Armoured military vehicles patrolled the streets of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, on Sunday after police and protesters clashed and many residents defied a curfew imposed by President Lenin Moreno in a bid to quell unrest triggered by fuel subsidy cuts. Ecuadoreans posted videos on social media of burning road blockades and standoffs between crowds and security forces in downtown Quito ahead of the first round of talks aimed at ending 11 days of unrest. The interior minister said a group of vandals had again set fire to the comptroller’s office and that some 500 people had defied police barriers in the city. The unrest was the worst in the small South American country in more than a decade and the latest flashpoint of opposition to the International Monetary Fund in Latin America. Moreno has cast the dispute as a battle between Venezuela and other left-leaning forces and more market-friendly ideologies. Nearly 60 roads in the city were closed, the municipal government said, without elaborating. “Blocking roads is punishable by law and even more so during a curfew,” said councilman Bernardo Abad. Riot police engage with protesters in Quito. (Henry Romero/Reuters) Indigenous protesters vowed to continue protests across the country until Moreno reinstates fuel subsidies, a sign that a potential breakthrough in the dispute announced on Saturday might fade under the government crackdown. The first round of talks between indigenous leaders and the government was set to begin at 3 p.m. local time in Quito, although no announcement had been made yet on who would take part or where exactly it would be held. Moreno signed a $5.5 billion Cdn deal with the IMF earlier this year, angering many of his former supporters who voted for him as the left-leaning successor of his former ally, Rafael Correa. Moreno has defended his decision last week to slash fuel subsidies as a key part of his bid to clean up the country’s finances, and denies it was required by the IMF. ‘Murderers’ Amid widespread defiance of the curfew by ordinary citizens, the military said it had partially lifted the emergency measure in the city until 8 p.m. local time on Sunday, but stressed it would remain in place in northern parts of the city near points of unrest. The militarization of the city has fuelled criticism that the government’s handling of the protests has been too heavy-handed, with human rights groups urging security forces to use restraint. At least seven people have been killed, several hundred wounded and more than 1,000 people arrested in the unrest since it began on Oct. 3, according to the ombudsman’s office, which monitors conflicts. Riot police line up as demonstrators take part in a protest against Ecuador President Lenin Moreno’s austerity measures in Quito. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters) “Murderers!” one woman shouted from her window in the northern district of Mariscal as helicopters droned overhead and sounds resembling shots and explosions were heard. Nearly all outgoing flights from the city were cancelled on Saturday and Sunday. The airport said it was feeding stranded travelers snacks and beverages as surrounding areas were restricted. “We made our reservations and two days after we had everything booked, this problem exploded,” said Rodrigo Gomez, a Chilean tourist who ventured out of his hotel for food despite the crackdown. Gomez said he and his family had hoped to see the highland city’s famed lookout point “el Panecillo,” considered a pre-Colombian sun temple. Moreno has blamed the unrest on “dark forces” linked to Correa, now a fierce critic of the government who has been churning out videos showing police attacking people. Ecuador President Lenin Moreno addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23. (Jason DeCrow/The Associated Press) As evidence, Moreno’s government has pointed to repeated attacks on the comptroller’s office, where documents related to an investigation into the misuse of funds under Correa are stored. Correa denies the charges and has called Moreno a sellout for turning to the right after being elected on a leftist platform. But Conaie, an umbrella group for indigenous peoples across Ecuador and the chief organizer of anti-austerity protests, has slammed Correa as an “shameless opportunist.” “Correa’s movement criminalized and killed our people for 10 years,” Conaie said on Twitter. “Today he wants to take advantage of our platform for struggle.”
Analysis: North Korea is going to be a major headache for whoever wins the US election
Pyongyang’s first missile test during Donald Trump’s presidency came even sooner. On his 23rd day in office, as he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat down for dinner on the terrace of the US President’s opulent Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the successful test launch of a solid-fueled ballistic…
Pyongyang’s first missile test during Donald Trump’s presidency came even sooner. On his 23rd day in office, as he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat down for dinner on the terrace of the US President’s opulent Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the successful test launch of a solid-fueled ballistic missile. When it comes to divining North Korea’s intentions, some words of wisdom variously attributed to both Mark Twain and New York Yankee’s legend Yogi Berra ring particularly true: Predictions are hard, especially about the future.This is, after all, North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated societies and secretive governments. But we do know that Pyongyang closely studies the machinations in Washington. And, as they proved during the early days of the Trump and Obama presidencies, Kim and his advisers know how to grab America’s attention — and they may choose to do so after taking the backseat to the US election, protests over racial injustice and a global pandemic.A Biden administration, or Trump during a second term, could be forced to deal with Pyongyang sooner than they’d like.Trump’s tenureDisarming North Korea remains one of the United States’ most intractable foreign policy issues. Since 2006, Pyongyang has successfully tested six nuclear devices and three intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), weapons Kim says are meant to deter foreign aggression and ensure the continuity of the regime that he leads with an iron fist.The country’s dogged pursuit of these armaments, however, has come at a tremendous cost. Sanctions punishing Pyongyang for its nuclear program essentially bar North Korea — one of the world’s poorest countries — from trading with the outside world. That means there are few opportunities for North Korea to improve its economy and increase the livelihood of its people, a key promise Kim has made to his people.The US hoped that sanctions would cripple North Korea and force Kim to negotiate. And President Trump had hoped that by becoming the first sitting president to sit face-to-face with a North Korean leader, he could engineer some sort of breakthrough. But despite these one-on-ones, negotiations have been at an impasse since the two leaders’ second summit in 2019 in Hanoi. Trump wanted some sort of “big deal” that would see North Korea give up its nuclear program for immediate sanctions relief, but Kim was only prepared to shut down Yongbyon, the biggest and best-known facility in North Korea that produced fissile material for nuclear weapons, in exchange for sanctions relief, according to Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton. That wasn’t enough for Trump, so he walked. “There were opportunities potentially having a direct engagement between the leaders but, as things showed, it wasn’t a silver bullet to resolve the issues,” said Markus Garlauskas, a former national intelligence officer for North Korea on the US’ National Intelligence Council. Hanoi, Garlauskas said, proved that it wasn’t a lack of communication or leader-to-leader contact that had prevented a breakthrough.The “fundamental obstacle,” he said, is “Kim’s lack of interest in giving up those nuclear weapons, and his willingness to sustain very high cost to keep them.” Communicate early, communicate oftenTo date, the Trump administration has sold its North Korea policy as a win. That’s because since November 2017, Kim has not tested any nuclear weapons or long-range missiles — the weapons designed to deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States homeland. During their first summit, Trump and Kim struck what appeared to be a tacit agreement that, as long as talks were going on, North Korea would not test ICBMs or nuclear bombs. Trump, in turn, scaled down the number of military drills the US conducts with South Korea. These exercises are meant to keep troops ready in case of conflict, but North Korea sees them as hostile and will often claim they are practice for an invasion. The accord, however, did not apply to shorter-range missiles that could be used to target US troops or allies in the region, which North Korea has continued to test. And Pyongyang made no commitment to stop developing or enhancing its weaponry in ways short of testing them. On October 10, North Korea rolled out what is believed to be one of the world’s biggest ICBMs at a military parade on a significant anniversary in Pyongyang. Weapons experts said it appeared the gigantic missile was designed to carry multiple warheads to penetrate missile defense systems — proving that North Korea’s commitment to stop testing ICBMs didn’t mean it wasn’t going to stop working on them. If North Korea was to consider this new missile viable, it would need to conduct a test launch. Though Kim pledged not to test ICBMs during US negotiations, he said in a speech last year that he no longer felt duty-bound to comply with the promise. He has blamed the US for the diplomatic impasse and says it has been “deceived by the US,” wasting 18 months on talks.Now, some experts worry that testing the new mammoth ICBM could be a possible next step to get attention after the election.”I would not be surprised at all to see the North Koreans take some kind of a step in the ballistic missile testing arena or in the nuclear testing arena, particularly if Biden wins the election,” said Evans Revere, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. “I think the North Koreans are going to want to have him start out on the back foot to the extent possible. And one way to do that would be what they did with President Obama.” Biden’s biggest challenge, experts say, could come during the presidential transition. His campaign website has just one vague sentence on North Korea policy, so it’s likely Biden and his aides would need to quickly identify a strategy to get North Korea to move toward denuclearization, and to find the right people to implement that strategy.Joseph Yun, who served as a State Department special representative for North Korea under Obama and Trump, said it would be crucial for Biden to get in touch with the North Koreans and lay out his red lines as quickly as he can, so the North Koreans do not try to discover them on their own.”It’s very important that in the beginning to get off on the right foot,” Yun said. “You might want to send a message to North Korea, saying things like, We want to talk, we are prepared to talk, but for now, give us time and please don’t do any tests.” But each candidate has unique advantages and disadvantages. Trump’s relationship with Kim might help continue to keep the temperature down on the Korean Peninsula, but his commitment to total denuclearization up-front remains unrealistic. Biden has been critical of Trump’s relationship with Kim, whom he called a “thug” at the final presidential debate Thursday. Still, the former vice president has a chance to reset things. He does not need to demand full denuclearization immediately — though he will surely know the failed history of previous incremental deals. Biden will also have to convince Japan and South Korea that Trump’s transactional approach to alliances was a one-off and assure them that Washington is committed to their defense, regardless of cost. But the reality is that Biden and Trump face the same challenge when it comes to Kim: How do you get North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and, eventually, give up arms it sees as vital to deterring adversaries?So far, neither appears to have the answer.
Why the image of first lady is judged so harshly
The role of first lady of the United States is one of the most visible public positions in the world. From the moment votes are counted, and often during campaigning in the preceding months, the spouse of a newly elected president is thrust into the spotlight, where she remains for the duration of his term.…
The role of first lady of the United States is one of the most visible public positions in the world. From the moment votes are counted, and often during campaigning in the preceding months, the spouse of a newly elected president is thrust into the spotlight, where she remains for the duration of his term. Throughout history, we’ve witnessed the breadth and depth of scrutiny withstood by the women who have so far held the position. From her mannerisms, to her physical attributes, to the way she chooses to dress, the first lady is thoroughly examined by the public, the media and those surrounding her on the political stage. And this is even before people begin assessing the work she is expected to carry out as an unpaid, unofficial public servant. Many a first lady has felt the warm glow of public adoration, only to have it quickly flicker out when it is decided that she does not fit the image created for her. Image, in this case, isn’t just about clothing and looks, but also a more nuanced notion of the impression she’s thought to give off. It’s an air around her that is made of both physical and personal traits. And a number of first ladies have fallen victim to aspects of their image that have been both celebrated and weaponized, depending on the onlooking crowd. In “First Ladies,” a documentary series now airing on CNN, we see this paradox play out during six presidencies. The stories offer an ongoing reminder that a woman’s public image is inextricably linked to her success and the level of respect she receives from the outside world. “As a black woman, too, I knew I’d be criticized if I was perceived as being showy and high end, and I’d be criticized also if I was too casual.”Michelle ObamaSo, why do critical voices repeatedly pass such undeserved judgment on these women? Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, offers her answer early in an episode about Michelle Obama: First ladies are meant to be the “representation of American’s better selves.” When Americans elected their first Black president in 2008, the country’s first Black first lady Michelle Obama was, to many adoring fans, a symbol of hope, opportunity and change. Girls and women around the world looked up to this smart, determined woman from Chicago’s South Side who now lived in America’s most famous house. Michelle Obama poses for her official portrait in the Blue Room of the White House in February 2009. Credit: Joyce N. Boghosian/The White House/Getty ImagesBut her critics had a different take on her conviction and strength of character, and they were not afraid to make their often racist and sexist ideas known. On the campaign trail she was labeled “angry,” and her love and loyalty for America was questioned. During the first few months of the Obama presidency her preference for sleeveless looks also drew extraordinary criticism. It was a phenomenon recalled by Robin Givhan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion editor and critic-at-large for the Washington Post, during an interview for “First Ladies.” “People zeroed in on her arms because they were not the arms of a fragile damsel who was White,” she said in the episode about Obama. “Non-White Americans have for years looked at a White first lady and were still able to say that she represented them. But I think it becomes a much more challenging thing for some White Americans to look at a Black first lady and see themselves in her. Instead, they simply saw her as an alien.” By way of contrast, Jackie Kennedy had been mostly idolized for her beauty and style. While she did face flak from critics on the campaign trail for her expensive taste, from the moment she took to the stage on inauguration day in her now-iconic pillbox hat, Kennedy became the First Lady of Fashion. At age 31 — young enough to be the daughter of the departing Mamie Eisenhower — she was also seen as a symbol of youthful rejuvenation. She appeared on Capitol Hill for her husband’s inauguration like “the gorgeous petal in a dowdy bouquet of fur,” wrote historian Thurston Clarke in his 2004 book “Ask Not.” Jackie Kennedy on inauguration day in 1961. Credit: Leonard McCombe/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesAnd as journalist Evan Thomas notes during an interview for the CNN series, she “was the perfect prize of the WASP establishment.” “She also knew that the Kennedy family was using her,” Thomas added. “She once said, ‘the family treats me like, like a thing. Like an asset. Like Rhode Island.'”The designer behind Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pillbox hat Credit: CNN Films/HalstonComplex legaciesIf history had played out differently, Jackie Kennedy’s legacy might have been reduced to the story of a pretty object with a flair for interior design (she dedicated much of her time in the White House to renovating the official residence). Tragically, however, she had the opportunity to show the world what she was made of on the day of her husband’s assassination. Hours after President Kennedy was shot beside her, she made a powerful decision: to face the public again in the same blood-stained pink dress she had worn during the attack, famously telling her staff, “I want them to see what they’ve done to Jack.”President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie on November 22, 1963, just after their arrival at the airport for the fateful drive through Dallas. Credit: Art Rickerby/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesIt was a catastrophic moment in American history. And it was also a devastating example of the power of clothing: A dress can send a message. In Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming,” the former first lady reveals the lengths she went to when styling herself for public appearances, finding it impossible not to look across the room at her husband: “I sighed sometimes, watching Barack pull the same dark suit out of his closet and head off to work without even needing a comb,” she wrote. “His biggest fashion consideration for a public moment was whether to have his suit jacket on or off. Tie or no tie?”She also discussed the particular challenges she faced as an African American. “As a black woman, too, I knew I’d be criticized if I was perceived as being showy and high end, and I’d be criticized also if I was too casual. So I mixed it up. I’d match a high-end Michael Kors skirt with a T-shirt from Gap. I wore something from Target one day and Diane von Furstenberg the next.”She knew society wouldn’t bend for her. So, in a move that was at once inspiring and saddening, she bent to fit society. But Michelle Obama won in the end. Her layered legacy, which will be defined by her work around issues of health, education and race, also acknowledges how graciously she used her platform to celebrate young, diverse fashion designers alongside the more established set. She wore Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung and Tracy Reese, offering them a moment in her limelight and helping their careers as a result. “For me, my choices were simply a way to use my curious relationship with the public gaze to boost a diverse set of up-and-comers,” she wrote. “As a woman running for President, I liked the visual cue that I was different from the men but also familiar. ”Hillary ClintonLike Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama took the fact that she was being scrutinized and itemized for everything she wore and used it to her advantage. This, arguably limited power remains one of the ways that women in politics can make a statement without saying a word.’First Ladies’: Reagan’s inauguration was ‘very Hollywood’ Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesConflicting expectationsNancy Reagan was seen as a relic of old Hollywood when she entered the White House. The inauguration celebrations in 1981 were, by all accounts, lavish and glitzy affairs. Around 700 private jets flew into the city that weekend, and Reagan’s gown — a white beaded one-shouldered sheath of lace over silk satin, made by high-society couturier James Galanos — was a show-stopper. She and her husband, President Ronald Reagan, were both former actors who had met in Los Angeles in the 1940s, and their love for each other was like that of the silver screen. Her critics initially mocked the adoring way she looked at her husband, calling it “the gaze,” and she was seen as too wifely, too 1950s, too concerned with frills and the finer things in life, which seemed at odds with a country plunging into recession. Nancy and Ronald Reagan arrive at the inaugural ball in the Washington Hilton on January 21, 1985. Credit: Ira Schwarz/APBut, through the course of her husband’s eight-year presidency she proved herself to be more than the outdated embodiment of a wealthy suburban wife. According to their son, Ron Reagan, who features in the documentary series, she wanted the President “to be the frontman, and she wanted to be the producer/director behind the scenes.” It was, perhaps, a precursor to the Clintons half-jokingly campaigning under the slogan “buy one get one free.” Indeed, it’s well-documented that Hillary Clinton often felt the scorn of the American public, due in part to her career-woman image. Ironically, while Reagan was criticized for being a 1950s housewife, Clinton was told she wasn’t domesticated enough. Hillary and Bill Clinton leave the White House after the Democratic Business Leaders event in September 1998. Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesHer aggressors painted her as being too strong to stand back and let her politician husband call the shots and too weak to walk away when he was unfaithful.For the most part, she rallied against these judgments. Clinton’s pantsuits became her emblem — her way of reminding people that she was a first lady with a law degree, an independent career and, ultimately, her own agenda, which she proved when she left the White House as Senator of New York, not effectively jobless like her husband. So, when her official portrait was released in 2004, Clinton was of course depicted wearing her signature black pantsuit, another first for a first lady. Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, for her 2016 presidential run. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesShe took her signature look on the road again during her 2016 presidential campaign. In her book “What Happened” she explained: “As a woman running for President, I liked the visual cue that I was different from the men but also familiar.” The tactic didn’t pay off. Throughout one of the ugliest elections in US history, Clinton would come under repeated fire. This time she wasn’t charismatic enough, she was shady, she was “a liar.” But was the biggest issue, actually, the same one as always? Once again, her image didn’t fit the mold — because the president was supposed to be a man.Watch CNN Original Series “First Ladies” Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.
Women on Qatar flight received ‘inappropriate’ treatment after abandoned baby found
CNN affiliate Seven News reported that women at the airport, including 13 Australians, were “allegedly removed from flights, detained and forced to undergo an inspection in an ambulance on the tarmac.””Reports indicate that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed…
CNN affiliate Seven News reported that women at the airport, including 13 Australians, were “allegedly removed from flights, detained and forced to undergo an inspection in an ambulance on the tarmac.””Reports indicate that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent,” an Australian Government spokesperson told CNN. The flight, Sydney-bound Qatar Airways Flight QR 908, landed for a transit stop in Doha, Qatar, on October 2, CNN affiliate Nine News reported. Hamad International Airport confirmed an abandoned newborn baby was found at the airport on October 2, adding that medical professionals were concerned “about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing (the airport).””Individuals who had access to the specific area of the airport where the newborn infant was found were asked to assist in the query,” the airport said in a statement to CNN. Airport authorities are still searching for the mother, but the newborn is “safe under the professional care of medical and social workers.”Speaking on Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Marisa Payne said it was “not something I have ever heard of occurring in my life in any context.” “This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events… We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities on this matter,” she said at a press conference in Canberra.Payne added that a report has been submitted to Australian Federal Police (AFP)In a response to CNN, the AFP said that it was aware of the matter and was liaising with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”It would not be appropriate to comment any further,” spokesperson for the AFP said.