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Petraeus-Broadwell Affair: Irony and tragedy before and after the revelation

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Petraeus-Broadwell Affair: Irony and tragedy before and after the revelation | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET / CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters): When Paula Broadwell first met David Petraeus in 2006, she was a soldier-turned-graduate student at Harvard University. The acclaimed U.S. Army general gave her his card and offered to help her with her studies.

Broadwell soon began trading emails with the general, and four years later she was in Afghanistan turning a dissertation about his leadership into a book published this year entitled “All In”. Interviews for the book often took place on endurance-testing runs together, she would later say.

“That was the foundation of our relationship,” Broadwell said of their runs when promoting the book on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” TV program in January.

That relationship is now at the center of a scandal that has not only ended Petraeus’ short tenure as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency but has also badly tarnished the reputation of a revered military leader.

And it has raised awkward questions about whether the White House had any inkling of the problem before the November 6 presidential election.

Until now, the 40-year-old wife and mother of two young children had appeared to excel at juggling scholarly pursuits, family life, a military career, triathlons, charity work and even demonstrations for a machine gun manufacturer.

“She has obviously achieved a lot in her field as a soldier and a scholar,” said Ed Williams, a neighbor who lives two houses down from Broadwell, in a leafy, affluent Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood.

“Everyone is surprised and shocked,” Williams said.

Earlier in the week, Williams, a retired editor, saw Broadwell with her two children when she was voting in last week’s U.S. presidential election. He said she was chatty and cheerful. Neighbors were working on putting together a belated party in honor of her book.

“She gave no indication that all this was going on,” Williams said.
Broadwell did not return emails or calls. A 40th birthday party for her had been scheduled at her brother and sister-in-law’s home in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, but invitees received an e-mail saying it had been cancelled.

Accomplished from early age

A man who answered the door at the Washington home told a reporter to get off the property. Three bags, displaying the name of a cupcake bakery, were on the front porch.
Broadwell grew up in North Dakota, where in high school she was valedictorian, student council president, homecoming queen and an all-state basketball player, according to a biography on the Century High School web site.

She went on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she graduated with academic, fitness and leadership honors, according to a biography promoting a speech to the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. She has held positions in the U.S. intelligence community, U.S. Special Operations Command, and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, according to the bio.

Later, she would add degrees from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is also a PhD candidate at King’s College, London.

In her book, she says she was recalled to active duty three times to work on counter-terrorism issues after the Sept 11 attacks and joined the U.S. Army Reserve. In August, Broadwell was promoted to lieutenant colonel, according to the Army.

Among her many military-related activities, Broadwell has been a “valued member” of the Warlord Loop, an elite invitation-only email forum that has about 500 national security specialists as members, said John Collins, who runs the group.

“She remains a member and I predict no change in her status,” he said in an email on Saturday.

Broadwell is also featured in videos for a machine gun manufacturer. On her LinkedIn site, she lists “KRISS Vector .45 cal Demonstrator/Model” under her experience. The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

About three years ago, Broadwell settled in Charlotte with her husband, Scott, who is a radiologist in a Charlotte medical group. Their home is valued at $908,500, according to county property records. Over the years, the family has alternated moves based on each other’s career opportunities.

“It was his turn,” Williams, the neighbor said.

In her book’s acknowledgements, Broadwell says her husband played “Mr Mom” for her two boys while she was in Afghanistan and Washington “and shielded them from the concerns about their adventure-seeking mother’s travels in a third-world country.”

Her husband “showed admirable tolerance for my absence and the many late nights and early mornings at the computer; I am grateful to have such an amazing and supportive partner,” she added. The book is dedicated to “my three favorite troopers” – her husband and two boys – and “to those who serve.”

The acknowledgements gives “special thanks” to Petraeus’ wife, Holly.

‘Strategic Initiative’ in wars

In the past year, Broadwell has been busy promoting her book with TV appearances and speeches. Written with Washington Post editor Vernon Loeb, the book received positive reviews, with author Doris Kearns Goodwin calling it “majestic”.

In the preface, Broadwell writes that history has yet to fully judge Petraeus’ service in Iraq and Afghanistan, but “there is no denying that he achieved a great deal during his thirty-seven-year Army career, not the least of which was regaining the strategic initiative in both wars that followed September 11, 2001.”

While noting that his critics fault him for “ambition and self-promotion,” she writes that his “energy, optimism and will to win stand out more for me.” In the acknowledgements, she thanks Petraeus for a “once-in-a-lifetime” education as well as “his candor, trust and support.”

On “The Daily Show,” Stewart teased her about the book’s admiring tone for the now 60-year-old Petraeus.

“The real controversy here is, ‘Is he awesome or incredibly awesome?'” Stewart said.
Playing along, Broadwell quipped: “He can turn water into bottled water.”

At the show’s end, Broadwell, who lists running, skiing, triathlons and kickboxing among her interests, challenged the host to a push-up contest, with the loser making a donation to a wounded warriors organization. Stewart brought Broadwell’s husband on stage to do push-ups with him, but still lost.

Broadwell has remained in the news recently. Earlier this month, she donated a parachute jump she had scheduled for her birthday to a wounded veteran, according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper. She also authored an article for Newsweek magazine called “General David Petraeus’s Rules for Living”.

Rule No. 5: “We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear-view mirrors – drive on and avoid making them again.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 travel pass to pilot on Etihad and Emirates Airways flights

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Covid-19 travel pass to pilot on Etihad and Emirates Airways flights | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travel Daily

A travel pass for passengers inoculated against Covid-19 or who have tested negative will be piloted on flights for Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. With the travel pass issued by the International Air Transport Association, passengers can keep control of their data and share their test results with airlines and authorities for travel.

The travel pass will be offered on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter, and will expand the pass to other destinations of the trail is successful. Emirates is going to implement phase 1 of the travel pass in April for flights departing from Dubai.

Recently, the IATA travel pass programme has been also tested in International Airlines Group and Singapore Airlines.

SOURCE: Reuters

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World

Australia might keep borders closed throughout 2021

Caitlin Ashworth

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Australia might keep borders closed throughout 2021 | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Josh Withers for UnSplash

It might be a while until tourists can visit Australia. Borders might not be fully reopen until at least 2022. Australia is rolling out its immunisation program next month, but even if most of the population is vaccinated against Covid-19, the Australian government says it will probably wait to make sure the vaccine prevents the transmission of the virus before fully reopening borders.

Australia’s borders are only open for citizens, residents, those with family in Australia and travellers who have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days. All incoming travellers must quarantine for 14 days unless they come from an area classified as a “green safe travel zone.”

There are currently 1,881 active Covid-19 cases in Australia, according to Worldometers. No local Covid-19 cases were reported today. Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has reported more than 22,000 local cases and 909 deaths related to Covid-19.

The state of New South Wales is a main focus for Covid-19 prevention measures at this stage and some neighbouring states have imposed travel restrictions on those from the state. NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian floated the idea about allowing venues in the area to ban entry to those who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Already airlines have indicated that if you’re not vaccinated you can’t travel overseas and I think that’ll be an incentive to a lot of people… We’ll also consider whether we allow venues … make up their own rules if they have a business or run a workplace about what they feel is Covid safe.”

SOURCE: Aljazeera

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Politics

Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident

The Thaiger

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Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident | The Thaiger

Corporate America is adding its weight in response to the insurgency at the Capitol building on January 6, and are pulling out from any association with the Trump brand after the storming of the capitol incidentwhich economists say will have a profound medium and long-term effect on his business interests. Recently, Signature Bank closed Trump’s personal accounts and the PGA of America stopped plans to hold its 2022 championship at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf course.

Such a parting of ways signals the business community’s weariness in being associated with a political figure that has attracted worldwide attention and is indicative of what may happen to the Trump brand. The president’s role in the incident, confirmed by his impeachment by the House this week, has gained criticism from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO labour federation.

Michael D’Antonio, the author of a Trump biography, says the capitol incident has been a game-changer for the support of extreme politics.

“Trump’s name is really an albatross. He is the most disgraced president in history. This is a person who’s synonymous with a mob attacking the US Capitol. I just think this went a step too far.”

Other experts like Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, say Trump’s brand will inevitably suffer long-term.

“Before his term, Trump stood for wealth, success and over-the-top luxury. Now the brand has associations with anti-government views, racism and extremism. This makes the brand fairly toxic.”

Deutsche Bank, to which Trump reportedly owes around $400 million, is also planning to stop engaging in business with him. But the president dismissed any business challenges in an October 15 televised event by saying that the $400 million he owed was “a tiny percentage of my net worth.”

It appears true that some of Trump’s properties have benefitted from his presidency as taxpayer revenue has continuously flowed into his golf courses and clubs where he stays with his family, the secret service and the White House staff.

In fact, CREW estimates that Trump’s properties took in over $100 million from more than 500 visits by the president, according to a report in September 2020. But even that business transaction has received widespread criticism as many say Trump should not have mixed politics with his personal businesses.

D’Antonio predicts that Trump may sell current assets to pay off his Deutsche Bank debt, which means there could be fewer to none Trump hotels, golf courses or towers in the next 10 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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