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Global Pulse: Enough of Trump says Republican Senator, al Qaeda goes ‘moderate’ to survive

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Enough, writes a US senator on Trump

Republican Senator Jeff Flake said that he won’t be standing for reelection in Arizona, even as he slumps in polls to a far-right candidate. But the Senator, a known Donald Trump critic, had some scathing words for the president.

In a column for The Washington Post, the Senator wrote that it was time for Republican legislators to say one word to bring an end to the chaos sparked by the Trump presidency: Enough.

Flake wrote:

“Nine months of this administration is enough for us to stop pretending that this is somehow normal, and that we are on the verge of some sort of pivot to governing, to stability. Nine months is more than enough for us to say, loudly and clearly: Enough.

The outcome of this is in our hands. We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck, passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something. The longer we wait, the greater the damage, the harsher the judgment of history.”

Meanwhile in the New York Times, columnist Tom Friedman had a similar suggestion for the Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Saying the Defense Secretary was the last person in the establishment “uninfected by Trump’s metastasizing ethical cancer”, Friedman has advised to dictate terms to the President and get him in line.

So far, Trump is yet to tweet in response.

No successor to Xi, yet

China has unveiled the make-up of its new Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s supreme political body.

“Here, on behalf of the newly elected central leadership, I wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all other members of the party for the trust they have placed in us,” President Xi Jinping said in his address that marked the beginning of his second term.

However, as The Guardian pointed out:

“Crucially, the all-male group contained no potential successor, since none of its five new members – all aged between 60 and 67 – is young enough to take the reins from Xi after the end of his second term, in 2022, and to then rule for the customary decade.”

But then that’s hardly a surprise. Having added a new principle to the constitution of the Chinese Communist party called the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, there’s no doubt that Xi is here to stay for some time to come. As a column in the Economist said:

“With his name in the constitution, he must be the ultimate arbiter of authority as long as he is alive, since he—along with Marx, Lenin, Mao and Deng—defines what it is to be a good Chinese Communist.”

MBS reaffirms commitment to end extremism  

Saudi Arabia’s future king is promising some major changes that could alter the perception of the nation. Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is already credited for the recent decision to allow women to drive, told The Guardian in an interview that the nation was reverting to a more ‘moderate’ version of Islam.

“After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it,” the crown prince said.

Saudi Arabia has been long accused of backing an form of Islam that condoned extremism. The crown prince has said in the past as well that he is committed to breaking the influence hardline clerics wield in the nation.

But given this comes with the demand of unquestioning loyalty to the monarch and changing long-followed norms, there are skeptics about just how much the crown prince will be able to change.

Al Qaeda going moderate to survive? 

A terror organisation associated with the world’s biggest terrorist attack isn’t going to be  associated immediately with moderate thought. But facing an uphill battle to survive could be forcing the Al Qaeda to become moderate among terror organisations.

Colin P. Clarke writes in Foreign Affairs that the terror group might have managed to cultivate the image of being a moderate in Syria.

“Al Qaeda in Syria’s carefully calculated decision to distance itself from its parent organization was an effort to portray itself as a legitimate, capable, and independent force in the ongoing Syrian civil war. Another objective was to prove that the militants were dedicated to helping Syrians prevail in their struggle,” he writes.

Seeming moderate in comparison to ISIS and the ability to work with local rebel groups may help the hunted terror group recast itself into a more political entity like the Hezbollah in Lebanon, he writes.

No more new cars on Singapore’s roads

The number of cars on Singapore’s roads was growing at just 0.25 per cent per annum (in comparison it grows at about 10 percent in India) but it will now be zero per cent till 2020.

“The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it was cutting the permissible vehicle growth rate in the city state to 0 per cent from the current 0.25 per cent per annum for cars and motorcycles. The rate will be reviewed in 2020,” reports Reuters.

The island nation already controls its vehicle population tightly by forcing residents to bid for vehicles and then controlling the number of years they can use them. However, the densely populated nation does has a very extensive public transport network.

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