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Trump's So Special, Baghdad Bombings, Buffett's Apple Slice

SPOTLIGHT: TRUMP AND THE ‘SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP'

It was 1946 when Winston Churchill coined the term "special relationship" to describe the uniquely close ties between the U.S. and UK: diplomatic, military, cultural, linguistic, economic… and yes, historic. The transatlantic amity dates back to the mid-19th century, when the two countries — one the world's dominant empire, the other an ambitious former colony destined to be an empire of its own — began to find it both natural and convenient to work together. It says something about the fluidity of geopolitics that this particularly close partnership could take form just decades after the two countries fought a pair of bloody wars.


Could it all be reversed even more quickly with the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency? After the presumptive Republican nominee took direct slaps at both British Prime Minister David Cameron and newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan in an ITV interview Monday, British political commentator John McTernan suggested in The Telegraph that the threat to the British-American relations would be very real indeed with Trump in the White House. And it goes beyond any personal animosity between the Republican frontrunner and Cameron. "There is no conceivable British prime minister who would be able to fake respect for Trump's intellect and strategic insight. It is, fundamentally, what a Trump victory would mean: a triumph for nativism and isolationism. The strategic response would be for Britain to pivot to Europe and the new defence axis would be the one that has always, in a way, made more sense: integration with France," McTernan writes.


No doubt global coverage in the coming months will include a region-by-region, country-by-country look at what a Trump presidency would mean for the rest of the world. His campaign, as Dominique Moisi noted last week in French daily Les Echos, is the first major challenge to Washington's internationalist policy in the past 75 years. It is just one part of what makes Trump's candidacy so, well… special.


DOZENS KILLED IN BAGHDAD BOMBINGS

Two bombings in the Iraqi capital, including a suicide attack in a crowded market, have killed at least 44 people. Reuters says that initial reports indicate a woman suicide bomber carried out the market attack in a Shia neighborhood in northern Baghdad.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Syrian truce talks resume in Vienna
  • U.S. presidential primaries in Kentucky and Oregon
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia


EU REPORT: TURKEY VISA DEAL RAISES TERROR RISK

A European Union report warns that the recent deal to ease Turkey visa requirements in exchange for stemming the flow of migrants will increase the risk of terrorist attacks, The Telegraph reports.


POPE FRANCIS INTERVIEW

In a rare interview, Pope Francis told the French Catholic daily La Croix that "idolatry of money," is causing much of the suffering in the world. He also denied that there is a "fear of Islam" in Europe. Read more in our Extra! feature.


MAJOR TREASURE OFF ISRAEL COAST

Israel's Antiquities Authority has confirmed a major discovery by divers of ancient Roman artifacts from a merchant ship that sank near Caesarea roughly 1,600 years ago, The Jerusalem Post reports.


— ON THIS DAY

Anne of Denmark and Trent Reznor are linked to May 17. See more in our 57-second shot of history.


WARREN BUFFETT TAKES BIG BITE OF APPLE

Investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) has divulged a more than $1 billion stake in Apple Inc. Reuters notes that while some had recently suggested that the tech firm was overvalued, Buffett's vote of confidence may be a sign Apple has joined the ranks of more mature companies, such as Microsoft or Intel.


MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE WINNER

South Korean novelist Han Kang was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for "The Vegetarian." The BBC reports that the work of her English translator, Deborah Smith, is also particularly noteworthy.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Mohamed al-Rufai, a magistrate, and his wife Fawzia, a teacher, live in Misrata, a coastal city in Western Libya. In spite of the country's lingering unrest after the 2011 Libyan revolution, the two have remained in their hometown, determined to make the best of a trying situation. "At 19, Maryam is the youngest of their three children; fluent in English, she dreams of becoming an interpreter, but finds the social environment for women in Misrata stifling. "I stay at home like a dead person," she says, a hint of rebellion in her voice. "Society judges you down to the air you breathe." When driving the family car, even with her mother, she feels under siege. "Boys are staring at us and call out to us at crossroads. Some even provoke accidents just to force us to get to know each other!" she says, fuming. "I look at my society with anger. I can't even go out for a coffee with friends, live a normal human being's life."

Read the full article: A Libyan Family's Quiet Resilience.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH


Film Captures "Beautiful" Paradox Of 1945 Berlin Summer Die Welt


In Mexico, A Motorized Rickshaw Challenge To UberEl Informador


Big Data Will Change How We Borrow Money Les Echos


LAST EYE FROM 19TH CENTURY

The world's last living witness of the 19th century is 116-year-old Emma Morano of Verbania, northern Italy, who was born in 1899. Morano — whose first love was a soldier in World War I — once worked in a jute mill, hasn't left home in years and eats three raw eggs a day.


— Crunched by Cynthia Martens

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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