Tag Archive | "Donald Trump"

Trump calls Modi; congratulates him on election victory

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Trump calls Modi; congratulates him on election victory

Posted on 28 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump on Tuesday called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and congratulated him on his recent electoral success, the White House said.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump congratulated Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on their electoral victories.

The White House said the leaders spoke by phone.

“The president spoke with German Chancellor Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Modi earlier today to congratulate them on their parties’ success in recent elections,” Spicer said.

Following the elections held in five states that begun on February 4 and ended on March 9 after polling was rescheduled in some constituencies, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party formed the government in four states: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
It, however, lost Punjab to main rival Congress in the results announced on March 11.

Anchored mainly by Modi and his aide Amit Shah, the BJP juggernaut rolled on in Uttar Pradesh and in the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand, bagging three-fourth majority.

The BJP returned to power in the politically-crucial state of UP after a gap of 15 years during which regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party held sway.

Goa and Manipur had hung assemblies after the polls, but the BJP managed to form the government with support from other regional parties.

The elections in the five states had turned into a virtual referendum on Modi’s popularity following his much-debated decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

Previously, Modi and Trump talked by phone on January 24, when they had resolved to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” in the global fight against terrorism and for defence and security.

According to a White House statement then, Trump had “emphasised that the US considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world.”

The two leaders had exchanged invitations for visits.

“President Trump looked forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in the US later this year,” the statement had said.

Prime Minister Modi was the fifth foreign leader Trump had spoken to on phone after he was sworn-in as the US president on January 20. He had by then spoken to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

After his surprise victory in the November 8 elections in the US, Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Trump. And during the gruelling election campaign, India and Israel were the two prominent countries Trump spoke of strengthening ties if he were to become the president.

PTI |

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Donald Trump aide compares ISIS militants to cockroaches

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Donald Trump aide compares ISIS militants to cockroaches

Posted on 26 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump`s counter-terrorism adviser compared Islamic State militants fleeing the Middle East to “cockroaches”, vowing to “obliterate” the extremist group, the media reported.
“We`re going to obliterate IS. We`re going to wipe them off the face of the Earth,” White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka told Fox News on Saturday.

“But before we get all of them, what`s going to happen? Some of them, like the cockroaches, when you switch the light on they`re going to scurry. We want to stop them coming here.”

Trump`s executive order barring citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US is geared toward blocking militants travelling from the Middle East to America, Gorka said.

“So it`s not the person flying from Los Angeles to New York that`s the threat,” he said.

“It`s the IS recruit, who`s travelling out of Mosul (Iraq), out of the Middle East, out of Syria.”

Gorka`s comments came after a terrorist attack in London on Wednesday committed by a 52-year-old UK-born man, The Hill magazine reported.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed five people and left at least 50 people injured.

IANS |

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White man shouts at Sikh-American girl: ‘Go back to Lebanon’

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White man shouts at Sikh-American girl: ‘Go back to Lebanon’

Posted on 25 March 2017 by GGS News

New York : A Sikh-American girl was harassed on a subway train here when a white man, mistaking her to be from the Middle East, allegedly shouted “go back to Lebanon” and “you don’t belong in this country,” the latest in a series of hate crimes against people of South-Asian origin.

Rajpreet Heir was taking the subway train to a friend’s birthday party in Manhattan this month when the white man began shouting at her, according to a report in the New York Times.

Heir recounted the ordeal in a video for a Times section called ‘This Week in Hate’, which highlights hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of President Donald Trump.

Heir said she was looking at her phone when the white man shouted at her saying, “Do you even know what a Marine looks like? Do you know what they have to see? What they do for this country? Because of people like you.”

He told Heir he hoped she was sent “back to Lebanon” and using expletives said, “You don’t belong in this country,” before he left the subway.

Heir, a Sikh, said she was born 30 miles from Lebanon, not the Middle Eastern country but a namesake city in the American state of Indiana.

(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

Heir said as the man left the train, she saw a young white woman in the train staring at her “with tears in her eyes.”

“What had just happened provided evidence of what I had sensed beneath the surface for a long time – racism that can turn violent and lately does,” she said.

The report added that two fellow passengers stepped in to help Heir after the incident on the train. One woman tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she was all right. “That meant something because when you’re a minority, you’re so used to just experiencing things on your own,” Heir said.

Another woman reported the incident to a police officer at a subway station.

The report said that as New York City works to respond to a rise in reports of discrimination and harassment, subways have emerged as a source of special concern.

It said the anti-harassment group Hollaback has received nearly double the usual number of reports of harassment on the subway and more than usual involve racist, Islamophobic or anti-immigrant comments since the election of Trump.

Heir’s case is a yet another disturbing incident of racial discrimination in which people of South Asian origin have been targets of abuse and hate crime.

Last month, Indian-origin woman Ekta Desai had posted a video online of an African-American man racially abusing her and calling her inappropriate names as she was traveling on a subway train.

Fear and anxiety had gripped the Indian community following the tragic shooting in Kansas of 32-year old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed when 51-year old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani before yelling “get out of my country.” Purinton had assumed the two Indian men were “Middle Eastern.”

Earlier this month, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot while working on his car in his driveway in Washington state. The gunman reportedly told him to “go back to your own country” before pulling the trigger, according to the Seattle Times.

PTI |

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Trump administration hosting first meeting of anti-ISIS coalition

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Trump administration hosting first meeting of anti-ISIS coalition

Posted on 22 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : Foreign ministers from 68 countries meet in Washington on Wednesday to agree on the next steps to defeat Islamic State, the first such gathering of the U.S-led military coalition since the election of President Donald Trump in November.
The meeting will be hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump has vowed to make the fight against Islamic State a priority and directed the Pentagon and other agencies in January to submit a plan for defeating the militant group.

The militants have been losing ground in both Iraq and Syria, with three separate forces, backed by the United States, Turkey, and Russia, advancing on the group`s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

The meeting is the first of the international coalition since Iraqi government forces, backed by the U.S.-led international coalition, retook several Iraqi cities from Islamic State last year and liberated eastern Mosul.

While the jihadist group is overwhelmingly outnumbered by Iraqi forces, it has been using suicide car bombs and snipers to defend its remaining strongholds.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who met with Trump in Washington on Monday, said he had won assurances of more U.S. support in the war against Islamic State.

A White House statement after the meeting said both Trump and Abadi agreed that “terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone,” and the two leaders called for deepening commercial ties.

Discussions on Wednesday will also focus on how to help Mosul rebuild and ways to tackle Islamic State operations in Libya and elsewhere.

In Syria, the U.S.-led coalition has been working with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. Its current focus is to encircle and ultimately recapture Raqqa – Islamic State`s base of operations in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is supported by Russia and Iran, has said he saw scope for cooperation with Trump, although he has dismissed the U.S.-backed military campaign against Islamic State in Syria as “only a few raids.”

Reuters | 

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Donald Trump says North Korea acting ‘very, very badly’ after fresh missile test

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Donald Trump says North Korea acting ‘very, very badly’ after fresh missile test

Posted on 20 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump slammed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for “acting very, very badly”, following Pyongyangs missile activities, a media report said.
North Korea claimed it tested a new high-thrust rocket engine on Saturday, the latest in a string of missile tests over the past few months, The Hill magazine said in the report.

“He’s acting very very badly,” the President on Sunday said of Kim Jong-un, according to the White House.

Trump, who travelled to his Mar-a-Lago resort, Florida, said he discussed North Korea’s missile launches during meetings over the weekend.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also denounced North Korea’s missile launches last week, indicating that the Trump administration is open to taking pre-emptive action if Pyongyang continues to “elevate the threat of their weapons programme”.

IANS |

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Trump looks forward to enhancing understanding with China: Tillerson

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Trump looks forward to enhancing understanding with China: Tillerson

Posted on 19 March 2017 by GGS News

Beijing : US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday that President Donald Trump looks forward to enhancing understanding with China and the opportunity for a visit in the future.

Xi said he was glad to see good progress from Tillerson’s meetings in China so far and that he and Trump expect a new stage of constructive development in bilateral relations.

Tillerson said Trump places a “very high value on the communications that have already occurred” between Xi and Trump.

“He looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future,” Tillerson said.

“We know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthening of the ties between China and the United States, and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation.”

Xi said Tillerson had made a lot efforts to achieve a smooth transition in this new era of relations.

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly. I express my appreciation for this,” Xi said.

Xi added he had communicated with Trump several times.

“We both believe that China-US cooperation henceforth is the directions we are both striving for. We are both expecting a new era for constructive development.”

Tillerson and Xi were meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People at the end of Tillerson’s first visit to China after taking office last month.

There was no mention of contentious issues like North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes or self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

North Korea conducted a test of a new high-thrust engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station and leader Kim Jong Un said the successful test was “a new birth” of its rocket industry, Pyongyang’s official media said on Sunday.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in defiance of UN sanctions, and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

Washington wants China, the North’s neighbour and main trading partner, to use its influence to rein in the weapons programmes.

 Reuters |

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US Attorney Bharara was probing Trump’s cabinet member when fired

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US Attorney Bharara was probing Trump’s cabinet member when fired

Posted on 18 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : Fired US Attorney Preet Bharara was investigating a key member of President Donald Trumps cabinet, a new report has revealed.

Bharara was looking into allegations that Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary and the administration’s point man on efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, improperly traded healthcare stocks while he was a member of the House of Representatives, New York Post reported on Friday.
Price maintained that he broke no laws when he traded healthcare stocks even as he was involved in legislation relevant to the healthcare sector.

He traded over $300,000 worth of shares of relevant companies during a four-year period in the House, the report said.

The issue played a significant role in Price’s confirmation process, and he was asked about it numerous times during his Senate hearing.

The revelation that Bharara was investigating Price comes as many were surprised the US attorney from the Southern District of New York was not retained by the Trump administration.

The then-President-elect had met with Bharara after the election and during the transition period, Trump had reportedly asked him to stay on during his administration.

But last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions notified all leftover federal prosecutors appointed by President Barack Obama would be let go.

Bharara, however, refused to go and was fired by the Trump administration, the Post said.

IANS |

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US judge blocks Trump’s revised travel ban

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US judge blocks Trump’s revised travel ban

Posted on 16 March 2017 by GGS News

US judge blocks Trump’s revised travel ban

Hawaii : Federal judges halted Donald Trump`s revised executive order to temporarily close US borders to refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, dealing the president a humiliating defeat.
The rulings trigger a nationwide freeze on enforcement of a ban on entry by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. They also halt a 120-day suspension of the US refugee admissions program. Trump`s restrictions had been due to go into effect Thursday.

On Wednesday, US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii, in its legal challenge, had established a strong likelihood that the ban would cause “irreparable injury” were it to go ahead.

Early Thursday in Maryland, US District Judge Theodore Chuang issued a similar nationwide injunction on a separate complaint filed by advocacy groups claiming that the amended order discriminates against Muslims.

Chuang ruled that the plaintiffs “are likely to prevail on the merits, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief and that the balance of the equities and the public interest favor an injunction.”

Trump vowed to fight the “flawed” ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, describing it as “unprecedented judicial overreach.”

“The law in the Constitution gave the president the power to suspend immigration when he deems it to be in the national interest of our country,” he said Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, adding: “We are going to win.”

However, the court in Honolulu indicated that it would not stay its decision in the event of an appeal, meaning the ban cannot go ahead as planned on Thursday regardless of any action the White House takes.

It was the first court to issue its ruling in a trio of legal challenges against the ban, which had been set to go into effect at midnight.

A federal court in Seattle granted a separate emergency motion from Washington and Oregon states for a “14-day temporary restraining order,” also citing “irreparable harm.”

The arguments advanced against the ban by the two northwestern states are “likely to succeed,” court documents read.The Trump administration`s wide-ranging initial travel restrictions imposed on January 27 were slapped down by the federal courts, after sparking a legal, political and logistical furor.

Trump signed a revised ban behind closed doors on March 6 with a reduced scope, exempting Iraqis and permanent US residents, but maintaining the temporary ban on the other six countries and refugees.

The White House said those six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.

Watson, however, rejected the White House claim that the order wasn`t a Muslim ban, ruling that it was plausible “to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam” given their Muslim populations ranging from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent.

The judge made reference to several examples of Trump explicitly framing proposed action on immigration in religious tones, including a March 2016 interview during which the then president-elect said: “I think Islam hates us.”

“Mr Trump was asked, `Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?` He replied: `It`s very hard to separate. Because you don`t know who`s who,`” the judge added.

The first version of Trump`s order triggered protests at home and abroad as well as chaos at US airports as people were detained upon arrival and either held for hours or sent back to where they came from.The Trump administration narrowed the restrictions in its revised order to try to ensure it would be unassailable.

“This order doesn`t draw any religious distinction at all,” said Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, in defending the government`s position.

Questioned about Trump`s tweets and statements during the presidential campaign in which he promised to enact a “Muslim ban,” Wall said: “There is a difference between a president and a candidate.”

But critics say the new order essentially remains a ban on Muslims coming to the United States, and therefore unconstitutional because it singles out followers of a certain religion for discrimination.

Since September 11, 2001, the worst attacks in the United States have been committed either by Americans or by people from countries not on the Trump travel ban list.

Critics also argue that it will have a very negative effect on schools, universities and the business world, mainly the high tech sector, which employs many highly skilled immigrants.

AFP |

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Donald Trump paid $38 mn in taxes, made $150 mn in 2005: White House

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Donald Trump paid $38 mn in taxes, made $150 mn in 2005: White House

Posted on 15 March 2017 by GGS News

Donald Trump paid $38 mn in taxes, made $150 mn in 2005: White House

Washington : The White House said that President Donald Trump made more than USD 150 million in income in 2005 and paid USD 38 million in income taxes that year.
The acknowledgement came shortly before MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax forms on her Tuesday night show.

The records were obtained by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who said he received the documented unsolicited, in the mail.

The documents have become highly sought-after because Trump refused to release his returns during the campaign, breaking a decades-long tradition. He claimed he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and said his attorneys had advised against it — though experts and IRS officials said such audits don’t bar taxpayers from releasing their returns.

The White House pushed back pre-emptively Tuesday night, saying that publishing those returns would be illegal.

“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the White House said in a statement.

The unauthorised release or publishing of federal tax returns is a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to USD 5,000 and up to five years in jail. But Maddow argued that MSNBC was exercising its First Amendment right to publish information in the public interest.

Based on the documents obtained by Johnston, Trump paid USD 36.5 million in taxes on USD 153 million in income, for an effective tax rate of around 24 percent. That percentage is higher than the roughly 10 percent the average American pays each year — but below the 27.4 percent that taxpayers earning 1 million dollars a year average, according to data from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Trump’s tax returns spotlight the role of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was established nearly five decades ago to prevent the wealthy from using deductions and clever accounting to largely avoid paying taxes.

AP |

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Donald Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone strikes: Report

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Donald Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone strikes: Report

Posted on 14 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump has reportedly given CIA necessary authorisation to carry out drone strikes against terror groups, a move that could have implications for Pakistan.
This is a change from the policies of the previous Obama Administration under which the Department of Defence was authorised to carry out such strikes and the CIA used drones to gather intelligence information, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

The White House and the CIA have so far not responded to the news report.

According to the daily, Trump gave such an authorisation to the CIA not long after he visited its headquarters on January 21.
“The Trump administration is also giving the military more authority to conduct operations on its own without first getting a sign off from the Pentagon or the White House,” the report said.

The report said Trump’s unexpected decision to give the CIA the strike authority created ferment inside the US government within days of his visit, as US military officials scrambled to respond to the new directive.

According to New America’s research — a Washington DC based think-tank — before Obama changed his policy and only authorised the Department of Defence to carry out drone strikes, CIA’s drone strikes were mostly used in Pakistan.

It has resulted in the death of at least 1,904 people and the figure could be as high as 3,114, US scholars Peter Bergen and David Sterman wrote in CNN on January 21, a day after Trump was sworn in as the US President.

US drone strikes were halted in the last eight months of the Obama Administration.

In recent weeks, top Pentagon generals have expressed concerns over the continued presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.
CIA drone strikes were quite successful in elimination of high profile terrorists from the safe havens of Pakistan.

“The United States has killed more than 50 al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan since the beginning of the CIA drone campaign,” Bergen and Sterman wrote in the CNN op-ed.

At the same time they warned that before taking a decision on reviving drone strikes in Pakistan, the Trump administration should take into account that the US is quite unpopular in Pakistan.

“Under Obama, the drone war in Pakistan reached its height, and Trump, should he choose to do so, can easily bring that war back,” the two American scholars said and had predicted that Trump may well escalate the drone war in Pakistan and there is not much to stop him if he chooses to do so.

PTI |

 

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