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Trump signing bills

The Week – Fourth Week of January 2017 (First Week of Trump Presidency)

U.S.

President Trump has said he will not release his tax returns, despite repeated promises during his election campaign to do so and a petition by American citizens that collected well over a hundred thousand signatures almost immediately after being published.

Trump swore in members of his cabinet that did not need Senate confirmation, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior adviser.

Protests took place against Trump’s presidency in all 50 states. At some, hundreds of thousands of people gathered.

Trump will meet with Mexico‘s president (cancelled by Mexican president after Trump said wall construction would begin, and commenters asked if he had any choice given the rhetoric and stance of Trump) and Canada’s prime minister soon to renegotiation NAFTA, which Trump has said he will cancel. Mexico is considered to strongly fear the end of NAFTA because the country and its people have benefited a great deal from it. Mexico has some power in the negotiations due to the large amount of trade going on between the two countries, but they have much less leverage than the U.S. because they are the weaker power and they have more to lose if NAFTA is cancelled.

Trump then signed pipeline projects back into action: the 1100-mile long Keystone XL from Alberta, Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska which Obama halted in 2015, and the North Dakota Access Pipeline through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has protested the Dakota pipeline, saying it endangers culture and water, and it has been a meeting point for several native groups and environmental groups. As he signed the Keystone XL, the President told reporters. “Lot of jobs. 20,000 jobs. Good construction jobs.” The chief of the Standing Rock tribe responded to the moves by saying they’d focus on waging legal battles.

Trump also asked the commerce department to come up with a plan so that pipelines would all be built with American-built products. American steel, essentially.

He then met with auto executives to brief them that his office was going to look at cutting red tape for them, and would give them permits quickly or tell them they wouldn’t give them permits quickly. “It’s out of control,” said Trump to the execs.

Trump also began the border wall this week. While Mexico won’t pay for the wall up front, Trump said, America will be reimbursed from “whatever transaction we make” in the future.  He said construction would begin immediately.

Trump also stripped funding from “sanctuary cities” that house illegal immigrants without turning them in, and increased border patrol agents. Some mayors responded favorably and some said they would refuse.

Trump then tweeted that if Chicago didn’t cut down it’s gun violence and murder rates, he would “send in the Feds.”

U.S. stock markets continue to surge.

House Republicans have created a timeline over a 2-day meeting. By August, they want something concrete for two of their biggest projects: How to repeal Obamacare and how to replace the tax code. Speaker Paul Ryan also said that they wanted legislation passed on these things by the end of the year – a goal considered ‘optimistic’ by analysts.

Theresa May visited Trump. They were outspoken about the points they disagree on (UK opposes Russia friendliness and use of torture with prisoners). She also said that Trump had said he was 100% in favor of NATO.

Trump made moves toward reducing refugees and toughening acceptance of immigrants.

Nikki Haley visited the UN for the first time, and she told them the U.S. would be standing with its friends but would be “taking names” of those who “didn’t have our backs.”

There was another large protest in Washington, this time for anti-abortion. There was also a pro-abortion protest. Trump’s pick for the empty Supreme Court seat is being looked at as a step towards reversing Roe V. Wade. Dissenting analysts consider that decision more of a political action than a sound legislative one.

Analysts have seen the first week of the Trump presidency as both following through on campaign promises and also unnerving in how much change is happening, and the unsettling nature of the change.

WORLD

Israel is going ahead with building over 500 homes in three settlements. The permits had been on hold during the Obama administration, which opposed any new settlements by Israel in the Palestinian territory. Days later then announced another building plan: 2,500 new homes. Chicago’s mayor said he’d welcome help by federal law enforcement.

Islamic violent attacks continued in several countries, including a notable bombing in Ethiopia.

UK’s prime minister, Theresa May said at a conference that the UK, which recently voted to leave the European Union, and the U.S. had “the opportunity — indeed, the responsibility — to renew ‘the special relationship’ for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead together again.” May has spoken well of Trump.

The Gambian president (Abdalla Barrow) returned to the country today after it was secured by West African military forces. The president stayed out while Gambia was occupied by its longtime ruler (Yahya Jammeh).

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