ExxonMobil CEO under consideration for Secretary of State

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, as his Secretary of State. This information was released by various inside members of Trump’s transition team, who report that the decision is almost definite. Tillerson, who has negotiated oil deals with heads of state around the world, is considered to be particularly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to various leaders in the Middle East. Several top Republicans have expressed concerns of the choice of Tillerson, precisely because of his relationship to Putin. Tillerson fits with other Trump cabinet picks as another extremely wealthy businessman, but he departs from others in this support for carbon taxes and self-described concerned about global warming. ExxonMobil kept its research confirming the existence of global warming in secret for decades.

Trump Chooses Climate Change Denier for Interior Secretary, Reaffirms Doubts About Global Warming

In another cabinet appointment, Trump will name Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) for Secretary of the Interior. Rogers is known to be someone who denies that climate change is a problem and has received substantial donations from fossil fuel industries. As Secretary of the Interior she would be in charge of national parks and public lands. May Boeve, the executive director of 350.org, said in response to McMorris Roger’s appointment that “Trump is handing over our public lands to the fossil fuel industry. Forget draining the swamp, Trump wants to frack, mine, and drill it.” After Trump met with former vice-president Al Gore and film star and climate activist Leonardo diCaprio, some thought that he might be opening up to climate science. However, on Fox News Sunday, Trump said with regard to the reality of climate change, “I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”

China Expresses Displeasure About Trump’s Approach to China and Taiwan

During an Fox News Sunday interview, Trump questioned whether the US should maintain its ‘One China’ policy, which has been in place for 36 years now. “I fully understand the One China policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump said. Shortly thereafter, China’s foreign ministry issued a statement in which it expressed “serious concern” over Trump’s remarks and a governing party newspaper accused Trump of being “as ignorant as a child.” According to the “One China” policy, the US recognizes only mainland China and not Taiwan. Mainland China has always claimed Taiwan as part of its territory, but ever since the Chinese Revolution of 1949 Taiwan has maintained its independence, initially with US support. Trump had already raised eyebrows last week when he spoke to Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, who Trump said had called him to congratulate him for winning the presidency.

Italy’s Foreign Minister to Become Prime Minister

Italy’s president asked the country’s foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, to take the post of Prime Minister on Sunday. The move comes in the wake of Matteo Renzi’s resignation from the post last week, when he lost a referendum to reform the country’s constitution. The referendum was defeated by 59.1 percent of the vote, which is generally considered to represent a boost to the country’s “euro-skeptics” who resist EU policies and seek greater independence from the EU. Analysts believe that Gentilion  will strengthen the position of both the left and right-wing euro-skeptic parties in Italy, since he comes from the same center-left pro-EU party as the departing Matteo Renzi. Opposition parties are calling for new parliamentary elections in 2017, a year ahead of schedule.

UK Conference Slams Draconian Anti-Terrorism Policies as the Backbone of Islamophobia and Cultivating Environment of Hate

The United Kingdom is fostering an “environment of hate” through its counter-terror strategies, foreign policy, and increasingly draconian national security legislation, according to a national conference on Islamophobia held last weekend.

The event, “The Environment of Hate and the Police State” was organised by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities. The conference’s title was inspired by a report published by the IHRC entitled The Environment of Hate: The New Normal For Muslims in the UK.

The conference brought together speakers and attendees from around the world, including activists, academics, teachers, researchers, students, journalists and members of the public.

Particular attention was given to the UK government’s “counter-terror” program known as PREVENT. The PREVENT duty imposes a legal obligation on all public sector workers to effectively act as the eyes and ears of the national security state, says Professor David Miller.

“Now, not only are the spooks at MI5…[responsible for counter-terror policy]”, said Miller, “but university administrators, lecturers – like me –  teachers in schools, doctors, nurses, paediatrics, opticians, nursery teachers, social workers are required to monitor their cliental to find out if there are ‘signs of radicalization’.”

Miller, co-founder of the PR and propaganda watchdog SpinWatch, called the counter-terrorism apparatus the “backbone of Islamophobia” and warned that “we are seeing something that is perhaps akin to a police state in the formal implementation of PREVENT.”

The London conference followed a similar event in Glasgow, organised by IHRC and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, that emphasized the role of counter-terror strategy, foreign policy, and national legislation in creating an “environment of hate.”

Lecturer in Sociology Narzanin Massoumi described how the PREVENT duty was being expanded to chill freedom of speech and stamp out dissent by “targeting those critical of government policy”. The panel also included Ms Houria Bouteldja, spokesperson of Parti des Indigènes de la République (Party of the Indigenous of the Republic) who spoke of the difficulty in developing a united front against structural racism and the police state in France due to “complicity of the left” with the very authoritarianism and Islamophobia pushed by the state.

Shadow Chancellor  Warns of “Fury” and “Uproar” Across the UK Over Banker’s Brexit

UK Labour MP John McDonnell warned of “fury” and “uproar” from the British public should the government make a special deal on BREXIT that prioritizes the financial sector.

“Can you imagine what the reaction in the country will be to that?” said McDonnell. “If you’re working in the manufacturing sector… Can you imagine their reaction that here’s the government doing a deal for one sector…And the rest of country are having to pay for the special treatment of that sector? I think there’ll be uproar.”

The remarks came during an exclusive interview with independent UK news company Real Media.

There are growing rumours that the Executive may decide to pay the European Union in exchange for access to the single market but only on behalf of the UK financial services.

The interview is due to be posted in full later in the week.

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