10.JPG

Bordeaux rally.
Image: LeJC.

Bourg-en-Bresse rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting, 11 January 2015 (2).JPG

Rally in Bourg-en-Bresse.
Image: Benoît Prieur.

Marche républicaine 2015, Chambéry 9.JPG

Rally in Chambéry.
Image: Florian Pépellin.

Marche républicaine du 11 janvier 2015 à Lyon 49.JPG

Rally in Lyon.
Image: Jitrixis.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-1.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-11.jpg

A sign at the march in Rennes showing a number of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-7.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Rennes 11 janvier 2015 - Marche républicaine 03.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Pymouss.

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Rally at the Place Royale in Reims.
Image: G.Garitan.

French flag projected onto The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.JPG

French flag projected on to the side of the National Gallery in London as a sign of solidarity.
Image: Simeon87.

Tributes to the victims.jpg

Signs, pens, sketch pads and cartoons left as a memorial in Trafalgar Square in London.
Image: Zefrog.

Participant holding a pen.jpg

A pen held up as part of the rally in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Image: Zefrog.

Je suis Charlie rally at Daley Plaza in Chicago, 11 January 2015 (5).jpg

A man holding both a French and American flag at a rally in Daley Plaza in Chicago.
Image: Stel Cape.

Cologne rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting-191954.jpg

A small rally in Cologne.
Image: Raimond Spekking.

JeSuisCharlie in Moscow S0147494 (16255052582).jpg

Candle lights at a rally in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

JeSuisCharlie in Moscow S0177502 (16070064457).jpg

Snow-covered flowers and tributes outside the office of the French Ambassador in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

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At the rally in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

Je suis Charlie, Stockholm 11 January 2015 (2).jpg

Rally in Stockholm.
Image: Henrik M F.

Stockholm rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting (15).jpg

Rally in Stockholm.
Image: fcruse.

Stockholm rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting (9).jpg

A pencil in the snow at the Stockholm rally.
Image: fcruse.

Wien - Gedenkkundgebung Gemeinsam gegen den Terror - Je Suis Charlie - I.jpg

Rally in Vienna.
Image: Haeferl.

Je suis Charlie, Berlin 11 January 2015 (2).jpg

Rally in Berlin.
Image: Tim.

Je suis Charlie, Brussels 11 January 2015 (122).jpg

Rally in Brussels.
Image: Miguel Discart.



Related news

  • “Twelve dead in shooting at offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo” — Wikinews, January 7, 2015

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October 2, 2014

Hong Kong democracy protesters call for CY Leung resignation as demonstrations continue

Hong Kong democracy protesters call for CY Leung resignation as demonstrations continue

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

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The protests in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Monday.
Image: Raysonho.

Protestors in Hong Kong have called for the resignation of CY Leung, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and vowed to continue the protests. If their demands are not met today, the protestors have said they will start occupying government buildings.

Tens of thousands of protestors — some affiliated with the ‘Occupy Central‘ movement — have kept up a demonstration for seven days against plans by the Chinese government to screen candidates seeking to be on the ballot for the 2017 election. Lester Shum, the vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and one of the leaders of the movement, outlined his plans: “Leung Chun-ying must step down. If he doesn’t resign by tomorrow [Thursday], we will step up our actions, such as by occupying several important government buildings”. He said there was “no room for dialogue” with CY Leung after the police fired tear gas at protestors.

Chan Kin-man, another leader in the movement, said: “I hope people will understand why the action keeps on escalating. It’s because the government is getting more and more closed without listening to Hong Kong people.”

Pro-democracy protestors catching some sleep.
Image: B Clarke.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Hong Kong authorities to “exercise restraint and respect for the protesters’ right to express their views peacefully” and said Hong Kong needs to have the “highest possible degree of autonomy”. Kerry stated the US position was support for “universal suffrage in Hong Kong, accordant with the Basic Law”.

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, said: “What matters is that the basic agreement that we set out with the Chinese all those years ago should be stuck to […] Universal suffrage really means not just being able to vote but having a proper choice.”

A statement on Chinese state television asked residents of Hong Kong to support efforts by the city authorities to “deploy police enforcement decisively” and “restore the social order in Hong Kong as soon as possible”.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, appearing alongside John Kerry, said the protests were illegal and warned: “Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. All countries should respect China’s sovereignty. For any country, for any society, no-one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.”

People’s Daily, a newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published the following: “Hong Kong has for many years enjoyed peace and harmony. It now sees the emergence of this embarrassing ‘chaos’, and the root cause lies with a few people who are disrespecting the law”.



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September 11, 2014

John Kerry visits Iraq to build regional support against Islamic State

John Kerry visits Iraq to build regional support against Islamic State

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad yesterday to meet Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister of the new Iraqi government. The visit came as Kerry toured seeking support in the region — military, political, and financial — against the Islamic State.

File:Haidar Al-Abadi.jpg

Haider Al-Abadi.
Image: RedWolf343.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Kerry and al-Abadi were to discuss international efforts to build a coalition, in a regional approach to the security issue posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. The meeting came ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s televised address, to air later in the day in the U.S. and set to announce expanded military efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the organisation.

They were to “discuss how the United States can increase its support to Iraq’s new government in our common effort to defeat Isil [Islamic State] and the threat it poses to Iraq, the region, and the world”, said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. The Shia Iraqi prime minister has, according to U.S. officials, promised to create regional national guards, avoiding security enforcement by the mostly Shia Iraqi army in Sunni regions. The policy, if enacted, would provide valuable employment in areas where Islamic State has recruited successfully following economic neglect during the eight years of Nouri al-Maliki‘s government.

Following the Iraq visit Kerry is to visit Saudi Arabia as part of the broad U.S. strategy of regional resistance against the militants. President Obama has said the U.S. would not use ground combat troops, but some senior military figures have suggested Islamic State may not be stopped by air strikes alone — of which the U.S. have used 150 over the past month. The regional strategy to address the security crisis does not rely on the support of Congress. The U.S. administration has been urging representatives to approve $500m to support rebels in Syrian opposing Islamic State, but the legislation has been immobile since it was first proposed in May.



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September 6, 2014

NATO leaders meet for two day summit in Wales

NATO leaders meet for two day summit in Wales

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

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Leaders from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) member states met in Wales over Thursday to Friday in a summit addressing the organisation’s role in Afghanistan and new threats from Russia and the Islamic State.

NATO member countries
Image: Ssolbergj.

Role in Afghanistan

Since the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal countries involved in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), NATO’s military operation in Afghanistan, have been committed to full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. This would mark the end of ISAF’s 13 year mission in Afghanistan, with troops changing to a training and assistance role.

Plans had originally intended for Afghanistan’s new President, or President-elect, to attend this year’s summit, but due to the political situation and ongoing election process it is still unknown who will replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai. Bismullah Khan Muhammadi, the country’s defence minister, instead attended the summit in the absence of a President.

This political stalemate has put at risk NATO plans for a continuing military presence in the country, with troops expected to pull out at the end of the year without new security agreements being signed, signature not possible without a new President in place. NATO members have urged Afghanistan’s presidential candidates to reach an agreement, with officials indicating that if no agreement can be reached by the end of the month, then troops would begin to leave.

Threat from Russia

On Thursday, NATO leaders pledged support for Ukraine at a meeting with the country’s President, Petro Poroshenko, in the face of recent moves from Russia. On their website, NATO outlined four areas where the alliance would provide support for Ukraine, “rehabilitation for injured troops, cyber defence, logistics, and command and control and communications”, with assistance expected to have a monetary value of about 15 million euros (about US$19 million).

On Friday, peace talks in Minsk, Belarus resulted in a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and rebel forces, whom NATO has accused Russia of supporting in their bid for separation of eastern regions of Ukraine. The UK said sanctions being prepared are likely to go ahead, regardless of the outcome of these talks, until it is seen that Russia is acting upon them.

Threat from Islamic State

On Friday morning, a meeting of ten countries chaired by the UK and US agreed to jointly working to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State in the Middle East. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, stated after the meeting that the group should aim to make firm plans and raise support from within the region affected before the UN General Assembly annual meeting later this month. Philip Hammond, UK Foreign Secretary, also said it was clear that regional support was needed, adding “with a new and inclusive Government of Iraq leading the efforts”.

It was also announced NATO would help a non-sectarian Iraqi government, on request, to build defence capabilities in Iraq to help fight the Islamic State, as well as coordinating the humanitarian airlift of supplies.

Increased readiness

Plans for a Readiness Action Plan were agreed at the summit. Speaking on Monday before the summit, NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, described this as a response to “Russia’s aggressive behaviour”, but outlined how he hoped it would increase the responsiveness of the alliance to face any security challenge.

These plans aim to allow reinforcements to reach any NATO member state within 48 hours, in what Rasmussen described as a “spearhead” of the preexisting Response Force. This requires logistical, and headquarters facilities to be set up in Eastern European countries, the ones most under threat from an attack by Russia, or the Islamic State. These plans are also to be rehearsed through joint military exercises.


Related news

  • “Australia and Afghanistan to be represented at NATO summit” — Wikinews, September 2, 2014
  • “Russia accused of supporting Ukrainian rebels’ advance” — Wikinews, September 2, 2014

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September 4, 2013

Former Syrian minister of defense defects to Turkey

Former Syrian minister of defense defects to Turkey

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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Former Syrian minister of defense General Ali Habib has reportedly defected to Turkey. The Syrian government denies the reports; United States secretary of state John Kerry confirmed the defection during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on military intervention in Syria this afternoon.

According to reports, Habib had resigned from his position in 2011 in protest of the killing of civilians by government forces. Since then he has been under house arrest, but reports say he was able to escape and flee to the Syria–Turkey border. According to Kamal al-Labwani of the Syrian National Coalition as reported by Reuters, Habib had “Western help” to escape.

“Habib has managed to escape from the grip of the regime and he is now in Turkey, but this does not mean that he has joined the opposition. I was told this by a Western diplomatic official,” said al-Labwani to Reuters.

On the country’s state television channel, The Syrian government denied the reports saying, “There is no truth to what the media has reported on the travel of former defense minister Ali Habib Mahmoud outside of Syria and he is still in his home”.

Habib is the highest ranking Syrian official to defect from the country since the uprisings began in 2011.



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December 31, 2012

Expected U.S. Senate special election taking shape in Massachusetts

Expected U.S. Senate special election taking shape in Massachusetts

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Monday, December 31, 2012

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With Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts’s nomination and likely approval as U.S. President Barack Obama’s choice to replace the retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry’s Senate seat is expected soon to be vacated, making necessary a special election to choose a new Senator. That potential race is now taking shape with two candidates having emerged as the frontrunners for their respective parties’ nominations: Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic Representative Ed Markey.

Republican Senator Scott Brown
Image: United States Congress.

Massachusetts law adopted in 2004 requires a vacated seat to be filled permanently through special election held 145 to 160 days following vacation. This law was passed purportedly to prevent then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a replacement for Kerry, who was at the time, the Democratic presidential nominee. No such election occurred until long-time Senator Ted Kennedy died in office, vacating his seat in 2009. At the time, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick named Democrat Paul G. Kirk as a temporary replacement. Kirk chose not to run for the seat, and instead the Democrats nominated Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost to Brown. Now, Patrick reportedly wishes to again name a temporary replacement who will not run in the special election. Candidates for this position include: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Ted Kennedy; former governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis; and the retiring Congressman Barney Frank.

Amid the Senate’s consideration of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, Brown’s 2010 election broke the Democrats’ filibuster-proof super-majority in the chamber. As the first Massachusetts Republican elected since Edward Brooke in 1972, Brown gained a reputation in the Senate as a political moderate, stressing bipartisanship. However, in the most expensive Senate race in the nation’s history in 2012, he lost the seat to the liberal Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, who tied him to conservative Senate Republicans. After the defeat, Republican Senators Dan Coats of Indiana, John McCain of Arizona, and Olympia Snowe of Maine each asked Brown to run for Senate again. He alluded to a potential return during his farewell address earlier in December, noting, “As I’ve said many times before, victory and defeat is temporary … Depending on what happens, and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.” Though former Governor William Weld is also considered a potential Republican primary candidate, Brown leads him in opinion polls by a wide margin. Additionally, a December 17–18 poll conducted by WBUR shows Brown with a 58 percent favorability rate in his state and ahead of potential Democratic nominees Markey, former Congressman Marty Meehan, and Congressmen Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch.

Democratic Representative Ed Markey
Image: United States Congress.

Patrick, Kennedy, Coakley, and Meehan have all denied interest in the seat as have other Democrats speculated to jump in including actor Ben Affleck and attorney Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., Ted Kennedy’s son. Though Lynch and Capuano have expressed interest in the seat, Markey is thus far the only announced candidate. In a statement to The Boston Globe, Markey affirmed “this fight is too important” not to run and “there is so much at stake” in the election. He added that an official announcement would come in January. Markey, who has served in Congress since 1976, previously ran for the Senate seat in 1984 but withdrew before the primary; Kerry went on to win the primary and seat that year. Markey intends to focus his campaign on global warming, gun control, protection of Social Security and Medicare, and government spending for jobs. He has secured endorsements from both Kerry and Victoria Kennedy, and with a war chest of $3.1 million from his congressional campaigns, has significantly more funds than any of his potential primary opponents. According to political scientist Peter Ubertaccio of Stonehill College, that may discourage prominent Democrats thinking about entering the race. Nevertheless, State Senator Benjamin Downing has announced he is exploring a potential bid.

Though Markey has more money than Brown’s $464,000 left from his 2012 campaign, Ubertaccio, in his analysis of the race, notes Brown has more recent campaign experience than Markey, who has not had a competitive campaign lately. Moreover, he finds Markey “very much a creature of Washington, which can be problematic in a tough statewide race.” He sees the rush to support Markey as unusual, and as a way to discourage Democratic challengers to Markey. Jon Keller of Boston’s CBS affiliate notes the rush was likely to allow Markey to begin attacks on Brown rather than Democrats, but he concludes the lack of choice for Democrats may give Brown an advantage as an outsider running against the insiders’ hand-picked successor.



Related news

  • “Scott Brown wins special election for Massachusetts’s Senate seat in upset victory” — Wikinews, January 21, 2010
  • “Republican leads race to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacated US Senate seat” — Wikinews, January 15, 2010

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October 24, 2012

Former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator George McGovern dies aged 90

Former U.S. presidential candidate and Senator George McGovern dies aged 90

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

George McGovern speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for his book tour August 26, 2009.
Image: Scott C. Clarkson.

Former 1972 U.S. election Democratic Presidential candidate and United States Senator from South Dakota George McGovern died Sunday at the age of 90 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He died at 5:15 am local time (1015 UTC).

McGovern’s 1972 running mate was originally Thomas Eagleton, however, due to revelations about Eagleton’s psychiatric past, he was replaced by Sargent Shriver. McGovern and his running mate Shriver lost to U.S. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. McGovern got only 17 electoral votes. In 1992, he spoke of possibly running for president one last time; however, he judged a younger candidate without his political history would be better.

McGovern was a senator for South Dakota from 1963 to 1981. He was the first Democrat elected in South Dakota to that position since 1930.

He was head of the Food for Peace program under President John F. Kennedy. Later, he was United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998 to 2001. McGovern and Bob Dole received the 2008 World Food Prize for creating a program for international child nutrition and education.

His family made a statement about his death: “Our wonderful father, George McGovern, passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends”.

Many politicians have made comments and tributes about McGovern’s death:

U.S. President Barack Obama said, “George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved. … And after his career in Congress, he became a leading voice in the fight against hunger. … Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, on behalf of himself and Second Lady Jill Biden, “Jill and I are profoundly saddened to hear about George McGovern’s passing. I was honored to serve with him, to know him, and to call him a friend. … Above all, George McGovern was a generous, kind, honorable man. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said, “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern. The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity. We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972. … Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry said, “George McGovern was a voice of clarity and conviction at a time [the Vietnam War] when America needed it most.”

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said, on CNN, “George actually was a very complicated person. He had served as a bomber pilot in World War II, he was not a pacifist and his argument over Vietnam was about that particular war.”

McGovern was born as George Stanley McGovern on July 19, 1922 in Avon, South Dakota. He was raised in Mitchell, South Dakota. He married Eleanor McGovern, and their marriage lasted 64 years until her death at the age of 85 in 2007. During World War II he served as a bomber pilot. They had five children — four daughters and one son.



Sources

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February 10, 2012

Egypt struggles to recover tourism, investment

Egypt struggles to recover tourism, investment

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Egypt
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Location of Egypt

A map showing the location of Egypt

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Egypt, see the Egypt Portal
Flag of Egypt.svg

The Egyptian pound is currently falling in value.
Image: Mabuhelwa.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Egypt’s currency rating for the second time in four months based on the country’s shorfall in foreign reserves and shaky political transition. It’s the latest development for a nation facing mounting economic diffuclties.

Egypt’s foreign reserves fell by over 50 percent last year to about US$16 billion. Egypt has requested US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund to bolster its reserves and prevent a devalation but that could take months.

Experts say that Egypt’s problem of attracting foreign investment and tourists, which are two sources that would increase reserves, has already caused the Egyptian pound to lose 1 percent of its value and if the country doesn’t solve the shortfall in foriegn currency, it could even lead to a further currency devaluation within the next two to three months.

The long-term solution is to restore tourism and foreign investments but both are suffering because of the continuing unrest.

Tourism

The Sphynx was said to guard the city of Thebes by killing anyone who couldn’t answer a riddle.
Image: Schreibkraft.

Egyptian tourism suffered this past year as a result of a revolution, a transition to an elected government, and continuing signs of unrest and instability.

The Egyptian Revolution began on January 25 last year and President Hosni Mubarak resigned over two weeks later on February 11. The protests have continued as Egyptians grew uncomfortable with the military’s control over the transition. At the start of this month, 79 people were killed at a soccer event in Port Said.

Tourism in Egypt accounted for US$12.5 billion in 2010 but fell 30 percent, or US$8.8 billion, in 2011, according to Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt’s tourism minister. Tourism accounts for 11.6 percent of Egypt’s GDP.

Tourists visit The Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It holds 63 tombs and chambers for Pharaohs and nobles of the New Kingdom era. The valley is on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes.
Image: Markh.

Last week, two U.S. female tourists and their Egyptian guide were abducted in the Sinai peninsula by Bedouin tribesmen and released shortly afterward.

The kidnapping took place in broad daylight on a busy road while the tourists travelled after a visit to St. Catherine’s Monastery. Masked tribesmen stopped their bus, abducted the tourists by gunpoint, and escaped into the mountains. Three other tourists of unknown nationalities were left on the bus. Local authorities organized a search which ended in negotiations with local Bedouin tribesmen. The Bedouin demanded the release of recently apprehended tribesmen, who had been detained for drug trafficking and robbery. The US hostages were released unharmed, Abdel Nour said.

As a location, Egypt boasts ancient pyramids, the Nile River, Biblical sites like Mount Sinai, museums, and Red Sea coastal resorts. Last year the number of tourists plunged from fifteen million people down to nine million, which is a 40 percent drop.

A camel resting between rides at the Pyramids in Egypt.
Image: Crashsystems.

The low amount of tourism to Egypt has also affected tourism in other countries. Stas Misezhnikov, Israeli tourism minister, said that Israeli tourism is down because the flow of tourism from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort is “almost nonexistent right now.”

Investment

Egypt’s current investment climate is also severely hampered by the perception that the climate is not yet right for investment.

Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, said investors were not ready to get back into the markets of the Arab Spring countries until stability is restored but the situation has also been exacerbated by the precarious state of the regional and international economy.

Egypt’s domestic politics is threatening one of the country’s largest stable sources of foreign investment. The United States’ annual military aid to Egypt accounts for US$1.5 billion. U.S. politicians have threatened to withhold that aid package, however, because of an investigation into pro-democracy NGOs that involve 19 American citizens and more U.S. money. Senator John Kerry said the Egyptian investigation is a “dangerous game that risks damaging both Egypt’s democratic prospects and the U.S.-Egyptian bilateral relationship.”

Faiza Abou el-Naga, who is the Egyptian minister who distributes Egypt’s aid money, a former Mubarak loyalist who survived through the transition, and one of Egypt’s most visible female politicians, claims the NGOs are meddling in her country’s sovereignty. Both the Muslim parties who won the election and the generals in power are backing those hearings. Her argument that foreigners are meddling in Egypt also has a populist appeal.

The military government’s slow transition is also stalling foreign investments. Khaled bin Mohamed al-Attiya, foreign minister of Qatar, said a few weeks ago his government is holding back from making US$10 billion in investments because power has not been transferred to an elected government. The other Middle Eastern countries that pledged investments, such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are also waiting.

The Egyptian government announced this week that it was investigating Yasser el-Mallawany, an investment banker with EFG Hermes based in Cairo, for allegedly paying soccer fans to riot at Port Said, a charge which el-Mallawany dismissed and attributed to gossip.

Meanwhile, investors within Egypt are looking for other investment vehicles such as real estate as they fear holding cash in a period of devaluation.

Florence Eid, who is an expert on Middle Eastern economies at U.K. Arabia Monitor, said the situation throughout the Middle East could get worse. “People are frustrated because the reasons that they revolted against to begin with, are still there,” Eid said. “Whoever said this was going to be smooth was naive.”

Related news

“One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak” — Wikinews, January 25, 2012

Sources

External links

Egyptian Pound (EGP) in US Dollar (USD)

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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