GLOBAL PULSE: More immigrant arrests in the U.S., anti-protest Russian pop song and Macron’s muscular centrism

ARRESTING IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S.

Remember how Donald Trump pledged to weed out undocumented workers and illegal immigrants? Here’s how the numbers stack up. In his first 100 days in office, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period last year. That is an average of 400 immigrants arrestedevery day.

Nearly 11,000 of these immigrants had no criminal convictions. But deportations of immigrants fell about 12 per cent during the same time period, to about 56,315 people this year. This drop is because of mounting cases in the immigration court.

His predecessor Barack Obama had lobbied for a law for legal residency for the 11 million illegal immigrants. But as soon as he came to power, Trump lifted Obama’s instructions for deportation agents to focus largely on criminals.

 

PUTIN SAYS SCHIZOPHRENIA HAS GRIPPED AMERICA

As if Donald Trump did not have enough trouble already — Russia’s Vladimir Putin said he would be willing to provide the US Congress a record of Trump’s meeting with his envoy. One condition is that the request for the transcript come from Trump’s government.

Some asked if his offer was aimed at sowing further chaos in Washington than assuage suspicions about the talks. Others scoffed at it and laughed it off. “If it comes in an email, I wouldn’t click on the attachment, that’s for sure,” joked Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

In fact, Putin said that a “political schizophrenia” had gripped the US and that it was “eliciting concern” in Russia. Then he playfully ribbed his foreign minister saying he had not shared these “secrets” with him, and that was “very bad”.

 

MACRON’S RIGHT-LEFT BALANCE

Emmanuel Macron, France’s new and youngest president, announced his cabinet. After being elected on the highly unusual platform of  “muscular centrism” – he didn’t get the formal backing of either the centre-left or centre-right — his choice of cabinet ministers indicated significantly conservative leaning on the economy.

Many leftists who had grudgingly rallied behind Macron in the election are already disappointed. He did appoint Socialists in the interior and foreign affairs ministries. And he changed the title of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, emphasising the importance of the European Union in his international agenda. Finally, he kept another campaign promise. Half of the 18 ministers he named are women.

 

UN-FRIENDING SITES IS FAIR IN WAR

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko banned Russia’s biggest internet companies from operating in Ukraine. However, Ukraine says the ban isn’t censorship because the sites are being actively used for propaganda and counter-propaganda in the interest of Russia’s law enforcement.

And when you are at war, you do what it takes to stop the enemy from spreading propaganda on your territory. Will Moscow retaliate? Russia has little left of Ukraine to ban. Most pro-Ukrainian websites in Russia were banned in 2014. But the mechanism of blocking websites is still being developed in  Ukraine.

Moreover, it is easy to access blocked websites through proxy servers, VPNs and anonymising software. Human Rights Watch called on Ukraine to rescind the ban citing freedom of speech related concerns.

 

DON’T PROTEST, SAYS THIS POP SINGER

Has Russia’s Vladimir Putin found a new way to tackle anti-government demonstrators? His officials just paid pop star Alisa Vox $35,000  to appear in a music video that tells young people not to protest.

The video features a song that would “take to task the anti-Kremlin opposition,” a source close to the singer said. The new song, “Baby Boy”, attracted 1.3 million views on YouTube. It got 160,000 “down votes” against just 11,000 “up votes”.

A line in the song says: “Freedom, money, girls — you’ll get it all, even power. So, kid, stay out of politics, and give your brain a shower.” Vox said she wrote it out of concern for “those who are being deceived and misled”, referring to the thousands of young people who joined Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption rallies. Another viral video released on YouTube in late April compared Navalny  to Adolf Hitler.

 

Picture Courtesy: http://pussy-riot.livejournal.com/

 

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