World http://www.theweek.in/news/world.rss en Thu Oct 01 15:04:41 IST 2020 https://www.theweek.in/privacy-an-settlement.html after-india-pakistan-bans-tiktok-citing-immoral-indecent-content <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/after-india-pakistan-bans-tiktok-citing-immoral-indecent-content.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2020/april/TikTok-icon-chinese-app-ap.jpg" /> <p>It seems Pakistan authorities’ patience with short-video sharing platform TikTok has been stretched to the limit. On Friday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced that TikTok would be blocked in view of a number of complaints “from different segments of society against immoral/indecent content”.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Keeping in view the complaints nad nature of the content being consistently posted on TikTok, PTA issued a final notice to the application and gave considerable time to respond and comply with the Authority instructions for development of effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content. However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for blocking of TikTok application in the country,” the notice by PTA read.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“TikTok has been informed that the Authority is open for engagement and will review its decision subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content,” the notice concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The move comes a month after the PTA banned dating apps Tinder, Grindr and others for immoral content. Interestingly, three months earlier, it had issued a “final warning” to TikTok over obscene material.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On June 1, it banned PUBG: Mobile over complaints that it was addictive and that students were wasting their time on the game—revoking the ban a month later after being given assurance that laws would be followed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>TikTok’s ban in Pakistan comes after the app was banned in many of its biggest markets—India and the United States (where the ban has been put on hold after a federal judge ruled that it could not be blocked from app stores given TikTok’s legal challenge of the ban).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/after-india-pakistan-bans-tiktok-citing-immoral-indecent-content.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/after-india-pakistan-bans-tiktok-citing-immoral-indecent-content.html Fri Oct 09 21:22:58 IST 2020 russia-tries-to-sponsor-nagorno-karabakh-cease-fire-talks <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/russia-tries-to-sponsor-nagorno-karabakh-cease-fire-talks.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2020/10/9/nagorno-reuters.jpg" /> <p>Russia moved to stop the worst escalation of fighting in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh in more than a quarter-century by offering to host cease-fire talks on Friday.</p> <p>Late Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement calling for a break in the fighting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces that have raged for nearly two weeks over the region. The Kremlin said Putin's initiative followed a series of calls with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.</p> <p>&nbsp;The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began September 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.</p> <p>&nbsp;The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.</p> <p>&nbsp;The Kremlin said Putin proposed calling a cease-fire to exchange prisoners and collect the bodies of dead soldiers, adding that the top Azerbaijani and Armenian diplomats were invited to Moscow for consultations.</p> <p>&nbsp;The Russian Foreign Ministry said they confirmed their attendance Friday, but there was no immediate comment from Armenia or Azerbaijan to the Russian initiative.</p> <p>&nbsp;Azerbaijani officials and Nagorno-Karabakh separatist authorities said heavy shelling continued overnight.</p> <p>&nbsp;Fighting with heavy artillery, warplanes and drones has engulfed Nagorno-Karabakh despite numerous international calls for a cease-fire. Both sides have accused each other of targeting residential areas and civilian infrastructure.</p> <p>&nbsp;On Thursday, a historic cathedral in the town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh came under shelling, a shell piercing its dome and damaging the interior. No one was hurt in the attack, but hours later more shelling wounded two Russian journalists inspecting the damage. The Azerbaijani military denied targeting the cathedral.</p> <p>&nbsp;According to the Nagorno-Karabakh military, 376 of its servicemen have been killed since Sept. 27. Azerbaijan hasn't provided details on its military losses. Scores of civilians on both sides also have been killed.</p> <p>&nbsp;Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, has been under intense shelling. Residents are staying in shelters, some of which are in the basements of apartment buildings.</p> <p>Facing international calls for a cease-fire, Azerbaijan made its acceptance conditional on Armenia's withdrawal from the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;Armenian officials say Turkey is involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries to fight on Azerbaijan's side. Turkey has publicly backed Azerbaijan in the conflict but has denied sending combatants to the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;In an interview with CNN Arabic aired Thursday, Azerbaijan's president admitted that Turkish F-16 fighter jets have stayed on in Azerbaijan weeks after a joint military exercise, but insisted that they have remained grounded. Armenian officials had earlier claimed that a Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian warplane, a claim that Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied.</p> <p>Aliyev's office said French President Emmanuel Macron called him Friday to discuss the conflict, but wouldn't give any details of the conversation.</p> <p>&nbsp;The call follows Macron's conversation with the Armenian prime minister late Thursday.</p> <p>Macron's office voiced hope that a truce could be negotiated soon, noting that it was coordinating its efforts with the Kremlin.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/russia-tries-to-sponsor-nagorno-karabakh-cease-fire-talks.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/russia-tries-to-sponsor-nagorno-karabakh-cease-fire-talks.html Fri Oct 09 20:17:32 IST 2020 armenia-azerbaijan-agree-to-ceasefire-after-talks-in-moscow <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/armenia-azerbaijan-agree-to-ceasefire-after-talks-in-moscow.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2020/10/10/armenia-azerbaijan-talks-reuters.jpg" /> <p>Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to implement a ceasefire from 12pm (Moscow time) on Saturday, over two weeks after the two nations started clashes over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.</p> <p>The ceasefire announcement was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who held negotiations with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, in Moscow.</p> <p>Lavrov made the ceasefire announcement early on Saturday morning after holding negotiations for 10 hours with the officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan.</p> <p>Lavrov also announced the two nations would begin talks to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.</p> <p>The ceasefire would be implemented to facilitate exchange of prisoners and bodies of people killed in the conflict. International Red Cross Committee would be the intermediary in the humanitarian operation.</p> <p>The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began on September 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.</p> <p><a title="Russia tries to sponsor Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire talks" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/russia-tries-to-sponsor-nagorno-karabakh-cease-fire-talks.html">The region lies in Azerbaijan</a> but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. The separatist war led to the deaths of 30,000 people.</p> <p>The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed calling a ceasefire to exchange prisoners and collect the bodies of dead soldiers.</p> <p>"Azerbaijan said on Friday that 31 Azeri civilians had been killed and 168 wounded since September 27. It has not disclosed information about military casualties. Nagorno-Karabakh said 376 of its military personnel and 22 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the conflict," <i>Reuters </i>reported.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/armenia-azerbaijan-agree-to-ceasefire-after-talks-in-moscow.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/armenia-azerbaijan-agree-to-ceasefire-after-talks-in-moscow.html Sat Oct 10 08:53:16 IST 2020 china-has-begun-to-amass-huge-forces-india-needs-us-as-ally-pompeo <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/china-has-begun-to-amass-huge-forces-india-needs-us-as-ally-pompeo.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2019/12/19/SA-Jaishankar-Mike-Pompeo-2-2-Reuters.jpg" /> <p>US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday batted for close ties with India amid the continuing standoff with China over Ladakh.</p> <p>Pompeo made the comments in an interaction with US radio-show host Larry O'Connor. Pompeo was quoted by <i>AFP</i> as saying "They absolutely need the United States to be their ally and partner in this fight."</p> <p>Pompeo added, “The Chinese have now begun to amass huge forces against India in the north. The world has awakened. The tide's begun to turn. And the United States under President Trump's leadership has now built out a coalition that will push back against the threat."</p> <p>Ever since the border standoff between India and China began in May, Pompeo has repeatedly spoken in support of India and labelled Beijing as the aggressor.</p> <p>Mike Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper <a title="Top US diplomat Stephen Biegun to visit India ahead of 2+2 meet" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2020/10/09/top-us-diplomat-stephen-biegun-to-visit-india-ahead-of-2-2-meet.html">are expected to arrive in India</a> for talks with their Indian counterparts as part of the '2+2' initiative on October 26-27.</p> <p>Earlier this week, Pompeo had met Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Tokyo on the sidelines of the meeting of 'Quad' foreign ministers. The Quad is the regional grouping comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia that is committed to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. China considers the Quad as an initiative aimed at containing it.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/china-has-begun-to-amass-huge-forces-india-needs-us-as-ally-pompeo.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/china-has-begun-to-amass-huge-forces-india-needs-us-as-ally-pompeo.html Sat Oct 10 09:46:45 IST 2020 2nd-us-presidential-debate-cancelled <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/2nd-us-presidential-debate-cancelled.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2020/10/10/trump-biden-debate-reuters.jpg" /> <p>The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the body responsible for conducting the US presidential debates, announced on Friday that the second presidential debate, scheduled to be held on October 15, would not proceed. The announcement came days after the CPD decided to switch the format of the debate from an in-person event to a virtual debate. The decision, which was apparently made without consultation with the two rival candidates, was opposed by President Donald Trump.</p> <p>The switch had been prompted by Trump testing positive for COVID-19 on October 1. After Trump had refused to participate in a virtual debate, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden scheduled a televised town hall debate for himself on the evening of October 15.</p> <p>The CPD issued a statement on Friday, stating, “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”</p> <p>The second presidential debate was to be held as a "town hall style" event in Miami, Florida. The final debate is planned to be held on October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.</p> <p>The Trump campaign accused the CPD of being biased towards Biden. “There is no medical reason to stop the October 15 debate in Miami from proceeding as scheduled, since the president will be healthy and ready to debate,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh was quoted by <i>Reuters</i> as saying.</p> <p>However, the Biden campaign targeted Trump over the cancellation. “It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions—but it’s no surprise,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates was quoted by <i>Reuters</i> as saying.</p> <p>"The commission said both candidates have agreed to participate in the October 22 debate and would be subject to required coronavirus testing, mask-wearing and social distancing protocol," <i>Reuters</i> reported.</p> <p>There had been calls to cancel the remaining two debates after the <a title="US presidential debate: Amid fiery exchanges, Trump says 'Biden graduated lowest in class'" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/09/30/us-presidential-debate-trump-says-biden-graduated-lowest-in-class-in-fiery-opening.html">first debate between Trump and Biden</a> on September 29 turned out to be an acrimonious affair.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/2nd-us-presidential-debate-cancelled.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/10/2nd-us-presidential-debate-cancelled.html Sat Oct 10 07:35:27 IST 2020 surfer-missing-after-another-suspected-shark-attack-in-western-australia <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/surfer-missing-after-another-suspected-shark-attack-in-western-australia.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2020/10/9/shark-attack-australia-reuters1.jpg" /> <p>A shark attack has been suspected after a surf board was recovered, but no surfer found at a beach near Esperance in Wester Australia. The surfer has gone missing after receiving a shark bite. According to the Police, witnesses at Kelp Beds beach in Wylie Bay saw a man being attacked before 11am local time.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recovered surfboard bore obvious signs of a shark attack. The state’s head Mark McGowan said another surfer tried pulling the victim away from the shark.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There were approximately six to eight surfers that were in the water at the time and a number of bystanders on the beach as well that all witnessed the attack,” Senior Sargeant Justin Tarasinski told The Guardian. Two search crews including two surf life saving jet skis.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been shark attacks in the past at the beach. In 2017, a 17 year-old died after a shark bite; in 2014, a surfer lost an arm and another hand in a shark attack. Witnesses say they had seen a shark about 2.5-3 metres big in the water moments before the attack. 2020 reported six shark-bite related deaths in Australia. On Thursday, a drone camera shows footage of pro surfer Matt Wilkinson’s narrow escape from a shark off the coast of Ballina in northern New South Wales.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/surfer-missing-after-another-suspected-shark-attack-in-western-australia.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/surfer-missing-after-another-suspected-shark-attack-in-western-australia.html Fri Oct 09 17:31:44 IST 2020 china-claims-coronavirus-broke-out-in-world-various-parts-last-year-it-only-reported-first <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/china-claims-coronavirus-broke-out-in-world-various-parts-last-year-it-only-reported-first.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biztech/2020/testing-site-for-the-coronavirus-disease-COVID-19-reu.jpg" /> <p>China, on Friday, claimed that the coronavirus broke out in the various parts of the world last year but it was the only one to have reported and acted first, refuting the widely-held view that the deadly contagion originated in Wuhan before turning out to be a pandemic.</p> <p>China, besides denying the US allegations that COVID-19 has emerged from a bio-lab in Wuhan, also rejected that it emanated from a wet market in the central Chinese city from bats or pangolins before infecting humans.</p> <p>Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that "the coronavirus is a new kind of virus as more and more facts emerge as reports reveal, we all know that the epidemic broke out in various places in the world at the end of last year, while China was the first to report the outbreak, identified the pathogen and shared the genome sequence with the world."</p> <p>Hua's comments came in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's allegations of a cover-up by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).</p> <p>The coronavirus crisis was infinitely made worse by the Chinese Communist Party's cover-up, Pompeo had said in Tokyo at the QUAD ministerial meeting of the US, India, Australia and Japan on Tuesday.</p> <p>The Chinese foreign ministry statement was made as the World Health Organisation (WHO) was gearing up to probe the origin of the deadly coronavirus.</p> <p>According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the contagion has infected over 36 million people and killed more than one million across the world.</p> <p>The US is the worst affected country with over 7.6 million cases and more than 2,12,000 deaths.</p> <p>China has reported 90,736 cases and 4,739 deaths due to COVID-19.</p> <p>The WHO has given to Beijing a list of global experts to be sent to China to probe the origin of the coronavirus, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Thursday. The WHO is awaiting its approval.</p> <p>In May, the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the Geneva-based WHO's decision-making body currently headed by India, passed a unanimous resolution to probe the origin of the virus. China also backed the resolution.</p> <p>In August, a two-member team from the WHO, which visited China, completed the groundwork for the probe into the animal source and reservoirs of the COVID-19 which first emerged in Wuhan in December last year.</p> <p>On Monday, WHO health emergencies programme executive director Mike Ryan told a special meeting of the organisation's executive board that a list of candidates has been submitted to the Chinese authorities for their consideration and for the next steps in order to deploy that team.</p> <p>Hua, while refuting Pompeo's charge of a cover-up, said that a high-level group of Chinese scientists first identified the person-to-person transmission due to coronavirus on January 19.</p> <p>After a thorough research and investigation, China made the decision at the earliest and closed Wuhan city to the outside world and placed most rigorous measures in isolating Wuhan city and Hubei province, Hua said.</p> <p>She said that the CPC Politburo discussed the virus outbreak on the first day of the Lunar New Year in January and convened a meeting on the outbreak of its 31 provinces and municipalities, and activated the level one emergency response.</p> <p>On January 23 as China placed Wuhan on lockdown, there were only nine confirmed cases outside China and the US had only one.</p> <p>On February 2, when the US closed its border to the Chinese citizens, the US only officially confirmed a dozen cases. Now the confirmed cases in the US exceeded 7.5 million and 2.10 lakh deaths, she said.</p> <p>“How could the most powerful country on earth with the best medical resources on hand screw up the tests so badly. Why hasn't the US discovered this virus at the earliest and why hasn't it taken prompt measures to test as many people as possible to prevent and control the spread of this virus,” Hua asked.</p> <p>The COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December last year, has also battered the world economy with the International Monetary Fund saying that the global economy is bound to suffer a "severe recession".</p> <p>Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine or medicine for treating coronavirus patients.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/china-claims-coronavirus-broke-out-in-world-various-parts-last-year-it-only-reported-first.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/china-claims-coronavirus-broke-out-in-world-various-parts-last-year-it-only-reported-first.html Fri Oct 09 22:05:31 IST 2020 us-sc-says-women-can-get-abortion-pills-without-visiting-a-doctor-during-pandemic <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/us-sc-says-women-can-get-abortion-pills-without-visiting-a-doctor-during-pandemic.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/2019/May/legal_abortion.jpg" /> <p>The Supreme Court on Thursday announced that it would not prevent women from obtaining abortion pills via mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was a setback for the Trump administration, which had sought to reinstate a 20-year-old policy following lower court rejections.&nbsp; Two conservative judges— Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who would have immediately granted a Trump administration request to reinstate the requirement that women must visit a hospital, clinic or medical office to obtain a pill, dissented.<br> </p> <p>While discussing abortion rights during the debate, Democratic nominee Kamala Harris said, “I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision over her own body. It should be her decision, not that of Donald Trump or Mike Pence.” Vice President Mike Pence on the other hand said, “I am pro-life. I don’t apologise for it,” and went on to falsely accuse both Biden and Harris of supporting abortion “up to the “moment of birth.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The court said in an unsigned order said that “a more comprehensive record would aid this court’s review.” A federal judge in Maryland ruled in July that, during the public health emergency declared by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, health care providers can arrange for mifepristone, an FDA approved drug to be used to end and early pregnancy to be mailed or delivered to patients.&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/us-sc-says-women-can-get-abortion-pills-without-visiting-a-doctor-during-pandemic.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/us-sc-says-women-can-get-abortion-pills-without-visiting-a-doctor-during-pandemic.html Fri Oct 09 17:43:34 IST 2020 trump-to-hold-campaign-rally-in-florida-on-saturday <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/trump-to-hold-campaign-rally-in-florida-on-saturday.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2020/10/3/trump-hospital.jpg" /> <p>President Donald Trump, who is still recovering from COVID-19, said to Fox News on Thursday that he wants to hold a campaign rally as early as Saturday, likely in Florida. Trump also said he was likely to hold a rally in Pennsylvania the next day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I feel so good,” he said after his doctor gave him the green light to resume public activities this weekend. The president, who returned to the White House on Monday, despite CDC guidelines to isolate, said in a video message from the White House, that him catching the coronavirus was a blessing in disguise. He said this helped him to experience first-hand how medication from <a href="https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/08/us-president-trump-says-catching-covid-19-a-blessing-in-disguise.html" target="_self">Regeneron Pharmaceuticals could be effective. He also said, “I want to get for you what I got. And I’m going to make it free</a>.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trump is expected to take another COVID-19 test on Friday, a week after he flew to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre for three days, to be treated for the coronavirus. Trump pulled out of the second debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that it would be held virtually as the President had recently been tested positive for the coronavirus.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Joe Biden has scheduled his own ABC town hall in Philadelphia for the same date after Trump pulled out. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in the meantime, is planning a probe into the president’s capacity to govern after contracting COVID-19. To Pelosi’s warning that Trump is suffering from a “disassociation from reality (that) would be funny if it weren’t so deadly,” Trump responded, “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!” Dr Sean Conely, incumbent physician to the president said, “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagement at that time.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/trump-to-hold-campaign-rally-in-florida-on-saturday.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/trump-to-hold-campaign-rally-in-florida-on-saturday.html Fri Oct 09 14:06:56 IST 2020 with-his-monster-comment-trump-escalates-insults-on-harris-to-dehumanising-levels <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/with-his-monster-comment-trump-escalates-insults-on-harris-to-dehumanising-levels.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/health/images/2020/5/7/President-Donald-Trump-speaks-about-coronavirus-hand-ap.jpg" /> <p>Time was when America revered a pioneer. A person who goes into uncharted territory, taking huge personal risks to do what nobody has done before. By any measure, Kamala Harris is an American pioneer — the first black woman and the first Indian American woman to be nominated vice-presidential candidate after a lifetime of firsts in high offices of service.</p> <p>There is plenty about Harris that can be admired, as generations of Americans have admired those pioneers whose courage, motivation, perseverance, and character have put them on the path to greatness. As with every politician, there is also plenty of criticism about her positions.</p> <p>On Thursday morning, Trump took those to new lows. Even discounting for the nastiness of politics, however, when it came to Harris after her historic debate against vice-president Mike Pence, the American president strayed beyond criticism into an area of political mean-spiritedness as narrow-minded as it is dangerous.</p> <p>“She was terrible. I don’t think you could get worse. And totally unlikable. And she is. She’s a Communist, This monster that was on stage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way, but this monster,” Trump said on a television call-in the day after the debate in perhaps the clearest indication he felt that Harris bested his running mate.</p> <p>In 'Trumpworld', that puts Harris in the same category as MS-13 gang murderers, terrorists, gunmen who committed massacres, and murderers of police officers—the only others whom Trump had called monsters, in somewhat justifiable political outrage.</p> <p>But branding Harris a monster crossed a line of hybrid no-holds-barred racist-misogynist incitement and inflammatory rhetoric that exploits the implication that the Democrats want Communism and that they have become disloyal to his version of America. The insult compounds its effect with a unique form of vulgar dehumanising which trades in an undercurrent of fears Trump has been stoking for years — that America’s demographic is changing; that people of colour in power and immigration are undermining the white, rural, American way of life his supporters idealise.</p> <p>He is fighting the battles that were gone with <i>Gone with the Wind</i> using a violent rhetoric of abusive words that work as dog whistles to extremist groups armed with plenty of firepower and an ideology that places them as defenders of “freedom.” A freedom defined as a society free of people they do not like.</p> <p>As his political fortunes are faltering in the face of one of the world’s worst performances vis-a-vis the pandemic, Trump seems intent on taking every barrier and every value that permitted the United States to become a moral leader to the world down with him in his runaway bus to Armageddon in which he is constantly pushing the gas pedal down to the floor.</p> <p>This is the bus coming straight at Kamala Harris.</p> <p>Would her senate colleagues stand to her defense and protection?</p> <p>“Calling the first Black woman to ever take the Vice Presidential debate stage a ‘monster’ tells you all you need to know about President Trump’s respect for women and people of color,” twitted Democratic Senator Bob Casey</p> <p>“This person has more integrity in her little finger than most people have in their whole body,” said Biden in her defense. “It’s despicable. It’s so beneath the office of the presidency, and the American people are sick and tired of it. They know who this man is, it’s got to stop. It’s not only — this is one of the finest persons I’ve ever dealt with. This is a person who is ready, on day one, to be President of the United States of America,” he said of his running mate.</p> <p>Nonetheless, amid head-shaking and outrage from Biden’s Democrats, the stunning silence of the entire Republican establishment is the loudest message.</p> <p>American Republicans have entered into a complicity of silence that goes beyond failing to impose responsibility on the president’s words and actions; it doubles as an implicit endorsement of the spectacle of Trump-style politics. From their pre-Trump political records, it is entirely likely that many in the Republican party deplore what he is doing, but keep quiet for fear of a mean Trump tweet directed their way and justify their silence to others and to themselves by rationalizing that “he is very popular with passionate voters.”</p> <p>Complicity aids and abets actions by others. In this case, Republican complicity affects the process in profound ways and contribute to harm, even when it falls outside of the paradigm of intentionality.</p> <p>But America is not facing this for the first time. The high-handed badgering tactics, the flinging accusation without substance characterised the McCarthy era of persecutions and destruction of people’s lives through mean-spirited opportunistic statements that cannot be tracked down quickly enough to be confronted.</p> <p>A similar mechanism of quiet support in the face of popularity and political capital allowed McCarthyism to continue unchecked, destroying lives and institutions with long-term effects that are at the core of Trump’s other unfounded accusation flung against Harris — that she is a Communist, playing on the worst Cold War American fears and memories of bloody Vietnam battles. Subtracting humanity from Harris by calling her a monster, Trump is banking on an exponential compounding of those fears with those of colored invaders, too monstrous for his version of America.</p> <p>It is precisely this that makes Republican silence and failure to speak up against such attacks against a fellow senator particularly repugnant. They know what these types of things lead to, they have seen it before. They understand quite well that this is not only aimed to her political destruction but also threatens her life. If they needed any more evidence to convince them, on the same day FBI agents in Michigan arrested a group associated with the Boogaloo movement setting up to kidnap, “try” and possibly kill the Michigan governor as the start of a race war. A chilling, yet predictable development.</p> <p>Trump’s name-calling of Harris as a monster emboldens such groups that see those comments as a call to action — to the shameful silence of America’s Republicans.</p> <p>As Americans head to the polls next month, with an Indian-American on the ballot, the words of M.K. Gandhi stand as a conscience-raising warning and advice to those whose silence may prove tragically mistaken :  “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”</p> <p><i>The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of THE WEEK</i></p> http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/with-his-monster-comment-trump-escalates-insults-on-harris-to-dehumanising-levels.html http://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/10/09/with-his-monster-comment-trump-escalates-insults-on-harris-to-dehumanising-levels.html Fri Oct 09 18:31:11 IST 2020