Trump overshadows G-20 agenda
International | The president tweets and signs a new trade agreement with North American neighbors
by Mindy Belz
Posted 11/30/18, 03:32 pm
ARGENTINA: An earthquake near Buenos Aires Friday shook an already dicey G-20 summit, with U.S. President Donald Trump continuing to overshadow the agenda—sending pre-dawn tweets after a guilty plea from former lawyer Michael Cohen and revelations that Cohen lied about a Trump property deal underway in Moscow in early 2016.
Political controversy did not keep President Trump from signing first thing at the summit a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, one that replaces the North America Free Trade Agreement mostly in name. One important change under the new United States–Mexico-Canada Agreement: troubling language that puts workplaces under pressure to protect sexual orientation and gender identity, and could become precedent in cases involving workplace discrimination.
CANADA: A century-old library built to serve Canadian and American neighbors has become a welcome—if controversial—neutral zone where Iranians on student visas in the United States can meet family members. Travel-ban rules bar most Iranians even from visiting the United States, and students fear not being allowed to return to the United States if they leave. Approximately 1 million people of Iranian descent live legally in the United States, and nearly 13,000 Iranians have U.S. student visas.
BRITAIN: Member of Parliament Zac Goldsmith questioned Prime Minister Theresa May on reports she personally overruled U.K. asylum for Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi. May’s response was cagey, saying Goldsmith “shouldn’t necessarily believe everything he reads in the papers.” May said the position of the government was to ensure the safety of Bibi and her family, but she made no comment on asylum.
- Pressure is mounting on Western leaders as protesters gathered outside the Pakistani Embassy in London Friday, and U.S. evangelical leaders are petitioning President Trump to offer asylum.
- In 2018, the United States admitted as refugees 183 Ahmadiyya Muslims from Pakistan—and zero Christians, according to statistics available from the U.S. State Department.
BELGIUM: Officials have launched their first-ever criminal investigation over a euthanasia case, 15 years and 10,000 deaths since the country legalized the practice.
AFRICA: At an event Friday marking World AIDS Day, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced that President Trump will soon sign legislation extending PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the 15-year program that’s been successful particularly in Africa—a reversal from Trump pledges to cut the program. Pence also pledged an additional $100 million in funding to address “key gaps” in the program.
WEEKEND READS: National Geographic’s 2018 photo contest winners are up … and WORLD’s 2018 Books of the Year picks are out. Topping WORLD’s international category: reporter Rania Abouzeid’s No Turning Back, a very close-to-the-ground account of Syrians peopling a horrific seven-year war (plus books on Chinese prison letters written in blood, Somali pirates, global epidemics, and the FIFA scandal).
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