Trump: Washington ‘100%’ behind Tokyo after N. Korea launch
Trump: Washington ‘100%’ behind Tokyo after N. Korea launch President Donald Trump assures Japan it has the full support of the United States following a North Korean ballistic missile launch, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slams the move as „intolerable”.
Harriet Sinclair,International Business Times 20 hours ago US President Donald Trump is reportedly continuing to refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas’, a nickname he used for her during his election campaign.Warren, a Democrat senator from Massachusetts, has a well-documented feud with the Republican, with the pair frequently taking to Twitter to exchange barbs.Met Office issues yellow alert warning 10 inches of snow comingTrump took to referring to Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ in a reference to her Native American ancestry, which he has claimed is fabricated, while she insists is her background.During a meeting on 10 February, Trump had referred to Warren as Pocahontas several times, while discussing her opposition to Trump’s Attorney General pick Jeff Sessions, who was confirmed this week, largely refusing to use her real name.Ex-US National Guard member gets 11 years in jail for supporting IsisHe reportedly told Democrats: „Pocahontas is now the face of your party,” New York Daily News reported.On his campaign trail, Trump told NBC correspondent Hallie Jackson: „We call her Pocahontas for a reason. She said she’s 5% Native American. She was unable to prove it.Snow in London this weekend as UK weather turns Arctic„She used the fact that she was Native American to advance her career. Elizabeth Warren is a total fraud. I know it. Other people who work with her know it. Elizabeth Warren is a total fraud.”Trump added: „She made up her heritage, which I think is racist. I think she’s a racist, actually, because what she did was very racist.”In response, Warren referred to Trump as a „thin-skinned bully” and said he was not fit to be president.”Fling as much mud as you want, @realDonaldTrump. Your words & actions disqualify you from being President – & I won’t stop saying it,” she tweeted.
North Korea reportedly test fires missile, challenging US Eric Talmadge, Associated Press,Associated Press 10 hours agoPYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile early Sunday in what would be its first such test of the year and an implicit challenge to President Donald Trump, who stood with the Japanese leader as Shinzo Abe called the move „absolutely intolerable.”There was no immediate confirmation from the North, which had recently warned it is ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The U.S. Strategic Command said it detected and tracked what it assessed to be a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile.The reports came as Trump was hosting Abe and just days before the North is to mark the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il.Appearing with Trump at a news conference at the president’s south Florida estate, Abe condemned the missile launch as „absolutely intolerable.” Trump followed Abe with even fewer words, saying in part: „I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”Abe read a brief statement in which he called on the North to comply fully with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. He said Trump has assured him of U.S. support and that Trump’s presence showed the president’s determination and commitment.South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the missile was fired from around Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, which is where South Korean officials have said the North test launched its powerful midrange Musudan missile on Oct. 15 and 20.The military in Seoul said that the missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles). But Yonhap reported that while determinations are still being made, it was not believed to be an ICBM.The missile splashed down into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to the U.S. Strategic Command. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the missile did not hit Japanese territorial seas.The North conducted two nuclear tests and a slew of rocket launches last year in continued efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile programs. Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s address that the country has reached the final stages of readiness to test an ICBM, which would be a major step forward in its efforts to build a credible nuclear threat to the United States.Though Pyongyang has been relatively quiet about the transfer of power to the Trump administration, its state media has repeatedly called for Washington to abandon its „hostile policy” and vowed to continue its nuclear and missile development programs until the U.S. changes its diplomatic approach.Just days ago, it also reaffirmed its plan to conduct more space launches, which it staunchly defends but which have been criticized because they involve dual use technology that can be transferred to improve missiles.Kim Dong-yeop, an analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, speculated the missile could be a Musudan or a similar rocket designed to test engines for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. mainland. Analysts are divided, however, over how close the North is to having a reliable long-range rocket that could be coupled with a nuclear warhead capable to striking U.S. targets.South Korea’s Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said that his country will punish North Korea for the missile launch. According to the Foreign Ministry, South Korea will continue to work with allies including the United States, Japan and the European Union to ensure a thorough implementation of sanctions against the North and make the country realize that it will „never be able to survive” without discarding all of its nuclear and missile programs._Associated Press writers Kim Tong-Hyung in Seoul, South Korea, and Jill Colvin in Palm Beach, Florida, contributed to this report.
Brittany Jones-Cooper Fri, Feb 10 2:48 PM PST Protesters rally against the Muslim immigration ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)On Thursday, an appeals court decided not to reinstate the temporary travel ban issued by President Trump on Jan. 27. The new ruling came from a three-judge panel of the 9thUS Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which upheld the ban suspension from a lower court. For international travelers, this means that travel into and out of the US will remain as it was before the executive order temporarily banning citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.But it’s not business as usual in the travel industry. The airport protests, rallies and emotional footage of detained travelers has created a level of uncertainty for international and domestic travelers. In fact, The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) estimates that $185 million in business travel bookings were lost in the week following the executive order due to a lack of traveler confidence. After the travel ban, system-wide business travel transactions in the US fell 2.2%.“There was too much uncertainty and a lack of clarity around the executive order, leading to general confusion,” the GBTA said on its blog. “The net effect was that business travel bookings were delayed or canceled.”And the fallout keeps coming. After surveying their members, which consist of travel professionals, the GBTA found that nearly 50% of Europeans expect their company to reduce business travel in the next three months. In the US, 31% of respondents expected the same.The decrease in travel to the US can be seen beyond the business category.Hundreds of people protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on January 29, 2017. (Getty)Trump’s travel ban only applies to refugees and citizens from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. However, a report from ForwardKeys, a travel analysis site, found that international bookings to the US were down 6.5% compared to this time last year. The study looked at travel data from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4. When broken down into regions, bookings from the Middle East were down 37.5%, and bookings from Western Europe saw a drop of 13.6%.“The data forces a compelling conclusion that Donald Trump’s travel ban immediately caused a significant drop in bookings to the USA and an immediate impact on future travel,” said Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys, in a press release.It’s too soon to measure the long-term impact that a travel ban could have, but when you look at the stakes, it’s not hard to imagine the potential financial loss. In 2015, the International Trade Administration reported that the US travel and tourism industry generated nearly $1.6 trillion in economic output, supporting 7.6 million US jobs. Even more, one out of every 18 Americans is employed, either directly or indirectly, in a travel or tourism-related industry.The ban is suspended for now, but as the Trump administration attempts to get it reinstated, those in the travel industry continue to promote the importance weighing other options.“Instead of closing our borders, the United States should continue to pursue and focus on expanding security programs like the Visa Waiver Program, which facilitates information-sharing among governments to ensure properly vetted travelers, making us all more safe and secure,” said the GBTA.On Friday, NBC News reported that White House lawyers were working on a rewrite of Trump’s executive order that would address the court’s legal concerns. In other words, this battle is long from over, which probably doesn’t bode well for the travel industry.Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance.
Business Insider 10 hours ago Hamburg airport was evacuated on Sunday after a gas leak caused people to be sent to hospital, The Daily Mail reported.Associated Press reportsthat „hundreds” of people were evacuated from the airport and had to wait outside in sub-zero temperatures.German news agency dpa reported that 50 people were affected by the unknown toxin at the airport. They claimed to suffer from burning eyes and breathing problems.A spokesperson for Hamburg airport told Associated Press that „we have cancelled all flight at least until 2 p.m. (1300GMT) and most parts of the airport have been evacuated.”NOW WATCH: Animated map shows the best and worst states to raise your family
Samuel Osborne,The Independent 4 hours ago A German parliamentary assembly has elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier to become the country’s next president by an overwhelming majority.Mr Steinmeier, Germany’s former foreign minister, strongly criticised Donald Trumpduring the US election campaign.When asked in August about the rise of right-wing populism in Germany and elsewhere, Mr Steinmeier criticised those who “make politics with fear”.He cited the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, the promoters of Britain’s exit from the European Union, and “the hate preachers, like Donald Trump at the moment in the United States”.The daily Berliner Morgenpost billed Mr Steinmeier as “the anti-Trump president”.He was elected with 931 of 1,260 votes. The German president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority. „Let’s be brave, because then we don’t have to be afraid of the future,” Mr Steinmeier said in his acceptance speech.He said the world faces „rough times,” but Germany, as a functioning democracy, had the responsibility to fight for stability.”Isn’t it actually wonderful, that this Germany, our difficult fatherland, that this country has become an anchor of hope in the world for many,” after overcoming wars and totalitarianism, Mr Steinmeier said.Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Mr Steinmeier and said she was convinced he would be an excellent president who would have the support of the vast majority of the people.”This is a good day for Germany,” she said.Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr Steinmeier and invited him to the Kremlin.Mr Putin president „expressed confidence that Mr Steinmeier’s work as President of Germany will promote Russia-Germany relations and efficient cooperation in various sectors in the interests of the citizens of both nations, in line with reinforcing stability and security on the European continent and globally,” a Kremlin press release said.Foreign secretary Boris Johnson also tweeted his congratulations.Mr Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, had the support of Ms Merkel’s “grand coalition” of centre-right and centre-left parties.He has long been one of Germany’s most popular politicians.Under Ms Merkel, he served twice as foreign minister – from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until this year, with a stint as opposition leader in between. He has also won respect for his persistence in trying to resolve the long-running crisis in Ukraine.He will succeed Joachim Gauck, a 77-year-old former pastor and East German pro-democracy activist. He did not seek a second five-year term because of his age.His election is likely to be one of the last moments of coalition unity ahead of a parliamentary election in September in which Ms Merkel is seeking a fourth term. Both sides hope to end the “grand coalition”.Additional reporting by AP
Business Insider UK Sat, Feb 11 1:42 AM PST AFP Kiev (AFP) – Two years have passed since the signing of a deal aimed at ending the war in Ukraine but the bloody conflict has rumbled on — at the cost of another 5,000 lives.The Minsk II accord saw Kremlin-backed rebels agree with Kiev and Moscow on a halt to the fighting and outlined a complex roadmap for securing peace.It was hammered out by the presidents of Ukraine and Russia with the help of their French and German counterparts and signed on February 11 two years ago.The deal was inked during a period of intense combat and rising fears of an open war between the two neighbours. Kiev was accusing the Kremlin of covertly sending in thousands of troops — putting huge pressure on Moscow’s ties with the West.What Minsk II did was rein in worries of a broader war. But it never eliminated the violence and deep mistrust blocking progress toward a political solution. Today’s death toll stands at more than 10,000 and swathes of Ukraine’s coal-and-steel-producing east are still controlled by the self-proclaimed „people’s republics” of Lugansk and Donetsk. And damaging Western sanctions against Moscow remain in place.So where did Minsk II go wrong? „It is everyone’s fault and there is no political will,” one Western diplomat in Kiev told AFP on condition of anonymity. The West is convinced that Russia sparked the conflict and is continuing to stoke it.But it also believes Kiev must now share the burden over its refusal to hand some autonomy to the rebel fiefdoms in line with the terms of the deal. 13-point plan Minsk II followed on from the collapse of a September 2014 agreement that triggered some of the heaviest fighting of the entire war. The deal emerged from 18 hours of talks between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko. Their French and German counterparts acted as mediators between the two sworn foes.Thomson ReutersBut the real meat ofMinsk II was a separate 13-point plan that called for an „immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and the quick withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front.It granted Kiev control over all of its border with Russia on condition that Ukraine change its constitution to grant the separatist regions near Russia „special status” and „interim local self-government” by the end of 2015.But none of these conditions was met and the agreements have been repeatedly extended as international powers cling on to them as the only hope of ending the 33-month war.One key factor is the refusal of the dominant nationalist and populist forces in Ukraine’s parliament to grant extra powers to the rebels for fear they would hand the regions over to Russia.The insurgents themselves have never held OSCE-monitored elections under Ukrainian law — as stipulated in the deal — and instead pushed ahead with their own local council votes that infuriated Kiev.REUTERS/Gleb GaranichAnd the Russian-Ukrainian border remains open wide enough for the Kremlin to send in tanks and other weapons to assist the separatists.Frozen conflict The deal has succeeded in limiting the scope of clashes to specific hotspots. Flareups like this month’s battle in Avdiivka that killed dozens are increasingly rare. What Ukraine fears most is that the war will turn into a „frozen conflict” — like the situation in two Georgian regions seized by Russia and declared independent in 2008. Georgia still considers them its own territory and had previously vowed to win them back through a new military offensive. Kiev is also concerned that Western sanctions may be eased with the arrival of Donald Trump.The new White House chief has taken a more conciliatory tone toward Moscow and Ukraine fears that this may result in US concessions over its future. It is also frustrated that Western powers — fearful of inciting Putin — have refused to provide Ukrainian troops with the modern weaponry that could make Moscow’s intervention more costly.The past two years have seen every truce collapse and have left Poroshenko at a loss about what to do. For now all eyes are on Washington. „I think that inside the US administration, they are still looking for their Russian strategy,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on February 4.”We all hope that (possible deals) between Russia and the US will not be made at the expense of Ukraine or Europe, and will lead to a detente between both global powers,” he said.NOW WATCH: Why you should probably avoid hand dryers in public restrooms
Associated Press 1 hour 5 minutes ago SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A protester was killed and dozens of others wounded Sunday as government forces fired at demonstrators demanding an end to Indian rule in Kashmir following a gunbattle that killed four suspected rebels, two soldiers and a civilian, officials said.The gunbattle began after police and soldiers cordoned off the southern village of Frisal overnight following a tip that militants were hiding in a house, said police Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani.He said the militants sprayed automatic gunfire to break the cordon, leading to an exchange of gunfire with police and soldiers that killed four militants and two soldiers.Police also recovered the body of a civilian, reportedly the young son of the house owner.According to local residents, government forces blasted the house with explosives.The Indian army said three soldiers were injured.As the fighting raged, clashes erupted in several places between government forces and neighboring villagers who tried to march to Frisal in solidarity with the militants. Troops fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas canisters to stop the rock-throwing protesters.One protester was killed and at least 29 others injured in the clashes, police and hospital officials said.Militants fighting against Indian rule have wide support among Kashmir’s Muslims, who often protest in the streets during security operations to help militants escape. is divided between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. Both counties claim the disputed territory in its entirety.Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and Indian military crackdown.
The populist rising in Romania is by those who are demanding more rational, more efficient government RYAN BOHL, GEOPOLITICS MADE SUPERSKIP TO COMMENTSTOPICS: GEOPOLITICS, GEOPOLITICS MADE SUPER, POPULISM, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, SOCIAL NEWS, POLITICS NEWS
This article originally appeared on Geopolitics Made Super.The tale of 2016-17 has been of anti-neoliberal populists hijacking great parties and great states, forcing policy change down the throats of elites who believed they had arrived at a permanent consensus. They have largely been the harbinger of an uglier form of politics, giving breath to nationalists, racists and irrational bigotry that are a strain on the powers of their states.Romania is not immune to the winds of populism. But unlike the rest of the European Union, here the rising is by those who are demanding more rational, more efficient government. It is still populism, but without the ugliness.Since Feb. 1, Romanians have been braving frigid winter temperatures to call for the resignation of their two months old government. For their new government is up to the tricks of their old one, and for many Romanians, that is a bridge too far.Romania’s essential tale: The struggle to overcome the past Romania was once a Roman military frontier province. Conquered during the Roman heyday and organized as the province of Dacia, Romania is actually a Romantic country, its language heavily influenced by Roman military terminology and Vulgar Latin. It was not turned Slavic nor Gothic by successive invasions; instead, Romania grafted invaders onto its own culture, developing a distinct identity in the embrace of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the end of the 19th century.Romania’s position just beyond the Danube has given it a firm southern border; it is hemmed in by the Carpathian Mountains to the northwest, solidifying its northwestern frontier. It also enjoys a coastline on the Black Sea, though this is mitigated by Turkish command of the Dardanelles. It is, in other words, a reasonable regional power, if one confines it to southeastern Europe alone. But it has long had to contend with greater powers who have used it as a military frontier, from the ancient Romans to the Hapsburg Austrians to the Turks to the Soviets.It is the last — the Russians — that left the most recent scar. In the wars against the Ottoman Turks, the Romanians homogenized their land religiously; unlike Bulgaria, which has sizable Muslim minorities, Romania has few human traces of Turkish occupation. It was World War I where the essential story of Romania begins.Thanks to Wilson’s 14 points, Romania was a nation ripe for a state. As the Hapsburg Empire collapsed in the morass of defeat, Romanians had a state thrust upon them by well-meaning internationalists. Romania began, as many post-Hapsburg states did, as a kingdom, guaranteed by the victorious Allies. But when World War II broke out and France was conquered, Romania calculated it would be better to be part of Hitler’s New Order than to end up occupied by either the Nazis or the Soviets.But Hitler exacted a heavy price. When the Nazis invaded the USSR in 1941, Romania was forced to send troops as well. Defeat on the eastern front led to occupation by the Soviets, who turned Romania into another piece of their Iron Curtain.Because Romania was not on the border of any NATO state, it was given a degree of autonomy that other Warsaw Pact states did not enjoy in regards to its internal development. Romania had only two Communist leaders: Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and the infamous Nicolae Ceausescu. Because both were loyal to Moscow, neither suffered an invasion by Soviet armies during the Cold War.And it is from them we come to understand now Both Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceausescu inherited a proto-royal state in which patronage networks extended deep into the Romanian countryside. This meant that the Communists didn’t take on these patronage networks as they might have; rather than combating corruption, Communism reinforced it.This corruption was a classic “pay for play” system, with citizens needing to bribe officials for even the most basic of services. So long as some of that bribery was sent back to the countryside, the system worked; poor farmers and rural dwellers would take the scraps off the corrupt urban officials. Meanwhile, the middle classes and intelligentsia were squeezed. Under Communism, there was little they could do anyway.This helps partially to explain the brutality of Ceausescu, who ranks as one of the worst of the Warsaw Pact dictators. Taking wealth from the cities for redistribution in the countryside while keeping the lion’s share for himself, he was more than willing to use force to protect himself. His brutal regime is especially remembered because he largely targeted the urban, literate classes most likely to write down and record such attacks.It is also no coincidence that when a revolt began against Communism, the urban classes of Romania took a particularly violent turn. While other Warsaw Pact states were also corrupt, few of them had hinged on a personality who exploited cities so thoroughly. It was a huge strategic mistake: alienating those closest to you always is. When it became obvious the Soviets would not invade to save any tottering Warsaw Pact regime, the city dwellers of Romania rapidly overwhelmed Ceausescu’s clique and executed him.But this did not destroy the patronage network that went back to the country’s foundation. Political power in Bucharest could still be won over by mobilizing the countryside at the polls through these same networks. While Communism had fallen, the old way of politics remained.Until the European Union came and changed expectations for the city-dwellers When Romania joined the European Union in 2007, there was serious concern that political corruption in Romania would slow down growth and make EU governance difficult, if not impossible. Joining the European Union was a hope of the urban classes, who knew that being linked to the EU trade networks would benefit them first, while giving them the legal cover to attack the patronage networks that continued to empower a handful of cliques in big cities.Urban citizens, especially younger ones, saw themselves more as citizens of Europe than their corrupt localities. They did not see a reason to cooperate with a bribe-hungry official now that they enjoyed the same rights as the Germans or the French.At the same time, political parties in Romania failed to evolve. Young Romanians were turned off to politics, believing that none of the parties could break the logjam of corruption. When a vote was called in December, one of the bad old parties — the Social Democratic Party — won power using the bad old political model. Rural voters loyally returned predictable votes while young, educated urban dwellers largely sat out the election.Except something had shifted inside Romania. When the Social Democratic Party — the PSD in Romanian — tried to loosen corruption laws that were too often jailing members of its party, they awoke a section of citizenry that they did not realize were there. Hundreds of thousands of Romanians took to the streets to protest the move. They had come to expect better governance from their EU membership; now, provoked so openly, they mobilized to stop a slide to the bad old days.Meanwhile, Russia, who might cheer such a government, sits idly by Russia very much has been a cheerleader of corrupt regimes from Ukraine to Moldova, largely because that kind of illiberal democracy does not threaten Moscow’s power and can be manipulated at will. Yet the Kremlin hardly stirs in Romania, at least for now. Romanian Communism is widely detested; any manipulation by Russia would have too many Soviet echoes.But Russia does not have the interest and the power to change the political facts on the ground in Romania. Romania is not key to southeastern Europe — Turkey is. Nor will cracking Romania undo the European Union; at the end of the day, EU technocrats could argue Romania was already a poor choice for membership. So Russia does nothing, refusing to stir up the same kind of trouble it has in the Baltic and Ukraine.That is not to say they will not do so. Fractures in any EU state are an opportunity. The Russians just might try a disinformation war in Romania, hoping to pit Romanians against one another. Yet there is a flaw in that tactic: The most likely pro-Russian forces in Romania are rural and not wholly connected to the internet the Kremlin needs to shape public opinion. Instead of splitting Romania apart, they risk uniting the opposition and creating a formidable, modern Romanian political system with more professional, capable parties.This might be what democracy looks likeThe protest movement has scared the government, but it has not won yet. Should protestors go home, the bad old ways may return. Yet if in the public spaces of Romania a new political system forms, it will do the country a great deal of good and be the only bit of good news to come from the European Union in a long while. Here’s hoping for the latter.MORE RYAN BOHL.
Sports Lindsey Vonn becomes oldest female World Alpine Skiing Champs medalist
OlympicTalk 2 hours 47 minutes ago Frustration was evident in Lindsey Vonn when she finished her downhill run at the world championships on Sunday, nearly a half-second behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec. Ninety minutes later, she said her bronze medal felt like gold. Vonn became the oldest woman to earn a medal at worlds, but it was certainly not the color she planned. Austrian Stephanie Venier took silver in St. Moritz, Switzerland, four tenths behind the pre-race favorite Stuhec. Vonn was .45 back. “Not bad for an old lady,” Vonn joked. Full results are here. NBC will air coverage Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. “It’s been a difficult season,” Vonn said on Eurosport about 45 minutes after her run, before watching the men’s downhill …
Swiss Beat Feuz wins men’s downhill world title at homeMen’s downhill postponed at World Alpine Skiing ChampionshipsLara Gut tears ACL at world championships Frustration was evident in Lindsey Vonn when she finished her downhill run at the world championships on Sunday, nearly a half-second behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec.Ninety minutes later, she said her bronze medal felt like gold.Vonn became the oldest woman to earn a medal at worlds, but it was certainly not the color she planned. Austrian Stephanie Venier took silver in St. Moritz, Switzerland, four tenths behind the pre-race favorite Stuhec. Vonn was .45 back.“Not bad for an old lady,” Vonn joked.Full results are here. NBC will air coverage Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET.“It’s been a difficult season,” Vonn said on Eurosport about 45 minutes after her run, before watching the men’s downhill with Roger Federer in the stands. “I’m very thankful for a medal. Now I have a medal in downhill [at worlds] in every color, pretty damn cool. … All things considered, it was a really great performance.”There is a lot to consider.Vonn’s return from major injuries to make the podium (and win on the World Cup) at age 32 is the latest impressive feat in her career, the greatest in women’s Alpine history.Vonn came to St. Moritz unable to put her hair in a ponytail with her injured right hand, a lingering immobility after breaking her right upper arm in a Nov. 10 training crash. Vonn, who also suffered three knee fractures in a Feb. 27 race crash, called the arm injury the most painful of her career.She skied out of the opening super-G on Tuesday, struggling to hold onto her right ski pole with that hand. She then taped her glove to her pole for the super combined on Friday, when she finished fifth (but was a disappointing sixth after the downhill portion).Vonn’s bronze on Sunday meant she repeated her results from the 2015 Worlds at home in Vail, Colorado (albeit mismatching the placements and races). Two years ago, she tearfully said she “didn’t live up to expectations.”There were no tears in the TV interview Sunday. She played into the joke when 2000 Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards called her “the most matured” women’s medalist in worlds history.“Yes, I am old,” she said after a laugh. “Actually, it’s a fun position to be in. A lot of these girls, they’re babies. It’s cool. A lot of them look to me for advice. Being a veteran, it’s not that bad. I know what I’m doing.”Vonn’s medal is the first for the U.S. at these worlds. So far it has been the worst performance for the American team at worlds since 1999, when they went medal-less as host in Vail. It is a reminder of the lack of young talent besides World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin, who starts Thursday in the giant slalom and Saturday in the slalom in St. Moritz.Bode Miller hasn’t raced in two years and may never again. He’s commentating for NBC in St. Moritz. Ted Ligety is out for the season due to back surgery after requiring knee surgery last year. Julia Mancuso was on the worlds team but will not race in St. Moritz, still not ready to come back from November 2015 hip surgery.Miller, Ligety and Mancuso are all older than Vonn.Vonn will reset her sights on the World Cup tour with two downhills left this season on March 4 and March 15. The biggest remaining goal of her career is to snatch the record for World Cup victories. She has 77. Only Swede Ingemar Stenmark has more with 86.Vonn returned from the arm injury four weeks ago, and with little training, won her second race. However, her other four World Cup results were a ninth, 12th, 13th and a DNF.“Nothing has been easy for me the last five years,” said Vonn, who missed the Sochi Olympics due to knee surgery. “No matter what obstacle I face, I feel like I can overcome it.”With Vonn largely out, the 26-year-old Stuhec has been the phenom of the World Cup season, winning the first three downhills and tacking on super-G and super combined victories for good measure. Her ski technician is her mom.It took the 2007 and 2008 World junior champion 113 World Cup starts to notch her first podium this season. Now, Stuhec is unquestionably the world’s best downhiller. It’s on Vonn to reclaim that crown in one year in PyeongChang.“My way here was not easy at all,” said Stuhec, who bowed and rested her arms on the podium before climbing onto the top step and then cried during her national anthem. “Now, I say to myself, I’m a world champion. It’s really something big.”MORE: Alpine Worlds broadcast schedule
Al Jazeera 5 hours ago For five hours, Somalis Farhan Ahmed and Mohamed Mualim trekked through the barren and frigid snow-swept fields dividing North Dakota from the Canadian prairies. The snow was knee-deep and it was nearly -20 degrees Celsius. Then, out of the darkness, a highway appeared. They had arrived in Canada. One of them pulled out their mobile phone to call 911. „Wow, it was very, very cold,” Ahmed, 36, recalled. „You could not walk about the ice. It was too much. Sometimes, it reached our knees. We didn’t feel sometimes our hands, sometimes our feet.” Hours earlier, Ahmed, Mualim, and three other African men paid a man $500 to drive them from Minneapolis, Minnesota to North Dakota, just three miles south …Then, out of the darkness, a highway appeared. They had arrived in Canada. One of them pulled out their mobile phone to call 911.”Wow, it was very, very cold,” Ahmed, 36, recalled. „You could not walk about the ice. It was too much. Sometimes, it reached our knees. We didn’t feel sometimes our hands, sometimes our feet.”Hours earlier, Ahmed, Mualim, and three other African men paid a man $500 to drive them from Minneapolis, Minnesota to North Dakota, just three miles south of the Canadian border. They were underdressed for the winter temperatures, wearing only light gloves and spring jackets.”Sometimes, you cannot walk because the snow is very big – sometimes above your knees,” Mualim, 28, explained.
WATCH: US – Raids on undocumented immigrants, several detained (2:36)Since arriving in Canada on February 3, Ahmed and Mualim have both filed asylum claims.
In recent months, hundreds of refugeeshave trickled across the US border into the western prairie province of Manitoba, which lies above North Dakota and Montana. Normally, only 40 to 60 cross each year. The Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), a non-profit organisation in Winnipeg that provides food, shelter and medical attention, and helps refugees file their asylum claims, in addition to offering paralegal services, has seen an unprecedented spike in refugees seeking their help.”There were 21 people who crossed the border since [last] weekend,” said Rita Chahal, the executive director of MIIC. „In January alone, we had 40 [refugees] and since October to [the] end of January, we had 118 [refugees]. Those are huge numbers because in an average year we would normally see generally between 50 and 60.”In her five years at MIIC, Chahal has never seen anything like the current spike, but suspects US President Donald Trump might have something to do with it.
|Rita Chahal, executive director of MIIC said, ‘In January alone we had 40 [refugees] and since October to [the] end of January, we had 118 [refugees]’ [Geraldine Malone/Al Jazeera]|
Mualim and Ahmed say they were spooked by Trump and his immigration ban, which prohibited the entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries – among them Somalia – for 90 days. Their decision to flee the United States was largely influenced by the president.”Why I have to flee, is because of Donald Trump,” Ahmed said.”It’s not safe, so I run. When new president came in, everything changed. The hate speech. The people who have the documents, the status, and everything, they cannot come in.”Upwards of 90 Somalis, many of whom have had their refugee cases denied, have already reportedly been deported since Trump’s immigration ban, which has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.”It was very hard but we didn’t have a choice,” said Mualim. „I couldn’t stay and feel safe any more in the United States. You have no choice or they will deport you back. You have only one choice: to cross the border.”READ MORE: Protests over detention of immigrants across US‘If I go back, I will be killed’ Ahmed and Mualim had both applied for asylum in the US but were denied. They said they had valid work permits and were both working as truck drivers before coming to Canada.”If I go back to Somalia, I will be killed – 100 percent sure,” said Ahmed, whose father, a community leader, was murdered by gunmen from a rival clan near the Kenyan border in Somalia.Ahmed fears his father’s killers will come for him next, if he returns.Mualim, too, was running from violence. Al-Shabab murdered his brother, who they suspected of being a spy.
„As soon as they killed my brother, there was no option but to leave the country,” Mualim said.MIIC is helping Mualim and Ahmed adjust to life in Canada, as well as overseeing their refugee claims. Chahal, the executive director, said her organisation typically has a 60 percent acceptance rate for their clients.”There are human lives that are at stake,” she explained. „The people who are crossing and making these very horrendous journeys and taking risks, they’re not thrill-seekers. They’re people who are running for their lives for different reasons.”Harvard Law school released a statement last week that reinforced that the US is no longer a haven for refugees, stating that, „The substance of President Trump’s recent executive orders highlights this administration’s hostility toward refugees and asylum seekers.”In 2015, 4,316 people made refugee claims, according to Canadian Border Services Agency. That number nearly doubled to 7,022 in 2016, the organisation informed Al Jazeera. The majority of these refugees were from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Eritrea, and Burundi. But those thousands account only for refugee claims made directly at border crossings across Canada and do not factor in illegal entries.Stories like those of Mualim and Ahmed, who illegally crossed into Canada, are becoming more commonplace. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told Al Jazeera that they arrested 249 refugees who entered illegally from the US in 2015. That number shot up to 444 in 2016, and, so far this year, they’ve seen 41 illegal entries. „We have people and technology to protect that border, but people do enter illegally,” said Tara Seel, a media spokesperson for the RCMP.