President Joe Biden has said his predecessor Donald Trump should not be given access to intelligence briefings because of his "erratic behaviour". US President Joe Biden is refusing to give former president Donald Trump access to intelligence briefings. Photo: AFP The US has a tradition of allowing former presidents to be briefed on the nation's security issues - as a courtesy extended by the incumbent. But when asked by CBS News if Trump would receive the same courtesy, President Biden said: "I think not". He cited Trump's "erratic behaviour" as his reason for refusing access. "I don't think there's any need for him to have an intelligence briefing," Biden said in his first sit-down interview since becoming president. He declined to speculate on what his worst fears would be if Trump were allowed to see classified reports, but he suggested the former president could not be trusted to keep confidential information to himself. "What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?" Biden said. The move is the first time a former president has been excluded from the tradition of being granted continued access to the briefings, according to the New York Times. For weeks after the 3 November presidential election, Trump himself broke with tradition by failing to include his successor in security and intelligence briefings. Trump eventually agreed to allow the formal transition process to take place, but his administration was still accused of blocking Biden's access to intelligence. Trump feuded with the intelligence community throughout his four-year presidency and went through six national intelligence directors. He questioned reports by US agencies that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, and assailed intelligence chiefs for being "extremely passive and naive" over Iran. In 2017, he disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about an Islamic State operation in what was seen as a breach of trust by many in the US intelligence community. During his CBS interview, Biden was asked about the impeachment trial Trump is facing in the US Senate for his role in the riot at the Capitol in Washington on 6 January. Biden said he "ran like hell to defeat" Trump in the election "because I thought he was unfit to be president", but he would leave the Senate to decide whether the Republican should be barred from ever holding public office again. Fox cancels vocal Trump supporter Lou Dobbs' show US broadcaster Fox has cancelled the TV programme hosted by Lou Dobbs, a vocal Trump supporter who is accused of using his platform to spread baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election. The news emerged a day after Dobbs was named in a defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine maker Smartmatic. The $US2.7 billion lawsuit claims the presenter was part of a "disinformation campaign" against the company. Fox, which denies the allegations, says the decision to drop Lou Dobbs Tonight was not linked. The veteran financial journalist, 75, has presented Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network since 2011. He was also an occasional commentator on Fox News, the conservative channel that has been home to several staunch supporters of Trump. - BBC
The new military rulers of Myanmar are ordering mobile operators and internet service providers to block access to Twitter and Instagram in the country until “further notice”, Norwegian telecom Telenor says.
The government had already ordered internet providers on Thursday to block Facebook, which counts half of the population of 54 million as users, until this weekend.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology did not immediately answer a request for comment, but said previously it had blocked Facebook for the sake of “stability”.
Twitter, which is also facing pressure from authorities in India, did not immediately answer requests for comment.
A spokesman for Facebook confirmed the block on Instagram.
“We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information,” he told Reuters.
In a statement, Telenor expressed “grave concern” about the directive and said it had challenged its necessity to authorities.
Since the ban on Facebook, thousands in Myanmar have flocked to Twitter and Instagram to express their opposition to Monday’s takeover by the army and the ousting and arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Many people are using social media and pro-democracy hashtags to criticise the army’s takeover and call for peaceful protests until the result of November’s election, which was won in a landslide by Suu Kyi’s party, is respected.
The hashtags #RespectOurVotes, #HearTheVoiceofMyanmar, and #SaveMyanmar all had hundreds of thousands of interactions by Friday, according to hashtag tracker BrandMentions.
Teachers, students among protesters
Meanwhile, teachers and students have joined the protests against Monday’s military coup, the BBC reports.
Demonstrators at a university in the biggest city, Yangon, chanted support for Suu Kyi and wore red ribbons, her party’s colour.
Suu Kyi, who has not been seen in public since Monday, is under house arrest, according to her lawyer. He said he was seeking her unconditional release and that of the president, who was also detained, but he had been unable to meet them.
Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has remained mostly calm in the aftermath of the coup, which has plunged the South East Asian country into uncertainty.
On Friday afternoon, hundreds of teachers and students gathered outside Dagon University in Yangon, where they displayed the three-finger salute – a sign that has been adopted by protesters in the region to show their opposition to authoritarian rule.
They chanted their support for Suu Kyi and carried red flags.
“We will not let our generation suffer under this kind of military dictatorship,” Min Sithu, a student, told the AFP news agency.
There have been a number of demonstrations in different parts of Myanmar – the first large-scale street protests seen in the country since the coup.
Residents in some cities, including Yangon, have conducted nightly protests from their homes, banging pots and pans and singing revolutionary songs. There have also been daytime flash mobs.
About 70 MPs are said to have held an insurgent parliament, to replicate the parliamentary session that was supposed to take place this week.
In a pre-dawn phone call with BBC Burmese, Win Htein, a 79-year-old patron of the NLD and strong supporter of Suu Kyi, said he was being taken to the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, by members of the police and the military.
He said he was being detained under sedition laws – which carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment – although he was not told the exact charge.
“They don’t like what I’ve been talking about. They are afraid of what I’m saying,” he said.
The military overthrew Suu Kyi’s government after it claimed a November election won by the NLD was fraudulent, though the country’s election commission said there was no evidence to back up these allegations.
The move has been met with global outrage. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden called on the military to “relinquish power” and release detained officials and activists. The US had already threatened severe sanctions on Myanmar.
However, the military is seemingly undeterred, continuing down its path of consolidating power and appointing new ministers, the BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head said.
The UN Security Council also called on the military authorities in Myanmar to release Suu Kyi and other detained leaders – but stopped short of condemning the coup.
In doing so, it has brought China and Russia behind a call for her release, in what our correspondent has described as a rare show of international unity.
– Reuters / BBC