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Analysis: Trump has trashed European confidence in the US. The damage might be irreparable

London (CNN)It’s no secret that Donald Trump is no big fan of the European Union. Over the past four years, the US President has talked positively about Brexit and claimed that the bloc was created in order to “take advantage of the United States.” So it’s perhaps no great surprise that several of his ambassadors…

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Analysis: Trump has trashed European confidence in the US. The damage might be irreparable

London (CNN)It’s no secret that Donald Trump is no big fan of the European Union. Over the past four years, the US President has talked positively about Brexit and claimed that the bloc was created in order to “take advantage of the United States.” So it’s perhaps no great surprise that several of his ambassadors to several European nations have behaved in ways that are not exactly diplomatic, in the traditional sense. Earlier this week, it emerged that Pete Hoekstra, the US ambassador to the Netherlands, hosted an event at his embassy for Forum for Democracy (FvD), a far-right, anti-immigration and anti-EU party that is gaining popularity in the country. Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, which first reported on the event, described it as a fundraiser for the party. A US state department spokesperson told CNN that this event was not a fundraiser, but a “town hall discussion and Q&A session” with FvD. They added that during his stint in the Netherlands, Hoekstra has hosted “15 town halls with eight different parties,” suggesting that this event with FvD was nothing unusual. Not everyone agrees. “Hosting a political party event, fundraiser or not, you can see it as political support from the United States for a particular point of view. Normally, diplomacy is about government-to-government interactions, not promoting particular viewpoints and giving the impression of having political allies,” said Marietje Schaake, a former Dutch MEP and international policy director at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center. “The Trump administration has shown time and again that its allies are the Euroskeptics like [Nigel] Farage and FvD, not the governments of the day,” Schaake added. Hoekstra is just one of a number of divisive ambassadors appointed in Europe by Trump who appear to be eroding trans-Atlantic ties, enraging their hosts and representing Trump’s personal interests in Europe. “Europe has traditionally been a place where political appointees go, but usually it’s understood that they represent the US government,” said Tyson Barker, a former US State Department official in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. “What we have seen since 2016 is people representing Trump and his personal interests, rather than the US.” CNN recently reported that Woody Johnson, Trump’s ambassador to UK, was being investigated after allegations that he’d used his position to lobby for the British Open golf tournament to be held on one of Trump’s golf courses. Asked about the specific allegations, Johnson did not deny them and called it an “honor of a lifetime” to serve as ambassador. After the publication of CNN’s report, Johnson tweeted, “I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times.” Trump said he “never spoke to Woody Johnson about doing that.”Johnson has also been open in his support of Brexit, suggesting it presents an opportunity for the UK and the US to grow closer, claiming this would strengthen Britain’s hand when dealing with the EU. This pattern has also been noticed in Germany, where former ambassador Richard Grenell waded into territory that diplomats traditionally avoid, such as tweeting that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately,” within hours of starting the job. Trump’s hard line on Iran has been particularly difficult for the EU to swallow, as the nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew was originally signed under the auspices of the EU, its most significant triumph on the geopolitical stage. Grenell also gave an interview to right-wing outlet Breitbart, where he said he wanted “to empower other conservatives throughout Europe.” Given the role of a diplomat is to deal with whichever government represents the country they are in, to speak so unambiguously about your political preference is highly unusual. Under Trump’s presidency, the US has also strengthened its relationship with EU countries that are generally considered to be delinquent member states, threatening the bloc’s unity. Most notably, Trump praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his trip to the White House last year. Orban “has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. Highly respected, respected all over Europe. Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK,” Trump said at the time. Orban spent the past decade presiding over assaults on his nation’s courts, academic institutions, central bank and press. The EU is currently investigating these assaults and could yet punish Orban by removing some of his rights at an EU level. The message has been well and truly received in Brussels. “Are there any EU-US relations left? The official political line is whatever the differences, there is more that unites us. But if you look at it properly, there are only divisions,” said one senior EU official. “Under Trump, it seems they never miss a chance to try and undermine the EU. They take radical action in areas of joint interest without consulting us, such as on Iran, moving the [US] embassy [to] Jerusalem. There is a growing sense that we simply cannot rely on the US in the same way as before,” the official added. In the eyes of many in Europe, the ambassadors appointed to key nations by Trump are consistent with a larger shift in EU-US relations. “Trump and his diplomats have given the impression that they want to punish the EU for some reason or another,” one German diplomat told CNN. “There is a huge internal debate over whether we can collaborate with the US anymore, even if [Joe] Biden wins, because they are just too unreliable.” The diplomat believes that the decline in relations began prior to Trump taking office. “In my experience, many of the younger politicians now in DC have a view of foreign policy shaped by 9/11 and the war on terror, not World War Two. They don’t really care about Germany or Europe anymore.” Barker explained that this new view of the US has changed what kind of relationship Europeans now want from the transatlantic partnership. “The transition from Bush to Obama to Trump has solidified the European view that America can pivot dramatically every eight years. The question is, how do you safeguard against this when you know the next President could be Kid Rock?” The EU official said that calm minds in Brussels are already trying to answer that question. “From the second we knew Trump was to be President, we started to see it as an opportunity to be more independent in certain areas like defense and geopolitics. You can see already how we are taking a dramatically different approach to China, Russia and Iran than the US.” None of this is to say that the EU is seeking to drift from the US, but many feel now isn’t a bad time for Europe to start thinking more about itself and its place in the world. “I hope the relationship can be repaired, of course. The transatlantic relationship is robust. But the ability for the two sides to work together, both bilaterally and as a united front on the global stage, has been undermined by the Trump administration,” said Schaake. “What that’s done is made the case for a more autonomous, actively geopolitical EU much more of a priority.” CNN contacted the US State Department to ask if it agreed or disagreed with the assertion that American diplomacy under this administration has treated the EU as less of an ally than before. It declined to comment. The crux of the problem for many in Brussels is a growing sense that maintaining or strengthening the transatlantic alliance is less of a priority for US than American interests elsewhere in the world. There is a perception that DC now wants a more transactional relationship with Brussels, which would ultimately see Europeans defer to US priorities on trade, NATO funding and diplomacy For a continent that has for decades relied on its bigger brother as it recovered from some of the bloodiest wars in history, that presents a potentially alarming new reality: This is it, you really are on your own.
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PrettyLittleThing features its first model to wear a hijab

Written by Alaa Elassar, CNNWant more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morningA Black, Muslim plus-size model is breaking barriers in the fashion industry after being chosen by PrettyLittleThing to model its new line of modest clothing.Billy Marsal,…

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PrettyLittleThing features its first model to wear a hijab

Written by Alaa Elassar, CNN

Want more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morning

A Black, Muslim plus-size model is breaking barriers in the fashion industry after being chosen by PrettyLittleThing to model its new line of modest clothing.

Billy Marsal, 21, is a London-based influencer who regularly posts photos of herself wearing trendy and modest outfits on Instagram. The online retail giant scouted her on social media shortly after entering the Middle East market.

Marsal’s work with PrettyLittleThing marks the first time the brand has featured a model wearing a hijab or headscarf, the UK-based company confirmed.

“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I started getting replies and messages from people who were so excited about it, then I realized, wow, this is amazing,” Marsal told CNN.

“It’s an insane feeling, Yes, I am Black, I am Muslim, I am plus size, but I never thought it would be me to make people feel like this.”

Marsal is new to the world of professional modeling, but is excited to represent young Muslim women and help them find fashionable clothes that uphold their religious values.

“As girls who wear the hijab, we grew up buying clothes and having to alter things to make them modest so for them now to tell Muslim girls, ‘Guys, we’re catering to you, too’ is a very big deal,” she said.

Marsal announced her work with PrettyLittleThing in a tweet on Monday that has since garnered more than 500,000 likes and 60,000 retweets. “Soooo… that’s me. THE FIRST HIJABI ON PLT!!! Still so wild to me,” she said.

PrettyLittleThing, which has collaborated with celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Hailey Baldwin, sells fashion “inspired from the catwalk and the coolest muses of the moment” at affordable prices.

The retailer aims to “inspire confidence” in customers with a message of equality and body positivity, according to its website.

“Following our successful launch into the Middle East we are delighted to be launching our ‘Modest clothing’ collection on site,” PrettyLittleThing said in a news release. “Our ethos of ‘EveryBODYinPLT is extremely important to us, so it’s been amazing seeing such positive customer feedback and working with models who represent all of our customer base.”

In recent years, models wearing a hijab have been featured in New York Fashion Week and Sports Illustrated magazine. But it’s still not common.

Marsal said she’s happy to see the industry change to include more Muslim women, and looks forward to the day when it’s no longer surprising to see a model wearing a hijab.

“I think what’s going to happen is this will one day be so normal it’s not surprising anymore, because competitors are noticing what brands like PrettyLittleThing are doing and it’s going to become the norm,” she said.

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Nebraska man hits jackpot twice in one year

Michael Christiansen of Norfolk, Nebraska, hit the jackpot for a second time this year. Earlier this month, Christiansen won $100,000 after purchasing a 20X The Money Scratch ticket. He collected his winnings on October 15 at the Nebraska Lottery’s office in Lincoln. It was his second trip to the office this year because he won…

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Nebraska man hits jackpot twice in one year

Michael Christiansen of Norfolk, Nebraska, hit the jackpot for a second time this year.

Earlier this month, Christiansen won $100,000 after purchasing a 20X The Money Scratch ticket. He collected his winnings on October 15 at the Nebraska Lottery’s office in Lincoln. It was his second trip to the office this year because he won $50,000 from a Money Clip Scratch ticket in March.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “What are the odds? I didn’t think it was real,” Christiansen said in a press release.

He purchased both winning tickets from Louie’s Liquor in Norfolk.

When asked what he plans to do with the money, Christiansen gave a few ideas. He said he wants to build a new garage and put some of the money away for his retirement.

Christiansen said his daughter recently passed away, and he’s going to try purchase the house she lived in.

The 20X The Money game offers players a chance to win prizes from a free $10 ticket to $100,000. The chances of winning $100,000 are 1 in 80,000, according to the Nebraska Lottery.

In the Money Clip game, the odds of winning the top prize of $50,000 are also 1 in 80,000, according to the lottery.

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World reduced to ‘friends,’ ‘thugs’ and ‘filthy’ countries in Trump-Biden foreign policy debate

That was how Democratic candidate Joe Biden attempted to sum up President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy in Thursday’s debate, arguing that Trump cozies up to “thugs” in North Korea, China and Russia, while he “pokes his finger at all our allies.” It was a line that might play well among Biden’s base, but,…

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World reduced to ‘friends,’ ‘thugs’ and ‘filthy’ countries in Trump-Biden foreign policy debate
That was how Democratic candidate Joe Biden attempted to sum up President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy in Thursday’s debate, arguing that Trump cozies up to “thugs” in North Korea, China and Russia, while he “pokes his finger at all our allies.”
It was a line that might play well among Biden’s base, but, with its vague allusions to appeasement in the run up to World War II, it was indicative of a debate that had little genuine substance when it came to current foreign policy challenges, with both leaders choosing to use other countries as attack lines more than anything else.

Biden did promise to “get China to play by international laws,” an area where Beijing has arguably benefited from Trump’s America First strategy and suspicion of multilateral organizations. However, he offered little insight into how he would actually go about doing that, especially as China is far stronger both internationally and domestically than it was the last time Biden was in office, beyond working with allies to try and rein Beijing in.

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