Poisoned opposition leader Navalny arrested in Moscow; Migrants stopped in Guatemala; Bobi Wine’s opposition party rejects Museveni win

Poisoned opposition leader Navalny arrested in Moscow; Migrants stopped in Guatemala; Bobi Wine's opposition party rejects Museveni win

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The World staff

Alexei Navalny and his wife Yuliastand in line at the passport control after arriving at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, Russia, Jan. 17, 2021. Navalny was detained at the airport after returning from Germany.

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Oregon protesters confront ICE officials; India registered its highest increase in coronavirus cases; ISIS has taken a port in Mozambique

Oregon protesters confront ICE officials; India registered its highest increase in coronavirus cases; ISIS has taken a port in Mozambique

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The World staff

A close-up of a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s uniform.

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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/File Photo

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Scores of protesters rallied on Wednesday to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials from detaining two men in Bend, Oregon, who were taken to unmarked, white buses. Activists surrounded the buses for 12 hours.

Protestors in bend block buses from taking at atleast two men, immigration attorneys confirmed ice raid. Bend police just announced they are criminally trespassing pic.twitter.com/F0KoLH4O20

— Emily Cureton (@emilycureton) August 12, 2020

Late into the night, it appeared that federal agents from US Border Patrol had emptied the buses and the crowd was forcibly dispersed.

Bend Mayor Sally Russell said on Twitter that the arrests were not an immigration sweep and that she had been informed that there were warrants out for the men’s arrests. She asked people to leave the area.

For the Department of Homeland Security, acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli criticized the demonstrators and defended the intervention that included tear gas and nonlethal munitions. Cuccinelli said in a statement that “ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees.”

Portland-based nonprofit Innovation Law Lab has asked a federal court to keep ICE from taking the men out of central Oregon, the ACLU announced.

What The World is following

On Thursday, India registered its highest increase in COVID-19 cases yet, with nearly 67,000 new cases and 942 deaths in the previous 24 hours. The country’s total infections approached 2.4 million, with more than 47,000 fatalities. India ranks behind only the US and Brazil in number of cases, and is also trailing behind Mexico in the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus.

And, militants tied to ISIS have taken a key port in Mozambique after several days of clashes. Government troops in the northern town of Mocimboa da Praia left by boat after Islamist fighters stepped up attacks in an area near valuable natural gas extraction sites.

From The WorldA Texas couple wrote a bilingual book to encourage children to wear masks

Martha Samaniego Calderón reads “Behind My Mask,” or “Detrás De Mi Cubreboca,” to her children Natalia and Nicolas, at their home. 

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Keren Carrión/The World

Martha Samaniego Calderón and her husband, Dan Heiman, decided to self-publish a Spanish-English children’s book called, “Behind My Mask,” or “Detrás de Mi Cubrebocas,” to encourage children to wear masks and help them process difficult emotions about COVID-19.

Brazilian housing movements fight surging evictions amid coronavirus

Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) attend a rally against the eviction of the “Povo sem Medo” or “People without Fear” occupants in São Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 31, 2017.

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Paulo Whitaker/Reuters 

Despite the pandemic — and rising unemployment — the number of forced evictions in Brazil has roughly doubled in recent months. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 1,700 families have been thrown out of their homes just in the state of São Paulo, according to the Observatory of Forced Removals at the ABC Federal University. That number rises each week, with thousands more at risk of being forcibly removed.

Activists are fighting back. Late last month, a coalition of more than 50 Brazilian social groups launched a campaign to end the evictions. They’re demanding judicial and legislative action.

Bright spot

Music fans in the UK got to see live music — in person. Around 2,500 people went to see singer-songwriter Sam Fender perform on Tuesday night in Newcastle, in what promoters called the “first socially distanced music venue.”

The UK’s first socially distanced gig happened in Newcastle last night.

500 separate raised metal platforms, each accommodating up to five people from the same family/household. Hand sanitizer station and mini fridge included. Singing allowed too! pic.twitter.com/49pp1EnVFj

— Ian Dempsey (@IanDempsey) August 12, 2020In case you missed itListen: Ongoing protests in Belarus after controversial election

Protesters gather on a street against election results in Minsk, Russia, Aug. 12, 2020.

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AP

People in the Belarusian capital Minsk and across the country are protesting the election of Alexander Lukashenko. Protesters say the election was rigged and leaders across the EU and the US are raising some of the same concerns. And, Kamala Harris’ father is an immigrant from Jamaica. Jamaicans have been following her career closely and many are now rejoicing her appearance on US presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s ticket. Also, if the US can’t build better airports or trains than China, or even manage the coronavirus, how exactly is it supposed to compete with China’s economic power?

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Belarus says police fired live rounds at protesters as EU weighs sanctions

Belarus says police fired live rounds at protesters as EU weighs sanctions

People talk to Belarusian law enforcement officers near the site where a protester died during a rally following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 11, 2020.

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Belarus’ interior ministry said on Wednesday that police had fired live rounds at protesters in the city of Brest and arrested more than 1,000 people nationwide, intensifying a crackdown that has prompted the European Union to weigh new sanctions on Minsk.

Security forces have clashed with protesters for three consecutive nights after strongman President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide re-election victory in a vote on Sunday that his opponents say was rigged.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets again on Wednesday. Women dressed in white formed a human chain outside a covered food market in the capital Minsk, while a crowd also gathered outside a prison where protesters were being kept.

Women take part in a demonstration against police violence during the recent rallies of opposition supporters following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 12, 2020.

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Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Lukashenko has sought better ties with the West amid strained relations with traditional ally Russia. Brussels lifted sanctions, imposed over Lukashenko’s human rights record, in 2016 but will consider new measures this week.

A former Soviet collective farm manager, the 65-year-old Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for more than a quarter of a century but faces anger over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a sluggish economy and human rights.

“I have to come today to support those who go out at night,” said Elena, a protester speaking outside the covered market. “It’s not only my vote that was stolen from me, but 20 years of my life. The authorities must go.”

Clashes

The Belarusian interior ministry said 51 protesters and 14 police officers had been injured in clashes on Tuesday night.

In Brest, a city in southwestern Belarus on the Polish border, police fired live rounds after some protesters it said were armed with metal bars ignored warning shots fired in the air, the ministry said. One person was injured.

Lukashenko has accused the protesters of being in cahoots with foreign backers from Russia and elsewhere.

Belarusian state media this week broadcast footage of a van in Minsk with Russian number plates saying it was packed with ammunition and tents.

Tracked down by Reuters, Valdemar Grubov, the van’s owner, said he was a film producer and that the vehicle contained only his own personal effects.

He said he had been unable to retrieve the van due to COVID-19 restrictions and was not involved in any foreign plot.

Lukashenko’s rival in Sunday’s vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a 37-year-old former English teacher, has fled to neighboring Lithuania to join her children there. She urged her compatriots not to oppose the police and to avoid putting their lives in danger.

By Andrei Makhovsky/Reuters

UN head warns of ‘a generational catastrophe’; Record temperatures in Iraq; Belarus’ president aligns with Russia

UN head warns of 'a generational catastrophe'; Record temperatures in Iraq; Belarus' president aligns with Russia

By
The World staff

An Indonesian student wears a mask and face shield as a precaution against the coronavirus during a class in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 3, 2020.

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‘American exceptionalism’: EU travel bans show US is abdicating global leadership, former CDC head says

'American exceptionalism': EU travel bans show US is abdicating global leadership, former CDC head says

The European Union is set to reopen its borders starting July 1. Right now, the bloc is still deciding who it wants to let in, and it does not look like people from the US will be among them. 

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The World staff

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Christopher Woolf

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A member of a ground crew walks past American Airlines planes parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, April 5, 2020.

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As countries around the globe start to reopen, the big question is how to do it safely. 

The European Union is set to reopen its borders starting July 1. Visitors from the US and Russia are among those that are restricted from entering Europe, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Earlier reporting this week from The New York Times that alluded to that prompted Dr. Tom Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to tweet, “This is not what American exceptionalism is supposed to mean.” 

This is not what American exceptionalism is supposed to mean. Until the US gets control of this virus, we will face barriers to travel and economic recovery. https://t.co/et7Dn7tdcC

— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) June 23, 2020

Frieden headed the CDC from 2009 to 2017. He’s now president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, which focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries. Frieden joined The World’s host Marco Werman from New York to talk about the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic. 

Related: Nicholas Burns: US’ ‘unusual absence’ from world stage is bad for Americans

Marco Werman: Dr. Frieden, an interesting way to frame American exceptionalism. What did you mean in your tweet when you said that this is not what that’s supposed to mean? 

Tom Frieden: Well, there’s debate about what American exceptionalism is and different visions of it. But it was never supposed to mean that we continue to have tens of thousands of cases of COVID-19 disease every single day while Europe has essentially beaten the curve, and countries around the world are doing much better than we are. The key point here is that it’s not a question of health versus economics. The only way we’re going to get our economy back is to be guided by and fully support public health, so we can keep COVID-19 in its place and we can have more space in society. 

What do you make of the fact that this list puts the US in the same company as Russia and Brazil? Does that mean the US, Brazil and Russia, we’re all at the bottom of the barrel? 

There are a lot of countries that aren’t doing a good job, and there are a fair number of countries that are doing a really good job. I think the key is for us to continuously improve our response. We have great health departments around the country. We have very committed public health professionals. Congress has provided substantial resources. Now, we need to scale up our programs and show that we, too, can turn the tide and make huge progress against this pandemic. 

In parts of this country, we’ve done it. If you look at New York, New Jersey, many other places in the US, we have seen a huge decrease in cases. Now, we have to keep that up so we don’t have large spikes. We know there are going to be clusters. That’s inevitable. That’s why we need really good public health systems to find those clusters early and stop them before they become outbreaks. That’s what has to happen for us to be safer and for us to get our economy back. 

When you speak with colleagues overseas dealing with the pandemic, what do they say about how the US has handled the crisis? 

I get emails and text messages from all over the world just kind of shaking their head. What is happening? Why has the US response been so ineffective? Why isn’t contact tracing scaled up? Why in the world has mask-wearing become a political statement in some places and for some people? I would say there’s a kind of sadness and disbelief when people look at what’s happening in the US now.

The US has for decades been a leader in global health. And now it’s seen — unfortunately, accurately — as a laggard. I point out the need for federal leadership. I point out that public health has not failed in this pandemic. What has failed is the politicians’ willingness to listen to public health advice and be guided by and support public health, because everywhere in the world where that is done, their communities do better. Fewer deaths and less economic destruction and devastation. 

How do you think the US handling of the pandemic is changing the way this country is seen around the world?

Well, I think it’s done a lot of damage to our reputation as a leader, to our reputation as a country that could not only handle things here, but be relied on globally. When I think back to Ebola, the US led the global charge to protect the countries of West Africa and stop the epidemic there successfully. Now, the US is really not in that role.

Saying that we’re going to leave WHO in the middle of a pandemic is not a sensible thing to do. Certainly, WHO needs to be better, but they’re essential. And turning our backs on them is not going to help at this time. The US has a wonderful history of pragmatic, effective public health and political leadership. And if we get back to that, we can control this pandemic and the next one that comes along as well. 

I mean, you look at China, they recently had a cluster of more than 150 new COVID cases in Beijing. Officials sealed off neighborhoods, they launched a mass testing campaign, imposed travel restrictions. In the meantime, here in the US, we’re getting reports that President Donald Trump wants to close 13 federally run testing centers just as infections are spiking in several states. Again, maybe the answer is obvious, but how does the US emerge from this and get on the list of responsible countries?

If we do the right thing, we’ll get on the right list. I got an email this morning from a colleague in Australia. Incredibly impressive. They’ve got a cluster. They’re ramping up testing. They’re doing very intensive work. And really, the tale of two countries is the United States and South Korea. We’ve both had our first cases on Jan. 20.

If you had moved from the US to South Korea on that date, you would have been 70 times less likely to get killed by COVID-19. And these days, Korea is having 30 cases a day and they’re really concerned about it. They’re ramping up their efforts to clamp down on the virus. We have 30,000 cases, and there’s still debate about whether people should wear masks. It’s a little mind-boggling. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

As Poland’s Duda seeks election ‘Trump bump,’ Putin looks to revise history

As Poland’s Duda seeks election ‘Trump bump,’ Putin looks to revise history

By
The World staff

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Joyce Hackel

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US President Donald Trump holds a joint news conference with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, June 24, 2020.

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US presidents don’t usually meet with world leaders days before a presidential vote. But this week, President Donald Trump welcomed President Andrzej Duda of Poland to the White House just ahead of Poland’s national election this Sunday, in which the conservative Duda is running a tough reelection bid

From the Rose Garden, Trump, a Republican, did his best to give Duda a “Trump bump.” 

“I do believe he has an election coming up and I do believe he’ll be very successful,” Trump said.  

Related: Young people in Poland are rediscovering their Jewish roots

From her vantage in Warsaw, author Anne Applebaum says Duda’s photo-op with Trump might have gained him points at home. Or it might be a gamble that doesn’t pay off.

“… it was a kind of clear intervention in the election.”

Anne Applebaum, historian and author

“Those in his party thought that this meeting would be a kind of slam dunk reason to vote for him, and they played it up as a great diplomatic success,” Applebaum said. “Those who aren’t going to vote for him thought it was a very strange thing for the American president to do. I mean, it was a kind of clear intervention in the election. There was no other purpose to the meeting. There was nothing achieved. There were no documents signed. It was a long trip to get a photograph.”

Applebaum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and expert on central and Eastern Europe. Her forthcoming book is called “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Allure of Authoritarianism.” Applebaum spoke with The World’s Marco Werman about the presidential meeting and Trump’s indication he may move US troops out of Germany to Poland — and how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts at historical revisionism play into security considerations on NATO’s eastern flank.  

Related: How Russia laid the groundwork for future disinformation campaigns

Marco Werman: The two presidents have met one-on-one five times in recent years, three times at the White House. How do you understand their alliance? What can they actually do for each other?

Anne Applebaum: [From] Trump’s point of view, Duda is useful because he’s one of the few European leaders who openly admires him and openly wants to be around him and be seen with him. Most of the others have now become pretty wary. From Duda’s point of view — look, the United States remains very popular in Poland. NATO is very popular. And so from Duda’s point of view, it makes him seem like he’s close to the United States. Of course, this is incredibly risky from Duda’s point of view, because the next president, if it’s not Trump, might feel very differently about Poland.

Duda has also been pushing for additional US troops in Poland. He’s offered to build a Fort Trump in Poland. And just this week, President Trump confirmed he has plans to move more than 9,000 US forces out of Germany, sending some — not clear how many — to Poland. So if that does happen, what will be the upshot for NATO and security on Europe’s eastern flank?

Everybody in Europe would like to see the US commit more troops and be more present. The disturbing piece of the story is that it seems as if Trump’s reasoning for moving troops out of Germany isn’t to do with security or to do with calculations about where those troops would best be placed. It seems like it’s some kind of revenge against Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who refused to come to Washington recently, saying that she didn’t think the timing was good and it wasn’t a good moment to have an international meeting in the middle of the pandemic.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu leave after the Victory Day Parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2020. The military parade, marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, was scheduled for May 9 but postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Credit:

Ekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters

 So from the West, Trump talks about pulling out of NATO. In the east, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been offering up a revised history lesson. Putin just published in a conservative magazine a 9,000-word essay on World War II, defending the Soviet non-aggression pact with Hitler. He describes the occupation of Baltic states as “with consent.” How is it going over in Eastern Europe?

What he’s referring to is the Hitler-Stalin Pact. The two dictators actually divided Europe up between them. And so Hitler invaded western Poland. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland. And Putin now wants to rewrite that piece of history and somehow imply that it was Poland’s fault, that Poland got invaded and that it was somehow the Baltic states agreed to be invaded. There is no historical justification for it at all. Nobody is sure why it is that Putin has chosen to make this argument right now. I think it’s part of a bigger effort that he’s been making in recent years to rewrite the history of the 20th century in order to make the Soviet Union more heroic and to make our memories of it more heroic and triumphant.

Related: This pact between Hitler and Stalin paved the way for WWII 

Putin’s essay was being pushed precisely during this week of the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow, which was postponed because of the coronavirus. Is Putin in a position to celebrate “great power status” at this moment?

The kind of argument he’s been making to the Russian people over the last several years is, “OK, your wages are not going up. The economy is not great. There’s a lot of corruption. But I’m making Russia great again. I am restoring Russia. I’m putting her back in the center of world politics where she belongs. And you should keep me in power for that reason.” But the point of your question is correct. Russia remains a very dangerous, but medium-sized power. The Russian economy is weak, and it’s weakened partly by low oil prices. But it’s also weakened by really profound corruption and very profound inequality as well, which has caused a lot of discontent. There have been, just under the radar, on and off over the last couple of years, quite a lot of protests and a lot of dissent, not just in the big cities, not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but all over the country. And he’s very anxious to damp that down.

Related: Coronavirus postponed Russia’s Victory Day. For Putin, it’s a problem. 

I’m just curious. In Warsaw, is talk of this revisionist history making Poles at all nervous?

So whenever the Russians start to revise history, Russia’s neighbors become nervous because Russia has used historical revisionism as an excuse to invade its neighbors in the past. Right now, that seems unlikely. It doesn’t seem that Russia wants to pick a fight with the United States and with NATO at this exact moment. But, you know, we began this conversation by talking about the American president’s weak commitment to NATO. Maybe this is something that Putin sees in the future he’ll be able to take advantage of.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

EU may ban US travelers; Latin America sees COVID-19 surge; Palestinian officials call for probe into killing of youth

EU may ban US travelers; Latin America sees COVID-19 surge; Palestinian officials call for probe into killing of youth

By
The World staff

A man sits on his rickshaw waiting for clients, as Spain officially reopens the borders amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, June 21, 2020.

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Backpacking through Europe will likely not be an option for US travelers this summer. As the European Union looks to reopen in July, the bloc is working to prevent additional outbreaks of the novel coronavirus by blocking entry from countries that have had unsuccessful or haphazard responses to the pandemic — including the US. Visitors from China, however, are likely to be welcomed.

Travel bans have become synonymous with the Trump administration. The president sparked ire in March after announcing a ban against most European travelers, though that move did not prevent the US from becoming an epicenter of the virus, with more than 2.3 million cases reported.   

On the EU’s draft list of banned travelers, the US keeps company with Brazil and Russia, which are also deemed unsafe by the EU’s epidemiological criteria. In all three of these countries, leadership downplayed the virus and responses have been chaotic. This week, a Brazilian judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro, known for his blasé attitude about COVID-19, to wear a mask in Brasília or risk fines, reminding the president that he is not above the law. 

What The World is following

The novel coronavirus is accelerating in Latin America and the Caribbean; official deaths surpassed 100,000 Tuesday, though the true number is likely much higher. The virus is plunging millions into poverty, and criminal corruption scandals are threatening more lives. And as the virus surges in impoverised regions, aid agencies are scrambling to deliver a lifesaving resource: oxygen

Palestinian officials have called for an international probe into the killing of Ahmed Erekat after Israeli soldiers shot the 27-year-old man and prevented medical aid from reaching him for more than an hour. Israeli officials say they suspected Erekat to be involved in a car-ramming attack. His family disputes the allegations, and human rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus after organizing a tournament in Croatia. And, Major League Baseball announced plans to open the 2020 season in late July. 

From The WorldAmid global protests, Jamaicans confront their own problems with policing

People hold posters as they take part in a demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica, June 6, 2020.

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Gilbert Bellamy/Reuters 

Jamaica shares the United States’ history of colonialism and slavery, and now has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings. Activists there are thinking about what the global moment of police accountability could mean for their country.

The World is hosting a Facebook Live on the Latino conservative vote titled. “The Latino Republican: Issues and influence in the 2020 election.”

Credit:

Graphic by Maria Elena Romero/The World

In the 2018 midterm election, about 30% of Latinos in the US backed a Republican candidate. But conservative Latinos are not a monolithic group, and they do not vote as a bloc. 

The World’s Daisy Contreras will moderate a Facebook Live conversation on Latino conservatives today, June 24 at noon Eastern time. Join us for the discussion: “The Latino Republican: Issues and influence in the 2020 election.”

Morning meme

Yesterday, we noted that in Spain, plants filled an opera house. In France? Minions take to the cinema. We assume Kevin, Stuart and Bob are watching “Despicable Me.”

Minions toys are seen on cinema chairs to maintain social distancing between spectators at a MK2 cinema in Paris as Paris’ cinemas reopen doors to the public following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, June 22, 2020. 

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Benoit Tessier/Reuters

In case you missed itListen: Trump celebrates the border wall

US President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One to visit a nearby US-Mexico border wall site in Yuma, Arizona, June 23, 2020.

Credit:

Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump visits Arizona on Tuesday where he will make a stop in Yuma to celebrate the 200th mile of construction of the US-Mexico border wall. Most of the construction has been replacement segments. And, a monument to Winston Churchill in central London has become a flashpoint between Black Lives Matter demonstrators and far-right protesters. Also, after three months of darkness, the stage lights at a Barcelona opera house were flipped back on, suggesting a return to normalcy. But as musicians took the stage for a live concert, they looked out at an audience filled with potted plants.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Will New START nuclear treaty survive ‘hostile’ US-Russia relations?

Will New START nuclear treaty survive ‘hostile’ US-Russia relations?

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The World staff

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Amulya Shankar

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US special envoy Marshall Billingslea speaks to the media after a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergej Rybakow in Vienna, Austria, June 23, 2020.

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The United States and Russia have about 91% of the world’s nuclear warheads. And the arms control pact — the New START Treaty — between the two nations expires next year. 

The US wants to broaden its main nuclear arms control agreement with Russia to include all their atomic weapons, a US envoy said on Tuesday after talks with Moscow on a new accord.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea also said Washington would keep pressing China to join the talks on replacing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) which expires in February.

Washington wants Beijing involved because it says China is secretly racing to increase the size and reach of its nuclear arsenal, but Moscow favors a multilateral accord, possibly including France and Britain, Billingslea said.

“We, the United States, intend and believe … that the next arms control agreement must cover all nuclear weapons, not just so-called strategic nuclear weapons,” he told a news conference in Vienna that followed the talks there on Monday.

Matthew Bunn is a professor of the practice of energy, national security and foreign policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He spoke with The World’s Marco Werman about the implications of the New START Treaty.

Marco Werman: What are the main points of the current agreement — the New START Treaty, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — and would you say it’s been effective?

Matthew Bunn: The New START Treaty has been highly effective. Both sides agree that the other is complying with its key provisions. It limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons on each side. We don’t face as many Russian nuclear weapons as we otherwise would. And it provides for an extensive set of monitoring and verification. So, we have more predictability and more understanding of what’s going on.

Related: China rebukes US envoy for photo stunt at nuclear talks with Russia

What’s at stake with this week’s negotiations? Where have the US and Russia settled at this point?

Well, it appears they made some progress. They agreed to set up some working groups on particular topics and to meet again, possibly in July. So that’s the good news. They have not yet agreed to any extension of New START. That’s the bad news. The further bad news is that the United States is still insisting on China taking part. And China has no interest in doing so. China has less than a tenth as many nuclear weapons as either Russia or the United States.

 

Related: US pulls out of Open Skies Treaty, Trump’s latest treaty withdrawal 

So we’ve got a presidential election in November. What signs are you going to be looking for that New START is on track and there will be limits on nuclear arms?

Well, I think we’ll have to watch these negotiations very carefully. I doubt the United States will actually withdraw. But I think that letting the agreement expire — about two weeks into the next president’s term, by the way — is a real danger. My guess is that the Trump administration will not agree to extend New START until the last minute. And so it may be a scramble if Biden is elected, for him to get it extended in the two weeks after he takes office. And I think that scrambling, in general, is not the right way to manage nuclear weapons policy. But I think it’s not just a matter of arms control. It’s a matter of the broader set of measures designed to reduce the danger of nuclear war. Right now, we have the most hostile and dangerous US-Russian relations in decades. We have technologies that are evolving that blur — the line between peace and war — and make it more difficult to prevent escalation from conventional to nuclear war. So there’s a big agenda of steps that have to be taken to reduce nuclear dangers. Ultimately, it’s the governments that have to take action.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Reuters contributed reporting. 

Is the US ready for the rising tide of mercenaries?

Is the US ready for the rising tide of mercenaries?

War is getting sneakier. And mercenaries could be changing war in ways that the US might not be prepared for.

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Laicie Heeley

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Ruth Morris

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A boy walks near his building, which was damaged during fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists as an armored personnel carrier (APC) of the Ukrainian armed forces stands near by in Avdeyevka near Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, June 7, 2015.

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The Things That Go Boom podcast is a co-production of PRX and Inkstick Media, and is a partner of The World. This season on the podcast: What kinds of security risks are building out there? We’ll look at misinformation, shadow warfare and even ask if democracy is still in vogue.

In February of 2014, when war broke out in Eastern Ukraine, the top brass of the Russian army hatched a plan to support pro-Russia separatists fighting the government. Russia sent in what came to be called “little green men” — Russian soldiers, but in unmarked green uniforms.

And — they sent in a small band of mercenaries called “Wagner Group.”

Wagner Group only played a small role in the conflict, which led to the Russian annexation of Crimea. But the Russian generals deemed the mercenary experiment a success. 

Wagner became a mercenary army with about 5,000 members, active in about 12 different countries, from Syria, where it has protected oil fields for President Bashar al-Assad, to Venezuela, where it has provided security for President Nicolás Maduro, and all over Africa.

Today, these mercenaries could be changing war in ways that the US might not be prepared for. 

Episode 1: ‘World War C’: How did national security miss the coronavirus? 

Sean McFate is a professor at Georgetown University and a former paratrooper. He served under generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus during his years in the US 82nd Airborne Division.

“But then I got out and went to, what they say, the dark side,” McFate said. “And I became a private military contractor, a paramilitary, some would say mercenary … to basically fight wars in Africa.”

Some of that fighting was for the US government — but some of it wasn’t. 

“It opened my eyes to … how wars are being fought,” he said.

The situation in Ukraine in 2014, when soldiers in unmarked green uniforms began popping up in the conflict, is useful to understand what McFate means. Because the Kremlin wasn’t openly sending troops, what was happening on the ground didn’t immediately look like a war between Ukraine and Russia — and the international community only realized what was happening once it was too late.

“If they had blitzkrieged directly into Ukraine, there would have been huge international outrage, the UN would have gotten involved, and it would have stymied their progress,” McFate said. “In this way, they just kind of stole Eastern Ukraine.” 

Episode 2: Was the US sleeping through China’s rise?

War is getting sneakier. We live in a global information age where weapons that give you plausible deniability are more powerful than firepower. And very few things offer better plausible deniability than mercenaries.

Why? If the Russian army takes a big hit, the Kremlin has a PR problem on its hands. If it’s Wagner contractors, the Russian government can deflect the blame. 

“Plausible deniability” isn’t the only reason Russia is using mercenaries. At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s Red Army was the largest in the world — bigger, even, than the United States, though, the US Naval and Air Forces seem to have balanced things out. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia’s new economy and its military took a big hit. 

But Russia seems to know how to stretch a limited budget a long way — that’s one reason why the use of mercenaries is such an attractive tool. Generally, private military contractors are considered cheap — you don’t have to pay for their training, employ them year-round, or pay veterans’ benefits, and in most cases, they come with their own weapons. 

And Russia isn’t the only country using mercenaries.

Related: It’s time for the US to rethink Huntington’s philosophy: Part I

“This rising tide of mercenaries — eventually, in a decade or two, we’ll get to a point where war is privatized, where anybody who can swipe a big enough check can become a superpower,” warned McFate. 

Of course, the US isn’t an innocent bystander. Blackwater, a private military company contracted by the US, caused a scandal in Iraq when contractors opened fire on civilians in the 2007 Nisour Square Massacre.

Blackwater Chief Executive Erik Prince holds a photograph of the remains of a blown up vehicle in Iraq while testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 2, 2007.

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Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, has recently been pushing Washington to privatize the entire war in Afghanistan. Such a move wouldn’t likely save money, but there could be more menacing benefits. A Brookings Institution report found that contractor deaths are not listed on public rolls, and they’re rarely mentioned by the media. Plus, these firms aren’t subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, so hiding information from journalists is also much easier.

So far, the US hasn’t taken Prince’s advice — but it has signed more than 3,000 contracts with private military firms over the last decade, employing tens of thousands of people.

Most of these people aren’t armed mercenaries. They perform support tasks like training, cooking and delivering supplies. 

But the problem is what happens when those contractors themselves need protection. The US Army doesn’t provide any armed help, so contractors often need to hire their own security. A Congressional investigation from 2010 found that one US contractor relied on Afghan “warlords, strongmen, commanders, and militia leaders, who compete[d] with the Afghan government for power and authority.”

In 2010, The New York Times wrote that there are strong suspicions that an Afghan company, which provided protection to NATO convoys, used American money to bribe the Taliban to attack those same convoys — just to make sure the demand for protection remained high.

A NATO official in Kabul said it most clearly: “We’re funding both sides of the war.”

“We’ve helped create a whole global mercenary marketplace,” said McFate. 

Last season on Things That Go Boom: Nothing good happens after ‘nuclear midnight’

It might be terrifying to think of a world where individuals can go out and hire mercenaries. But we already live in a world where organizations like Wagner Group can fight wars more or less in secret.

So, how does the US military deal with this problem?

“When Americans think about war, our model for war is World War II. We call it ‘the good war.’ It’s what we teach in war colleges,” McFate said, adding that World War II still informs how American generals think about the future of war.

Right now, the US is still mostly stocking its shelves for the apocalypse — buying the kind of big, expensive things it thinks it might need for WWIII. But, McFate says, WWIII isn’t going to look anything like WWII. And US adversaries are investing their own resources completely differently.

“What they’re doing is they’re investing in other places, like the troll factory, their internet hackers, Wagner Group, other sort of clandestine means.” 

And that means something in the US has to change.

Related: Is a US-China nuclear conflict likely?

“We don’t need to scrap … our superlative conventional forces. We have the best in the world, but we don’t need $13 billion new aircraft carriers either,” McFate said. “So, let’s stop throwing money into things that we’re already good at. Let’s throw money into things we need help in. And so, that includes strategic communication.” 

A lot of the world has moved on to a new form of war — one it’s already actively fighting in the shadows. And the US is still sitting in its bunker, waiting for the blitz.

“What we need to do is we need to update the way we think about war,” McFate said. “If war is going underground to the shadows, we have to go into the ground and punch back. So, how do we fight secret wars, which is where warfare is today, and not lose your Democratic soul? That’s the discourse we should be having, not how many F-35s we need — that’s the discourse Lockheed wants you to have.”

This isn’t the whole story. To hear more, including what a hot dog salesman and actress Mia Farrow have to do with all of this, listen above and subscribe to the Things That Go Boom podcast

Russia jails Pussy Riot manager for 15 days for petty hooliganism

Russia jails Pussy Riot manager for 15 days for petty hooliganism

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Daniel Ofman

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Anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov poses for a photo before an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Sept. 28, 2018.

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A Moscow court jailed Pyotr Verzilov, an anti-Kremlin activist and associate of the Pussy Riot punk group, for 15 days on Monday after finding him guilty of petty hooliganism for swearing in public.

Verzilov, the publisher of the private MediaZona news outlet, was taken in for questioning by police on Sunday over a political rally last summer and held him for hours. He was attacked by an unknown male assailant after he was released.

Both men were later detained by police and Verzilov was charged with swearing in public, Verzilov’s lawyer Leonid Solovyov was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying.

Writing on Twitter after his sentencing on Monday, Verzilov accused the police of staging the incident to provoke and jail him.

“The judge just sentenced me to 15 DAYS FOR SWEARING — but in actual fact, for a police provocation that included attacking me after being questioned for 13 hours in the Investigative Committee,” Verzilov wrote in his Tweet.

TASS news agency cited a police source as saying Verzilov had planned to stage a prank on Wednesday when Russia marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II with a military parade on Red Square. Verzilov denied this in comments to the BBC’s Russian Service.

Verzilov was one of four Pussy Riot activists who ran onto the pitch wearing police uniforms during the soccer World Cup final in Moscow in 2018, a stunt they said aimed to draw attention to human rights abuses.

Kirill Koroteev, a lawyer and the head of the International Practice of Agora, the group that has taken up Verzilov’s case, spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about what happened. 

Marco Werman: Kirill, before we get to the court case from earlier today, what is the timeline here? Just briefly explain what happened to Mr. Verzilov after he got arrested Sunday.

Kirill Koroteev: Police burst into his apartment. They broke the door. There he was arrested and taken to a police station where he was questioned for 13 hours approximately, without access to a lawyer, but then he was released. So he was walking away from the police station and noticed a person following him. And 10 minutes after his release, that person just attacked him, pushing him on the ground. That’s when the police arrived and arrested him for the fight. Now, it turned out that the person who pushed Mr. Verzilov had no injuries, and only Mr. Verzilov had injuries. So, the police charged him with cursing in public instead.

 

So, let me get the straight. After 13 hours of interrogation, Verzilov was followed from the station. He was beaten up and then rearrested?

Exactly.

So, what was the verdict today in court?

The court sentenced him to 15 days in prison and decided not to hear the policeman who charged him and not to hear the person who attacked him. The court believed the police-written report saying that Verzilov cursed in public and the court did not believe Verzilov who said he didn’t.

Why do you think this is happening right now to Pyotr Verzilov?

What is happening is quite usual for the activists but the timing of his precise arrest is not very clear. It was rumored that he was going to stage some sort of interruption at the military parade on June 24, or at the voting on the constitution on July 1. But today in court, Pyotr Verzilov denied that and said he had no such intention.

 

What does this arrest and this whole ordeal tell you about the mindset of state authorities in Russia?

Well, during last year’s Moscow protests and even previously, any major leaders would get arrested beforehand so that they spend the day of the protest in prison. It is quite a regular modus operandi for the Russian authorities. They just cannot operate otherwise than by breaching individual rights.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. Reuters contributed to this report. 

China rebukes US envoy for photo stunt at nuclear talks with Russia

China rebukes US envoy for photo stunt at nuclear talks with Russia

US special envoy Marshall Billingslea and his delegation arrive for a meeting with Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2020.

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US and Russian officials met in Vienna on Monday to discuss to nuclear arms control. But the US envoy taunted China for its absence, earning a rebuke from Beijing for posting a picture of empty seats with Chinese flags

US President Donald Trump has sought to include Beijing in talks to replace the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the flagship nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia, which expires in February. China, a nuclear power with an arsenal a fraction the size of those of the Cold War-era superpowers, has repeatedly declined.

“China is a no-show,” US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said on Twitter around the time he arrived for the talks in a palace adjoining Austria’s Foreign Ministry.

“Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding,” he added. His post included a picture of a Chinese flags at empty seats around the negotiating table.

Vienna talks about to start. China is a no-show. Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding. pic.twitter.com/EjDxXNmblv

— Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea (@USArmsControl) June 22, 2020

The director general of the arms control department at China’s Foreign Ministry, Fu Cong, responded:  “What an odd scene! Displaying Chinese National Flags on a negotiating table without China’s consent! Good luck on the extension of the New START! Wonder how LOW you can go?”

China’s diplomatic mission in Vienna retweeted Billingslea’s photo with the caption “US performance art?”.

Russia, for its part, posted pictures of the talks after they started, with no Chinese flags. Austria’s Foreign Ministry, which hosted the talks, declined to comment.

The talks in Vienna are on a possible replacement for the 2010 New START, which caps US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons warheads at 1,550 each. That replaced the original Cold War-era START treaty signed in 1991 six months before the Soviet Union collapsed.

China has around 300 warheads in total, roughly the same as France, and many times less than the thousands possessed by Washington and Moscow, according to the Stockholm International Peace Institute.

Trump, who has clashed with China on a range of issues, has repeatedly called for Beijing to join talks on a replacement for New START. China has rejected those calls.

Billingslea and his Russian interlocutor, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, both said little about the substance of the talks on their arrival.

“We’ll see,” Billingslea told Reuters when asked what he expected to come of the talks as he arrived. Ryabkov told reporters: “Let’s see, let’s see. We are always very hopeful.”

by Francois Murphy/Reuters

The global implications of Geoffrey Berman firing; US and Russia start nuclear weapons talks; US targets Assad govt and backers with sanctions

The global implications of Geoffrey Berman firing; US and Russia start nuclear weapons talks; US targets Assad govt and backers with sanctions

By
The World staff

US Attorney for the Southern District Geoffrey Berman attends a news conference on the indictment of Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, David Correia, and Andrey Kukushnin for various charges related to violations of US federal election laws in New York City, Oct. 10, 2019.

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Shares in Turkish state lender Halkbank surged 8% today after US federal chief prosecutor Geoffrey Berman was forced to step down over the weekend. Berman oversaw an indictment against the bank which alleges the company used money service businesses and front companies to evade US sanctions on Iran. John Bolton, the former national security adviser, has claimed in his tell-all book set for release tomorrow, that President Donald Trump promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he would intervene in the case.

The firing of Berman, the US attorney for the influential office of the Southern District of New York, was the latest in a series of moves by Attorney General William Barr that critics say undermines the independence of the Justice Department over political benefits for Trump.

Berman’s office has spent years engaging cases that take on figures in Trump’s orbit and had been investigating Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private lawyer and a central person in the president’s interest in Ukraine and subsequent impeachment.

What The World is following

Wirecard, the former German technology darling, said on Monday that $2.1 billion is missing from its accounts and was likely never there. News of Wirecard’s accounting problems rattled Germany’s financial industry. Wirecard is a payments processor firm for companies including Visa and Mastercard, and it is now looking at the sale or closure of parts of its business.

Representatives from the US and Russia started nuclear weapons talks today in Vienna. Envoys for the countries haven’t said much ahead of the meetings, but the talks may include negotiations over replacing the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in February. The Trump administration had repeatedly asked China to take part but Beijing refused.

And Verkhoyansk, Russia, a town north of the Arctic Circle in Siberia, may have recorded a new record heat temperature of 100.4 degrees over the weekend. If verified, the temperature would be the northernmost 100-degree reading ever observed.

Bolton allegations on Trump ‘as damaging as any in modern American history,’ says Nicholas Burns

Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton listens as US President Donald Trump holds a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018.

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Nicholas Burns, a former career foreign service officer, worked with the former Trump White House national security adviser, John Bolton. Burns spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about the most disturbing allegations in Bolton’s book, which comes out Tuesday.

US targets Assad govt and backers with toughest sanctions yet against Syria

A woman walks past a poster depicting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, March 5, 2020.

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Yamam Al Shaar/Reuters 

The aim is to prompt the Syrian president to negotiate an end to the war that has lasted almost a decade.

Morning meme

K-pop fans claim that through the social platform TikTok, they were responsible for the rows and rows of empty seats at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the weekend. 

A supporter of President Donald Trump shoots a video with his  phone from the sparsely filled upper decks at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 20, 2020.

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In case you missed itListen: Celebrating Juneteenth amid global outrage over systemic racism

A child takes part in a rally as people march down Central Park West during events to mark Juneteenth amid nationwide protests against racial inequality, New York City, New York, June 19, 2020.

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Today is the Juneteenth holiday celebrating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery. The World hears from an African American woman who moved to Ghana decades ago to escape racism in the US. Also, Former US ambassador Nick Burns, who knows former National Security Adviser John Bolton from his time in government, weighs in on the veracity of some of the claims in Bolton’s forthcoming book. And, one-on-one concerts are replacing full orchestral shows in Stuttgart, Germany.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Russia jails ex-US marine Paul Whelan for 16 years on spying charges

Russia jails ex-US marine Paul Whelan for 16 years on spying charges

Paul Whelan stands inside a defendants’ cage during a court hearing on extending his pre-trial detention, in Moscow, Russia, October 24, 2019. 

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A Russian court convicted Paul Whelan, former US marine who served two tours in Iraq, of spying for the United States on Monday and sentenced him to 16 years in jail.

Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28, 2018 as he prepared to attend a wedding.

Russia says Whelan, 50, was caught with a computer flash drive containing classified information. Whelan, who pleaded not guilty, said he was set up in a sting operation and had thought the drive, given to him by a Russian acquaintance, contained holiday photos.

“This is all political theater,” said Whelan, who watched proceedings from a glass box inside the Moscow city courtroom.

He told the judge he had not understood the verdict as proceedings were conducted in Russian without translation.

Related: Paul Whelan’s twin brother calls Russia espionage accusations ‘balderdash’

Whelan had held up a piece of paper on which he denounced the proceedings as a “sham trial” and asked for US President Donald Trump and the leaders of Britain, Canada and Ireland to take “decisive action.”

Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said an appeal would be made against the verdict. Questioning the court’s independence, Whelan’s family said in a statement “Russian judges are political not legal entities.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was furious and wanted Moscow to immediately free Whelan.

“The United States is outraged by the decision of a Russian court today to convict US citizen Paul Whelan after a secret trial, with secret evidence, and without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses,” said Pompeo.

“The treatment of Paul Whelan at the hands of Russian authorities has been appalling. Russia failed to provide Mr. Whelan with a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal; and during his detention has put his life at risk by ignoring his long-standing medical condition; and unconscionably kept him isolated from family and friends.”

John Sullivan, US Ambassador to Russia, told reporters that no evidence had been produced to prove Whelan’s guilt during what he called a mockery of justice. The ruling would not have “a good impact” on ties between Moscow and Washington — already strained by a range of issues — but that dialogue would continue, he said.

Prisoner swap?

Zherebenkov said Whelan was told when he was detained that he would be part of a prisoner swap with the United States and that he believed this was what Moscow now wanted to do.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told the Russian news agency RIA it had proposed detailed prisoner swaps to Washington many times but gave no further details.

Moscow has called for the release of two Russians jailed in the United States — arms dealer Viktor Bout, who agreed to sell weapons to US undercover agents posing as Colombian guerrillas planning to attack American soldiers, and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine.

Zherebenkov said he believed Moscow wanted to do a deal involving Bout and Yaroshenko. Whelan did not oppose the idea of formally asking Russia to pardon him, Zherebenkov said, but wanted to appeal against the verdict first.

Bout’s wife, Alla, told the RIA news agency on Monday she was ready to pen an appeal to US authorities asking them to swap her husband for Whelan.

A New York court in 2012 sentenced Bout, subject of a book called “Merchant of Death” and inspiration for the film “Lord of War” starring Nicolas Cage, to 25 years in jail.

Whelan will serve his sentence in a maximum security prison, the court said. State prosecutors had sought an 18-year term.

By Andrew Osborn and Susan Heavey/Reuters

Trump escalates attacks on International Criminal Court over Afghanistan investigation

Trump escalates attacks on International Criminal Court over Afghanistan investigation

By
Rupa Shenoy

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about a Trump administration executive order on the International Criminal Court as Defense Secretary Mark Esper listens during a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, June 11, 2020.

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When war crimes happen, and victims can’t get justice in their own country, there’s one place they can go: the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But now, that same court is being challenged by the Trump administration.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order placing visa restrictions and economic sanctions on members of the ICC and their families.

Related: What South Africa can teach the US about racial justice and reconciliation

He said he took that action because of the ICC’s investigation into alleged atrocities by US military members in Afghanistan. In March, judges at the ICC gave prosecutors the go-ahead to look into possible torture and other war crimes.

“As US investigations by the military, by the Congress make clear, United States citizens did commit serious violations of international law.”

Katherine Gallagher represents two individuals who remain detained at Guantanamo Bay without charge

“As US investigations by the military, by the Congress make clear, United States citizens did commit serious violations of international law,” said Katherine Gallagher, who represents two individuals who remain detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp without charge. “But we’ve seen for the past two decades no investigations and no prosecutions of senior US officials.”

Therefore, Gallagher said it’s appropriate for the ICC to be investigating US military members. But the Trump administration has long opposed the investigation, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the president has now taken steps that will hopefully stop it. The administration is also concerned about the possibility of the ICC investigating Israel’s actions in Palestinian territories.

“We cannot and we will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court,” Pompeo said, “and indeed, I have a message to many close allies around the world: Your people could be next.”

Related: Trump proposes harsh asylum rules disqualifying many applicants

Pompeo said the president is holding the ICC accountable for exceeding its mandate, engaging in a politically motivated investigation, and challenging US sovereignty. Attorney General Bill Barr took it a step further, announcing an investigation by the Department of Justice into the ICC.

“The US government has reason to doubt the honesty of the ICC,” Barr said, adding that the DOJ has “substantial credible information” of a long history of corruption and malfeasance at the ICC.

“Worse yet, we are concerned that foreign powers like Russia are also manipulating the ICC in pursuit of their own agenda.”

But that concern was rejected by Stephen Rapp, who was US ambassador-at-large for war crimes during the Obama administration.

“I mean, this is just absolutely preposterous,” Rapp said. “These are allegations with no proof whatsoever.”

Rapp said that the Obama administration held off an ICC investigation into Afghanistan war crimes by showing the court that they were looking into it themselves. But now, by openly opposing the ICC, he said the Trump administration is undermining the global community’s ability to bring war criminals to justice.

“We’re wounding ourselves, frankly, and making ourselves less of a leader when it comes to upholding human rights in the world.” 

Stephen Rapp, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes during the Obama administration

“We’re wounding ourselves, frankly, and making ourselves less of a leader when it comes to upholding human rights in the world,” he said.

Related: Shocked Afghans ask why perpetrators targeted a maternity hospital and a funeral 

Trump administration officials point out the United States isn’t a member of the ICC, but the country has worked regularly with the international court to bring war criminals to justice. And the court has the mandate to prosecute crimes committed in any of the 123 countries that are a part of the ICC, including Afghanistan.

“It boils down to the fundamental of — you can’t escape accountability when you go elsewhere and commit crimes,” said Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center. “We need to cut through the veneer of what’s really driving what this is, which is a fundamental position of the US government that it should not be held accountable, and its closest ally, Israel, shouldn’t be held accountable.”

The new US sanctions on ICC personnel probably won’t stop the court’s investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan, said Nancy Combs, a human rights lawyer at the College of William and Mary Law School.

“Once the United States comes out with guns blaring this way and tries to intimidate the court in the way that it has, one might expect a counterproductive response; the ICC prides itself on its independence. And so now, if it were to not bring prosecutions against the United States, it might look as though it’s been intimidated,” she said.

Related: Iranian border guards allegedly drowned 45 Afghan migrants. Their families want answers.

The International Criminal Court has released a statement that says it stands by its staff and its commitment to justice. O-Gon Kwon, president of the ICC’s oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, said he’s convening a meeting next week for the group to consider how to renew its “unwavering commitment to the Court.” 

Trump authorizes sanctions over ICC Afghanistan war crimes case

Trump authorizes sanctions over ICC Afghanistan war crimes case

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks to US troops, with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani standing behind him, during a visit to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, November 2019.

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US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order authorizing US sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) employees involved in an investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan suggesting that the Hague-based tribunal is threatening to infringe on US national sovereignty.

In announcing the action on Thursday, Trump administration officials also accused Russia of manipulating the ICC to serve Moscow’s ends.

“We cannot, we will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing the move and warned other nations.

“I have a message to many close allies in the world. Your people could be next, especially those from NATO countries who fight terrorism in Afghanistan right alongside us,” he said.

Neither Pompeo nor any of the top officials who were present at the announcement — Defense Secretary Mark Esper, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Attorney General William Barr — took questions from the press.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to investigate possible crimes committed between 2003 and 2014, including alleged mass killings of civilians by the Taliban, as well as the alleged torture of prisoners by Afghan authorities and, to a lesser extent, by US forces and the CIA. The ICC investigation was given the go-ahead in March.

Rights activists assailed Trump’s move. Andrea Prasow, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch, said the action “demonstrates contempt for the global rule of law” and represents a “blatant attempt at obstruction.”

Trump’s order authorizes Pompeo, in consultation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to block assets in the United States of ICC employees involved in the probe, according to a letter sent by Trump to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi accompanying the order.

It also authorizes Pompeo to block entry into the United States of these individuals as well as their family members.

‘Low point’

The ICC was established in 2002 by the international community to prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. It has jurisdiction only if a member state is unable or unwilling to prosecute atrocities itself. The United States has never been a member of the court.

The US action is the latest under Trump taking aim at an international body. Trump, who has promoted an “America First” policy during his presidency, last month said he would end the US relationship with the World Health Organization.

Afghanistan is a member of the ICC, though Kabul has argued that any war crimes should be prosecuted locally.

“The Department of Justice has received substantial credible information that raises serious concerns about a long history of financial corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels in the office of the prosecutor,” said Attorney General William Barr, who did not offer evidence.

He also said the court was being manipulated by Russia, but did not elaborate on how. He hinted there could be more actions against the ICC. “The measures announced today are an important first step in holding the ICC accountable for exceeding its mandate and violating the sovereignty of the United States.”

John Bellinger, the State Department’s former top lawyer under Republican former President George W. Bush, said the two sides could have avoided the conflict but chose not to.

“It’s unfortunate that the long-running US dispute with the ICC has reached this new low point. … It’s not surprising that the Trump administration has reacted forcefully with threatened sanctions, especially in an election year,” he said.

The Trump administration imposed travel restrictions and other sanctions against ICC employees a year ago.

The ICC decided to investigate after a preliminary examination by prosecutors in 2017 found reasonable grounds to believe war crimes were committed in Afghanistan and that the court has jurisdiction.

A senior Trump administration official, describing the order to reporters on a conference call, said the directive authorizes sanctions against any individual directly engaged in any effort by the ICC to investigate American personnel without US consent.

By Steve Holland, Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed/Reuters

North Korea stops answering daily calls with South; Past epidemics underscore importance of mental health

North Korea stops answering daily calls with South; Past epidemics underscore importance of mental health

By
The World staff

Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un attends a wreath-laying ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2019.

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North Korean officials did not answer a routine daily call to the liaison office with South Korea or calls on military hotlines this morning. The move is seen as a first step toward shutting down contact with Seoul. Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, threatened last week to close the office unless South Korean groups were stopped from sending pro-democracy leaflets into the North. In an effort to salvage ties, South Korean officials pledged to legislate a ban on the leaflets.

The daily calls between North and South Korea were established in 2018 to reduce tensions after peace talks. The two countries remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

What The World is following

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he and US President Donald Trump agreed on “some issues” on the conflict in Libya during a phone call yesterday. Turkey and the US support the UN-backed government of Fayez al Sarraj. In recent weeks, Sarraj’s troops have pushed back an assault on the capital of Tripoli by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Russia and US allies, France, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Today, mourners in Houston, Texas, bury George Floyd, a black man killed in police custody whose death has sparked global protests over systemic racism and police violence. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a review of all statues in the city for ties to slavery.

Also a new study of satellite images shows a surge in traffic to hospitals in Wuhan, China, in August, coinciding with a spike in online searches for “cough” and “diarrhea” — suggesting the coronavirus may have been spreading in the city far earlier than reported.

America’s BLM protests find solidarity in South Korea

Protesters in Seoul, South Korea, rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement on June 6, 2020. 

Credit:

Jason Strother/The World 

Calls for racial justice in the US are compelling some South Koreans to point out xenophobia in their own country and reexamine decades-old tensions between black and Korean communities. Over the weekend, around 100 demonstrators walked through downtown Seoul in protest of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in what was perhaps the first public showing of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the nation.

Past epidemics underscore importance of mental health amid COVID-19

Women wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) ride a subway train in Seoul, South Korea, on June 12, 2015.

Credit:

Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji 

Calls for racial justice in the US are compelling some South Koreans to point out xenophobia in their own country and reexamine decades-old tensions between black and Korean communities. Over the weekend, around 100 demonstrators walked through downtown Seoul in protest of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in what was perhaps the first public showing of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the nation.

Discussion: Reporting on the 2020 Latino vote amid the pandemic

Young Latinos could swing the outcome of the election — if they cast their ballots. That’s because approximately every 30 seconds, a young Latino turns 18 and becomes eligible to vote. For the past four months, The World’s “Every 30 Seconds” project has been following the stories of eight young Latino voters in different corners of the US.

Join The World’s Daisy Contreras for a conversation with three of the eight Every 30 Seconds journalists — Naomi Prioleau of WUNC in Chapel Hill, Max Rivlin-Nadler of KPBS in San Diego and Martha Dalton of WABE in Atlanta — focusing on their experiences reaching out to young Latinos for a yearlong reporting project and the lessons they’ve learned on reporting during the pandemic.

You can watch the Facebook Live Q&A on The World’s Facebook page Wednesday, June 10 at 12pm ET. Ask your questions during the live event or email us at [email protected].

Morning Meme

Someone found it! Thousands have searched but after more than a decade, someone actually found Forest Fenn’s buried treasure — worth more than an estimated $1 million — somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.

NEW: A bronze chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million and hidden a decade ago somewhere in the Rocky Mountain wilderness has finally been found. https://t.co/AzvKoMwjbd

— The Denver Post (@denverpost) June 7, 2020In case you missed itListen: Global protests against racial discrimination continue to spread

A man observes the base of the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader in the 17th century, after protesters pulled it down and pushed into the docks, following the death of George Floyd, Bristol, Britain, June 8, 2020.

Credit:

Matthew Childs/Reuters

Protests against racial discrimination and social injustice continue across the globe. At a rally last weekend in Bristol, England, activists pulled down the statue of a 17th-century slave trader and dumped it in the harbor. And, the notion of putting the US military into the streets to quell unrest is a bridge too far for many people, including many military leaders. Also, As East African countries such as Uganda begin easing lockdowns, borders remain a big concern. Truck drivers crossing borders between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Anti-China sentiment on the rise; Italy slowly emerging from lockdown; Pandemic exposes the ‘violence of social inequality’

Anti-China sentiment on the rise; Italy slowly emerging from lockdown; Pandemic exposes the 'violence of social inequality'

By
The World staff

The Chinese national flag flies at half-mast behind a statue of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in Wuhan during a national mourning for those who died of the coronavirus, April 2020.

Credit:

Aly Song/Reuters/File Photo

Share

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Britain said Monday that China has questions to answer over the information it shared about the novel coronavirus outbreak. But British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace refused to comment on reports that the so-called Five Eyes consortium of US, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand intelligence services had accused Beijing of a cover-up. The rhetoric from the US and others comes as an internal Chinese report warns Beijing is facing a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Also: Scientists may never find the ‘missing link’ species

Italy slowly emerging from lockdown

Italy, among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus and with one of the longest lockdowns in Europe, began easing lockdown restrictions today, allowing about 4.5 million people to return to work. Spain, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Israel, Tunisia and Lebanon were also among countries easing some restrictions.

Also: Japan’s Abe extends state of emergency to May 31

Economist Thomas Piketty: Pandemic exposes the ‘violence of social inequality’

French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital and Ideology,” which came out in March, examines the history of policies and political systems that have sustained economic inequality — and how the world might move toward a fairer economic system. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about the inequalities the pandemic has exposed and suggested Portugal as example of one country that is looking soberly at the pandemic.

“I think at this stage, you know, everybody is trying to do something. So, some countries have initiatives like — in Portugal, they decided two weeks ago to have a temporary regularization of illegal migrants so at least they can provide income support for people in the street and access to health facilities and some kind of legal status. Actually, during this time of the pandemic, most of the countries in Europe did not do that. And I think, you know, it would be useful.”

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico raise alarm as US storm season approaches

As storm season begins in the southeastern US, scientists are casting a wary eye on the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Tornado season in the US generally runs from March through June and hurricane season follows right on its heels. Warm waters in the Gulf provide “a basic fuel” to these massive storms, explains atmospheric scientist Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished scholar at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

During social distancing, artists collaborate on ‘Long Distance Art’

Simone Saunders, a visual artist based in Calgary, Canada, created this piece for the Long Distance Art series.

Credit:

Courtesy of Simone Saunders

Long Distance Art, which launched this week, is an international, multidisciplinary collaborative art series that emerged from the Social Distancing Festival. Artists can inquire about collaborating with another artist they’ve seen on the site, or have the creator pair them up with another artist of his choosing.

For online art, I’ve become a matchmaker,” joked creator Nick Green. “I don’t want to be too instructive. So for the most part, I tell [the collaborators], ‘You two are brilliant artists. Go. Do whatever. I’m happy with anything you come up with.’”

Morning meme

There may be some good old fashioned Hollywood marketing going on here. But it is May 4, and the folks over at team “Star Wars” still know how to get the goosebumps to rise. May the 4th be with you.

In case you missed itListen: A global effort to fast-track a vaccine for the coronavirus

A researcher works in a lab at the Duke-NUS Medical School, which is developing a way to track genetic changes that speed testing of vaccines against the coronavirus disease in Singapore, March 2020.

Credit:

Joseph Campbell/Reuters

Most leaders and medical experts say life won’t get back to relative normal until we get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. It could take a while, so some scientists and ethicists are proposing a controversial method of testing. Also, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has tested positive for the coronavirus and is temporarily stepping down from his position as he recovers. Plus, the British rock band Queen has updated the classic rock ballad, “We Are The Champions,” to honor health care workers around the world.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Kodak Black – ZEZE lyrics

D.A. got that dope!

[Chorus: Travis Scott]
Ice water, turned Atlantic (Freeze)
Nightcrawlin’ in the Phantom (Skrrt, skrrt)
Told them hoes that don’t you panic
Took an island, flood the mansion (Yeah, big water)
Dropped the roof, more expansion
Drive a coupe you can stand in (It’s lit)
See the bitches undercover (In the sheets)
I’m an ass and titties lover (Big ass)
Guess we all made for each other
Now that all the dawgs free (Yeah, yeah)
And we out in these streets (Alright)
Can you do it, can you pop it for me?

[Refrain: Kodak Black]
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)

[Verse 1: Offset]
Offset! Blow the brains out the coupe (Boo)
Police wanna talk, but I’m on mute (Woo, woo, hey)
I’ma bust her wrist down ’cause she cute (Ice)
Fuck her on a yacht, dive in a pool (Yeah)
She an addict (Addict), addict for the lifestyle and the Patek (Patek)
Big daddy, have you ever felt Chanel fabrics? (Chanel)
I be drippin’ to death, I need a casket (Drippin’)
And we got more stripes than the ref, he foul, TEC him (Bow, stripes)
In the middle of the field like David Beckham (Field, bow-bow)
All my niggas locked up, for real, I’m tryna help ’em (Free, free)
When I got a mil’, got me the chills, don’t know what happened (Hoo, chills)
Pop pills, do what you feel, I’m on that zombie (Hey, hoo)
I’m more like Gaddafi, I’m not no Gandhi (Gaddafi, hey)
I’m more like I’m David, Goliath runnin’ (Hey, hey)
Niggas be clonin’, I find it funny (Clone, haha)
We from the Nawf, straight out of the dungeon (We from the Nawf, hey)
I go in her mouth, she can’t tell me nothin’ (Eghck, eghck, egchk)
300, the watch is out of your budget (Woo, woo, 300)
Mean-muggin’ got me clutchin’
Yeah, and this stick right out of Russia

[Chorus: Travis Scott]
Ice water, turned Atlantic (Freeze)
Nightcrawlin’ in the Phantom (Skrrt, skrrt)
Told them hoes that don’t you panic
Took an island, flood the mansion (Yeah, big water)
Dropped the roof, more expansion
Drive a coupe you can stand in (It’s lit)
Bitches undercover (In the sheets)
I’m an ass and titties lover (Big ass)
Guess we all went for each other
Now that all the dawgs free (Yeah, yeah)
And we out in these streets (Alright)
Can you do it, can you pop it for me?

[Refrain: Kodak Black]
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)

[Verse 2: Kodak Black]
In a Hellcat ’cause I’m a hell-raiser
Self-made, I don’t owe a nigga nann favor
When you get that money, nigga, keep your heart
I’m slidin’ in a coupe, ain’t got no key to start
I got the fire on me in BET Awards
When your well run dry, you know you need me for it
When I pull up in the Buick, you know what I’m doin’
If the police get behind me, I’m fleein’ and eludin’
Sleepin’ on the palette turned me to a savage
I’m a project baby, now I stay in Calabasas
Like I still serve fiends, like I’m still jackin’
I be sippin’ on lean, tryna keep balance
Hit that Z-Walk, Dickie’s with my Reeboks
I don’t say much, I just let the heat talk
Your jewelry water whip, diamonds like re-rock
My lil’ baby ride the dick like a seesaw
When I stepped up on the scene, I was on a bean
When I jumped up out the Beam’, I was in Celine
Baby girl you just a fling, that ain’t what I mean
Money bustin’ out my jeans like I do the scheme

[Refrain: Kodak Black]
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)
Pull up in a demon, on God (On God)
Lookin’ like I still do fraud (Fraud)
Flyin’ private jet with the rod (Rod)
This that Z shit, this that Z shit (This that Z shit)

Uh-huh, ha, oh-ah-oh
Uh-huh, ha, oh-ah-oh
Uh-huh, ha, oh-ah-oh
Uh-huh, ha, oh-ah-oh

Travis Scott – CAN’T SAY Lyrics

[Chorus: Travis Scott & (Don Toliver)]
No you can’t say if I’m mad or not
Smoking hella weed, I’m on that alcohol
Shawty lick me clean the way she suck me off
I keep two hoes in my bed, I got ’em turning out
What would you do if you heard I got it going on?
I had to burn, I left skrt marks, I had to dip (I had to)
Gotta watch for 12, ’round my town you might get killed
(better watch for 12)
I’m out my mind, yeah I’m high above the rim (I’m on my mind)
You cop it live, boy I got in on film

[Verse 1: Travis Scott]
You gotta watch out where you rockin’, shit get real
Drink too real, I can’t be fake, don’t know the feel
Gotta take a long drive up the hill
Gang too wavy, move like Navy Seals
I’m too wavy, think I need a Lyft
Chicago baby she just wanna drill
The vibes too wavy, it’s too hard to kill
Gotta watch out where you go ’cause shit get real

[Interlude]
I’ma swang, and a-swang, and a-swang to the left
Pop-pop my trunk
Dip-dip-dip-dip
Oh my

[Chorus: Don Toliver]
No you can’t say if I’m mad or not
Smoking hella weed, I’m on that alcohol
Shawty lick me clean the way she suck me off
I keep two hoes in my bed, I got ’em turning out
What would you do if you heard I got it, burned it all?
I let it burn, skrt that mark, I had to dip (I had to)
Better watch for 12, ’round my town you might get killed
(better watch for 12)
I’m out my mind, yeah I’m high above the rim (I’m out my mind)
You cop it live, boy I got it all on film

[Verse 2: Don Toliver]
You must be cautious, told the lil’ hoes I’m all in
Play this ballers offense, I left ol’ girl, she callin’
You know I hit in morning, oh yeah she yawning
I met you in the club, bitch you know this shit mean nothing
Oh then I hit your cousin, mhm, no-no discussion
Sipping on lean, no Robitussin
Oh yeah, I know you love me, I beat it ain’t no cuddling
You down bad, you suffering
I don’t give a fuck how hard it get
That lil’ bitch know I started this
Uh-huh, oh yeah
Get to the cash, no layup
Spend a big bag, Rodeo
Some may ride for the first time
Hoes come through just to touch us
I’ma tell the truth like Usher
You already know how I bust her
Slang my chop from Russia

[Interlude]
I’ma swang, and a swang, when I swang to the left
Pop-pop my trunk
Dip-dip-dip-dip
I’ma swang, and a swang, when I swang to the left
Pop-pop my trunk
Dip

[Chorus: Travis Scott]
No you can’t say if I’m mad or not
Smoking hella weed, I’m on that alcohol
Shawty lick me clean the way she suck me off
I keep two hoes in my bed, I got ’em turning out
What would you do if you heard I got it going on?
I had to burn, I left skrt marks, I had to dip
Gotta watch for 12, ’round my town you might get killed
I’m out my mind, yeah I’m high, but I’m real
You cop it live, boy I got it all on film

T-Wayne – Fuck Russ Lyrics

[Intro]
[?] on that beat
Yeah, foreign, foreign, foreign

[Verse 1]
I told em, fuck Russ
You ain’t shit
You a bitch
Diamond wrist, peep the drip
Water whip, Plain Jane, new Mulsanne
Shorty wanna give me brain, cuz the fame (yea, yea)
I’m coming live and direct
I got you niggas upset
Hoping out the private jet, got your bitch wet
Snake on my belt, lookin like a new pet
Cut my ex off, need a new thang
Copped a new chain and a pinky ring
Southwest airline, that’s a plain jane
I just dropped a bag and the Blue Flame

[Chorus]
I want the new Ferrari
I want the Plain Jane
I want the presidential Rollie
She want the whole gang (gang, gang)
She a little freak she’ll bust it
Diamonds real cold like Russia
Told lil bitch don’t touch it
Young, rich, came up from nothing
I want the new Ferrari
I want the Plain Jane
I want the presidential Rollie
She want the whole gang (gang, gang)
She a little freak she’ll bust it
Diamonds real cold like Russia
Told lil bitch don’t touch it
Young, rich, came up from nothing

[Verse 2]
I’m hoppin off of a jet
I’m on a run for a check
I gotta flex
I put your bitch in a vette
Runnin up plays like I’m Brett
I got her wet
I got my gun like a sketch
Keep that bitch I ain’t impressed
Don’t give a damn bout my ex
Fuck on her friend and I jet
I want Patek Phillipe
I got my choppa on me
I fuck around in the suite
I be feelin like skreets, bitch I be geeked
Light up the sweet in a suite
I be ridin’ a foreign
You know the engine be roarin’
I’m outta space like the orbit
The whip gotta horsey
You would think it was Ralph Lauren
I’m on the track like Jeff Gordon, yea

[Chorus]
I want the new Ferrari
I want the Plain Jane
I want the presidential Rollie
She want the whole gang (gang, gang)
She a little freak she’ll bust it
Diamonds real cold like Russia
Told lil bitch don’t touch it
Young, rich, came up from nothing
I want the new Ferrari
I want the Plain Jane
I want the presidential Rollie
She want the whole gang (gang, gang)
She a little freak she’ll bust it
Diamonds real cold like Russia
Told lil bitch don’t touch it
Young, rich, came up from nothing

The Rolling Stones – Undercover Of The Night lyrics

[Intro]
N. C.

[Verse 1]
Hear the screams of Center 42
Loud enough to bust your brains out
The opposition’s tongue is cut in two
Keep off the street cause you’re in danger
One hundred thousand disparus
Lost in the jails in South America

[Chorus]
Curl up baby
Curl up tight
Curl up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover of the night
N. C.
N. C

[Verse 2]
The sex police are out there on the streets
Make sure the pass laws are not broken
The race militia has got itchy fingers
All the way from New York back to Africa
Cuddle up baby
Keep it all out of sight

[Chorus]
Curl up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Curl up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Curl up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover Undercover Undercover
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover of the night
Oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

[Verse 3]
All the young men they’ve been rounded up
And sent to camps back in the jungle
And people whisper people double-talk
And once proud fathers act so humble
All the young girls they have got the blues
They’re heading on back to Center 42

[Chorus]
Keep it undercover
Keep it all outta sight
Keep it undercover
Keep it all outta sight
Undercover, keep it all outta sight
Undercover
N. C
N. C.
N. C.
Keep it all outta sight, Undercover of the night

[Instrumental]
N. C

[Verse 4]
Down in the bars the girls are painted blue
Done up in lace, done up in rubber
The John’s are jerky little G. I. Joe’s
On R& are from Cuba and Russia
The smell of sex, the smell of suicide
All these things I can’t keep inside

[Chorus]
Undercover, keep it all outta sight
Undercover of the night

[Outro]
Undercover of the night
Undercover of the night
Oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Undercover of the night

Janelle Monáe – Screwed (feat. Zoë Kravitz) lyrics

[Verse 1: Janelle Monáe]
I live my life in a magazine
I live my life on a TV screen
I live my life on birth control
I lost my mind to rock and roll

[Chorus: Janelle Monáe & Zoë Kravitz]
And I, I, I hear the sirens calling
And the bombs are falling in the streets
We’re all screwed
And ah, ah, ah, it’s not perfect, baby
But I go sex crazy
But I feel so screwed
Sex, body
We’re gonna crash your party
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down
Let’s get, let’s get screwed
I, I don’t care
We’ll put water in your guns
We’ll do it all for fun
Let’s get screwed

[Verse 2: Zoë Kravitz]
Wanna get screwed on a holiday
(Wanna get screwed on a holiday)
Wanna get screwed in a matinee
(Wanna get screwed in a matinee)
Wanna get screwed at a festival
(Wanna get screwed at a festival)
Wanna get screwed like an animal

[Chorus: Janelle Monáe & Zoë Kravitz]
And I, I, I hear the sirens calling
And the bombs are falling in the streets
We’re all screwed
And ah, ah, ah, it’s your birthday, baby
But I go sex crazy
But I feel so screwed
Sex, body
We’re gonna crash your party
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down
Let’s get, let’s get screwed
I, I don’t care
We’ll put water in your guns
We’ll do it all for fun
Let’s get, let’s get screwed

[Bridge: Janelle Monáe]
See, if everything is sex
Except sex, which is power
You know power is just sex
You screw me and I’ll screw you too
Everything is sex
Except sex, which is power
You know power is just sex
Now ask yourself who’s screwing you

[Chorus: Janelle Monáe & Zoë Kravitz]
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care, I don’t care
You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
We’ll put your water in your guns
We’ll do it all for fun
Let’s get screwed
I, I, I hear the sirens calling
And the bombs are falling in the streets
We’re all screwed
And ah, ah, ah, it’s your birthday, baby
But we go sex crazy
But we feel so screwed
I, I, I hear the sirens calling
And the bombs are falling in the streets
We’re all screwed

[Bridge: Janelle Monáe & Zoë Kravitz]
(We’re so screwed)
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
See everything is sex
Except sex, which is power
You know power is just sex
You screw me and I’ll screw you too
Everything is sex
Except sex, which is power
You know power is just sex
Now ask yourself who’s screwing you

[Outro: Janelle Monáe]
Hundred men telling me cover up my areolas
While they blocking equal pay, sippin’ on they Coca Colas (oh)
Fake news, fake boobs, fake food—what’s real?
Still in The Matrix eatin’ on the blue pills (oh)
The devil met with Russia and they just made a deal
We was marching through the street, they were blocking every bill (oh)
I’m tired of hoteps tryna tell me how to feel
For real

Shia LaBeouf – Hattrick Freestyle Lyrics

Me again
It’s heat again
Thats three of them
You’d think I was trying to achieve something
What’s the reasoning?
What’s been eating him?
Why’s he got this gusto?
I just finished playing tennis like I’m John McEnroe

Compare me to Brando, Eminem
Pen to pen
I’m better then him and him
20 men, 2 teams of QM’s, with new gems
Who all know him, could speak fluid
I just do this
The truth is, I’m Kubrick
You lose this
Your roof is in jeopardy
Ebro, needs no accessory
Please know you equal a cent to me
Your raps Phil Spector g
Alive for a century
Maintaining impressively

Give him a hand, not applause
His draws is hitting the sand
Can’t get it
Cause attempting Risks shit in his pants
Ignorant, insignificant man
The difference is damn!!!!!
Thats me and your like, “Uh-huh”
You better hide like Trump with Russia
You from the side where guys be stuck up
I’m from the side where guys get…

Emailing Ben to get at me
While I’m in Tallahassee
Pull my phone start writing in taxis
Paying the flat fee
Making it nasty
Great like I’m Gatspy
At you like you owe me
Re-cooper like Bradley
So you agree?
Are you beaten or what?
You got the demeanor.. of a vacuum-cleaner
You suck
Your archeology
I’m the shit—I’m colostomy
Eat you for the novelty
Harbor no animosity
This is all for fun and for free
Just killed rap’s bougoisie
You not hip-hop, you’re
Youre MM-Bop
Just an obscure fruit my dude your kumquat
I’m cultured
I’m umlaut
Above t-dot
That’s three dots like texts when your thinking bout the response
Connection
That’s my profession, holmes
I’m an accessible spectacle
I’ll be in Atlanta when my schedule’s flexible

Dealing with dummies both of you should take some classes The masses ask for this hat trick
Eating red vines and the guy who writes on sunglasses
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
This my last line cause you cats ain’t rapping much

P Money –

[Hook]
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, round and round it goes
Whoa, round and round it goes
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, round and round it goes
Hey, round and round it goes

[Verse 1]
Yo, I don’t play, this is not EA
Minimum wage? Promoter, behave
Make sure I’ve got a rider onstage
And three hotel rooms, prepaid
Got a big lyric called “what did he say?”
When I start it, the crowd say “what did he say?”
But I don’t repeat it on the third line
But I hit ’em with the fourth like “what did he say?”
Cause I’m grimy when I’m rhyming with my hood up
In quick time and when I ride in, I get a pull-up
If it’s a hype ting, we’ll slide in when I pull up
DM sliding when I glide in, skrrt, pull up
I does this, then man shoulda, woulda, coulda
I got clarity, dem man dududududu
I’m P Money in a snapback and my hood up
But I’m Wiley to every single girl that I stood up, cause

[Hook]
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, round and round it goes
Whoa, round and round it goes
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, round and round it goes
Hey, round and round it goes

[Verse 2]
Yo, fam, let me tell you why I’m nang
Probably the first grime man in Japan
Every single MC that clashed me ran
Left with their girlfriends, I left with their fans
Money Over Everyone, yeah, that was me
Put together dubstep and grime, that was me
Bosnia, Russia, Australia, Croatia
Can’t forget Germany, bro, that was me
If you wanna spar me, you are barmy, you need an army
You ain’t dark, G, can’t dark me cause I’m a darkie
Can’t harm me, run up, charge me or disarm me
I’m old school but I ain’t Atari, bro, wallahi
My conservative labour works more than a party
Nah, G, on my own, I was calling the party
Humble with it, but I’ll get a D Double rewind
If you might see me go back to being nasty

[Hook]
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, round and round it goes
Whoa, round and round it goes
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, round and round it goes
Hey, round and round it goes

[Verse 3]
Like yo, let me tell you why I’m cold
Made a lot of bangers, [?]
“Slang Like This”, man, you already know
“10/10” now, you already know
Younger than them but I was one of the seniors
Badded up festivals and I done arenas
They ain’t even done this and they was on a major
I ain’t even dropped no album, idiots
Zim zimma, I was getting bigger and bigger
They couldn’t say I weren’t the winner when I got in the bimmer
They can’t buy my style, I’ll six-figure the bidder
They call me chinchilla cause I’ll put their chin on a chiller, it’s mad
Are you hearing the way I’ve been flowing? It’s mad
All the rates and the raves I’ve been going, it’s mad
Lowkey at the show so we go in the back
When your chick picks me up, we go in the back

[Hook]
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, round and round it goes
Whoa, round and round it goes
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, round and round it goes
Hey, round and round it goes

[Hook]
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, big boy lyric and flow
Whoa, round and round it goes
Whoa, round and round it goes
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, big boy lyric and flow
Hey, round and round it goes
Hey, round and round it goes

B.o.B – Summers Day (Elements Album)

If money is your God who’s your devil?
If everybody die what make’s you special?
I wonder if heaven got a ghetto
And I wonder if it’s crowded
Okay now I’m acting childish but hey
Don’t force your religion on me
And I won’t force my non-religion on you
Truth’s the only thing I’m devoted to
So am I equal or just boredom to you
So Bobby, fourth album how does it feel?
Ever wonder why every artist run out on they deal?
The price you pay to sell out record stores
When they say they sell they soul it’s not a metaphor

Yeah
I wonder if JFK tried to warn us a storm was around the corner
Most of these law enforcers just force us all in a corner
They make it harder for the foreigners
Your son your wife and you daughter
And make it hard to support them
I’m just here to inform ya
The power structures enormous
Speaking out on these topics is like swatting a nest of hornets
They come from the left and right
They swarm our bodies like garments
With chemicals here to harm us
After you bust your ass they tax your ass for a portion
That’s parasitic behavior
How dare they minimum wage us
How dare you mention a pay cut
Like we here to read the terms and conditions
And they betrayed us
Don’t need permission to wake up
‘Cause silence is your consent for them to consistently wake us
Let’s go

Let’s
Let’s go
Let’s let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s, let’s go
Let’s, let’s, let’s go
Let’s go
let’s
Let’s go
Let’s let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s, let’s go
Let’s, let’s, let’s go

My mentality is post apocalyptic
I think in hieroglyphic
We live inside a system that’s mostly monolithic
America the company who owns the title?
Shit. I don’t know it could be Russia or China
That’s why they identify it as property
Born in the robbery
No Robin Hood
If Satan had a house it’d be in Hollywood
Walking away is the most difficult part
Red carpet for the ritual start
They know they can’t keep me in check
Or keep me asleep with a check
As long as there’s breath in my chest I’m pressing these niggas to death
I’ll never regret
The past that I lived
Or the path that I took
I run when I needed, with every step

let’s go
Let’s
Let’s go
Let’s let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s, let’s go
Let’s, let’s, let’s go
Let’s go
let’s
Let’s go
Let’s let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s, let’s go
Let’s, let’s, let’s go