Wednesday Night #1942

Written by  //  June 5, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Poignant anniversaries
Thirty years ago on June 4th, massed Chinese troops crushed the protests in Tianemen Square that were led by students in a bloody confrontation that cost more than 10,000 lives. While there has been little advance coverage of the anniversary, the world media is now paying attention. Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown recalls the events of 30 years ago Reporting from Tiananmen Square in 1989: ‘I saw a lot I will never forget’ In an earlier piece, Madeline Roache draws a direct line between Tiananmen Square protests and China’s fight for internet control. Jeffrey A. Bader adds a perspective that links the shambles caused by demonstrators during Mikhail Gorbachev’s historic visit in mid-May -the first by a Soviet leader to China since the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. June 4, 1989: A personal recollection -Looking back on Tiananmen. See also Gwynne Dyer’s The People’s Republic of Amnesia
D-Day landings in Normandy
On June 5th, world leaders and remaining veterans commemorated the 75th anniversary of the launch of Operation Overlord from Portsmouth, England. On Wednesday evening, some 300 veterans who took part on D-Day, all now older than 90, will leave Portsmouth on a specially commissioned ship, MV Boudicca, and retrace their 1944 journey across the English Channel, accompanied by Royal Navy vessels and a lone wartime Spitfire fighter plane.  Some of you will remember that David Kilgour introduced Alex Polowin to Wednesday Night earlier this year.  Now 94, Alex is in Europe for the celebrations. Among the numerous pieces about the anniversary, Sylvie Kauffmann’s analysis of Franco-American relation since WW II is particularly timely For France, a D-Day Ceremony Laced With Paradox
Although related to the WW II Asian war theatre, the death of the Last Mohawk ‘code talker’ last week was a reminder of the many un-sung heroes of that -and any other- war. This was such a great story and relatively few people were aware of it, even long after the end of the war.

Donald Trump & Co. (including all the adult kids) invaded London on a state visit, at great expense to the U.S. taxpayer. Much has been written about the protests; Larry The Cat‘s successful bid to delay the motorcade, with whom The Donald met or did not meet, but the most withering reviews concern his attire at the state dinner (Adult Man Wears Tiny Jacket to Meet Queen), Yes, a snarky take on the visit, but the photos are devastating, especially the ones that contrast his appearance with that of the impeccably tailored Barack Obama in similar attire. For an entertaining review of the visit so far, we recommend the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane: Donald Trump’s Royal Treatment.
His political meetings with some of the candidates to replace Theresa May  and press conference with PM May received mixed reviews, but he stumbled into controversy when he suggested that the NHS must be on table in US-UK trade talks

Meanwhile, back home in Washington, Trump faces an unexpectedly strong push-back on the punitive tariffs on Mexico that he announced last Friday Republicans threaten revolt, may block Trump’s Mexico tariffs. Brett House writes: Trump’s Mexico Tariffs: This Bull Carries His Own China Shop. And, as the U.S.-China trade war escalates, Reuters cites the Study Times, published by the Central Party School which trains rising officials, which claims that China’s determination to resist U.S. bullying in two years of negotiations to end the Korean War is a reason not to bow to Washington in the current bitter trade talks China’s spirit and determination during talks to end the Korean War, which took two years. (China paper cites drawn-out Korean War talks as reason not to bow to U.S.). Thomas Friedman suggests that The U.S. and Chinese Presidents Should Go on a Weekend Retreat “— with a facilitator — I’d suggest Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong — with no press or tweeting allowed and try to work out the basic trade and geopolitical understandings to govern their future ties.”
“They and the rest of the world will regret the result if their reprisals over trade issues keep escalating.”

Congress is also mobilizing against Trump’s plan to complete $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (see Long reads below) without congressional review. A creeping invasion of backbone in the Republican party?

World Bank Cuts Global Outlook as Trade Tumbles to Decade Low
(Bloomberg) “There’s been a tumble in business confidence, a deepening slowdown in global trade and sluggish investment in emerging and developing economies,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a call with reporters. “Momentum remains fragile.”
The bank also warned that risks are skewed “firmly” to the downside, citing reignited trade tensions between the U.S. and China, financial turbulence in emerging markets and sharper-than-expected weakness in advanced nations, particularly Europe.

Technology
Ottawa hearings show there’s political will to regulate big tech — but will it spur change?
Last week’s International Grand Committee on big data, privacy and democracy didn’t end with regulation for social media companies, but one tech journalist says the international cooperation is a sign that momentum is building. Over three days of hearings, MPs from 12 countries met with representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter, among others. The Silicon Valley representatives were asked to defend their companies’ records on protecting users’ data — and, crucially, democracy. Good interview on The Current with Jim Balsillie RIM co-founder warns of dire consequences if big data, tech are left unchecked
Antitrust Troubles Snowball for Tech Giants as Lawmakers Join In “the scrutiny from Washington could lead to years of headaches for the companies, raising the prospect of lawsuits to break up companies, hefty fines or new laws limiting their reach.”

For the many of us have had our lives affected by Alzheimer’s and keep hoping for break-through treatment, this article from the Washington Post is a discouraging reality check Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world?

Media Matters
We are (for the most part) avid listeners of CBC radio and are very sad that two of its stars are leaving their respective shows for other professional pursuits. We will miss Jeff Douglas on As It Happens and Anna Maria Tremonti on The Current.

Long read
The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z.
Prince Mohammed bin Zayed expanded the U.A.E.’s power by following America’s lead. He now has an increasingly bellicose agenda of his own. And President Trump seems to be following him.

Canadian International Council event
Wed, 12 June 2019
5:00 PM – 6:45 PM EDT
MIGS Institute, Concordia University
1250 Rue Guy
FB804, 8th floor
The CIC Montreal is delighted to host Rick Barton, former Assistant Secretary of State under the Obama Administration, to discuss his latest book “Peace Works: America’s Unifying Role in a Turbulent World.” In a discussion with moderator Dr. Elisabeth Vallet, professor at the Chaire Raoul Dandurand at UQAM, Barton will draw on his experience to analyze how American conflict interventions have failed and how they could have succeeded.
Details & registration

Our favorite ‘innovation’ story – the photos are gems.
NYC Subway Banned Dogs Unless They Fit In a Bag, Dog Owners Did Not Disappoint Never underestimate the creativity of dog owners – especially the ones with IKEA bags.

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