Ilhan Omar, a candidate for State Representative for Minnesota

Ilhan Omar, a candidate for State Representative for Minnesota

Although the U.S. did not elect its first female president Tuesday night, one woman still made history.

Former refugee Ilhan Omar, who proudly wears the hijab, became America’s first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator after she claimed a strong victory in the Minnesota House race.

The 34-year-old moved to the U.S. at the age of 12, after four years living in a Kenyan refugee camp following her escape from the Somali civil war, the Star Tribune reports. As well as her political duties, she is director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network—a group that aims to empower all women, particularly first and second generation immigrants, to become engaged citizens and community leaders.

Trumpism comes to Brazil

Trumpism comes to Brazil

Bolsonaro, the new Brazilian President, seems to declare that he is a “Trumpist” in all aspects of ideologies and diplomacy: personality, white racism, politics and racial divide in the United States of America (the USA). Externally, the conduct of diplomatic relations in arms control, peace and security, world trade, climatic change, and humanitarian movement to save heaven, seeking safety and livelihood is frustrating.

The policies of Trumpism, sloganeering “America first” could and will not be compatible with the world order that emerged after the cold war and the collapsed of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. The anti-world peace and security being promoted by Trump Republicanism and populism should not be allowed to flow out of the USA. Dangers that could be caused by Trump’s rhetorics could backfire, not only to the USA but could affect the whole world. Already the mini-world war is taking place in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the USA and Russia backing the two war consortium respectively. Can such a war be allowed without the nuclear arms control?

Bolsonaro is naive by saluting the ghost of the USA flag in an attempt to lure Brazil into politics of the USA growing isolationism.

FIFA hints at expanding Qatar 2022 World Cup to wider Gulf region

FIFA hints at expanding Qatar 2022 World Cup to wider Gulf region

As blockade continues, FIFA head considers possible shared hosting rights in other Gulf countries and increasing teams.

FIFA, football’s governing body, is considering expanding the Qatar 2022 World Cup from 32 teams to 48, with the possibility of Doha sharing the tournament with other countries in the Gulf region.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday that the expansion, which is slated for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico, could come early at the next event.

“We have decided as well to increase the number of teams participating in the World Cup final tournaments, from 32 to 48. This will happen in 2026. Will it happen already in 2022? We are looking into it. If it is possible, why not?”, said Infantino, speaking at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Qatar beat bid rivals Australia, Japan, South Korea and the US in 2010 to claim the hosting rights, becoming the first Arab country to do so.

One of its stated aims was to create a legacy for the Middle East, but last year, its Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed political and economic ties with Qatar, imposing a land, sea and air embargo on the peninsula.

“We have to see if it is possible, if it is feasible,” said Infantino about the potential expansion in four year’s time.

“We are discussing with our Qatari friends, we are discussing with our many other friends in the region and we hope that this can happen,” he added.

“And, if not, we will have tried. We will have tried because we always have to try to do things in a better way.”

‘Political difference’

Infantino’s favoured plan of adding 16 extra teams – with 16 three-team groups – to football’s mega event was unanimously approved by the FIFA Council last year.

The 2026 tournament in North America is set to be the first World Cup hosted by three nations.

Preparations are under way in Qatar, which is breaking with tradition with a winter kick-off, as it looks to avoid the scorching summer heat.

Seven new state-of-the-art stadiums with advanced open-air cooling technology are being built from scratch for the 2022 event.

The eighth one, Khalifa International Stadium, was inaugurated in May last year, after undergoing renovations and upgrades.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has said that Qatar 2022 is “very important for the whole region” and hopes that the football tournament will help the Arab countries “overcome difficulties”.

South American countries had formally asked FIFA to make Qatar 2022 a 48-team event.

“We need to basically be careful and look at the feasibility and understand what the implications are before any decision is taken,” Nasser al-Khater, Qatar 2022’s assistant secretary-general, told Al Jazeera in an interview in July.

Analysts have warned that the expansion of Qatar’s tournament will present a fresh batch of problems to a host nation that has already been the subject of much condemnation over migrant workers’ rights and its winter schedule.

“How would Qatar – already working around the clock to cater for the needs of 32 nations, 64 games and the hundreds of thousands of fans eager to support their teams – allow for another 16 teams, not forgetting, of course the extra games and extra fans it would have to host in the allotted schedule?,” wrote Ross Griffin, assistant professor of Postcolonial Literature at Qatar University.

Al Jazeera’s sports correspondent Lee Wellings, reporting from London, said Infantino’s latest remarks are more about “FIFA politics” than the 2022 World Cup.

“He [Infantino] is standing in Kuala Lumpur and talking to people who want to hear that there’s a chance for more teams in a tournament which is happening in their continent, so he knows he’s preaching to the converted,” he said.

“What he also believes, somewhere at the back of his mind, is that he can actually make a political difference, rather like Sepp Blatter [ex-FIFA president] before him,” Wellings said.

“But when it comes to trying to sort out situations in the Middle East … to actually make this happen is way beyond Infantino and FIFA.”

Source  – Aljazeera

Thousands of US troops sent to tighten security at Mexico border

Thousands of US troops sent to tighten security at Mexico border

By AFP

WASHINGTON,

The Pentagon is deploying 5,200 active-duty troops to beef up security along the US-Mexico border, officials announced Monday, in a bid to prevent a caravan of Central American migrants from illegally crossing the frontier.

The move represents a massive military buildup along the border, where some 2,000 National Guardsmen are already working to provide assistance to overwhelmed authorities.

MONITORING

President Donald Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly said more troops are needed to tighten border security, and he has made political capital of the caravan ahead of crucial midterm congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain some degree of power.

According to US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, US authorities are tracking a group of about 3,500 people traveling north through the Chiapas-Oaxaca area in southern Mexico.

Additionally, officials were monitoring another group of about 3,000 people that had gathered at a border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico.

Mr Trump said Monday night that his administration plans to build tent cities for migrants that do reach the border and ask for asylum.

“If they apply for asylum, we’re going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place. We’re going to hold them, we’re going to build tent cities, we’re gonna build tents all over the place,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

“We’re not gonna build structures and spend all of these hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re gonna have tents, they’re gonna be very nice, and they’re going to wait, and if they don’t get asylum they get out,” he said.

CROSSING

Even as US officials unveiled details of the military deployment, migrants were trying to cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexico on rafts made from truck tires, or by forming human chains to avoid being swept away.

Others swam across after Mexican authorities refused to open a border bridge.

McAleenan described the situation along the US-Mexico frontier as a “border security and humanitarian crisis,” and said border agents over the past three weeks had apprehended about 1,900 people per day illegally crossing.

“Over half of these arrivals have been made up of family units and unaccompanied children who place themselves in the hands of violent human smugglers, paying 7,000 (dollars) per person to make the journey,” McAleenan said.

The massive deployment marks a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when US officials said about 800 active-duty troops would head south.

It means that within days, the US military will have more than three times as many troops along the southern border as it does fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

BOMBS

President Trump last week expressed frustration that the issue, which had been attracting growing cable news attention, had slipped from front pages as top figures in the Democratic Party were targeted by a series of mail bombs.

He took to Twitter on Monday to again blast the migrant caravan, which is comprised mainly of Hondurans — many of whom are fleeing horrific gang violence.

“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” Mr Trump wrote without providing evidence, doubling down on the hardline anti-immigrant rhetoric that helped fuel his 2016 election victory.

“Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”

The president has been campaigning intensively for weeks, frequently hammering on the migrant caravan issue and stoking anti-immigrant concerns among voters.

He is expected to hold 11 rallies in the days ahead of the November 6 midterms, which Washington pundits are characterizing as a referendum on his presidency.

CRITICISM

The American Civil Liberties Union blasted Mr Trump’s decision to send troops, calling the move a political one to fuel “his anti-immigrant agenda of fear and division” ahead of the midterms.

“These migrants need water, diapers, and basic necessities — not an army division,” ACLU lawyer Shaw Drake said.

The Democrats, for their part, have been caught largely flat-footed by Mr Trump’s messaging on the caravan and struggled to present coherent alternatives.

The Southern Poverty Law Center called the deployment an act of “defiance” that would not make the US safer.

In April, President Trump ordered up to 4,000 National Guardsmen to head to the border as a different migrant caravan wound its way north. About 2,100 have deployed.

SENSORS

Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of the US military’s Northern Command, told reporters the 5,200 troops would focus on trying to “harden” border crossings and surrounding areas, with work done by combat engineering battalions with experience building temporary fencing.

Additionally, the Pentagon is sending military police and three helicopter companies equipped with high-tech sensors and night-vision capabilities.

Though soldiers are not conducting direct law-enforcement operations and will ostensibly be in a support role, they will nonetheless be deployed with their weapons, officials noted.

Source  – AFP

Trump weighs options on executive action that would bar migrants, deny asylum at border

Trump weighs options on executive action that would bar migrants, deny asylum at border

By Jonathan Karl & Anne Flaherty

President Donald Trump is considering executive action that would bar migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking asylum, a senior administration official confirmed late Thursday to ABC News.

Such a move would almost certainly be challenged in court. The push comes just 11 days before crucial midterm elections in which Democrats believe they have a chance to flip the House and several state governor races. That is a scenario that would present a serious challenge to Trump’s agenda, which he has recently described as a “nationalist” approach that puts “America first.”

“The administration is considering a wide range of administrative, legal and legislative options to address the Democrat-created crisis of mass illegal immigration,” the official told ABC News. “No decisions have been made at this time. Nor will we forecast to smugglers or caravans what precise strategies will or will not be deployed.”

The assertion that Democrats created the crisis of illegal immigration in the United States is not accurate.

Under both political parties, the U.S. has faced a steady uptick in illegal migration across its southern border, due primarily to war and poverty in Central America. President George W. Bush tried to push through a bipartisan compromise that would have offered the biggest changes to immigration laws in 20 years, including strengthened border security, but it collapsed amid opposition on both sides, including hardline conservatives who balked at granting some immigrants what they called “amnesty.”

Trump has been focused on what options he has to deliver on his campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border, a proposal that has not had sufficient support in Congress.

PHOTO: A migrant child barely able to continue onward jumps onto a truck to rest during the caravan to Tapachula, Mexico.Robert Zepeda/ABC News – A migrant child barely able to continue onward jumps onto a truck to rest during the caravan to Tapachula, Mexico.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said it was “disgraceful” that the Trump administration would even consider closing the border to asylum seekers.

“It would mean refusing to protect people who can prove they are fleeing persecution,” Jadwat said in a statement. “That would be a huge moral failure and any plan along these lines will be subject to intense legal scrutiny.”

Under federal law, people can obtain asylum in the U.S. if they have credible evidence of persecution back home. Most asylum seekers pass an initial screening and then are either held in a detention center or released on bond while their cases wind through the immigration courts.

Trump and his supporters say the system is broken because many people are released into the U.S. and fail to return to immigration court.

But Trump’s hardline policies, including a “zero-tolerance” approach that resulted in some 2,600 children separated from their parents at the border, seems to have had little effect on attempts by migrants to seek asylum.

PHOTO: Central American migrants traveling with a caravan to the U.S. make their way to Pijijiapan, Mexico, Oct. 25, 2018. Rodrigo Abd/AP – Central American migrants traveling with a caravan to the U.S. make their way to Pijijiapan, Mexico, Oct. 25, 2018.

A separate caravan of Central Americans earlier this spring was undeterred by Trump’s angry rhetoric and waited nearly a week to be processed. The latest caravan is estimated by the United Nations to have grown to more than 7,000 people who say they joined the dangerous journey because poverty and gang violence have limited their options.

Overall, illegal border crossings plunged after Trump’s election but are now returning to levels from before Trump took office.

More than 396,000 people in the past year have been arrested trying to cross the southern border, a figure closer to 2016 levels after the number dropped to 304,000 in 2017. And according to new data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of apprehensions of family members spiked after Trump’s zero-tolerance policy went into effect. CBP reports that the agency arrested 16,658 people in families in September compared to only 8,875 in March.

With the election days away and several tight races in play, Trump told supporters at a rally in Wisconsin this week to “wait until you see what happens over the next couple of weeks.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis has signed an order to deploy hundreds of active duty troops to the southern border.

The initial estimate is that 800 to 1,000 U.S. military personnel could deploy, primarily to help with logistics at the border. There are already about 2,000 National Guard troops called up by the governors of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Like Guard troops already activated, these new active-duty troops will not be engaging with migrants but would retain the right to self-defense.

“You’re going to see a very secure border,” Trump told voters earlier this week. “You just watch. Just watch. Very secure. And the military is ready. They’re all set. They’re all set.”

On Thursday, within minutes of giving a speech on drug prices at the Health and Human Services Department, Trump fired off a tweet on the caravan as though to pivot the conversation back to immigration.

“To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally,” he tweeted. “Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!”

Trump imposed a travel ban on several majority-Muslim nations shortly after taking office. The ACLU challenged that ban in court, as it would almost certainly do if Trump embraces a plan to deny asylum seekers at the southern border. But a version of Trump’s travel ban on Muslim nations was ultimately upheld by a sharply divided Supreme Court, with the conservative majority taking his side in support of presidential power.

Source – ABC News

 

Hillary Clinton on bomb threat: ‘We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service’

Hillary Clinton on bomb threat: ‘We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service’

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday America is in “a troubling time” and appealed for national unity after she was among a number of high-profile Democrats targeted in bomb threats.

“We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home,” she said.

“But it is a troubling time, isn’t it? And it’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”