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Fri, 06 Dec 2019 13:59 GMT

Weekly Press Review - February 25th


David Robert Powell

Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:27 GMT

Venezuela aid standoff turns deadly

Washington Post February 24th 

The Washington Post headlined at least four people killed and hundreds injured on February 23rd in a wave of violence on Venezuela's border, as opposition activists tried to defy a government ban and bring in food and medical supplies.

The New York Times reported that Venezuela's opposition managed to get a small truckload of supplies in from Brazil but elsewhere its effort stalled. 

The Wall Street Journal commented that the aid showdown, "put in stark relief the choice in Venezuela between a dictator who wants to block aid for the people and the Guaidó government that wants to deliver it."It said there was no doubt that the country's military, "are tired of seeing the Venezuelan people suffer." 

New York Times February 19th

The New York Times criticised the US president's "ultimatum" to the Venezuelan army to abandon Nicolas Maduro and let aid in. "Mr Trump is only incidentally speaking out in support of the downtrodden. His chief motivation appears to be to rally his far-right base by proclaiming himself a warrior against 'socialism'."

US to keep 400 troops in Syria

There was extensive coverage of the battle to oust ISIS from what the Washington Post called, "the final corner of ISIS's rotting 'caliphate'," and the accompanying exodus of civilians and fighters. The paper also welcomed the White House announcement that a force of around 400 US troop would stay in Syria, despite President Trump's previously declaring all US forces would leave. "Trump denies 'reversing course' on Syria pullout," it headlined.

Washington Post February 23rd

 The paper had no doubt the president was talked out of the "major strategic blunder" of a full withdrawal. "The president deserves credit for listening to those who warned him against the Middle Eastern pitfall he was blundering into." 

Seven Labour MP's quit party to form new group… 

The Daily Mirror headlined the decision by seven British MP's to quit the opposition Labour Party - over Brexit and the failure to tackle anti-Semitism inside the party - causing a "splitting headache" for the leadership

Daily Mirror February 19th

The Times called it "a seismic moment" and warned of, "the best of people, with a demonstrable record of public service … being remorselessly replaced by zealots and charlatans."

… and three Conservatives join them

Two days later, three Conservative MPs quit their party over Brexit policy and joined the ex-Labour seven in their new Independent Group. The Sun headlined, "Split hits the fan: Brexit haters quit Tories."

The pro-Brexit Daily Express was incensed at the timing of the move and told the three it was, "no laughing matter." 

Daily Express February 21st

The Daily Telegraph's former editor predicted the new group would collapse once Britain had left the EU in five weeks.

The Times columnist and ex-Conservative MP, Matthew Parris, blamed PM Theresa May for driving out the MPs. She had, "not simply failed to unite two wings of my party, but .. her premiership has driven them apart, into anger and despair."

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland thought the fledgling political grouping, "could benefit from its very vagueness, becoming a blank screen on which disenchanted voters, looking for something new, project their hopes."

British jihadi woman asks to come back home

The other major story in the British papers was the decision by UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to strip ex-ISIS member, Shemima Begum, of her British citizenship. Few papers had sympathy with the unrepentant Begum and her plea for "sympathy" - especially after she tried to justify the 2017 bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people at a concert. But banning her from Britain divided opinion. "Sympathy? you must be kidding," headlined The Sun.

The Sun February 18th

But The Times accused Home Secretary Javid of "callousness" and acting as a "crowd-pleaser." The paper pointed out, "other jihadists have returned to Britain, been subjected to scrutiny and not had their citizenship withdrawn." And the paper warned,"British jihadists are a British problem; failing to acknowledge this reality does not make the country more secure."

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