Asia Pacific shares suffer sell-off amid prospect of US rate rise

3 days ago

Broad index of Asian shares see biggest drop since Brexit shock as European markets set to follow suit

Shares fell across Asia Pacific on Monday with UK and European stock markets poised to follow suit after investors were rattled by the prospect of a rise in US interest rates as early as next week.

Following the lead from a sharp sell-off on Wall Street, Japans Nikkei average was down 1.51% while the MSCI index for other shares across the region fell 2.2%. It was the largest daily drop since the frenzy caused by Britains vote in late June to leave the European Union.

Australian stocks sank 2.22% at 1.30pm local time with the countrys large banking sector badly hit by suggestions that the US Federal Reserve could raise borrowing costs at its meeting next week.

A near 4% fall in oil prices, also put pressure on the Australian marlket where the large resopurces companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum were all down.

The FTSE 100 benchmark in London was set to open down nearly 100 points, or almost 1.5%, according to online trading firm IG. Germanys Dax 30 was set to drop 231 points, or 2.2%.

Some Fed members have been trying to convince markets that the September meeting would be live for a hike, even though futures 0FF: only imply a one-in-four chance of a move.

No less than three Fed officials are expected to speak later on Monday, including board member and noted dove Lael Brainard. Any hint of hawkishness would likely further pressure bonds and equities.

Market participants are wondering if maybe [Brainard] is being wheeled out to give the market one last warning of a rate hike at next weeks meeting, said Marshall Gittler, head of research at broker FXPRIMUS.

The thinking is that if someone as dovish as she is starts talking like a hawk, people will notice. Her speech will be closely examined.

Chris Weston at IG in Melbourne said: Perhaps Lael Brainard can cool tensions of a near-term hike from the Fed. However given her pessimistic view of late expect any clear hints of a hike this year to be magnified, in turn causing the global sell-off in fixed income to ramp up.

Such risks led the Chicago Board options exchange volatility index to close at its highest level since late June on Friday. The Dow shed 2.13% on Friday, while the S&P 500 lost 2.45% and the Nasdaq 2.54%.

Government bond yields have been pushed to historic lows by years of monetary easing and made returns on equities seem relatively more attractive in comparison. Any tightening of that easy money approach, such as a Fed rate hike, will weigh on stock valuations.

The yield on benchmark German debt, for instance, had turned positive for the first time since July 22 and ended at 0.02%, its highest since 23 June. Yields on US 10-year and 30-year paper hit 11-week peaks.

In the forex market, the sudden bout of risk aversion benefited safe havens such as the yen while hitting carry trades in higher yielding currencies including the Australian dollar.

The Aussie has lost 1.5% against the yen in two sessions to stand at 77.21, while the Japanese currency was firm on the US dollar at 102.55.

The euro was sidelined on the dollar at $1.1239 after weak German trade data dragged it down from $1.1271 on Friday. The dollar index, which tracks it against a basket of six currencies, eased fractionally to 95.317.

Adding to the jittery mood on Monday was news that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton fell ill at a memorial ceremony for the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York and had been diagnosed with pneumonia.

Markets have generally assumed Clinton would win the presidency and have not properly priced the implications, both economic and for national security, should Donald Trump prevail.

Geopolitical concerns had already been inflamed by North Koreas fifth and biggest nuclear test, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.

North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test, South Koreas Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday, citing South Korean government sources.

In commodities, oil prices extended Fridays 4% fall in Asia after reports showed increasing oil drilling activity in the US, indicating that producers can operate profitably around current levels.

Brent crude was off 70c, or about 1.5%, at $47.31 a barrel, while US crude lost 79c to $45.09.

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Martin McGuinness obituary

19 days ago

Sinn Fin politician and peace negotiator who went from being an IRA commander to serving for a decade as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland

Martin McGuinness, who has died aged 66 after suffering from a genetic disorder, was the former IRA commander who became Sinn Fins chief negotiator in the Northern Ireland peace process that led to the Good Friday agreement of 1998. Nine years later he entered power-sharing government with the Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley, and continued to serve as deputy first minister with Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster until resigning in January this year from the consequences of Fosters refusal to stand down during an inquiry into a bungled energy scheme.

McGuinness was still a teenager when fate propelled him into violent politics in his native Derry. Scenes in 1968 of Gerry Fitt, the Catholic MP for West Belfast, splashed with blood after being hit by police batons as he led a civil rights march, shocked him into activism. He took to the streets just as the IRA, having been stood down after abortive Border campaigns in the 1950 s, was re-arming. IRA leaders insured him as capable of providing organisation in Derry to mirror what Gerry Adams was developing in Belfast. Within months McGuinness was second in command of the IRA Derry Brigade, its own position he still held on 30 January 1972, Bloody Sunday, when British parachute regiment soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed Catholic demonstrators.

In March 1972, the Conservative “ministers ” Edward Heath suspended the Northern Ireland government at Stormont and imposed direct regulation. William Whitelaw, the Northern Ireland secretary, tried secret talks with the IRA. Its leaders, Sen Mac Stofin and Samus Twomey, wanting the voice of young activists to be heard, picked McGuinness and Adams to join their six-strong delegation to fly to London. McGuinness and Adams already knew one another from the barricades, but that journey dedicated them an invaluable insight into the powerful British political establishment and cemented a lifelong relationship and political partnership that was strong enough for them to push through the peace settlement against often violent opponent within the republican community.

Martin McGuinness as deputy first pastor shaking hands with the Queen, with first minister Peter Robinson, centre, in Belfast in 2012. Photo: Paul Faith/ AFP/ Getty Images

The image of McGuinness, as deputy first ministers responsible for Northern Ireland, standing side by side with a smiling Robinson, Paisleys successor as Democratic Unionist party leader and first minister, and shaking the Queens hand during her visit to Belfast in 2012, vividly portrayed is not merely how far McGuinness himself had developed over the years, but how far Northern Ireland had moved from the violence of 1968. The two met on a number of subsequent occasions, the last coming in June 2016 at Hillsborough Castle, when the Queen unveiled a portrait of herself. After a 20 -minute private meeting McGuinness said: I am an unapologetic Irish republican and I value very much the contribution Queen Elizabeth has made to the peace process and to reconciliation.

McGuinnesss unexpectedly warm relationship with Paisley in the year they shared the executive earned them the nickname the Chuckle Brother. When Robinson succeeded Paisley in 2008, he promised a workmanlike but not warm relationship, which rapidly had them dubbed The Brothers Grimm by Northern Irelands witticisms. Robinson and McGuinness worked together through several constitutional crises and attained joint visits to the US in search of the inward investment both considered as key to maintaining peace. McGuinness said in 2013: I am absolutely passionate about the peace process and passionate that we will under no circumstances ensure the situation slip back to where it was before And Im still passionate about working with unionist leaders.

His task was made more difficult in January 2016 when Robinson, whose health had continued to be poor, retired and was succeeded by Foster, the legislative assembly member for the bitterly sectarian rural seat of Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Their year of sharing office, through much of which McGuinness was increasingly unwell, did nothing to bring them closer.

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What the rest of Europe thinks about Londoners picking a Muslim mayor

20 days ago

People living outside the UK give their views on Sadiq Khans win and whether a Muslim would be elected where they live

As Europe grapplings with the rise of anti-immigration parties, Sadiq Khans appointment as the first directly elected Muslim mayor of a western capital city is important. According to those who responded to a Guardian callout, people living in the rest of Europe welcome the choice Londoners have made.

Sadiqs appointment sends a great message to the world. It reflects Britains state of mind which, as a French person, I think is more open-minded than France, said 18 -year-old Mathilde from the south of France. It tells me that Londoners see above the religion or the race of a person.

Last year, a YouGov poll procured that 31% of those living in the capital would be uncomfortable having a Muslim mayor, and 13% are still not sure. But the 1,310, 143 people who voted for Khan have boosted Londons reputation as a multicultural, multi-faith and liberal city.

Mathilde lives in Alleins, a village not far from Marseille, which is home to 250,000 Muslims, the second largest population in France. In the 2015 regional elections Alleins citizens voted for the rightwing party Les Rpublicains( 52% ), and the far-right Front National( FN)( 48% )~ ATAGEND. In the first round of the local election Front National led, losing out in the second round to Les Rpublicains. I live in an area where, ironically, there are many Muslims but where the FN has the most success. There are definitely discriminations against Muslim people, even though its often in discreet forms.

I tend to be pointed out that Muslims are not really integrated in society but left in a corner. I guess the Paris attacks helped the rightwing parties, especially the far-right party, to become more important. In fact the regional elections happened a little while after the attacks she said.

Louis, 18, who also lives in southern France, feels that Muslim people are more integrated into society than Mathilde describes but doesnt ever expect to see a Muslim political nominee in a similar position to Khan.

For me, it doesnt matter what his religion is or where he comes from as long as hes qualified and skilled. I guess[ Khans win] highlights Londons ethnic diversity and that he won thanks to their vote, he said.

Rafiq, 70, from Switzerland, has positive experiences of Muslim people standing for local government elections and gaining referendums, despite the populist rightwing Swiss Peoples party( SVP) winning the biggest share of the vote in Switzerlands elections last year.

It seems that acts of Islamophobia are not as widespread as are sometimes reported. Like most places Switzerland has all kinds of people, but many are open-minded and friendly with neighbours who are polite and kind to my hijab-wearing wife. Several Muslims are standing during the elections and some of them get a good number of referendums, but not quite enough, he said.

Ursula, 62, from Munich believes that despite some visible rightwing sentiment Germans would vote regardless of religion.

I think that convincing characters would have equal chances , no matter their religious beliefs. I was surprised by Sadiq Khans appointment. I had expected that the non-Muslim majority would not like to be represented by a Muslim major. Maybe such a big city attracts people with an open mind?

The Muslim part of society is not very active politically. I suppose the majority still keep their distance, feeling that they should not get involved, she said.

Wolfram, a 67 -year-old from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in the west of Germany, has considered anti-immigration sentiment imbue where he lives and cant insure a Muslim politician being elected any time soon.

It seems that Londoners accept their history and the consequences of the empire, and the outcome dedicates hope that people with different religions can live together peacefully.

Wolfram said he could not imagine a Muslim politician being elected where he lived, certainly not in the near future. Theres a instead deep split between those who are afraid of the rise in the number of Muslim people and the other citizens who are open-minded, even about open borders for refugees.

Hanna, 24, from Helsinki, believes Khans win is important given the loathe speech and discrimination facing Muslims in Europe, the rise of rightwing parties, and what she describes as openly racist legislators in Finland.

The anti-immigration party Perussuomalaiset[ known as Finns party, or PS] got into government and people attitudes have become harder towards refugees, especially to Muslims. The foreign minister, Timo Soini, who is party leader and co-founder of PS and a Catholic, even suggested we should prefer Christian refugees.

As we took more refugees in than ever, the PS are losing advocates. But this entails some people are going for even more rightwing politics like Rajat Kiinni!( Border Shut !). On their Facebook page they openly call all Muslims rapists and terrorists.

For this reason Im happy about Khans appointment, but mostly because of his politics , not just his religion. I dont really like any organised religions, but everyones free to believe what they want. It seems to me that Londoners suppose politics are more important than what religion someone believes in. They are wise, she said.

Many respondents to the callout hope Khans win will raise the status of Muslim people living in their own towns and cities across Europe, and help to involve them more in political life.

Nesi, 44, a secondary school teacher who lives in a small city outside Madrid, hopes Khans win will go some style in contribute to improving Muslim peoples opportunities.

For the child of an ethnic minority to go into higher education, take part in politics and become a mayor, a lot of things in Spain have to change and improve. I think there must be some occurrences, but society doesnt provide equal opportunities for all children.

Political posts of any relevance are largely merely for those who go to university or belong to a rich traditional household. And certainly not for a Muslim, I am afraid to say. Spain is too conservative in general to allow a Muslim to take part in politics.

Sadiqs appointment shows that politics and important issues in the world should be about people , not religion. It also shows that a multicultural society living in peace is possible. And of course it shows what a fantastic place to live London can be, sometimes.

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One Facebook ‘like’ is all it takes to target adverts, academics find

24 days ago

Online ad campaigns based on smallest expressions of preference reveal effect of mass psychological persuasion

Online ad campaigns created by academics in Britain and the US have targeted millions of people based on psychological traits perceived from a single “like” on Facebook – demonstrating, they say, the effect of “mass psychological persuasion”.

More than 3.5 million people, mostly women in the UK aged 18-40, were shown online adverts tailored to their personality type after researchers found that specific Facebook likes reflected different psychological characteristics.

The bespoke campaigns boosted clicks on ads for beauty products and gaming apps by up to 40% and sales by as much as 50% compared with untargeted adverts, according to the researchers, who did not benefit financially from the campaigns.

The work, carried out for unnamed companies, was designed to reveal how even the smallest expressions of preference online can be used to influence people’s behaviour.

“We wanted to provide some scientific evidence that psychological targeting works, to show policymakers that it works, to show people on the street that it works, and say this is what we can do simply by looking at your Facebook likes. This is the way we can influence behaviour,” said Sandra Matz, a computational social scientist at Columbia Business School in New York City.

“We used one single Facebook like per person to decide whether they were introverted or extroverted, and that was the minimum amount of information we can possibly use to make inferences about people’s personalities. And yet we still see these effects on how often people click on ads and how often people buy something,” she added.

The work has raised concerns among some in academia. Gillian Bolsover, who studies online manipulation of political opinion at the Oxford Internet Institute, said she was concerned about whose hands publicity of the research might play into.

“Does coverage of the work primarily serve as an advert to the companies that might do these things? Or does it serve to inform the public about something going on in our society that we might not be happy with and want do something about?” she said.

“If people are worried about the way technology is going, there are lots of little actions they can take to reduce the amount of data that is collected about them and to avoid supporting the practices and companies that they might feel are detrimental to society.”

Matz teamed up with researchers at the University of Cambridge who had previously created a database of millions of personality profiles of anonymous Facebook users and items they had liked. The data reveals how, on average, specific likes reflect certain personality types. For example, a like on Lady Gaga’s Facebook page is broadly the mark of an extrovert, while a like on Stargate’s page flags users who are more likely to be introverts.

The researchers then used graphics designers to create adverts aimed at either extroverts or introverts. They showed these via Facebook’s advertising platform to people who had liked a single item identifying them as one personality type or the other.

The first field experiment targeted more than 3 million UK women aged 18-40 with adverts for an online beauty retailer. More than 10,000 women clicked on the ads, leading to 390 purchases. Matching the ads to people’s personalities led to 54% more sales than mismatching them. Two further campaigns for a crossword app and a shooting game had similar results, the researchers report in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I was surprised that we got the effect with so little information,” said Matz. “We don’t know that much about people, and yet it still has a pretty big effect. You can imagine if you were using the full Facebook profile to make individual level predictions about people’s personalities, the effects would be even bigger.”

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Matz believes that such mass persuasion could be put to great use – for example, by helping people to save, get a pension, or lead more healthy lives. But it could also be misused, she said. “It has the potential for abuse where you exploit weaknesses in a person’s character to make them do things they don’t want to do. We want policymakers to focus on the positive uses. If you just shut down this technology, you would lose so much potential for helping people.”

But the approach is controversial. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating whether voters were unfairly influenced online by political campaigners in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016. The ICO’s report is expected before the end of the year.

“In a sense, it’s a natural extension of capitalism as it moves online. Of course corporations will do this,” said Bolsover. “But the increased use of corporate advertising techniques in the political system is something I think we should be worried about on a broader level.”

“Political campaigns [are] probably somewhere you don’t want it to be used,” said Matz. “We want to open it up for public discussion so people can have an informed discussion about what we want to do with our technology.”

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China attacks Boris Johnson over ‘incorrect’ opinions on Hong Kong

28 days ago

Foreign secretarys hopes for a fully democratic government are met with statement that outsiders should not make incorrect remarks

China criticised the incorrect views of the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, as a war of words broke out between London and Beijing on the eve of the 20 th anniversary of Hong Kongs return to China.

Johnson released on Thursday what had seemed a relatively restrained statement marking the anniversary of the former British colony transfer back to China on 1 July 1997.

In his statement, the foreign secretary built no direct criticism of Beijing but said: As we look to the future, Britain hopes that Hong Kong will build more progress toward a fully democratic and accountable system of government.

He said it was vital to Hong Kongs continued success that its high degree of autonomy and rule of law are preserved.

Beijing, whose ambassador to London had previously alerted Britain against criticising its actions in Hong Kong, appears to have taken exception to the intervention from Hong Kongs former colonial masters.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, the foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang assaulted Johnsons comment as incorrect and misplaced. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and therefore Hong Kong affairs are Chinas internal affairs, Lu said, according to Xinhua, Chinas official news agency.

According to Xinhua, Lu said Hong Kongs success had already been proven during the 20 years since its return to China, and foreigners should not construct incorrect statements considering that.

Xinhua made it clear that Lus commentaries were made in direct response to Johnsons statement and a more strongly worded US statement about infringements of civil liberties[ and] intrusions on press freedoms in Hong Kong.

More controversially, Lu added that the joint declaration the 1984 Sino-British bargain that procured Britains departure from Hong Kong by guaranteeing that Hong Kongs way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years now had no binding force, a statement likely to alarm not just members of Hong Kongs pro-democracy camp but also governments who do business with China.

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Why work is much easier than love | Alain de Botton

1 month, 2 days ago

If youre breathing a sigh of relief that its Monday and you can get a break from your relationship, youre not alone

As a culture we are highly attuned to what is beautiful and moving about love; we know its high points and celebrate its ecstasies in films and songs. By comparison, work is the dull, tedious bit the thing we have to do to pay the bills. And yet whats striking is how often work, despite its lack of glamour, in fact turns out to be the easier, more enjoyable and ultimately more humane part of life. There are a number of reasons for this.

1 You have to be professional

At home everyone feels a duty to be an utterly frank, uncensored correspondent of their every inner mood and qualms. Photograph: Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images

Work demands that all who walk through the office door must behave professionally. What behaving professionally essentially means is that when you are in situations where deep inside youre tempted to explode, insult, curse and weep, you actually have to handle yourself with stoic calm and reserve.

At work, you cant really be yourself and nor can others around you which could sound a little fake and therefore inauthentic. But this lack of honesty may in fact be an extremely welcome development compared to a home life where everyone feels a duty to be an utterly frank, uncensored correspondent of their every inner mood and qualms.

2 You get trained

The assumption of most jobs is that people who begin them dont have the first clue about whats going on. Youre not expected to know the machinery or the protocol by intuition alone. Therefore youre sent on training programmes and given extensive manuals to read. It might be two years before youre supposed to understand very much at all.

There is no such luxury for lovers, who are meant to get one another by immediate instinct and take this speedy comprehension to be a proof of the sincerity of their love. Sometimes lovers will even say they knew they were meant to be together because they could communicate without needing to speak. But outside the early days of romance, such aspirations are a pure catastrophe, which can lead lovers to a bias against ever explaining themselves and their desires with appropriate patience and thoroughness.

Fatefully for our chances of happiness, in the romantic ideology, love is understood to be an enthusiasm, rather than what it really is: a skill that needs to be learned.

3 Feedback is more sensitive

Reviews are steeped in a culture of tact. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features

Everyone hates reviews at work, but what deeply kind phenomena they actually are compared with what goes on at home. Reviews are steeped in a culture of tact. One rather tough remark has to be wrapped in at least seven compliments. Work culture knows that people dont improve and cant take new ideas on board if they are feeling threatened and humiliated.

Home life finds us able to be far less competent teachers. Were so panicked and frightened by the thought that the other person cant do what we want them to (even if we havent actually ever explained it), we take to trying to teach them by slamming doors and calling them idiots or worse. Sadly, no one has ever learned very much under conditions of hysteria.

Furthermore, were likely to feel that being taught anything by a lover contravenes the rules of love: we think we need to be loved just for being who we are. Though we are all very flawed, we imagine that love has nothing to do with education, and that the lover who tries to point something out to us is therefore always just being nasty. Rather than doing what all people in a relationship should actually do, which is to do their utmost to improve those they care for through their love.

4 You depend on a job less

We rely on work of course, but wed survive, somehow, if it came to an end. Thats not the feeling we often get around love, especially when there are a couple of kids and a mortgage in common.

And the more we depend on someone, the more alarmed we get by any disappointment at their hands. We arent nastier around love per se; were just a whole lot more dependent which can end up looking like the same thing.

5. Work is just easier

No wonder were often really quite happy when its finally Monday morning again. Photograph: Alamy

Running a nuclear power station or landing large jets is hardly simple but still very much easier than trying to be happy around another human being in a sexual relationship over many decades. There is simply nothing harder in this world, so complicated are we, so high are our expectations and so very poor is our romantic culture at helping us to raise the quality of our levels of patience, our insights, our feedback sessions and our training manuals.

No wonder were often really quite happy when its finally Monday morning again and we can leave the house and do something properly simple with our lives once more.

Alain de Botton launches his new novel The Course of Love at The School of Life on Wednesday 4 May. Tickets are 30 from

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Trump’s rise and Brexit vote are more an outcome of culture than economics

1 month, 3 days ago

Populists are tapping into the outrage of those who have been losing the cultural battles over race, gender and social identity in a globalised world

If Donald Trump loses the US election, will the tide of populism that threatened to overwhelm the world after the Brexit vote in June begin to wane? Or will the revolt against globalisation and immigration simply take another form?

The rise of protectionism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain, America, and Europe is widely believed to reflect stagnant incomes, widening inequality, structural unemployment, and even excessive monetary easing. But there are several reasons to question the link between populist politics and economic distress.

Most populist voters are neither poor nor unemployed; they are not victims of globalisation, immigration, and free trade. The main demographic groups behind the anti-establishment upsurge have been people outside the workforce: pensioners, middle-aged homemakers, and men with low educational qualifications receiving disability payments.

In Britain, where detailed analyses of the votes actually cast in the Brexit referendum are now available, the group most directly affected by low-wage competition from immigrants and Chinese imports people under 35 voted against Brexit by a wide margin, 65% to 35%. Meanwhile, 60% of pensioners who voted backed the leave campaign, as did 59% of voters with disabilities. By contrast, 53% of full-time workers who participated wanted Britain to remain in Europe, as did 51% of part-time workers.

The British data suggest that cultural and ethnic attitudes, not direct economic motivations, are the real distinguishing features of anti-globalisation voting. Asked whether social liberalism is a force for good or a force for ill, 87% of remain voters said it was a force for good, while 53% of Leave voters called liberalism a force for ill. On multiculturalism, the difference was even starker 65% of leave voters were against it, while 86% of remainers approved. Another analysis published by the BBC after the referendum found one of the strongest predictors of a leave vote to be support for capital punishment.

In America, polls suggest that gender is an even more important indicator of support for Trump than age or education. Early this month, when Trump was only a few points behind Clinton in overall support, a Washington Post/ABC poll compared voting intentions with the 2012 election. It found not only that white men backed Trump by a margin of 40 percentage points, but also that their support for Trump was 13 points higher that it was for Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.

White women, by contrast, marginally supported Clinton and had swung by 15 percentage points against the Republicans. Among voters without a college education, the gender difference was even starker: less-educated white men favored Trump by a 60% margin and had swung in favor of the Republicans by 28 percentage points, while women had swung by 10 percentage points in the opposite direction and only marginally supported Trump.

It seems, therefore, that the conflicts generally ascribed to economic grievances and globalisation are actually the latest battles in the culture wars that have split western societies since the late 1960s. The main relevance of economics is that the 2008 financial crisis created conditions for a political backlash by older, more conservative voters, who have been losing the cultural battles over race, gender, and social identity.

The dominance of free-market ideology before the crisis allowed many controversial social changes, ranging from income inequality and intensified wage competition to greater gender equality and affirmative action, to go almost unchallenged. Progressive social liberalism and conservative free-market economics seemed to be two sides of the same coin. But when free-market economic liberalism failed in the 2008 crisis, political challenges to social liberalism could no longer be deflected by invoking impersonal economic laws.

But if social change can no longer be legitimised as the necessary condition for economic progress, it seems unlikely that democracies will now vote to reinstate the social conditions before the ascendancy of economic liberalism and globalisation. Racial and gender equality are now backed by clear majorities in the US, Britain, and most European countries, and even apparently popular policies such as trade protectionism and strict immigration controls rarely muster more than 30-40% support in opinion surveys. Why, then, did Brexit win, and why is it still possible that Donald Trump will be the next US President?

Both Brexit and Trump were powered by an unstable alliance between two very different, even contradictory, movements. The bulk of their supporters were indeed social conservatives and protectionists who wanted to undo the social changes that began in the late 1960s.

Two of the most effective slogans of the Brexit and Trump campaigns have been Take back control and I want my country back. But the social conservatives inspired by such atavistic and authoritarian sentiments do not make up majorities in any western country. On its own, social conservatism could never mobilise more than 30-40% of voters. To achieve majorities, the socially conservative protectionists had to unite with the remnants of the Thatcher-Reagan laissez faire movement, who resent the interventionist economic management of the post-2008 period and want to intensify the competition, deregulation, and globalisation that social conservatives resent.

This unstable political compound is now dissolving in the US, and also in Britain, where prime minister Theresa Mays government is divided between ideological nationalists and economic liberals. If the US election on 8 November confirms Trumps failure to bind social conservatives and economic liberals into a winning coalition, similar disintegration is likely among European populists, too.

In that case, the Brexit vote will begin to look like an aberration not the start of a powerful new trend toward nationalism, protectionism, and de-globalisation, but the end of a backlash against modernity by an unstable alliance of social authoritarians and laissez faire market liberals. It will be the last gasp of an ageing generation that tried to impose its nostalgic parochialism on an increasingly cosmopolitan younger generation, but succeeded in only one unfortunate country.

  • Anatole Kaletsky is chief economist and co-chair of Gavekal Dragonomics. A former columnist at the Times, the International New York Times and the Financial Times, he is the author of Capitalism 4.0, The Birth of a New Economy.

Project Syndicate

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‘He was very scared’: the death of a teenage stowaway

1 month, 6 days ago

Last month 14 -year-old Raheemullah Oryakhel died reach out to the UK. As the Calais camp where he lived is scattered, where will children like him run?

The death of Raheemullah Oryakhel, a 14 -year-boy from Afghanistan, was marked last month with only a couple of paragraphs in the French press, for the purposes of the headline One migrant dead on the port ring road. There was nothing much to excite further interest; the son was the 12 th refugee to succumb in Calais this year. The news item added that Raheemullahs body had been found on the N216, on a stretch of motorway where a number of migrants had previously been run over. Police said he had probably been hit by a auto. Whoever was behind the wheel had not bothered to stop.

Nor are the details of Raheemullahs death especially shocking to the handful of relatives and acquaintances he left behind in the Calais camp, a fetid, cramped cluster of sagging donated tents and roughly constructed wooden shacks , now home to an estimated 9,000 asylum seekers. The notion that vulnerable children, some as young as eight, who have mostly fled conflict zones, should spend night after night trying to leap on to moving vehicles, in a desperate( and mostly futile) attempt to reach the UK, surprises no one. Its a risky business. Sometimes people get suffocated in the trucks, or frozen in refrigerated receptacles; sometimes they choose a different road and drown trying to swim to England or get electrocuted on the railway. And sometimes they just get run over.

But there is sadness and some bitterness at the drivers failure to stop, and at the apparently cursory nature of the police investigation. Abdul Wali, an older camp resident who helped raise more than 4,000( 3,516) to send Raheemullahs body back to his mothers, says, Even in Afghanistan, if someone is hit by a automobile, at least the driver will take him to a police station or hospital and say sorry. Here, people are succumbing and no one cares.

Raheemullah is likely a very young asylum seeker to die yet, but his death epitomises the risks that hundreds are taking every night on the roads outside Calais. As the French government prepares to dismantle the camp next week, aiming to scatter its residents around the country instead, the sense of urgency surrounding the mission to are going to the UK has intensified. It is an unbearable situation for everyone involved: the lorry drivers, Calais residents, local police( who are depleted by nightly patrols) and, most of all, for the camps population.

Boys and young men play cricket by the fence that surrounds the Calais camp. Photograph: Abbie Trayler-Smith for the Guardian

The last person to see Raheemullah alive was almost certainly his friend Karim, also 14, who was trying to pull him on to the top of a moving lorry shortly before dawn on Friday 16 September. I was saying, Give me your hand but he didnt, Karim says. He didnt listen. It was a terrifying few minutes, in total darkness. One second his friend was there, the next he was gone.

Until recently, Karim( an assumed name to avoid anything that were likely to complicate his asylum assert, should he ever be in a position to make one) was depicting anyone he met a photograph of his dead friend, taken in the Lille morgue, seeming as bad as you might expect after a fatal road accident. Volunteers who have stepped in to help with the hundreds of children at the camp have since persuaded him to delete the image from his telephone. They know Karim is devastated, but have little at their disposal to cheer him up. One volunteer took him out of the camp for an ice-cream; another took him to the donations warehouse and get him a new pair of socks.

Because the French authorities are unwilling to recognise the camp, “there dont” UN presence here, and no mainstream childrens charity on site; the 800 or so parentless children( a third of them from Afghanistan) are left largely to look after themselves. Volunteers with groups such as Help Refugees do their best, but are dismayed at the hopeless inadequacy of what they can offer. We have a severely traumatised child, one says, and what can we do? We say: Your friends dead, hes been squashed, have an ice-cream. Its awful.

Two weeks after the accident, Karim sits on a wooden pallet at the edge of the camp and explains how he and Raheemullah came to be on the motorway before dawn that night. The two sons had walked for an hour along the high barbed-wire fencing that divides the camp from the road, to a place where other asylum seekers had dragged some wooden logs into the centre of the road, forcing lorries to slow down.

Both had induced frequent night-time attempts to get to England together. Karim has been in the camp since January, trying most nights to induce his way across the Channel. Raheemullah, who came from the same part of Afghanistan, arrived in July, and the two became friends. Most evenings they played cricket and volleyball on the wasteland beside the motorway. He was a good friend, Karim says. I liked him very much.

They found a crowd of people hoping to push their route on to the river of heavy goods vehicles as they slackened to navigate the obstacles. Karim and Raheemullah followed two older humen, climbing on to the axle between the drivers taxi and the receptacle section of the lorry. Karim managed to get on to the top of the container, but Raheemullah was still on the ledge between the taxi and the rest of the truck when it began to gather speed. Karim says the lorry started veering abruptly, as if are seeking to shake off the uninvited passengers. He leaned over the edge, offering his friend his hand. Why didnt he take it? he asks.

No one knows quite what happened next. One of the older humen cut a small hole in the roof of the truck( a black vehicle with an enormous red logo on the side, Karim says ). Karim lowered himself through it into the receptacle, which held a consignment of swivelling office chairs, and hid there as the truck continued to the port. Some day later, he was discovered by port officials before the truck drove on to the ferry. When he returned to the camp, he detected his friend was missing.


Raheemullah lived in the camp in a windowless chipboard shack with his first cousin, Wahid, 23, and two other men. No one has moved his belongings, a few clothes stored in plastic bags. The grubby brown blanket and mattress where he slept for the last two and a half months of his life are still there.

Wahid is better able to articulate the loss and indignation he feels about his cousins death. He speaks good English, having expended three years at secondary school in Norwich, after fleeing the Taliban when he was 14. He was taken in by a foster family, attained friends, studied hard, took a part-time chore in a Chinese takeaway and then, at 17 and a half, his instance was reconsidered and he was told he would be deported back to Afghanistan, which the Home office categorises as a safe destination. He expended some time trying to appeal, but left for Europe rather than be sent back. There are many young Afghan men, with fluent English, in a similar situation in Calais.

Wahids friend Abdul went to school in Birmingham( also after being threatened by the Taliban ), before being told at 17 that he was no longer eligible to remain in England. Both hope to return to the UK, which is the place they consider home, to appeal for leave to stay.

Wahid in the hut he shared with Raheemullah; his cousins bed and clothes have been untouched. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith for the Guardian

Wahid was shocked to see his cousin, whom he had not find since he was a child, arrive in the camp. While ambivalent about Raheemullahs determination to get to England, devoted his own mixed experiences, Wahid didnt try to dissuaded him. It was not my job to tell him how to decide their own lives. Instead, he invited him to come and share his shanty. Raheemullah had travelled alone from Afghanistan, and been badly beaten by Bulgarian police; he was relieved to find someone to protect him. For a month, they went out together five nights a week, to try to jump on a lorry.

In the beginning he was happy, Wahid says. He said it was good fun. Slowly he realised it was not easy, that it was risky. Sometimes Id say, lets go tonight, and hed say, No, tomorrow. I knew he didnt want to go. He was very scared. Its a one-hour walk in the dark. You feel scared of the French people. You worry that if they see you alone, perhaps they will beat you. Sometimes there are 100 people by the road, trying to get into the lorries. People are pushing. Of course someone is going to fall over and get hit.

Wahid was also aware the camp wasnt a safe place for Raheemullah. Thats why I said, The sooner you can go from here, the better. There is fighting between the Sudanese and the Afghans, between the Afghans and the Afghans for no reason, simply because of the tension here. It get boring. You sleep, wake up, sleep, wake up. You cant shower for a week. People are desperate. It is not a good place for anyone, especially not a child.

He feels indignation at how slow the British response has been. Raheemullah had an older brother in Manchester, and was in theory eligible to join him in the UK; but the process for organising reunification is very slow, bureaucratic and hard to understand. It is difficult to see how much two brothers was able to help with the application, or if the working papers had even been lodged. Charities estimate there are 300 to 400 unaccompanied children in Calais with relatives in the UK; but even in straightforward instances, the legal process takes between five and 10 months, during which time the children often give up waiting and start inducing the nightly journey to the motorway instead.

Security has been increased all over the port, so that finding a way in has become harder and much more dangerous. Work has now been begun on a 1.9 m, 1km-long wall to block off the dual carriageway, half-funded by the UK. Although French chairwoman Franois Hollande has committed to clearing the camp following completion of the year, there is scepticism about how easy it will be to find homes for everyone. Officials believe that people will stay on, and the barriers will still be needed. Why are you spending the money on building a wall? Abdul wonders, sitting with Wahid in a caravan that serves as a clothes distribution point, donated tracksuits piled up on the surfaces. You are wasting fund. If they hadnt built these fences, people wouldnt hazard their lives.

Wahid and Raheemullah managed to get on lorries together three times, but each time were pulled off at the border by officials with sniffer dogs. The police were nice with him. And, because of him, they were nice with me as well. They take you to the front of the port and say, Go back to the jungle. Early last month, Wahid hurt his back severely after his friends put a heavy box over him to conceal him inside a lorry. I was under it for eight hours. I couldnt stand[ it] any more, so I left.

The Calais camp, home to an estimated 9,000 asylum seekers. Photograph: Abbie Trayler-Smith for the Guardian

When Raheemullah suggested he come with him early on the morning of 16 September, Wahid said no: his back was too painful. I told him to be careful. He knew it was very dangerous. The next morning, when it became obvious Raheemullah was missing, a youth worker from the camp visited local hospitals and police stations to look for him. Later, Wahid went to the morgue to identify the body. Raheemullahs face was so badly injury, he was unrecognisable, except for his clothes and a distinctive mark on his arm. Wahid supposes his cousin wasnt strong enough to pulling himself up on to the roof. He was young, he had no muscles.

Wahid spoke to his uncle, Raheemullahs father, in Afghanistan, but saw himself unable to break the news. They asked what happened, and I said, He is injured. I told them a lie. His parents are quite old. I didnt want to hurt them. He presumes their older son called subsequently, from Manchester, to tell them. Since the body arrived back in Afghanistan, accompanied by another relative who came from Norway to travel with the coffin, Raheemullahs parents have called again to ask how their son succumbed. The calls are distressing: They maintain ringing me. I say, You dont need to know. He is dead. Why build them more upset?

It is still unclear why Raheemullahs mothers sent their son 4,000 miles across Europe to try to start a new life in England. Wahid isnt forthcoming; his own experiences of hostile questioning by the Home office have made him wary of the question and he will say merely that it wasnt an economic problem. There was a danger for him. But Karim guesses the absence of work in postwar Afghanistan was a factor. He was going to send fund to his family. His father was an old man he couldnt work. No one wants to go to England, but if they have problems at home, thats why they go.

Whatever the reason, the decision to send a child away is never taken softly, Wahid says. Of course they will be wishing with their hearts now that they hadnt. They didnt know he was going to die. His own advice to other parents now is not to send their children to Europe, but there is often a reluctance to listen. On the whole, children do not tell their parents about the difficulties they have encountered, so an unrealistic perception predominates. Life[ in Afghanistan] is very hard. Theres Isis and the Taliban, and no security. They dont know anything about the situation in Calais. The parents dont know about the risks. Abdul has become equally firm. I “ve got five” brethren. They call me and ask, shall we come? I say, if you come, you will sleep in the street. Please dont garbage your time.

Volunteers attempt to persuade refugees to claim asylum in France, rather than wasting months and risking their own lives trying to are going to the UK. They point out that particularly for young people from Afghanistan it stimulates more sense to remain in France, because there is less danger of being deported when they approach 18. But it is hard to persuade children whose mothers have paid large sums of money to dispatch them across Europe. People smugglers operating in the camp also have a vested interest in encouraging others to get to the UK, otherwise their business model disappears.

Increasing numbers of camp residents have applied for asylum in France; it is now largely those with relatives in the UK who persist in their attempts to join them. But many of those children who decide to stay in France are told there is no room for them in the nearby emergency shelter, which is turning away between 15 and 35 children a day, so they remain in a dangerous limbo. No one knows where the children will be sent once the camp is shut down.

Wahid believes any investigation into his cousins death has already been closed. No one has come to look for witnesses in the camp. He built one visit to the police station when he was searching for Raheemullah, where he says the police officer was rude; he is reluctant to go again because of his illegal status in France. They dont care who has died. To them, were just illegal migrants, jungly people. The attorneys office of Boulogne-sur-Mer did not respond to emailed requests for details of the police investigation.

Meanwhile, a minutes silence was held for Raheemullah in the camp at the end of September. Friends who expended period with him in the Kids Cafe, a wooden hut serving free food to unaccompanied children, say he was shyer than most. Mary Jones, an English volunteer who runs the coffeehouse, describes him as very quiet and polite. He attended some of the English lessons given by volunteers, who remember him as reserved, in a well-brought up way and very determined in everything he did, especially learning English.

If Raheemullahs death failed to register more widely in France, it has had a quiet but significant impact in the UK both positive and negative. Some of the news reporting prompted delight amongst the more extreme anti-immigration voices on Twitter( even to harden eyes, to respond to this death by typing tweets such as Cant they indicate it happening I would enjoy watching it one less to worry about goes beyond the normal parameters of nastiness ).

More constructive was the decision by a group of Conservative MPs to write to home secretary Amber Rudd, calling on her to do more to assist reunite children such as Raheemullah with their families. The letter, signed by former education secretary Nicky Morgan and nine others, told Rudd that Raheemullah had a legal right to be with two brothers but that, having waited for months in wretched conditions, he took fate into his own hands with devastating consequences.

It was discussed at last months Labour party conference, too, by Alf Dubs, the kindertransport child refugee and Labour peer, who in May forced the government to accept an amendment to the Immigration Act, agreeing to give homes to some of the estimated 88,000 unaccompanied asylum seekers in Europe. Since his amendment was passed, none of the qualifying children has arrived in the UK. At a conference fringe session, Dubs fell his determination to be politely cooperative with the government, describing them as bloody liars for failing to act.

As the demolition date approaches, concern about the fate of unaccompanied children is rising, but a solution has yet to be found. Last period French police attempted to demolish the camp, 129 children went missing, according to Help Refugees. Karim has promised volunteers that he wont try climbing on lorries again, but they suspect he is still going every night anyway.

On Monday, Rudd told parliament that she wanted to speed up the transfer of those children with family in the UK, and that Britain would help to fund a shelter in France for children whose cases needed longer consideration. She promised to cut the bureaucracy involved, but there were no details of how many children would be given sanctuary here, and when they could arrive.

Meanwhile, the bald listing of registered migrant deaths compiled by the local police grows longer, with a 13 th death in late September and a 14 th death last Sunday. This years toll includes: a migrant whose sexuality could not be identified at the time of the discovery of the body, seen drowned in Calais port; an Afghan migrant, 22 years, hit by an HGV on the A16 just before 6am; body of a migrant found dead around 7am near the port bypass injuries suggest this migrant was hit by a vehicle; a Sudanese migrant, 30 years, hit by a freight train on the railway, close to the port bypass; a migrant of unknown nationality on the A16 at the A47 interchange. No witness. Raheemullahs death is there, recorded succinctly: Around 5:30 am, the lifeless body of a migrant found on the port ring road.

Read more:

Trump’s UK visit dishonors Theresa May. The protests must be huge | Matthew d’Ancona

1 month, 13 days ago

The chairmen brutality in dividing immigrant children from their families should not be forgotten when he arrives, says Guardian columnist Matthew dAncona

This is the week of Angelica Gonzalez-Garcia and her daughter. You will probably not have heard of them, and your mind may be on other things right now- the World Cup, avoiding heatstroke, Wimbledon, Brexit. But do search for them online, and watch Gonzalez-Garcia, a 31 -year-old Guatemalan refugee from domestic violence, being reunited at Boston’s Logan airport with the eight-year-old, 55 days after they were separated without explain at an Arizona detention centre.

She was told at the time by immigration officers that she would” never see” her daughter again. Indeed, that vicious prediction might have come true, had her suit not been taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union and two law firms. The footage of the reunion is hard to watch: it builds you feel a strange combining of relief, fury and species dishonor.” Forgive me, my darling, for leaving you alone ,” she says to her daughter as they clutch one another.” Forgive me. I didn’t want to .”

When Donald Trump arrives in Britain on Thursday, recollect those words and his responsibility for the abject pain that underpins them. There are still about 3,000 immigrant children separated from their families because of this man’s lazy wickedness. Remember those words when he is being flattered by ministers in black tie at Blenheim Palace, or when he is at Chequers, or Windsor Castle to meet the Queen.

Shame on the prime minister for permitting this trip to go ahead. The shaky pragmatic case for welcoming the US president to these coasts evaporated last August, when he insisted that there were” very fine people” among the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville. At that moment he departed overtly from one of the founding principles of the modern liberal democratic order: namely that nazism was, and still is, a uniquely awful ideology. This is a supranational orthodoxy. Trump’s unembarrassed deviation from it required a meaningful sanction. Yes, I know that many repellent dictators and dictators have paid official visits to this country: we hold our collective nose, proceed with protocol, and hope that the national interest will be served by pragmatism, rather than principle.


Watch Angelica Gonzalez-Garcia and her 8-year-old daughter reunite at Boston’s Logan Airport in a CNN exclusive report. Gonzalez-Garcia and her child were separated in Arizona for 55 days after fleeing Guatemala for the US, quoting domestic violence at home https :// H6wqeX6Yau 1cbmXk0JrQ

July 5, 2018

But it is precisely because of the UK’s close relationship with the US, our partnership in the preservation of liberal democracy, that higher criteria apply. I am a committed Atlanticist- more so, perhaps, than many Guardian readers. But it is because of those notions that I think Trump should not have been rewarded with this visit.

But he is. During the presidential journey, the diplomatic runes will be read, the tea leaves scoured, the statements parsed for a sense of his plans. He will pledge fulsome is supportive of Brexit, promise a trade deal with Britain( probably a” big and beautiful” one ), reassure the PM that his commitment to Nato is unsullied by his insistence that its members” start paying your bills “. Everything he says is likely to be micro-analysed. But why treat the finger-painting of a truculent toddler “as if its” a Picasso? It’s just possible that Trump will mean what he says when he says it. But don’t count on anything beyond that. This is a man who can change his intellect between the first and 140 th character of a tweet. Caprice has no lifespan.

More important than what Trump says is what Britain says back to him. And the most significant component in that collective answer will be the series of rallies and demonstrations planned for the four-day visit. It is of the highest importance that these processions are both populous and peaceful. Nobody can predict how many will turn out to protest in cities across the UK- the centrepiece being “the member states national” Together Against Trump marching and rally in London on Friday afternoon. But set it this way: I would be surprised if they were sparsely attended.

Play Video

‘Fragile, like the president’s ego’: Trump Baby blimp prepares for takeoff

All the more reason, then, to think about the manner in which they are conducted. There has long been a propensity on the far left to romanticise what EP Thompson called ” the moral economy of the English crowd” and to see this as a blank cheque for disorder. More recently, a new and pernicious creed has taken hold- that unacceptable or “problematic” speech constitutes a form of violence and a justification for the pre-emptive use of force. I can imagine this axiom being used by British Antifa protesters as an excuse for pointless exhibitions of force this week.

Strength, dignity and wit: these should be the hallmarks of the protests. The Trump baby blimp is both magnificently British in its surreal scale and perfect for a president who, unlike Barack Obama and George W Bush, absence any sense of self-irony. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who has traversed swords with the president more than once, deserves our thanks for allowing Hairpiece One to drift over the capital.

Remember, too, that Trump is primarily concerned with showbusiness and ratings. That is how he won the White House, and why he was so particularly furious that more people attended Obama’s first inauguration than his own. He is a product of, and preoccupied by, sight. So nothing would delight him more than for this week’s protests to degenerate into violence. Such images would support his claim that Britain is a crime-infested nation on the brink of social breakdown. In contrast, a huge rally, proud, peaceful and strong, through the world’s greatest city would send a powerful signal that, whatever the British prime minister may do, Britons do not kowtow to this terrible man, or accept his brutal populism.

I am reminded of the late Paul Monette’s instruction:” Go without hate, but not without rage. Heal the world .” That is a good maxim for life. And especially so in the next few days. Remember: this is the week of Angelica Gonzalez-Garcia and her daughter.

* Matthew d’Ancona is a Guardian columnist

* Join our Guardian Live event at the Greenwood Theatre in London on 9 July, as Guardian columnists Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland, Stella Creasy MP, American comedian Desiree Burch, Republican commentator Jan Halper-Hayes, and Anywhere But Washington’s Paul Lewis will debate Donald Trump’s impending UK visit

Read more:

How the world responded to Trump’s inauguration as US president

1 month, 26 days ago

Caution in China, regret and anger in Mexico, cork-popping in Moscow here are some of the global responses to Fridays power handover


Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the new US administration start a trade war with China, vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said, warning of a rough ride hours after Donald Trump was sworn in.

What we heard today were high nationalistic tones, Gabriel said in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, in the first official German reaction to Trumps inauguration. I think we have to prepare for a rough ride.

He added that Trump was extremely serious in his inauguration speech, which meant he would follow his promises on trade and other issues with actions. Europe and Germany must stand together to defend our interests.

As the USs new chairperson took to the stage in Washington, hundreds of anti- and pro-Trump protesters gathered in front of Berlins Brandenburg Gate.

Margaret Heidhues, of upstate New York, said she had not been able to stay at home to watch the inauguration. I would have been repulsed beyond belief, she said, holding a banner stating: The People Voted for Hillary on one side, and Nasty Woman, on the other side.

Her nine-year-old son Theo had crafted his own poster with a digger truck on it and the slogan Dump Trump.

I think he poses an incredible danger to Europe, said Heidhues, who has lived in Germany since 2000. The populist movements of the AfD[ Alternative for Germany] and Le Pens[ Front National] in France have been emboldened by his victory.

When he was first elected, my German friends were conveying their empathy towards me. But now they are just as depressed, because they recognise they have to be scared for themselves as well.

Protesters standing in front of Berlins Brandenburg Gate voice their opposition to new US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/ Getty Images

On Pariser Platz square, where the protesters collected, the latter are faced by a line of around 10 Trump advocates, carrying flags that read: Trump, the very best alternative and Trump wants peace with Russia! What is wrong with that ?.

Sylvia Block, a pensioner who said she was part of a group called Mothers Against War said she liked Trump because he was a grounded, down-to-earth personality will would look after the American people and who would building and strengthening American industry: The Americans have too much unemployment Trump will bring their industry back to its feet so that Americans can buy their own cars again , not import them from us.

The anti-Trump protesters called their marching No to Global Trumpism. It started at the headquarters of the rightwing populists AfD and marched towards the Brandenburg Gate.

Trumpism is not an isolated national motion, the march organisers said in their pre-protest blurb. We stand united against opportunists such as Frauke Petry and the AfD, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Nigel Farage who scapegoat and demonise immigrants and religious and ethnic minorities to build their own political power.

The demonstration was organised by a variety of groups including American Voices Abroad Berlin, Berlin Forum on Global Politics, Berlin Ireland Pro Choice, Pussy Grabs Back and many others.

The protests took place on the eve of a session of Europes rightwing populists, feeling strengthened by the Trump victory and Brexit, who are due to gather in the central city of Koblenz in a show of strength ahead of a string of elections this year in which they are predicted to construct gains.

Wilders, of the Dutch far-right Freedom party, and Matteo Salvini of Italys northern league, are expected at the meeting. The superstar attractions at what has been billed a European Counter Summit will be Frances presidential hopeful Le Pen and AfDs Petry, who are due to hold a debate on the folly of Angela Merkels refugee policy. Philip Oltermann and Kate Connolly in Berlin


Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen congratulated Trump on his inauguration on Twitter, in a move likely to draw objections from Beijing, which is already angry with a protocol-breaking phone call a month ago between the two leaders.

Tsai Ing-wen (@ iingwen)

Congratulations @realDonaldTrump. Democracy is what ties Taiwan and the US together. Seem forward to advancing our friendship& partnership.

January 20, 2017


After Donald Trump promised in his inauguration speech to fight back against the ravages of other countries, Chinas Global Times, a Communist party tabloid, said the impressive address signalled that the start of the Trump era would herald dramatic changes.
On the world stage Mr Trump will likely align his foreign policy with US corporate interests, blurring the lines of ideology or political values. Frictions between the US and its allies, and trade tensions between the US and China seem inevitable within the four years ahead, the state-run newspaper said in an editorial.
Undoubtedly the Trump administration will be erupting many fires on its front doorway and around the world. Lets wait and see when it will be Chinas turn.

Chinas government and state-run media had struck a conciliatory tone on the eve of the inauguration Both sides should try to be friends and partners, rather than opponents or enemies, said Hua Chunying, a spokesman for Chinas foreign ministry. But domestic broadcasters were forbidden from screening Trumps inaugural speech live, with authorities perhaps fearful it might contain more assaults on the countrys Communist party leaders.

Instead Xiong Tong, a Beijing-based journalist and self-declared Trump aficionado, tuned in at home on the internet. The 32 -year-old said he was overjoyed to consider the billionaire pick up the keys to the White House.

Trump is fantastic, said Xiong who donned a Trump t-shirt as well as a synthetic blonde mop for his celebratory late-night viewing conference. He is so real. Thanks to him, the world is going to start heading in a positive direction. People will become more confident, which will lead to a rise on the stock market.

Xiong said he saw similarities between the USs incoming leader and former Republican president, George HW Bush. Both of them are easy going and hard-working, he said. They are formidable people.

He said he was unfazed that weeks of China-bashing by the billionaire meant he was now part of a shrinking pool of Chinese Trump supporters. Im an independent fan of his and I dont care what others should be considered the man, proclaimed Xiong. I think Trump acts the same way.

Nor was he worried about the prospect of showdown with the worlds most powerful military if Trump continued to challenge Beijing from the White House, saying: If we start a fight with the US, beat them and subdue them, they will not dare to interfere with our South China Sea. Tom Phillips and Wang Zhen in Beijing


Most Mexicans are torn as to who they abhor more: Donald Trump for his repeated insults and menaces on trade, migration and jobs; or their chairwoman, Enrique Pea Nieto, for trying to mollify him by extraditing drug capo Joaquin El Chapo Guzman to the US on the eve of the inauguration, thus ensuring the cartel boss will never pay for his crimes at home.

A series of demonstrations are set to take place in the capital, Mexico City, this weekend to protest against Trumps anti-Mexico rhetoric.

In a series of thinly veiled menaces directed at Mexico, which were peppered throughout his inauguration speech, Trump pledged to protect American perimeters from the ravages of other countries, and bring back jobs, borders, wealth and prosperity.

Pea Nieto congratulated Trump on his inauguration, but said: Sovereignty, national interest and protection of Mexicans, will guide relations with the new government of the United States.

He added that his government would establish a respectful dialogue with Trumps administration for the benefit of Mexico.

The foreign minister, Luis Videgaray Caso, and finance minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, will hold talks with members of Trumps cabinet on 25 and 26 January in Washington.

Amalia Ortiz Cortez, 31, a festival organiser, said the emotional and economic injury inflicted on Mexico by Trumps discourse had until now built the government looking weak, but his promised anti-Mexican policies could unify the nation for the first time in many years.

It stimulated me feel very sad but its now clear that the speculation is over, and he literally means what he has said, Cortez said. Our government must strongly remonstrate against his discourse in line with social consensus and re-examine our foreign relations and trade deals

Trump will bring business leaders, young people and the general population together to dialogue and I hope this will force us to become stronger as national societies and reconsider our relationships with our Latin American neighbours. Nina Lakhani in Mexico City


Russia has loomed unusually big in this presidential campaign and its aftermath, and at the Telegraph building not far from the Kremlin, a group of nationalist activists put on an inauguration party to celebrate the victory of the man who has come to be seen as the Kremlins candidate, with champagne and traditional Russian pies for guests.

We started this movement a year ago when nobody believed in Trump except us, said Maria Katasonova, a nationalist activist who helped organise the party. I hope the words he said during the campaign were not just rhetoric and stick by them as president. She said Trump was a man, like Putin, who fights the system.

Army of Russia shop window in Moscow, with an image of Trump considered on the advertising banner. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/ Reuters

However, there were more journalists at the party than genuine Trump enthusiasts and there was a sense that the jubilation was a little artificial. While there is no doubt that the Russian political establishment are cautiously optimistic about relations under Trump, modern Russia is a largely apolitical country, and there was little sense of genuine excitement among ordinary Russians.

We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship, “ministers ” Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook on Friday.

The pro-Trump atmosphere that was visible in Moscow was largely of a tongue-in-cheek character, trolling the disliked US establishment and what Russians hope will be the end of a US that lectures them on human rights. The Army of Russia shops in central Moscow offered all Americans 10% off merchandise on inauguration day, while the occasional eatery offered a Trump burger or other gimmick.

While there were continued denials about Russian meddling in the election, there was also a pride in Russias central place in the dialogue. At the celebration, one man wore a T-shirt with Youve been hacked inscribed on it. Shaun Walker in Moscow


In Iran, the national television did not broadcast the inauguration live, reporting on its news bulletin that the new US president had begun his run amid popular protests. Semi-official agencies dedicated a scant coverage to the event, partly due to continuing news from Thursdays devastating fire in Tehran.

Many, however, followed the ceremony on the London-based BBC Persian, which is loathed by the Iranian establishment. Watched by millions in Iran via illegal satellite dishes, BBC Persian had its main presenter in Washington DC and aired the ceremony in full. Irans state-run English speech website Press TV broadcast the ceremony. One headline on the following website reflected an activists view: Trump forced on Americans by two-party system.

Iranians are concerned about the impact of Trumps presidency on the landmark nuclear agreement, struck in Vienna in July 2015. Trump told the Times this month that he saw it as one of the worst deals ever stimulated but refused to give further details about his policy on Iran, because, he said: I simply dont want to play the cards. Some analysts say he may not rip up the agreement but instead could adopt a more rigorous implementation of the accord.

Tehran University professor Naser Hadian told the Guardian: Trump is an unknown phenomenon and nobody knows how his words would translate into policies, so we dont know what he would do with the nuclear deal.

According to Hadian, Trumps appointments so far have not been promising. They have been hawkish and talks about regime change or war with Iran, he said.

On the negative side, Trump is the combination of a clever mind with little knowledge, which makes him incredibly dangerous, but on the positive side, he is a pragmatist and a businessman. Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Israel and the Palestinian territories

Trumps inauguration sharply divided opinion, with rightwing pro-settlement Israelis whose leaders were invited to attend the ceremony most enthusiastic.

In a pointed intervention, Israels infrastructure minister Yuval Steinitz a close confident of Prime minister benjamin netanyahu said he hoped Trump would act quickly on his controversial plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Washington, a scheme fiercely oppoed by Palestinians who watch east Jerusalem as a capital of a future state.

I hope and believe that he will move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, Steinitz told Army radio. It is absurd that the embassies are in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu also tweeted his congratulations ahead of the beginning of shabbat.

Benjamin Netanyahu (@ netanyahu)

Congrats to my friend President Trump. Look fwd to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel& USA stronger than ever

January 20, 2017

In the Nana cafe in east Jerusalem, however, the clientele watched the inauguration with a mix of bafflement and fear over the facts of the case the US had elected Trump while warning of the consequences of moving the embassy.

Moussa al-Bitouni, 53, father of the coffeehouse proprietor said : From what I hear “hes not” a man of peace. We does not want to support peace. This is not in our interest or the interest of the US. I was 100% for Clinton. I never guessed America would elect Trump.

We want him to be fair , not biased, added lorry driver Faraj al-Joulem, 42.. We are against moving the US embassy. It will inflame the whole region.

Israels newspaper columnists were divide, however, about what Trump portends, while Palestinian chairperson Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement posted in his name on the official Palestinian news organisation Wafa, congratulated Trump. He added: I look forward to working with him for the sake of peace, security and stability in a world that is troubled and in a region that lives a tragic era, and to contribute to creating a safe future for everyone.


Before Trump had even arrived at Capitol Hill disgruntled Britons including Green party joint leader Jonathan Bartley had unfurled a flag reading Build bridges not walls across Londons Tower Bridge, while others held up a sign saying Act Now.

We wont let the politics of hate peddled by the likes of Donald Trump take hold, said protest organiser Nona Hurkmans. Other flags were draped over Westminster Bridge during a protest outside parliament.

British prime minister Theresa May did not send wishes to Trump before his swearing in, but leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn exhorted him to set the misogyny and the racism of his presidential campaign behind him. Speaking at an event in Glasgow, Corbyn said he hoped that as chairman he would reach out to all communities across the United States and called on him to promote critical participation with Russia.

A flag unfurled on Tower Bridge in London as part of the Bridges Not Walls protest against US president Donald Trump. Photograph: John Stillwell/ PA

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, tweeted his congratulations to both Trump and the vice president Mike Pence, but the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, called Trumps journey to the White House the most divisive, vulgar and illiberal presidential campaign in memory before calling on May to stand up to Trump.

Boris Johnson: Trump wants to put Britain at front of line

Of course the UK must continue to engage with the US on matters of reciprocal concern, but Theresa May must not to damage our national integrity and values by bowing down to a bully, he said.

Boris Johnson (@ BorisJohnson)

Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump @POTUS on his presidential inauguration day. Seem presented to continuing strong UK – US bond

January 20, 2017

Boris Johnson (@ BorisJohnson)

Congratulations to @mike_pence @VP on his inauguration today. Look forward to working together #specialrelationship

January 20, 2017

Protests against Trump also took place across Scotland. Hundreds marched from the foot of Edinburghs North Bridge to the US consulate on Regent Terrace to coincide with Trump being sworn in.

Protesters were armed with banners with wording including: Love Trumps Hate, No to racism , no to Trump and Hey Donald, I hope you step on a lego.

The demonstration organised in the Scottish capital by Stand Up to Racism considered hundreds of people chant slogans such as Donald Trump go to hell take the KKK as well and Donald Trump, go away sexist, racist, anti-gay.

Trump was welcomed by some rightwing legislators, including Ukips Nigel Farage, but Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the former UK ambassador to the US, questioned his ability to unify the US and stand up to Russia. The really big test is over Russia and Nato, he told BBC Radio 4s Today programme. Over the next few months, you are going to have to see whether a harder edge comes into his approach to Russia, and whether he is prepared to validate a sense of commitment to Nato and to Europe.

Downing Street is trying to arrange for May to travel to meet the new chairman as soon as is practicable, with speculation that a visit take place within days. Alexandra Topping


In a small bar in Pariss Mnilmontant neighbourhood, Trumps speech was relayed on a giant screen. As he dedicated the pledge, a 20 -something sighed and said: Well, there runs America. But another regular chipped in: I hurt for the American people. Half of the population didnt vote for him. Theyll have to endure the next few years.

One of the waiters doubted that Trump could fulfil many of his election promises What is he going to do? he said. Send all the immigrants back? Line them up against a wall and shoot them? A survey on Friday goes to show that more than 80% of the French population had a bad or very bad sentiment of Trump. Some are anxious that his electoral success increases the the possibilities of victory for its own anti-immigrant nationalist leader, Le Pen, in elections this year.

The president, Franois Hollande, did not mention Trump by name during a press conference in eastern France, referring instead to my colleague taking the oath and criticising the protectionism that Trump advocated. The French chairwoman has already been said that Trumps victory opens up a period of uncertainty that must be faced with lucidity and clarity. Sofia Fischer in Paris


Canadas government, eager to sidestep potentially protectionist US policies, said it was confident Trump would see that working closely with Canada benefited both nations. We are confident the new administration will see that Canadas partnership with the US mutually strengthens our two nations and offer real opportunities to grow our respective economies, Joseph Pickerill, spokesperson for foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement congratulating Trump. Together, we benefit from robust trade and investment ties, and integrated economies, that is compatible with tens of thousands of Canadian and American undertakings, he said. Reuters

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