Global News May 10, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News May 10, 2017

“Firing James Comey is Donald Trump’s most unpredictable and dangerous move yet”

James Comey found out he had been fired as FBI director just like the rest of us: By watching it on television. The move, announced late Tuesday via a letter sent from President Donald Trump to Comey, marked the most unpredictable moment of a presidency that through its first 100-plus days has been the least orthodox in memory. It also ramped up criticism of Trump’s judgments — Comey was tasked with leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 campaign and what, if any, collusion had occurred between Trump campaign operatives and Russian intelligence officials — and left official Washington reeling over a move considered unthinkable as recently as this week.
The explanation for the move, which emerged into the stunned silence it caused, made little logical sense. A report from deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein highlighted Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server as the main reason for his dismissal. Rosenstein accused Comey of an attempt to «usurp» the power of the attorney general by announcing publicly that he didn’t believe any charges should be brought against Clinton in a July 5, 2016 press conference.
Removing the person charged with overseeing an investigation into a foreign country attempting to influence US elections by hurting one candidate (Clinton) and helping another (Trump) sends a chilling message up and down the federal bureaucracy — not to mention the populace.
Even if Trump’s decision to get rid of Comey had absolutely nothing to do with the ongoing Russia investigation, it looks very, very bad. It looks — to anyone paying attention — like Trump got rid of someone who he didn’t think would come to a conclusion he liked regarding Russia. Or that, more generally, that no one — not even an FBI director in the middle of his 10-year term — is safe from Trump’s whims.


The Economist
“Moon Jae-in wins South Korea’s presidential elections by a landslide”

HE WAS imprisoned for months for protesting, then as a student, against the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee in the 1970s. After millions demonstrated for the removal of Park Geun-hye, General Park’s daughter, South Koreans voted on May 9th for that former student dissident, Moon Jae-in, to succeed her. Mr. Moon has become South Korea’s first liberal president in almost a decade, elected in an unusual snap election triggered two months ago by Ms. Park’s sacking. He won 41% of the vote in the single-round system with no minimum threshold: a remarkably strong mandate in a contest among 13 candidates, the most crowded race in South Korea’s electoral history. His 17 percentage-point lead on the runner-up, a conservative, is the highest ever.
Still, Mr Moon’s victory was no surprise: he had led the polls for four months; support for his Minjoo party during the two-month campaign for the presidency hit its highest on record. Ms. Park’s trial on charges of abuse of power and the demanding or collecting of 59bn won ($52m) in bribes began last week.
Over 77% voted, the highest turnout in two decades. He has enormous appeal for South Korea’s disenchanted voters, especially the unemployed young: over half of those aged between 20 and 40 voted for him, according to exit polls. He has promised to reserve a third of over 800,000 new jobs he claims he can create, mainly in the public sector, for the young. He also wants to hike the minimum wage. In his acceptance speech on May 10th, Mr Moon pledged to build a country “where rules and logic apply”. Kim Hyung-jun, a young father who took his toddler to a polling station in central Seoul on May 9th, said that he was voting to create a better society for his daughter: one “where everyone begins at the same line”, not where “the rich and powerful have a head start”.


“Toyota suffers first profit fall in five years”

Japanese car giant Toyota has seen profits fall for the first time in half a decade. The firm said it sold more cars in the year to March 2017 than in the previous 12 months but that higher costs and currency fluctuations hit results. The profit of 1.83 trillion yen ($16.1bn; £12.4bn) was down 21% from 2016-17. Toyota has warned next year’s profits will be even lower, due to the strength of the Japanese currency.
The carmaker’s prediction is based on a forecast that the yen will average around 105 to the US dollar in the year through to March 2018, compared with 108 yen in the last financial year. Toyota, which has lost its top-selling carmaker status to Germany’s Volkswagen sold 10.25 million vehicles over the year, up from 10.19 million units a year earlier.
However income from those sales was slightly down at 27.6 trillion yen. The carmaker has been struggling in the US, its biggest market. Sales fell in North America as it battled to meet demand for bigger cars such as sport utility vehicles, which have become more affordable to drive thanks to lower petrol prices. Earlier this year Toyota said it would invest $10bn (£8.2bn) in the US over the next five years.


The Washington Post
“Israeli government shutters state news show with just an hour’s notice”

Just an hour after Dalia Dorner, the head of Israel’s Press Council warned that media freedom in the country was “at risk,” the government shut down the state broadcaster’s venerable nightly news show.
The anchorwomen from Channel One’s evening news broke down in tears before the cameras after being informed that a sudden political decision meant it would be the station’s last program after 49 years on the air. The closing down of the Israel Broadcasting Authority did not come as a surprise. It has been more than three years — and much political wrangling — in the making. The news program had been losing viewers for years and the whole public broadcasting authority had been accused of being corrupt and wasteful. After numerous postponements, the authority had been slated to close on May 14, but on Tuesday, David Han, the channel’s official liquidator decided go ahead and shutter the news program, in what critics say is only the latest in the cruel and chaotic treatment of the authority.
The decision to finally shutter the authority came Tuesday afternoon, and a final vote on the matter is expected to take place in the Knesset on Wednesday. If approved, Channel One will air reruns over the next few days until Kan officially starts its broadcasts on Monday.