The Weekly Rag

By Sandy | Science is not dead. News is not fake. Hope is not a plan.

Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction

Deforestation in the Amazon is increasing amid cuts to protection, putting Norway’s financial aid in jeopardy, says minister<p>Leia este artigo em português<p>Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial …

Environment

Never mind Trump and Russia: GOP still longs to investigate Obama, Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch

Madness or desperation? Republicans hope to turn the tables by reopening the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails<p>Was President Donald Trump an unwitting agent of the Russian government? That’s not the sort of question we would have ever thought would be asked in a Senate hearing — and not just because …

Government

Defiant Pelosi isn't going anywhere

‘I am a master legislator,’ Pelosi told reporters as she hit back at Democratic colleagues pushing for her to step aside.<p>Updated 06/22/2017 05:21 PM EDT<p>A defiant House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she has no plans to step down anytime soon, despite calls from some rank-and-file …

Nancy Pelosi

Four GOP senators say they oppose current Obamacare repeal bill as political jockeying begins

Four key conservative senators — Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson and Rand Paul — jointly announced their opposition to the GOP’s draft Obamacare repeal bill Thursday, setting the stage for an intense political showdown ahead of next week’s vote.<p>“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready …

U.S. Congress

Trump: Senate health care bill 'going to be very good'

President Donald Trump on Thursday signaled support for the newly unveiled Senate GOP health care bill, saying "it's going to be very good."<p>His remarks come just hours after Senate Republicans revealed a discussion draft for their bill, which would repeal key aspects of the Affordable Care …

Health Care

Democrats call Senate health bill even 'meaner' than the House version

Schumer and others are foreshadowing their aggressive attacks against the GOP's Obamacare repeal effort.<p>Updated 06/22/2017 04:49 PM EDT<p>Senate Democrats immediately launched a full-scale attack on Thursday against the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare, foreshadowing their aggressive combination of …

U.S. Congress

Trumpcare is a dangerous gamble. The prognosis isn't good

Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes in the senate. He will pay a high price behind closed doors to secure each and every vote<p>Donald Trump suffers from several pre-existing conditions – but none is as fatal as his chronic lack of self-awareness.<p>This is a challenge for a president …

Health Care

Medical Marijuana: How Six Senators are Leading the Fight for Federally Legal Weed

A group of ideologically diverse senators introduced legislation to oppose Jeff Sessions' renewed war on pot – but that's just the beginning<p>The …

Cannabis

Trump: 'I just don't want a poor person' in Cabinet economic jobs

<b>Washington (CNN) —</b> President Donald Trump offered an explanation Wednesday for why he has one of the wealthiest Cabinets in history.<p>"I love all people -- rich or poor -- but in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person," he said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Does that make …

Donald Trump

Trump: I did not make recordings of Comey

<b>(CNN) —</b> President Donald Trump did not record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, he tweeted on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation kick-started by the President himself.<p>"With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of …

Donald Trump

How Trump's Afghan Policy Is Different From Obama's

A new approach would aim to empower the government without telegraphing a withdrawal date for U.S. troops.<p>Every disclosure about the Trump administration's forthcoming Afghanistan strategy triggers a chorus like a Passover seder: Why is this strategy different from all other strategies?<p>The goal is …

Foreign Policy

US interrogates detainees in Yemen prisons rife with torture

MUKALLA, Yemen (AP) — Former prisoners, Yemeni officials and rights lawyers say the United Arab Emirates and allied Yemeni forces have run a network of secret prisons across southern Yemen where hundreds of people detained in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared and where torture and …

Middle East

China not facing same pressure as Fed to shrink balance sheet: PBOC adviser

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's central bank will not take action to shrink its balance sheet like the U.S. Federal Reserve as it does not face the same …

Federal Reserve

This Is How Great-Power Wars Get Started

Not with a bang, but basic strategic confusion in Washington about the links between Syria, Qatar, Iran, and Russia.<p>In the last month, for the first …

Middle East

Mattis: China, U.S. Share Common ‘End State’ on Nuclear North Korea

Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks on North Korea and Otto Warmbier following the U.S.-China Diplomatic Security Dialogue, where he said both parties had an “open and frank” discussion.

James Mattis

Last Month Was The Deadliest In Mexico In 20 Years

MEXICO CITY — May was the deadliest month in Mexico since 1997 with three people killed every hour, according to the Mexican government.<p>There were 2,186 homicides last month, according to figures from the Executive Secretary of the National System for Public Security which go back 20 years. In some …

Mexico

U.S.-China Relations Worsen as Trump Turns on Chinese President Xi on Twitter

China's state media has previously told Trump he needs to stop tweeting foreign policy, calling it "undesirable".

North Korea

Is US Being Sucked Into New Mideast Quagmire?

<b>By Doug Bandow</b><p>It’s sadly evident that President Donald Trump doesn’t know much about other nations or international affairs. Still, during the …

Geopolitics

Trump bashes his favorite targets, promises big policy change at Iowa rally

Basking in an energetic Iowa crowd Wednesday night, President Donald Trump slammed his most frequent targets and promised lofty policy changes in the …

Donald Trump

Vladimir Putin: 87 Percent of Russians Back Leader on Global Issues

LONDON — President Donald Trump isn't the only person who admires Vladimir Putin: He boasts sky-high approval ratings in Russia.<p>A new Pew Research Center survey suggests 87 percent of Russians have “some or a lot of confidence” in his handling of global issues.<p>However, the positive perception of …

Russia

As Syria’s war enters its endgame, the risk of a US-Russia conflict escalates

Competition between Washington and Moscow for a say in any peace deal is increasing the danger of a wider war starting by accident<p>Not for the first time there are dire warnings of a direct US-Russia confrontation in Syria that could escalate, in the worst case, into a third world war. What is going …

Russia

Canadian elite special forces sniper makes record-breaking kill shot in Iraq

A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces in Iraq has shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history at a staggering distance of 3,540 metres.<p>The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed Thursday that a member of Joint Task Force 2 made the record-breaking shot, killing …

War

To promote kimchi abroad, Korean scientists are trying to get rid of the smell

Move along, kombucha. You’re old news, kefir. The next big fermented food craze is . . . kimchi?<p>If Western consumers on a health kick can be convinced to drink yeasty, probiotic tea and tart, cultured yogurt, then why wouldn’t they be up for spicy pickled cabbage fermented with garlic for months on …

Korean Food

Rural South Korean County Prepares For Role As 2018 Winter Olympics Host

Jeon Chung-won tends sheep on the hilly farm where he was born in PyeongChang, a rural county a few hours' drive east of South Korea's capital Seoul.<p>"It's a simple, peaceful place where the mountain air hugs you," says Jeon, 32. "I really love this place."<p>Only a handful of domestic tourists …

Korean Peninsula

Migrants Return to France's 'Jungle' in Calais

CALAIS, France—Migrants are returning to the French side of the English Channel, saddling France’s newly elected president with a humanitarian and diplomatic challenge that has long bedeviled the European Union.<p>Hundreds of migrants from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Africa have taken refuge in …

France

Destabilizing the Middle East (yet more)

The Saudi regime is playing Donald Trump with potentially disastrous consequences<p>At this point, it’s no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more …

Middle East

White House Tries to Get G.O.P. to Water Down Russia Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON — The White House is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week that would slap tough new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block any future move by President Trump to lift any penalties …

World Leaders

Trump to host Trump re-election fundraiser at Trump hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — President. Candidate. Businessman. Three of President Donald Trump's roles converge next week as he holds his first re-election fundraiser at his hotel in Washington.<p>Trump can see the Trump International Hotel from the White House lawn, making it a premier and convenient location …

Donald Trump

Is American Democracy Really Under Threat?

The country’s turbulent politics, in perspective<p>The White House’s increasing inaccessibility to the press; the violence against lawmakers and journalists; the apparent ease with which Russia preyed on Americans’ deep political divisions and distrust of government; and the president’s efforts to …

Democracy