It was the worst of times, it was … the worst of times. As Donald Trump stewed in the White House, railing against the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, the bad news kept coming. Texts between diplomats in Europe revealed the level of concern about Donald Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian government to undertake action in support of his domestic political interests. Trump, meanwhile, doubled down, basically admitting to his crime on live TV and asking China to investigate his potential rival Joe Biden. David Smith and Simon Tisdall make sense – or try to – of the latest “week of rage” in the White House.
As America reeled from the impeachment goings-on, the Trump administration shocked even its staunchest allies in Congress by announcing a sudden withdrawal from northern Syria. It’s a move that will leave America’s Kurdish allies in the fight against Isis abandoned to Turkish whims. As Trump-friendly Republicans decried the move, the president responded bizarrely, claiming that in his “great and unmatched wisdom” if Turkey does anything he considers off limits, he will “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey”. Martin Chulov reports on this latest betrayal of the Kurds.
On Monday, Extinction Rebellion began their latest round of protests in cities around the world. The group began its actions just a year ago but, alongside the schools climate strike movement began by Greta Thunberg, XR have helped focus the world’s attention on the climate emergency. Observer reporter Nosheen Iqbal spent a week meeting XR activists across the UK to find out why they’d chosen to act now.
Also this week: Bethan McKernan on Yemen’s “Manhattan of the desert” and why it is under threat from the country’s ongoing civil war; Peter C Baker writes fascinatingly on why the self-driving, zero-emission car future we’re being promised may not be all it’s cracked up to be and Chris Morris, the man behind The Day Today and Four Lions speaks to Catherine Shoard for his first interview in a decade. We also have interviews with Debbie Harry and set designer Es Devlin, plus a review of Bill Bryson’s new book.