Sunday 22 January 2017 – Women’s Marches around the world yesterday protest Trump and support women’s rights, plus other news

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Estimates suggest up to 2 million people, overwhelmingly women, took part in women’s marches around the world yesterday. Not specifically in protest against Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, the marches were an expression from the world’s women of their anger and outrage at the comments Trump has made towards women and how this may signal a period of attack on women’s rights in the United States, on issues such as abortion. Perhaps 500,000 to 1,000,000 marched in Washington, along the National Mall (above) where only the day before people were celebrating the inauguration of Donald Trump. Naturally, the threat to women’s rights is focused on America, but in sympathy with their sisters, women around the world held their own marches – in dozens of cities and towns across Europe, Asia, Africa, India and Australia. A march was even held in Antarctica.  As well as women’s rights issues, participants were also campaigning for other issues, such as global warming, immigration, black lives matter and healthcare.

 

I’ve been busy today so haven’t had time to write anything in detail, so will link instead to several articles from various news websites and online newspapers. You can also view photos from women’s marches around the world on my Flckr site:

 


Trump loses it over media comparison of inauguration crowd size with those of President Obama

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The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, in his first press conference of the Trump administration saw him complaining that the media were guilty of misleading the public and making false reports over the size of the crowds at Trump’s inauguration. The White House issued photographs, such as above, and Trump himself claimed that the area up the length of the National Mall was “packed.” Trump also threatened the media with consequences. The White House’s claims, however, are clearly wrong. The photograph below left was taken at noon on Friday and clearly shows the National Mall with huge areas with no people. The white covering placed to protect the Mall was used by Trump as an excuse, claiming that it highlighted empty areas whereas the photos of Obama’s inauguration didn’t have the coverings and the grass blended with the people to make it look full. This is also inaccurate, as the white covering was also used in Obama’s 2013 inauguration. The second photo below shows the crowds at Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

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Read more: Trump team in fresh war of words with US mediaBBC News, London


Gold curtains for the Oval office

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President Trump hasn’t wasted anytime fixing the Oval Office to his on liking – and, unsurprisingly, he has replaced Obama’s red curtains with gold ones. He has also replaced Obama’s rug, which featured quotes that inspired him including some from Martin Luther King. Trump’s rug seemingly is similar to that used by George W. Bush and features gold and yellow trim and is said to express a spirit of optimism. When Obama became president he replaced a bust of Winston Churchill with one of Martin Luther King. Speculation is that Trump will reverse the process, although the MLK bust is still in the Oval Office according to Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary.  The removal of Winston Churchill’s bust didn’t gone down well with the UK Independence Party (UKIP). When Obama wrote an op-ed urging Britain to remain in the European Union, the British Conservative politician, Boris Johnson, suggested that the removal of Churchill’s bust was “a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s  ancestral dislikes of the British Empire.” This ridiculous remark, which many interpreted as racist, was typical of Boris Johnson. Amazingly Johnson, never known for his tact and diplomacy, has since been made Britain’s Foreign Secretary in Theresa May’s cabinet last summer.

 

The changes each new President makes to the Oval Office are part of the transition process which also gives the President and his family free reign to redecorate the private residence. Among other things, beds and furniture may be replaced. The President and his family get to choose new artwork to be displayed on the walls of the White House, much of which will be on loan from the National Collections. However any changes to the historic Lincoln Bedroom and Queen’s Bedroom need to be approved the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. Laura Bush’s former chief of staff, Anita McBride, said of this process of change: “One of the most wonderful things about the White House is that it’s a living museum, steeped in history but it’s constantly evolving.” Laura Bush is the wife of George W. Bush, who was President from 2001 to 2009.


British Foreign Secretary positive about Trump

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White on the subject of the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, it is being reported  that he is “positive and optimistic”  about the new President. According to the Associated Press he is optimistic that Trump’s  policies will work in Britain’s favour. Concern has been raised over Trump’s “America First” and “buy American, hire American”  intentions and how they will effect the likelihood of a  decent trade deal between the United States and Britain once Britain leaves the European Union. Johnson says he is “very optimistic”  that a trade deal will be done quickly, but stressed that “it’s got to work for the U.K. as well.”  The Foreign Secretary added that: “I think that the new president has made it very clear that he wants to put Britain at the front of the line for a new trade deal and obviously that’s extremely exciting and important.”

 

Meanwhile, Johnson’s boss, the British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will be meeting President Trump in the next few days and will discuss issues such as NATO, post-Brexit trade and terrorism. She refused to say whether she would be talking about women’s right following on from the massive women’s marches around the world this weekend. She did say, however, that the simple meeting of a female British Prime Minister with Trump would be the “biggest statement”  she can make about the role of women in the world. She has expressed concern about Trump’s sexist comments in the past, but it seems these talks will focus on “pressing global issues”  including Syria and relations with Russia. The Prime Minister elaborated:

 

“I’ve already said some of the comments Donald Trump has made in relation to women are unacceptable. Some of those he has apologised for. When I sit down, I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is that I will be there as a female prime minister, directly talking to him about the interests we share.”

She added: “I will be talking to Donald Trump about the issues that we share, about how we can build on the special relationship. It’s the special relationship that also enables us to say when we do find things unacceptable … Whenever there is something that I find unacceptable I will say that to Donald Trump.”

 

The Prime Minister will also travel to Philadelphia after meeting with Trump where she will address a retreat of Republican politicians “as a result of the efforts the UK government has made to establish strong links with the new administration”. You can read more in this Guardian article.

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