‘We must stop this carnage’

European leaders hold an emergency summit meeting on Thursday in Brussels to address the Mediterranean migrant crisis. The AFP reports that the meeting is set to commit to “systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers.”

The EU move comes amid escalating outrage over the growing numbers of deaths of migrants in shipwrecks, with some 1,700 people thought to have perished so far this year.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on Wednesday, said that “Fighting people trafficking means fighting the slave traders of the 21st century. It is not only a question of security and terrorism – it is about human dignity.” On his objectives for Thursday’s summit, Renzi told the Italian parliament: “We have to go to the root [of the problem] and discourage these men and women from leaving their countries.”

irishind(image: Reuters/Irish Independent)

The Guardian reports that

Only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe are to be offered to refugees under the emergency summit crisis package to be agreed by EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.


* POLITICS *  A Reuters scoop says that Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities “are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments.” Other Clinton Foundation returns may also be audited. Reuters reports:

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation’s work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period. Those governments were identified on the foundation’s annually updated donor list, along with broad indications of how much each had cumulatively given since they began donating.


Elsewhere, Lee Fang writes at The Intercept about the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the Moroccan government ahead of a CGI meeting scheduled for Marrakech at the beginning of next month.

As fallout continues over the controversial book Clinton Cash and the manner in which some news organizations obtained advance sight of its contents, one of those organizations, The Washington Post, reports on how the Clintons’ speech income “shows how their wealth is intertwined with their charity.”

The multiple avenues through which the Clintons and their causes have accepted financial support have provided a variety of ways for wealthy interests in the United States and abroad to build friendly relations with a potential future president. The flow of money also gives political opponents an opportunity to argue that Hillary Clinton would face potential conflicts of interest should she win the White House. Though she did not begin delivering paid speeches or join the foundation until 2013, upon ending her tenure as secretary of state, the proceeds from her husband’s work benefited them both.

John Cassidy at the New Yorker argues that the attacks on Mrs Clinton as a result of the book “could end up aiding her campaign.” 

From here on out, however, things could get tricky for journalists covering the Clinton donations. Every word they write will be doubly scrutinized for evidence of political bias, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives will be on hand to dismiss as part of a G.O.P.-inspired vendetta anything that is critical of the candidate.

Meanwhile. Charlie Pierce at Esquire writes about “the day political journalism died and the people who killed it.”

Even if I believe that no money changed hands in any way, and I’m willing to believe that’s the case for the moment, what precisely are the details of “the arrangement”? Why couldn’t the Post simply have waited for the book to be released and then reverse-engineered its contents?


The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday evening approved President Obama’s request for fast-track authority on trade legislation, notably the controversial 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which has angered congressional Democrats and labor unions. The House Ways and Means Committee is set to consider the issue on Thursday.

After the President said that his opponents, including Sen Elizabeth Warren, were “wrong” about the TPP deal, the Massachusetts Senator responded:

Meanwhile, Prof Lawrence Lessig, founder of the Mayday PAC, set up to address “the critical need to get big money out of our politics” talks in a new video about why Sen Warren would be “the best candidate to take on this challenge today.”


On the GOP side, Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina will apparently join the race for the Republican nomination on May 4, according to the Wall Street Journal. Reuters reported that “a spokeswoman for Fiorina would not confirm the report but did not deny it either.”


* BRITISH ELECTION * The latest outcome projections from Five Thirty Eight make interesting reading:

compared with a projection from The Guardian:

Channel 4 announced it would be partially switching off its E4 channel on election day in an attempt to encourage young people to vote.


* WORLD * The Wall Street Journal reports that China has increased its estimates of North Korea’s potential production of nuclear weapons “well beyond most previous U.S. figures.”

In the latest measure prompted by California’s worrying water shortage, the city of Beverley Hills agreed a series of restrictions covering things like lawn watering, pool refilling and washing cars, with a $1,000 fine for offenders.

Elaine Povich of the Pew Charitable Trusts writes at Quartz about how other states are poised to follow California’s path in coming years.

In a 2013 survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), state water managers from around the country said they expect freshwater shortages to continue into the next decade, even under what they described as “average” conditions. If those conditions change—whether because of rapid population growth, unusually low snowfall or rainfall, or accelerated economic growth—the situation could worsen.


* SPORTS * A judge gave final approval to the settlement of a lawsuit against the NFL by 5,000 former players who had accused the league of hiding the dangers of concussions.

(CBS Evening News)


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