President Trump once joked about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SALON NEWS)

 

President Trump once joked about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland: report

Trump has had a rocky relationship with Puerto Rico, and he appears to find the idea of getting rid of it appealing

SHIRA TARLO
AUGUST 22, 2019 4:27 PM (UTC)
In the months before President Donald Trump expressed interest in purchasing Greenland, he reportedly joked in a meeting with aides about trading Puerto Rico for the semi-autonomous Danish island, which is not for sale.

Trump has had a tumultuous relationship with Puerto Rico’s leadership, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which tore through the U.S. territory in September 2017 and killed thousands of people and left more without power — all amid a decade-long financial crisis.

The president has previously called Puerto Rican officials “incompetent and corrupt” and opposed sending additional federal aid to the territory after Hurricane Maria. He also claimed, without evidence, that Puerto Rico’s government was using disaster relief money to pay off debts.

Earlier this year, White House press secretary Hogan Gidley twice referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” in a televised interview, in which he defended a series of disparaging remarks Trump made about the island.

Given his rocky relationship with Puerto Rico’s leadership, it is likely the notion of trading it for Greenland appealed the former real estate developer, who likened the proposed acquisition to a “large real estate deal.”

Trump’s play for Greenland was swiftly squashed, however, as Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the idea of selling the territory “absurd” and declared it is “not for sale.”

He thanked Frederiksen on Tuesday for being “so direct,” because it saved “a great deal of expense and effort” only to change his tone a day later amid a global laughing fit.

“It was nasty,” Trump said of the prime minister’s statement. “I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested.'”

He then made clear that he interpreted the prime minister’s response as a personal affront to the U.S.

“She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America,” he said. “You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.”

The president later took to Twitter to further assail the longtime U.S. ally over its contributions to NATO’s military budget. He then took aim at NATO as a whole for not spending enough on the military.

“For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%,” he wrote, referring to the goal set by the alliance for members to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. “We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark.”

Trump also canceled his scheduled trip to Denmark next month, even though he initially said the planned trip was unrelated to his interest in purchasing Greenland. In cancelling the trip, however, Trump noted it was scrapped for that exact reason.

Frederiksen decided not to fire back.

“I’m not going to enter a war of words with anybody, nor with the American president,” she said on Danish television, adding that she found the Danish response to the cancellation of Trump’s visit “good and wise.”

It fell to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to downplay Trump’s explosive rhetoric and take up damage control duty. He called Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod on Wednesday to express “appreciation for Denmark’s cooperation as one of the United States’ allies,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“Appreciate frank, friendly and constructive talk with @SecPompeo this evening, affirming strong US-DK bond,” Kofod wrote on Twitter. “US & Denmark are close friends and allies with long history of active engagement across globe. Agreed to stay in touch on full range of issues of mutual interest.”

 

SHIRA TARLO

Contact Shira Tarlo at [email protected] Follow @shiratarlo.

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Greenland, Donald ‘The Idiot’ Trump Shows His ‘Shallow Ass’ Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

How Greenland explains Donald Trump’s entire presidency

(CNN)Donald Trump won’t be going to Denmark in 10 days. Because the Danes won’t sell him Greenland.

 

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“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night. “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
It’s easy to dismiss this episode as just another Trumpian flight of fancy that didn’t work out. But take a minute and you start to realize that the whole Greenland incident, which lasted a total of five days, is broadly emblematic of the entire approach that Trump has taken to being president. The Greenland episode is the Trump presidency.
Consider how we got here:
1) The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday that Trump has repeatedly quizzed aides on the possibility of buying Greenland.
2) On Sunday, before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey to head back to Washington, Trump addressed the story for the first time. Here’s the key part of what he said (bolding is mine): “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly, I’d be. Strategically, it’s interesting, and we’d be interested.’ But we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that.”
3) Denmark’s government freaks out. “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland,” Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister, told the newspaper Sermitsiaq on Sunday. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
4) Trump cancels the Denmark trip, citing Fredericksen’s comments that Greenland isn’t for sale.
5) Trump is asked about the whole thing and tells reporters that he thought the prime minister’s statement (that the idea of selling Greenland to the US was “absurd”) was “nasty” and “inappropriate.”
What a whirlwind!
Now consider the Greenland purchase in the context of Trump’s broader presidency. It meets all the criteria that have come to define his “modern-day presidential” approach to the job.
*Come up with a totally off-the-wall idea, with a whiff of America-gets-its-way-no-matter-what in there
*Idea leaks — or the White House leaks it as a trial balloon — to the media, with the caveat that his aides aren’t sure if he is serious about it
*Downplay idea, insisting the media got it wrong — even while leaving the door open to doing the deal if the other side is open to it
*Take ball and go home when off-the-wall idea is rejected, jeopardizing relationship with longtime strategic ally
See, the Greenland story really does have it all! It is the Trump presidency in microcosm. He says and does absolutely wild things. Even his top staffers aren’t sure how serious he is about it, and, therefore, don’t know whether to actually pursue it. The idea leaks to the media and immediately becomes a thing. Trump freelances, making up his views as he goes. A semi-serious conversation about whether any of this is even possible begins even as the intended target starts to freak out. Trump, either spurred or spurned by all of the attention, leans in — to it all. Then it all unravels because, as we later learn, he was winging it all along. There was never any “there” there — just Trump saying stuff.
(A quick sidebar on the this-is-all-a-strategic-distraction from gun control or immigration, etc., argument: No, it isn’t. Is there anything you have seen in Trump’s time in office that would lead you to believe that he is capable of that sort of strategic planning and execution? It’s readily apparent at this point that Trump is just saying stuff — and then reacting to how those things land with the general public. There is no three-dimensional chess. There’s not any kind of chess being played.)
Greenland was never for sale. Mexico was never going to pay for the wall. His inauguration crowd was never the largest in history. There was not blame on both sides in the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville. Immigrants were never invading our country in hordes. Background checks were never going to happen.
You get the idea. It’s the Trump presidency.

6 of the Most Desolate Places on Earth

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 of the Most Desolate Places on Earth

From frozen tundras to alpine highlands, some of the most remote places in the world are also the most inhospitable. But from ancient cultures to scientific researchers, there are humans who live in these isolated and barren places. Between eating frozen horse blood and dodging snapping crocodiles, it takes a lot to survive in these harsh environments. Read on to discover six of the most desolate places on the planet.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

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Greenland’s most isolated town has a mere 453 residents, thanks, in part, to its remote location and harsh winters. Located between Northeast Greenland National Park and the glaciers and fjords of Scoresby Sound, the town is covered in ice and snow for at least nine months out of the year. Although the terrain is often frozen, the small settlement’s red, green and blue houses brighten the otherwise bleak landscape. Outside of human residents, the area is home to walruses, polar bears, narwhals and reindeer. Planning a trip to Ittoqqortoormiit? Visiting in spring is advised, as the bitter winter conditions are severe. To arrive, one must take three flights on small planes starting from Reykjavik, Iceland, before boarding a helicopter towards the final destination.

Utqiagvik, Alaska

Utqiagvik, Alaska

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The northernmost town in the United States, Utqiagvik is not connected by a road to the rest of Alaska. Instead, this isolated settlement is only accessible by plane or boat. Transportation within the town is also unique — many locals prefer to use dog sleds over snowmobiles, according to Business Insider, due to the difficulty of running a vehicle in the extreme winter temperatures. Perhaps the most unsettling part of life is Utqiagvik is the darkness. The town is so close to the Arctic Circle that residents must endure two months of darkness during the winter. This past year, the sun set on November 18, 2018, and did not rise again until January 23, 2019. Despite the bleak landscape and dark days, Utqiagvik has 4,428 residents who call the seaside city home.

Changtang Plateau, Tibet

Changtang Plateau, Tibet

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Nicknamed the “Roof of the World,” Changtang is a high altitude plateau that stretches nearly 1,000 miles, from Ladakh, India, to northwestern Tibet. The only known residents of these vast and empty highlands are the Changpa, a semi-nomadic pastoral tribe who rely on their herds of goats, sheep and yaks to survive. Life on the Changtang Plateau is harsh, with unpredictable storms during the warmer months and Arctic-like temperatures during the winter. Much of the plateau is protected by The Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary, an organization that endeavors to preserve the wild landscape and the species who call it home.

Kimberley Coast, Australia

Kimberley Coast, Australia

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The northernmost section of Western Australia is called Kimberley, a region known for its vast and rugged landscape. Largely uninhabited and treacherous to most humans, Kimberley’s coastline and the surrounding outback is as unforgiving as they come. In 1932, two German pilots crash landed on this barren landscape and would have perished had they not been discovered by the local Aboriginal people. In 2017, adventurer Mike Atkinson recreated the Germans’ plight, putting himself in harm’s way to follow to the same path as the stranded pilots. During his time in the Australian outback, Atkinson managed to survive the lack of food and water, in addition to navigating the dangerous, crocodile-ridden landscape. The last leg of the trip required hiking 40 miles through the bush, all while self-filming the harrowing trek. Luckily, Atkinson is a survival instructor and a wilderness expert — it’s clear that most humans would not be able to live in such a hostile landscape.

Oymyakon, Russia

Oymyakon, Russia

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Dubbed “the coldest village on Earth” by The Washington Post, Oymyakon, Russia, is a grim settlement in the Siberian tundra. With only 500 residents calling this frozen outpost home, wintertime in Oymyakon is bleak. The town’s average temperature in the colder months is -58 degrees Fahrenheit. In 1933, Oymyakon suffered from a cold snap that brought the temperature to a mind-numbing -89 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest temperature recorded outside of Antarctica. For the locals, existing in this frigid land is no easy task. The ground is too cold for plumbing, so townspeople must brave the elements to use outhouses. An average meal likely consists of frozen fish, reindeer meat or cubes of iced horse blood, according to Wired. A mere 217 miles from the Arctic Circle, the darkest days of the year have three hours of sunlight, making this subzero landscape a very lonely place.

McMurdo Station, Antarctica

McMurdo Station, Antarctica

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The least populated continent on Earth, 98% of Antarctica is covered in ice. As a result, not many people are able to live in such an unforgiving climate. Antarctica’s human population belongs to scientists and researchers stationed throughout the continent. One such place is McMurdo Station, a U.S. Antarctic research facility located on Ross Island. While the station itself has a post office, a chapel, two bars and a golf course, the surrounding icy tundra is uninhabitable. And while the “White Continent” may have many visitors in the summer months, winter is cold, bleak and dark. Out of the 1,200 researchers who live at McMurdo Station in the summer, less than a quarter remain for the winter. With notable effects being depression and disorientation from the harsh and desolate landscape, wintering in Antarctica isn’t appealing in the least.

5 Largest Islands in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Learn More: The Pacific Ocean is teaming with tens of thousands of islands, and the largest among them is New Guinea at around 303,381 square miles. Second in size only to the Arctic Ocean island of Greenland, New Guinea is split between nations. The western side, West Papua, belongs to Indonesia, while the eastern side, Papua New Guinea, is a sovereign state. When in West Papua, don’t miss the coral reef of Salawati, the snorkeling lagoon of Misool, or the island of Raja Ampat. And when in Papua New Guinea, be sure to climb Mount Wilhelm, hike the Kokoda Track, scuba dive the coral reef of Kimbe Bay, and don’t stand too close to the active cone volcano of Tavurvur.

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5 Largest Islands in the World

If you’re wondering where Australia is on this list, you’re probably not alone. Australia is actually considered a continental landmass, much like Antarctica, meaning it won’t find its way onto this list. With the Land Down Under aside, here are the largest islands in the world.

Baffin Island

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At 195,928 square miles, Canada’s Baffin Island can be found in the northern reaches of the territory of Nunavut. At just 11,000 people calling the island home, it’s also sparsely inhabited, although human presence on the island dates back more than three millennia. Until a recent drop in the 1990s, the island’s population of caribou had always vastly outnumbered the island’s people. The majority of the population is Inuit and lives in the island’s capital city of Iqaluit, which was founded in 1942. During World War II it served as a refueling point for American aircraft heading to Europe.

Madagascar

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The island nation of Madagascar, off the southeastern coast of the African continent, gained notoriety with the 2005 animated film that shares its name. But this 226,658-square-mile island has attracted visitors for many years, long before the movie about an escaped group of zoo animals hit theaters. The island was first settled by Austronesian people from Borneo who made their way to Madagascar by canoe in the 4th century A.D. An island known for its biodiversity, Madagascar is the only place on the planet where lemurs can be seen in the wild. These primates are known as Madagascar’s flagship mammal species.

Borneo

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Borneo is known for its biodiversity, beautiful beaches and vast swathes of jungle. Wildlife species such as the proboscis monkey and the Borneo pygmy elephant can only be seen on this island. The island is now a hot spot for eco-tourism. The Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu, which features a large and modern international airport, serves as the island’s gateway with dozens of flights to and from China, Japan, South Korea and mainland Malaysia every day.

New Guinea

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Split between the nations of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, this 303,381-square-mile island has been home to humans for more than 40,000 years. Colonized at various times by the British, Dutch and Germans, the island was also exposed to fierce fighting during World War II. There is very little tourism to the country, with far less than 50,000 visitors coming to the island annually. With little to no infrastructure in place for tourists, many active volcanoes, the possibility for tribal warfare and a healthy population of saltwater crocodiles, it’s a place for only the bravest of travelers.

Greenland

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Greenland, at a whopping 822,700 square miles, is the largest island in the world. Although it’s an autonomous country, Greenland, along with the Faroe Islands and Denmark, make up the Kingdom of Denmark. With a permanent ice sheet that covers 75% of the country, and a population of just under 60,000 people, Greenland is the least densely populated territory in the world. The primary income earner is fishing, which accounts for 90% of the island’s exports, although the island also holds rich mineral deposits, such as aluminum, nickel, platinum and titanium. There are signs the island is attempting to open up to tourism, including the fact that Nuuk, the capital, hosted the 2016

Greenland: Truth, Knowledge, History Of The North Atlantic Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Greenland

Introduction Greenland, the world’s largest island, is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973, but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Denmark continues to exercise control of Greenland’s foreign affairs in consultation with Greenland’s Home Rule Government.
History In prehistoric times, Greenland was home to a number of Paleo-Eskimo cultures. From AD 984 it was colonized by Norse settlers in two settlements on the west coast on the fjords near the very southwestern tip of the island. They thrived for a few centuries, but after nearly 500 years of habitation, disappeared sometime in the 15th century.[2]

Data from ice cores indicate that from AD 800 to 1300 the regions around the fjords of southern Greenland experienced a relatively mild climate similar to today. Trees and herbaceous plants grew there, and the climate initially allowed farming of livestock as in Norway.[2] These remote communities thrived on farming, hunting and trade with Norway. When the Norwegian kings converted their domains to Christianity, a bishop was installed in Greenland, subordinate to the archdiocese of Nidaros. The settlements seem to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the Inuit, who had migrated south from the Arctic islands of North America around 1200. In 1261, Greenland became part of the Kingdom of Norway.

Around the 14th and 15th centuries, the Scandinavian settlements vanished, likely due to famine and increasing conflicts with the Inuit.[3] The condition of human bones from this period indicates the Norse population was malnourished. Main reasons appeared to have been soil erosion due to destruction of the natural vegetation for farming, turf, and wood by the Norse, a decline in temperatures during the Little Ice Age, and armed conflicts with the Inuit.[2] It has been suggested that cultural practices, such as rejecting fish as a source of food and reliance solely on livestock ill-adapted to Greenland’s climate, caused by the mini-ice age, which resulted in recurring famines, with environmental degradation led to the abandonment of the colony.[2] Research (written before Diamond’s book) has made it clear however that fish were a major source of food for the Norse Greenlanders from the early 1300s on.

Denmark-Norway reasserted its latent claim to the colony in 1721. But ties with Norway were severed by the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, ceding Norway to the king of Sweden while Denmark retained all of her common overseas possessions: the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, as well as Denmark-Norway’s small territories in India (Tranquebar), West Africa (Danish Gold Coast), and the West Indies (Danish Virgin Islands).

Norway occupied and claimed parts of (then uninhabited) East Greenland also called Erik the Red’s Land in July 1931, claiming that it constituted Terra nullius. Norway and Denmark agreed to settle the matter at the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1933, where Norway lost.

During World War II, Greenland’s connection to Denmark was severed on April 9, 1940 when Denmark was occupied by Germany. Greenland was able to buy goods from the United States and Canada, by selling cryolite from the mine in Ivigtût. During the war the system of government changed. Governor Eske Brun ruled the island via a 1925 law that allowed governors to take control under extreme circumstances. The other governor, Aksel Svane, was transferred to the US to lead the commission to supply Greenland. The Sirius Patrol, guarding the northeastern shores of Greenland using dog sleds, detected and destroyed several German weather stations, giving Denmark a better position in the postwar turmoil.

Greenland had been a protected and very isolated society until 1940. The Danish government, which governed its colony Greenland, had been convinced that the society would face exploitation from the outside world or even extinction if the country was opened up. But during World War II, Greenland developed a sense of self-reliance through its self-government and independent communication with the outside world.

However, a commission in 1946 (with the highest Greenlandic council Landsrådet as participant) recommended patience and no radical reformation of the system. Two years later the first step towards changing the governing was initiated when a grand commission was founded. In 1950 the report (G-50) was presented. Greenland was to be a modern welfare society with Denmark as the sponsor and example. In 1953, Greenland was made an equal part of the Danish Kingdom. Home rule was granted in 1979.

Geography Location: Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada
Geographic coordinates: 72 00 N, 40 00 W
Map references: Arctic Region
Area: total: 2,166,086 sq km
land: 2,166,086 sq km (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered) (2000 est.)
Area – comparative: slightly more than three times the size of Texas
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 44,087 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Climate: arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters
Terrain: flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunnbjorn 3,700 m
Natural resources: coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, molybdenum, diamonds, gold, platinum, niobium, tantalite, uranium, fish, seals, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
Environment – current issues: protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
Geography – note: dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast, but close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world’s second largest ice cap
People Population: 56,344 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24% (male 6,926/female 6,597)
15-64 years: 69.1% (male 20,901/female 18,012)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 1,873/female 2,035) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 34.1 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 32.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.03% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 16.01 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 7.93 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -8.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.115 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.23 years
male: 66.65 years
female: 73.9 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.4 children born/woman