Tag Archive | "Donald Trump"

Donald Trump denies obstructing FBI probe, says has no tapes of talks with Comey

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Donald Trump denies obstructing FBI probe, says has no tapes of talks with Comey

Posted on 23 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had not obstructed the FBI`s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and had not recorded his conversations with former FBI chief James Comey.

Comey was leading the investigation into allegations Russia tried to sway the election toward Trump and the possibility Trump associates colluded with Moscow when the president fired him on May 9, sparking a political firestorm.

“Look there has been no obstruction, there has been no collusion,” Trump told Fox News Channel in an interview set to air on Friday. Fox released a partial transcript of the interview on Thursday.

The former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified before a Senate committee that Trump had asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn`s alleged ties to Russia.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump said he did not make and does not possess any tapes of his conversations with Comey, after suggesting last month he might have recordings that could undercut Comey`s description of events.

“I have no idea whether there are `tapes` or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Lawmakers investigating allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election had asked the White House for any such recordings.

Shortly after dismissing Comey, Trump mentioned the possibility of tapes in a Twitter post.

“James Comey better hope that there are no `tapes` of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump tweeted on May 12.

Allegations of ties to Russia have cast a shadow over Trump`s first five months in office, distracting from attempts by his fellow Republicans in Congress to overhaul the U.S. healthcare and tax systems.

Trump has privately told aides that the threat of the existence of tapes forced Comey to tell the truth in his recent testimony, a source familiar with the situation said.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Trump still had questions to answer about possible tapes.

“If the president had no tapes, why did he suggest otherwise? Did he seek to mislead the public? Was he trying to intimidate or silence James Comey? And if so, did he take other steps to discourage potential witnesses from speaking out?” Schiff said in a statement.

CNN reported on Thursday that two top U.S. intelligence officials told investigators Trump suggested they publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russia, but that they did not feel he had ordered them to do so.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers met separately last week with investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to CNN.

The two officials said they were surprised at Trump`s suggestion and found their interactions with him odd and uncomfortable, but they did not act on the president`s requests, CNN reported, citing sources familiar with their accounts.

Reuters was unable to verify the CNN report.

In his interview with Fox, Trump expressed concern about what he described as the close relationship between Comey and Mueller, who was appointed to take over the investigation after Comey was fired.

“Well he`s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome,” Trump said, according to the Fox transcript.

The Kremlin has denied U.S. intelligence agencies` conclusion that Moscow tried to tilt the election in Trump`s favor, using such means as hacking into the emails of senior Democrats.

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.

Reuters |

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Donald Trump’s new idea — a ‘solar wall’ on Mexican border

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Donald Trump’s new idea — a ‘solar wall’ on Mexican border

Posted on 22 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump pitched a new concept to his supporters for the wall he intends to erect on the Mexican border: cover it with solar panels — and use the energy to cover construction costs.

“Yes, we will build a wall,” he told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We have to stop the drugs from flowing in.”

“I will give you an idea that nobody has heard about yet,” he said. “The southern border. Lots of sun, lots of heat. We are thinking about building a wall as a solar wall. So it creates energy. And pays for itself.”

“And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money. And that’s good. Right?” quipped the president, whose initial pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall has met with stiff resistance from America’s southern neighbor.

“Think of it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is,” he enthused.

“Pretty good imagination, right? My idea!”

The US administration put out a call for proposals several months ago for the construction of the border wall, one of which — submitted by a Las Vegas businessman named Tom Gleason — involved using solar panels.

The Trump administration has yet to make serious headway on the president’s emblematic but hugely costly campaign pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border.
Under pressure from Democrats, the US Congress has so far refused to commit funding to the project, agreeing only to finance maintenance on existing parts of the border fence.

The real funding battle will play out starting in October, when 2018 budget negotiations begin in earnest.

AFP |

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Trump administration may expand drone strikes, curb aids to crack down on Pakistan-based militants

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Trump administration may expand drone strikes, curb aids to crack down on Pakistan-based militants

Posted on 20 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : President Donald Trump`s administration appears ready to harden its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, US officials tell Reuters.

Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding US drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan`s status as a major non-NATO ally, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Some US officials, however, are skeptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous US efforts to curb Pakistan`s support for militant groups have failed, and that already strengthening US ties to India, Pakistan`s arch-enemy, undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.

US officials say they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, once the administration finishes a regional review of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Precise actions have yet to be decided.

The White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the review before its completion. Pakistan`s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The United States and Pakistan continue to partner on a range of national security issues,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

But the discussions alone suggest a shift toward a more assertive approach to address safe havens in Pakistan that have been blamed for in part helping turn Afghanistan`s war into an intractable conflict.

Experts on America`s longest war argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents a place to plot deadly strikes in Afghanistan and regroup after ground offensives.

Although long mindful of Pakistan, the Trump administration in recent weeks has put more emphasis on the relationship with Islamabad in discussions as it hammers out a the regional strategy to be presented to Trump by mid-July, nearly six months after he took office, one official said.

“We`ve never really fully articulated what our strategy towards Pakistan is. The strategy will more clearly say what we want from Pakistan specifically,” the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other US officials warn of divisions within the government about the right approach and question whether any mix of carrots and sticks can get Islamabad to change its behavior. At the end of the day, Washington needs a partner, even if an imperfect one, in nuclear-armed Pakistan, they say.

The United States is again poised to deploy thousands more troops in Afghanistan, an acknowledgment that US-backed forces are not winning and Taliban militants are resurgent.

Without more pressure on militants within Pakistan who target Afghanistan, experts say additional US troop deployments will fail to meet their ultimate objective: to pressure the Taliban to eventually negotiate peace.

“I believe there will be a much harder US line on Pakistan going forward than there has been in the past,” Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan ambassador to the United States, told Reuters, without citing specific measures under review.

Kabul has long been critical of Pakistan`s role in Afghanistan.

Pakistan fiercely denies allowing any militants safe haven on its territory. It bristles at US claims that Pakistan`s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, has ties to Haqqani network militants blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan.

“What Pakistan says is that we are already doing a lot and that our plate is already full,” a senior Pakistani government source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source doubted the Trump administration would press too hard, saying: “They don’t want to push Pakistan to abandon their war against terrorism.”

Pakistani officials point towards the toll militancy has taken on the country. Since 2003, almost 22,000 civilians and nearly 7,000 Pakistani security forces have been killed as a result of militancy, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, which tracks violence.

Experts say Pakistan`s policy towards Afghanistan is also driven in part by fears that India will gain influence in Afghanistan.

Is Pakistan ally?
Nuclear-armed Pakistan won the status as a major non-NATO ally in 2004 from the George Bush administration, in what was at the time seen in part as recognition of its importance in the US battle against al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents.

The status is mainly symbolic, allowing limited benefits such as giving Pakistan faster access to surplus US military hardware.

Some US officials and experts on the region scoff at the title.

“Pakistan is not an ally. It’s not North Korea or Iran. But it’s not an ally,” said Bruce Riedel, a Pakistan expert at the Brookings Institution.

But yanking the title would be seen by Pakistan as a major blow.

“The Pakistanis would take that very seriously because it would be a slap at their honor,” said a former US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Lisa Curtis, senior director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council, co-authored a report with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan`s former ambassador to Washington, in which they recommended the Trump administration warn Pakistan the status could be revoked in six months.

“Thinking of Pakistan as an ally will continue to create problems for the next administration as it did for the last one,” said the February report.

It was unclear how seriously the Trump administration was considering the proposal.

The growing danger to Afghanistan from suspected Pakistan-based militants was underscored by a devastating May 31 truck bomb that killed more than 80 people and wounded 460 in Afghanistan`s capital, Kabul.

Afghanistan`s main intelligence agency said the attack – one of the deadliest in memory in Kabul – had been carried out by the Haqqani network with assistance from Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies.

Washington believes the strikes appeared to be the work of the Haqqani network, US officials told Reuters.

US frustration over the Haqqani`s presence in Pakistan has been building for years. The United States designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization in 2012. US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top US military officer, told Congress in 2011 that the Haqqani network was a “veritable arm” of the ISI.

The potential US pivot to a more assertive approach would be sharply different than the approach taken at the start of the Obama administration, when US officials sought to court Pakistani leaders, including Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

David Sedney, who served as Obama`s deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia from 2009 to 2013, said the attempt to turn Islamabad into a strategic partner was a “disaster.”

“It didn`t affect Pakistan`s behavior one bit. In fact, I would argue it made Pakistan`s behavior worse,” Sedney said.

More drones, Cash cut-off
Pakistan has received more than USD 33 billion in US assistance since 2002, including more than $14 billion in so-called Coalition Support Funds (CSF), a US Defense Department program to reimburse allies that have incurred costs in supporting counter-insurgency operations.

It is an important form of foreign currency for the nuclear-armed country and one that is getting particularly close scrutiny during the Trump administration review.

Last year, the Pentagon decided not to pay Pakistan USD 300 million in CSF funding after then-US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declined to sign authorization that Pakistan was taking adequate action against the Haqqani network.

US officials said the Trump administration was discussing withholding at least some assistance to Pakistan.

Curtis` report also singled out the aid as a target.

But US aid cuts could cede even more influence to China, which already has committed nearly USD 60 billion in investments in Pakistan.

Another option under review is broadening a drone campaign to penetrate deeper into Pakistan to target Haqqani fighters and other militants blamed for attacks in Afghanistan, US officials and a Pakistan expert said.

“Now the Americans (will be) saying, you aren`t taking out our enemies, so therefore we are taking them out ourselves,” the Pakistan expert, who declined to be identified, said.

Pakistan`s army chief of staff last week criticised “unilateral actions” such as drone strikes as “counterproductive and against (the) spirit of ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan”.

Reuters |

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Donald Trump announces new Cuba policy limiting US travel, business

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Donald Trump announces new Cuba policy limiting US travel, business

Posted on 16 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will announce his administration’s review of the country’s new policy toward Cuba on Friday.

The President will travel to Miami on Friday to “make an announcement on US-Cuba policy”, said deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at a press conference.

When asked whether Trump is planning to announce the naming of an ambassador to Cuba anytime soon, Sanders said that she was not certain what the plans are on that subject or whether it would be included in the President’s Friday announcement, reports Efe news.Several US media outlets had reported the date and site for the announcement of the result of the review of Washington’s Cuba policy that Trump promised when he took office, a policy that to date has included greater rapprochement with the communist island and was initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
In his search for votes in Florida during the presidential campaign, Trump toughened his stance on Cuba and promised to rescind many of Obama’s measures.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier this week at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump wants to allow business activity and trade with Cuba to continue as much as possible because he appreciates the benefits that this opening provides for the Cuban people.

However, the administration wants to ensure that it is not involuntarily or directly providing financial help to the Raul Castro regime and that it is not violating the law, Tillerson said on Tuesday.

“As we’re developing these business relationships and as we’re enjoying the benefits on the economic and development side, are we inadvertently or directly providing financial support to the regime? Our view is we are,” Tillerson said.

“And the question is … how do we bring that back into compliance with longstanding statutory obligations?” he added.

It is anticipated that Trump will also urge the Cuban government to improve its respect for human rights, according to information provided by Tillerson.

IANS |

 

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Qatar signs $12 bn deal to buy F-15 jets from US

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Qatar signs $12 bn deal to buy F-15 jets from US

Posted on 15 June 2017 by GGS News

Doha : Qatar`s Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday the country signed a deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States for USD 12 billion.

The deal was completed despite the Gulf country being criticised recently by US President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and representatives from Qatar were set to meet Wednesday to seal the agreement, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.The sale will increase security cooperation and interoperability between the US and Qatar, the Pentagon said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Mattis and Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah also discussed the current state of operations against the ISIS and the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals, the Pentagon added.

In November, the United States approved possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for USD 21.1 billion. Boeing Co is the prime contractor on the fighter jet sale to the Middle East nation.

Boeing declined to comment.

Trump recently accused Qatar of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism, potentially hindering the US Department of State`s efforts to ease heightening tensions and a blockade of the Gulf nation by Arab states and others.

 

Reuters |

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Donald Trump being probed for possible obstruction of justice: Report

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Donald Trump being probed for possible obstruction of justice: Report

Posted on 15 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The special counsel appointed to probe alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential polls is now also investigating President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice, according to a media report.

The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI chief, “marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin,” The Washington Post reported.

Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes by Trump associates, the daily said, quoting unnamed US officials.According to the paper, Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week.
“The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI,” it said.

The White House has been directing all questions related to this to Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz, was quoted as saying.

The Post reported that the obstruction of justice investigation of the president began days after James Comey was fired as the FBI Director on May 9.

Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump’s orbit, people familiar with the probe were quoted as saying.

“The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals,” the daily said.

Significantly, Preet Bharara, the India-born former top US federal prosecutor, earlier this week had said that there was enough evidence to begin an obstruction of justice case against Trump over his alleged interference in the Russia probe.

Trump has said he is “100 per cent” willing to testify under oath on Comey meetings and tell the FBI Special Consul Robert Muller that he never asked FBI to stop investigating.

The report comes a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a close aide of Trump, vehemently denied any role in Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US polls and dismissed accusations that he discussed such an effort with Russian officials as an “appalling and detestable lie”.

Sessions’ testimony came in the wake of fired FBI Director Comey’s assertion that he believed he was fired by Trump as part of an effort to influence the agencies’ investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential polls.

PTI |

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Stop funding terror, teaching hate, Donald Trump tells Qatar

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Stop funding terror, teaching hate, Donald Trump tells Qatar

Posted on 10 June 2017 by GGS News

Washington : Amid a raging diplomatic face-off between Qatar and its neighbours, US President Donald Trump has accused Doha of “historically” being a funder of terrorism and asked the Gulf emirate along with other nations to stop “teaching hate”.
“Stop funding (terrorism). Stop teaching hate. Stop the killing,” Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House in a joint news conference with the visiting Romanian President Klaus Johannis.In a strong-worded opening remarks, Trump alleged that Qatar was funding terrorism at the “highest level” and asked other countries doing the same to stop with immediate effect.
“The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. And in the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behaviour,” Trump told reporters at the news conference.
“So we had a decision to make: Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding–they have to end that funding–and its extremist ideology in terms of funding,” said the US President.
“I want to call on all of the nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism, stop teaching people to kill other people, stop filling their minds with hate and intolerance. I won’t name other countries, but we are not done solving the problem. But we will solve that problem. Have no choice,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments came after his top diplomat Rex Tillerson appealed to Saudi Arabia and its regional allies to ease their blockade of Qatar, saying it is hindering US military actions in the region and the fight against the Islamic State.
In his remarks, Trump said he had just returned from a historic trip to Europe and the Middle East, where he worked to strengthen its alliances, forge new friendships and unite all civilised people in the fight against terrorism.
“No civilised nation can tolerate this violence or allow this wicked ideology to spread on its shores. I addressed a summit of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders, a unique meeting in the history of nations, where key players in the region agreed to stop supporting terrorism, whether it be financial, military or even moral support,” Trump said.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have cut ties with Qatar, accusing their former Gulf Cooperation Council ally of supporting extremist groups.
Trump said defeating ISIS and other terror organisations is something he had emphasised all during his campaign.
“To do that, stop funding, stop teaching hate and stop the killing,” he said.
“For Qatar, we want you back among the unity of responsible nations. We ask Qatar and other nations in the region to do more and do it faster,” the US President said.
“I want to thank Saudi Arabia and my friend King Salman and all of the countries which participated in that very historic summit. It was truly historic. There has never been anything like it before and, perhaps, there never will be again,” he said.
“Hopefully, it will be the beginning of the end of funding terrorism. It will, therefore, be the beginning of the end to terrorism. No more funding,” Trump said.

PTI |

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Donald Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

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Donald Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

Posted on 08 June 2017 by GGS News

Columbia : US President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the United Arab Emirates invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.

“The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary,” it said.
Trump, in a later call with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, called for unity among Gulf Arabs “but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism,” the White House said.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over long-standing allegations that Doha is courting Iran, which they deem the region’s biggest external threat, and supporting Islamist groups, seen as the biggest internal danger.

The four countries also cut transport links to tiny gas-rich Qatar, disrupting food and other supplies and deepening uncertainty about the future of trade and investment ties.

In a sign of economic damage from the dispute, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Qatar’s debt on Wednesday as the country’s riyal currency fell to an 11-year low amid signs that portfolio investment funds were flowing out because of the rift.

S&P cut its long-term rating of Qatar by one notch to AA- from AA and put the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications, meaning there was a significant chance of a further downgrade.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Reuters there would be more economic curbs on Qatar if necessary and said Doha needed to make ironclad commitments to change what critics say is a policy on funding Islamist militants.

He later told France 24 television that any further steps could take the form of “a sort of embargo on Qatar”.

REGIONAL TENSIONS

Reiterating comments by Gulf officials, Gargash told Reuters there was no plan to seek a change in Qatar’s leadership, only a change in its policies.

Regional tensions, already high following the diplomatic dispute, ratcheted up further after militants attacked targets in Tehran on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people.

Iran blamed arch-foe Saudi Arabia for the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State militant group. Riyadh denied any involvement.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf states could resolve a row with Qatar among themselves without outside help.

“We have not asked for mediation, we believe this issue can be dealt with among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he told a news conference with his German counterpart during a visit to Berlin that was broadcast on Saudi state television.

Jubeir declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the Doha-based news channel, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations.

Meanwhile Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah continued a regional effort to mediate the crisis, shuttling from the UAE en route to Qatar on Wednesday evening, a Kuwaiti diplomat told Reuters.

But efforts to defuse the worst crisis among Gulf Arabs for two decades showed no immediate progress.

The UAE threatened anyone publishing expressions of sympathy towards Doha with up to 15 years in prison and barring entry to Qataris.

TURKISH SUPPORT

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but vehemently denies supporting terrorism. It drew some support on Wednesday when Turkey’s parliament approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar. Turkish exporters have also pledged to provide food and water to Qatar if needed.

Trump’s defence secretary, James Mattis, spoke to his Qatari counterpart to express commitment to the Gulf region’s security. Qatar hosts 8,000 U.S. military personnel at al Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East and a launchpad for U.S.-led strikes on Islamic State jihadists.

The sudden isolation has spurred Qatar to hold talks with Turkey, Iran and others to secure food and water supplies, said a Qatari official. He said there were enough grain supplies for four weeks and Qatar also had large strategic food reserves.

Abu Dhabi port authorities in the UAE have eased curbs on non-Qatari oil tankers going to and from Qatar, according to industry sources and shipping circulars seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Bans on Doha’s fleet using regional ports and anchorages are threatening to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported the crackdown on expressions of sympathy with Qatar.

“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

On top of a possible jail term, offenders could also be hit with a fine of at least 500,000 dirhams ($136,000), the newspaper said, citing a statement to Arabic-language media.

Slogans against and in support of Qatar have dominated Twitter in Arabic. Newspapers and television channels in the region have also been engaged in a war of words.

COMPLEXITY

UAE airlines Etihad and Emirates said all travellers holding Qatari passports were currently prohibited from travelling to or transiting through the emirates.

They announced details of the restrictions after Australian carrier and Emirates partner Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) said it would not fly Qataris to Dubai because of the bans.

Foreigners residing in Qatar in possession of a Qatari residence visa would also not be eligible for visas on arrival in the UAE, an Etihad spokesman said in an email.

Gargash, the UAE minister, told Reuters in an interview it would be very complex to disentangle the “very diverse” business ties between Qatar and its neighbours but suggested this might be necessary.

“You cannot rule out further measures. We hope that cooler heads will prevail, that wiser heads will prevail and we will not get to that.”

“Tensions are still high and mediation efforts by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council state Kuwait have yet to lead to a concrete solution, so investors will likely remain on edge,” said one Dubai-based trader.

Reuters |

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Fake Media prevent Americans from hearing real story: DonaldTrump

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Fake Media prevent Americans from hearing real story: DonaldTrump

Posted on 29 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump has alleged that the “fake media” does not want him to use the social media to prevent Americans from hearing the “real story”.

In a series of tweets, the president said he believed the leaks coming from his administration are actually “fabricated lies.”

“The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!” Trump said in a tweet yesterday, a day after he returned from his maiden overseas trip, which he described as a big success.
“Just returned from Europe. The trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results,” he said as he slammed the US media for using leaks against him.

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” he said in another tweet to his more than 30.8 followers.

“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names… It is possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!” Trump said in a series of tweets.

“Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered,” he wrote.

“British Prime Minister (Theresa) May was very angry that the info the UK gave to US about Manchester was leaked. Gave me full details!” Trump tweeted.
Trump said the massive tax cuts/reforms that he has submitted is moving along in the process very well.

“Actually ahead of schedule. Big benefits to all!” he said.

“I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere. ObamaCare is dead – the Republicans will do much better!” said the US President.

Trump’s attacks on the media come as his campaign team faces increased scrutiny over its contacts with Russia.

Members of Trump’s White House have regularly requested anonymity when speaking to the press.

PTI |

 

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Donald Trump tells ‘confidants’ US will leave Paris climate deal

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Donald Trump tells ‘confidants’ US will leave Paris climate deal

Posted on 28 May 2017 by GGS News

WASHINGTON : U.S. President Donald Trump has told “confidants,” including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave a landmark international agreement on climate change, Axios news outlet reported on Saturday, citing three sources with direct knowledge.
On Saturday, Trump said in a Twitter post he would make a decision on whether to support the Paris climate deal next week.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A source who has been in contact with people involved in the decision told Reuters a couple of meetings were planned with chief executives of energy companies and big corporations and others about the climate agreement ahead of Trump`s expected announcement later in the week. It was unclear whether those meetings would still take place.

“I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!” he tweeted on the final day of a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy at which he refused to bow to pressure from allies to back the landmark 2015 agreement.

The summit of G7 wealthy nations pitted Trump against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues, with European diplomats frustrated at having to revisit questions they had hoped were long settled.

Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, came under concerted pressure from the other leaders to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions.

Although he tweeted that he would make a decision next week, his apparent reluctance to embrace the first legally binding global climate deal that was signed by 195 countries clearly annoyed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” she told reporters. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”

Reuters 

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