(CNN)— It had been 169 days since President-elect Donald Trump—then the newly minted Republican nominee—took questions at an open news conference. On Wednesday, Trump broke the streak by hosting reporters, along with top aides, family and applauding staffers, for a wide-ranging, at times chaotic question-and-answer session.
Here’s how it unfolded, minute-by-minute. All times eastern:
10:59 a.m.: Two-minute warning given for beginning of news conference.
11:13 a.m.: Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer comes to the podium, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at his hip, and begins speaking as Trump and three of his children, along with a group of high level staffers, look on from the wings.
11:14 a.m.: Spicer calls out and rejects the content of documents made public by Buzzfeed on Tuesday night, saying it is “outrageous and irresponsible for a left wing blog” to publish “highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before (Trump) takes the oath office.”
Spicer does not deny a CNN report that Trump and President Obama were presented classified documents that included, in a two-page synopsis, allegations that Russian operatives claim to have damaging information about Trump.
11:15 a.m.: Spicer says that Trump does not know a former campaign adviser named Carter Page. (Trump had mentioned Page by name during a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post.)
11:16 a.m.: Pence takes over from Spicer, says he is “honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a new president who will make America great again.” He praises Trump’s energy, twice, and touts the “caliber” of the nominees selected by the transition staff. He then attacks the press as “irresponsible” and introduces Trump.
11:19 a.m.: Trump says he “maybe” won the nomination because of his frequent news conferences.
“We stopped giving them,” he said, “because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news.”
11:21 a.m.: Trump speaks for four minutes about the industries (auto, pharmaceutical) he has pressured or plans to and again promises to be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.” He also talks about all the military bands that will be at the inauguration.
11:25 a.m.: “Speaking of veterans,” Trump announces that he will appoint David Shulkin to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin is currently the VA’s undersecretary for health.
11:28 a.m.: Trump takes his first question, refuses to confirm or deny that he was briefed on Russian claims to have embarrassing information about him. He calls the unsubstantiated, published details “crap” and the work of “sick people.”
11:32 a.m.: Asked if he would undo the actions taken against Russia put into place by the Obama administration in response to the hacks, Trump deflects and says: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
11:33 a.m.: After another question about his activities in Russia, Trump describes telling “many people” to beware of “cameras all over the place” during his visits.
He adds: “I’m also very much of a germaphobe. Believe me.”
11:35 a.m.: “I have no loans with Russia,” Trump says. Then claims he was, over the weekend, offered $2 billion to “do a deal in Dubai with a very, very very amazing man, a great, great developer,” but turned him down. Not because he had to, but because he doesn’t want “to take advantage.”
11:37 a.m.: Trump is asked if he will release his tax returns. He says they are under audit, so he will not.
“The only ones who cares about my tax returns are reporters,” Trump tells the questioner, a statement not backed up by recent polling.
11:38 a.m.: Sheri Dillon, an attorney for Trump, steps to the podium to explain why the President-elect will formally leave his businesses but not sell off his interests.
As CNN’s Jill Disis and Jeremy Diamond report: “All of Trump’s business and financial assets will be placed into the trust before he is inaugurated January 20, said Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump. But she said he will still receive reports on the overall profit of the Trump Organization, his worldwide empire.”
11:53 a.m.: Trump returns to the mic, calls Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ performance on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing “brilliant.” What is he hearing from many people? That his cabinet will be “one of the great cabinets ever put together.”
11:55 a.m.: Questioned about the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump says he could have “waited and watched and criticized” and “let it implode” this year, but decided to act because it’s only fair to “the people.”
Of the timing of the replacement, Trump adds, it will happen “on the same day or the same week… could be the same hour.”
12:00 p.m.: On to jobs. Trump again touts the Carrier deal, calling his recent work to name and shame certain companies a statement of intent.
“The word is now out that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won for good reason… not gonna happen that way anymore,” he says.
Trump adds: “We don’t have border” but “an open sieve,” and urges companies to shop state-to-state for better deals—“as long as it’s within the borders of the United States.”
12:02 p.m.: Asked how he will make Mexico pay for a “fence” on the Southern border, Trump corrects a reporter: “It’s not a fence, it’s a wall.”
He says negotiations with Mexico will begin shortly after he takes office. The country, he adds, will “in some form” reimburse the US for the cost of construction and says the “deal” will probably happen in less than 18 months.
12:05 p.m.: Trump pledges to name a Supreme Court nominee “within two weeks” of his inauguration.
12:06 p.m.: So what was Trump driving at with his Wednesday morning tweet that asked, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?” a reporter inquires.
He says that recent intelligence leaks were like something the government in Nazi Germany “would have done and did do.”
12:07 p.m.: Trump refuses to answer a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta.
12:12 p.m.: Asked by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond why he spent weeks taking shots at US intelligence before having seen their work, Trump brushed past the question and says, “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad.”
12:13 p.m.: Another reporter, ABC’s Cecilia Vega steps up to ask the question that Trump refused to hear from CNN’s Jim Acosta—whether the president-elect could “stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?”
Trump dodges the question.
He speaks for 88 seconds—about the “respect” Russia will have for him; Chinese hackers; if his administration will “get along” with Putin (maybe); Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button—but does not say whether any of his campaign associates spoke regularly with Moscow during the election.
12:15 p.m.: And that’s a wrap.
On the way out, Trump explains that the stacks of papers and folders propped up on the table beside the podium are “all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons.”
12:16 p.m.: Trump exits stage right.
If this pathetic press conference is a sign of things to come over the next four years, then it may turn out to be more of a commentary on Trump’s supporters than on Trump himself.
It’s possible that in the history of the United States, never have so many lemmings lined up, to morosely tumble off so many terraced cliffs, into so many yawning valleys, at the prompting of so few, with so little persuasive power exerted.
Both India and China are countries that have had the sort of moderate contact with the rest of Eurasia that their position at two extremities of Asia would lead one to expect. Both India and China have had their own sophisticated civilizations for at least two thousand years. The Chinese invented such things as gunpowder and printing. The Indians invented the so-called “Arabic” numerals that we use to this day and one of their religions (Buddhism) has been enormously influential outside their own borders. Both Indians and Chinese do extremely well economically outside their home countries. To me this is a picture of two generally intelligent populations. Yet the average IQ score for the two differs markedly. Chinese score somewhat above the Western norm and Indians score markedly below it. How come?
The comments have not been displaying after number 1000 - Sunny Mittal on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 14:41 | #, 1000 - therefore, I will include below the subsequent comments that were attempted since; and those who wish to comment on this thread may continue to do so here.
anonymous 2014-08-24 11:09 AM said:
You should continue this subject in another page from the 1001st post
Ok, as we said, there were a few dozen comments which didn’t register after number 1000. The ones that did not appear span from 31 Aug 2013 to 27 Dec 2016 and are being displayed here, under the fold; the thread is continued anew and comments may resume.
Posted by DanielS on Monday, 26 December 2016 15:54.
TNO, “U.N. Vote and Jewish Lobby Hypocrisy”, 24 Dec 2016:
And Alt-Right hypocrisy as well, since The US was the only nation which supported Israel in the UN with regard to their illegal settlements - their chutzpah to fly in the face of the rest of the world probably rests on anticipation of help from their boy Trump
The U.S. Jewish lobby has rushed to defend Israel following the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) motion condemning the illegal seizure of Palestinian land—highlighting the fact that they support the right of Jews to preserve their racial identity in their own ethnostate, but always strongly oppose any European demands for that same right.
TNO, “Israeli Illegal Settlements: The Facts”, 26 Dec 2016:
Israel has demanded that the 14 nations who voted against the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank “explain themselves”—for daring to oppose the Jewish ethnostate’s breach of international law.
In reality, the Jewish settlements are illegal in terms of the Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations, and if undertaken by any other state, would have resulted in international military intervention.
According to “Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War” of the Geneva Convention, an occupier is forbidden from transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies.
The construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are clear violations of both these international treaties, and for Israel to demand that nations who uphold this law “explain themselves” is merely an indication of the chutzpah and hypocrisy which underpins that state.
These then, are the facts about the occupied West Bank:
The West Bank—including East Jerusalem—and the Gaza Strip together constitute the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), which have been under Israeli military occupation since June 1967.
Prior to Israeli occupation, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip by Egypt.
Before the State of Israel was established in 1948, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were simply parts of Mandate Palestine; their “borders” are the result of Israeli expansion and armistice lines.
More than 300,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip became refugees during Israel’s conquest in June 1967; the vast majority were unable to return.
In 1967, Israeli forces ethnically cleansed and destroyed a number of Palestinian villages in the OPT, including Imwas, Beit Nuba, and others.
One of the first acts of Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem was to demolish the Mughrabi Quarter, expelling 600 residents and destroying 135 homes. In place of the 800-year-old Mughrabi Quarter, Israel created the Western Wall Plaza.
Rex Tillerson, the businessman picked by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state, is the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show.
Tillerson – the chief executive of ExxonMobil – has been a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, since 1998. His name – RW Tillerson – appears next to other officers who are based at Houston in Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s remote Far East.
The leaked 2001 document comes from the corporate registry in the Bahamas. It was one of 1.3m files given to Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The registry is public but details of individual directors are typically incomplete or missing entirely.
Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before and is likely to raise fresh questions over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia ahead of a potentially stormy confirmation hearing by the US senate foreign relations committee.
ExxonMobil’s use of offshore regimes – while legal – may also jar with Trump’s avowal to put “America first”.
Tillerson’s critics say he is too close to president Vladimir Putin – and that his appointment could raise potential conflicts of interest.
ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil company and has for a long time been eyeing Russia’s vast oil and gas deposits. Tillerson currently has Exxon stock worth more than $200m.
Since his nomination, Tillerson’s Russia ties have become a source of bipartisan concern. In 2013 Vladimir Putin awarded him the Russian Order of Friendship. Tillerson is close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil giant Rosneft and the de facto second most powerful figure inside the Kremlin. A hardliner, Sechin is ex-KGB.
It was put on hold in 2014 after the Obama administration imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Russia. The sanctions were punishment for Putin’s Crimea annexation that spring and Russia’s undercover invasion of eastern Ukraine.
The ban covers the US sharing of sophisticated offshore and shale oil technology. Exxon was supposed to halt its drilling with Rosneft. The firm successfully pleaded with the US Treasury department to delay the ban by a few weeks, with the Kremlin threatening to seize its rig. In this brief window Exxon discovered a major Arctic field with some 750m barrels of new oil.
Tillerson has criticised the US government’s policy on Russia. In 2014 he told Exxon’s annual meeting that “we do not support sanctions”. He added: “We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who they are really harming.”
It is widely assumed by investors that the new Trump administration will drop sanctions. This would allow the Kara joint venture to resume, boosting Exxon’s share price and yielding potential profits in the tens of billions of dollars. According to company records, Tillerson currently owns $218m of stock. His Exxon pension is worth about $70m.
The senate foreign relations committee is currently split 10 to 9 between Republicans and Democrats. But several heavyweight Republicans, including John McCain, have raised doubts about Tillerson’s nomination and his lack of experience to be America’s top diplomat after four decades spent exclusively in the oil industry.
Republican senator Marco Rubio – who sits on the committee – said on Tuesday that he had “serious concerns” about giving Tillerson the job. Rubio praised him as a “respected businessman” but said that the next secretary of state “must be someone who views the world with moral clarity [and who] has a clear sense of America’s interests”.
Tillerson is likely to get rid of his Exxon stock if the narrowly Republican-majority Senate confirms his appointment.
Today’s revelation sheds light on the use by multinational companies of contrived offshore structures, now under scrutiny following April’s massive Panama Papers leak.
Exxon Neftegas’s most important oil and gas project is Sakhalin-1. It is located in the sub-Arctic, off the frozen and difficult-to-access north-east coast of Russia’s Sakhalin island. This is 10,700km (6,650m) away from the subsidiary’s official business home in Nassau, the warm semi-tropical capital of the Bahamas. The Bahamas is notorious for secrecy. It has a corporate tax rate of zero.
The documents from the Bahamas corporate registry were shared by Süddeutsche Zeitung with the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC. They show that Exxon registered at least 67 companies in the secretive tax haven, covering operations in countries from Russia to Venezuela to Azerbaijan.
Exxon Neftegas features in about 25 leaked offshore documents. The oil firm was incorporated in 1998 by a law firm in Nassau, Higgs & Johnson. Another veteran law firm, Lobosky Management Ltd, subsequently took over as registered agent. Company secretary Sophia Kishinevsky signed the paperwork and made annual filings.
Exxon said it had no comment on whether Tillerson should now divest his Exxon holdings and resign from his positions with all Exxon entities. It said the oil firm had incorporated some of its affiliates in the Bahamas because of “simplicity and predictability”.
“It is not done to reduce tax in the country where the company operates,” Exxon said. It added: “Incorporation of a company in the Bahamas does not decrease ExxonMobil’s tax liability in the country where the entity generates its income.”
The firm was one of the largest taxpayers in the world, with an effective global tax rate in 2015 of 34%, it said. Its effective tax rate over the past three years – 2013, 2014, 2015 – was 43%, it added. This compared favourably with other Fortune 100 companies which “have substantially lower effective tax rates than ExxonMobil”.
And if you think that’s interesting, there will be more later.
Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 05:51.
As Trump shows his right wing and Jewish-collaborative colors the dubiousness of White Nationalist support is highlighted.
Mnuchin led the 2009 mortgage bailout of failed subprime mortgage lender IndyMac, now known as One West - the bank received 900 million in federal bail-out money.
Minuchin helped back the construction of Trump International Hotel in Chicago. Trump later sued him to secure more favorable terms.
Minuchin also has interests in the film industry.
Minuchin donated to both Republicans and Democrats in the past, including to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Washington Post, “Trump expected to name financier Steve Mnuchin to Treasury”, 29 Nov 2016:
President-elect Donald Trump is planning to name investor and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, opting for an industry insider with no government experience to helm the agency in charge of the nation’s finances, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mnuchin (pronounced mah-NEW-chin) joined Trump’s whirlwind campaign in May as finance chairman, despite the fact that he had never worked in politics and that he had donated to Democrats in the past. He quickly earned Trump’s trust as he worked closely with the Republican National Committee to raise substantial amounts of money in a short period. On policy issues, he was instrumental in crafting the details of Trump’s proposal to overhaul the tax code.
“He’s an expert on finance issues,” said Stephen Moore, who worked with Mnuchin as an adviser to the president-elect on the campaign trail. “He clearly, like Donald Trump, understands that the number one goal for this administration is going to be to grow the economy and get jobs.”
The president-elect scored an early victory Tuesday night when air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier announced that it would reverse plans to move one of its factories from Indiana to Mexico. The company, which is owned by United Technologies, said about 1,000 U.S. jobs would be preserved.
Trump’s tough talk on trade during his campaign helped cement his populist appeal. But Trump — a real estate developer famous for his flashy style — appears to be staffing his Cabinet with advisers who also have amassed extraordinary wealth. Trump is expected to nominate industrialist billionaire Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department, and Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos was named as Trump’s pick for education secretary last week.
Wallsreet Journal, “Treasury Pick Steven Mnuchin Bet on Donald Trump and Won”, 29 Nov 2016:
Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 12:36.
Major western media outlets, The New York Times and Yahoo are misleading the public - they are vilifying Assad as he retakes Aleppo, inducing the misconception that it is Assad that has created the situation that has led to civilian casualties and from which the residents have had to flee.
Whereas Assad (a Left Nationalist) should be applauded for re-taking Aleppo on behalf of Syria and Aleppo natives, a misconception has been created by these Western outlets that casualties have resulted from Assad’s arbitrary aggression and that rather than seeking temporary safety from the fighting, civilians are fleeing Assad.
Rebels prevented some refugees from fleeing
New York Times, “Thousands Flee Aleppo, Syria, as Government Forces Advance”, 28 Nov 2016:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Thousands of people were sent fleeing for their lives on Monday as rebel fighters lost a large stretch of territory to government forces in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, in what could prove to be a turning point in the conflict, both militarily and psychologically.
Residents described desperate scenes of people’s being killed by shells as they searched for shelter after their homes came under the heaviest bombardment yet of the nearly five-year civil war. Years of airstrikes and shelling have destroyed entire neighborhoods of the rebel-held half of the divided city, once Syria’s largest and an industrial hub.
At least 4,000 people have fled from the rebel-held eastern districts to the city’s government-controlled western side and have registered with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Jibreen, a neighborhood there, Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the United Nations office of humanitarian affairs, said on Monday.
As the rebels absorbed the harshest blow since they seized more than half the city four years ago, it seemed increasingly likely that President Bashar al-Assad would eventually manage to take back all of Aleppo.
That would give the Syrian government control of the country’s five largest cities and most of the more-populous west, leaving the rebel groups that are most focused on fighting Mr. Assad with only the northern province of Idlib and a few isolated pockets in the provinces of Aleppo and Homs and around the capital, Damascus.
Throughout the day, government troops, supported by Iranian-backed militias from Iraq and the militant group Hezbollah, advanced from the east and north into the rebel-held areas of Aleppo. That included Hanano, one of the first areas to fall, in 2012, and Sakhour.
Residents of Aleppo, Syria, told us how they feelwhen they hear an aircraft overhead. Eastern Aleppo has been under heavy bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces.
Kurdish-led militias were also involved in the fight, advancing from the west, from the Kurdish-controlled neighborhood of Sheikh Maksoud, taking the rebel-held district of Sheikh Fares.
Kurdish militias have staked out areas of de facto autonomy in parts of the country but are not entirely aligned with either the government or the rebels. The state news media and opposition activists have portrayed them in the current fighting in Aleppo, however, as working with the government to fight rebels. The Kurdish militias have clashed previously with rebels in Aleppo, who shelled the Sheikh Maksoud area.
If the government takes back the whole city, large parts of Syria will still remain outside its control, as Kurdish groups and the Islamic State hold most of the eastern half of the country. But it could effectively spell the end of the Syrian insurgent movements that sprang up against Mr. Assad after a crackdown on protests in 2011.
“It’s like doomsday,” said Zaher al-Zaher, an antigovernment activist in eastern Aleppo, who could communicate only in short bursts of text messages, as internet connections were failing.
Hisham al-Skeif, a member of a council in the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo, said he was scrambling to find housing for families who had fled from areas that had been recaptured by the government in the past day.
“The problem today, in this moment, is not water and food,” he said, at one point choking with tears. “We are threatened with slaughtering, slaughtering.”
The advances shattered a standoff that had lasted months, after government forces surrounded and besieged the rebel-controlled parts of the city this year, closing off regular access to food, medicine and other supplies.
The battle of Aleppo has followed a pattern established by the government: Encircle a rebel-held area; bombard it with airstrikes, barrel bombs and artillery; hit not only rebels but medical clinics, schools and other civilian structures; and wait for exhausted residents to run away or make a deal.
That approach has worked in the old city of Homs, and in several Damascus suburbs. But eastern Aleppo is by far the biggest prize the government has tried to win in this way.
In the past two weeks of fighting alone, at least 225 civilians, including at least 25 children, have been killed by government bombardments in rebel-held areas. At least 27 civilians, including 11 children, have been killed by rebel shelling.
Despite an outcry from the United Nations and many governments condemning indiscriminate attacks, the world has largely stood by, unable or unwilling to stop the carnage, even as Syria’s civil war has become a proxy war, with Russia and Iran backing the government and the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others, to varying degrees, backing the rebels.
“This is violence that is organized and executed by the Assad government with the willing support of the Russians and the Iranians,” the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said Monday in response to the latest news from Aleppo.
Posted by DanielS on Monday, 28 November 2016 00:01.
These ancient “guardians of the gates” of Nimrud, called “lamassu”, were rescued by William Henry Layard and preserved at The British National Museum. Similar ancient treasures remaining at Nimrud were destroyed by Isil.
NPR, “In Northern Iraq, ISIS Leaves Behind An Archaeological Treasure In Ruins”, 26 Nov 2016:
In northern Iraq, outside Mosulin 2014, The Islamic State captured the ancient site of Nimrud and destroyed many of its archaeological treasures that date back 3,000 years. Isil were recently driven out of Nimrud, allowing archaeologists and others to come back and survey the extensive damage.
....including what remained of the remnants of temples and roads to the ancient palace of Ashurnasirpal II.
The king of the Assyrian empire, he built his palace at Nimrud almost three millennia ago. Enough of the cuneiform inscriptions, carved stone friezes and sculptures were left that it had been reconstructed throughout the 20th century by Iraqi and international archaeologists, and later by the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, as a kind of on-site museum, where visitors could really imagine the stately building on a hill.
[There was] great pair of sculptures guarding the gate – the mythical beast called a lamassu with the face of a man, body of a bull and the wings of an eagle.
“It was very important to put them at the gates,” she explained recently, “to drive away evil spirits from the city.”
Then, in 2014, the Islamic State surged through Iraq, taking nearly a third of the country’s territory, along with several ancient sites, including Nimrud, which is about 20 miles southeast of Mosul. They smashed and blew up Ashurnasirpal II’s palace.
[...] attacking the masonry and sculptures, deeming them heretical.
Last week, the Iraqi army retook Nimrud from the extremists, part of a push by an assortment of Iraqi security forces to dislodge ISIS from Mosul and surrounding areas. So Salih returned to see the site for herself.
In front of the grand entrance to what archaeologists call the northwest palace, built with thick walls around a central courtyard, was a grim pile of chunks
Ancient tablets with cuneiform writing lie around in pieces. The entrance to the palace is blocked with rubble, with tiny pieces of ancient inscription mixed up in it. A climb to the top of the walls reveals a courtyard strewn with wreckage.
The pride of the palace used to be a stone frieze of the Assyrian figures known as winged genies.
Now they are all but destroyed.
And despite numerous international initiatives and conferences on emergency heritage management, despite regular statements by Iraqi officials about the importance of the country’s ancient heritage, no soldier is guarding the site. Not so much as a local tribesman.
Although the site is historically Assyrian, it is not just Iraq’s small, Assyrian minority that sees it as part of its history. Iraqis often cite Nimrud as a source of national pride, part of the long history of the land once known as Mesopotamia.
No one knows when that might start. The British Museum is leading a project to train Iraqi archaeologists in emergency management.
“All the area which has been under ISIS control will need to be inspected and assessed,” said John MacGinnis, the archaeologist who leads the project.
But MacGinnis said for that to begin, the area has to be secure. And at Nimrud, ISIS is still within mortar range. The sounds of fighting nearby echo every day around the ruins.
China has ordered all residents in its western frontier region of Xinjiang to hand in their passports, the latest in a series of draconian moves in the restive province home to an 11m Muslim minority.
Citizens of Xinjiang, an oil-rich but ethnically divided region more than six times the size of the UK, must hand their documents to police and apply to get them back if they want to travel, state-controlled newspaper Global Times reported on Thursday. The purpose was to “maintain social order”, the paper said.