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Matthew Fisher: Trump didn’t scold Trudeau by name, but his point was clear

BRUSSELS U.S. President Donald Trump opened the NATO summit Thursday by blasting 23 of the alliance s 28 member states Canada almost certainly among them for not spending nearly enough on collective security. As other leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stood nervously to the side like wayward schoolboys hoping not to be personally named and shamed, Trump used his brief speech at the opening of the western military alliance s space station-like new U.S. $1.2-billion headquarters in the Belgian capital to denounce almost all of those around him for not meeting their obligations. Such behaviour was not fair to the people of the United States, he said. Trump s criticisms of his fellow leaders on Thursday were identical to those heard from his predecessor, Barack Obama, when he addressed the Canadian parliament last year. But the message has never before been delivered so directly and with such public force as it was by Trump. Adding to the drama, the backdrop for Trump s speech was a shard of steel from the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, which is to be part of a memorial at the new NATO building.

Despite anxiety in European capitals about Trump s propensity for saying unflattering and provocative things about allies, he received a warm welcome from his partners and relatively uncritical reportage about his visit. In going live with his arrival on Wednesday, Belgian television solemnly followed Air Force One from when it was a speck in the sky until it rolled to a stop on the tarmac while other media across the continent breathlessly reported everything he was doing. Forgotten for the moment were Trump s remarks last year that NATO was obsolete. Without a doubt, Canada was one of the defence-spending laggards to which Trump referred. According to a recent table published by The Economist, by the measure of defence spending as a percentage of GDP Canada swims almost at the bottom of the alliance s pool with such minnows as Luxembourg. Many NATO countries, most notably Germany, have increased defence spending this year. Canada is until now the sole outlier, having deferred billions of dollars of defence spending in this year s federal budget.

On Thursday in Brussels Trudeau dodged questions when asked about demands by Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to honour the pledge, reaffirmed three years ago by every member of the military alliance, to gradually increase each country s defence spending to at least 2 per cent of GDP. Depending on which figures are to be believed, Canada now spends between .88 per cent and .98 of GDP per year on defence. But Trudeau and Defence minister Harjit Sajjan repeated vague promises that the long-awaited Defence Policy Review will call for some additional spending when it is finally published on June 7. A NATO official familiar with the issue said the alliance was privately deeply frustrated at Canada s unwillingness to meet its obligations but that it would be undiplomatic for anyone in Brussels to publicly call Ottawa out over it. Expressing satisfaction with Trump s pointed remarks on spending, the official said they hoped the U.S. and key European countries such as Germany would press Canada to do more.

The Liberal government has tried recently to change the discussion on defence spending by highlighting what the government believes is the quality of its contributions to NATO missions. The prime minister has often boasted about what Canada did in Afghanistan although Canada was one of the first countries to bring its combat troops home from there and that was now six years ago. The government has also made a lot of Canada being one of four lead nations establishing combat task forces in the Baltics to act as a tripwire against Russian aggression. But Canada s contribution to an an enhanced security presence in Latvia is far smaller than those made by the other lead nations, including only a couple hundred combat troops. Another argument that Canada has made in recent months is that spending on the military should be lumped in with what is spent on international humanitarian aid, border guards and the coast guard. A few other countries already try do this in different ways, but there are some telling differences.

Unlike the Canadian Coast Guard, for example, the U.S. Coast Guard is an armed force that has been used in the Persian Gulf and board ships suspected of smuggling drugs or terrorists. It is the Royal Canadian Navy, rather than the coast guard, that conducts such searches for Canada. Even if Canada were to count all of those additional costs alongside its core defence spending, it would still fall far short of the 2-per-cent target. In another move Thursday that will be unlikely to curry favour in Washington, Trudeau rejected an urgent request from Trump and Stoltenberg to provide more military trainers and surveillance aircraft for the war on terror in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, the prime minister confirmed Thursday that Canada has quietly shrunk its already small part in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. It recently cut in half its aerial-reconnaissance capability in Iraq by bringing home one of the two Kuwait-based CP-140 Aurora spy planes that the U.S.-led coalition had been using to target ISIL. This followed last year s withdrawal of CF-18 fighter jets from bombing missions against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Withdrawing the Aurora aircraft was simply part of a regular rotation that was routine, the prime minister said during a 30-minute news conference. There was nothing surprising or sudden about this. Trudeau did not elaborate on why the removal of the spy plane, first reported by the CBC, had not been announced as had been the case when the aircraft were sent to the Middle East.

Trudeau repeatedly emphasized Thursday that Canada was respected within the alliance, and has always been recognized as one of the go-to partners. Regarding the appeal for additional help in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that Canada had provided funds to do development work and was happy to be supporting in other ways, but would not be sending any troops back to the country. Trudeau repeatedly emphasized Thursday that Canada was respected within the alliance, and has always been recognized as one of the go-to partners.

The one-day summit also revealed an extraordinary rift between the United Kingdom and the U.S., with London now refusing to share intelligence with Washington because of leaks concerning the investigation into a suicide bombing in Manchester on Monday that killed 22 people attending a pop concert. Trump responded to British anger over detailed stories in the U.S. media about the bombing by stating that the breaches were deeply troubling and a grave threat to our national security. After British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she had make clear to Trump the depth of British feeling about the release of highly classified information, the president said the U.S. cherished nothing more than the special relationship between the U.S. and the United Kingdom and vowed to get to the bottom of this. Unlike Britain, which has temporarily stopped sharing some intelligence with the U.S., Canada will continue doing so, Trudeau said. However, he refused to be drawn on whether he distrusted Trump with intelligence information. Perhaps because of Trump s reputation for retaliating against those who criticized him, Trudeau did not appear in Brussels to even want to mention the U.S. president by name.

The prime minister is to be in Sicily tomorrow where he and Trump will appear with other leaders at the annual two-day G7 summit the 2018 instalment of which, it was announced Thursday, will take place in Quebec s Charlevoix region.

Twitter: @mfisheroverseas[1]


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Handguns and protection orders in Tennessee

by: Lauren Coleman Updated: May 24, 2017 – 11:44 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A bill[1] waiting to be signed by the Governor will allow some Tennesseans who are granted an order of protection to carry a handgun instantly after the order is issued.

This means without classes or any types of training.


Trending Now:

Former Shelby County Captain Bennie Cobb said this bill would add a level of protection that s never been there before.

Of course the order of protection is a piece of paper, and it s not worth the paper that it s written on as far as protecting the victim from further violence, Cobb said. If passed, the person can carry firearm for 60 days after the initial order of protection. During this time, they are to apply for a temporary permit.

Cobb said people should seek education and training during this time.

The victim needs some training on the laws, he said. It s not just a situation of when they see the accuser or the person that s committed the crime that they actually start shooting. And you have to operate under the Deadly Force Law. There were 228 homicides in Memphis last year. Cobb said approximately 40-percent of those homicides were results of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Advocate Marquipta Odom with the YWCA of Greater Memphis said the bill may not work for everyone.

Whoever the person is, whether it s male or female that actually receives the order of protection, there is a possibility that they could actually freeze instead of firing the gun and being successful, Odom said. She said those who are granted orders of protection should also have a safety plan if they choose to carry.

It may be an added sense of security while at the same time no one should depend on Well now I have a weapon and no I m completely secure because that person may be caught off guard, Odom said. In order to carry the handgun, the person should have the order of protection in their possession at all times and they are required to have a criminal background check upon receiving an application for a temporary handgun.

A temporary handgun issued under this law is only valid in Tennessee.

People with a felony on their record cannot carry a gun.

2017 Cox Media Group.


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Planet Hollywood security guard tackled Times Square driver

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) – Ken Bradix runs security at Planet Hollywood, less than a block away from where Richard Rojas bailed out of his crashed car and tried to make a break for it.

“I turned around, I saw a car driving down 7th Avenue on the sidewalk and it was smoking,” he said. “[The driver] was screaming — no particular words — but he was screaming and flailing his arms in all kinds of directions.”

Bradix ran to the middle of the street and he and a traffic agent tackled Rojas to the ground while cops raced over to cuff him. He said Rojas seemed like he was on something.

He said that after the disturbed man was hauled away and he took a walk up the street the horror of what just happened sank in. He said he saw a couple of people on the ground while FDNY medics tended to them.

“As far as what I’ve seen today, I can’t really describe it in words,” Bradix said. “I can show you through feelings but I can’t say in words.”

Bradix said he did what anyone else would do. But in those nightmare moments, when he didn’t know what was going to happen next, he didn’t think of his own life.

“It was somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. I did what any civic-minded person would do,” Bradix said. “In short, I just wanted to do the right thing.”

The AP reported that Planet Hollywood said Bradix “selflessly and heroically took action, helping to stop the fleeing suspect.”

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