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Greenland controversy is Donald Trump positioning for an Arctic battle: expert

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The diplomatic row that has erupted between Washington and Copenhagen over Greenland is just one part of a broader strategic battle being waged over control of the Arctic, according to one expert.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark and launched a war of words with his Danish counterpart, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after she rejected his idea of the US buying Greenland as “absurd”.

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Mikaa Mered, professor of polar geopolitics at Paris’ ILERI institute of international relations said Trump’s unsolicited advances on the autonomous territory were a way to indicate US interest in the resource-rich Arctic — and to distract from domestic issues.

– Is the US sending a message? –

Mered said Trump’s offer to buy Greenland was a signal to Arctic nations and China, which has shown interest in the region, which is crucial for the control of new shipping routes opening up as ice sheets melt because of global warming.

“When it comes to the Russians, (Trump’s) logic is to say: ‘You won’t always be the main power in the Arctic even if you are the chair of the Arctic Council in 2021’.

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“And when it comes to the Chinese, the idea is… ‘We won’t let you get a foothold in Greenland’,” Mered said.

He said the US has already increased its presence by re-establishing a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk, and helping to finance new airports, education and social programmes.

“The end goal is not to acquire Greenland per se but at least some new territory, some new pieces of land,” he said.

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Washington could be angling to buy the Gronnedal naval base in southern Greenland, “which the Danes ultimately decided not to sell in late 2017 because the only interested buyers were Chinese” he added.

– What role does Europe play? –

“It’s possible that this whole hullabaloo is a political, media and economic test balloon designed to see how strongly Europeans feel about Greenland,” Mered said, predicting the row could drag on.

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“He will continue to use the case of Greenland, especially since Denmark is a fairly servile ally that won’t turn its back on the US because of this.”

– What does Trump stand to gain? –

Mered said the issue allows Trump to “make strides in the Arctic and at home”.

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“Looking at the presidential election, he has everything to gain by carrying on: he gets the Democrats out of the news at a critical time with the start of campaigning for the primaries and he himself is kicking off a bunch of rallies.

“(In the US), nobody knows where Greenland is, how it’s run… There are so many things going on, he can continue to drag this out for several weeks.”


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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