Tuesday briefing: ‘Don’t take Trump bait,’ congresswomen warn | World news

Top story: President is ‘blatantly racist’ say Democrat quartet

Good morning briefers. I’m Martin Farrer and it’s my pleasure to take you through the top stories from around the world this Tuesday morning.

Four Democratic congresswomen targeted by Donald Trump’s racist attacks have accused the US president of following an “agenda of white nationalists” and asked that Americans “do not take the bait” of his divisive rhetoric. The women – Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – spoke out after Trump said they should “go back” to their “crime infested” countries, prompting condemnation in the US and across the world. All four are non-white and all except Omar were born US citizens. They called Trump’s remarks a “blatantly racist” attack on elected leaders, and an attempt to distract from the corrupt and inhuman practices of his administration. You can also watch Omar’s passionate condemnation of Trump’s “complete hypocrisy” in attacking her for criticising government policy.

‘We will not be silenced’: squad Democrats decry Trump attacks – video

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both condemned Trump’s comments as unacceptable in a leadership debate on Monday night. Both stopped short of calling Trump racist but Johnson was less supportive than he has been of Trump, saying “you simply cannot use that kind of language”.

Johnson under fire – Boris Johnson has also landed in a new controversy for arguing Islam has caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the west. The Tory leadership frontrunner made the assessment in an essay written in 2006 that has been unearthed by the Guardian. In it he argues that Islam hindered development in parts of the globe and, as a result, “Muslim grievance” was a factor in virtually every conflict. Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hate, called the comments disconcerting while the Muslim Council of Britain said voters needed to know if Johnson still believed “Islam inherently inhibits the path to progress and freedom”. As part of our series The Real Boris Johnson, we examine his rise from wise-cracking editor of the Spectator to our likely next prime minister. And here are some of the choice turns of phrase he has offered in his writing career on subjects including women, racism and drugs.

Food for thought – The UK’s farming system must be radically transformed in order to reverse the damaging cycle of cheap food production that has sparked a spiralling public health crisis and environmental destruction, according to a report by a high-level commission. The study convened by the RSA, a group focused on pressing social challenges, concluded that farmers must shift from intensive farming to more organic and wildlife-friendly production, raising livestock on grass and growing more nuts and pulses. “Our own health and the health of the land are inextricably intertwined [but] in the last 70 years, this relationship has been broken,” said the report. Sue Pritchard, director of the RSA commission and an organic farmer in Wales, said the UK had the third cheapest basket of food in the developed world, but also had the highest food poverty in Europe in terms of people being able to afford a healthy diet.

Asian floods – More than four million people have been forced to flee their homes across south Asia after severe flooding hit the region. At least 100 people have died in India, Nepal and Bangladesh as the first burst of the annual monsoon rains wreaked havoc. The impoverished Indian states of Assam and Bihar have been among the worst hit. Most of the millions displaced from their homes are in Assam, a tea-producing state in India’s north-east often hit hard by monsoon flooding.


Photograph: Foster + Partners/PA

‘Not good enough’ – London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has thrown out plans by developers to build a 300-metre-high skyscraper near the Tower of London. The project known as “the Tulip” for its bulging top was deemed of insufficient quality by the mayor and there was also concern that it would damage views of the capital’s skyline. The building, designed by Norman Foster’s architectural practice, would have been the second tallest in western Europe. The project’s backers had said it would attract 1.2 million visitors a year.

Making the gradient – A town in north Wales is planning a celebration after one of its streets was named the steepest in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. Ffordd Pen Llech, a meandering road in the historic town of Harlech, has been judged steeper than its title rival, Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand. It has been established that Ffordd Pen Llech has a gradient of 37.5% at its steepest point, compared with Baldwin’s mere 35%.

Today in Focus podcast: politician or journalist?

Boris Johnson has long attempted to hold down careers in both politics and journalism. As he hopes to take over as prime minister, his biographers Sonia Purnell and Andrew Gimson look at what his career in newspapers says about his character and abilities for the top job in UK politics.

Lunchtime read: The decline and fall of French cuisine

The historic restaurant Bouillon Chartier in Paris. But times are changing.

The historic restaurant Bouillon Chartier in Paris. But times are changing. Photograph: Alamy

If, like me, you go to a restaurant in France and wonder what the fuss is all about, then today’s long read is for you. Ranging from the 18th century origin of restaurants to nouvelle cuisine, Wendell Steavenson takes us on a culinary history tour and asks how French cooking went from being regarded as the best in the world to being ruled by what she calls a “tyranny of meat-in-brown-sauce”. But help is at hand. In “the new global foodie zeitgeist” a younger generation of chefs are now establishing themselves in French kitchens so it might be possible to visit France and eat something other than bland, overcooked meat.


Ben Stokes’s remarkable performances during the Cricket World Cup, capped by a bravura display in the final, suggest Stokes 3.0 could be the best iteration of all, writes Barney Ronay. Eoin Morgan has been backed to remain as the England one-day captain for the foreseeable future while in his latest Guardian column, Moeen Ali writes: “In the England dressing room it does not matter where you come from or what you believe in if you show courage, unity and respect.” England’s netballers have made it part of their mantra to have fun at this World Cup and their 56-48 defeat of Jamaica means they can – for a few days at least. Everton have completed the signing of Fabian Delph from Manchester City with Marco Silva convinced the 29-year-old can play an influential role on and off the pitch at Goodison Park. Novak Djokovic’s Wimbledon triumph means he has 16 majors, four behind Roger Federer. Overhauling the Swiss is not a subject the Serb is shying away from after saying he can thrive for years to come.


Young people working in London are spending more than half of their income on rent, according to a study. The pay gap was making it harder for public services such as nursing and policing to attract workers. Asian markets were up overnight but the FTSE100 is set to open slightly down. The pound is buying $1.252 and €1.112.

The papers

Several papers lead with the condemnation of Donald Trump’s outburst at his critics. The i leads with “Tory rivals condemn ‘offensive’ Trump jibe”, and the Times says “Tory rivals take aim at Trump”. The Guardian leads with revelations about Boris Johnson’s comments on Islam: “Islam kept Muslim world centuries behind the west, Johnson claimed” while the Sun says “Hunt backs Boris”.

Guardian front page, Tuesday 16 July 2019

Photograph: The Guardian

There’s more divergence elsewhere. The FT goes for “Santander offered Orcel €52m deal to sign on as bank chief”, the Mail has “Toxic threat to babies in womb”, the Metro says simply “e-scooters crackdown”, and the Telegraph splashes with “‘Middle-aged white chiefs’ are problem for modern military”.

Most editions have a picture of England’s cricketers with the World Cup trophy but the Mirror leads with an exclusive from Ben Stokes: “This is what it feels like to be on top of the world.”

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