French actor Catherine Deneuve has apologized to victims of sexual assault in a public letter. This comes after she signed a letter last week about the #MeToo movement and some comments made by other co-signers.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/15/578172779/catherine-deneuve-apologizes-to-victims-of-sexual-violence-for-letter-about-meto?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Catherine Deneuve apologized to victims after an open letter she co-signed sparked accusations that she was defending those guilty of sexual assault.

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Catherine Deneuve apologized to victims after an open letter she co-signed sparked accusations that she was defending those guilty of sexual assault.

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French actress Catherine Deneuve is apologizing to “victims of horrible acts … and to them alone” who felt “attacked” by the recent open letter published by French newspaper Le Monde stating the #Me Too movement had gone too far.

In a statement published Sunday in the French newspaper Libération, Deneuve does not apologize for the letter itself. In fact, she writes, “Nothing in the letter claims that harassment is good, otherwise I would not have signed.” But she says the letter requires “clarification,” and that some have “distorted the spirit of the text.”

Deneuve writes that she signed the letter to defend freedom, to express her discomfort with “pack” mentality and to highlight the danger of “cleansing” in the arts.

“Will we burn Sade en Pléiade? Designate Leonardo de Vinci as a pedophile artist and erase his paintings? Unhook Gauguin from museums?” she writes.

She also denounces the “conservatives, racists and traditionalists” who have supported her. “I am not duped,” she writes.

Last week, Deneuve and more than 100 other women in the fields of entertainment, academia and publishing said they reject the kind of feminism that has emerged in the post-Weinstein world that expresses “a hatred of men.”

The women wrote that while the movement “was necessary,” it had devolved and was punishing men guilty of nothing more than “touching a knee.”

“Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression,” the letter said, according to The New York Times translation.

The letter sparked an international backlash. A group of French feminists penned their own letter, saying the signatories were “apologists for rape” and “defenders of pedophiles.”

And actress Asia Argento, an outspoken Weinstein accuser, said in a tweet that “interiorized misogyny has lobotomized” Deneuve and the other French women “to the point of no return.”

On Sunday, Deneuve wrote, “it’s not for me to speak in the place of my sisters. What creates traumatic and untenable situations is always the power, the hierarchical position, or a form of influence. … I think the solution will come from educating our boys like we educate our girls.”

She went on to say, “I believe in justice.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/15/578154065/catherine-deneuve-apologizes-to-sex-assault-victims-after-controversial-letter?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen stuck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon’s airport on the Black Sea coast on Jan. 14.

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A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen stuck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon’s airport on the Black Sea coast on Jan. 14.

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Chaos and panic broke out aboard a Turkish plane that skidded off the runway, slid down the edge of a cliff and stopped just short of plunging into the Black Sea.

But despite the terrifying landing Saturday night, everyone on board, including 162 passengers and crew, safely evacuated the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Ankara to the coastal Turkish airport in Trabzon.

Footage taken inside the plane moments after the accident appears to show panicked passengers trying to get out, while crew members offer instructions. A baby can be heard wailing in the background.

The BBC says passenger Fatma Gordu described a chaotic scene.

“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming,” Gordu said.

In a statement, Pegasus Airlines explained the plane “had a runway excursion incident” as it landed, without delving into what caused the aircraft to careen off the tarmac and end up, clinging nose first down the cliff.

The Independent reports the only thing that prevented the Boeing 737-800 from plummeting into the water was that its wheels got stuck in the mud.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/14/577984699/plane-skids-off-runway-in-turkey-onto-cliff-edge-no-injuries-reported?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A Mexican soldier piles poppies for incineration near the town of Tlacotepec, in Guerrero state, Mexico. The army says it slashes and burns poppy when fields are too difficult to access by helicopter or when they want to protect fruits and vegetables growing nearby.

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A Mexican soldier piles poppies for incineration near the town of Tlacotepec, in Guerrero state, Mexico. The army says it slashes and burns poppy when fields are too difficult to access by helicopter or when they want to protect fruits and vegetables growing nearby.

James Fredrick for NPR

The mountains looming ahead are legendary in Mexico.

“Whether it was Morelos or Zapata, any figure in Mexican history who needed to escape authorities came here to the mountains of Guerrero,” says Lt. Col. Juan Jose Orzua Padilla, the Mexican army spokesman in this region.

Today, it’s not revolutionaries skulking through this formidable southern section of the Sierra Madre mountains — it’s heroin traffickers.

Source: Natural Earth

Credit: Brittany Mayes/NPR

Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero state is now the top source of heroin for the American drug epidemic, which resulted in more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, mostly from heroin or other opioids. The Drug Enforcement Administration says 93 percent of heroin analyzed by the agency in 2015 came from Mexico, more than double the amount from five years before.

The Mexican army gave NPR reporters a firsthand look at its efforts to eradicate poppy — the flowering plant that’s a raw material for making heroin.

Mexico has the third largest area under poppy cultivation in the world, after Afghanistan and Myanmar, according to a 2017 United Nations report based on estimates from 2015. By 2016, Mexican poppy cultivation had potentially grown more than three times the national amount estimated in 2013, according to the DEA.

“You get up into the mountains and look around the hillsides and there are poppy fields everywhere,” says Orzua from an army pickup rumbling over winding dirt roads.

Guerrero is a heroin hub not only because its mountains are inaccessible. But also, Orzua explains that the high elevations catching warm, humid air from the Pacific coast are ideal for growing high-quality poppy.

The poppy plants — which bloom beautiful, deep-red flowers just before harvest — have changed with agricultural enhancements over the last few years, says Orzua.They are now shorter and each plant can carry up to 10 bulbs from which opium paste is extracted. Harvest time is now as many as three times a year, instead of two previously. Poppy fields are both more productive and more potent in Guerrero.

“But this is nothing to be proud of,” he adds solemnly.

Soon, a few poppy fields spread before the army convoy. The red flowers stick out next to a dead corn field at one end, peach and mango trees at the other.

“This is just a distraction field,” Orzua says. It’s meant to occupy soldiers with destroying less productive fields instead of the best producers, higher up in the mountains. But they’re here and have orders to destroy all poppy they come across.

Isai Bello grew up in the U.S. states of Nevada and California and later lived in South Carolina. When he moved back to his family’s home state of Guerrero, Mexico, joining the military was the best way to make a clean living, he says. He earns about $30 per day eradicating poppies for the army.

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A handful of troops begin reconnaissance in the area, tiptoeing among the poppies, rifles at the ready. As the heroin business has boomed, driven by strong demand in the U.S., Guerrero has consistently been one of Mexico’s most violent states. The U.S. State Department listed it as a “Do Not Travel” zone in its recent travel advisory.

At least 15 cartels operate in these mountains, using brutal tactics to get a slice of trade.

But in these fields, the only other person in sight is a farmer up the hill tending to his mango trees. The nearest town is 30 minutes down a winding dirt road.

The poppy field has recently been tapped: The bulbs bear horizontal slices made by harvesters. Sticky white liquid seeps out of the incisions. After solidifying and oxidizing for a few hours, it’s scraped off. That opium paste then gets trucked by cartels to their hidden mountain labs where it’s processed into heroin.

The soldiers here — all men in their late teens or early 20s, mostly locals from Guerrero — throw their automatic rifles behind their back and pull out machetes. They hack away at the poppy and pile it into a giant pyre.

Fumigation is the top method for the army’s poppy elimination. In this little valley, however, the soldiers are killing off the plants by hand, rather than spraying harsh chemicals. Orzua says they don’t want to ruin the fruits and vegetables local farmers eat to survive.

At the top of the heroin supply chain are largely poor farmers hoping to sell opium paste to cartels. This 2-acre poppy plot could earn a farmer roughly $750 per harvest, half that in a bad year. The best farmers can harvest three times each year. But once it’s processed into heroin, its price multiplies and will yield tens of thousands of dollars in the U.S.

“The farmers are the ones who get exploited most. But if they aren’t offered a better alternative, they’ll just keep returning to poppy,” Orzua says. “I’m not justifying it, I just understand their needs.”

In Guerrero state, where the formaleconomy is shrinking and jobs are disappearing, eradicating poppy was the best legal job going, says Isai Bello, a 22-year-old soldier who recently returned to Mexico from the U.S.

“When I was in South Carolina I could make $80 a day. The army pays about $30 a day but it’s the most you can make at a job around here,” he says.

Bello grew up undocumented in California and Nevada and finished three years of high school there. But when his dad was arrested on drug charges, his mom decided to bring their family back to Mexico. He’s now part of this 28-man unit patrolling and eradicating poppy in their 4-square-mile area of the Sierra Madre.

As smoke from the destroyed poppies continues to rise, the unit returns to Camp Badillo, their small base on an adjacent ridge, several bright green and red poppy fields visible in the distance.

The Mexican army mostly destroys poppy fields via helicopter fumigation with a chemical called Uproquat. But it’s difficult in these lush mountains: an army helicopter pilot died in an accident in November. When helicopter fumigation isn’t possible, this is how the Mexican army is destroying poppy: small units operating out of rudimentary camps. Hundreds of these units deploy for one to two months at a time, live in tents, cook over a fire, and spend daylight searching for and destroying poppy fields.

“We take the toughest and most resilient soldiers because this is a difficult deployment,” says 2nd Lt. Pedro Badillo Alvarez, the unit’s commander and namesake of his little camp. “We can travel up to 10 kilometers on foot each day and destroy up to 200 plots of poppy each month.”

The Mexican army destroyed nearly 200,000 plots of poppy in 2017, up 22 percent from the previous year when the DEA accused the Mexican government of not doing enough to eradicate crops. In the first few weeks of 2018, Lt. Col. Orzua says they’re on pace to increase eradication even faster.

But as eradication ramps up, there’s doubt the effort will make an impact. It hasn’t yet.

“It is not possible to do a good job [in Guerrero],” says Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s Autonomous National University. “They are failing because of the conditions in the mountains and because drug traffickers totally control the local people and corrupt local politicians.”

Drug eradication as a concept may not even be sound, says Deborah Bonello, senior investigator for InSight Crime, a nonprofit research group studying organized crime in the Americas.

“The whole point of eradication is that it’s supposed to bring up the street prices of drugs with supply and demand principles,” she says. “But the farmers aren’t financed by the cartels. The costs of eradication are absorbed by farmers.”

If one farmer’s field is eradicated, that doesn’t necessarily hit the cartels’ coffers. The organized crime gangs just buy from another farmer.

“If you look at something like Plan Colombia [a U.S.-backed anti-drug trafficking plan launched in 2000], the U.S. government has funded billions and billions into eradication and in 2016 we saw more coca being produced in Colombia than ever before,” Bonello adds.

“In Mexico, there haven’t even been really genuinely successful efforts in terms of offering alternatives [to poppy farming],” Bonello goes on to say.

Since 2008, the U.S. has designated $2.5 billion to fund Mexico’s fight against organized crime in a plan called the Merida Initiative. While the U.S. has also offered to support and finance Mexican efforts to eradicate poppy, a 2017 U.S. government analysis of the initiative revealed significant gaps.

“Drug eradication and alternative development programs have not been a focus of the Merida Initiative even though Mexico is a major producer of opium poppy,” reads the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Services.

It’s clear in Mexico and other leading drug-producing countries like Colombia that, without better alternatives, ordinary farmers continually fall into the risky business of selling to narco-trafficking cartels, even as the army crawls through the hills to eradicate crops.

“We know eradication is just one piece of the solution,” admits Lt Col. Orzua. “We need to all work together in economic development, education, and many other issues to solve the problem of drug trafficking here.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/01/14/571184153/on-the-hunt-for-poppies-in-mexico-americas-biggest-heroin-supplier?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Sunday marks the seven-year anniversary of the ousting of Tunisia’s dictator. While Tunisians are celebrating the event, vast economic problems still persist throughout the country.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/14/578032171/tunisia-celebrations-and-protests-mark-7-years-since-revolution?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world



SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We heard this week that President Trump believes some countries produce more desirable immigrants some less desirable. People who met with Trump at the White House reported that he said the United States admits too many immigrants from Africa – he actually used a vulgar term to characterize those countries – and that too few are admitted from countries like Norway. In fact, the United States for many years chose immigrants on the basis of their nationality, but it then abandoned that policy as unjust. Here’s NPR’s Tom Gjelten.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: The notion of favoring immigrants from Norway did not originate with President Trump. In 1924, the U.S. Congress endeavored to shape the future ethnic profile of the country by enacting a new visa quota system based on national origin. Countries in Northern Europe from then on would get thousands of immigrant slots each year. Countries in Asia and Africa got maybe a hundred apiece.

The new law reflected the blatantly racist recommendations of a congressional commission that classified countries according to the character of their people. Africans were judged to be undesirable. Slavs were said to demonstrate carelessness as to the virtue of honesty. Scandinavians, meanwhile, were considered, quote, “the purest type.” By the early 1960s, however, that idea of judging people according to their country of origin had fallen into disrepute. In his 1964 State of the Union message, President Lyndon Johnson called for a new approach.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYNDON JOHNSON: A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, what can you do for our country? But should not be asking, in what country were you born?

(APPLAUSE)

GJELTEN: The Johnson administration proposed to do away with national origin quotas altogether. A new law would have immigrant candidates selected on the basis of their individual merit. The bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Democrat Philip Hart of Michigan, portrayed the change as a matter of civil rights.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PHILIP HART: The incidence of religion, of place of birth, of the color God gave us, the way we spell our names – these are not the things on which America judges Americans or anybody else.

GJELTEN: There was opposition to the elimination of national origin quotas, largely from the same members of Congress who opposed civil rights legislation. But the new law ultimately passed with bipartisan support. In October 1965, President Johnson signed the new immigration law in a ceremony at the Statue of Liberty. He declared the end of discrimination on the basis of national origin.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: This system violated the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man.

GJELTEN: The national origin quota policy, Johnson said, had been un-American in the highest sense.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: Today, with my signature, this system is abolished.

GJELTEN: The country had sent a new message to the rest of the world.

MUZAFFAR CHISHTI: That America is not just a place for certain privileged nationalities to come.

GJELTEN: Muzaffar Chishti is a senior lawyer at the Migration Policy Institute and himself an immigrant from India. He says the United States, by abolishing national origin quotas, made a promise to open doors to immigrants of all nationalities.

CHISHTI: We are truly the first universal nation. That may have been the promise of the Founding Fathers, but it took a long time to realize it.

GJELTEN: In the years since, America has become a truly multicultural nation. With the president now saying that some countries send better immigrants than others, the question is whether America will abide by its promise in the years ahead. Tom Gjelten, NPR News.

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Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/13/577833720/a-history-of-when-the-u-s-chose-immigrants-by-their-country-of-origin?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Looking at the damage in the aftermath of an explosion at in a rebel-held area of the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Monday.

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Looking at the damage in the aftermath of an explosion at in a rebel-held area of the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Monday.

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After almost seven years, some half a million people killed and a recent string of victories by the Syrian military, there’s a sense the Syrian war may be coming to a close.

Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, declared last month its mission accomplished and announced a partial pullout of its troops. Syrian state television now regularly broadcasts footage celebrating its military commanders as national heroes.

Credit: NPR

And investors from around the world speak in increasingly excited terms about that most lucrative phase of war: reconstruction.

Yet the reality on the ground is that the violence is far from over.

A stark reminder of this is erupting in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.

In the last few days, more than 100,000 civilians have fled their homes and refugee camps, according to the United Nations, escaping a renewed government offensive to take back control of the southern edges of the province. They’re fighting against a plethora of rebel groups who seized much of the province in the early days of the civil war.

Civilians are fleeing to safer reaches of the province close to the northwest border with Turkey. Aid workers report roads jammed with cars and trucks filled with people escaping with the few possessions they can carry.

Paul Donohoe, a senior media officer for the International Rescue Committee, says “more than two-thirds” of these displaced people “are living in makeshift tents unable to withstand the wintry conditions.”

One Syrian who works with an international aid organization, who asked not to be named as he doesn’t have permission to speak to the media, broke down as he spoke to NPR about the scale of the humanitarian fallout from the years-long war.

“I was in Syria two days ago and I couldn’t stop crying,” he said on Wednesday. “This time last year, we had the fall of Aleppo city. And now we have people from Idlib’s countryside. People are so worried, so scared, so disappointed.

“We try to help. But no one can really make things better. No one can imagine what it’s like to have to leave your home and not know if you’ll ever be able to return,” he added.

Many of those on the run are people who have already fled other parts of Syria and were using Idlib as an uneasy safe haven. (This map, from a U.N. humanitarian group, shows where in Syria displaced families have escaped to.)

Idlib has long been a heartland for opposition rebels. The government lost control of much of the province early on in the uprising against Assad, and it’s now one of the last major parts of the country that the opposition controls.

As the Syrian government took back control of other parts of the country, it struck cease-fire deals allowing opponents who surrendered to safely leave the area and relocate with their families to Idlib.

For the government, Idlib became a convenient dumping ground as it sought to clear rebels from other parts of the country. For opposition members and their families, it became a last resort — often they left their homes with nothing, and arrived not knowing where they would live.

The U.N. estimates over 1 million people now in the province have fled from other parts of Syria.

Just before Christmas, the Syrian military made its move on Idlib. Southern towns and villages in the province have been pounded with airstrikes and barrel bombs — oil barrels filled with explosives.

On Wednesday, NPR was speaking by phone with a member of the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defense group that’s funded by the U.S. and other world powers and provides volunteer emergency services in the aftermath of airstrikes. He identified himself as Ahmed al-Shaykhun. As he spoke, a plane could be heard flying in the background. Then there was a sudden impact: an airstrike explosion.

“It just hit the city of Khan Shaykhun nearby,” he said, and then carried on talking about the situation for civilians in the area, his voice shakier with fear than before.

“We are trying to provide secure passage for people to flee to more secure areas,” Shaykhun said. “The civilians inside Idlib are living in the most dangerous place in the world. Barrel bombs and other weapons are just falling on the heads of these people.”

He said the towns near the front lines have been almost completely abandoned by their residents. The streets are ghostly empty.

The government’s push into Idlib appears to be an attempt to take back control of Abu al-Dhuhour, a major military air base that the Syrian forces lost to rebels in September 2015 after a years-long siege. It’s unclear how much farther they aim to advance.

A map believed to have been leaked after Russia-led peace talks in September in Astana, Kazakhstan, appeared to reveal a plan to divide parts of northwest Syria into three zones: one overseen by Turkey, another co-managed by Turkey and Russia and a third by the Syrian regime. There has been no official confirmation of the map. (The tweet displayed comes from a Turkish pro-opposition research group called Omran Dirasat. It purports to show the allegedly leaked map. NPR could not independently verify its veracity.)

Aron Lund, a Syria expert and fellow at the New York-based Century Foundation, says he can’t independently confirm that the widely shared map allegedly leaked during the Astana peace talks is what has been officially agreed.

If confirmed, the map contours show the Syrian government taking control of a crucial highway that passes through Idlib, which Lund says is in fact a key government objective.

“The Syrian government has said in the past that a de-escalation zone in Idlib should secure the north-south highway that connects Damascus to Aleppo and passes through Idlib,” he told NPR. “This is the spine of Syria in many ways, and that would go a long way to normalizing their control in the country.”

The Syrian government’s incursion into Idlib so far appears to roughly follow the contours of this map. Some Idlib residents told NPR they believe the government is trying to accelerate the creation of these areas, albeit through force rather than negotiation.

The Russia-led talks also established parts of Idlib as a “de-escalation zone,” which requires warring groups — except for extremist militias who didn’t sign the agreement — to limit fighting in these areas.

Turkey has long supported opposition to Syrian President Assad and has provided support to some rebel groups in Idlib. Turkish officials angrily accused the Syrian government of violating the de-escalation zone agreement and called on Iran and Russia — which are allied with the Assad regime — to press Damascus to halt its offensive in Idlib.

Russia responded by urging Turkey to pressure Syrian opposition groups to also de-escalate hostilities, and accused rebel fighters of launching drone attacks on a Russian military base in Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces repelled a series of drone attacks over the weekend, adding that none of the attacks caused any damage to their base in the nearby coastal province of Latakia.

France also expressed extreme concern about the regime’s Idlib offensive and demanded that the commitment to reduce fighting in the area be respected.

On Wednesday, the Syrian government defended the military campaign, saying it was targeting terrorist groups that are not party to the agreement. Syrian state media said the French Foreign Ministry had shown “great ignorance about what was happening in rural Idlib province.”

Citing a Syrian Foreign Ministry source, the state media said the army was fighting to liberate the area from “terrorism.”

The main rebel faction in Idlib is Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which includes members of a group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra that had known links to al-Qaida.

But throughout the war, Assad has labeled all rebels opposing his rule as “terrorists.” And residents of Idlib say the government’s bombing campaign has been indiscriminate, hitting civilian buildings as well as rebel holdouts.

“They are targeting all areas; towns and villages, and even schools and hospitals,” said Raed Fares, a pro-opposition media activist and resident of Kafranbel, a town in Idlib where the fighting is taking place.

Aid agencies are preparing for the worst. An internal memo from one international organization, shown to NPR on the condition that the charity not be identified, tries to develop contingency plans.

If the government is seeking to hasten the carve-up of Idlib, as per the allegedly leaked map, there could be a lull in the fighting after Syrian forces conquer the territory ascribed to them on the map.

But that’s unlikely to calm the violence in the long run, because, the memo says, ultimately Damascus wants to win every piece of Syria back.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/01/13/575702125/syria-violence-sends-thousands-of-civilians-fleeing-de-escalation-zone?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay around 1900. In 1924, the U.S. would restrict immigration based on national origin. Forty years after that, it eliminated those restrictions.

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Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay around 1900. In 1924, the U.S. would restrict immigration based on national origin. Forty years after that, it eliminated those restrictions.

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In a White House meeting with members of Congress this week, President Trump is said to have suggested that the United States accepts too many immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and too few from countries like Norway.

Those comments, relayed to NPR by people in attendance at the meeting, set off an immediate firestorm, in part because Trump appeared to be favoring the revival of a discriminatory immigration policy abolished by the U.S. Congress more than 50 years ago.

From 1924 to 1965, the United States allocated immigrant visas on the basis of a candidate’s national origin. People coming from Northern and Western European countries were heavily favored over those from countries like those Trump now derides. More than 50,000 immigrant visas were reserved for Germany each year. The United Kingdom had the next biggest share, with about 34,000.

Ireland, with 28,000 slots, and Norway, with 6,400, had the highest quotas as a share of their population. Each country in Asia, meanwhile, had a quota of just 100, while Africans wishing to move to America had to compete for one of just 1,200 visas set aside for the entire continent.

The blatantly discriminatory quota policy was enacted on the basis of recommendations from a congressional commission set up in 1907 to determine who precisely was coming to the United States, which countries they were coming from and what capacities they were bringing with them. Under the leadership of Republican Sen. William Dillingham of Vermont, the commission prepared a report consisting of more than 40 volumes distinguishing desirable ethnicities from those the commission considered less desirable.

“Dictionary of Races or Peoples”

In a “Dictionary of Races or Peoples,” the commission reported that Slavic people demonstrated “fanaticism in religion, carelessness as to the business virtues of punctuality and often honesty.” Southern Italians were found to be “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative” but also “impracticable.” Foreshadowing Trump’s own assessment, the commission concluded that Scandinavians represented “the purest type.”

The main sponsor of the 1924 law enacting the national origins quotas was Rep. Albert Johnson, R-Wash., chairman of the House Committee on Immigration. Among Johnson’s immigration advisers were John Trevor, the founder of the far-right American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, and Madison Grant, an amateur eugenicist whose writings gave racism a veneer of intellectual legitimacy. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, Grant separated the human species into Caucasoids, Mongoloids and Negroids, and argued that Caucasoids and Negroids needed to be separated.

President Harry S. Truman fought against a national origin quota system, saying it “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.”

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President Harry S. Truman fought against a national origin quota system, saying it “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.”

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The national origin quota system remained in effect for more than 40 years, despite increasing opposition from moderates and liberals. Minor adjustments were made under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, which passed over the vigorous objections of President Harry S. Truman.

In a fiery veto message, Truman argued that the national origin quota policy “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.” After Congress dismissed his criticism and overrode his veto, Truman ordered the establishment of a presidential Commission on Immigration and Naturalization.

In its report, the commission concluded that U.S. immigration policy marginalized “the non-white people of the world who constitute between two-thirds and three-fourths of the world’s population.” The report was titled Whom We Shall Welcome, referring to a speech President George Washington delivered to a group of Irish immigrants in 1783.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger,” Washington famously said in that speech, “but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

That promise was broken by the enslavement of Africans brought to America in chains, but it set forth the ideal by which U.S. immigration policy was to be judged in the 1950s.

We should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both challenged the visa quota system, but it was Lyndon B. Johnson who made its elimination a top priority.

“A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ ” Johnson said in his 1964 State of the Union speech. “But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ ” His administration proposed a reform that would put all nationalities on a roughly equal basis, with immigrant visas awarded largely on the basis of whether the candidates had skills and education considered “especially advantageous” to U.S. interests.

The idea that some countries produced better immigrants than others had support, however, and Johnson’s immigration reform proposal ran into substantial opposition. The chairman of the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael Feighan, D-Ohio, refused even to hold hearings on the administration’s bill in 1964 and relented the following year only after coming under heavy pressure from Johnson himself. When Feighan did hold hearings, he made sure supporters of the quota system were given ample opportunity to argue for its continuation.

In the 1964 State of the Union, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ ”

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In the 1964 State of the Union, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ “

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Among those testifying in its favor was John Trevor Jr., whose father had played a key role in the enactment of the quota system. Trevor argued that the quota system ensured that newcomers would “mirror” the existing U.S. population, ensuring social stability.

Other arguments previewed the rhetoric of Trump campaign rallies more than 50 years later. The president-general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Adele Sullivan, claimed that choosing immigrants without regard to ethnicity “could result in further unemployment, overladen taxes, to say nothing of a collapse of moral and spiritual values, if nonassimilable aliens of dissimilar background and culture are permitted gradually to overwhelm our country.”

Similarly, Sen. John McClellan, D-Ark., asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

Sen. John McClellan, D-Ark., asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

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Sen. John McClellan, D-Ark., asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

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A fellow Democrat, Spessard Holland of Florida, in a speech on the Senate floor, asked, “Why, for the first time, are the emerging nations of Africa to be placed on the same basis as are our mother countries — Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian nations, France, and the other nations from which most Americans have come?”

However, the 1960 census showed that Americans of African slave descent outnumbered Scandinavian Americans by a margin of 2.5 to 1. There were more African-Americans in the United States than there were Americans whose origins lay in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland combined.

Support for Johnson’s immigration reform, however, gained momentum after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had pushed for the abolition of national-origin quotas during the 1950s as a U.S. senator, tied the promotion of immigration reform to the civil rights movement, then at its peak.

“We have removed all elements of second-class citizenship from our laws by the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “We must in 1965 remove all elements in our immigration law which suggest there are second-class people.”

Phenomenon of “chain migration”

With a huge Democratic majority elected the year before, the immigration reform finally passed both houses of Congress in September 1965. Conservatives, led by Ohio’s Feighan, however, had insisted on a key change in the legislation, giving immigrant candidates with relatives already in the United States priority over those with “advantageous” skills and education, as the Johnson administration had originally proposed.

That change, which eventually led to the phenomenon of “chain migration” denounced by Trump, was seen as a way to preserve the existing ethnic profile of the U.S. population and discourage the immigration of Asians and Africans who had fewer family ties in the country.

The key reform, however, was achieved. The new law did away with immigration quotas based on national origin.

“This system violated the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man,” Johnson declared as he signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. “It has been un-American in the highest sense. Today, with my signature, this system is abolished.”

For some, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 legislation, in October 2015, was an occasion for celebration. Muzaffar Chishti, an immigrant from India and a senior lawyer at the Migration Policy Institute, observed at the time that the law sent a message to the rest of the world that “America is not just a place for certain privileged nationalities. We are truly the first universal nation.”

“That may have been the promise of the Founding Fathers, but it took a long time to realize it.”

In the years since 1965, America has become a truly multicultural nation. But with a U.S. president once again saying that immigrants from some countries are superior to immigrants from other countries, the question is whether America will keep its founders’ promise in the years ahead.

Tom Gjelten’s book on how the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act changed the United States is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/13/577808792/president-trumps-idea-of-good-and-bad-immigrant-countries-has-a-historical-prece?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A model of President Trump from the Madame Tussauds waxwork museum was brought Friday to the new U.S. embassy in London’s Wandsworth borough. “Trump cancelled his visit so we stepped in!” Madame Tussauds tweeted.

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A model of President Trump from the Madame Tussauds waxwork museum was brought Friday to the new U.S. embassy in London’s Wandsworth borough. “Trump cancelled his visit so we stepped in!” Madame Tussauds tweeted.

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When President Trump announced Thursday that he was canceling his visit to the United Kingdom next month to open the new American embassy in London, he sounded less like the leader of the world’s most powerful country and more like the real estate developer he once was.

On Twitter, he complained that the Obama administration (it was actually George W. Bush’s) had traded an embassy located in one of the British capital’s top districts, Mayfair, for a new one in “an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

Trump was referring to the London borough of Wandsworth, south of the River Thames, which is now home to a massive development known as Nine Elms. Once a logistical hub for distributing fruit and vegetables, among other things, Nine Elms today is dotted with cranes and includes multimillion-dollar waterfront apartments.

“I thought he got it wrong,” said Ravi Govindia, leader of the Wandsworth Council, referring to Trump’s implicit criticism of the area.

That may not be the only thing Trump got wrong. The embassy, in fact, cost about $1 billion, according to U.S. government officials.

In an extraordinary statement today, the embassy effectively defended itself against the president’s criticisms. A spokesman said the new embassy was not financed through taxpayer dollars, but through a property swap after the old embassy in Mayfair became too run-down and could no longer provide adequate security.

Passenger trains pass through Battersea Park rail station as construction work continues on the Battersea Power Station residential and retail development complex in London in December.

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Passenger trains pass through Battersea Park rail station as construction work continues on the Battersea Power Station residential and retail development complex in London in December.

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“The new Embassy in Nine Elms is one of the most secure, hi-tech, and environmentally-friendly embassies the United States has ever built,” the statement said. “We are strongly committed in the Special Relationship between our two countries and we are confident the new Embassy will provide the necessary platform to continue our cooperation.”

Besides the embassy, the Nine Elms development is anchored by the old Battersea Power station, a red-brick colossus with towering white smokestacks that was famously featured along with a floating pig on the cover of the 1977 Pink Floyd album Animals. After decades sitting empty, the building — which also served as a shooting location for the 2008 Batman movie The Dark Knight — will become home to luxury apartments and Apple’s U.K. headquarters.

As a real estate person … I think [President Trump] would see that there is always an opportunity in regenerating and redeveloping a site,” said Govindia. “It may not look great to start with, but it is what you do with it that makes it great and that’s where the opportunities and profit are.”

Real estate agent Jonathan Scobie, who sells property at an apartment complex near the new embassy, says the attention generated by the president’s tweet is “only going to help us sell our property down here.”

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Real estate agent Jonathan Scobie, who sells property at an apartment complex near the new embassy, says the attention generated by the president’s tweet is “only going to help us sell our property down here.”

Frank Langfitt/NPR

It’s not just government boosters who have nice things to say about the area. Residents are optimistic about its future as well.

Saina Behnejad moved into her mother’s apartment in Nine Elms last year. The 25-year-old magazine editor says when her mother bought here in the early 2000s, the area was gray and quiet, without tall buildings or many people. Now she says Nine Elms — which has two Tube stops coming — feels more vibrant.

Behnejad says people in the neighborhood weren’t offended by Trump’s comments.

“We just find it very amusing,” she said, standing in front of the embassy.I just think he probably doesn’t know anything about London at all. It’s constantly evolving and changing.”

Not everyone is enamored with Nine Elms. Some find the glass and steel architecture soulless. In the wake of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016, new luxury property in London has seen significant price declines. Last year, Bloomberg reported that sales and falling values in Nine Elms drove some developers to sell units in bulk at a discount.

Jonathan Scobie, a real estate agent who sells property at Embassy Gardens, an apartment complex near the embassy, was excited for Trump’s planned visit. He’s also a big fan of the president and his blunt style.

“He speaks his mind and I think that’s what the world needs,” said Scobie, standing next to some decrepit houseboats beneath a luxury apartment block, which illustrates the area’s evolving gentrification.

Scobie doesn’t agree with Trump’s characterization of Nine Elms, but he says the attention generated by his tweet won’t hurt.

“It’s only going to help us sell our property down here,” said Scobie, “which is obviously great.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/01/12/577621997/president-trump-wrong-to-call-london-embassy-area-an-off-location-residents-say?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

John Feeley, soon after his appointment as ambassador to Panama in February 2016. The career diplomat has now announced his resignation.

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John Feeley, soon after his appointment as ambassador to Panama in February 2016. The career diplomat has now announced his resignation.

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John Feeley, the U.S. ambassador to Panama, is stepping down from his post, citing irreconcilable differences with the Trump administration, Reuters reports.

Feeley’s resignation, widely reported on Friday, is not a response to President Trump’s remarks at a meeting about immigration at noon Thursday. Sources tell NPR that at that meeting, Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries” and questioned why the U.S. admits immigrants from Haiti. Trump denies reports about his remarks, which have prompted uproar around the world.

However, the ambassador to Panama had tendered his resignation by Thursday morning, before the meeting occurred, a State Department official tells NPR’s Michele Kelemen.

Feeley, a career diplomat, has informed the White House, the State Department and the Panamanian government “of his decision to retire for personal reasons, as of March 9 of this year,” the State Department says.

Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary for diplomacy, told Michele that all ambassadors and other diplomats have the right to be in the job they chose, and that it is up to them if they leave for moral reasons, or any other reason.

Reuters has more detail on Feeley’s stated explanation of his resignation:

“Feeley, one of the department’s Latin America specialists and among its [most senior] officers, made clear that he had come to a place where he no longer felt able to serve under Trump.

” ‘As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies,’ Feeley said, according to an excerpt of a resignation letter read to Reuters on Friday.

” ‘My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come.’ “

Editor’s note: NPR has decided in this case to spell out the vulgar word that the president reportedly used because it meets our standard for use of offensive language. It is “absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/12/577686673/u-s-ambassador-to-panama-resigns-saying-he-cant-serve-trump?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world