NEW YORK: A leading American newspaper Friday applauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the wake of last week’s tragic attack on two mosques in Christchurch.
The world has watched as issues such as national grief, gun control, social media streaming and religious freedom have been navigated by the world’s youngest female head of government, it was pointed out.
The New York Time, in the editorial published Friday titled ‘America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern’, commends the 38-year-old for her stunning capacity to carry a nation through what she called New Zealand’s ‘darkest hour.
In particular, it noted the stark contrast between the responses of New Zealand and the United States to mass shootings.
“In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Connecticut; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Florida — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling,” it said.
And it was not just the gun control issue that impressed.
“In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.”
She told grieving families, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
And in a striking gesture, she refused to utter the name of the suspected killer. “He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing,” she said. “Not even his name,” the editorial said.
The article continued, “After this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons.
” Ms Ardern has shown the way.”
The Christchurch shooting, reportedly carried out by a white supremacist from Australia, has revived the debate over US gun laws and over remarks President Donald Trump made after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
The suspected gunman in a manifesto said he supported Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity.”
The president’s critics have accused him of stoking white nationalist sentiment, a claim the White House denies.
Trump on Monday blasted the media, saying they were trying to blame him for the New Zealand shooting.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand,” Trump tweeted. “They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”
US seeks to extend detention of some asylum seekers: report
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s administration has issued an order that could keep some asylum seekers in jail for months or years as they wait for their cases to be heard, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The order from Attorney General Bill Barr directs immigration judges to no longer allow asylum seekers who are apprehended after entering the country illegally to post bail, the newspaper said.
The order — which will not go into effect for 90 days — does not affect those who apply for asylum at a legal port of entry, the Times reported.
The move was quickly condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union rights organization, which vowed to challenge it in court.
“Our Constitution does not allow the government to lock up asylum seekers without basic due process. We’ll see the administration in court. Again,” the ACLU tweeted.
Trump has staked his presidency on his insistence that the United States is being overrun by migrants and asylum seekers.
But opponents, mostly in the Democratic Party, say his push for building more walls on the Mexican border and his almost daily denunciations of migrants as dangerous criminals incites racial hatred.
The president declared an emergency to bypass Congress and unlock funds for his controversial wall project, and has also deployed troops to the border with Mexico.
The White House has also said it is looking into ways to transfer undocumented migrants to so-called sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York that limit cooperation with US immigration officials.
White House denies Trump inciting violence against Muslim lawmaker
WASHINGTON: The top Democrat in the US Congress ordered a safety review for a Muslim lawmaker and her family Sunday after accusing President Donald Trump of putting her in danger by tweeting a video of her spliced with footage of the 9/11 attacks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took time out from an official trip to issue a strong statement urging Trump to remove the clip featuring Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
“Following the president’s tweet, I spoke with the sergeant-at-arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff,” she said.
“The president’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger. President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, meanwhile, defended the president Sunday against accusations that he was inciting violence toward Omar.
Omar has been at the center of an escalating row after a clip emerged of her characterizing the deadliest attack on US soil as “some people did something.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted a video that juxtaposed the snippet — which Omar’s fellow Democrats say was taken out of context — with images of the hijacked planes used in the attacks crashing into the World Trade Center’s twin towers that once dominated New York’s skyline. Menacing music accompanies Omar’s words.
The clip, which had been viewed more than 9.4 million times as of Sunday afternoon, ends with the words: “SEPTEMBER 11 2001 WE REMEMBER.”
Omar said in a statement posted on Twitter Sunday that many of the increased threats she had received were “directly referencing or replying to the President’s video.”
“Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world,” she said. “We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land.”
With White House in their sights, Democrats challenge Wall Street
WASHINGTON: On the campaign trail and in Congress, Democrats are challenging the titans of Wall Street, proclaiming a “new day” as they seek to channel the anger of their party and voters that has raged since the financial crisis.
CEOs of America’s biggest banks were summoned for the first time since the 2008 crisis by a congressional committee on Wednesday, raising their hands as they swore their oaths ahead of their testimony.
It was a powerful image that underscored the recent change in control of the House of Representatives, which came under Democratic control in January after eight years of Republican rule.
“This is a new way and it’s a new day,” said Maxine Waters, the first woman and first African American to chair the powerful House Financial Services Committee.
Tim Sloan, the former CEO of Wells Fargo, testified at a previous hearing in March.
This time, it was the turn of the heads of Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, State Street Corporation, BNY Mellon and Goldman Sachs.
Waters had previously tangled with some of them at the peak of the crisis, when the global financial system was imperiled.
The current round of cross-examinations has less to do with the stabilization of the financial system and more the social impact of Wall Street.
“You, captains of the universe, are smart enough and creative enough and understand this business enough to see what you can do about these citizens, these young people,” said Waters.
Some of the Democrats on the committee have focused on spotlighting the gap between these executives, all male, white and fabulously wealthy, and the rest of society — a tactic criticized by the panel’s ranking Republican as headline-seeking.
In one probing exchange, Nydia Velazquez, a Democrat of New York, pressed Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat to justify his 2018 pay of $24.2 million, an estimated 486 times that of the average employee.
Corbat said his pay was set by the board of directors and that, if he were an average employee who observed the yawning gap, “I would be hopeful that there’s the opportunity to continue to advance.”
“This is why people who live in a bubble and in an ivory tower cannot understand the anger out there, especially among millennials,” Velasquez shot back.