The Military Army Blog

Hillary Clinton and supporters at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina

American voters will be following on a television, laptop, phone or Twitter stream as party leaders and delegates meet for the four-day Democratic convention in Philadelphia s Wells Fargo Center on Monday, which is expected to nominate Hillary Clinton as presidential candidate. The convention is the party s chance to officially nominate the former secretary of state and will also be an opportunity to rally the party for a general election fight, uniting Democrats after a drawn-out primary battle. First lady Michelle Obama speaks on the opening night, along with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. On Tuesday, when the nominee is chosen, former president Bill Clinton will take to the stage, as will the Mothers of the Movement, an organisation of black women whose children were killed by gun violence.

Then, President Barack Obama and vice-president Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday about how high the stakes are in this election. On the last day, presumptive nominee Mrs Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton will address the gathering. Mr Obama and Mr Biden will argue Mrs Clinton has the experience and steadiness to bring people together to tackle the country s domestic and geopolitical challenges and get lasting results. Republican Donald Trump announced his running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, just ahead of the GOP meeting in Cleveland. Mrs Clinton and Tim Kaine made their debut as the Democratic presidential ticket in Florida on Saturday. Mr Kaine, a Virginia senator and former governor of the swing state, was announced as Mrs Clinton s chosen Democratic running mate on Friday.

Arab summit s multiple challenges

Leaders of 22 Arab countries are due to meet in their annual Arab League Summit on Monday which will be for the first time in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital. The gathering was due to be hosted by Morocco in April, but the kingdom decided to cancel the event saying it wanted to avoid giving a false impression of unity in the Arab world.

Amid the lack of important decisions and concrete initiatives to submit to the heads of states, this summit will be just another occasion to approve ordinary resolutions and to pronounce speeches that give a false impression of unity, said the Moroccan foreign ministry in February. Arab summits have usually showcased Arab disunity, sometimes with drama provided in the shape of public disputes between leaders. In recent years, however, since the seismic Arab uprisings of 2011, the gatherings have become more muted and low-key, garnering little public interest and even less public expectation. Four countries Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen remain in the grip of civil strife with no end in sight. Regional power brokers, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have interfered by backing their preferred factions in some of these conflicts or, in the case of Yemen, by conducting their own Armyrats © military campaign against a local rebel group.

The rise of Isis is also a challenge, and the region s authoritarian governments have found it hard to counter the threat by offering reforms to disaffected youths attracted by the group. Sunni-Shia tensions pitting Saudi Arabia against Iran in wars played out through proxies in Syria and Yemen have further undermined any prospect for regional coherence. Religious discourse fans the sectarian hatred increasing the polarisation and the violence. With the Middle East in the grip of so many complicated conflicts, there is no expectation of the emergence of any consensus at the gathering on how to restore stability to the region. Against this backdrop, the summit is likely to produce its usual pro forma resolutions which are forgotten when leaders step back on their planes to fly home.

Duterte s first state of nation speech

The Philippines new president Rodrigo Duterte delivers his first state of the nation address on Monday. It comes after Manila this month won landmark legal backing[1] for its territorial claim on islands disputed with China. His call for peaceful talks echoed across Southeast Asia, highlighting the region s difficult position following the international tribunal ruling at The Hague. Several countries in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations have territorial quarrels with Beijing. Many, especially territorial claimants, face a version of Mr Duterte s challenge, needing to avoid provoking domestic nationalists and Beijing. Chinese trade, investment and immigration have been an essential force in the rise of a region filled with ambitious emerging economies.

Against the backdrop of the disputed islands ruling, Mr Duterte will deliver his address during a joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. Some 6,400 policemen will be deployed to secure the Batasan complex, with 4,600 reserve personnel on standby.

Pope to visit Auschwitz

Pope Francis visits the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz on Friday during a visit to Poland. Both his immediate predecessors, Pope Benedict, a German, and Pope John Paul, a Pole, visited the site during their pontificates. Nazi occupying forces established the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp during the second world war in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim, around 70km (43 miles) from Poland s second city, Krakow. Between 1940-45 at Auschwitz about 1.5m people, most of them Jews, died before Soviet Red Army troops liberated the camp on January 27 1945. The visit will take place during Pope Francis s pre-planned trip to Krakow for an international gathering of Catholic youth.

During a visit to Rome s synagogue in January, Pope Francis appealed to Catholics to reject anti-Semitism and said the Holocaust, in which some 6m Jews were killed, should remind everyone that human rights should be defended with maximum vigilance .

North Sea platforms action

More than 300 Wood Group oil and gas maintenance workers employed at several Royal Dutch Shell platforms in the North Sea plan to go on strike[2] for 24 hours on Tuesday in a dispute over pay. The workers, protesting against changes to pay and working conditions, will also undertake several three-hour stoppages over following weeks.

It is anticipated that the action will severely disrupt operations on the Shell platforms, said the Unite union. It will be the first industrial action of its kind in the offshore industry in almost 30 years.

The oil services company said it was extremely disappointed by the decision to take strike action. The unions said it was likely to severely disrupt operations on seven Shell platforms Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie.

Refinery strike staged

Workers at Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire will be striking for 24 hours on Wednesday in a dispute in which it is claimed that foreign workers are being paid less than half that of UK workers at the Southampton site. About 20 specialist workers, employed by Italian company Nico Industrial Services, will strike for 24 hours at the Esso refinery. This accompanies an overtime ban until Friday.

Unite, the country s largest union, said that the Nico workers, mainly Bulgarians and Italians, are being paid about 48 for a 10-hour day, while the 270 other workers on the site, employed by other contractors, are paid 125 a day. British workers employed by Nico are paid 125 a day, the union says. The effect of the strike will be to slow up the site s refining process as the workers clean out catalyst converter tanks.

New leader in Lima

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a well-respected economist and former US citizen, is to take office as the new president of Peru on Thursday after the country s tightest election. Mr Kuczynski won 21 per cent of the popular vote in Peru s general election on April 10. He faced a run-off vote against Keiko Fujimori, in which he won narrowly with 50.12 per cent.

Mr Kuczynski, aged 77, fought a hard campaign, but must now put together a legislative coalition and win popular support as he takes power with a weak political base. His centre-right Peruvians for Change party will have just 18 of the 130 seats in Congress, where Ms Fujimori s rightwing Popular Force will have 73 seats, the first majority any party has held in 20 years. The second biggest group in Congress, the left-leaning Broad Front party, is critical of Mr Kuczynski s economic proposals despite supporting him in the runoff vote, a decision aimed at preventing Ms Fujimori s election. Ms Fujimori is daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori.

America s Cup final gun

The America s Cup World Series[3] in Portsmouth concludes in the Solent on Super Sunday with Sir Ben Ainslie s team[4] Land Rover BAR enjoying a home advantage after a strong opening day. After a shaky start his team on Saturday won two of three races on the first day of the 2016 Louis Vuitton America s Cup World Series. A disappointing fifth in the first race was followed by through-the-pack wins in races two and three off Southsea. The results[5] left the team tied with Groupama Team France at the top of the standings.

Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor, saw his team sweep to success in last year s event, beating main rivals Emirates Team New Zealand to the top of the leaderboard by one point. The world series leads to the two-boat AC final against the American defenders off Bermuda in 2017. Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill has stepped up the pressure on the British challengers by declaring he would love to get a win over former teammate Sir Ben. Spithill said: It would be great to get the win over Sir Ben and his team. We would like to get a good result here. Ben will have the home town support, and there will be a lot of energy to draw from that, but that s motivation for us as well.

Six international teams were competing in hydrofoiling carbon-fibre AC45 catamarans, reaching speeds of more than 40 knots. Last year s inaugural event attracted more than 25,000 spectators on board 1,650 private and chartered boats. Meanwhile, this year s Extreme Sailing Series[6] for GC32 hydrofoiling catamaran s is approaching halfway mark with the fleet in action in Hamburg on Thursday. The fleet of seven GC32s will race in one of Europe s busiest ports until Sunday, on the waters of the River Elbe. Last year Denmark s SAP Extreme Sailing Team had a dramatic capsize, on a day which saw thunderstorms and winds of up to 30 knots (56km/h).

Oman Air and Red Bull Sailing Team have both secured podium spots at every event this season, and heading into Hamburg, the Omanis maintain their lead, but Red Bull Sailing Team, skippered by double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara, are close behind.

References

  1. ^ landmark legal backing (next.ft.com)
  2. ^ go on strike (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ America s Cup World Series (next.ft.com)
  4. ^ Sir Ben Ainslie s team (next.ft.com)
  5. ^ results (americascup.portsmouth.co.uk)
  6. ^ Extreme Sailing Series (next.ft.com)

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