{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"world","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/the-beginning-of-the-end-of-global-democracy-leader-comment-1-4833267","id":"1.4833267","articleHeadline": "The beginning of the end of global democracy – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542866400000 ,"articleLead": "

Russia’s failed bid to take over Interpol was a lucky escape, but tyrants the world over are getting bolder.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833266.1542829034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Russian candidate to become president of Interpol, Alexander Prokopchuk, above, missed out to a South Korean candidate described as 'solid, uncontroversial' (Russian Interior Ministry via AP)"} ,"articleBody": "

The election of a South Korean police officer as president of Interpol would normally not have warranted much of a mention. Indeed, Kim Jong Yang’s appointment was described by one lawyer as a “solid, uncontroversial choice”.

However, the reason why the election took place at all and what nearly happened are deeply alarming signs of how close we are to a new world order in which democracy, the rule of law and basic human rights no longer hold sway.

The vacancy arose after the previous Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, disappeared in his native China. The authorities later said he was suspected of taking bribes, a claim his wife denies, saying he is the victim of a vendetta by rivals in China’s security ministry. Such disappearances are not uncommon in China. Earlier this year, actress Fan Bingbing, star of the X-Men and Iron Man films, vanished for months before eventually surfacing to apologise for failing to pay her taxes.

READ MORE: Russia loses Interpol presidency vote as South Korean is elected

Justice in China does not involve the idea that it must be seen to be done, leading to the well-founded suspicion that China’s leaders use state powers to silence critics.

Kim’s election was also something of a surprise. The favourite was Alexander Prokopchuk, a former Russian interior ministry official. Businessman Bill Browder – whose lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was allegedly tortured and killed in a Moscow prison after investigating alleged corruption involving Kremlin-linked figures – had warned that Prokopchuk would take his instructions from Vladimir Putin, pointing out that Russia carried out Salisbury chemical weapons attack, has interfered in democratic elections in the US and Europe, and that a Russian missile was used to shoot down a passenger plane over Ukraine.

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Donald Trump’s response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi embassy – Trump said the Saudi royal family promised to spend billions on US arms – was another sign of how the rule of law is being diminished. All this sends out strong messages to elected leaders who look enviously at Putin’s corruption of democracy and to straightforward tyrants like the Saudi Crown Prince: democracy is falling, might is right, and murdering or disappearing a rival won’t have many repercussions. Interpol, already abused by non-democratic states, narrowly avoided being taken over by a deeply sinister regime. We may not be so lucky next time.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4833266.1542829034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833266.1542829034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Russian candidate to become president of Interpol, Alexander Prokopchuk, above, missed out to a South Korean candidate described as 'solid, uncontroversial' (Russian Interior Ministry via AP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Russian candidate to become president of Interpol, Alexander Prokopchuk, above, missed out to a South Korean candidate described as 'solid, uncontroversial' (Russian Interior Ministry via AP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4833266.1542829034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/trump-gives-answers-to-russia-probe-1-4833243","id":"1.4833243","articleHeadline": "Trump gives answers to Russia probe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542827040000 ,"articleLead": "

US president Donald Trump has provided the special counsel with written answers to questions about his knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016 election, his lawyers have said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833242.1542827037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump (Photo by Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

It is the first time he has directly co-operated with the long investigation.

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The step is a milestone in the negotiations between Mr Trump’s attorneys and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team over whether the president might sit for an interview. The compromise outcome offers some benefit to both sides. Mr Trump averts an in-person interview, while Mueller secures on-the-record statements.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4833242.1542827037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833242.1542827037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "US President Donald Trump (Photo by Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump (Photo by Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4833242.1542827037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/italy-told-its-budget-is-in-breach-of-eu-rules-1-4833241","id":"1.4833241","articleHeadline": "Italy told its budget is in breach of EU rules","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542826908000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Commission warned Italy its budget plans were in serious breach of the rules underpinning the euro single currency and said the country should face sanctions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833240.1542826905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria waits for the start of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)"} ,"articleBody": "

The European Union’s executive arm, which supervises national budget plans, has invited eurozone countries to examine its assessment in two weeks. If they agree with it, the commission would launch an “excessive deficit procedure” that could result in fines for Italy.

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The warning, while not rare in EU terms, has been marked by tensions between the commission and Italy’s populist government, which has vowed to continue with its spending plans. “It is with regret that today we confirm our assessment that Italy’s draft budget plan is in particularly serious non-compliance,” EU Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said.

“The situation in Italy is of common concern. Euro area countries are in the same team and should be playing by the same rules.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4833240.1542826905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833240.1542826905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria waits for the start of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria waits for the start of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4833240.1542826905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/russia-loses-interpol-presidency-vote-as-south-korean-is-elected-1-4833239","id":"1.4833239","articleHeadline": "Russia loses Interpol presidency vote as South Korean is elected","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542826598000 ,"articleLead": "

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president, edging out a veteran of Russia’s security services who was strongly opposed by the United States, Britain and other European nations.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833238.1542826594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kim Jong-yang during the 87th Interpol General Assembly in Dubai. (Photo by handout / KOREAN NATIONAL POLICE AGENCY / AFP)"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Kim’s surprise election was seen as a victory for the White House and its European partners, who had lobbied until the final hours before the vote against Alexander Prokopchuk’s attempts to be named the next president of the policing organisation.

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The US and others expressed concern that if Russia’s candidate had been elected, that would have led to further Kremlin abuses of Interpol’s red notice system to go after political opponents and fugitive dissidents.

Russia accused its critics of running a “campaign to discredit” its candidate, calling Mr Prokopchuk a respected professional.

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Groups campaigning to clean up Interpol celebrated the win, as did South Korea whose police and foreign ministry issued a joint statement saying Mr Kim’s election was a “national triumph” that could elevate South Korea’s international standing. Mr Kim’s win means he secured at least two thirds of votes cast at Interpol’s general assembly in Dubai yesterday. He will serve until 2020, completing the four-year mandate of his predecessor, Meng Hongwei, who was detained in China as part of a wide anti-corruption sweep.

Mr Kim, a police official in South Korea, was serving as interim president after Mr Meng’s departure from the post and was senior vice-president at Interpol. Russia’s interior ministry said after the vote that Mr Prokopchuk, one of three vice-presidents at Interpol, will remain in that position.

Spokeswoman Irina Volk told the Interfax news agency Mr Prokopchuk would “focus on advancing the stature of Interpol in the international police community and making its work more effective”.

Most of Interpol’s 194 member-countries attended the organisation’s annual assembly held in an opulent Dubai hotel Interpol faces a pivotal moment in its history.

Based in the French city of Lyon, the 95-year-old policing body is best known for issuing “red notices” that identify suspects pursued by other countries, effectively putting them on the world’s “most-wanted” list.

Critics say countries like Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran and China have used the system to try to round up political opponents, journalists or activists, even though its rules prohibit the use of police notices for political reasons.

The agency faced criticism two years ago when Mr Meng was voted in as president. Amnesty International has criticised “China’s long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad”.

Member countries can issue requests directly to other countries using Interpol’s communication system, without going through the centralised Interpol vetting that is in place for red notices. Watchdog groups are urging Interpol to reform the diffusion system.

Bill Browder, who runs an investment fund that once operated in Moscow, said Russia used the diffusion system against him, which led to his brief arrest in Spain earlier this year.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4833238.1542826594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833238.1542826594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kim Jong-yang during the 87th Interpol General Assembly in Dubai. (Photo by handout / KOREAN NATIONAL POLICE AGENCY / AFP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kim Jong-yang during the 87th Interpol General Assembly in Dubai. (Photo by handout / KOREAN NATIONAL POLICE AGENCY / AFP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4833238.1542826594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/american-killed-by-arrow-wielding-tribe-on-remote-indian-isle-1-4833230","id":"1.4833230","articleHeadline": "American killed by arrow-wielding tribe on remote Indian isle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542825394000 ,"articleLead": "

An American is believed to have been killed by an isolated Indian island tribe known to fire at outsiders with bows and arrows.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833229.1542825390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Allen Chau - An American man has been killed by an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands. Fishermen who took the man to North Sentinel island say tribespeople shot him with arrows and left his body on the beach. Picture: Universal News And sport (Europe) 21/11/2018"} ,"articleBody": "

Police officer Vijay Singh said seven fishermen had been arrested for facilitating the American’s visit to North Sentinel Island, where the killing apparently occurred.

Visits to the island are heavily restricted by the government.

The Sentinelese people live on the small forested island. They are known to resist all contact with outsiders, often attacking anyone who comes near.

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North Sentinel is in the Andaman Islands – a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

Indian media reports said the American was on an adventure trip to the islands and his body had been spotted by the fishermen.

Mr Singh said police were in the process of recovering the body.

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He said the man was killed on Saturday and he was investigating the case.

Local media say he was a missionary. He has been identified as John Allen Chau.

Kathleen Hosie, spokeswoman for the US Consulate in Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state, said it was aware of reports concerning an American in the islands.

“When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts,” Ms Hosie said.

She said she could not comment further due to privacy considerations.

Survival International, an organisation that works for the rights of tribal people, said the killing of the American should prompt Indian authorities to properly protect the lands of the Sentinelese and other Andaman tribes.

“The British colonial occupation of the Andaman Islands decimated the tribes living there, wiping out thousands of tribespeople and only a fraction of the original population now survives,” Stephen Corry, the group’s director, said in a statement.

“So the Sentinelese fear of outsiders is very understandable.”

Shiv Viswanathan, a social scientist and a professor at Jindal Global Law School, said North Sentinel Island was a protected area and not open to tourists.

“The exact population of the tribe is not known, but it is declining,” he said.

“The government has to protect them.”

Poachers are known to fish illegally in the waters around the island, catching turtles and diving for lobsters and sea cucumbers.

Tribespeople killed two Indian fishermen in 2006 when their boat broke loose and drifted onto the shore.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4833229.1542825390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4833229.1542825390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Allen Chau - An American man has been killed by an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands. Fishermen who took the man to North Sentinel island say tribespeople shot him with arrows and left his body on the beach. Picture: Universal News And sport (Europe) 21/11/2018","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Allen Chau - An American man has been killed by an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands. Fishermen who took the man to North Sentinel island say tribespeople shot him with arrows and left his body on the beach. Picture: Universal News And sport (Europe) 21/11/2018","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4833229.1542825390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/motorsport/video-terrifying-airborne-crash-during-motor-racing-grand-prix-1-4832002","id":"1.4832002","articleHeadline": "Video: Terrifying airborne crash during motor racing Grand Prix","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542640443000 ,"articleLead": "

Teenage driver Sophia Floersch was set to undergo surgery Monday for a spinal fracture after a terrifying airborne crash in the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4832001.1542640440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The car of Sophia Floersch (bottom left) before it collided with a structure."} ,"articleBody": "

The 17-year-old German tweeted Sunday: “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow (Monday) morning ... Update soon.”

Floersch has a spinal fracture, according to a medical report released by her team, the Netherlands-based Van Amersfoort Racing.

“The whole world saw what happened and we can only thank God that @SophiaFloersch escaped with relatively light injuries,” Van Amersfoort Racing tweeted. “Our thoughts go also to the other people involved and we wish them a speedy recovery.”

Video footage showed Floersch appearing to clip Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi’s car while hurtling off the track at high speed on a tight right-hand bend on lap four. Floersch’s car then went through a catch fence, hit a structure on the perimeter and dropped to the ground with safety officials immediately on the scene.

The incident prompted an immediate red flag and a delay of more than an hour before the race was restarted.

In a statement posted on social media, motor sport’s governing body FIA said: “The driver (Floersch) is conscious and has subsequently been taken to hospital for further evaluation.” It added that Tsuboi and “two members of the media and one marshal were also transferred to a local hospital in a conscious state for further evaluation.”

Media reports said Tsuboi has lumbar pain.

FIA president Jean Todt posted a statement on Twitter saying the sport’s organizing body was “mobilized to help those involved and analyze what happened.

“All my thoughts are with you @SophiaFloersch and the others injured. I wish you all a safe recovery.”

Macau is a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4832001.1542640440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4832001.1542640440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The car of Sophia Floersch (bottom left) before it collided with a structure.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The car of Sophia Floersch (bottom left) before it collided with a structure.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4832001.1542640440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/israel-ban-social-media-after-ex-celtic-star-s-pro-arab-post-1-4831838","id":"1.4831838","articleHeadline": "Israel ban social media after ex-Celtic star’s pro-Arab post","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542629605000 ,"articleLead": "

Israel have launched a self-imposed ban on posting social media posts after ex-Celtic star Beram Kayal caused an internal storm in their camp.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831836.1542629600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Israel's midfielder Beram Kayal vies against Guatemala defender Wilson Pineda during their friendly encounter on Thursday. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

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The Israelis warmed up for their showdown in Scotland with a 7-0 romp against Guatemala at home last week.

After the game, Brighton midfielder Kayal posted a picture on Instagram, later deleted, of the seven Arab players in the Israel squad with the caption ‘The Bosses.’

But that sparked a major row in the Israeli squad, who have suffered from serious political and religious divisions before between their Arab players and the rest of the group.

Kayal’s post prompted a hastily-arranged team meeting before the squad flew to Glasgow and Guangzhou midfielder Eran Zahavi revealed they have now agreed to have a social media black-out until after the game.

He said: “Beram Kayal and the rest of the Arab players in the squad made it very clear to us there was no bad intentions meant when he posted that.

“We had a conversation and we all agreed the most important thing is the team’s success.

“We don’t want to create a media circus about this and have agreed to not post anything until after the game in Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831836.1542629600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831836.1542629600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Israel's midfielder Beram Kayal vies against Guatemala defender Wilson Pineda during their friendly encounter on Thursday. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Israel's midfielder Beram Kayal vies against Guatemala defender Wilson Pineda during their friendly encounter on Thursday. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831836.1542629600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5798840152001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/donald-trump-leaves-finnish-leader-puzzled-with-claim-forests-are-raked-1-4831659","id":"1.4831659","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump leaves Finnish leader puzzled with claim forests are raked","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542576476000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831658.1542576472!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he visits a neighborhood impacted by the Wolsey Fire. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci."} ,"articleBody": "

Donald Trump left the president of Finland puzzled yesterday after suggesting that raking is part of the Scandinavian country’s routine for managing its substantial forests.

The US president told reporters while visiting the ruins of the Northern California town where a fire killed at least 76 people that wildfires were not a problem in Finland because crews “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said yesterday in a newspaper that he spoke briefly with Mr Trump about forest management on 11 November when they both were in Paris for Armistice Day events.

Mr Niinisto said their conversation focused on the California wildfires and the surveillance system Finland uses to monitor forests for fires. He remembered telling Mr Trump “we take care of our forests” but could not recall raking coming up.

Forests cover more than 70 per cent of Finland’s 338,000 square kilometers. The Nordic country with a population of 5.5 million.

As hundreds of searchers continued to sift through rubble in the town of Paradise looking for the dead yesterday, nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire sparked in Butte County.

Mr Trump toured the area with California’s outgoing and incoming governors, both Democrats who have traded sharp exchanges with the Republican administration.

He also visited Southern California, where firefighters were making progress on a wildfire that tore through communities west of Los Angeles from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, killing three people.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in California, we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,” Mr Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise and pledged the full support of the federal government.

The president initially blamed state officials for poor forest management in
 exacerbating the fires and threatened to cut off federal funding.

Northern California’s Camp Fire has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and burned 233 square miles. It is 55 per cent contained. The fire zone in Northern California is to some extent Trump country, and that enthusiasm was on display as dozens of people cheered and waved flags as his motorcade went by.

Kevin Cory, a wildfire evacuee who lost his home in Paradise, praised Mr Trump for coming to a state that is often at odds with the White House.

“I think that California’s been really horrible to him. I mean they’re suing him,” he said. “It’s back and forth between the state and the feds.”

But for the most part, survivors, some who had barely escaped and no longer had homes, were too busy packing what little they had left or seeking help to pay much attention to the president’s visit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831658.1542576472!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831658.1542576472!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he visits a neighborhood impacted by the Wolsey Fire. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he visits a neighborhood impacted by the Wolsey Fire. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831658.1542576472!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/two-presidential-portraits-one-on-canvass-the-other-a-dirty-deed-1-4831051","id":"1.4831051","articleHeadline": "Two presidential portraits: one on canvass, the other a dirty deed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542434400000 ,"articleLead": "

In Washington DC, Barack Obama’s portrait is treated reverentially, while the sabotaging of attempts by a Republican senator to protect the Trump-Russia probe paints a picture of the current President, writes Susan Dalgety.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831049.1542383243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former US President Barack Obama gestures to his portrait �at the �National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC (Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

He threw himself on to the seat in front of us, his cobalt blue felt hat resplendent on his blonde wig, his eyes hidden behind Jackie O sunglasses.

“Oh. My. God. White. People. On. The. Train!” he exclaimed.

“Is he your security guard?” he asked in a stage whisper, pointing vaguely in the direction of the thirty-something African American sitting across the aisle, elegant in his business suit and overcoat.

“No,” I laughed. “You’ve had a good day,” I added, as he poured the last of his cheap vodka down his eager mouth.

“Aaargh,” he said, wiping his lips. “Do you like my hat? Fifteen dollars in a vintage shop. I got a red one too,” he slurred, thrusting a scarlet bonnet in my face. “Which one should I wear?” he demanded.

“Oh, the blue one, it matches your golf jumper.”

He suddenly noticed my husband, and leant over, coyly, and whispered to him, in what he must have assumed was his most seductive tone, “Can I touch your nose?”

Welcome to Washington DC. Arguably, still the world’s most powerful city. It had seemed less exciting as we sat in the Senate gallery earlier in the day, watching America’s finest, its 100 senators, vote on the Coast Guards Reauthorisation Bill.

No electronic voting system in this august chamber. Senators trickled in, approached the clerks to record their vote with a mumbled “aye” or “nay”, then slouched back out again. I have enjoyed more exciting meetings of Edinburgh City Council’s sub-committee on statutory notice appeals.

Then, in a room empty but for a few clerks, some eager pages and a trio of senators, the senior senator for Arizona got to his feet.

Jeff Flake is a bit of a maverick, as political commentators are wont to describe politicians who don’t quite fit their party stereotype.

It was he who, almost, stopped Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court, before party loyalty kicked in and he voted in favour of the nomination.

But he dislikes Donald Trump so much that, when he decided to stand down from the political front line at the end of this session, he cited the President’s behaviour as the main reason for his departure.

In his retirement speech, he criticised the Trump administration for its “casual undermining of our democratic ideals” as well as its “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behaviour.

“I love this institution. I’m not leaving because I’m sour on the Senate or Congress,” he went on. “I’m deeply saddened to leave it.”

In a last stand worthy of General Custer, he made a final desperate attempt on Wednesday to protect the Mueller inquiry into Russian collusion from Trump and his new, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

READ MORE: Susan Dalgety: Springsteen can help US rediscover its pre-Trump values

Flake and his best friend, Democrat Chris Coons, had previously drafted a bi-partisan bill that would safeguard Mueller. It was time to put it to the vote, before Flake left Washington for good.

But before he could argue a single point, an old man walked, very stiffly, into the chamber and took his seat at the front.

Republican Mitch McConnell is the majority leader of the Senate and probably the most powerful man in Washington. One word from him can stop a President dead in his tracks or, as it transpired, a bi-partisan bill.

“Is there objection?” asked the Presiding Officer, as Flake requested the unanimous consent that would allow the bill to be considered.

McConnell looked up from his iPhone. “I object,” with the air of man used to getting his own way.

“Objection is heard,” announced the Presiding Officer, and with that McConnell got slowly out of his chair and, like the ageing turtle he so resembles, crawled back to his office, satisfied no doubt by today’s dirty deed.

Flake and Coons went on to argue their case with muted passion, supported by the man who would be President, Democrat superstar Senator Cory Booker, but their heartfelt pleas were in vain. McConnell had spoken.

Undeterred, Flake made one last try to protect Mueller, and the country, from Trump’s worst instincts.

“I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee, or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor until S.2644 (the bill) is brought to the full Senate for a vote,” he announced quietly, before sitting down.

His threat to stop Trump from packing the courts with right-wing judges may not work, but it will certainly irritate an already angry and seemingly terrified President.

Deep from his bedroom bunker in the White House, Trump went back on the attack against Robert Mueller on Thursday morning, furiously tweeting that the probe is, “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”

READ MORE: Susan Dalgety: I’ve just witnessed the rock-star appeal of Donald Trump

It is hard to imagine Trump’s portrait hanging alongside those of great Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy, but one day his likeness will grace the American Presidents exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery.

Who will dare paint him? Norman Rockwell, the popular artist who joyously captured everyday America over five decades, was the unlikely choice to do Richard Nixon’s portrait.

He said that Nixon’s personality was “troublesomely elusive”, so took the easy way out and chose to flatter the only President yet to resign with a portrait worthy of a chocolate box.

Obama’s portrait was surprising, not for its vibrant execution, or even the size of his hands (HUGE), but by the reverence with which it is treated.

It hangs behind a black velvet rope, and people approach it as if it were a shrine. Young, old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all stand in front of their President quietly for a few moments, remembering a time, not so long ago, when the leader of the free world shrugged off rain with a smile and a carefully crafted phrase.

After taking an obligatory snap with their phone, they invariably turn to the usher, and ask, “where’s Michelle?”

Michelle is upstairs. As I approached the room where her portrait was on display, I heard a southern voice call, “Marsha, Marsha, take our picture with Michelle.”

Four late middle-aged white women, dressed for comfort rather than to impress, grinned widely in front of the former First Lady as Marsha snapped away.

Amy Sherald, the artist, says that Michelle Obama is someone “women can relate to – no matter what shape, size, race or colour. We see our best selves in her.”

Which begs the question, what does America see when it looks at Donald Trump?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831049.1542383243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831049.1542383243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former US President Barack Obama gestures to his portrait �at the �National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC (Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former US President Barack Obama gestures to his portrait �at the �National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC (Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831049.1542383243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/trump-is-ordered-to-hand-back-banned-acosta-s-press-pass-1-4831249","id":"1.4831249","articleHeadline": "Trump is ‘ordered’ to hand back banned Acosta’s press pass","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542395175000 ,"articleLead": "

A judge in Washington DC has ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked by US Secret Service.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831248.1542395172!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)"} ,"articleBody": "

The judge’s order says the pass must be reinstated as a CNN lawsuit against Donald Trump continues. Mr Acosta’s press pass was taken after he clashed with the president during a news conference. The judge said the White House decision is likely to have violated the journalist’s right to due process and freedom of speech.

READ MORE: ‘Alex Salmond paid £91k from his company while crowdfunding legal challenge’

Speaking outside the court, Mr Acosta praised the decision and told reporters “let’s go back to work”.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said they will comply with the order, and will “also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon told to forget independence referendum by Theresa May’s deputy

“There must be decorum at the White House,” she added.

The ruling forces the White House press office to temporarily return Mr Acosta’s “hard pass”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831248.1542395172!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831248.1542395172!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "President Donald Trump gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831248.1542395172!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/khmer-rouge-leaders-are-found-guilty-of-genocide-in-cambodia-1-4831241","id":"1.4831241","articleHeadline": "Khmer Rouge leaders are found guilty of genocide in Cambodia","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542394796000 ,"articleLead": "

The last surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia in the 1970s have been convicted by an international tribunal of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831240.1542394792!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Khmer Rouge leader head of state Khieu Samphan stands during his verdict in court at the ECCC in Phnom Penh. Picture: (Photo by NHET SOK HENG / Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia / AFP)"} ,"articleBody": "

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were top leaders in a reign of terror responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people.

The regime forced residents out of the cities into the countryside where they laboured under brutal conditions in giant agricultural co-operatives and work projects.

READ MORE: ‘Alex Salmond paid £91k from his company while crowdfunding legal challenge’

The communist Khmer Rouge, under the leadership of the late Pol Pot, sought to eliminate all traces of what they saw as corrupt bourgeois life, destroying most religious, financial and social institutions.

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were yesterday sentenced by the UN-assisted court to life in prison – the same punishment they were already serving after being convicted in a previous trial for crimes against humanity connected with forced transfers of people and mass disappearances. Cambodia has no death penalty.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon told to forget independence referendum by Theresa May’s deputy

Nuon Chea, 92, was considered the Khmer Rouge’s main ideologist and Pol Pot’s right-hand man. Khieu Samphan, 87, served as the head of state, presenting a moderate veneer as the public face for the highly secretive group.

Dissent under Khmer Rouge rule was usually met with death. Even the group’s loyalists faced torture and execution as the radical experiment at revolution failed, with blame cast about its ranks for alleged sabotage.

Executions counted for only a fraction of the death toll. Starvation, overwork and medical neglect took many more lives, amounting to as much as one quarter to one third of the entire population.

Only when an invasion by Vietnam finally drove the Khmer Rouge from power in 1979 did the magnitude of Cambodia’s holocaust become known. Yesterday’s verdict read aloud by Judge Nil Nonn established the Khmer Rouge committed genocide against the Vietnamese and Cham minorities.

Scholars had debated whether suppression of the Chams – a Muslim ethnic minority whose members had put up a small, but futile resistance against the Khmer Rouge – amounted to genocide.

The crimes against humanity convictions covered activities at work camps and co-operatives established by the Khmer Rouge. They included murder, extermination, deportation, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, religious and racial grounds, attacks on human dignity, enforced disappearances, forced transfers, forced marriages and rape.

The breaches of the Geneva Convention governing war crimes included wilful killing, torture or inhumane treatment. The tribunal, officially called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also ordered reparations for some of those judged to be victims.

It found Khieu Samphan not guilty of genocide against the Cham for insufficient evidence, though he was convicted of genocide against the Vietnamese under the principle of joint criminal enterprise, which holds individuals responsible for actions attributed to a group to which they belong.

Among the large crowd of spectators at yesterday’s session was 65-year-old Sum Rithy. He said he had been jailed for nearly two years under the Khmer Rouge, who accused him of being a spy for the CIA. His life was spared only because he was a skilled mechanic who could maintain engines and generators for his captors.

Nuon Chea suffers heart problems and was allowed to move from the hearing room to a separate holding room. Both convicted men have suggested they were targets of political persecution.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831240.1542394792!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831240.1542394792!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Khmer Rouge leader head of state Khieu Samphan stands during his verdict in court at the ECCC in Phnom Penh. Picture: (Photo by NHET SOK HENG / Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia / AFP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Khmer Rouge leader head of state Khieu Samphan stands during his verdict in court at the ECCC in Phnom Penh. Picture: (Photo by NHET SOK HENG / Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia / AFP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831240.1542394792!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/now-631-missing-in-california-fires-1-4831232","id":"1.4831232","articleHeadline": "Now 631 missing in California fires","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542393383000 ,"articleLead": "

At least 63 people are now dead from a Northern California wildfire as officials admitted they have a missing persons list with 631 names on it in an ever-evolving account of the victims of the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831231.1542393380!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

The high number of missing people may include some who fled the blaze, but do not realise they have been reported missing.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said he was making the list public so people could see if they were on it and let authorities know they had survived. “The chaos that we were dealing with was extraordinary,” Mr Honea said. “Now we’re trying to go back out and make sure that we’re accounting for everyone.”

About 52,000 people have been displaced to shelters, the homes of friends and relatives and to motels. A Walmart parking lot and an adjacent field in Chico – a dozen miles away from the ashes – are also holding those who have lost their homes.

The Northern California fire that started a week earlier obliterated the town of Paradise. Searchers have pulled bodies from incinerated homes and cremated cars, but in many cases the victims may have been reduced to bits of bones and ash. The latest toll stands at 63 dead and 9,800 homes destroyed.

At the other end of the state, more residents were being allowed back into the zone of a wildfire that torched an area the size of Denver, west of Los Angeles. The fire was 62 per cent contained after destroying nearly 550 homes and other buildings. At least three deaths were reported.

Air quality across large swathes of California remains very poor due to huge plumes of smoke. Schools from Sacramento to the Pacific Coast were closed yesterday. San Francisco’s iconic open-air cable cars were pulled off the streets.

Northern California’s Camp Fire was 40 per cent contained by Thursday, but there was no timeline for allowing evacuees to return because of the danger. Power lines were still down, roads closed and firefighters were still dousing embers.

Anna Goodnight of Paradise tried to make the best of it, sitting on an overturned shopping cart in the parking lot and eating scrambled eggs while her husband drank a Budweiser. Word started to spread that efforts were being made to phase out the camp by tomorrow by gradually removing donated clothing, food and toilets.

“The ultimate goal is to get these people out of tents, out of their cars and into warm shelter,” volunteer Jessica Busick said. Information for contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency was posted on a board that allowed people to write the names of those believed missing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831231.1542393380!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831231.1542393380!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831231.1542393380!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/in-our-angry-times-should-we-worry-rage-rooms-are-all-the-rage-1-4830658","id":"1.4830658","articleHeadline": "‘In our angry times, should we worry rage rooms are all the rage?’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542348000000 ,"articleLead": "

A place where you can smash up cars, TVs, your mobile phone, might sound appealing but is it really, wonders Jim Duffy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830657.1542312530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In a rage room, like this one in Singapore, people smash things up in the hope this will release tension and allow any anger to subside (Picture: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

In the US this week, Michelle Obama has been doing the rounds of the TV studios to promote her new book, CNN has launched a lawsuit against President Trump’s White House. The former First Lady takes a swipe at the current First Lady, while CNN has a go at defending the freedom of the press and the First Amendment – etc etc etc – as it seeks to have the press pass for its White House correspondent un-blocked. This after President Trump lost the heid and called the the CNN correspondent Jim Acosta “a rude, terrible person”. There are tense re-counts going on after the mid-term elections and the mud slinging is vicious.

Present Trump himself seems angrier. He’s been having a go at French President Macron, essentially telling him that if it was not for the USA, then France may be speaking German now. I mean really?

And, in the UK, Theresa May is in it up to her neck as usual with blatant snipes from her Cabinet colleagues coming in from all directions. Our whole political class is in conflict like never before.

Anger is spilling out on platforms like Twitter with bilious outbursts, while wildfires burn in Malibu, mass murders seem to be becoming more frequent, and the murder rate in “Lawless London” is on track to reach the highest annual total for a decade.

In short, conflict, anger and “he said, she said” arguments are everywhere. But, I think I may have found the solution for it all – The Rage Room!

We are perhaps living in one of the angriest times in political history. But, this tension and conflict looks to be having a top-down element where ordinary people are also on the brink of anger. Our politicians are supposed to lead and gel together a macro-social cohesion that binds us and at least gives us the perception that “the state” has it all covered. But, in recent times it appears to have come undone. This is leading, it could be argued, to a fissure opening up across all social strata that means we are all on high alert. We are all on the brink... and our fight-or-flight cortisol levels are going through the roof, as a result. And that is why our anger and rage is showing itself more frequently and with more consequences. Like all trends across history, we here in the UK are a bit behind the USA. The USA already knows it is angry, so US citizens have resorted to using Anger Rooms. And they are becoming increasingly more popular. With names like the Wrecking Room and House of Purge, they do what it says on the tin.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: Edinburgh Festival is infected by the age of rage

So what is an Anger Room? Imagine if you will a large cubicle the size of a regular bedroom. You are provided with safety gloves and glasses. You can buy as many smashable items as you want ranging from glasses to plates, to DVD players to televisions. Maybe a guitar or a printer floats your boat. You can have a sledgehammer to smash them up. Or perhaps your weapon of choice is a baseball bat.

You can smash windows, car windscreens, almost anything you fancy. Heck, you can even bring your own box. This means you rent the rage room, but bring your own items to vent your rage and the stuff to smash up. How cool is that? For 30 bucks, you can get rid of all that anger and punch a bag, smash a vase, vandalise a Ford Fiesta and throw a mobile phone off the wall – several times.

The number of rage rooms is rising in the USA. There are already hundreds across all states with many opening up in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina and Tucson, Arizona. But, don’t fret just yet, London has it first rage room – The Wreck Room and I’m pretty sure Scottish cities will follow suit ...

But, are they just a gimmick or are they serving a need in our angry times?

It seems that using a rage room could be good for your mental health. With so much tension, conflict, uncertainty and anger frothing around society, many of us want some form of release.

We need an outlet to vent and, well, rage. While some will use yoga, run marathons or simply hit the pub, the rage room offers another avenue to release that stress and anger that permeates life today.

READ MORE: Bill Jamieson: Anger over Brexit set to trigger political earthquake

Rage room owners say it’s less about anger management and more about releasing pent-up stress. And there is one big surprise in all this rage. Women make up 95 per cent of all the customers in one specific rage room. The House of Purge in North Carolina reports that women are its mainstay customers. Rage rooms are not then the stereotypical male-oriented spaces that one might think.

I have no doubt that some budding entrepreneur will open a rage room in Scotland. We are far from exempt when it comes to rage, anger and violence. But, what are rage rage rooms saying about society from Los Angeles to London to Novi Sad, Serbia?

Do we just need to be angry sometimes as humans beings? Is it simply natural to get angry at times of stress? Or is there something less savoury happening to us all as human beings living in angry political times?

I’ve suffered from anger issues before and there are times when I do feel like “doing a John Wick”. Perhaps a visit to a rage room would help sort this out ...

My question is, will these anger centres become all the rage as political, societal and technological trends re-shape who we are and who we think we are as human beings in this tense social fabric? I hope not.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830657.1542312530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830657.1542312530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "In a rage room, like this one in Singapore, people smash things up in the hope this will release tension and allow any anger to subside (Picture: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In a rage room, like this one in Singapore, people smash things up in the hope this will release tension and allow any anger to subside (Picture: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830657.1542312530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/andrew-hilland-we-re-failing-350m-children-who-live-in-war-zone-here-s-what-to-do-1-4829342","id":"1.4829342","articleHeadline": "Andrew Hilland: ‘We’re failing 350m children who live in war zone – here’s what to do’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542138395000 ,"articleLead": "

A new report, published as a book called Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, says schools could be given same protection as hospitals in war zones among other measures designed to reduce the number of atrocities committed against children on a daily basis, writes Andrew Hilland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4829341.1542138391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A child soldier in Huthi forces in Yemen, one of 350 million children who live in a conflict zone worldwide (Picture: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Scotland’s international charities have a proud record of campaigning for vulnerable children in the world’s poorest countries, taking action against hunger and disease and working to secure for every child the right to go to school. Yet these efforts are hampered by the atrocities that are being committed against children in war zones on a daily basis and the international community’s failure to hold the perpetrators to account.

This is the challenge taken up by the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict, a major review chaired by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The inquiry’s final report – authored by a legal panel headed by leading UK barrister Shaheed Fatima QC – has just been published as a book, Protecting Children in Armed Conflict.

The plight of children in the world’s 50 war zones is dire. Today, an estimated 350 million children – one child in every six – live amid conflict, an increase of 75 per cent from the early 1990s. UN data shows an increase in reports of grave violations against children in war zones, including the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, and denial of humanitarian assistance.

This is particularly so over the past five years. In recent months, a suicide bombing in a school in Afghanistan killed 37 students; government forces and allied militias in South Sudan systematically abducted and raped women and girls as young as eight; starvation has been employed as a weapon of war in a host of conflicts including Yemen, where five million children are now on the brink of famine; and 79 students were abducted from a school in Cameroon. In conflicts around the world, society’s most vulnerable members are being subjected to unthinkable suffering. All too often, the world looks the other way.

The inquiry’s legal report reminds us that for as long as there has been war, there have been children affected by it. Many of the stories of children in armed conflict in history glorify that involvement – from the biblical example of a young David defeating Goliath and going on to achieve military success in King Saul’s army, to the countless stories of young men misrepresenting their age in order to join up and serve in World War I or World War II. The reality for children in armed conflict has been very different. Since the advent of aerial bombardment in the first half of the 20th century, there has been a dramatic increase regarding the impact of armed conflict not just on combatants, but on entire civilian communities. Children have been caught up in violence that now stretches far beyond battle lines.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: World is turning blind eye to its biggest catastrophe

In the past 20 years, three marked shifts in the nature of war have complicated the task of safeguarding children from harm. First, inter-state conflicts have declined and more small-scale, intra-state wars have emerged. Second, many of today’s non-state armed groups are using terror as both an explicit tactic as well as a standalone aim. Third, new forms of technology are being used to detonate bombs and to recruit and indoctrinate children to spread violence. In the 20th century, advances in the legal framework for protecting children in war were achieved in response to changes in the realities on the ground. Can our fractured international community build consensus around this issue once again?

Ms Fatima’s report offers a blueprint. The 500-page study – already been backed by a host of eminent international lawyers, activists and military advisors – concludes that the international system of rules designed to uphold the rights of civilians in war is failing to protect children in conflict-affected countries. It calls for immediate reforms to protect millions of children. The proposals include giving schools the same protection as hospitals, making clear that a denial of humanitarian access will always be unlawful where it may lead to the starvation of civilians, and obliging states to take measures to prevent sexual violence against children.

Even where the law provides adequate protection, it is being undermined by a systemic lack of compliance and accountability. To tackle this culture of impunity, the report urges renewed efforts to secure more widespread ratification of existing accountability mechanisms, including the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and advocates greater domestic implementation.

READ MORE: SNP attacks UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid Yemen crisis

In the longer term, the report suggests a single, new international instrument aimed at consolidating and clarifying existing provisions in humanitarian law and human rights law relating to children in armed conflict to strengthen protection. One instrument, instead of the multiple existing ones, would make the law clearer and simpler, which will enhance implementation. Another purpose of a single instrument would be to improve accountability, by giving one international, civil, adjudicative body jurisdiction to receive complaints – a role that could potentially be undertaken by a strengthened Committee on the Rights of the Child.

One likely response to the work of the inquiry is that the scale of violations against children in armed conflict and the lack of accountability are attributable to a failure of political will, rather than any deficiency in the legal framework. On this basis, it might be said that a review of the law will not make any real difference. We disagree. The report recognises that one fundamental problem is the failure to comply with, and implement, existing laws, and that enhancing protection will require a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach which encompasses political accountability, support for the physical and emotional well-being of children, and consideration of educational, economic, demographic and socio-cultural issues. But no-one can be satisfied that the legal status quo is beyond improvement, especially when the current situation is so desperate. All of us, and lawyers in particular, have a responsibility to examine the role that law and legal initiatives can play in galvanising public opinion and mobilising support for change.

The global climate could hardly be more challenging, with the rules-based international order under almost daily attack and multilateral cooperation in short supply. But the rationale for the inquiry is that attacks on children are of a different order of magnitude from other issues. Historically, the protection of children has been viewed not only as an area most likely to secure international agreement, but as an issue for transforming international relations. When states unite around universally appealing causes – such as the rights of children – they build goodwill that makes cooperation in other, more controversial, areas more likely. If states can agree to anything, it should be to take action to protect the world’s most vulnerable in war. At the very least, Protecting Children in Armed Conflict provides a timely starting point for a debate rooted in the rule of law that may lead to such political agreement.

Andrew Hilland is director to the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Lanark and Hamilton East

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Andrew Hilland"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4829341.1542138391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4829341.1542138391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A child soldier in Huthi forces in Yemen, one of 350 million children who live in a conflict zone worldwide (Picture: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A child soldier in Huthi forces in Yemen, one of 350 million children who live in a conflict zone worldwide (Picture: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4829341.1542138391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/jonny-hughes-why-eating-the-wrong-type-of-biscuits-is-putting-orang-utans-in-peril-1-4828643","id":"1.4828643","articleHeadline": "Jonny Hughes: Why eating the wrong type of biscuits is putting orang-utans in peril","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542103639000 ,"articleLead": "

You can find palm oil in around half the packaged products in your local supermarket – in instant noodles, pizza dough, lipstick, toothpaste, chocolate, soap, shampoo, bread and biscuits, writes Jonny Hughes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828799.1542103636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Partial ecological restoration of palm oil plantations could make them friendly to orang-utans and other wildlife (Picture: Esme Allen)"} ,"articleBody": "

Global production has boomed in recent years, from 4.5 million tonnes in 1980 to 70 million tonnes. The environmental cost has been incalculable. Many conservation professionals I speak to cite the destruction of the tropical forests of Indonesia and Malaysia as the world’s number one unfolding environmental disaster.

Every year between 750 and 1,250 orang-utans are killed in areas where palm oil agriculture is expanding. A further 10,000 orang-utans live in areas where government concessions have been granted. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that global palm oil production directly threatens 193 species on its Red List.

READ MORE: Iceland to ban rainforest-damaging palm oil from own-brand products by next year

Humans are also affected. As tropical forests are cleared, the peat on which they grow is often burned, releasing billions of tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere and creating life-threatening hazes. In 2015 the haze crisis in Southeast Asia caused severe respiratory illnesses in over half a million Indonesians, forcing Jakarta to deploy thousands of troops and seek international help.

Well done then to Iceland Foods for committing to remove all palm oil from its own-brand range before Christmas. Using a Disney-style Greenpeace animation, Iceland made an advert to get the good news across, but it has been banned for being ‘too political’. Iceland’s managing director said he was “absolutely gutted” – though the clip has gone viral on social media.

Is Iceland right, is it right to ban palm oil? Should others follow its lead? Oil palm plantations produce 35 per cent of global vegetable oil on less than 10 per cent of the land allocated to oil crops. Oil palm also yields up to nine times more oil per unit area than other oil crops, making its land footprint per calorie much lower than rapeseed, soya or sunflower oil. If we banned palm oil without reducing demand for vegetable oil, the expansion of other oil crops could place serious pressures on already stressed agricultural ecosystems.

READ MORE: Nestle among brands hit by palm oil child labour claims

The solution to the palm oil crisis is therefore complex but there are three actions that are needed urgently. First, strict protection of all remaining primary forests so there is no further conversion to plantation monocultures. Second, partial ecological restoration of existing plantations to be more orang-utan friendly. This means less intensive oil production and more connected patches of restored forests through which orang-utans and other species can move. Restoration of peat swamp forests should be a top priority here given their importance as carbon stores and habitats. Third, phasing out the use of palm oil for bio-fuels and other non-food uses where less environmentally damaging alternatives are available. As consumers, we can all help facilitate these actions by only buying palm oil products certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Jonny Hughes is Scottish Wildlife Trust’s chief executive. Follow him on Twitter @JonnyEcology.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828799.1542103636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828799.1542103636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Partial ecological restoration of palm oil plantations could make them friendly to orang-utans and other wildlife (Picture: Esme Allen)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Partial ecological restoration of palm oil plantations could make them friendly to orang-utans and other wildlife (Picture: Esme Allen)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828799.1542103636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/california-wildfires-at-least-42-killed-in-deadly-blaze-1-4828723","id":"1.4828723","articleHeadline": "California wildfires: At least 42 killed in deadly blaze","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542098660000 ,"articleLead": "

Authorities have reported 13 more fatalities from a blaze in Northern California that destroyed a town, bringing the total death toll so far to 42 and making it the deadliest wildfire in recorded state history.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828722.1542098656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A firefighter battles a fire along the Ronald Reagan Freeway. Picture; AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The dead have been found in burned-out cars, in the smoldering ruins of their homes, or next to their vehicles, apparently overcome by smoke and flames before they could jump in behind the wheel and escape.

In some cases, there were only charred fragments of bone, so small that coroner’s investigators used a wire basket to sift and sort them. The search for bodies was continuing.

Hundreds of people were unaccounted for by the sheriff’s reckoning, four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead.

The statewide death toll from wildfires over the past week has reached 44.

A 1933 blaze in Griffith Park in Los Angeles killed 29 people, and a series of wildfires in Northern California’s wine country last fall killed 44 people.

Authorities picking their way through burned-out neighborhoods say a Southern California wildfire has now destroyed at least 435 buildings, most of them homes.

The new figures released Monday evening come as a wildfire continues to burn its way through scenic but drought-stricken canyonlands in and around Malibu, where celebrity homes have burned along with modest mobile homes.

Fire officials say the immense fire, which stretches from north of Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean, is only 30 percent contained - although that is significant progress from only a few days earlier.

Fire crews also had to stamp out two new smaller fires.

Thousands of homes are still at risk, and forecasters expect gusty Santa Ana winds that drove the flames to continue into Wednesday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828722.1542098656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828722.1542098656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A firefighter battles a fire along the Ronald Reagan Freeway. Picture; AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A firefighter battles a fire along the Ronald Reagan Freeway. Picture; AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828722.1542098656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/trump-s-hot-air-on-wildfires-shouldn-t-distract-from-climate-fight-1-4828594","id":"1.4828594","articleHeadline": "Trump’s hot air on wildfires shouldn’t distract from climate fight","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542088800000 ,"articleLead": "

As wildfires claim lives and destroy homes in California, we must not let Trump distract us from delivering urgent climate action, writes Carline Rance of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828593.1542047039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump says the only reason for California wildfires is poor forest management, contrary to a number of scientific studies which have demonstrated the impact of climate change (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)"} ,"articleBody": "

The scenes of wildfires blazing across California this week are shocking and saddening, and they bring home an uncomfortable truth - climate change is here. For too long the warnings about dangerous weather events didn’t hit home and many people, many governments, felt climate change was something that wouldn’t affect them. It was a far off problem, something that might happen in the future, but wouldn’t visit their homes and lives.

READ MORE: Donald Trump: Climate change not a hoax but I don’t know that it’s man-made

Now, the impacts of climate change are clear. Of course there are other factors which lead to wildfires starting and spreading, but the trend for more frequent and more serious fires in California certainly has climate change to blame.

California has borne the brunt of changing weather patterns, with 10 of the past 15 years ranking amongst the hottest on record in the western US. Hotter summers and drier autumns provide the perfect conditions for wildfires to spread and wreak havoc. Indeed California’s wildfire season was once limited to late summer and early autumn, but the fire risk is now warned to last all year. 15 of the 20 biggest fires have been since 2000.

But we know what we need to do and, despite Trump’s denial and his threat to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, climate action is gaining momentum. Across America cities, states, communities and businesses are moving away from fossil fuels and making the transition to renewable energy and cleaner transport. In New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this year that New York City will divest $5bn from fossil fuels, and the State will begin legal action against large fossil fuel companies responsible for much of the climate pollution including BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil.

READ MORE: ‘California wildfires are a major disaster, and so is Donald Trump’

Here in Scotland, with MSPs currently weighing up a new climate law, we need to ensure that law delivers the action urgently needed within the next decade to tackle climate change.

We’ve read the warnings, we’re seeing the impacts, now it’s time to significantly increase our action. That would be the best response to Trump’s hot air and deliberate misdirections.

Caroline Rance is a climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Caroline Rance"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828593.1542047039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828593.1542047039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump says the only reason for California wildfires is poor forest management, contrary to a number of scientific studies which have demonstrated the impact of climate change (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump says the only reason for California wildfires is poor forest management, contrary to a number of scientific studies which have demonstrated the impact of climate change (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828593.1542047039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/paris-gourtsoyannis-wwi-pointless-try-saying-that-in-the-countries-which-were-invaded-1-4828642","id":"1.4828642","articleHeadline": "Paris Gourtsoyannis: WWI ‘pointless’? Try saying that in the countries which were invaded","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542053081000 ,"articleLead": "

In the UK, some describe the First World War as “pointless”, but in the countries that were turned into battlefields few express similar sentiments, writes Paris Gourtsoyannis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828641.1542053077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May laid a wreath at a military cemetery in Mons� on Friday, but stayed in the UK for Armistice Day� (Picture: Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

“La Belgique ne regrette rien,” wrote Edith Wharton in her 1917 poem ‘Belgium’. “Not with her ruined silver spires, Not with her cities shamed and rent, Perish the imperishable fires, That shape the homestead from the tent.”

Her words are steeped in the propaganda of ‘plucky little Belgium’, used to spur Britain and its allies into war. But there’s a grain of truth encased in that shell of national honour.

I’ve seen the First World War described as “pointless” several times in the past few days, reflecting a popular strand of opinion in this country. Certainly it was a cruel and wanton waste of life, and an utterly avoidable one.

But in Belgium and France, and other places invaded and churned up as the battlefields of industrialised ‘total war’, it’s harder to find voices claiming its pointlessness.

READ MORE: How The Scotsman of November 1918 viewed the end of First World War

All but a sliver of Belgium was overrun, and Belgian civilian deaths rivalled losses at the front. Among them were thousands put in front of firing squads in reprisal for resistance attacks, many imagined by paranoid German officers.

In a square near the Grande Place in Brussels is a statue of Gabrielle Petit, who spied for Britain and circulated a clandestine newspaper.

Executed in 1916, aged 21, an inscription bears her final message: “I have just been sentenced to death. I will be shot tomorrow. Long live the King. Long live Belgium.”

More nationalism. And the tragedy of 1914-18 was, of course, repeated. But on the continent, the memory of WWI has been reclaimed as foundation stone of European unity.

That was on display at the weekend, in the embrace between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel – a gesture echoing the vigil at Verdun more than 30 years ago by Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl.

But in Britain, where the right and left continue to fight over the war’s legacy as honourable national sacrifice or pointless, bloody class betrayal, Theresa May stayed at home on Armistice Day rather than join world leaders in Paris, and it has somehow taken 100 years for the German president to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.

War is nothing but regret. Not all regrets are pointless.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill: We are glorifying war, so I’ll not wear a poppy

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828641.1542053077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828641.1542053077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May laid a wreath at a military cemetery in Mons� on Friday, but stayed in the UK for Armistice Day� (Picture: Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May laid a wreath at a military cemetery in Mons� on Friday, but stayed in the UK for Armistice Day� (Picture: Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828641.1542053077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/celebrity/marvel-comics-stan-lee-dies-aged-95-1-4828625","id":"1.4828625","articleHeadline": "Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies aged 95","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542052286000 ,"articleLead": "

Stan Lee, the co-creator of Marvel Comics, has died aged 95.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828624.1542052282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stan Lee has died aged 95. Picture: AP Photo/Reed Saxon."} ,"articleBody": "

The Associated Press said that a family lawyer had confirmed the death of the creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk.

Celebrity news website TMZ said the 95-year-old was rushed to hospital from his Hollywood Hills home on Monday morning.

It said Mr Lee’s daughter confirmed her father had later died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre.

Mr Lee, who recently fought off a bought of pneumonia, founded Marvel Comics with Jack Kirby in 1961.

Many of the characters’ stories have since been turned into Hollywood films, turning the Marvel brand into a multi-billionaire dollar business.

Mr Lee was renowned for making brief comical cameos in each of the Marvel universe films.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Diane King"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828624.1542052282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828624.1542052282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stan Lee has died aged 95. Picture: AP Photo/Reed Saxon.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stan Lee has died aged 95. Picture: AP Photo/Reed Saxon.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828624.1542052282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/california-wildfires-are-a-major-disaster-and-so-is-donald-trump-1-4828401","id":"1.4828401","articleHeadline": "‘California wildfires are a major disaster, and so is Donald Trump’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542037868000 ,"articleLead": "

Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal aid from California to help it cope with devastating wildfires – because of his unscientific views about climate change – is the latest sign that he is not fit to be US President, writes Ian Johnston.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828400.1542037865!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A car dealership in Paradise, California, where dozens of homes were destroyed in just a few hours (Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

According to US President Donald Trump, there is no reason for the “massive, deadly and costly” wildfires in California “except that forest management is so poor”. “So many lives lost,” he added, “all because of gross mismanagement of the forests.”

Given the latest death toll is 31 and that more than 200 people are listed as missing, this was clearly a highly controversial thing to say. After all, if someone’s “gross mismanagement” has caused dozens of deaths, should they not now be facing criminal prosecution?

The reaction from firefighters was swift. Brian Rice, of California Professional Firefighters, said Trump’s remarks – and particularly his threat to withhold federal US funds – were “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning” to those fighting the fires.

But, to use one of Trump’s favourite phrases, the idea that forest management is the sole reason for wildfires is, without a shadow of a doubt, fake news.

Clearly it does play a role, but a scientific study published last year concluded the western US had entered a “new era of wildfire” because of climate change.

READ MORE: Sir Rod Stewart blasts Donald Trump over Californian wildfires

The burning season, the researchers found, had become three months longer than during the 1970s because of rising temperatures. And a 2016 study, funded partly by Nasa, concluded that the area affected by forest fires in the western US had doubled over the last 30 years.

Temperatures in the region, which was already known for wildfires, have risen more quickly than the global average. No one remotely credible disputes this. And it doesn’t take much knowledge of science to join the dots between warmer, drier weather and more wildfires.

Trump’s response is yet another example of him being grossly offensive, stupid and just plain wrong. But he is the individual who is currently considering a request from California’s Governor Jerry Brown to declare a “Presidential Major Disaster Declaration” that would, among other things, release funds to help people who have lost their home find somewhere to live, assist the ongoing emergency response, and repair infrastructure like roads and bridges.

The California wildfires are a major disaster, but so is the US President.

READ MORE: Gerard Butler devastated after wildfires destroy his Malibu home

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ian Johnston"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4828400.1542037865!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4828400.1542037865!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A car dealership in Paradise, California, where dozens of homes were destroyed in just a few hours (Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A car dealership in Paradise, California, where dozens of homes were destroyed in just a few hours (Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4828400.1542037865!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/more-than-60-heads-of-state-gather-in-paris-for-armistice-commemorations-1-4827946","id":"1.4827946","articleHeadline": "More than 60 heads of state gather in Paris for Armistice commemorations","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542002425000 ,"articleLead": "

World leaders gathered to mark the end of the First World War 100 years ago, turning Paris into the epicentre of global commemorations that drove home a powerful message: never again.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827944.1541972412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "French President Emmanuel Macron lights up with children the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

More than 60 heads of state and government gathered –silent, sombre and reflective – for a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18.

They heard high-school students recalling the joy felt by soldiers and civilians alike when the fighting finally stopped at 11am on 11 November 1918.

And they heard the commemoration’s host, French President Emmanuel Macron, warn about the fragility of peace and the dangers of nationalism: a theme that seemed directed, at least in part, at US President Donald Trump, who listened stony-faced.

“The traces of this war never went away,” Mr Macron said.

“The old demons are rising again,” he intoned. “We must reaffirm before our peoples our true and huge responsibility.”

The Paris weather – grey and damp – seemed aptly fitting when remembering a war fought in mud and relentless horror.

The commemorations started late, overshooting the centenary of the exact moment when, 100 years earlier at 11am, the silence of peace replaced the thunder of guns on the Western Front.

As bells marking the armistice hour started ringing out across Paris and in many nations hit by the four years of slaughter,

Mr Macron and other leaders were still on their way to commemorate the almost ten million soldiers who died at the centennial site at the Arc de Triomphe.

Under a sea of black umbrellas, a line of leaders led by Mr Macron and his wife, Brigitte, marched in respectful silence on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees.

Mr Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past two topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police.

The Femen group claimed responsibility.

Last to arrive was Russian President Vladimir Putin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was positioned between Mr Trump and Mr Macron, standing together, shoulder to shoulder.

Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke.

The geographical spread of the leaders in attendance showed how the “war to end all wars” left few corners of the earth untouched but which, little more than two decades later, was followed so quickly and catastrophically by the Second World War. On the other side of the globe, Australia and New Zealand held ceremonies to recall how the war killed and wounded soldiers and civilians in unprecedented numbers and in gruesome new, mechanised ways.

Those countries lost tens of thousands of soldiers far away in Europe and, most memorably in the brutal 1915 battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey.

In Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to capture in 1914 but which the Allies fought successfully to defend, the armistice commemorations were followed by the afternoon opening of a peace forum pushed by the host, Mr Macron.

Mr Trump was the most notable absentee at the forum, where Mr Macron’s defence of multi-lateralism took centre stage.

On Saturday, he was criticised for cancelling a visit to the Belleau Wood battleground north-east of Paris because of rain.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4827944.1541972412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827944.1541972412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "French President Emmanuel Macron lights up with children the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "French President Emmanuel Macron lights up with children the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4827944.1541972412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4827945.1541972417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827945.1541972417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Theresa May walk out to The Cenotaph followed by Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable and Ian Blackford. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Theresa May walk out to The Cenotaph followed by Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable and Ian Blackford. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4827945.1541972417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/sir-rod-stewart-blasts-donald-trump-over-californian-wildfires-1-4827901","id":"1.4827901","articleHeadline": "Sir Rod Stewart blasts Donald Trump over Californian wildfires","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1541967973000 ,"articleLead": "

Sir Rod Stewart has taken to Twitter to blast Donald Trump over his ‘accusatory’ tweet about the Californian wildfires.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827900.1541967970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rod Stewart slammed the US president on Twitter. Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The angered singer took to the social media platform after the US president tweeted that the fires were the result of “poor” forest management.

The original tweet by Trump read: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.

“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

• READ MORE: Revealed: Donald Trump’s plan to build housing and luxury villas on Ayrshire farmland

Sir Rod retorted: “Mr. President, while people’s homes are burning, while lives are being lost & while firefighters are risking their lives, California needs words of support & encouragement, not threats or finger pointing & accusations. Where is Winston Churchill when you need him?”

The Faces front man was not the only celebrity to attack the president, singer Katy Perry called Trump’s tweet “absolutely heartless” adding: “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”

Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, told CNN that he thought the tweet from the president were “reckless and insulting” to the firefighters and people being affected by the fires.

So far, 23 people have reportedly been killed by the blazes.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4827900.1541967970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827900.1541967970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rod Stewart slammed the US president on Twitter. Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rod Stewart slammed the US president on Twitter. Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4827900.1541967970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5783015848001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/struan-stevenson-new-iraqi-leader-no-cause-for-optimism-1-4827633","id":"1.4827633","articleHeadline": "Struan Stevenson: New Iraqi leader no cause for optimism","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1541893325000 ,"articleLead": "

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Lao Tzu, the legendary Chinese philosopher, said: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” His words may accurately describe the spiralling decline of Iraq.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827632.1541879190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "New Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Picture: STR/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The cause of Iraq’s disintegration cannot be blamed solely on the Bush/Blair invasion and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s cruel Baathist regime. The eight-year term in office of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a puppet of the Iranian regime, sowed the sectarian seeds, which set off a low-level civil war and paved the way for Isis to invade the country from Syria. But, despite repeated warnings, the West stood aside and allowed Maliki to remain in office for two disastrous terms. Maliki did Iran’s bidding, opening a direct route for Iranian troops and equipment heading to Syria to bolster the bloody Bashar al-Assad regime.

So, the world breathed a sigh of relief when he was replaced as prime minister by Haider al-Abadi. But, instead of outlawing the savage Shi’ia militias associated with the Iranian regime, Abadi allowed them to wage a genocidal campaign against the Sunni population of Iraq. Under the pretext of fighting Isis, the ancient cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Ramadi were reduced to rubble, their men murdered and their women and children dispersed.

In a last-ditch attempt to hold on to office in the 12 May elections this year by sucking up to the Americans, Abadi threw his weight behind the re-imposed US sanctions on Iran. But the move backfired spectacularly, and despite Herculean efforts by Washington’s special envoy, Brett McGurk, who spent weeks trying to persuade Iraqi politicians to support Abadi and isolate Iran, it all came to nothing. Abadi even lost the support of his own political party and was cast aside in favour of the new prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Mahdi is relatively unknown, even inside Iraq. He served as an uninspiring oil minister from 2014-2016, allowing his ministry to become the private fiefdom of his own political party cronies from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. He is pro-Iranian and equivocal about supporting America.

Although, like Abadi, he pledged to introduce a cabinet of technocrats, the reality has inevitably been somewhat different. The coalition of parties he required to support his elevation to the role of prime minister each demanded their pound of flesh, jockeying fiercely for the key cabinet posts. The end result is yet another government almost entirely composed of pro-Iranian minions, lightweights who answer only to their political parties rather than to the state.

Mahdi’s inability to honour his pre-election pledge has already revealed his weakness as a leader, a vulnerability that the mullahs in Tehran will be quick to exploit. Indeed, alarmingly, his nominee for the powerful interior ministry is Falih al-Fayadh, who ran the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces militias.

Mahdi was proposed as prime minister by the newly elected Iraqi President Barham Salih, who emerged from a chaotic campaign that saw the Kurds, who traditionally bury their political differences to unite behind a single presidential candidate, ferociously divided. The pro-Iranian Salih’s election by a decisive majority in the national parliament in Baghdad was seen as a blow to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani and by extension also to the Americans. So, across the board, America has lost and Iran has won, a scenario that bodes ill for the future.

McGurk, who for many years has been the US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis, seems to be more keen on trying to create a compromise between the interests of Iran and the United States in Iraq. Such a compromise is a hollow illusion. The Iranian regime only retreats when it is faced with firmness from the US.

If Iraq really needs America’s political, military and economic assistance, it must immediately stop the interference of the Iranian regime. Iraq is the Iranian regime’s number one priority for domination and the US should therefore regard the eviction of Iran from Iraq as a matter of urgency.

Struan Stevenson was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

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It is an opportunity for Scottish football fans to put partisanship to one side and rally behind a club which is helping youngsters in a deprived urban sprawl in Zambia.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827596.1541884778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Jenkin, a founding trustee of Africa on the Ball, with some of the people the charity has helped."} ,"articleBody": "

Africa on the Ball, a Scottish charity which uses football as a means for providing African communities with access to schools, employment and healthcare education, is calling on Scots to join a unique supporters’ club.

The charity, which aims to build the “best community sports club in the world”, has helped set up Kalingalinga on the Ball FC, a community-owned club which has enjoyed notable success on the pitch.

Since its formation in 2011, the team has been promoted several times, and currently plays in the fourth tier, employing four members of staff.

But it is off the field where the greatest strides have been made. With an elected council and a pledge that any transfer fees will be reinvested for the community’s benefit, an educational scholarship fund is place to help players to finish their basic schooling, as well as a food programme which ensures they are fed before games.

The charity has also formed an outreach programme which sees Kalingalinga’s players carry out football training and educational sessions in disadvantaged communities, including the local orphanage and primary schools.

But with even more ambitious to plans to build a clubhouse which would host a community education and health centre alongside a traditional football academy, Africa on the Ball is hoping football fans in Scotland can help.

The newly launched supporters’ club features a range of membership options, starting at £4 a month, which provides backers with a membership card and an annual report.

For £10 a month, donors will receive merchandise including a club shirt, as well as personal video messages from Kalingalinga’s players. The top tier allows fans to cast a vote on the kit they will wear next season.

Having overseen steady growth of the club in recent years, Africa on the Ball hopes this next step will allow it to make an even bigger difference to the life of people in Kalingalinga, a poverty-stricken community on the outskirts of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

Andrew Jenkin, a founding trustee of the charity, said: “Our aspiration is to be the best community sports club in the world, using the unique ability of football to advance education, healthcare and enterprise throughout African communities and to positive change lives.

“Although we’re a relatively small charity, we hope the supporters’ club will help us drastically grow our reach and impact throughout the continent while offering donors a unique and engaging experience with our work.”

The average life expectancy for men in Zambia is 59, and the landlocked nation has one of the world’s fastest growing populations. Two-thirds of its population live in poverty.

For more information about Africa on the Ball, visit www.africaontheball.org.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTYN McLAUGHLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4827596.1541884778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4827596.1541884778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andrew Jenkin, a founding trustee of Africa on the Ball, with some of the people the charity has helped.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Jenkin, a founding trustee of Africa on the Ball, with some of the people the charity has helped.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4827596.1541884778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/president-trump-cancels-ww1-memorial-at-us-cemetery-in-france-due-to-rain-1-4827627","id":"1.4827627","articleHeadline": "President Trump cancels WW1 memorial at US cemetery in France ‘due to rain’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1541878929000 ,"articleLead": "

Donald Trump has come under fire for cancelling a visit to a cemetery in France due to rain.

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The US president was due to visit Belleau to pay respects to American soldiers killed during the First World War.

However, the White House cancelled the trip because of bad weather which grounded the presidential helicopter that was due to fly him to the cemetery about a two-hour drive east of Paris.

The president sent a delegation that included chief of staff John Kelly instead.

David Frum, once a speechwriter for President George W Bush, tweeted that he thought it was “incredible” that a president would not pay respects to the US servicemen who died in France during the First World War.

Mr Trump is due to visit a different cemetery on Sunday.

The battlefield of Belleau Wood is where US troops stopped a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.

The fighting proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended US forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.

Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, said the White House should have had a fallback plan for the president.

“There is always a rain option. Always,” Mr Rhodes said.

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