Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 08, 2019 1:00 am

Politics

Pompeo makes visit to Baghdad

Associated Press

BAGHDAD – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a lightning visit to Baghdad on Tuesday to show U.S. support for the Iraqi government as Washington steps up warnings to Iran against any action against American interests in the Middle East.

The unannounced trip began and ended after nightfall and under heavy security.

Pompeo's visit came as the Trump administration is intensifying its pressure campaign against Iran. The U.S. said this week that it is rushing an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East to deter or respond to any Iranian attack. U.S. officials have said there are indications Iran is planning to retaliate for the Trump administration's stepped-up sanctions on the country, although the threat information remains vague.

Pompeo: Ice melt good for economy

The Arctic is melting, but don't ask Pompeo to talk about climate change. Nor even to agree on a text that mentions it. For the Trump administration, disappearing sea ice in the world's “high north” appears to be first and foremost an economic opportunity to exploit rather than a crisis to mitigate.

That position was made clear by Pompeo over two days of meetings in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi involving the foreign ministers of the eight members of the Arctic Council. “Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new naval passageways and new opportunities for trade, potentially slashing the time it takes for ships to travel between Asia and the West by 20 days,” he said.

Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said Tuesday the countries – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States – agreed only on a brief joint statement that reaffirmed a “commitment to maintain peace, stability and constructive co-operation in the Arctic.”

First lady unveils new 'Be Best' plan

A year after launching her first major initiative, Melania Trump unveiled plans Tuesday to make her “Be Best” program even best-er.

New steps in the first lady's second-year push include broadening the program's focus on drug abuse and social media use, along with her second international trip to promote its goals. She withheld the destination, however, saying the “details are still coming together.”

Mrs. Trump launched “Be Best” a year ago to focus on child well-being, social media use and drug abuse. She said she has spent the time since listening to and learning from parents, medical professionals, teachers, leaders in the fields of technology and social media and many others, and declared that she is ready for more of that give and take.

Teacher suing over firing for editing

A high school yearbook adviser who was suspended after photos of two students were altered to remove President Donald Trump's name from their clothing is suing the district, saying she was made a scapegoat.

Teacher Susan Parsons says in her lawsuit, filed Monday, that officials in New Jersey's Wall Township School District requested the changes in 2017 but then set her up to “take the blame.” The district, the lawsuit says, created a hostile work environment that led to harassment and death threats against her and violated her rights by barring her from speaking to the media.

In her lawsuit, she says the district routinely forced her to edit yearbook photos to alter anything that could be controversial, including words on T-shirts, hand gestures and students not wearing shirts on a school trip.