Daily Archives: January 23, 2017



Malina Weissman (a B&W PENCIL SKETCH)

Malina Weissman (a B&W PENCIL SKETCH)

Malina Weissman is an American child actress and model, best known for her roles as young April O’Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, young Kara in Supergirl, and Violet Baudelaire in the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Lucy Hale: a B&W pencil sketch

Lucy Hale: a B&W pencil sketch


 Alexandru Ioan Cuza: Unirea este singura stare politică…

Navajo (Dine) infant. 1906. Photo by Simeon Schwemberger. Source – National Anthropological Archives.

Navajo (Dine) infant. 1906. Photo by Simeon Schwemberger. Source – National Anthropological Archives.

BBC News: Trump’s ‘alternative facts’: Why the row about inauguration ‘lies’?

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Trump’s ‘alternative facts’: Why the row about inauguration ‘lies’? – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38716191

BBC News: First 100 days: What executive actions has Trump taken?

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

First 100 days: What executive actions has Trump taken? – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38695593

BBC News: Rex Tillerson: Trump foreign affairs pick narrowly backed

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Rex Tillerson: Trump foreign affairs pick narrowly backed – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38723195

BBC News: Brexit: Supreme Court to announce judgement

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Brexit: Supreme Court to announce judgement – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38720320


Buddha Quotes: Thought which is well guarded…

Barred Owl, seen yesterday at Swan Lake.

Barred Owl, seen yesterday at Swan Lake.

Lucy Hale, in B&W!

Lucy Hale, in B&W!

Today’s Holiday:San Ildefonso Pueblo Feast Day

Today’s Holiday:
San Ildefonso Pueblo Feast Day

These late-January festivities mark a highlight in the ceremonial year at San Ildefonso Pueblo near Santa Fe, New Mexico. January 23 is the pueblo’s feast day, celebrated with a special church service and dances, such as the Buffalo, Comanche, and Deer dances. The dances are a way of paying respect and giving thanks for the animals on which people depend for food and other materials. On the evening before, there are bonfires and a firelight procession.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday:Ernie Kovacs (1919)

Today’s Birthday:
Ernie Kovacs (1919)

Kovacs was an American comedian. He turned to television after studying acting and writing, and he did much of the performing, writing, and producing for his three series—Time for Ernie, The Ernie Kovacs Show, and Kovacs Unlimited. He utilized the television format imaginatively, employing sight gags and zany improvisations, and showed off his wacky personality in 10 movies before dying prematurely in a car crash. Why did he once give a taxi driver the key to his apartment?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History:Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Its First Members (1986)

This Day in History:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Its First Members (1986)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to archiving the history of rock music. It was created in 1983 but did not have a home until 1995, when it opened its Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, after civic leaders pledged $65 million in public money to fund its construction. The first group of inductees included Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and James Brown, to name a few. What band inducted into the Hall in 2006 refused to attend the induction ceremony?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day:Aristotle

Quote of the Day:

Men regard it as their right to return evil for evil—and, if they cannot, feel they have lost their liberty.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day:Reverse Engineering

Article of the Day:
Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves taking apart an electronic component, software program, or other device in order to redesign the system for better maintainability or produce a copy of a system without access to the original design. Militaries often use reverse engineering to copy other nations’ technology. What are some well-known examples from WWII?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day:apothegm

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) A terse, witty, instructive saying; a maxim.
Synonyms: aphorism
Usage: One of the monks in the monastery collected apothegms and compiled a book of 500 wise maxims.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

ghyphosate is a carcinogen (like it or not known or unknown, recognized or not)

A crucial hearing is taking place this week in Monsanto’s lawsuit against California. The seed giant is trying to prevent its blockbuster herbicide from being labeled a carcinogen under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act: http://orgcns.org/2kjcTDU

 View of the Hall of Senate (Palazzo Ducale)Artist : Tintoretto

***  View of the Hall of Senate *** ( Palazzo Ducale )

Artist : Tintoretto

Period: Mannerism 

Location: Palazzo Ducale , Venice , Italy 

We can see the view toward the Throne ine the Hall of the Senate. Above the throne , the Christ adored by Doges Pietro lando and Mercantonio Trevisan can be seen..in the centre of the ceiling decoration is the triumph of Venice by Tintoretto and his son , Domenico Robusti

France 24 : Over million join anti-Trump Women’s Marches worldwide

Over million join anti-Trump Women’s Marches worldwide


Just one day after President Donald Trump took office, more than a million took to the streets Saturday in Washington and around the world to “inaugurate the resistance” – as many placards put it.

They came in their droves, bussed in from across the USA, descending on the nation’s capital to voice their opposition to the new president’s views on women and to voice their support for the numerous causes that many on the left fear Trump will reverse.

‘The beginning of years of protest’

“I have to protest this president, I have to stand with women and not only women, with people of colour, with the LGBT community, with Planned Parenthood,” said Rita, a 47-year-old graphic designer from Portland, Oregon.

“Trump is a fascist, a horrible person and I don’t think he represents the majority of the country and he certainly doesn’t represent my beliefs.

“I hope this is the beginning of years of protest against this president and years of change.”

Rita carried a sign reading “Tiny hands, giant ass****”, one of thousands of homemade placards sporting slogans deriding the 45th president of the United States and his political agenda in often imaginative ways: “Keep your theology off my biology”, “Groper in Chief” “Tweet others how you want to be tweeted”, “Build the wall… around Trump” and “We will fight for the reproductive rights our mother’s won”.

A day earlier, tens of thousands had flocked to the National Mall in Washington to witness Trump’s inauguration.

During his inauguration speech, Trump had proclaimed that “January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again”. Those in Washington and other cities were hoping January 21st would be the day they showed the new president he did not speak for them.

Global protests

The Women’s March crowd clearly dwarfed that of the president’s inauguration in Washington.

“Visuals are very important. You can deny numbers, you can deny data, but you cannot deny the sight of such a huge number of people all standing together,” said 37-year-old teacher Holly, who had travelled to Washington the march from Connecticut with her friend Sarah, also a teacher.

“This is a good opportunity to show Trump that people will stand up if he tries to take our liberties away,” Sarah added.

With many of the barricades, banners, seating and signage still in place for the previous day’s pageantry, the protesters thronged the Mall, surrounded the Washington Monument and other landmarks and swarmed the side streets. Whereas the day before red “Make America Great Again” baseball hats had been ubiquitous, many of the protesters on Saturday sported pink knitted hats, dubbed “pussy hats” in reference to Trump’s infamous “Grab them by the pussy” remark.

Similar scenes were repeated in cities across the US and around the world. More than 500,000 marched in Los Angeles, according to local police, and over 120,000 rallied in Chicago. From London to Sydney, Bangkok to Cape Town via Rome, Paris and Berlin, demonstrators took to the streets across the globe.

‘This is what democracy looks like’

In Washington, the city’s infrastructure creaked under the strain of the crowds.

The subway was packed to capacity, there were ‘traffic jams’ on the streets despite the best efforts of official march marshals to direct the crowd.

Some people clambered up walls, others climbed trees or traffic lights to escape the crowds or just to get a better view of the sea of people.

There was fury as the hundreds of Portaloos set up for the inauguration were padlocked shut for the march. Some took matters into their own hands, smashing the locks with rocks to gain access.

The scene was often chaotic, but the atmosphere was generally jovial and friendly, with no sign of the trouble that led to the more than 200 arrests at the inaugeration on Friday.

“Show me what democracy looks like,” cried one woman who had clambered up a tree not far from the National Museum of the American Indian. “This is what democracy looks like,” the crowd yelled back in unison.

“I was here to protest the Iraq war in 2003”, said Sara, a 52-year-old from Milwaukee. “But this is much bigger.”

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” added Camilla, a Washington DC resident in her 30s. “I guess as DC is a progressive city, nobody showed up yesterday at the inauguration and preferred to come today.”

‘Love trumps hate’

While women certainly made up the majority of the marchers in Washington, there was no shortage of men showing their solidarity.

“We’re here because of Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding women and minorities,” said Richard, a 23-year-old from Boston who travelled to Washington with his mother and sister.

“I’m personally not affected by what he is saying – I’m a white male from a relatively good economic background – but it’s important we all stand together, women’s rights concern everyone,”

“Women’s rights are just so important,” added his friend Leo, 27, from Los Angeles.

“Women are behind everything, none of us would be here without them. Women’s rights are everyone’s rights.”

The only sign of possible friction came from a group of fundamentalist Christians who had taken up a position not far from the White House. But the cheerful response from the crowd was nothing more than some dancing and a chant of “Love trumps hate.”

They may even have been heard in the Oval Office, where the day before Trump had already set about ringing in the changes many of those protesting fear, such as an executive order to halt Obamacare

Will the protestors be heard by the new White House administration? 

And is this just the begininng of a larger, long-term movement?

France 24 : French jihadist charged and held on return from Syria

French jihadist charged and held on return from Syria


A high-profile French jihadist was charged with terrorist offences and remanded in custody on Saturday, a day after being transferred to France from Turkey, where he had turned himself in to authorities.

Kevin G., a 24-year-old who converted to Islam 10 years ago, was one of the UN’s most wanted jihadists and had been placed on a blacklist in 2014.

He is suspected of being one of the majorIslamic State (IS) group recruiters, whose role was to attract young French people to join the jihadist cause in Syria and Iraq. Kevin G. rubbed shoulders with some of the perpetrators of the November 2015 Paris attacks while living in Raqqa, the IS group’s de facto capital.

The former church choirboy, who was raised by a single mother in Brittany, now claims to be “reformed” — though he has also told French author David Thomson, who wrote a book about returning jihadists, that he left the IS group because he was afraid of dying.

Four wives and six children

He spent four years in Syria amongst jihadists, first with former al-Qaeda affiliate the Fateh al-Sham Front, and then the IS group.

He left Syria in June 2016 with his four French wives and six children, and went to Turkeywhere they were all arrested.

All four wives had already been deported toFrance.

Kevin G., who had been the subject of an international arrest warrant, arrived in the French capital on Friday night. He was charged on Saturday with being associated with a criminal terrorist organisation and financing terrorism, the Paris prosecutor said.

French authorities will now try to determine whether Kevin G. is truly reformed or part of a sleeper cell looking to carry out attacks in France at a later date.

What to do with retruning jihadists?

What to do with returning jihadists — whether claiming to be reformed or not — is a major concern for many European countries.

Authorities say around 700 French people are living with IS group militants in either Syria or Iraq. Another 200 have been killed.

By January 1, some 350 people in France had been charged with jihadist offences while another 710 are being investigated.

Since 2012, 83 people have been sentenced for jihadist activities.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

France 24 : Media ‘war’: Trump team defends ‘alternative facts’

Media ‘war’: Trump team defends ‘alternative facts’


The White House vowed on Sunday to fight the news media “tooth and nail” over what it sees as unfair attacks, with a top adviser saying the Trump administration had presented “alternative facts” to counter low inauguration crowd estimates.

On his first full day as president, Trump said he had a “running war” with the media and accused journalists of underestimating the number of people who turned out Friday for hisswearing-in.

White House officials made clear no truce was on the horizon on Sunday in television interviews that set a much harsher tone in the traditionally adversarial relationship between the White House and the press corps.

“The point is not the crowd size. The point is the attacks and the attempt to delegitimize this president in one day. And we’re not going to sit around and take it,” Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” The sparring with the media has dominated Trump’s first weekend in office, eclipsing debate over policy and Cabinet appointments.

It was the main theme at the Republican president’s first visit to the CIA, at the press secretary’s first media briefing and in senior officials’ first appearances on the Sunday talk shows.

Together, they made clear the administration will continue to take an aggressive stance with news organizations covering Trump.

“We’re going to fight back tooth and nail every day and twice on Sunday,” Priebus said.

He repeated White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s assertions on Saturday that the media manipulated photographs of the National Mall to make the crowds on Friday look smaller than they really were.

Aerial photographs showed the crowds were significantly smaller than when Barack Obama took over as president in 2009. The Washington subway system said it had 193,000 riders by 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) on Friday, compared with 513,000 at that time during the 2009 inauguration.

Spicer’s categorical assertion that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period” was widely challenged in media reports citing crowd count experts and was lampooned on social media as well.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” why the press secretary was uttering provable falsehoods, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway fired back.

“If we are going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we are going to rethink our relationship here,” she said.

Conway responded to criticism that the new administration was focusing on crowds rather than on significant domestic and foreign policy issues by saying: “We feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there.”

Priebus and Conway focused on a press pool report that said the bust of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office after Trump took office.

The report on Friday night was quickly corrected, but Trump called out the reporter by name during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency on Saturday. Spicer also berated the reporter later in the day.

Russian shadows

With the Nov. 8 election results shadowed by U.S. intelligence reports of Russian meddling on his behalf, Trump has bristled at reports suggesting his popular support is soft and that the election was not legitimate.

Trump, who lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, made no mention of Russia in his first visit to the CIA on Saturday. He praised his nominee to head the agency, Mike Pompeo, and ranted against the “dishonest” media, a favorite target during his presidential campaign.

The president accused the media of fabricating his tensions with the U.S. intelligence community, despite his frequent posts on Twitter that derided the agencies.

Trump drew criticism from Democrats as well as former CIA Director John Brennan for his remarks at the agency, where he spoke before a memorial wall with stars representing personnel killed in action.

“President Trump ought to realize he’s not campaigning anymore. He’s president,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Instead of talking about how many people showed up at his inauguration, he ought to be talking about how many people are going to stay in the middle class and move into the middle class.”


France 24 : Trump discusses Iran threats, visit with Israel’s Netanyahu

Trump discusses Iran threats, visit with Israel’s Netanyahu


US President Donald Trump Sunday discussed threats from Iran with Benjamin Netanyahu, inviting the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House early next month.

The two leaders spoke by telephone and “agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran,” the White House said in a statement, signalling the new administration’s tougher line on Tehran.

The statement also said that Trump invitedNetanyahu “to an early February meeting at the White House.”

Israel approved hundreds of new settler homes in east Jerusalem Sunday hours before the telephone call, which an Israeli statement described as “very warm”.

But a potentially explosive plan to annex a large West Bank Jewish settlement unilaterally was shelved until after Netanyahu and Trump meet.

“The prime minister expressed his desire to work closely with President Trump to forge a common vision to advance peace and security in the region,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Trump has pledged strong support for Israel and vowed during his campaign to recognise Jerusalem as the country’s capital despite the city’s contested status.

But the White House statement concerning the call did not mention Trump’s suggestion tomove the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Such a transfer would break with the consensus of the vast majority of the international community, which does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The White House on Sunday appeared to play down suggestions that a decision was imminent.

“We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told AFP.

Like other major powers, the US maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv pending a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jerusalem’s status.

Israel captured Arab east Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later annexed it — in a move not recognised by the international community — declaring all of the city its unified capital.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

During the phone call on Sunday, Trump also stressed the need for direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

“The president emphasised that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal,” the White House said.

The US is Israel’s most important ally, providing more than $3 billion a year in defence aid, but former president Barack Obama grew frustrated with Israeli settlement building.

He declined to veto a December 23 UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements. Trump had called for the resolution to be vetoed.

‘We can finally build’

In an initial move following Trump’s inauguration, Israeli officials on Sunday approved building permits for 566 settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem.

“The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman told AFP.

“We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.”

The Palestinian presidency condemned the move, calling it a violation of the UN resolution.

A draft bill to annex the Maale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank had been on the agenda for approval by a ministerial committee legislation on Sunday.

Such a move could badly damage prospects for a two-state solution.

But the inner circle of senior ministers known as the security cabinet blocked it for the time being, a member said.

“What was decided was to wait for the meeting which will certainly take place within a few weeks,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli public radio.

Annexing Maale Adumim unilaterally would set off alarm bells globally, with many warning that it would be another step towards dividing the occupied West Bank between north and south, making a contiguous Palestinian state difficult to achieve.

‘Critical location’

For some Israeli ministers who oppose a Palestinian state, that is precisely the point.

“We have to tell the American administration what we want and not wait for orders from the administration,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel’s army radio.

Maale Adumim, in a strategic location east of Jerusalem, has some 37,000 residents.

Some peace proposals have envisioned it becoming part of Israel in land swaps agreed with the Palestinians, but not unilaterally.

“Given Maale Adumim’s critical location in the heart of the West Bank, the international community has for years been following with special concern all developments in this area, seen as a touchstone for the viability of a two-state solution,” settlements watchdog Ir Amim said.

Israel occupied the West Bank, like east Jerusalem, in 1967.

Settlements in both the West Bank and east Jerusalem are viewed as illegal under international law.

Some 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, with another 200,000 in east Jerusalem. In comparison, around 2.9 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

France 24 : Syrian rebels refuse face-to-face meeting at talks

Syrian rebels refuse face-to-face meeting at talks


Syria’s government envoy at the peace talks in Astana on Monday denounced as “provocative” and “insolent” a speech delivered by the head of the rebel factions attending the gathering in Kazakhstan.

Bashar Ja’afari, Syria‘s UN ambassador, said rebel leader Mohammad Alloush’s speech in Kazakhstan’s capital was not appropriate for a gathering of diplomats.

Ja’afari in remarks to reporters in Astana repeatedly referred to the rebel delegation as representatives of “terrorist armed groups”. He also said that the agenda for the talks sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran is “not ready yet.”

The harsh and uncompromising tone of Ja’afari’s remarks is a bad omen for the talks, which had barely started before rebel leaders refused to negotiate face-to-face with representatives of the Syrian regime.

The talks had been billed as the first time armed rebel groups were due to negotiate withPresident Bashar al-Assad‘s regime since the conflict erupted in 2011.

But rebel spokesman Yehya al-Aridi told AFP the opposition backed out of the first round of direct talks because of the regime’s continued bombardment and attacks on a flashpoint area near Damascus.

“The first negotiation session will not be face-to-face because the government hasn’t committed until now to what it signed in the December 30 agreement,” Aridi said, referring to the fragile ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

Will the two-sides negotiate?

It remained unclear whether the two sides would negotiate directly later.

“It doesn’t mean that the two won’t meet,” FRANCE 24 correspondent Thomas Loewe said. “But it does mean that these last few weeks of preparation haven’t come to the fruition that was hoped for.”

Several rounds of failed talks in Geneva saw political opposition figures take the lead in negotiating with the Damascus regime.

But in Astana, the 14-member opposition delegation is composed solely of rebels leading the armed uprising, with members of the political opposition serving as advisors.

The two delegations entered a luxurious meeting room for opening statements by the Kazakh foreign minister, before the closed-door talks began.

“The rebel groups are in one room … and in the other are representatives of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government, and the mediator is going between the two groups,” FRANCE 24’s Loewe  explained.

The negotiators have been welcomed by all parties in the war, but the two sides arrived with apparently divergent ideas on their aim.

Rebel groups say the talks will focus on bolstering the ceasefire, but Assad has insisted rebels lay down their arms in exchange for an amnesty deal.

Damascus has also called for a “comprehensive” political solution to a conflict that has killed more than 310,000 and displaced more than half of Syria’s population.

“The government delegation took part in the Astana meeting on the basis that the agenda would include reinforcing the ceasefire and discussing the principles of a political solution,” a source close to the government delegation told AFP.

The source said the Turks, Russians, and Iranians — joint organisers of the talks — were rushing to put together a final statement that the rebels and regime were expected to sign Tuesday.

‘Common ground’

The talks come a month after the regime recaptured rebel areas of Aleppo, scoring its biggest victory since the war began.

“This is not a replacement for the Geneva process,” rebel negotiator Fares Buyush told AFP, referring to the UN-hosted political negotiations set to resume in the Swiss city next month.

Delegation spokesman Osama Abu Zeid said the rebels were concerned with “more than just a ceasefire”.

“The issue is putting monitoring, investigation, and accountability mechanisms in place,” he told AFP. “We want these mechanisms so that this doesn’t play out over and over.”

Previous pushes for a long-term ceasefire have faltered, with both sides trading accusations over violations.

Syrian state media reported the regime had met the Iranian delegation as well as UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura ahead of Monday’s talks to discuss their positions.

The regime’s objectives include reaching “common ground” with other participants, Syrian state news agency SANA quoted lead negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s UN ambassador, as saying.

The regime will also seek to “consolidate the cessation of hostilities” and separate the rebels from the Islamic State group and former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, he said.

As the sides headed to Astana, three regime air strikes killed nine civilians in rebel-held areas in the central Syrian province of Homs, a monitoring group said.

‘No shortcut’

Although Russia and Turkey have backed opposing sides in Syria, they have worked hand-in-hand in recent weeks to try to secure an end to the brutal war.

The Astana talks will be a major test of this new partnership.

The rapprochement, which saw Russia and Turkey conduct their first joint air strikes against IS targets in Syria last week, has come to fill the vacuum left by Washington’s disengagement from the conflict in recent months.

US President Donald Trump’s administration was invited to participate in the talks but did not send a delegation.

Washington will instead be represented by its ambassador to Kazakhstan, the State Department said, while a European diplomatic source said France and Britain would also be represented at the ambassador level.

Experts say a breakthrough could see some of the armed opposition join next month’s Geneva talks.

“Nearly six years of war demonstrates there is no shortcut to ending it,” a Western diplomat told AFP.

“A genuine transition in Syria first means building confidence on the ground. That is what the opposition have demanded and it’s not so much to ask.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

France 24 : Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP deal

Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP deal


President Donald Trump moved Monday to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, making good on a pledge to scrap a deal he denounced as a “job killer” and a “rape” of US interests.

Embarking on his first full week in office, the 45th US president began rolling out his policy agenda after a tumultuous first weekend for his administration by signing a series of executive orders.

Among the first was a memo on withdrawing from the vast TPP trade pact, which aimed to set trade rules for the 21st century and bind US allies against growing Chinese economic clout.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said as he signed the executive order in the Oval Office.

“Great thing for the American worker what we just did.”

Promoted by Washington and signed by 12 countries in 2015, the TPP had yet to go into effect and US withdrawal is likely to sound its death knell.

Its signatories — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Brunei — together represent 40 percent of the world economy.

The real estate mogul’s White House bid was fuelled in part by a pledge to overturn trade deals — such as TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement — that he says have drained US jobs and destroyed its industrial heartlands.

Trump also signed two other orders, on freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion.

White House pilloried

The Republican leader is looking to shift attention firmly back onto his policy agenda after a first few days that put his incoming administration on the back foot.

“Busy week planned with a heavy focus on jobs and national security,” he tweeted early Monday.

Since he was sworn in on Friday, Trump’s White House has been pilloried for lying to the public about inaugural crowds and over a campaign-style speech by the president before a memorial to fallen CIA officers.

On Saturday several million Americans poured onto the streets for women-led demonstrations against Trump, the scale of which were unseen in a generation, in a potent rebuke to the president.

Trump has upbraided top aides over unfavorable media coverage on everything from crowd sizes to suggestions he has ruled out releasing his taxes. He is the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to do so.

On Sunday the president vowed to swiftly start renegotiating NAFTA in upcoming talks with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Trump has already moved to curb Obama’s health care reforms and more quick legal tweaks — in the form of executive orders — are expected on immigration and limiting environmental legislation.

But more substantive changes will need buy-in from the Republican controlled Congress.

‘Massive’ tax cuts?

On Monday, Trump was hosting separate meetings with business leaders, unions and members of both houses of Congress.

He will also meet the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

Tax reform is likely to be high on the agenda.

“What we’re doing is we are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies, and that’s massively,” he said.

“A bigger thing, and that surprised me, is the fact that we’re going to be cutting regulation massively.”

Reform of Obama’s health care laws is also likely to be on the menu.

Trump has publicly promised that none of the tens of millions of Americans who obtained health insurance under Obama will lose it.

That makes any meaningful changes difficult to pay for.

But the more urgent task for Trump may be to keep always skeptical establishment Republicans on board the “Trump train.”

Dissent in check

Trump’s approval rating is around 40 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average, low for a president just starting out.

That could make legislators think twice about toeing the line with an unpopular leader.

But Trump’s bareknuckle style has also kept dissent in check, with some terrified they will become the object of a presidential tweet that sets off a world of political pain.

Senator Ben Sasse was among the few who had mild criticism for Trump’s decision on the trans-Pacific trade deal.

“It’s clear that those of us who believe trade is good for American families have done a terrible job defending trade’s historic successes and celebrating its future potential,” he said.

“We have to make the arguments and we have to start now.”

On Thursday, Trump will travel to a Republican Congressional retreat in Philadelphia to further build ties.

The following day, he will host British Prime Minister Theresa May — the first White House visit of a foreign leader under the new administration.


Large, flashy Black-billed Magpies, relatives of jays and crows, are social creatures that will gather in numbers to feed at carrion. Learn more about these showy birds: http://ow.ly/iNB3308gBrj.

Large, flashy Black-billed Magpies, relatives of jays and crows, are social creatures that will gather in numbers to feed at carrion. Learn more about these showy birds: http://ow.ly/iNB3308gBrj.


” The Vision of St. Peter ” 1556Artist : Jacopo Tintoretto Period : Mannerism Location: Madonna dell’Orto , Venice , Italy


“Creation of Adam”.(God).Details.Fresco.1512.By Michelangelo Buonarroti,1475_1564.Italian Florence Artist.High Renaissance.


Raphael— ” Self-Portrait ” 1499Period : Haute RenaissanceMedia: Chalk Location: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK

San Petro Basilica: The Sistine Chapel ,  wonderful icon from the Renaissance Period

The Sistine Chapel , wonderful icon from the Renaissance Period