Canadian newcomer Trudeau offers fresh approach to ho

FILE In this Nov. 18, 2015 file photo, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, jokes with adidas philippines store President Benigno Aquino III on his arrival for adidas supercolor the welcome dinner at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines. President Barack Obama, right, listens as Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, speaks during a bilateral meeting at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)MANILA, Philippines He’s younger than the next youngest leader by six years and nearly a full generation behind the 60 year old average age of his Pacific Rim peers.

Tall and trim, Trudeau exudes the star power of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, whose charisma often drew comparisons to John F. Kennedy.

President Barack Obama praised him Thursday after they spoke on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, saying Trudeau was a “great boost of energy” for Canadian politics.

He also ribbed the fresh faced Trudeau over how the responsibilities of leadership can age a person.

“The first call I made to him, I said: Justin, congratulations, you and your family look great, I know Canadians are incredibly inspired by your message of hope and change. I just want to point out that I had no grey hair when I was in your adidas basketball shoes seven years ago.

“And so if you don’t want to grey like me you need to start dyeing it soon,” Obama said.

Standing with Obama, Trudeau retorted: “So young, and yet so cynical.”

Recently seen in Canada trick or treating with his wife and young children, Trudeau is 26 years younger than the Sultan of Brunei, at 69 the eldest of the 21 leaders of APEC, which is meeting in the Philippine capital this week.

On the tongue in cheek online “Hottest Heads of State List” Trudeau ranks second, at 34 per cent of votes, way behind the king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who garnered 61 per cent support. But he was way ahead of the next most admired APEC leader, Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto, who took only 3 per cent of the vote.

Trudeau’s appearances during his visit to Manila drew crowds. Would be admirers sipped cocktails in the lobby of his hotel, waiting to see him walk by.

“Girls only have eyes for Trudeau, Nieto,” gushed a headline in the newspaper Philippine Inquirer.

“The Internet has found a reason to care about the APEC summit,” tweeted online publication GlobalPost, using “APEChottie” as a hashtag.

Asked what he thought of all the extra attention, Trudeau told a press conference that as the son of a politician, he learned early on to distinguish between his true self and the perceptions of others, both positive and negative.

“Throughout my life I have focused on what I have to do and the substance of what I’ve put forward and that has left me both grounded and adidas originals able to focus regardless of perceptions or attention,” said Trudeau, whose father was swept into office by wave of “Trudeaumania.” Elected in 1968, he was Canada’s prime minister, with a short break, until 1984.

Sworn in two weeks ago, Trudeau is seeking to return Canada to its customary Liberalism, breaking with the ways of his predecessor, Conservative Stephen Harper.

He does support ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership, a 12 nation trade agreement championed by Obama, and by Harper, that is meant to become the core of a region wide free trade bloc. A final deal was struck last month after years of delays and now leaders must win approvals of their own governments for it to become a reality.

In his youth and liberalism, Trudeau has been likened to Obama, who at 54 is more than a decade older.

Mexico’s Nieto is 49. The leaders of Russia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Peru are all in their early to mid 50s. But the other Pacific Rim leaders are in their early 60s or older. Several, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, head communist, one party states.

Though events like the annual Pacific Rim summit are staged in minute detail, the “informal” discussions gave the leaders further time to size up the new guy on the block, following the weekend meetings of the Group of 20 industrial nations in Turkey.

Declaring he intends to reclaim Canada’s “compassionate and constructive voice,” Trudeau said before he was elected that he intended to be “pushing back against the bully that is Vladimir Putin.”

Those comments drew remarks in local media about conflicting Canadian and Russian interests in the Arctic circle, and raised eyebrows among those imagining the younger leader challenging the stern Russian black belt in karate.

Media Musings Blog Archive Drone strikes

Since the dawn of humans, the laws of the battleground have remained fundamentally intact. The business of war still involves one force against another, using whatever manner of weaponry available.

In the 21st century, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), known more commonly as drones, have been in the spotlight for their growing presence in conflict spots around the world. Their ability to be remotely controlled from several thousand miles away puts the pilots out of harm reach, while retaining the capacity to unleash a deadly metallic rain of Hellfire missiles onto unsuspecting targets. Recent developments have even given drones full autonomy over their actions, in the hope that one day robotic aircraft could take off, travel to their target, execute their mission and adidas philippines facebook return to base all on it own accord, or even from an aircraft carrier.

But for all this advancement in aerial autonomy, there is a side that the media in general has been unable (or reluctant) to explore: civilian deaths. For every enemy combatant drones target, several civilians are killed in the process. The story always seems to focus on the side of the attack, and very rarely brings to light the suffering caused among the civilian populace.

News organisations don go down to the spot, but instead rely on unnamed Pakistani or American officials to provide them with figures. An article in The Guardian, published in 2011, wrote of a Waziristani man who documented drone strikes in his native country, and found these figures to be grossly misunderestimated. The testimony was a rare and moving one, but one which was apparently un newsworthy. No broadcast network or cable channel ran al Muslimi emotional speech, and he was only offered one interview by a US talk show host. This is by no means a measure of importance, but the lack of interest is deeply troubling.

The US drone program is currently conducted by the CIA, which has thrown a cloak of secrecy around any drone movements. This, coupled with the lack of survivors testimony in news outlets, has resulted in stories like al Muslimi being untold and forgotten. US President Barack Obama has just a few hours ago set new rules on drone strikes, enabling greater clarity over them. But will the media position change with an increase in scrutiny over the program?

Or will the stories of victims be lost to the wind?

coverage, democracy, drones, media, UAV, US, YemenDated: May 24 2013

Great blog, Kai. While it an issue we should be reading and hearing a lot more about (especially now Australia has expressed interest in buying drones from the US), it a little unfair to say story always seems to focus on the side of the attack

The Age has recently run several stories on the ethics of drone warfare and the likelihood that America use of drones is probably the best recruiting tool the Taliban has ever had.

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