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CORRESPONDENT IN CHARGE OF NEWS
                      Yaari Guedexz

05/16/2017

TRUMP DEFENDS GIVING RUSSIA HIGHLY CLASSIFIED INTELLIGENCE

04/26/2017

VENEZUELA.- Venezuela’s security forces have clashed with opposition protesters for another day, as the death toll from the anti-government unrest reaches at least 29.

Amid the turmoil, the government announced it is to quit the Organisation of American States or OAS in anger at pressure over the government’s handling of the crisis.

The OAS has voiced concern over the state of democracy in the country which has seen its worst violence since 2014 as protesters take to the streets calling for fresh elections.

“We are dying of hunger, from a lack of medicines,” said one demonstrator in Caracas. “If a man dies during a protest, we are going to die anyway of hunger, That is what is happening with this government.”

Protests began early in April and deaths have occurred in both pro and anti-government camps.

Government supporters have held rival rallies to show their loyalty to President Maduro, who accuses his foes of plotting a violent US-backed coup.

Maduro told supporters that the opposition “do not want peace, they have hit a dead end and want to drag us all down their path.”

The decision to leave the Organisation of American States deepens Venezuela’s diplomatic isolation, as the country struggles amid a crippling recession.

VENEZUELA TO QUIT ORGANISATION OF AMERICAN STATES 

04/27/2017

FRANCE..- At first glance, the new campaign posters unveiled by France’s final two contenders for the presidency appear straightforward.

But analysts have taken a closer a look at what the choice in design could reveal about each potential future president.

Both have opted for blunt slogans, with Le Pen urging “Choose France” after railing against globalisation throughout her campaign.

Her typically patriotic language underlines her nationalist intentions to put France first.

But what has most caught the eye of analysts is her decision to show part of her bare leg while perched on a table.

Some have interpreted this as a defiant display of her femininity, after her claim that women’s rights are under threat following the migrant crisis.

Le Pen, who has described herself as a ‘free French woman’, wants to ban the Islamic headscarf.

She famously canceled a meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti, the country’s top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter – insisting “I will not cover myself up”.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron declares “France Together” in his final poster.

It’s a phrase is borrowed from the right, evoking a sense of unity, similar to those used by conservatives Nikolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac in their campaign posters, “France Together”, and “Together, everything becomes possible”, respectively.

Like Le Pen, he appears in blue; a colour that is not just one third of the tricolor but that also represents security and safety.

Along with a simple head and shoulder shot, his cautious approach reflects his leading position in the polls.

He has no need to takes risks.

The two will go head-to-head in the second round of voting on Sunday, May 7.

 

WHAT DO NEW CAMPAIGN POSTERS REVEAL 

04/27/2017

WASHINGTON.- President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of a potential government shutdown on Thursday, just two days shy of a deadline for Congress to reach a spending deal to avert temporary layoffs of federal workers. “We’ll see what happens. If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,” Trump told Reuters in an interview, adding that Democrats would be to blame if the federal government was left unfunded. Congress has until 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Saturday to pass a bill to fund the government or face a shutdown, which would temporarily lay off hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday to fund government operations at current levels for one more week, giving them time to finish negotiations with Democrats on the plan for the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Trump said a shutdown would be a “very negative thing” but that his administration was prepared if it was necessary. In a wide-ranging interview, he defended the one-page tax plan he unveiled on Wednesday from criticism that it would increase the U.S. deficit, saying better trade deals and economic growth would offset the costs. “We will do trade deals that are going to make up for a tremendous amount of the deficit. We are going to be doing trade deals that are going to be much better trade deals,” Trump said. Trump also said it would be unfair to offer a debt bailout to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, because it was unfair to people in U.S. states. As part of the budget negotiations, Democrats have called for financial support to prop up Puerto Rico’s Medicaid programme covering health insurance for the poor, but many Republicans are opposed to the idea. “I don’t think that’s fair to the people of Iowa, and I don’t think it’s fair to the people of Wisconsin and Ohio and North Carolina and Pennsylvania that we should be bailing out Puerto Rico for billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said. “ No I don’t think that’s fair.”

 'If there's a shutdown, there's a shutdown,' Trump says

04/28/2017

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WASHINGTON.- US President Donald Trump is warning there could be a “major conflict” on the cards with North Korea.

It comes amid tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. China, North Korea’s only major ally, fears the situation could escalate or slip out of control.

Trump says he wants a peaceful solution, but a military option is not off the table.

“Well, there’s a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” the president said.

A US missile defence system being deployed in South Korea is expected to be in operational in the coming days, and Trump says he wants Seoul to foot the bill for it.

“So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody is going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It’s a billion dollar system. It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you have ever seen,” he said.

The arrival of the missile defence system has sparked protests in South Korea. Beijing is also angry about its deployment, claiming its radar can see deep into China, and undermines its security.

TRUMP WARNS OF 'MAJOR CONFLICT' WITH NORTH KOREA

04/28/2017

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05/02/2017.- Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is to form a new popular assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution.

The announcement came after numerous May Day rallies and protests in a country beset by political unrest.

The new body is to be made up of ordinary citizens and will circumvent the opposition-controlled National 
Assembly.

“Exercising this right, (the people) can call a constituent national assembly with the objective of transforming the state. We need to transform the state, above all the rotten national assembly we have there! (We need to) create a new judicial order and to write a new constitution,” Maduro told supporters.

Critics have called the move a “coup” and a bid by Maduro to cling onto power at all costs.The Opposition have been demanding general elections to try and end the socialists 18-year rule.

President of the National Assembly Julio Borges;

“I am saying with no exaggeration this is the most serious coup in Venezuelan history. Nicolas Maduro is dissolving democracy, dissolving the republic. In the face of that, the MP’s of our national assembly and the Venezuelan people are called on to revolt.”

Earlier there were more clashes between protesters and police. 
Opposition leaders accuse Maduro of running Venezuela’s oil-rich economy into the ground.
Millions are struggling to eat regularly and afford basic medicines.

Twenty nine people have been killed and hundreds injured in unrest that began in early April against Maduro, the unpopular 54-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez.

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT TRIGGERS CONSTITUTIONAL SHAKE-UP

05/02/2017

JAPAN.- Amid rising tensions over North Korea, Japan has dispatched its biggest warship, in the first such deployment since new laws loosened the limits of the country’s pacifist constitution.

The Izumo has reportedly been sent to help safeguard US naval manoeuvres in the region, notably by escorting an American ship on its way to refuel the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group.

Near the Yokota American air base in Japan, residents are on the frontline should Pyongyang attack. Many are philosophical about the risks.

“God only knows. Just think calmly about it,” said local shoe repairman Jumpei Takemiya.

“Do we know that Yokota is going to be the first place to be hit? I doubt it. Frankly, I’m not nervous. I watch the news. That is about it.”

“There is no way we can run away from it,” said local taxi driver Seijiro Kurosawa.

“We, Japanese, tend to be like ‘whatever happens, happens’. All locals here are like that. That is why we don’t have bunkers, shelters or anything similar.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, says that North Korea’s missile test at the weekend – albeit a failure – represents a serious threat.

“Despite strong warnings by the international community, North Korea today went through with its ballistic missile launch. It is a grave threat to our country. This is absolutely not acceptable. We strongly condemn such acts,” Abe told reporters in London on Saturday.

The North has pursued missile- and nuclear weapons-related activities at an unprecedented rate, the latest occurring despite the presence of US warships in the region.

The test came shortly after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

JAPAN DEPLOYS WARSHIP AS NORTH KOREA TENSIONS MOUNT

05/02/2017

Venezuela.- The political crisis in Venezuela is again being acted out on the capital’s streets with opposition supporters blocking main highways into Caracas.

Monday’s announcement by President Nicolas Maduro to set up a new assembly, circumventing the opposition- controlled parliament has outraged his critics.

With the new body having the power to re-write the constitution, neighbours Brazil, Bolivia and Chile as well as MPs have denounced the move, with some calling it a coup.

Leading presidential opponent Henrique Capriles has accused Maduro of trying to prevent “free and democratic” elections.

“Why don’t we have a referendum and ask one little simple question: Are you in favour of Mr. Nicolas Maduro’s government remaining or do you want to hold elections for the Venezuelan people to have a new government? Those who violate the constitution today are those who say they are the fathers of the constitution. What they are trying to do is kill the constitution.”

Maduro’s shock announcement follows attempts by the divisive Venezuelan leader to woo his core supporters with promises of salary rises.

But critics say he is increasingly dictatorial and plans to staff the new assembly with allies, avoiding elections he would likely lose.

Oil-rich Venezuela is in the middle of a crippling recession and raging inflation which many have blamed on the government. Almost daily protests during the last month have become more violent leaving at least 29 people dead.

ANGER ON THE STREETS OF CARACAS OVER MADURO'S POWER SHAKEUP

05/03/2017

Donald Trump has vowed to work on brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking as he hosted his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, the US president offered no clues about how he could break the political deadlock and revive stalled peace negotiations.In their first face-to-face meeting, he pressed the Palestinian leaders to “speak in a unified voice against incitement” to violence against Israelis.

However, he stopped short of explicitly re-committing the US administration to a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.

“We will get this done,” Trump told Abbas during a joint appearance at the White House.

He said he is prepared to act as a mediator, facilitator or arbitrator between the two sides.

TRUMP REASSURES ABBAS AT THE WHITE HOUSE

05/04/2017

US.- The US House of Representatives has narrowly approved legislation to repeal major portions of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican health care plan.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will now pass to the Senate for consideration.

It represents a major victory for President Donald Trump. For him, the success represents a revival of fortune from March when Republicans could not agree on the bill’s measures and it failed in the House.

Republicans obtained just enough votes to push the legislation through the House, securing a margin of 217 votes for, to 213 against.

Republicans say Obamacare drove up healthcare costs. Its replacement would repeal most Obamacare health taxes but would cut funding for Medicaid – the programme which provides insurance for the poor – and roll back much of Medicaid’s expansion.

The speed with which the Republican replacement healthcare plan has been prepared has been criticised, and the bill is opposed by many in the medical profession. No Democrats voted for it.

Immediately after the vote the president appeared in the White House garden to celebrate. He has declared Obamacare dead saying the new Republican plan will lower premiums.

But the effort to pass it into law faces potential hurdles in the Senate, where the Republicans have only a narrow majority in the 100-seat chamber.

HEALTHCARE VICTORY FOR TRUMP IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

05/05/2017

VZLA.- There have been more clashes between opposition activists and National Guard troops in Venezuela. They came as President Nicolas Maduro chaired a meeting discussing his plans for a new popular assembly.

The opposition which boycotted the gathering, claim 116 people were injured during the latest confrontation on the streets of the capital Caracas.

Demonstrators are seeking early elections to remove Maduro and put an end to a devastating economic crisis that has caused widespread food and medicine shortages, huge queues at shops, soaring prices, and increasing hunger in the nation of 30 million people.

Decrying Maduro as an autocrat who has wrecked the oil-rich nation’s economy, opposition leader Henrique Capriles struggled against the effects of tear gas to rally disaffected government supporters.

“I invite them to join us in forming a front to defend the constitution. Everyone who voted for Chavez who is unhappy today, who doesn’t believe in this government and agrees with us that this country needs change, I invite them to join in the front in defence of the constitution.”

The successor to President Hugo Chavez claims his enemies are seeking a coup with US support. He is setting up a “ constituent assembly” with power to rewrite the constitution and shake up public powers.

At least 37 people have been killed since the unrest started in early April. The dead include protesters, government sympathisers, bystanders, and security forces.

VENEZUELA'S OPPOSITION CALLS ON THE PEOPLE TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION

05/09/2017

By Giulia Segreti MILAN (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he was confident that the United States would keep moving “in the right direction” on climate change, although the process might slow down under the current administration. Before taking office, President Donald Trump pledged to cancel a deal signed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, which aims to limit rising temperatures by phasing out use of fossil fuels. Trump, who wants to boost the U.S. coal industry, is expected to announce in the coming days whether he will scrap an accord for which his predecessor campaigned. Just over three months after leaving office, Obama told a food industry conference in Milan that climate change was a challenge “that will define the contours of this century more dramatically, perhaps, than any other”. He urged big industrialised countries such as the United States and China to lead the way. “Because of current debate in Washington, it could be that policies move more slowly but I am confident that the United States will continue to move in the right direction,” he said. Policy-making in the last decade has prompted the private sector to invest in both renewable energy and technology to improve fuel efficiency, Obama said. The United States committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 – a level that Trump is unlikely to support. The European Union has been scrambling to persuade Trump to stick to the deal. Many U.S. companies and several Republican lawmakers, who see it as a way to protect American industrial interests overseas, have also urged him to stay in. The Paris treaty did not set high enough standards to solve the issue entirely, Obama said but “it put together the architecture and mechanism so that each country can reduce its problem of emissions”.

OBAMA CONFIDENT U.S. WILL MOVE IN RIGHT DIRECTION ON CLIMATE

05/09/2017

USA.- US President Donald Trump has sacked FBI chief James Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jess Sessions.

The surprise move comes after it emerged that Comey gave inaccurate information about Hillary Clinton’s emails to Congress last week.

In a letter Trump said Comey was unable to effectively lead the agency and the search for a new FBI head would begin immediately.

TRUMP "TERMINATES" FBI CHIEF JAMES COMEY

05/09/2017

VZLA.- Thousands of young Venezuelans hurled bottles and bags of excrement at soldiers during the latest protest against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The improvisation wasn’t limited to the so-called ‘poopootov cocktails’, imaginative ways were found to propel the missiles with the use of giant catapults.

Maduro’s plan to circumvent Venezuela’s opposition-dominated parliament with a new assembly with the power to rewrite the constitution has added fuel to a fire of discontent.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles claims even some of the military are against Maduro.

“Eighty-five military officials, their family members asked me to make it known to all the media that there is a group of them that wants to defend the constitution.”

The opposition is calling for delayed state elections to be held and the 2018 presidential vote be brought forward.

They also want the government to free scores of jailed activists, allow humanitarian aid from abroad to offset a brutal economic crisis and respect the independence of the legislature where the opposition won a majority in 2015.

Highlighting vandalism and violence by young masked protesters, Maduro says opponents are seeking a coup with US support and harbour “terrorists” and “murderers” in their ranks.

Wednesday’s chaos in Caracas claimed another life with a 27-year old killed during the protests. At least 39 people have died since early April including demonstrators, government sympathisers and bystanders.

 

POOPOOTOV COCKTAILS' ARE WEAPON OF CHOICE IN LATEST VENEZUELAN PROTEST

05/11/2017

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USA.- President Donald Trump came under pressure on Tuesday from U.S. lawmakers, including his fellow Republicans, to explain why he shared highly sensitive intelligence information with senior Russian officials at a meeting in the Oval Office last week.

U.S. officials said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at last Wednesday’s meeting.

The officials said the information had been supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group. The New York Times identified the ally as Israel but two U.S. national security sources said they doubted the report.

The disclosure rocked the administration as it struggled to move past the backlash over Trump’s abrupt firing on May 9 of FBI Director James Comey, whose agency was investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he has the right to share information with Russia in trying to get them to be more active in combating Islamic state militants.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for more information about reports that Trump gave intelligence information to the Russians, a spokeswoman for the panel said.

Congressional investigators are expected to seek copies of any notes taken during the meeting, a congressional source said.

While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be granted bilateral talks in the Oval Office with a U.S. president.

Moscow’s top diplomat, Lavrov represents Russian foreign policies that are often sharply at odds with U.S. aims in Syria and Europe.

Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday he had an “absolute right” to share facts with Russia so that it can be more active in fighting Islamic State militants.

A U.S. president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, but U.S. and allied officials said that by giving information to Russia, Trump had endangered cooperation from an ally that has intelligence on Islamic State.

Controversy over Russia has also laid bare sharp divisions between the White House and U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded in January that Russia had tried to influence the election in Trump’s favour. Moscow denies that.

During the presidential campaign Trump repeatedly assailed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for her handling of classified information by email while she was secretary of state. The FBI concluded after an investigation last year that there were no grounds to pursue any charges against Clinton.

Our correspondent in Washington DC said that US Presidents have come under attack for incidents that make Trump’s indiscretions seem far worse.

“Lay back for a second and think about what would have happened if Hillary Clinton, President Hillary Clinton had done this. Republicans would crucify her for, even talking to the Russians about these sensitive matters in the Oval Office. And here’s another thing, Barack Obama was criticised by Republicans for taking his jacket off in the Oval Office. This is unbelievable. I’ve heard from a Republican operative, a campaign manager of John McCain who said that this administration has embraced deception and serial lying and this is unprecedented,” Stefan Grobe said.

But he points out that, even if Washington appears to be in turmoil, Donald Trump still enjoys considerable support.

“As long as Trump has the backing of his core constituencies, core supporters in rural, blue-collar America, then Republicans in Congress will reluctantly stick to him. If once these poll numbers go down, then we’ll see a president who’ll be pretty much isolated within his own party,” Grobe added.

USA.- President Donald Trump came under pressure on Tuesday from U.S. lawmakers, including his fellow Republicans, to explain why he shared highly sensitive intelligence information with senior Russian officials at a meeting in the Oval Office last week.

U.S. officials said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at last Wednesday’s meeting.

The officials said the information had been supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group. The New York Times identified the ally as Israel but two U.S. national security sources said they doubted the report.

The disclosure rocked the administration as it struggled to move past the backlash over Trump’s abrupt firing on May 9 of FBI Director James Comey, whose agency was investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he has the right to share information with Russia in trying to get them to be more active in combating Islamic state militants.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for more information about reports that Trump gave intelligence information to the Russians, a spokeswoman for the panel said.

Congressional investigators are expected to seek copies of any notes taken during the meeting, a congressional source said.

While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be granted bilateral talks in the Oval Office with a U.S. president.

Moscow’s top diplomat, Lavrov represents Russian foreign policies that are often sharply at odds with U.S. aims in Syria and Europe.

Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday he had an “absolute right” to share facts with Russia so that it can be more active in fighting Islamic State militants.

A U.S. president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, but U.S. and allied officials said that by giving information to Russia, Trump had endangered cooperation from an ally that has intelligence on Islamic State.

Controversy over Russia has also laid bare sharp divisions between the White House and U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded in January that Russia had tried to influence the election in Trump’s favour. Moscow denies that.

During the presidential campaign Trump repeatedly assailed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for her handling of classified information by email while she was secretary of state. The FBI concluded after an investigation last year that there were no grounds to pursue any charges against Clinton.

Our correspondent in Washington DC said that US Presidents have come under attack for incidents that make Trump’s indiscretions seem far worse.

“Lay back for a second and think about what would have happened if Hillary Clinton, President Hillary Clinton had done this. Republicans would crucify her for, even talking to the Russians about these sensitive matters in the Oval Office. And here’s another thing, Barack Obama was criticised by Republicans for taking his jacket off in the Oval Office. This is unbelievable. I’ve heard from a Republican operative, a campaign manager of John McCain who said that this administration has embraced deception and serial lying and this is unprecedented,” Stefan Grobe said.

But he points out that, even if Washington appears to be in turmoil, Donald Trump still enjoys considerable support.

“As long as Trump has the backing of his core constituencies, core supporters in rural, blue-collar America, then Republicans in Congress will reluctantly stick to him. If once these poll numbers go down, then we’ll see a president who’ll be pretty much isolated within his own party,” Grobe added.

BERLIN.- Air passenger arrivals in the United States fell in the first quarter of the year, while arrivals in Canada and Mexico rose, according to data from travel analysis company ForwardKeys. Travellers from the Middle East and Europe were possibly deterred by uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, as well as the strong dollar, it said on Wednesday. Long-haul arrivals in the U.S. dropped by 4.3 percent in the first quarter, ForwardKeys, which analyses 16 million flight booking transactions a day from major global reservation systems, said. On Tuesday, Emirates airline signalled that its U.S. expansion plans were on hold until demand recovers from a slowdown that the airline has blamed on Trump’s travel restrictions. Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico both saw arrivals increase 6.1 percent in the first quarter and bookings for arrival in the second quarter are up 15.7 and 19.8 percent, driven by bookings from the Netherlands, China, Britain and Germany. Forward bookings to the United States for travel in the second quarter of the year are 3.7 percent ahead of last year, due to the later Easter holiday period this year, the travel analysis company said. Visitors from Asia and the Americas are returning to Europe, after a dip following a string of attacks in France, Belgium and Germany, starting with Paris in November 2015, ForwardKeys said. Compared with two years ago, arrivals in the first quarter rose 5.2 percent and forward bookings are up 11.2 percent for the second quarter. European carriers such as Lufthansa <LHAG.DE> and Air France-KLM <AIRF.PA> had felt the effects of the downturn in demand from Asia and the U.S last year. Both are due to report first-quarter results over the next couple of weeks. “This overview reveals the resilience of the travel industry globally. People are finding alternative new destinations, and they are returning to others, previously blighted by dreadful events,” ForwardKeys Chief Executive Olivier Jager said in a statement.

AIR TRAVEL TO U.S. DROPS IN FIRST QUARTER

04/26/2017

 FRANCE.- The results from the first round of the French election has revealed a country divided in two.

France is split along both geographical and social lines in its support for Emmanuel Macronand Marine Le Pen.

 On the one hand, an urban, pro-European electorate backing Macron, and on the other an anti-EU, working class supporting Le Pen.

Geographically, the division cuts from north-west to south-east.

Macron has seduced mostly big cities, Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, and the west of the country. 
It is in the countryside, the north east and south east where Le Pen has her highest support.

Macron’s voters are mainly white-collar workers, in contrast to Le Pen who has the support of blue-collar workers.

If we look at the last election, 47% of those who voted for Socialist President Hollande turned to Macron on Sunday.

While, 6% of Hollande’s voters backed Le Pen, who retained 84% of her voters from 2012.

The uniting of the political spectrum to keep the far-right out of power has become known as the Republican Front.

It was a tactic used when Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie shocked France by reaching the second round of the 2002 elections.

Far left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon was part of the movement, but this time the deal is different.

Political analyst Frederic Dabi said: “It’s true that the behavior of Jean Luc Mélenchon and Francois Fillon’s voters is one of the keys to the poll.

 “Among those backing Jean Luc Mélenchon, there is an initial mood of abstaining.

“Almost one out of two would not want to vote in this second round, but that can change during the campaign “

While Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon both urged their supporters to vote for Mr Macron, Melanchon has stayed silent, awaiting feedback from his voters.Mr

A large part of the French don’t want Le Pen, and her xenophobic policy, to reach power, but many are also reluctant to vote for Macron and back his pro-Europe, pro-business policies.   

FRANCE DIVIDED IN TWO

04/25/2017

USA.- For his first public appearance since leaving the White House Barack Obama chose to address what he called generation of leaders” – in this case students at the University of Chicago in his adopted hometown.

It’s also where a new presidential library bearing his name will be built.

But what Obama didn’t do was mention to his successor Donald Trump who is near to his 100 day mark as US president.

“One of the things that I learned when I was organizing, you know, you show up in a neighborhood and your initial instinct is to tell people what they should be interested in, instead of spending the first six months listening and finding out what they actually are interested in,” he told the students.

Obama was referring to the days he spend as a community organiser in Chicago.

But many could perhaps be forgiven for thinking he was referring to Democratic party members who’d assumed Hilary Clinton was going to win but hadn’t been listening hard enough to the American electorate?

OBAMA PROMOTES LISTENING SKILLS IN FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE AFTER LEAVING OFFICE

04/25/2017

VENEZUELA.- Mass sit-ins in Venezuela, as anti-government protesters keep up the pressure for early elections.

 

Here in Caracas, roads were blocked, as demonstrators also demanded the release of jailed activists, and autonomy for the opposition-led congress.

But all of the action, into its fourth week, is also fueled by a crippling economic crisis.

 

“We are tired. Young people are leaving the country, there is no future here: We don’t want more violence, more deaths because of this regime, which is a criminal regime,” said one protester.

 

“We want to get out of this. And the only way for us to put an end to all this is protesting on the street”.

 

At least 10 people have been killed in clashes this month between security forces and protesters. More have died during night-time looting.

 

The socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, who was seen playing baseball at the weekend, accuses protesters of seeking a violent coup. The opposition say he is a dictator, repressing peaceful protest.

there is no future here venezuelans stage mass sit ins

04/24/2017