United States President alarms many with racist comments
Last Thursday, President Donald Trump sparked bipartisan outrage when he asked why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti and some African nations, according to sources with direct knowledge of the conversation. His comments came during a Cabinet Room meeting intended to negotiate a bipartisan immigration deal which Trump learned included protection for Haitian citizens. Representatives were pressing to allow immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children legal status.
Representative Mia Love (R-UT) demanded an apology from the President, saying his comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation’s values.” The Representative, who is of Haitian descent, said in an emotional statement that her parents achieved the American dream without accepting government aid. “This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.” Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) said the President’s comments were disappointing, “but not surprising.” He went on to say that people can now “say with 100 percent confidence that the president is a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence.” Sources say Trump has made disparaging comments in the past about admitting immigrants from Haiti and other nations. In a tweet last Friday, Trump defended his comments, saying “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
Saudi Arabian laws modernise some women’s rights
For the first time in Saudi Arabia, women were allowed last Friday to spectate a soccer match as part of a larger move to modernise some of the kingdom’s laws. Though they were only allowed through family gates into family seating, analysts say this is a significant change in the ultra-conservative Muslim community’s ways. That day, the first car showroom for female customers was opened in preparation of a law announced last September that the ban on women drivers would be lifted this upcoming June. Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sworn to help the kingdom gradually become more moderate.
Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment still strictly enforces many Islamic doctrines, and women in the kingdom are not allowed to travel abroad, open a bank account, get married or leave prison unless they have permission from the men in their lives. There is also a guardianship law that states women must be accompanied by a male family member to work or travel, and most restaurants have two sections, one for families and one for males. Though many have welcomed the new changes, others of the Saudi Arabian community feel that their traditions and values are being ignored and corrupted.
Australia faces extreme summer with links to climate change
As highway sections connecting Melbourne and Sydney begin to melt, bats fall heat-stricken from trees, and health officials warn Australians of a heat wave, scientists say the extreme summer heat in Australia can likely be attributed to global warming. The equally-extreme winter in the United States has triggered discussions among experts as to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Though no one weather event can be attributed to global warming, Andy Pitman, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales, says that the recent events are to be expected in a world that is about one degree warmer than the average mean. “It was a meteorological anomaly, but the probability works a bit like if you stand at sea level and throw a ball in the air, and then gradually make your way up a mountain and throw the ball in the air again,” he says. “The chances of the ball going higher increases dramatically. That’s what we’re doing with temperature.” Pitman also says the issue in government negotiations is less getting politicians to acknowledge the threat and more getting them to acknowledge the severity of it. “The issue now is that the scale of concern – and the action under way or committed to both in Australia and internationally – doesn’t match the scale of the problem.”