Europe/Americas update: November 3 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE

The rest of world, sans Donald Trump, is gearing up for a big climate meeting in Germany:

Governments, scientists, industry groups and environmental campaigners are meeting in Germany next week to discuss implementing a global agreement to curb climate change, despite uncertainty over how the United States will figure into the effort.

 

President Donald Trump announced earlier this year that the U.S. will pull out of the 2015 Paris climate accord unless his administration can secure a better deal.

 

Other countries have pledged to press on regardless at the Nov. 6-17 meeting in the western German city of Bonn. The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) will be presided over by Fiji, one of the small island nations particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

“How the United States will figure into the effort” is “not at all,” despite the fact that Trump’s own employees are telling him quite plainly that climate change is real and almost entirely human-caused. And I don’t want to be Derek Downer here, but the old 2 degree Celsius warming target has now become a 3 degree Celsius warming target, and even that’s probably a long shot. Which is really bad news, because at 3 degrees of warming we’re talking about a future that looks pretty damn dystopian.

EUROPE

RUSSIA

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are trying to make a little face-to-face time for each other while they’re both attending the APEC conference in Vietnam next week. Good for them–it’s important to catch up with your pals from time to time.

GERMANY

A German retiree in Bretten found what he thought was an unexploded World War II-era bomb in his garden on Thursday. It was a zucchini. A five kilogram zucchini.

Courgette_J1
Like this, but much, much bigger (Wikimedia | Jamain)

I probably would’ve called the cops too.

In actual news, Angela Merkel is still optimistic that her Christian Democrats can cobble together a coalition with the Free Democrats and the Greens. The Greens, on the other hand, don’t sound all that thrilled about their prospects:

Fellow Green Juergen Trittin was less diplomatic, telling ARD television earlier Friday that in four of 12 policy areas “we haven’t managed to agree what we don’t agree on.”

 

“We understand that others need their priorities, but we see that others apparently believe they can do this with the motto, ‘we won’t give anything away,’” he said. “And we won’t get it done that way.”

ITALY

Italian authorities announced Friday that their customs officers have seized 24 million tablets of the synthetic opiate Tramadol that, apparently, were ISIS’s property. The haul is valued at around 50 million euros, which would certainly have looked good on ISIS’s accounts receivable spreadsheet.

SPAIN

Madrid has, as expected, issued a European Arrest Warrant for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other former Catalan officials who joined him in his flight planned vacation to Belgium. Assuming the warrants are found legal by Belgian police, they’ll trigger a 60 day period for Belgian courts to decide on their case before they’re supposed to be returned to Spain. However, in this case things could take longer, as the Spanish charges–sedition and rebellion–aren’t part of a protected class of crimes for which the European extradition process is more streamlined. If Puigdemont and company can convince Belgian courts that they won’t receive a fair trial in Spain, or that they’re being charged on political crimes, the extradition could be refused.

AMERICAS

VENEZUELA

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been taking some grief for packing on the pounds at a time when a lot of his fellow citizens are struggling to avoid starvation–the average Venezuelan lost 19 pounds last year. So you can only imagine what people were thinking on Thursday when they watched Maduro hork down an empanada in the middle of a nationally televised speech.

He just keeps them in his desk drawer, I guess? In case he needs a quick bite?

In more serious news, the Venezuelan Supreme Court is blocking opposition leader Freddy Guevara from leaving the country in advance of prosecuting him on charges related to the large-scale anti-Maduro protests earlier this year. Elected officials can have their immunity stripped by the National Assembly, but since the assembly has been rendered entirely superfluous by Maduro’s new Constituent Assembly, it’s that body that will decide Guevara’s fate.

CENTRAL AMERICA/HAITI

Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is preparing to deport tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and Haitians who have been in the US for years under the Temporary Protected Status program. There’s no purpose to deporting these people, who have built lives in America, own businesses here, and have American children, other than blind xenophobic hatred of immigrants. It can’t be said enough: fuck this president and fuck this administration.

UNITED STATES

In the wake of Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York, Trump says America is kicking ISIS’s ass extra hard:

It will probably stun you to learn that there’s absolutely no evidence that the US handled ISIS any differently over the past couple of day than it had been before the attack.

Finally, infamous US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl learned on Friday that he won’t serve any prison time for his desertion. Trump was outraged by the decision and naturally took to Twitter to express himself shortly after, but here’s the detain of Bergdahl’s sentencing that is the most interesting to me: part of the reason he stayed out of prison is because of Donald Trump’s Twitter obsession:

Trump, however, is partly responsible for Bergdahl’s relatively light sentence (he faced up to life imprisonment). The judge presiding over the case, Col. Jeffery R. Nance of the Army, said during a hearing late last month that Trump’s public comments about the case would be treated as “mitigation evidence.”

 

“I will consider the president’s comments as mitigation evidence as I arrive at an appropriate sentence,” Nance said, adding that Trump’s remarks would weigh in favor of lighter punishment.

 

Trump has repeatedly attacked Berghahl over the years, as well as the deal the Obama administration struck to bring him back to the United States after he was captured by the Taliban and held captive for five years.

Trump’s past tweets and other public comments about Bergdahl and his case were obviously prejudicial, so the judge made the right call considering them in terms of mitigating Bergdahl’s sentence. And that said, what, I wonder, is going to happen to alleged New York attacker Sayfullo Saipov? Because, uhhhh:

This is the President of the United States declaring Saipov guilty, sentencing him to death, and calling him a “degenerate animal” in the three days after the attack. I’m certainly no lawyer, but do you suppose it’s possible that the judge who eventually hears Saipov’s case might be inclined to agree that these remarks negatively impact Saipov’s ability to receive a fair trial? That they constitute jury tampering? What happens if our Cream of Wheat-brained president’s inability to stifle himself causes the case against Saipov to fall apart on technicalities? What kind of brave new world will we be looking at then?

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Author: DWD

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2 thoughts

  1. Tramadol? Of all the pain pills on the market, they go for tramadol, which is really, really low on the totem pole of addiction (measured by the US standards). On a related healthcare note: Maduro looks like he may be having diabetes type II which would explain both weight gain and constant hunger.

    1. Given their other problems I assume ISIS can’t afford to be picky about the drugs it slings. Interesting Maduro theory, thanks.

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