Trump 2018 Budget Proposes Hike in Arms Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C.(IDN | NAPF) – The U.S. Department of Energy released Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request on May 23. The budget includes a $54 billion increase in defence spending, including $10.2 billion for supposed “Weapons activities to maintain and enhance the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear weapons enterprise.” Details of exactly what is included in the $10.2 billion increase have not yet been released.

While the overall budget includes significant increases to defence spending, it also includes significant cuts to scientific research, medical research, disease prevention and health insurance for children of the working poor. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current funding would be cut by more than 30 percent. Planned Parenthood would not receive any Health and Human Services Funding.

U.S. to Test Launch an Unarmed Minuteman III ICBM

By J C Suresh

TORONTO (IDN) – At a time of extraordinary tension between the U.S. and North Korea, with each side flexing its military muscle and making implicit and explicit threats, the U.S. has announced the test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 26.

Commenting the announcement, David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), said: “When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing.”

Trump Shows His Muscles

Analysis by Pier Francesco Zarcone*

LISBON (IDN) – Not knowing what will happen next, commenting in the immediate wake of the U.S. missile attack on the Shayrat airbase in Syria on the night of April 7 is risky but not sterile, at least to try to understand a bit more than the pre-packaged “petty lessons” of the mouthpieces of the United States, in Italy and elsewhere, were quick to recite.

Coincidentally, the muscular display of [U.S. President Donald] Trump comes shortly after the publication by IDN of an article the essence of which was the substantial uselessness of international law, given that the great powers violate it continually

Trump Administration May Downgrade Human Rights Issues

By Rodney Reynolds

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – There is widespread speculation in the U.S. capital that the Trump administration may play down human rights violations worldwide and even withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The speculation has been prompted by several factors, including a proposed 37 percent cut in the annual State Department budget, a low-profiled release of the annual U.S. human Rights Report on March 3 (with no briefings, breaking traditions, by the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) and his refusal to condemn the civilian killings ordered by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duarte, during Senate confirmation hearings.

UN Indignation Unlikely to Sway Trump

By Phil Harris

ROME (IDN) – Newly-elected US president Donald Trump has been hyperactive in his first week in office, signing executive orders that confirm his pre-election pledges to “make America great again” by brushing aside any concern for the plight of those seeking to find safety and a better life.

One of his first acts was the signing of an executive order to begin the process of building a wall on the US-Mexico border, saying that “a nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders.”

Trump Win an Indictment on the Republican Party

By Somar Wijayadasa*

NEW YORK (IDN) – After an acrimonious election that lacked a dialogue on policy issues but filled with animosity and innuendo, Donald J. Trump won the presidency in a stunning upset that has surprised the whole world.

He single-handedly won the election despite the Republicans in Washington shamefully spurned the Republican nominee with disdain and contempt. Even the major media outlets jumped on the bandwagon indiscriminately bashing Trump’s every word. Even three days after elections, the media was still stirring the cesspool.

Trump’s win is not a win for the Republican Party because Americans voted to prove their absolute repugnance and distrust of the “established political order” in Washington.

TPPA May Fall Victim to U.S. Political Dynamics

Analysis by Martin Khor *

GENEVA (IDN | SouthViews) – The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has become a political football in the U.S. Presidential elections and with the public mood so against trade agreements, the TPPA faces the real possibility of being discarded.

No country was more active in pushing for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the five years of negotiations, the United States cajoled, persuaded and pressurised its trade partners to take on board its issues and positions.

Finally, when the TPP was signed in February 2016 by 12 countries, it was widely expected that the agreement will come into force within two years, after each country ratifies it.

Strategic Dialogue Needed to Avert New Cold War

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) – Nearly everyone I talk politics to says the world is in a mess. But I live in a student town and most of them have nothing to measure their opinions against. They know not much about the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, Watergate or the great famines in Africa and India.

In many ways most of us live in the best of times, on better incomes than our parents, with longevity increasing all over the world, not least in the poorer countries and helped by inventions that our parents never dreamt were possible.

Young African Leaders Trained at State Department Programme

WASHINGTON (IDN | GIN) – With media attention glued to the salacious details of the U.S. election, a signature program of President Obama is flying under the radar, preparing young African leaders with advanced leadership skills to bring home to their countries.

Participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders are enrolled in an intensive, six-week program on academic excellence and leadership focused on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, public management, and renewable energy at U.S. colleges and universities.

Montreal World Social Forum to Focus on Nuclear Disarmament

By J C Suresh

TORONO (IDN) – The World Social Forum (WSF), the largest civil society gathering to find solutions to the problems of our time, will convene for the first time in a northern country – in Canada – from August 9 to 14.

Montreal will host the 12th World Social Forum that was launched in 2001 in Porto Alegre, the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. One of the key issues in focus will be: “Once a nuclear war starts, there’s no way to limit it.”

Radio Canada International (RCI) quoted Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) saying, the “world is teetering back towards the cold war syndrome and towards an escalation of the nuclear threat”.

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