US newspaper calls for coordinated war of words against Trump

A Boston newspaper is proposing a coordinated editorial response from publications across the US to President Donald Trump's frequent attacks on the news media.

"We are not the enemy of the people," said Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe, referring to a characterisation of journalists that Trump has used in the past.

The president, who contends he has largely been covered unfairly by the press, also employs the term "fake news" often when describing the media.

The Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on August 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a "dirty war against the free press."

As of today, Ms Pritchard said about 70 outlets had committed to editorials so far, with the list expected to grow.

The publications ranged from large metropolitan dailies, such as the Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald and Denver Post, to small weekly papers with circulations as low as 4,000.

The newspaper's request was being promoted by industry groups such as the American Society of News Editors and regional groups like the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

It suggested editorial boards take a common stand against Mr Trump's words regardless of their politics, or whether they generally editorialised in support of or in opposition to the president's policies.

"Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming," the appeal said, acknowledging that newspapers were likely to take different approaches.

Ms Pritchard, who oversees the Globe's editorial page, said the decision to seek the coordinated response from newspapers was reached after Mr Trump appeared to step up his rhetoric in recent weeks.

At an August 2 political rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Mr Trump told his audience that the media was "fake, fake disgusting news."

"What ever happened to the free press? What ever happened to honest reporting?" the president asked, pointing to journalists covering the event.

"They don't report it. They only make up stories."

Ms Pritchard said she hoped the editorials would make an impression on Americans.

"I hope it would educate readers to realise that an attack on the First Amendment is unacceptable," she said.

"We are a free and independent press, it is one of the most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution."


Watch: Indonesian air force deliver 90 tonnes of aid to quake-hit Lombok Island

The Indonesian air force today delivered 90 tonnes of aid to the earthquake-affected island of Lombok.

The aid included food, medicine, tents, and blankets, which will be distributed to residents in affected areas.

Almost 390,000 people, about 10 per cent of Lombok's population, are homeless or displaced after the earthquake, which damaged and destroyed about 68,000 homes.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said today that 387 people died in the earthquake, as search and rescue teams continued to sift through the rubble and people already buried by relatives are accounted for.

Almost 390,000 people are homeless or displaced after an earthquake destroyed around 68,000 homes. Source: Associated Press


China continues military expansion into heavily-contested South China Sea despite opposition

China has continued its military expansion into the South China Sea despite fierce opposition.

The heavily contested South China Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean, is rich with natural resources.

Six neighbouring countries have also laid claims to the sea, which borders Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

A BBC team flew over the disputed South China Sea islands in a US Navy plane, during which the plane was told to "leave immediately and keep far off" by the Chinese Navy.

The crew aboard the plane were unphased by the warning, something that has become a daily encounter.

"It's a routine occurrence for us on these flights, it happens throughout the flight, where they come over and we just go back with our standard response and it really has no effect on any operations or anything we do," said Lt Matt Johnston.

During the flight they approached an island built entirely by the Chinese government, called "Mischief Reef".

It becomes clear the island had grown significantly since the BBC last took a flight over it in 2015.

The artificial island appears to now have radar domes, aircraft hangers and possibly somewhere to park missile launchers.

Beijing, China's capital, continues to lay claims to the region's sovereignty.

Neighbouring countries are also laying claim to the resource-rich waters. Source: BBC