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Trump’s 2017, in 17 tweets

When it's been suggested he set his phone aside and more meticulously manage his message, Trump..



When it's been suggested he set his phone aside and more meticulously manage his message, Trump reacts angrily. And, on occasion, philosophically. "My use of social media is not Presidential," he wrote on July 1, "it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL." As Trump's presidency has leapt from controversy to scandal to achievement and, inevitably, back home to grievance — it's been a path few can reliably predict, but one we can trace via his telltale Twitter feed. Here are 17 tweets that (begin to) tell the story of the White House in 2017.

1. "If something happens blame him …"

Tweeting on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump lashed out at a federal judge who put a nationwide hold on his first travel ban. That executive order would have barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days and suspended the entire US refugee program for 120 days, with Syrian refugees locked out indefinitely. But it set off mass protests and was soon tied up in the courts. The Supreme Court has allowed a third iteration of the ban to go into effect pending appeal.

2. "… enemy of the American people…"

Trump vilified the press throughout the campaign and carried on, undeterred, into the White House. Still, this tweet marked a jarring escalation between his administration and those who cover it.

3. "… Obama had my 'wires tapped'…"

Trump's view of himself as the persecuted enemy of the "deep state" is on early display here, as he alleges that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his campaign headquarters. The White House never produced any evidence to back the claim and both James Comey, before his firing, and Trump's own Justice Department have said they're not aware any exists.

4. "We must fight them …"

Relations are cuddlier today, with Republicans in the House and Senate delivering a tax bill to Trump before the holidays, but the failed effort to repeal Obamacare exposed rifts in the party — and set off a series of Twitter tantrums. Trump has repeatedly excoriated GOP lawmakers, in public, over their opposition to his agenda.

5. "James Comey better hope …"

Days after firing the former FBI director, Trump suggested there might be recordings of their White House discussions. The claim prompted Comey to speak up and share details of those conversations, including one in which he alleges Trump asked him to lay off former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.On June 22, Trump tweeted that he "did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

6. "… the single greatest witch hunt …"

On Wednesday night, May 17, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into Russia, the 2016 campaign and any potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump team. That evening, the White House released a statement from the President.It read: "As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."Then morning came — and with it, the tweets.

7. "…from a face-lift."

Trump has directed many of his nastiest Twitter attacks at high-profile women. In particular, those who might speak ill of him on television. On a Thursday morning in late June, he set his sights on "Morning Joe" co-anchor Mika Brzezinski, who along with co-host Joe Scarborough had abandoned their once chummy relationship with Trump as the 2016 campaign ramped up. "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore)," he tweeted. "Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

8. "… our beleaguered A.G …"

By all accounts, Trump is still knotted up in anger over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all things Russia — a move that helped pave the way for the appointment of a special counsel. A day before this tweet, Trump griped that it was "very sad" how Republicans were doing "very little to protect their President." Trump's view of loyalty, and the resentment he feels when it's not delivered in full, has propelled a number of his most damaging missteps.

9. "After consultation with my Generals and military experts …"

He continued: "…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."In a flurry of morning tweets, Trump in late July announced plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving "in any capacity" in the US armed forces. Federal judges have since blocked subsequent action and the Pentagon plans on enlisting transgender recruits in 2018. But the ad hoc declaration stirred up a mostly dormant culture war surrounding LGBT service at a time when top military officials seemed content with opening up the ranks.

10. "… I have just granted a full Pardon …"

On Friday night, August 25, as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Trump tweeted out news of his controversial decision, which spared the convicted former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff any potential jail time. Arpaio had been a vocal Trump backer during the campaign. The pardon, a sopping red meat gift to Trump's base, arrived before Arpaio's scheduled sentencing, setting off anger among immigrant advocates and legal professionals. Republican Sen. John McCain, the state's best known elected official, crossed party lines to criticize Trump."Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge's orders," McCain said. "The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions."

11."Fire or suspend!"

A frustrating few months on the legislative front amped up Trump's culture warrior tendencies. In late September and October, he repeatedly railed against NFL players who chose to kneel during the pregame National Anthem in protest against racism and police brutality. Trump's prescription? Team owners, he said during a speech in Alabama, should bench or fire the demonstrators. There followed a long campaign, mostly on Twitter, agitating for action against the players, or a fan boycott in its absence.

12. "… want everything to be done for them …"

As the situation in Puerto Rico deteriorated after Hurricane Maria swept through in late September, Trump turned on island officials who questioned the federal government's response. He was particularly pointed with Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan. As she pleaded for more aid amid the devastation, Trump accused her of trying to score political points — and suggested that the Puerto Rican people were in part to blame for the stalled rescue and recovery operations. "The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump," he began. "Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job."

13. "… what I said to the wife of a soldier …"

Trump in October came under scrutiny for some clumsy word choices in his call to the widow of an American soldier killed in Niger. The particulars were relayed to the press by Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. Trump duly assailed the congresswoman, a family friend who'd listened in on the conversation, on Twitter, calling her a liar and claiming to have evidence contradicting her account.But there was no "proof." White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, responding to a question from CNN's Sara Murray, told reporters at a briefing that "there were several people in the room from the administration that were on the call, including the chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly." But, once again, no audio record was made available.

14. "… they just gave me a standing O!"

The morning after Sen. Jeff Flake lambasted him on the Senate floor (while simultaneously retreating from an uphill fight to keep his seat), Trump smacked back at his Republican frenemy. The President attempted to undermine Flake by noting the support, in typically hyperbolic terms, he enjoyed from other GOP senators.Trump exchanged barbs with fellow Republicans throughout the year, but his fight with Flake was the most instructive. Where he's sought to make nice with others, Trump sensed a weak opponent in the now lame duck Arizona lawmaker — who would later vote in favor of the President's tax package — and promptly rolled him.

15. "Video: Muslim migrant…"

RT @JaydaBF: VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches! You can't see the now infamous retweets because their author, Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group, has been suspended from Twitter. In one of three inflammatory videos, a young boy on crutches is seen being assaulted by another youth, described as a "Muslim migrant." The Dutch attorney general's office said the incident seen on tape occurred in May — and that the suspect was born and raised in the Netherlands. The White House said it didn't know how Trump found the videos.

16. "Big stuff. Deep State."

Mueller's job appears safe for now, but that doesn't mean Trump isn't pushing back more broadly against the probe. In messages like this one, breathless and near inscrutable, we see him parrot a Fox News report, or some part of it, in an effort to discredit investigators.

17. "Don't let the Fake News convince you otherwise …"

A fitting coda. With Republicans passing their tax cuts right before leaving town for the year, Trump declared victory — then duly took one more jab at the press and polls showing his dismal approval ratings.

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Turkey’s Erdogan set for economic U-turn and steep interest rate hike



Turkey is poised to reverse some of the unorthodox economic policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his new economic team tries to bring down rampant inflation.

Less than a month after Mr Erdogan won re-election, interest rates are expected to rise dramatically from the current level of 8.5%.

Inflation is almost 40% and Turks are in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis.

But Turkey’s leader has so far insisted on keeping interest rates down.

The big question is how far the key policy rate will rise. Economists are divided on how sharp the hike will be, with US-based investment bank Morgan Stanley suggesting an 11.5-point increase to 20%, while Goldman Sachs expects the rate could hit 40%.

Other economists believe the rise will be steep, but possibly more gradual.

President Erdogan’s problem is that Turkey’s inflation rate remains stubbornly high and its central bank’s reserves have fallen to critically low levels, after it spent billions of dollars trying to prop up the lira.

Economists widely advocate raising interests to tackle high inflation, but Turkey’s leader sacked three central bank governors in less than two years when they tried to stick to orthodox policies.

Interest rates have come down from 19% two years ago to 8.5% in recent months. Now they are set to rise again, and that will have repercussions for a country already in economic crisis.

“It is a risk, but it’s a difficult circle to square,” says Ozge Zihnioglu, senior politics lecturer at the University of Liverpool. “He has to do something for the economy, but a clear shift to orthodox economic policies would hit a large section of society and he wouldn’t want to have that impact on local elections [next year].”

Turkey’s economy grew dramatically in the early years of President Erdogan’s leadership. But in recent years, he has ditched traditional economic wisdom by blaming high inflation on high borrowing costs and seeking to stimulate economic growth.

In the past five years, the Turkish currency has lost more than 80% of its value and foreign investment has plummeted. Turks are now trying to move foreign cash out of local banks.

Mehmet Kerem Coban of Kadir Has University said Turkey’s economic model needed capital to survive because its reserves had melted away.

Mr Erdogan has been in power in Turkey for more than 20 years. He defeated his opposition rival last month in elections that international observers said suffered from an “unlevel playing field” that gave the incumbent president an unjustified advantage.

During the election campaign, he maintained his mantra that interest rates would stay low as long as he was in power, guaranteeing that there would be no change in economic policy. The opposition promised to reverse his focus on low interest rates.

And yet within days of his re-election, he signalled a change.

First, he appointed former banker and economist Mehmet Simsek as finance minister. Although a former member of Erdogan’s government, Mr Simsek has made clear Turkey’s only economic choice is to return to “rational ground” and “compliance with international norms”.

Next, he appointed Hafize Gaye Erkan, 44, as Turkey’s first female central bank chief. A well-known figure on Wall Street, she has never had a role in Turkey before and was chief executive of US bank First Republic before its collapse.

Mr Erdogan said last week that his position on interest rates had not changed, but “we accepted that [Mr Simsek] should take the necessary steps rapidly and effortlessly with the central bank”.

Emerging markets specialist Timothy Ash believes Ms Erkan will have to “front-load rate hikes”, rather than introduce them gradually. The risk, he warned on Twitter, was that she would share the same fate as a predecessor, “always playing catch-up with the market and waiting in the ante-room of the presidential palace to plead for rate hikes”.


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Turkey presidential election decides if Erdogan should have five more years



Turks are voting in a momentous presidential run-off to decide whether or not Recep Tayyip Erdogan should remain in power after 20 years.

His challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, backed by a broad opposition alliance, called on voters to come out and “get rid of an authoritarian regime”.

The president, who is favourite to win, promises a new era uniting the country around a “Turkish century”.

But the more pressing issue is rampant inflation and a cost-of-living crisis.

Voters have nine hours to cast their ballots before 17:00 (14:00 GMT) and many were already waiting outside a polling station in central Ankara before the doors opened. One woman of 80 had set her alarm for 05:00 to be sure of arriving on time.

Turnout in the first round was an impressive 88.8%, and Mr Erdogan’s lead was 2.5 million votes. That is why both candidates have their eye on the eight million who did not vote – but could this time.

Ahead of the run-off Mr Kilicdaroglu accused his rival of foul play, by blocking his text messages to voters while the president’s messages went through. After voting in Ankara he urged Turks to protect the ballot boxes.

Opposition parties are deploying an army of some 400,000 volunteers in a bid to ensure no vote-rigging takes place, both at polling stations and later at the election authority. But among the volunteers, they need lawyers such as Sena to accompany the ballot boxes.

International observers spoke of an uneven playing field after the first round. But there was no suggestion that any irregularities in voting would have changed the result.

As he voted in Istanbul, President Erdogan said Turkish democracy was going through a second round in a presidential election for the first time and suggested Turks should make use of it.

Mr Kilicdaroglu promised a very different style of presidency on his final day of campaigning: “I have no interest in living in palaces. I will live like you, modestly… and solve your problems.”

It was a swipe at Mr Erdogan’s enormous palatial complex on the edge of Ankara which he moved to when he switched from prime minister to president in 2014. After surviving a failed coup in 2016 he took on extensive powers, detained tens of thousands of people and took control of the media.

So it was laden with symbolism when he paid a campaign visit on Saturday to the mausoleum of a prime minister executed by the military after a coup in 1960.

“The era of coups and juntas is over,” he declared, linking Turkey’s current stability to his own authoritarian rule.

Turkey, however, is deeply polarised, with the president reliant on a support base of religious conservatives and nationalists, while his opposite number’s supporters are mainly secular – but many of them are nationalist too.

For days the two men traded insults. Mr Kilicdaroglu accused the president of cowardice and hiding from a fair election; Mr Erdogan said his rival was on the side of “terrorists”, referring to Kurdish militants.

But after days of inflammatory rhetoric about sending millions of Syrian refugees home, the opposition candidate returned to Turkey’s number-one issue – the economic crisis, and in particular its effect on poorer households.

A 59-year-old woman and her grandson joined him on stage to explain how her monthly salary of 5,000 lira (£200; $250) was now impossible to live on as her rent had shot up to 4,000 lira (£160; $200).

It may have been staged, but this is the story across Turkey, with inflation at almost 44% and salaries and state help failing to keep pace.

Economists say the Erdogan policy of cutting interest rates rather than raising them has only made matters worse.

The Turkish lira has hit record lows, demand for foreign currency has surged and the central bank’s net foreign currency reserves are in negative territory for the first time since 2002.

“The central bank has no foreign currency to sell,” says Selva Demiralp, professor of economics at Koc University. “There are already some sort of capital controls – we all know it’s hard to buy dollars. If they continue with low interest rates, as Erdogan has signalled, the only other option is stricter controls.”

East of Ankara, gleaming tower blocks have been springing up in Kirikkale. It looks like boom-time for this city, run by the president’s party.

But many people here are struggling.

Fatma has run a hairdresser’s for 13 years but for the past two, work has dried up, and the cost of rent and hair products has soared.

She voted for an ultranationalist candidate who came third, and does not trust the two men left in the race.

A few doors up the street, Binnaz is working a sewing machine at a shop for mending clothes.

People cannot afford new dresses so she is earning much more, even if her monthly rent has trebled to to 4,000 lira. Despite Turkey’s stricken economy, she is putting her faith in the president.

Outside a supermarket, Emrah Turgut says he is also sticking with Mr Erdogan because he has no faith in the other option, and believes the president’s unfounded allegations that the biggest opposition party co-operates with terrorists.

Turkey’s second-biggest opposition party, the HDP, denies any link to the militant PKK, but President Erdogan has used their backing for the rival candidate to suggest a link to terrorists.

Whoever wins on Sunday, Turkey’s parliament is already firmly in the grip of Mr Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party and its far-right nationalist ally, the MHP.

The AKP also has the youngest MP, who arrived in parliament on the eve of the presidential vote.

Zehranur Aydemir, 24, believes if Mr Erdogan wins then he will lay the foundations for a century in which Turkey will become a global power: “Now Turkey has a bigger vision it can dream bigger.”

It is another grandiose Erdogan project, but Turkey’s economy is likely to prove a more pressing task, whoever wins the run-off.


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Corriere della Sera: Belgian judges exerted illegal & undue pressure on Eva Kaili



Madrid Journal – Italian and Greek media seem to lose patience with how the Belgian authorities are dealing with corruption case in the European Parliamentary. The ill treatment of the Belgian judiciary became very obvious where the prosecution is practically employing blackmail as a tactic to get Eva Kaili to confess despite her pleading innocence from day one. According to the report of the Italian newspaper, the Belgian judges investigating the Qatargate scandal allegedly exerted illegal undue pressure on Eva Kaili, suggesting that she confess her guilt, with the promise that she will be released from prison.

It should be noted that after the conclusion of the last hearing, the lawyers of Eva Kaili complained that their client was kept in solitary confinement for six hours, speaking of torture reminiscent of the Middle Ages and a violation of human rights.

Today the Italian newspaper brings to light the aforementioned claim of the well-known criminologist Michalis Dimitrakopoulos.

“She has not agreed to confess to something she has not done” 
“From the first moment they suggested that Eva Kaili plead guilty and be released from prison so that she can finally hug her daughter again,” says Dimitrakopoulos, clarifying however that his client , who has been claiming innocence since day one, has always denied it.

“Despite the fact that being away from her little girl is the greatest psychological torture, she has not agreed to confess to something she has not done,” adds the Greek lawyer.

As also stated in the publication “she does not want her daughter to inherit the stigma that her mother was a corrupt female politician, because it is not true”.

The same publication also states that: “The former Greek TV journalist was immediately acquitted by her partner Giorgi, but the investigators did not believe the couple’s version, convinced that the woman belonged to Pantzeri’s network and tried to help him disappear the money from the funds. In fact, they accused her of bribery and of trying to hide the fruits of a crime.”

What will be her next move
The next moves Dimitrakopoulos plans for Eva Kaili are to build a profile of a woman deeply scarred by the month and a half she spent behind bars in Haren prison, the newspaper says.

“She was shaking as she told the judge, who was also a woman, about the torture she suffered, not in prison, but in a police cell. What he experienced – says the lawyer – is reminiscent of the movie ‘Midnight Express’, but unfortunately this is happening in the center of Europe”.

The indictment against the allegedly aggressive methods of the Belgian justice system ends with the announcement of the next legal move by Eva Kaili’s defense team: “Next week we will appeal to the Supreme Court, announces Dimitrakopoulos. When someone is arrested they are immediately protected by the law. I wonder if it was the same in Brussels.”


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