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Posted by: Daniel Robinson


May rebukes Trump as opposition to state visit increases. Following the US president’s retweeting of videos from far right movement Britain First, many British diplomats are waiting in vain for Trump to delete the tweets and apologise. May described the actions as “the wrong thing to do”, and Britain First as “a hateful organisation” which seeks to “spread division and mistrust within our communities.” However, May and other ministers have attempted to limit the damage by stressing the important and historic relationship between the US and Britain. During an emergency debate in parliament, MPs from all parties have been questioning Trump’s planned state visit for 2018. Trump retweeted three videos from the account of Britain First’s deputy leader, Jayda Fransen and used them to urge May to focus on combating terrorism. British ambassador to Washington, Sir Darroch, personally raised the retweets with the White House. Also this week, Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has declared that trade talks with Trump are a “waste of time” and that the president has “thrown a hand grenade into international trade relationships.” Since his presidency Trump has talked about renegotiating the Nafta trade deal and trade with the WTO. Mr Stigliz has commented that the UK should not use its “scarce resources” to chase a post-Brexit deal with the President. (Source – The Guardian and BBC)

Senior military figures are named as cabinet members under Mnangagwa’s new leadership. Mr Mnangagwa was sworn into the presidency last week following the resignation of Robert Mugabe after 37 years of regime rule. The composition of his new cabinet, which includes General Sibusiso as the new foreign minster and the head of Zimbabwe’s air force Perence Shiri as minster of agriculture, has come under fire. Mnangagwa had promised a new era, but it appears he is still keeping the military involved. In the past the military has had a controversial role in the country’s politics and were accredited with keeping Mugabe in power. The new president has kept many of Mugabe’s former cabinet in play, but he also appointed other military leaders who had supported him directly. Government critic, Tendai Biti, has said that these appointments suggest the Zimbabwean people were “wrong” to have hoped for change. Newspaper owner Trevor Ncube said the cabinet was "very disappointing" and that "Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled”. Perence Shiri is a figure notorious for having led the military operation against opponents of Mr Mugabe in Matabeleland in the early 1980s which resulted in the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians. (Source – BBC)

“Thousands” of pornographic images found on Damian Green’s computer. Scotland Yard and Tory MP Damian Green are facing questions today after a retired detective claimed he was “shocked” by the amount of pornography on the Cabinet minister’s computer. Neil Lewis, an ex Met expert in analysing computers in counter-terrorism investigations, had been part of a operation designed to catch a Whitehall leak. During a raid of Mr Green’s office in 2008 the team discovered that his computer had been used to view pornographic material. The records stored on the machine suggested that the user had spent “hours” browsing porn at Mr Green’s desk over many weeks. However, the images were not illegal nor violent or extreme. These new allegations have applied extra pressure on May’s deputy, but it has also called into question Scotland Yard’s handling of personal data obtained during investigations. Former watch-dog over anti-terror laws, Lord Carlile, said it was “unacceptable” for former officers to dredge up old evidence to embarrass people and “blacken” their names. Carlile also called on the Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to take charge of the investigation given that we are "effectively dealing with the deputy prime minster."  Mr Green is adamant that he never downloaded or viewed the material. Ex Cabinet minster Andrew Mitchell has commented that Mr Green is entitled to be believed and that this “hounding” is entirely wrong. He went on to say that it was “highly questionable” whether an ex-officer should misuse material like this and why there was a record kept of “an entirely legal activity.” (Source – The Evening Standard)

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