Daily News Roundup

May 23, 2019

Trump storms out of meeting with Democrats.
Image: South China Morning Post

THURSDAY, MAY 23

President Donald Trump has stormed out of a meeting with US Democrat leaders on infrastructure spending after Speaker Nancy Pelosi again got stuck into him about being engaged in a cover up.

Mr Trump has been refusing to participate in Democrat-led investigations into his conduct.

“I don’t do cover-ups,” an agitated Mr Trump told reporters at a previously unscheduled White House appearance after abruptly leaving the meeting with the Democrats.

He then unleashed a litany of gripes about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and follow-up enquiries by congressional Democrats that the Republican President has sought to stonewall.

Mr Trump, seeking re-election in 2020, said he would not work with Democrats on infrastructure, one of few issues that some had believed had the potential for bipartisan agreement, due to what he called their “phoney” investigations.

Ms Pelosi, the top congressional Democrat, did not back down afterwards and pointedly mentioned the possibility of impeachment, the process set up by the US Constitution for Congress to remove a president from office.

“The fact is, in plain sight in the public domain, this President is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up — and that could be an impeachable offence,” Ms Pelosi said.

After the blow-up of the meeting and Mr Trump’s Rose Garden diatribe, Democrats accused the President of setting them up and expressed concern about his conduct and the long-term outlook for policy making in Washington.

“The President has made it clear he doesn’t want to consider any substantive issue as long as he’s under investigation,” Dick Durbin, a Senate Democrat, said.

“I’ve got news for the President. Every president is under investigation. That’s the nature of our constitution,” he said.

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James Bond star Daniel Craig has been injured while filming the latest instalment of the spy thriller in Jamaica and has to have minor surgery on an ankle.

Reports out of the Caribbean nation said the injury had been confirmed in a tweet from the official James Bond account, adding that Craig would be out of action for about a fortnight.

The film, yet to be named, is the 25th Bond installment.

The tweet said production would continue while Craig recovered.

“The film remains on track for the same release date in April 2020,” it said.

The Bond instalment will be Craig’s fifth outing as 007.

Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright are also returning.

Oscar winner Rami Malek, Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch and Game Night actor Billy Magnussen are joining the cast.

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China has reportedly been sprung breaking a world-wide agreement on air pollution.

Banned ozone-depleting gas has been tracked to industrial areas in northeastern mainland China.

Continued production of the CFC gas contravenes international agreement and if it is not stopped it could delay repair of the ozone hole for decades

According to a study published today in Nature, emissions from eastern China of the chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11 have been increasing by 7,000 tonnes a year since 2013.

The findings are based on air monitoring stations in South Korea and Japan, which were able to pick up tell-tale plumes of the gas as they wafted across the sea from China.

CFC-11 is used in polyurethane foams that insulate buildings and refrigerators, but its production was supposed to have been phased out by 2010 under the Montreal Protocol. The gas also contributes to global warming.

But research published in May last year using NOAA’s network of air monitoring stations found evidence someone in the world was producing and emitting thousands of tonnes of CFC-11 into the atmosphere.

A monitoring station on Mauna Loa in Hawaii suggested eastern Asia might be the source.

The red hotspots show where CFC-11 emissions have increased in China since 2013.

In the months that followed, a NGO called the Environmental Investigation Agency reported the first on-the-ground evidence of illegal production and use of CFC-11 in China.

At the time, the head of the United Nations Environment Program told a New York Times investigation that illegal production of CFC-11 was “nothing short of an environment crime which demands decisive action.”

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