In Brief: Macron delivers rebuke to Trump

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at The Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, US, on Sept 20, 2017.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at The Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, US, on Sept 20, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Macron delivers rebuke to Trump

NEW YORK • French President Emmanuel Macron used his inaugural appearance at the UN General Assembly to offer an almost point-by-point rebuke to another first-timer: US President Donald Trump, who spoke two hours earlier.

Mr Macron insisted the world's challenges were best met by working together, not alone, and he ruled out any renegotiation of the Paris climate accord, saying the rest of the world will go ahead with or without the US.

He also warned that Mr Trump's threats to exit the Iran nuclear accord would make the world more dangerous, and said brandishing military threats against North Korea was "impetuous" and counter-productive.

"Our challenges are global, and more than ever we need multilateralism," Mr Macron said. "Walls don't protect us; what protects us is our joint willingness to change history. We are all linked."


Social media firms' anti-terror task

NEW YORK • The leaders of Britain, France and Italy were to push social media companies yesterday to remove "terrorist content" from the Internet within one to two hours of it appearing because, they say, that is the period when most material is spread.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni were to raise the issue at an event on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN. Internet companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet's Google said they will attend the meeting.


Netanyahu vows to fight 'Iranian curtain'

NEW YORK • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to fight an "Iranian curtain" descending on the Middle East, pledging to prevent Teheran from ever establishing a permanent foothold in Syria.

Mr Netanyahu - who in recent years has coined his own theatre at the annual UN speech marathon with podium props and dramatic warnings - was in a lighter mood this year, cracking jokes and rejoicing over the rise of US President Donald Trump.

"From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Teheran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East," Mr Netanyahu warned the General Assembly.

"Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions. We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces," he said. He also vowed to prevent Iran from producing any weapons that could hit the Jewish state.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'In Brief'. Subscribe