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Political and General News Events from May 1 – National Post



May 1 (Reuters) –

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—————————————————————- This diary is filed daily. ** Indicates new events —————————————————————-


VATICAN CITY – 9th anniversary of beatification ceremony of late Pope John Paul II. – – – – – – – – – SATURDAY, MAY 2

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan – The day marks the 9th year since al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. special forces raid, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. – – – – – – – – –


GLOBAL – World Press Freedom Day. – – – – – – – – –


** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton and for education, culture and research Mariya Gabriel debate the impact of covid-19 on culture, education and media with EU lawmakers – 1300 GMT ** BRUSSELS – EU hosts an international pledging conference with the aim of raising at least 7.5 billion euros to fund global research in vaccine, treatments and diagnostics to tackle COVID-19 – 1300 GMT BRUSSELS – EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager discusses EU measures to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and ways the digital transformation can boost recovery will be discussed with EU lawmakers. – 1200 GMT

PARIS – OECD to update on progress rewriting international tax rules – 1200 GMT

– – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, MAY 5 ** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for energy Kadri Simson speaks at the Hydrogen Europe and GEODE webinar ‘Towards the new age of gas networks – Hydrogen and CO2 free gas infrastructure by 2050’. ** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for energy Kadri Simson gives a keynote speech at the Energy Solutions high-level videoconference debate ‘The role of industry in the implementation of the European Green Deal and the Climate Law.’ GLOBAL – World Asthma Day.

ZAGREB – EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb (to May 7).

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 ** BRUSSELS – A summit between the leaders of EU member states and six Western Balkans countries takes place via video conferencing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia are all hoping to become members of the bloc. ** BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks after meeting with the Prime Ministers of the German federal states to discuss corona measures amidst a discussion on whether the regulations need relaxing or not.

** ZAGREB – EU heads of state or government and leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo meet in Croatia to discuss EU accession (to May 7). ** TAIPEI CITY – Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung speaks to the Taipei Foreign Correspondents Club about Taiwan’s battle against the coronavirus – 0200 GMT BRUSSELS – Diederik Samsom, head of the European Commission’s climate cabinet, delivers remarks on whether the coronavirus can be a “catalyst” for action to tackle climate change – 0900 GMT.

BRUSSELS – European Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis presents Action Plan on Anti-money Laundering. – – – – – – – – –

THURSDAY, MAY 7 ** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson speaks on the EU’s response to fighting cybercriminals that are exploiting the coronavirus crisis at a Bruegel event – 1000 GMT ** BEIJING – The EU Ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis will hold a virtual press conference on EU-China relations, in light of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and China (May 6), and Europe Day (May 9). – 0300 GMT ** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for economic affairs Valdis Dombrovskis participates in the World Economic Forum videoconference on the EU’s Green Deal. ** BRUSSELS – EU Commissioner for economic and financial affairs Paolo Gentiloni speaks in online edition of the annual “the state of the Union conference,” organized by the European University Institute.

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FRIDAY, MAY 8 ** BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attends a wreath laying ceremony at Berlin´s Neue Wache memorial marking the end of World War II. – 0900 GMT BRUSSELS – Euro zone finance ministers hold video conference on the EU’s response to the coronavirus epidemic – 1300 GMT

GLOBAL – World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.

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MOSCOW – The Czech President Milos Zeman visits Moscow to attend the events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

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POLAND – Referendum election.

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BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, MAY 12 ** SYDNEY – Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers a ministerial statement to the parliament outlining the economic and business impacts from the new coronavirus crisis GLOBAL – International Nurse’s Day.

BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) meeting

BRUSSELS – EU General Affairs Council meeting

– – – – – – – – – THURSDAY, MAY 14

WELLINGTON – New Zealand’s finance minister delivers budget that aims to tackle the long-term challenges facing the country while also preparing the economy for the future.

BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Council (Development) meeting.

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GLOBAL – U.N. International Day of Families. – – – – – – – – –


LISBON – 8th anniversary of 78 billion euro bail-out of Portugal by eurozone leaders. – – – – – – – – –

SUNDAY, MAY 17 GLOBAL – World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Referendum election DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Dominican Chamber of Deputies DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Dominican Senate – – – – – – – – – MONDAY, MAY 18 GLOBAL – International Museum Day. BRUSSELS – Eurogroup meeting

BRUSSELS – EU Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council meeting (to May 19). – – – – – – – – –

THURSDAY, MAY 19 BRUSSELS – EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting. MALAWI – Referendum election.

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BURUNDI – Referendum election. – – – – – – – – –


GLOBAL – International Day for Biological Diversity. – – – – – – – – –


BRUSSELS – EU General Affairs Council (Cohesion) meeting.

– – – – – – – – – WEDNESDAY, MAY 27 MIAMI, FL – Miami Beach International Fashion Week (to May 31). – – – – – – – – –

SUNDAY, MAY 31 GLOBAL – World No Tobacco Day. – – – – – – – – –


BRUSSELS – The European Commission’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, presents an assessment of the EU member states’ national energy and climate plans.

– – – – – – – – – THURSDAY, JUNE 4

LUXEMBOURG – EU Justice and Home Affairs Council (to June 5). – – – – – – – – –


Nur-Sultan – EU Foreign Affairs Council (Trade). – – – – – – – – –


FREDRICK COUNTY, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES – U.S. President Donald Trump hosts G7 leaders at Camp David (to June 12)

– – – – – – – – – THURSDAY, JUNE 11

LUXEMBOURG – Eurogroup meeting. – – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, JUNE 12 LUXEMBOURG – EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council – – – – – – – – –

MONDAY, JUNE 15 BRUSSELS – EU-UK officials meet to assess progress in Brexit talks ahead of EU summit

LUXEMBOURG – European foreign affairs minister meet in Luxembourg. – – – – – – – – –


LUXEMBOURG – EU General Affairs Council – – – – – – – – –


BRUSSELS – European Council meeting (to June 19).

– – – – – – – – –


Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan Parliament election. – – – – – – – – –


Iceland – Referendum election.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event.

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A Guide to the Economics and Politics of the Coronavirus Recovery – The New Yorker



Photograph by Marco Bello / Reuters

Just a month ago, experts were predicting that the American economy would be slow to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment remains at record highs, but, as the country begins to reopen, federal policies that have bolstered small businesses and bailed out big ones seem to have helped avoid another Great Depression. John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how good news about the economy complicates Joe Biden’s campaign against Donald Trump.

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Keep Politics Out of Reopening Houses of Worship – The New York Times



Credit…Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Firing Salvo in Culture Wars, Trump Wants Churches Open” (front page, May 23):

Last Friday was not the first time we have witnessed a politician attempting to ingratiate himself with faith communities. Through the years, leaders from both major political parties have sought the support of houses of worship in their electoral campaigns.

Certainly those of us who devote our lives to religious leadership would like to consider our work “essential.” And we eagerly await the day when we can welcome our congregants back to their spiritual homes. While we can pray to God anywhere at any time alone or with others, and while the internet has provided a viable and meaningful vehicle for gathering our members in this time of physical distancing, nothing could ever replace the power of in-person congregational worship.

But religious communities must not become political pawns for a president seeking to placate his evangelical base. In Judaism, the saving of life supersedes all other religious responsibilities. The decision whether or not to reopen houses of worship belongs in the hands of local authorities alone, guided by health concerns, not political ones.

Joshua M. Davidson
New York
The writer is the senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El.

To the Editor:

The cynicism of President Trump’s call to governors to open the churches is staggering. I am a Catholic who attends Mass every day. I have always loved the ritual of the Mass, and I rejoice and celebrate as I gather with friends old and new who enrich my life. I will return joyfully to my church when our governor deems it safe to do so, not when it is politically expedient for our president.

John T. Dillon
West Caldwell, N.J.

To the Editor:

President Trump asks all governors to immediately open up churches and allow in-person worship — without testing. Yet everyone who meets with Mr. Trump must first be tested.

So, what’s good for the gander ain’t good for the goose. If he truly believes that in-person worship is safe, let’s see him go to these churches (or restaurants or theaters) without testing — and let’s see him mingle with the folks not wearing masks.

Marc R. Stanley

Credit…From left: Zack DeZon for The New York Times; Andrew Seng for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Star of the City Sells Itself,” by Michael Kimmelman (Critic’s Notebook, Arts pages, May 7):

OK, the Brooklyn Bridge is wholly in New York City and joins two of its boroughs. And it was something of an engineering achievement. Book after book has been written about it; it appears in a wealth of movies.

But the great bridge in the New York area is the George Washington.

When I sought to read a book on the George, I discovered that there were none. Participating in a symposium at Columbia University on American icons, and listening to others drone on about the Brooklyn, I asked “What about the George?” There was complete silence. Then one participant said, to almost universal laughter, “But look where it goes,” the suggestion being that since the George crosses to New Jersey, it couldn’t possibly be important.

The George is also the gateway to Interstate 80, on which one may travel in a straight line to San Francisco. New Yorkers think of themselves as sophisticated compared with New Jerseyans, but they can often be decidedly parochial.

Michael Aaron Rockland
Morristown, N.J.
The writer is the author of “The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel” and a professor of American studies at Rutgers.

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Face masks now define a divided America and its politics – The Globe and Mail



A man wearing a face mask walks past signs for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, in Alexandria, Va., on May 11, 2020.


The U.S. election of 1860 was fought over the future of slavery in the United States. The 1932 election over how to respond to the Great Depression. The 1980 election over the role of government in the economy. The 2020 election is shaping up as a fight over whether Americans should wear a protective mask.

In competing images on one of America’s most sacred moments of civic reflection, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden joined a Memorial Day commemoration this week wearing a mask, while, 175 kilometres away, President Donald Trump attended a separate remembrance unencumbered by a face covering.

Mr. Trump has mocked Mr. Biden for wearing a mask. Mr. Biden called Mr. Trump “an absolute fool” for refusing to do so.

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And so it is that today a simple but divisive public-health measure defines America and its politics.

“The people who are not wearing masks are by and large white, male, rural, suburban and right-leaning,’’ said online pollster John Dick, whose CivicScience public-opinion firm has examined Americans’ social, cultural and political attitudes during the pandemic. “They are the same people who voted for Trump. It is a big middle finger to everyone they resent. I’m convinced that the people who support Trump don’t even really like him that much. They just hate the people who hate Trump.”

In 1768, John Dickinson, the Philadelphia lawyer known as the penman of the American Revolution, took a Royal Navy anthem and grafted onto it his objections to British colonial taxes and eight words that in time became an American aphorism: “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.’’

Two and a half centuries later – after Kentucky transformed that phrase into its state motto, after the patriot orator Patrick Henry employed it in his final public speech, after Abraham Lincoln borrowed it for a famous speech and after the group Brotherhood of Man made it into a 1970s pop hit – the country Dickinson’s revolution created seems hopelessly divided.

Today Americans are split over whether to reopen the country to commerce. The states are divided over how swiftly to resume normal economic activity, with the Democratic governors of the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin opting to go slowly. Mr. Dick believes that what he calls “political tribalism” is the “most powerful force in America right now – because it predicts almost everything.” And pollster John Zogby sees the fall election as a contest between “rage” and “empathy.”

In that contest, Mr. Trump personifies rage and Mr. Biden empathy – and in that regard masks are a powerful symbol.

“You don’t wear your mask out of fear, you wear it out of empathy,” said Christine Whalen, a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Human Ecology. “Those masks aren’t protecting you, they’re protecting others. But if we all wear them, we all are protected.”

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Mr. Zogby points out that Democratic candidates who have won in the past half-century – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – have been empathy candidates, projecting “an everyman image of understanding pain and suffering,” while those who have lost – Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton – were nominees who “projected images of elitism and/or technocratic management over bonding.”

The very qualities Mr. Biden personifies are the ones Democrats hope will prevail this autumn. The very qualities Mr. Trump personifies are the ones that triumphed four years ago.

Meanwhile, the pandemic and the two men’s responses – with Mr. Biden instinctively leaning toward the views of conventional experts and Mr. Trump instinctively taking an iconoclastic approach – provide a glimpse of the campaign to come.

Five times as many Republicans as Democrats are ready to return to normal daily activities, according to CivicScience surveys. Democrats are more than three times more likely to say they will remain in quarantine even if their state or local governments allow a return to normal.

Wearing a mask may be a telling symbol of the two candidates’ outlooks but it is not an infallible guide to political affiliation. Though a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this month said 89 per cent of Democrats but only 58 per cent of Republicans reported wearing a mask most of the time when outside their homes, two top Republican leaders in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his likely successor, John Cronyn, were seen in masks this week.

“Wearing a face covering is not about politics – it’s about helping other people,” Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio said via Twitter this week.

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In the last mass domestic challenge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt combined rage (“The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization”) and empathy (“We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well”) in the very same speech. It was his first Inaugural Address, in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, and is considered one of his greatest speeches – and he is considered the chief executive against whom all successors are measured.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday called his Republican rival Donald Trump an ‘absolute fool’ for not wearing a mask at a series of recent public events, saying his lack of leadership on the issue is ‘costing people’s lives.’ Reuters

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