‘Macron is only fresh face from France’s despised old system’

France’s new president, Emanuel Macron, is just the latest child of a despised political system in which politicians make promises, get elected by default, and apply policies that work only for the rich and powerful, says rights activist Yasser Louati.

France has inaugurated Emmanuel Macron as its new president at Elysee Palace in Paris.

France has seen a large police presence since declaring a state of emergency following a number of terrorist attacks. In addition to the threat of terrorism, there have been large-scale protests over the presidential election, with many people unhappy with both candidates on offer in the second round – centrist Macron and anti-establishment Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front.

RT asked human rights activist Yasser Louati whether Macron could hail in a new era for France.

In his view, “there is nothing new with this president – only a fresh face for a dirty old boutique.”

“The new president was not even elected by the majority of voters and, among those who voted for him, 60 percent voted for him because they had no other alternative. So, Emanuel Macron is president by default not by adherence,” he explained.

Voter turnout for this French presidential election was the lowest in decades, with many abstaining or spoiling their ballots.

Louati explained that this was due to a “growing defiance towards our political elite and further disconnect from those who rule the country and those who are being ruled.”

Macron’s predecessor, France’s unpopular President Francois Hollande, had “kept only 44 per cent of his promises,” said the activist.

“People are fed up and sick and tired of being lied to. [Politicians] come, make promises, get elected by default, and then apply policies that work for the rich and powerful,” Louati said, adding that it’s unlikely that anything will change under President Macron.

Post-election protests in overnight – at least 141 arrested https://on.rt.com/8b1z 

“Emanuel Macron is only the latest child of this… despised political system. One of the dangerous measures that he has called for is for him to rule by executive orders throughout the summer in order to bypass unions and any opposition during the summer vacation. That tells us that the upcoming months will be high tense in France and there is no sign of appeasement when it comes to social and economic policies,” he concluded.

Human rights lawyer Hosni Maati says that, in some sense, France is, in fact, standing before a new era, as Macron is the Fifth Republic’s youngest president ever.

He is an ambitious young man eager to take action, he told RT, but added that, now that Macron’s program is known, it’s clear that France is going to see “the continuity of what President Hollande tried to do without success.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Pope Francis: Vatican had 2,000 sex abuse cases backlog, sluggishness complaints justified

Pope Francis: Vatican had 2,000 sex abuse cases backlog, sluggishness complaints justified
The Vatican had a backlog of 2,000 cases while processing allegations of sex abuse by priests, Pope Francis has said, adding that complaints over the slow pace of the Catholic Church’s inquiries are justified.

The Pope addressed the issue for the first time since March, when abuse survivor, Marie Collins, announced her resignation from the Pope’s abuse advisory commission.

Collins criticized the way abuse cases were handled by the Vatican, saying that she decided to quit because the commission’s work was “hindered and blocked by members of the Curia [the Catholic Church’s governing body].”

Pope Francis talked to reporters on the papal plane on Saturday while returning from Portugal where he canonized siblings, validating the Catholic Church’s youngest saints. The brother and sister are believed to have seen the Madonna a hundred years ago and died at the age of 9 and 10 years respectively.

Pope Francis described Collins as “a great woman,” saying that the Irish abuse survivor was “a bit right” in complaining about the sluggishness of the proceedings.

“Marie Collins was right on that point. But we are on the right path, as there were 2,000 cases backlogged,” Francis said as cited by AP.

The pope said that he ordered more staff to be added to the congregation to speed up the review process.

There’s also ongoing talks to provide more regional assistance to bishops to make sure that cases are properly documented before being submitted to the Vatican, he added.

In April, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the abuse advisory commission, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith needed more resources to deal with the heavy caseload.

Pope Francis also dismissed media reports claiming that he gave clemency to pedophile priests as part of his vision of a merciful church. Once a sex abuser among the clergy has had their sentence confirmed by the congregation, “it’s finished,” he clarified.

READ MORE: Pope’s clemency for pedophile priests under scrutiny following latest scandal

AP reported in February, that the head of the Catholic Church had reduced sanctions against a number of pedophile priests without the Vatican making any public pronouncements on the matter.

AP, citing sources, reported that in one instance, an Italian priest, who had received clemency from the Pope, was later convicted for sex crimes against children by the Italian criminal court and faced another church trial.

READ MORE: Over 4,000 children alleged victims of Catholic Church sex abuse in Australia since 1980 – probe

The Pope, who initially promised a “zero tolerance” for sex abuse, has over the years been criticized for the lack of progress in dealing with the issue by some survivors, their advocates and human right groups.

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N. Korea claims latest missile test ‘successful & proves its capability to carry nuclear warheads’

Pyongyang has claimed that its medium-range ballistic missile test carried out on Sunday under the supervision of Kim Jong-un has confirmed the “tactical specifications and technical characteristics” of the rocket which North Korea says is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

North Korea has succeeded in launching its new surface-to-surface missile on May 14, Pyongyang’s official Central News Agency announced.

“The test fire was conducted with maximum angle of the projectile’s elevation in consideration of the safety of neighboring countries, with the aim of confirming the tactical specifications and technical characteristics of the new long-range strategic ballistic rockets capable of loading powerful heavy-weight nuclear warheads,” KCNA announced.

According to Pyongyang, the launch has enabled testing in “actual flight conditions” the missile’s “stabilization, structural, pressurization and launch systems,” as well as “reliability of the rocket’s engine” and its integrity “in the harsh reentry environment.”

“The launched rocket flew up to the maximum peak altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers along the scheduled flight orbit and precisely hit the target waters 787-kilometers away,” the communications ministry’s announcement read. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, led the launch of a new type of rocket, the report noted.

More analysis is needed to verify North Korea’s claim that it had successfully test-launched a ballistic missile, South Korea’s military said following KCNA’s announcement.

South Korea’s military also said earlier that the N. Korean projectile flew around 700 km before falling into the Sea of Japan. However, despite the North claiming it to be a long-range missile, the US military’s Pacific Command, which tracked and analyzed the launch earlier, said it was unlikely that the the fired projectile was an intercontinental missile.

“The type of missile is being assessed and the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Pacific Command’s spokesman said.

READ MORE: North Korean rocket flew away from Russia, was no threat – Russian Defense Ministry

The Russian Defense Ministry said the missile flew for 23 minutes before dropping in international waters in the central part of the Sea of Japan. While the projectile landed some 500 kilometers from the Russian coast, the missile test posed no threat to Russia, the military noted.

Kim Jong-un is in ‘state of paranoia’, US will continue ‘tightening screws’ on N. Korea – UN envoy Haley https://on.rt.com/8bo3 

After the White House said that North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long,” US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Washington will not negotiate with Pyongyang unless it stops its hostile actions.

“Having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president because he’s absolutely not going to do it,” Haley told ABC’s ‘This Week’ when asked about conditions for President Donald Trump’s meeting with the North’s leader. “I can tell you, he can sit there and say all the conditions he wants. Until he meets our conditions, we’re not sitting down with him.”

Late last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right. On Saturday, Choi Sun-hee, the North Korean diplomat who manages relations with the US, also hinted that Kim Jong-un might negotiate with Trump’s team, “if the conditions are set.”

The latest missile test coincides with rising tensions in the region and a massive American military buildup there. In an attempt to deter Pyongyang from more nuclear and missile tests, the US has sent a group of American warships, led by an aircraft carrier, to the region. It has also been conducting war games with their regional allies. Last month, Washington also positioned elements of the THAAD anti-missile system on the Peninsula.

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