Ex-South Korean president, Geun-hyePark arrested and jailed

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been arrested and jailed in connection with the corruption investigation that led to her ouster earlier this month.

Park was taken into custody at her home and taken to a detention centre — a scene that was covered on live South Korean television.

Officials said the disgraced former leader accepted bribes and abused her power during her administration.

Park’s arrest followed a lengthy court hearing in Seoul, the country’s capital, at which the judge decided there was enough evidence to warrant the arrest.

“Major allegations were explained and proved and there were concerns over evidence destruction,” Seoul’s Central District Court said in a text message.

Amid the corruption investigation, Park was impeached and removed from office on March 10.

She will now remain in jail while prosecutors seek a formal indictment, which they said should come within the next three weeks.

“I feel apologetic toward the nation’s citizens,” Park said last week. “I’ll cooperate in the questioning sincerely.”

South Korea will elect a new president in May, and experts say it’s likely that Park’s conservative ruling party will be defeated in the vote after nearly a decade in power.

British PM Signs Brexit Letter

Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the letter that will formally begin the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

Giving official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be delivered to European Council president, Donald Tusk later.

In a statement in the Commons, the prime minister will then tell MPs this marks “the moment for the country to come together.”

It follows June’s referendum which resulted in a vote to leave the EU.

The BBC reports that Mrs. May’s letter will be delivered at 12:20 BST on Wednesday by the British ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow.

The prime minister, who chaired an hour long cabinet meeting earlier, is set to make a statement to MPs confirming the countdown to the UK’s departure from the EU is under way.

She will promise to “represent every person in the whole United Kingdom” during the negotiations – including EU nationals, whose status after Brexit has yet to be settled.

“It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country,” she will say.

“For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together.”


Source: www.rte.ie

US Secret Service detains man with suspicious package outside White House

The US Secret Service detained a male suspect carrying a package and making “suspicious comments” near the White House Tuesday, according to an official who said he was taken into custody and explosives experts were deployed.

A Secret Service official said the man had approached uniformed officers near 15th and Pennsylvania at around 10:15 am, a block from the White House.

The man was separated from the package and detained in a police vehicle, a security perimeter was established and “the package is now in Secret Service custody,” the official said, asking not to be named.

Revealed: Gulen Did Not Plot Coup In Turkey

The head of the German Secret services (BND), Bruno Kahl, told Der Spiegel magazine that his agency is “not convinced” the Philadelphia-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, organized Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt.

Kahl’s view is that the Gulen movement is not a terrorist organization but a “civic association that aims to provide further religious and secular education.”

“Turkey has tried to convince us of that at every level but so far it has not succeeded,” BND head Bruno Kahl said in an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel published on Saturday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government accuse Gulen of orchestrating Turkey’s failed coup on July 15 in which more than 240 people were killed when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, warplanes and helicopters, attacking parliament and attempting to overthrow the government.

Erdogan and the Turkish government want the United States to extradite Gulen, who denies involvement in the coup attempt.

Asked whether the Gulen movement was extreme Islamist or terrorist, Kahl said it was a “civil association that aims to provide further religious and secular education”.

Kahl also said he did not think the Turkish government was behind the coup, saying: “The coup attempt was not initiated by the government. Before July 15 the government had already started a big purge so parts of the military thought they should do a coup quickly before it hit them too.”

In a similar development, David Nunes, the United State House Intelligence Committee chairman has said it is “hard to believe” that U.S.-based Turkish cleric is behind the military coup attempt last summer, questioning Turkey as a reliable ally.

“I find that hard to believe,” David Nunes told Chris Wallace from Fox News when asked if cleric Fethullah Gulen is the architect of the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Mr. Nunes added that the government of Mr. Erdogan is becoming very authoritarian and that Ankara, as a NATO ally, is “becoming more and more worrisome in terms of actually being a reliable ally.” Mr. Nunes noted that he has not seen the evidence that Mr. Gulen was involved in the coup attempt and that he does not know if the U.S. is going to extradite “somebody like that.”

He added that if there was an evidence linking Mr. Gulen to the coup attempt in Turkey that would be “a different issue.”

Why Trump refused to shake hands with German Chancellor Merkel – Press Secretary

Contrary to reports that US President Donald Trump refused to shake hands with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel when she visited White House last Friday, White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer has denied so.

Spicer says President Trump didn’t shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand during their meeting on Friday because he didn’t hear requests from photographers.
In a video that went viral over the weekend, Trump appears to snub Merkel’s request to shake his hand.

Spicer insisted that the President’s failure to respond to her gesture wasn’t deliberate.

He told Germany’s Der Spiegel that Friday’s incident was a misunderstanding, and insisted it was not meant as an insult.

Trump slashes foreign aid in budget proposal

President Donald Trump proposed drastic cuts in spending on the arts, science, foreign aid and environmental protection Thursday, in a security-focused budget blueprint that could struggle to pass Congress.

Translating hardline campaign promises into dollar-and-cent commitments, the Republican leader proposed scrapping dozens of programs like public broadcasting and climate funding, while boosting Pentagon spending by $52 billion.

Trump, in the preface to the spending proposal, described it as “a budget that puts America first,” and that makes safety and security the “number one priority — because without safety, there can be no prosperity.”

The State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency would be the biggest losers, seeing their funding reduced by around a third.

That could be a harbinger of steep reductions in foreign aid and funding to UN agencies, with knock-on effects around the world.

The national endowments for the arts and humanities would be scraped and funding for the National Institutes of Health — a biomedical research facility — would be cut by almost $6 billion.

“This is a hard-power budget, it is not a soft-power budget” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney.

The former congressman said he trawled through Trump’s campaign speeches for inspiration.

The Pentagon would be the major winner if Trump’s proposed spending priorities go through, with a nearly 10 percent boost — which would create a defense budget already bigger than that of the next seven nations combined.

Separately, around $4 billion will be earmarked this year and next to start building a wall along America’s border with Mexico.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that Mexico will pay for the wall — which will cost at least $15 billion, according to estimates by Bernstein Research, a consulting firm.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Tokyo, said he would “willingly” accept Trump’s challenge to tighten the budget.

“Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking is unsustainable,” Tillerson said.

“We are going to be able to do a lot with fewer dollars,” he said.

Trump’s broad-brush proposal covers only a small fraction of the $3.8 trillion federal budget — which is dominated by healthcare, pension and other baked-in costs.

The text will be heavily revised and fleshed out by Congress, before a full budget is released around May.

In that sense, the plan is as much a political statement as a fiscal outline, a fact not lost on the White House.

– Playing to the base –
The budget is a signal to Trump’s supporters that he is a “man of action” and not a “typical politician.”

Trump is looking to rally his base amid multiple controversies including his Twitter outbursts, Russian meddling in the election that brought him to power and a simmering rift with Congressional Republicans over healthcare reform.

According to Gallup, Trump has approval ratings of 40 percent, a low for any modern president weeks into his tenure.

But security has been a major vote winner. An Economist/YouGov poll found that 51 percent of Republicans believe the United States will be safer from terrorism at the end of his term.

The budget may also be seen as a signal to the world that Trump’s United States will be less engaged internationally and will put “America first.”

Diplomats and some former defense officials have already warned that less spending on areas like democracy promotion and humanitarian aid will spell more trouble, and military spending, down the road.

More than 120 retired generals and admirals recently signed a letter warning “that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone.”

They cited Jim Mattis, now defense secretary, as once saying that “if you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

– ‘Drastic cuts’ –
The Environmental Protection Agency, which helps monitor air, water and other standards, would also see significant cuts.

That is in keeping with Trump’s promise to gut regulation.

“We believe that the core functions (of the EPA) can be satisfied with this budget,” Mulvaney said.

On Wednesday, Trump traveled to Detroit, the home of the American auto industry, and announced that he would freeze targets to limit future vehicle emissions.

Trump’s top advisor Steve Bannon has promised a broader “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

But Trump’s plan is already coming under fire from Democratic lawmakers.

“It will prescribe drastic cuts in many of the programs and agencies that keep America safe, whether it’s environmental programs, whether it is food safety, drug safety,” said Kentucky representative John Yarmuth.

The ranking member on the House budget committee said the proposal could be a negotiating position, an opening salvo in Trump’s “art of the deal.”

“If they want to negotiate with the health and safety and future of the American people, then that’s pretty cynical,” he said.

Donald Trump cancels Angela Merkel’s US visit

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel was already on her way to the airport when Donald Trump phoned her to abort the trip because of unexpected snow storms.

Some of Merkel’s party were already on board the plane.

Snowstorm Stella has prompted airlines to cancel thousands of flights and some mayors to order schools to close on Tuesday.

The White House later said the visit would be rescheduled for Friday.

“The trip is cancelled. That is not a joke,” Merkel told the dozen or more surprised reporters already seated on board the government’s Airbus A340 plane.

Merkel had been due to meet Trump for more than two hours on Tuesday, followed by a working lunch.

Trump accuses Obama of releasing Guantanamo militants

President Donald Trump, Tuesday, tweeted that Guantanamo inmates who returned to militant activity were released from the U.S. military prison by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield.

Just another terrible decision!” Trump wrote. The 113 of the 122 former prisoners confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies to have “re-engaged” were released by Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush. Bush began sending suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants in January 2002 to the base on Cuba.

Data posted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence showed that until the end of July 2016, 532 prisoners were released or transferred to the custody of other governments under Bush, with another 161 released under Obama.

Among those whose recidivism was considered confirmed, only nine were released by Obama.

The Pentagon said Monday that a U.S. airstrike against an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) target last week in Yemen killed Yasir al-Silmi, who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2009.

The BBC reported last month that Abu Zakariya al-Britani, a British-born Muslim convert who was held at Guantanamo for about two years starting in 2002, died in a suicide attack for the Islamic State movement against Iraqi forces near Mosul.

Donald Trump set to probe Obama

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked Congress to investigate his allegations that former president Barack Obama ordered the tapping of his phones during the election campaign, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced in a statement on Sunday.

The White House request came a day after Trump accused his predecessor of ordering a wiretap of the phones at Trump Tower – his New York residence and campaign headquarters – during the presidential campaigns for the Nov. 8 polls. “Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.

“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” The President added: “Is it legal for a sitting president to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier.

A NEW LOW!” “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to election!” Trump also accused Democrats on Sunday: “Is it true the DNC would not allow the FBI access to check server or other equipment after learning it was hacked? Can that be possible? “Who was it that secretly said to Russian President, ‘Tell Vladimir that after the election I’ll have more flexibility?’ @foxandfriends” However, Obama, in a statement on Saturday through his spokesman Kevin Lewis, denied the allegations.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.

“As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” Lewis said. Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, also denied Trump’s claims. “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you,” Rhodes wrote on Twitter in a response to Trump.

Why I am fond of Michelle Obama – George Bush

They are often seen together at public functions – like an unlikely duo. Former president George Bush and former first lady Michelle Obama are from two different administrations, different political parties, different generations and different upbringings.

But in a recent interview with PEOPLE, the 70-year-old former President said that he feels a real fondness for Michelle Obama.

“She kind of likes my sense of humour. Anybody who likes my sense of humour, I immediately like,” says Bush.

Bush, notes that he was regularly seated beside Obama, 53, at official events like Nancy Reagan’s memorial service, an interfaith memorial service for Texas police officers last year, and the September 2016 dedication ceremony in Washington, D.C., to mark the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. There, photos of the two of them cuddling on stage went viral.

Donald Trump nominated for 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

US President Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

He was nominated by an unnamed American, who wants him recognized for “his peace through strength ideology”.

The Nobel Institute announced on Thursday that 318 people and organisations are in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Apart from Trump, notable figures believed to be part of the nominees include Syria’s White Helmets and Pope Francis.

Others on the list are jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, Edward Snowden, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former French president Jacques Chirac.

Although the names are usually kept secret, lawmakers, former laureates and some university professors who are entitled to nominate, are free to reveal the name of the person or group they have nominated.

“US belongs to all nations” – Ex-Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad writes Donald Trump

Iran’s former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter Sunday to President Donald Trump, striking a somewhat conciliatory tone while applauding immigration to America and saying it shows “the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations.”

It isn’t the first dispatch sent by Ahmadinejad, who has counted U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama among his pen pals.

But this letter, weighing in at over 3,500 words, comes as criticism of Trump over his travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran mounts in Tehran.

It also may serve to burnish Ahmadinejad’s image domestically after the nation’s Supreme Leader warned him not to run in Iran’s upcoming May presidential election.

In the letter, published by Iranian media outlets, Ahmadinejad noted Trump won the election while he “truthfully described the U.S. political system and electoral structure as corrupt.”

Ahmadinejad decried U.S. “dominance” over the United Nations, as well as American meddling in the world that has brought “insecurity, war, division, killing and (the) displacement of nations.”

He also acknowledged the 1 million people of Iranian descent living in America, saying that U.S. policies should “value respect toward the diversity of nations and races.”

“In other words, the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land,” he wrote. “No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.”

Trump’s Navy secretary, Bilden withdraws

Philip Bilden, President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Navy withdrew from consideration on Sunday, the second time a Trump nominee to lead one of the armed services bowed out because of government conflict-of-interest rules.

Trump last month nominated  Bilden, a private equity executive and former military intelligence officer, to lead the Navy, which the president has pledged he will expand.

In a statement on Sunday, Bilden said that “after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”

The development leaves Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis without nominees to head both the Navy and Army.

Vincent Viola, whom the president had picked to be secretary of the Army, withdrew earlier this month.

In a statement, Mattis said he was disappointed but understood Bilden’s decision.

“In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military,” he said.

Man commits suicide after third deportation from the US

With just a plastic bag of belongings in his hand, a Mexican man who was deported from the United States Tuesday promptly killed himself, jumping off a bridge in view of the US border.

Sinaloa state native Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, 44, threw himself to his death, authorities said. He had jumped 30 meters (100 feet).

Witnesses said the man was in great distress after being sent back to Mexico for the third time.

The tragedy comes as US President Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of undocumented migrants living in the United States.

Trump has called Mexican migrants criminals and pledged to build a massive border wall.


Source; www.nigerianeye.com


US targets millions in sweeping deportation plan

The orders sent shivers through US immigrant communities, where millions of people who have spent years building families and livelihoods in the country, most of them from Mexico and Central America, were seriously threatened with deportation for the first time in decades.

Rights groups labeled the move a “witch hunt,” warning that mass deportations would damage families with deep roots in the United States and hurt the economy.

But John Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who issued the new orders in two memos, said they were necessary to address a problem that has “overwhelmed” government resources.

“The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” he said in one of the memos.

Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned the new guidelines will “harm national security and public safety.”

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said they would result in “needlessly tearing apart families and spreading fear in immigrant communities.”

“What we will not do is turn our NYPD officers into immigration agents – or our jails into holding pens for deportation policy that will only undermine the inclusiveness that has helped make New York City the safest big city in the nation,” he added.


Read More:


Analysts Fear Trump’s Marriage may be Troubled

Washington watchers have expressed concerns that the marriage of President Donald Trump to Melania may not be as strong as they may want the world to believe, and that it might actually be troubled.

In one instance, Melania was thought to have shuddered when her husband touched her, analysts say.

When rated against Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama and wife, Michele, observers feel that Trump and Melania duet appears increasingly awkward and distant from each other.

Body language specialist, Judi James, notes, “We’ve seen no signs of any easy-going public displays of affection from the Trumps so far; and even the more deliberate rituals like hand-holding and touching that we saw in the early days appear to be getting rarer as Donald storms into Alpha mode, using the kind of stand-alone poses and signals of a business tycoon keen to prove who is boss.”

Judi says part of the “disconnect” between the Trumps’ body language signals seems to be down to the lack of what are called “tie-signs.”

“These are small touches, glances and nods that an established couple will use as a silent but powerful form of communication when they are out in public or at social events,” she explains.

Equally worrying is the issue of trust: he seems unable to trust Melania’s judgment.

This was more manifest at the presidential election when Trump infamously peered into his wife’s voting booth as if to ensure that she voted for the right candidate — him.

And contrary to tradition, Melania was conspicuously absent on stage at his acceptance speech after he was declared winner. Their 10-year-old son, Barron, seemed to have represented his mother.

In the interim, Melania currently resides in New York City, ostensibly to take care of Barron while the school year lasts.

Her step daughter, Ivanka, sometimes sits in for her, even when it isn’t categorically stated as such.





British govt rejects call to ban Trump from meeting the Queen

The British Government on Tuesday rejected a petition which argued that receiving the new president as a guest would embarrass the Queen.

The British foreign office recommended President Trump “should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit’’, but lawmakers are still to debate the petition in parliament on Feb. 20.

The petition, which stated that Trump should be allowed to enter Britain as the Head of the U.S. Government, but should not be invited for a state visit, which would involve a reception by Queen Elizabeth II, garnered 1.8 million signatures.
“Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales,’’ the petition read.

The British parliament is planning to debate the petition on Feb. 20, alongside a counter-petition set up a few days later which argued that Trump should indeed make a state visit to Britain.
According to the British parliament, he is the leader of a free world and the UK is a country that supports free speech and does not believe people opposed to its point of view should be gagged.

The government is obliged to respond to any petition which is signed over 10,000 times. Report say the date of Trump’s first visit to Britain as president has not yet been finalised.

Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Flynn resigns over Russian links

Michael Flynn has resigned as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser following reports that he misled Vice President Mike Pence, about the nature of talks he held with the Russian ambassador in December.

TELEGRAPH UK reports that Flynn submitted his resignation in a letter Monday evening. In his resignation letter, Mr Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the US during the transition and gave “incomplete information” about those discussions to Vice President Mike Pence.

See resignation letter below:


Unexploded World War II bomb discovered near Frankfurt airport

An unexploded bomb dating back to World War II has been found near Frankfurt airport, the police said.

It said that it was set for a controlled detonation later on Monday, according to German police officials in the city of Darmstadt.

The bomb weighs around 250 kg and was discovered at 1:30 p.m. in a field in the vicinity of the town of Kelsterbach.

Officials are planning to defuse the bomb at around 11 pm, and have blocked a highway and a train line for that purpose.

People traveling by car have been told to circumvent the area, as traffic is likely to be heavily disrupted.

Certain buildings belonging to the airport will be affected as well, but Frankfurt airport’s management company Fraport said that it was unlikely that air traffic would be affected. It is a standard practice for air traffic to stop at Frankfurt airport at 11 p.m.

An area of around 700 metres around where the bomb was found has been cordoned off for safety reasons by the police.

An industrial complex, a hotel as well as building housing refugees are within the vicinity of the bomb, according to police.

Update: Trump calls Buhari, invites him to Washington DC

US President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari in a telephone conversation.

Trump invited Buhari, who is currently in London on vacation, to come to Washington DC at a “mutually convenient” date, presidency sources informed newsmen.

Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as US president and the two leaders highlighted areas to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The Nigerian president specifically requested support for arms – an area that has frustrated the country because of negative human rights reports on the activities of Nigerian soldiers in the north-east.

“Trump also commended the president for the rescue 25 of the Chibok girls,” the presidency source said.


Source: www.thecable.ng

Donald Trump to call Buhari, Zuma on phone today

President of the United States of America, Donald Trump is scheduled to speak with President Muhammadu Buhari on phone on Monday, February 13, according to reports.

Trump will have a telephone conversation with Buhari at 3:45 pm, according to the Africa correspondent for Globe and Mail, Geoffrey York.

“Today is “Africa day” for Donald Trump. He speaks by phone to Nigerian president Buhari at 3:45 pm (Lagos time); then speaks to Jacob Zuma,” York wrote on Twitter.

“Trump scheduled to speak by phone to Zuma today at 5:10 pm, after speaking to Buhari first.

“Buhari’s phone call with Trump today will be fascinating; many Nigerians frustrated that Buhari has been gone from Nigeria for over 3 weeks.

“Nigerians, having heard almost nothing from Buhari for 24 days, are wondering how Donald Trump will even locate him for the phone call today,” he said.

President Buhari is presently on medical vacation in the United Kingdom and the presidency is yet to confirm this all important call with Donald Trump.

Trump is delusional, he lies all the time – Bernie Sanders

US Senator, Bernie Sanders has called President Trump “delusional” and a “pathological liar” Sunday, who is using his outrageous statements to distract from economic issues.

“We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar,” Sanders, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding that will make it very difficult for Congress to work with him.

“I know it sounds — it is very harsh. But I think that’s the truth.”

Also, in a series of tweets via his personal handle (@SenSanders), Sanders say: ”I disagreed with President Bush all the time. I never called him a pathological liar. He was just conservative. But, Trump lies all the time.”

Angolan Opposition Unites to Monitor Poll

Angolan opposition parties have announced a united front to monitor the August General Election.

“The opposition parties are working out ideas and in a few days we will sit down to shape the strategies for the common front,” said Mr Lindo Bernardo Tito, of the broad convergence for the salvation of Angola (CASA-CE).

CASA-CE emerged third in the last General Election in 2012.

Several civil society groups have also expressed their wish to work with the united opposition to ensure a credible poll.

An advantage

Human rights activist and university lecturer, Mr Domingos da Cruz, said they would on Friday unveil an online application to help people report any electoral irregularities.

“The fact that people will record all they observe in the electoral process in a safe way and send it anonymously, is an advantage,” Mr da Cruz added.

The Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) deputy Secretary-General, Mr Rafael Massanga Savimbi, said his party would no longer do a lone monitoring as happened in the last two elections.

Party is ready

“Everybody heard our President (Isaias) Samakuva saying our party is ready not only to monitor, but also to win the elections,” VOA Radio quoted Mr Savimbi saying.

The August poll will be the third since the end of the Angolan civil war in 2002.

MPLA won elections in 1992, 2008 and 2012 with a parliamentary majority.

The embassies

The ruling party in 2012 secured 74 per cent of the vote against Unita’s 18 per cent.

There were no international observers for the elections.

None of the embassies represented in Luanda secured accreditation to monitor the elections.


Source: www.africareview.com

Trump Fumes as US Court Refuses to Reinstate Muslim ban

A federal appeals court has refused to reinstate US President Donald Trump’s ban on travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, dealing another blow to his young administration.

In a unanimous decision, the panel of three judges from the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Thursday to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travellers to enter the US.

Shortly after the ruling, Trump responded furiously on Twitter, writing his response in capital letters.

He told reporters his administration ultimately would win the case and dismissed the ruling as “political.”

Trump’s January 27 order barred travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except those from Syria, whom he would ban indefinitely. He said his directive was “done for the security of our nation, the security of our citizens.”

District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order on the ban on February 4  after Washington and Minnesota states sued, prompting Trump to label him a “so-called judge”.

The 9th Circuit judges noted that the states had raised serious allegations about religious discrimination.

Asked about Trump’s tweet, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said: “We have seen him in court twice, and we’re two for two.”

An appeal to the Supreme Court is possible.


Melania Trump ‘has no intention’ of profiting From Public Role – Lawyer

Melania Trump “has no intention of using her position for profit”, her lawyer has said, after a court document suggested the First Lady expected to develop “multi-million dollar business relationships” in her new role.

The controversy centres around a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mrs Trump in New York state court against Mail Media, the Daily Mail’s owner, over a now-retracted report that falsely claimed she once worked as an escort.

The $150m (£120m) lawsuit claims the article had cost her millions of dollars in potential business.

Mrs Trump had a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to launch numerous product lines, including jewellery, apparel, shoes and cosmetics at a time when she is “one of the most photographed women in the world,” according to the new lawsuit.

The document does not specifically mention her role as First Lady, but speaks of developing “multi-million dollar business relationships”.

The passage drew attention, with ethics experts and US media questioning whether she wanted to use her presence in the White House for profit.

But Charles Harder, Mrs Trump’s lawyer, said the First Lady “has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so”.

“It is not a possibility,” Mr Harder said.

“Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.”

This week Mrs Trump, a former model who married President Donald Trump in 2005, also settled a defamation lawsuit for a “substantial sum” against a Maryland blogger who wrote about the false claims she had worked as an escort.

Mrs Trump has kept a low profile since her husband’s inauguration on 20 January.

She is living in New York while her son Barron finishes the school year.

Mrs Trump joined the President last weekend at their home in Florida but has not returned to Washington since the inauguration.

“I Am Surprised Being President Is Such a Massive Job”- Donald J Trump

Donald Trump has said he was surprised at how big a job the presidency is.

The leader of the free world told Fox News interviewer Bill O’Reilly he works “long hours” and often gets only about four or five hours’ sleep a night.

Mr Trump said that at the start of his presidency he has been surprised by “the size, the magnitude of everything” and being president can be a “surreal experience in a certain way”.

He said: “The other day I walked into the main entrance of the White House and I said to myself, ‘This is sort of amazing.’ Or you walk into Air Force One, it’s like a surreal experience in a certain way, but you have to get over it because there’s so much work to be done.

He typically works until midnight or 1am, then wakes up at 5am to eat, read newspapers and check the television, he said.

The President is reported to routinely go through new clips about himself with his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, outlining in marker pen the stories he doesn’t like.

And amid signs he began his presidency with the same chaotic operation that marked his campaign, a report has claimed he was not even aware he was elevating Steve Bannon to a senior security post when he signed one of several executive orders.

Since Mr Trump’s inauguration on 20 January, reports have emerged of a West Wing marked by confusion and unpreparedness—alongside intense turf battles being fought by his top officials.

A report in the New York Times painted a picture of chief-of-staff Reince Priebus trying to assert greater control, says he has set in place a set of checks and processes before new policies and executive orders are issued.

This was reportedly done following the backlash over the haphazard and chaotic rollout of the order halting the refugee programme and suspending travel for people from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries.

It said Mr Trump would be looped in on the drafting of orders much earlier in the process. Remarkably, the report says, Mr Trump was not fully briefed on details of the order he signed giving his chief strategist, Mr Bannon, a seat on the National Security Council.


Source: www.independent.co.uk

Facebook, Twitter, 94 other companies file Legal Suit against Trump’s Muslim ban

97 Companies including Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Uber have filed a court motion Sunday night declaring that Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution.”

CNN reports that the motion was filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Sunday morning denied the U.S. government’s emergency request to resume Trump’s travel ban.

It’s not the first legal move by tech firms over Trump’s ban. Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Expedia (EXPE) filed motions last week in the Washington attorney general’s lawsuit.


Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Trump to create voter fraud commission led by Pence

Donald Trump said Sunday he is creating a commission headed by Vice President Mike Pence to investigate what the US leader alleges was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election.

No public evidence has emerged of large-scale illegal voting in the November election, and Trump and the White House have failed to substantiate the president’s claim.

However Trump listed the ways he believed voter fraud had occurred during an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly which aired before the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The fraud was apparent, Trump said, “when you look at the registration and you see dead people that have voted, when you see people that are registered in two states that voted in two states, when you see other things, when you see illegals — people that are not citizens — and they are on the registration rolls.”

“It’s really a bad situation. It’s really bad” Trump said.

Trump’s own lawyers have stated in legal filings that there was no evidence of fraud in the November 8 election.

But on Sunday the president promised “to set up a commission to headed by Vice President Mike Pence and we’re going to look at it very, very carefully.”

Trump has previously argued that were it not for illegal immigrants voting, he would have won not just the electoral college but also the popular vote, which was taken by Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Although there has been no substantiated evidence of massive voter fraud, US officials have said they believe that Russia attempted to meddle in the presidential vote by hacking Democratic Party emails as part of a pro-Trump campaign.

Senators have launched a bipartisan investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling.

US retains 2-year multiple entry visas for Nigerians

The United States government has stated that the recent executive order by President Donald Trump will not affect Nigerians.

US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington and US embassy Consular Chief Meghan Moore on Friday said the order will not affect the validity of visas held by Nigeria. US will continue to grant two-year multiple entry visa for Nigerians, they said.

Trump’s order was based on reciprocation, and Nigeria will not be discriminated against. It won’t affect the validity of visas held by Nigerians and US’ visa policy for Nigeria remains unchanged they added.

“No place has opened doors to people more than the US. We haven’t said we have closed the doors and locked it, what we said is we are going to take a pause and conduct checks and ensure safety of the people in the United States…the door would be opened again,” Symington said.

“I want to reassure by our actions starting from our consulate reception in Abuja and in Lagos that we would not discriminate on the basis of religion. If anyone didn’t get a US visa because they said their name was Paul or something, then they would be wrong.”


Source: www.nigerianeye.com


Trump Finally Agrees to Honour Obama Refugee Deal

President Donald Trump will now honour a refugee deal struck with Australia by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

The back-pedalling announced by White House spokesman, Sean Spicer,  followed embarrassing revelations that  Trump had slammed the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in a conversation at the weekend.

Trump reportedly dubbed the deal ‘dumb’.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald,  in a further insult to Mr Turnbull, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly mispronounced the Australian Prime Minister’s name as “Trunbull”.

Mr Trump later echoed the promise that the deal would proceed, saying that if the “previous administration does something you have to respect that”.

Asked whether the deal was indeed going ahead at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, Mr Spicer said the widely reported conversation between the world leaders had been “cordial”, and said the refugee deal would go ahead on the condition of  “extreme vetting”.

“The president is unbelievably disappointed in the previous administration’s deal that was made and how poorly it was crafted and the threat to national security that it put the United States on,” he said.

“He has tremendous respect for the prime minister and the Australian people, and has agreed to continue to review that deal and to ensure that as part of the deal, which was always part of it, we would go through a very, very extreme vetting process to ensure that every single person that is being offered is coming here with peaceful intentions and poses no threat to the United States.”

Mr Spicer appeared to twice mispronounce Mr Turnbull’s name during the press conference, calling him “Mr Trunbull” or “Mr Trumbull”.

Shortly after, Mr Trump defended the phone call again in off-the-cuff remarks during an event in Washington, but said if the previous administration did something “you have to respect that” – seeming to concede he would honour the deal.

He said the deal involved “probably well over a thousand illegal immigrants who were in prisons and they were going to take them into this country and I said why? Just wanted to ask the question.”

“1250 [people], could be be 2000, could be more than that. I said why, why are we doing this? What’s the purpose? So we’ll see what happens.”




Angolan President Agrees to Step Down after 38 years

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos confirmed on Friday he will not run in this year’s presidential election, calling an end to 38 years as head of state, but he will retain control of the powerful ruling party.

Dos Santos, aged 74, said in March 2016 he would not run in elections due in August but opponents remained suspicious given he had reneged on similar pledges during nearly four decades running Angola.

In June 1975, dos Santos became coordinator of the MPLA’s Department of Foreign Affairs; he also coordinated the MPLA’s Department of Health at this time. Upon Angolan independence in November 1975, the MPLA held power in Luanda, but the new MPLA government faced a civil war with the other political formations, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). The same year, Dos Santos was appointed as Angola’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs upon independence, and in this capacity he played a key role in obtaining diplomatic recognition for the MPLA government in 1975–76. At the MPLA’s First Congress in December 1977, Eduardo dos Santos was re-elected to the Central Committee and Politburo. In December 1978, he was moved from the post of First Deputy Prime Minister in the government to that of Minister of Planning


After the death of Angola’s first president, Agostinho Neto, on 10 September 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos was elected as President of the MPLA on 20 September 1979, and he took office as President of Angola, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on 21 September. He was also elected as President of the People’s Assembly on 9 November 1980
Defence Minister Joao Lourenco will be the presidential candidate for the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), dos Santos said ahead of a party meeting where candidates for the vote will be confirmed.

Dos Santos, will remain president of the MPLA, retaining sweeping powers that include choosing parliamentary candidates and appointing top posts in the army and police.

His inscrutable public demeanour belies his tight control of Angola, a former Portuguese colony where he has overseen an oil-backed economic boom and the reconstruction of infrastructure devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. The MPLA won parliamentary majorities in the three elections since the end of the war.

Lourenco, deputy president of the MPLA, is viewed as a dos Santos ally. Angola, an OPEC member and Africa’s second biggest oil exporter, has been hit hard by the slump in global crude prices in the last two years.

Oil export revenues account for more than 90 percent of foreign exchange revenues. Inspite pf its oil wealth, most people live in poverty and critics accuse dos Santos of enriching himself and his associates, including his billionaire daughter, Isabel, named by Forbes as Africa’s richest woman.

Isabel dos Santos was appointed by her father as head of the state oil company Sonangol last year and his son Jose Filomeno is chairman of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.



Angola’s long-time President Dos Santos confirms will step down

I’ll destroy that law which barred the church from politics – Trump

President Donald Trump, who was strongly backed by Evangelical Christian voters, has promised to “totally destroy” a 1954 US law barring churches from politics.

Trump promised to equally put an end to the ban on other religious institutions from political activity, if they wanted to keep tax-exempt status.

He made his comments about a measure called the Johnson Amendment during remarks at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution, Trump told an audience including politicians, religious leaders and guests such as Jordan’s King Abdullah.

“I will do that, remember.”

The Johnson Amendment prohibits tax-exempt organisations such as churches, charities and educational institutions from directly or indirectly participating in any political campaign in favour or against a political candidate.

It is named after Democratic former President Lyndon Johnson and is an important statutory barrier between politics and religion.

Trump previously spoke out against the amendment during the campaign and won the support of evangelical Christian leaders including Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

A change in the law would require action in the Republican-led US Congress.

After Trump’s remarks, Paul Ryan, speaker of the house of representatives, told reporters he had “always supported’’ eliminating the Johnson Amendment.

Critics including the group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State expressed, are unhappy with the move.

“President Donald Trump and his allies in the religious right seek to turn America’s houses of worship into miniature political action committees,” said the group’s executive director, Barry Lynn.

“It would also lead some houses of worship to focus on supporting candidates in exchange for financial and other aid. That would be a disaster for both churches and politics in America.”

Scrapping the Johnson Amendment has been a goal of Christian conservatives, who contend it violates free speech and religious freedom rights.

The US constitution’s First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion and bars the government from establishing an official religion.

A Trump executive order a week ago put a 120-day halt on the US refugee programme, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and imposed a 90-day suspension on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Trump defended his directive as crucial to ensuring religious freedom and tolerance in America, and said he wanted to prevent a “beachhead of intolerance’’ from spreading in the US.

He also called terrorism a fundamental threat to religious freedom.

“The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do, I fix things,” he said.


Source: www.washingtontimes.com

Trump’s Doctor Reveals 3 Ailments of The US President

Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, President Trump’s long-time physician has said in a series of recent interviews that the President takes medication for three ailments, including a prostate-related drug to promote hair growth.

The other drugs are antibiotics to control rosacea, a common skin problem, and a statin for elevated blood cholesterol and lipids.

Dr. Bornstein, who spoke by telephone in four interviews over the past month, also said that Mr. Trump takes a daily baby aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Over all, he pronounced Mr. Trump healthy and his medical care “as exactly up to date.”

Dr. Bornstein granted the interviews after The New York Times asked him to discuss his role in Mr. Trump’s care and to clarify and expand on earlier statements he made about his patient’s health during the presidential campaign.

At 70, Mr. Trump is the oldest person to become president.

The disclosure that Mr. Trump uses a prostate-related drug to maintain growth of his scalp hair, which has not been publicly known, appears to solve a riddle of why Mr. Trump has a very low level of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker for prostate cancer. Mr. Trump takes a small dose of the drug, finasteride, which lowers PSA levels. Finasteride is marketed as Propecia to treat male-pattern baldness.

Dr. Bornstein said he also took finasteride and credited it for helping maintain his own shoulder-length hair and Mr. Trump’s hair. “He has all his hair,” Dr. Bornstein said. “I have all my hair.”



UAE minister says Trump travel ban not anti-Islam

US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations is not anti-Islam, the United Arab Emirates foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, whose country like neighbouring Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Washington, said it was “wrong to say” that the decision by the new US administration was “directed against a particular religion”.

“The United States has made… a sovereign decision,” he said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, pointing out that it was “provisional” and did not apply to “the large majority” of the world’s Muslims.

In his defence of the ban which has stirred widespread protests across the globe, Sheikh Abdullah also said that some of the countries on the blacklist had “structural challenges” on the security front that they still had to overcome.

Trump’s controversial executive order on Friday singled out citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to prevent “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the United States.

But the 90-day ban, which could still extend to other states, has exempted Muslim-majority nations associated with major attacks in the West.

Out of the 19 hijackers of planes used in the September 11, 2011 attacks on the Unites States, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, also the birthplace of Al-Qaeda founder and attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.

The other four included the Egyptian plot leader, two Emiratis and a Lebanese.


Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Iran’s president calls Trump a political Novice Over Travel Ban

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani dismissed his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump as a political novice on Wednesday, stepping up criticism of the Republican’s immigration policies including a temporary travel ban on Iranians.

Tehran has already said it will take legal, political and reciprocal measures in response to Trump’s order suspending the entry of people from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.

Rouhani turned the focus on Trump himself in a live address on state television, saying: “He (Trump) is new to politics. He has been in a different world. It’s a totally new environment to him.”

“It will take him a long time and will cost the United States a lot, until he learns what is happening in the world,” added Rouhani, who led a rapprochement with Washington under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump’s has said his travel order, signed on Friday, is needed to protect national security.

He has also promised a sharp shift in policy on Iran, calling the nuclear pact that Tehran signed with Washington and other world powers “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

The renewed impasse with may further weaken Rouhani’s efforts to attract foreign investors to Iran, particularly if it slows the implementation of the deals for 80 Boeing jets and 100 Airbus struck last year.

“Today is not a time for separating nations by walls,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to Trump’s promise to build a barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration moves spread inside the United States on Tuesday, with Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington state joining others suing the administration over the travel ban.

France vowed on Monday to defend Iran’s nuclear deal, strengthen trade ties with Tehran, and double the number of visas available to Iranians.


Source: www.reuters.com

Syrian Family That Voted For Donald Trump Has Been Deported

Donald Trump‘s extreme antics have negatively affected many different types of Americans – including the ones who voted for him.

One Syrian family is truly regretting their decision to elect the businessman as the new POTUS after his immigration ban. NBC reports that the Assali family was ordered to return to Damascus, Syria after they landed at Philadelphia International Airport. Dr. Ghassan Assali’s family, who has been living in the U.S. for over 20 years, were sent on an 18-hour flight back overseas.

Assali’s relatives, who are all Orthodox Christians, had visas and proof of green cards, but the family was told they had to go back on the next flight and return to the Middle East. Dr. Assali told reporters, “America is not America. Like ISIS now, they ask, ‘Are you Christian? What do you believe?’ And if they are not saying what they believe, they kick you out and they cut your head off. So America, same thing. They ask you are you Muslim? You’ve got to change your religion. Thank you.”


During an interview with NBC Nightly News, Dr. Ghassan Assali and his wife Sarmad Assali admitted that they both voted for Trump, saying, “I understand he wants to make America safe. We’re all on with this. I definitely want to be in a safe place. But people need us and we need to be there for them.”

The family has also been denied resolution to return back to Philadelphia. Their lawyers are set to file a lawsuit in Federal Court.

British Lawmakers Begin Debate on Brexit

British MPs on Tuesday took a key step towards leaving the European Union, launching a debate on a bill that would empower Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Brexit.

Brexit minister David Davis presented the bill to parliament, giving MPs their first discussion on giving the government the power to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which opens two years of negotiations on leaving the bloc.

While the bill is expected to pass the lower House of Commons, it could be delayed in the upper House of Lords as May’s Conservative Party does not have a majority there.

The government had originally sought to bypass parliament, insisting it had the power to trigger Article 50 on its own, but the Supreme Court last week ruled it must consult lawmakers.

A majority of both houses of parliament opposed Brexit, but May has urged them to respect the result of the June referendum, when 52 percent of Britons voted to end the country’s four-decade membership of the EU.

“I hope that when people come to look at the Article 50 bill, they will recognise it is a very simple decision: do they support the will of the British people or not?” she told reporters on Monday.

May is under intense pressure to push the bill through quickly, having promised EU leaders that she will trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

– ‘Decision already made’ –

At just 143 words, the “European Union Notification of Withdrawal Bill” has been tightly drafted, making it difficult to amend either to delay the government’s plans or to tie its hands in the talks.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised not to block the bill, but his party — like the wider country — is deeply divided over Brexit and a large minority of his MPs are expected to rebel.

Dozens of May’s Conservative MPs are also opposed to her plan to pull Britain out of the single market when it leaves the EU, fearing the damage to one of the bloc’s biggest economies.

But most have promised to back the government, as long as ministers keep parliament informed on their strategy and the course of the negotiations.

“It is not a bill about whether or not the UK should leave the EU, or how it should do so,” Davis said while presenting the bill.

“It is simply about implementing a decision already made, a point of no return already passed.”

Several opposition MPs have submitted amendments to kill the legislation in its preliminary phase, but they are unlikely to succeed.

A vote on Wednesday allowing the bill to move to its next stage is viewed as largely procedural.

Over three days next week, however, the Commons will consider more substantive amendments on issues such as access to Europe’s single market.

There are also demands for greater involvement from the devolved parliaments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the latter two voting in June for Britain to remain in the EU.

The bill will then move to the Lords for debate from February 20, with the government hoping for their approval by March 7.

The Times newspaper said this could mean that Britain — the first country to vote to leave the EU — would trigger Article 50 at an EU summit on March 9-10.

The Article 50 process gives Britain just two years to negotiate its departure and, it hopes, a new trade deal with the EU before it leaves.

But the European Commission’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said the talks must be wrapped up by October 2018 to give the EU and national parliaments time to ratify the final agreement.

May has promised that parliament will be able to vote on the final divorce deal agreed with Brussels.

Trump Defends Travel ban as Obama Backs Protests

Former United States President Barack Obama yesterday gave his backing to the global protests against the travel ban by President Donald Trump.

Citizens of seven mainly-Muslim countries have been banned from entering the United States for 90 days while refugees have been prevented in an executive order signed by Trump.

The countries affected are Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan – they have all denounced the order with some of them vowing retaliation.

In his tweets yesterday, Trump blamed “big problems at airports” on the demonstrators themselves, an airline’s technical problems and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who teared up while discussing the ban. (Delta suffered technical issues Sunday evening — 48 hours after Trump signed the immigration order — that canceled about 150 flights.)

“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning,” Trump tweeted. “Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage…..protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer.”

Business giants are uncomfortable with the ban.

Ford CEO Mark Fields and Chairman Bill Ford strongly rebuked Trump’s travel ban in a joint statement yesterday, breaking with other major automakers who have largely remained silent so far.

In the first statement released since leaving the White House, Obama’s new spokesman Kevin Lewis said: “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.

“Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organise and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Lewis added that Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
He noted that in Obama’s farewell address to the nation earlier this month, he spoke about “the important role of citizen” not just on Election Day, but every day.

Also yesterday, dozens of U.S. diplomats around the world were set to formally criticise the immigration restrictions, according to U.S. media report.

A “dissent cable” has been drafted for senior State Department officials, ABC News and the Associated Press reported.
Draft text seen by the BBC says that the ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries will not make the US safer and is un-American.
President Trump issued the restrictions on Friday.

His executive order halted the entire U.S. refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended all nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The list does not include Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks came from.

News of the complaint from U.S. diplomats comes amid a global chorus of condemnation of the new policies. The White House has defended the restrictions as necessary safety measures.

The statement by Ford’s CEO and chairman, said: “Respect for all people is a core value of Ford Motor Company, and we are proud of the rich diversity of our company here at home and around the world,” Fields and Bill Ford said in the joint statement.

“That is why we do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company.”

The travel ban has impacted people with green cards who were previously approved to travel freely.

The fourth American automaker, electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors, denounced the Trump immigration policy on Saturday. CEO Elon Musk has pledged to pursue a consensus among fellow Strategic and Policy Forum members on needed changes to the plan to propose to the president.

Other major automakers have not spoken but a group of other majr form’s CEOs have lashed out at the order.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein became the first major Wall Street leader to speak out against the order.

.In a voicemail to employees on Sunday, Blankfein said diversity was a hallmark of Goldman’s success, and if the temporary freeze became permanent, it could create “disruption” for the bank and its staff.

“This is not a policy we support, and I would note that it has already been challenged in federal court, and some of the order has been enjoined at least temporarily,” Blankfein said, according to a transcript seen by Reuters.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, wrote to employees with “deep concern and a heavy heart” about the executive order from the U.S. president two days earlier.

Schultz said he would hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years at Starbucks businesses worldwide.
“We will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel,’’ he said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to twitter to voice his concern.

“The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.
“Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the U.S. They’ve done right, not wrong and don’t deserve to be rejected,’’ he added.

CEO Travis Kalanick said Uber would be supporting all of its drivers who are citizens of the countries named but who were currently stuck outside the U.S. because of the president’s “unjust immigration ban”.

And Jamie Dimon, the company chairman of America’s biggest bank JPMorgan Chase, also said that employees would be supported if they were affected.

Dimon, Kalanick and Musk are all members of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of business people called together by the president to advise him on economic policy.

The CEOs of the top three advertising holding companies also issued statements vowing to protect their employees.

“We are a talent business and we’ve long been committed to making diversity and inclusion a core part of our company’s DNA,” said Interpublic Group Chairman and CEO Michael Roth, in a statement. “We therefore remain committed to protecting our colleagues, and will provide whatever assistance is necessary to keep our employees and their families safe and a valued part of our organisation, no matter their nationality or religious beliefs.”

While IPG is based in New York City, the holding company has agencies and employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. Though Roth made no specific mention of the ban in his statement, it was issued in response to requests to address the situation.

Likewise, John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group, issued a brief statement emphasising the company’s concern for its workforce. “Our people are our greatest asset and right now, our top priority is to protect and support employees, their families and all those otherwise affected,” Wren said.
Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, issued a somewhat more extensive statement that cited his family history and a longstanding distaste for such measures.

Regarding the effect of the ban on WPP employees, Sorrell said there had been “no immediate impact we are aware of in the first few days of the ban.”

He added that WPP is “concerned about the impact it may have on our people and their families both inside and outside the USA and on innocent people generally.

“As the grandson of Eastern European grandparents, who were admitted to the UK in the very late 19th and early 20th centuries, I have an instinctive dislike of such measures,” said Sorrell.

Though prominent industry partners such as Nike, Google, Twitter and Apple made their opposition to the travel ban public over the weekend, the major holding companies and agency leaders had remained silent until Monday morning. Individual agency leaders have still refrained from commenting on the matter publicly.

On Saturday, a U.S. federal judge issued a stay that forced the administration to release certain travelers being detained in airports. The administration itself revised the ban on Sunday to allow freer travel for U.S. residents in possession of green cards.

At the DealBook conference hosted by New York Times columnist Andrew Russ Sorkin last week, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said she fielded questions from her employees who were “all crying” after the election. She said: “The question that they’re asking, especially those who are not white: ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I’d have had to answer those questions.”



Trump defends travel ban as Obama backs protests

President Trump Fires Acting Attorney General who Said Travel Ban was not Lawful

President Donald Trump fired acting US Attorney General Sally Yates after she defied him on his controversial executive order on immigrants and refugees, according to a statement White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued Monday night.

“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” the statement read in part.

Yates — an appointee of former President Barack Obama — told the Justice Department earlier Monday not to defend Trump’s executive order.

Yates, who was set to be replaced by Trump’s appointee Jeff Sessions once he’s confirmed, denounced the executive order in a letter to Justice Department lawyers, saying it may not be lawful.

“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates said in the letter.

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

Trump’s executive action, authorized on Friday, calls for a temporary halt on all refugees coming to the US, and bars the entry of foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. The order has sparked protests in streets and airports across the country, and has been roundly condemned from members of both parties. Trump spent the day Monday vigorously defending the order.

Trump criticized Yates in a tweet Monday evening:
Yates’s directive was generally a symbolic one and would only have been enforced until she left office.

Yates was appointed by former Democratic President Barack Obama.
The White House dismissed her comments as rhetoric and said Trump acted within his presidential powers.

A new acting AG Dana Boente was sworn in immediately.

US Allies worried

There was criticism from within the U.S. government. U.S. State Department officials circulated a draft memo of dissent, saying Trump’s move would hurt America’s image abroad and inflame anti-American sentiment.

Separately, U.S. officials said the department received multiple cables from U.S. embassies over the weekend reporting foreign dissatisfaction at the order.

The Iraqi parliament voted to ask the country’s government to retaliate against the United States, putting at risk cooperation in the fight against Islamic State.

A government official in Baghdad said Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari plans to meet the U.S. ambassador soon to express dismay at Trump’s decision.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson joined a chorus of concern expressed by U.S. allies, ranging from Iraq to Germany.

“This is, of course, a highly controversial policy, which has caused unease and, I repeat, this is not an approach that this government would take,” Johnson told parliament.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in London and other British cities on Monday to demonstrate against the ban. People, some holding placards reading “No to Racism, No to Trump” and “Dump Trump,” staged a protest outside the Prime Minister’s Downing Street residence.

US companies express concern over Trump travel ban

A group of U.S. companies, including Starbucks, Tesla and Uber, on Monday voiced concern over Donald Trump’s recent executive order suspending refugee admissions and banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the country.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, wrote to employees with “deep concern and a heavy heart” about the executive order from the U.S. president two days earlier.

Schultz said he would hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years at Starbucks businesses worldwide.

“We will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel,’’ he said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to twitter to voice his concern about Trump’s new executive order.

“The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.

“Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the U.S. They’ve done right, not wrong and don’t deserve to be rejected,’’ he added.

CEO Travis Kalanick said that Uber would be supporting all of its drivers who are citizens of the countries named but who were currently stuck outside the U.S. because of the president’s “unjust immigration ban.”

And Jamie Dimon, the company chairman of America’s biggest bank JPMorgan Chase, also said that employees would be supported if they were affected.

Dimon, Kalanick and Musk are all members of Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of business people called together by the president to advise him on economic policy.


Source: money.cnn.com

Six persons killed in Canada mosque shooting

Six people have been killed and another eight wounded in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada.

The incident occurred on Sunday night, after shots were fired at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre where more than 50 people had gathered for evening prayers.

Two people are in custody, and officers do not believe there are other suspects at large.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in a statement said: “It was with tremendous shock, sadness and anger that I heard of this evening’s tragic and fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge”.

According to him, Diversity and religious tolerance, are values that Canadians hold dear, therefore, to see such “senseless violence, is heart-wrenching”.

He however stated that authorities are still investigating the attack, while details continue to be confirmed.


Source: www.nigerianeye.com

Foreigners to reveal phone contacts, social media handles, visited websites before entering the US

White House policy director, Stephen Miller said Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones.

If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry.

Sources told CNN that the idea is just in the preliminary discussion level. The social media posts calling for jihad by San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik — made under a pseudonym and with strict privacy settings — are part of this discussion. How such a policy would be implemented remains under discussion.

Miller praised the State Department on Saturday, sources tell CNN, but argued that the government needs to do better job of making sure the people who come into the US embrace American values.



Trump to Ban 2-year Visa for Nigerians Entering US

US President, Donald Trump’s executive order may affect Nigeria’s two-year visa validity entry into America if President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government failed to take proactive measures.

According to a recent analysis on the Trump’s executive order, Nigerians will no longer be issued with American entry visas which have two-year validity.

The online medium said Nigerians who hold dual nationality will be affected if their other passport is from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen – the seven Muslim-majority countries “of concern”.

Analysis shows that at least two clauses of the Executive order will affect Nigerians directly.

Section 9 of the Executive Order states: “The Secretary of State shall review all non-immigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable…”




Trump order: Nigerians may no longer get 2-year American visa


German town refuses to grant Donald Trump honorary citizenship

U.S. President Donald Trump will not be made an honorary citizen of the small German town from where his grandparents emigrated, the town’s mayor, Thomas Jaworek, said on Friday after a council meeting.

Councillors in Kallstadt, the quaint village in Germany’s wine-making Rheinland region that was home to Mr. Trump’s grandparents, had been presented with a proposal to honour the newly inaugurated president.

The town’s councillors did not address the Trump proposal directly at the meeting, but instead reaffirmed their position that the town does not hand out honorary citizenships.

Germany’s own Republicans, a fringe party sharing the right-wing conservative values of their U.S. namesakes, lodged the request for honorary citizenship and even wanted to have a street or square named after him.

“There is no faction that supports the proposal,’’ Mr. Jaworek said ahead of the meeting.

The municipality of Freinsheim, which includes Kallstadt, also brushed aside a similar proposal, with a town spokesman saying Trump did not fulfill the requirements.

Report says Mr. Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich, who later anglicised his name to Frederick, set out from Germany for New York in the late 1800s and later headed west as part of the Gold Rush.

He sent some of his earnings back to his relatives in Germany, where a distant few of them could still be found in Kallstadt.

Shabaab attacks Kenya army base in Somalia

Islamist Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan military base in southern Somalia on Friday in their latest assault on foreign and national army outposts.

The attack on the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) base at Kolbiyow, close to the Kenyan border in Somalia’s Lower Juba region, began with suicide truck bombers blasting their way into the camp, followed by militants attacking from different directions.

Shabaab claimed in a statement to have overrun the base, captured military vehicles and equipment and to have killed scores of Kenyan soldiers.

“Fighters have taken control of the base and the overall Kolbiyow area after massacring the Kenyan infidels,” the statement said.

KDF spokesman Paul Njuguna denied the base had been overrun, but gave no casualty figures.

“We are engaging the enemy and we have actually repulsed them, but it is ongoing,” Njuguna said.

Shabaab frequently overstates the death toll from its attacks while Kenya commonly underplays its losses.

In January last year a Kenyan base at El-Adde was attacked and overrun by Shabaab fighters who claimed to have killed over 100 Kenyan soldiers. The government never gave its own toll.

The Shabaab, which once controlled much of Somalia, is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu.

It launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets and has carried out a series of deadly assaults against foreign soldiers deployed in Somalia as part of an African Union force.

On Tuesday at least 28 people were killed when Shabaab bombers and fighters attacked a hotel in the capital.

Trump: ”Mexican President Nieto Should Stay Home if Mexico Won’t Pay for The Wall”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto should cancel his upcoming visit to Washington if Mexico refuses to pay for a wall along the border.

“The U.S. has a $60-billion (U.S.) trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers… of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting,” Trump said on Twitter.

Israel to Decriminalise Marijuana Use

Israel on Thursday moved closer to decriminalizing marijuana use after its public security minister declared his support for a policy emphasizing education and fines over criminal penalties.

The new policy “does not entirely do away with the component of enforcing the criminal code,” said Gilad Erdan at a press conference, but instead puts “education, public information and treatment” first.

According to the new measure, which must still pass in the cabinet, charges would be considered only after the third offence.

The panel behind the policy recommended a fine of 1,000 shekels (265 dollars) for the first offense and one of double that amount for the second offense, the Haaretz newspaper reported.


Electricians Drags Trump to Court

Electricians who rushed work on President Trump’s newly opened hotel in Washington, D.C., say they are owed more than $2 million, and the contractor has filed a lawsuit to force payment. Freestate Electrical filed the suit in D.C. Superior Court alleging Trump’s company asked for a rush order on the hotel before its soft opening in September and the grand opening shortly before Election Day to complete fire alarm and electrical work. Trump’s company paid $15 million on the contract, but withheld payment on the final installment, the lawsuit says. “Acceleration of Freestate’s work required Freestate’s crews to work nonstop, seven days per week, 10 to 14 hours per day, for nearly 50 consecutive days,” the lawsuit says, adding the extra work was at the Trump company’s direction so that it could open before the election and get positive press coverage. The lawsuit alleges Trump’s company agreed to pay one-third of the remaining bill, which the electricians deem “unreasonable.” The electrical company formerly filed a lien on the hotel for unpaid work. “Trump’s actions in refusing to pay for work performed, after a project has opened, is a repeated practice of the Trump Organization on various projects; evidencing a typical business practice meant to force subcontractors to accept ‘pennies on the dollar,” the lawsuit alleges. Attorneys for the electricians also took time in the filing to point out the confusion over Trump’s continued lease with the General Services Administration. That 2014 lease, attached as an exhibit to the suit and signed by Trump, says “no elected official of the Government of the United States shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” Attorneys for the Trump Organization did not immediately return a request for comment. Broadband Coverage National science teachers association Alarm Fire Avatar Cast Column Confusions Contract Corporate Logo Denver Attorney Discount hotel rooms Broadband Coverage National science teachers association




Corruption: Transparency International Ranks Nigeria Low

For the fourth consecutive year, Nigeria has failed to rise in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception ranking.

TI, which released its 2016 report on Thursday, ranked Nigeria 136 out of 176 countries. However, while the organisation scored Nigeria 26 per cent in its last report, it scored the country 28 in its latest report.

The war against corruption is one of the cardinal objectives of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government which took over in May 2015.

The administration claims to have recovered billions of dollars in cash and assets in the last 18 months but the anti-graft war is perceived to be one-sided.

In the report, TI ranks Denmark as number one with a score of 90 per cent while Somalia is placed at the bottom with a score of 10 per cent.




Trump Defends restricted entry for Muslims

US President Donald Trump said late Wednesday that his plan to limit the entry of people from several Muslim countries was necessary because the world is “a total mess”.

Interviewed on ABC News, Trump denied that it was a ban on Muslims.

“No it’s not the Muslim ban, but it’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump said.

“And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in, who in many cases or in some cases, are looking to do tremendous destruction.”

Trump refused to be pinned down on which countries he was talking about, but did say that he believed that Europe “made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries, and all you have to do is take a look, it’s a disaster what’s happening over there.”

According to a draft executive order published in US media, refugees from war-torn Syria will be indefinitely banned, the broader US refugee admissions program will be suspended for 120 days, and all visa applications from countries deemed a terrorist threat — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — will be halted for 30 days.

Trump was asked if he was concerned that this would anger Muslims around the world.

“Anger? There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?” he said.

“The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. The world is a total mess.”

According to the draft decree, Trump intends to halve the number of refugees entering the United States during the 2017 fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

While the administration of former president Barack Obama had set a target of accepting more than 100,000 refugees this year, the Trump administration aims to slash that to 50,000.


Trump: www.timesofisrael.com

Mexico will not pay for Trump’s wall – President Enrique Pena Nieto insists

President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico is insisting that his country will not pay for the wall US President Trump is planning to build.

Pena Nieto said, “I’ve said time and again; Mexico won’t pay for any wall.

“It comes as our country is talking on new rules on cooperation, trade, investment, security and migration in the North American region. As president I assume the complete responsibility to defend the interests of Mexico and Mexicans.

British PM will open Brexit plan to MPs

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday she would publish her Brexit plan in parliament so that MPs can scrutinise it, but insisted the government’s timetable was on track.

The announcement is a concession to lawmakers angered at what they say is the lack of detail so far in May’s proposals for leaving the European Union.

It also came a day after Supreme Court judges ruled against May’s government and said the prime minister must win parliamentary approval before starting formal talks to exit the bloc.

The Conservative leader said MPs would be presented with a “white paper” policy document outlining her negotiating strategy, though she did not say when it would be published.

“I recognise that there is an appetite in this house to see that plan set out,” she told parliament’s lower House of Commons in her weekly questions session.

White papers outline proposals for future legislation and form a basis for consultation and discussion.

“I can confirm to the house that our plan will be set out in a white paper published in this house,” May said.

However, the white paper was a “separate issue” from a draft law that is expected this week and which will give MPs a vote on formally beginning the Brexit process.

It was reported Wednesday that she will introduce the bill on triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty — serving notice of Britain’s intention to leave — on Thursday.

May’s Downing Street office later said that the white paper would “be based on the speech” she gave last week, in which she announced Britain’s intention to leave the EU’s single market.

The British Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday was a landmark judgement and a setback for May, just before she flies to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump.

In angry exchanges in parliament with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour main opposition party, May said she would protect workers’ rights in leaving the EU and was “not afraid to speak frankly” with Trump.

– ‘Overwhelmingly voted’ –

But the legal case on leaving the EU has revived divisions within Britain — after last June’s referendum saw 52 percent vote to exit, splitting the country and presenting a potential constitutional crisis.

May had wanted to start the two-year Brexit process — invoking Article 50 — without a vote in parliament, but she failed to overturn a High Court ruling that said lawmakers must be consulted.

As the appeal was being heard in December, May managed to win a parliamentary vote that MPs would stick to her March deadline for triggering Brexit in return for explaining her plans.

“The house has overwhelmingly voted that Article 50 should be triggered before the end of March 2017,” May told MPs.

“Following the Supreme Court judgement, a bill will be provided for this house and there will be the proper debates in this chamber,” and in the upper House of Lords revising chamber, she said.

“There is then the separate question of actually publishing the plan that I have set out: a bold vision for Britain for the future.

“I will do that in a white paper and one of our objectives is the best possible free trade arrangement with the European Union.”

A series of high-profile Conservative MPs who backed Britain staying in the EU, including former finance minister Ken Clarke, had called for May to produce a white paper.

There had been concerns that rebel Conservatives could team up with opposition parties to amend the Article 50 bill to force ministers into publishing a white paper if they did not do so voluntarily.

May’s Conservative government currently has a working majority of 16 in the 650-member parliament.

May flies to the United States on Thursday, before holding talks at the White House with Trump on Friday.




At least 7 killed in Shabaab attack on Mogadishu hotel

At least seven people were killed after two car bombs exploded outside a popular Mogadishu hotel Wednesday and gunmen forced their way inside the building and opened fire, police said.

The attack, claimed by the Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab insurgent group, began when a car loaded with explosives rammed the gate of the Dayah Hotel near the Somali parliament and state house.

Gunmen then stormed the hotel and exchanged fire with security guards, according to police official Ibrahim Mohammed.

A second massive blast went off after ambulances and journalists had rushed to the scene, leaving at least four reporters injured, including an AFP photographer who received shrapnel wounds to his shoulder and leg.

“So far we have counted about seven dead, most of them civilians and security guards. There are also many people who were wounded in the two blasts,” said Mohammed.

“Two gunmen were killed and the area is under control of security forces,” he said.

The Shabaab group claimed responsibility in a statement distributed on its Telegram messaging account.

“The mujahideen fighters have attacked a hotel and have managed to enter the hotel after detonating a car loaded with explosives,” read the statement.

The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government of Somalia and regularly stages deadly attacks on government, military and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere in the war-torn country.

No Parliamentary Approval, No Brexit- Supreme Court Rules

It was a massive victory for Gina Miller as the Supreme Court has given a ruling giving the Parliament the right to approve the start of Brexit.

Addressing journalists outside court after the judgment, Gina Miller thanked her supporters for the steadfastness.

“In Britain, we are lucky – we are fortunate to have the ability to voice legitimate concerns and views as part of a shared society” she said.

“I have therefore been shocked at the levels of personal abuse that I have received from many quarters over the last seven months for simply bringing and asking a legitimate question.”

“I sincerely hope that going forward people who stand in positions of power and profile are much quicker in condemning those who cross the lines of common decency and mutual respect.”

The UK Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May must get parliament’s nod  before the commencement of Britain’s formal exit from the European Union based on Gina Miller’s stance. In doing so, she became a target for nationalists who claimed it was intended to stop Brexit.

“There is no doubt that Brexit is the most divisive issue of a generation, but this case was about the legal process, not politics” Miller said Tuesday.

She said the ruling went “to the very heart of our constitution”, confirming that “only parliament can grant rights to the British people and only parliament can take them away”.

The government is now expected to bring forward emergency legislation authorising it to trigger Article 50–the EU mechanism starting Brexit negotiations–by the end of March.




Video: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Faints During State of the State Address

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Monday fainted during his State of the State address.

FOX NEWS reports that the 69-year-old Democrat struck his head on a lectern Monday night after stumbling over his words and collapsing roughly 40 minutes into the annual address. He appeared conscious as he was helped into a back room within several minutes, and later walked out of the Capitol on his own.

Video credit: The Up Take

Former Iranian President Ayatollah Rafsanjani dies of heart attack at 82

Iranian state-run media is reporting the death of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who died Sunday January 8, 2017 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 82. Rafsanjani, who served two terms as Iran’s president from 1989 to 1997, continued to be an influential figure in Iranian politics.

At the time of his death he was the chairman of the Expediency Council, which aims to settle disputes between the country’s parliament and the Guardian Council. Rafsanjani was seen as a key figure in Iran’s moderate movement and was a vocal supporter of current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

America’s military most powerful on earth – Obama

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has declared that America’s military is the most powerful on the face of the earth.

Obama, who delivered emotional remarks at the Armed Forces Full Honour Review Farewell Ceremony, noted the negative effects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the military but said that had not diminished their capability.

“But make no mistake, even with the challenges of recent years – and there have been challenges -, our allies and adversaries alike understand America’s military remains, by far, the most capable fighting force on the face of the Earth.
“Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet.

Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world — on track to surpass 300 ships. “Our Air Force, with its precision and reach, is unmatched.

Our Marine Corps is the world’s only truly expeditionary force. Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world. “And we’re also the best because this military has come to welcome the talents of more of our fellow Americans,” he said. The outgoing president also noted the impressive bravery and professional performance of the women combatants.

“Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love. All combat positions in our military are now open to women. “And Joe Biden and I know that women are at least as strong as men.

We’re stronger for it. It’s one of the reasons that our military stands apart as the most respected institution in our nation by a mile.” He recalled his moments with the servicemen during his eight-year presidency, having to face many challenges together. ” I’m very grateful for that because you remind us that we are united as one team. At times of division, you’ve shown what it means to pull together.

“As my days as your Commander-in-Chief are coming to an end, and as I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest task before our Armed Forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you.

“This is a responsibility not simply for those of you in uniform, but for those who lead you. It’s the responsibility of our entire nation,” he said.

Obama also threw a challenge to the American military and political leaders in taking military actions. The outgoing commander-in-chief said while the event was meant to appreciate and praise him, he was rather turning it on them.

“And so, although I recognise that the formalities require me listening to praise directed in large part to me, I want to turn the tables – I am still Commander-in-Chief, so I get to do what I want to do – and I want to thank you. “Of all the privileges of this office – and there are many – I will miss Air Force One, I will miss Marine One but I can stand before you today and say that there has been no greater privilege, and no greater honour, than serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world.”

The outgoing commander-in-chief, who said he would be eternally grateful to the servicemen, expressed the confidence that America would continue to maintain its leadership role across the globe.
“So we can’t say it enough and we can’t show it enough. Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for your character in representing the very best of the American spirit. Our nation endures — we live free under the red, white and blue – because of patriots like you.

“It has been a privilege of a lifetime to serve with you. I have learned much from you. I’m a better man having worked with you. I’m confident that the United States and our Armed Forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.

“God bless you and your families. And God bless the United States of America,” the outgoing president concluded.

Turkey Launches Foundation To Take Over Hizmet Schools In Africa

The Turkish government under President Recep Erdogan has recently launched a supposed foundation called the Marrif Foundation in a renewed bid to quell the impact of the Hizmet movement affiliated educational institutions in Africa.

The Maarif Foundation, named after an Ottoman Turkish word for education, which comes from the Arabic word for knowledge or wisdom, will be funded by the Ministry of National Education to establish schools around the world which will serve as alternatives to the schools run by members of the Hizmet movement in African countries.

According to a news story published by Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, “The state-owned Turkish Maarif Foundation was set up last June by a law passed in parliament, which was approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. The Foundation’s purpose is to ensure educational services from kindergartens to universities, provide scholarships and bursaries, and build and operate schools, training facilities and internships.” The Daily Sabah newspaper reported.

According to a reliable source who pleaded anonymity, “the motive behind Marrif Foundation is to use it as a tool to pressurize African countries to transfer ownership of Hizmet movement linked schools to the Maarif Foundation since the request for the closure of these schools were turned down for lacking in merit” the source stated.

Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper in a report published on November 18, 2016 and with the title “Chad transfers FETÖ-operated schools to Turkish Foundation” it stated that “Turkey’s Maarif (Education) Foundation Deputy President Hasan Yavuz said that Chad and Turkey had both signed the agreement that would transfer the administration of the FETÖ schools in their country to the Foundation.”

At the Turkey-Africa Business Forum, which held in Istanbul recently, Turkish President Recep Erdogan asked African leaders to replace Hizmet movement schools in Africa with Maarif Foundation. The president noted that Turkey’s Ministry of Education had started taking over schools linked with many countries and requested African leaders to cooperate with Turkey on the issue.

According to Serdar Cam, President of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), “the Foundation will get an estimated USD 150 million budget in 2017 from the government.”

It would be recalled that on Sept. 14, Turkish Education Minister ?smet Y?lmaz announced publicly that the Maarif Foundation was planning to take over 65 schools linked to the Gülen movement in 15 unnamed countries. Despite tremendous efforts exerted by the Turkish government, only a few countries have given in to pressure over the shutdown of Gülen-linked schools in Africa, with a majority of them refusing to meet the demands of the Turkish government for lacking in merit.

For the case of Nigeria, the call for the closure of 17 Turkish schools by the Turkish Ambassador, Mr. Hakan Cakir, sparked outrage from concerned parents and guardians of students of Turkish schools in Nigeria.  Recall that the Nigerian government was emphatic in its response “this is an internal matter, and we have our rules and regulations. Besides, there ought to be evidence to back your claims.”

Queen Elizabeth To ‘Step Down’ From Royal Duties Dec 31

Queen Elizabeth II of England is to step down as patron of more than 20 national organisations at the end of this month, Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday.

The Queen, who celebrated her 90th birthday in April, will relinquish her association with the bodies – just as the Duke of Edinburgh broke formal ties with some of his patronages when he turned 90 in 2011.

The move is likely to be seen as a common-sense decision which acknowledges the Queen’s advancing years but Buckingham Palace stressed the monarch is still patron of more than 600 organisations.

The patronages will be taken on by members of the Royal Family and organisations involved include Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Barnardo’s, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Association.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “At the end of the Queen’s 90th birthday year, Her Majesty will step down as patron from a number of national organisations. The patronages will be passed on to other members of the Royal Family in the coming months.”

Man Opens Fire On Praying Muslims In Switzerland

A man burst into a Muslim prayer hall in the Swiss city of Zurich on Monday and started shooting, injuring three men, according to police, who have launched a manhunt for the shooter.

A body was found a few hundred metres (yards) from the scene, an AFP photographer said, but it was unclear if it was connected to the shooting, which took place inside the city’s Islamic Centre, near the central station.

At around 5:30pm (1630 GMT), an unknown person entered the Islamic Centre, where several worshippers were gathered, and began shooting, Zurich police said in a statement.

He “fired several shots at the worshippers,” police said. “Three men, aged 30, 35 and 56, were injured, some seriously. The suspect then escaped from the mosque in the direction of Central Station,” the statement said.

Witnesses had described the shooter as a man aged around 30 wearing dark clothes and a dark woollen cap, witnesses said.

Read More: aljazeera

US Embassy In Ankara On Lockdown After ‘Security Incident’

The United States has put its embassy in Ankara on lockdown after assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey at an art gallery nearby.

In a tweet on Monday, the US State Department advised all citizens to avoid the area following reports of a shooting near the embassy.

The alert came just moments after Andrey Karlov, was gunned down at the photo exhibition.

Moscow has said described the assault was a “terrorist act.”

The State Department described the ensuing situation at the embassy, approximately 2.5 miles away from the art gallery, as an “ongoing security incident.”

“All US citizens should avoid area near Embassy compound until further notice,” it said in a tweet.

The department also called on Americans to “avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.”

It is still unknown if the lockdown is related to the ambassador’s assassination.

Due to the upsurge in terrorist attacks in Turkey, Washington has been alerting citizens to avoid the country since October 29, cautioning them of “increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey.”

The area where the ambassador was shot dead should specifically be avoided “at least until Tuesday morning, December 20.”

Credit: presstv

Putin Reacts To The Assassination Of His Ambassador’s In Ankara (WATCH VIDEO)

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin has reacted to the murder of his Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov who was killed on Monday in the capital, Ankara.

Karlov was giving a speech at an art exhibition when he was shot in the back by a gunman who shouted Islamist slogans and spoke about the situation in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.

However, Putin’s reaction is what many have waited for. Watch video below:

Electoral College Vote Seals Trump Victory As US Next President

President-elect Donald Trump has received a majority in the US Electoral College as votes from Texas electors put him over the 270 threshold.

Monday’s result confirmed as expected Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States.

The Electoral College appeared unswayed by a last-ditch bid by die-hard opponents to bar the Republican’s path to the White House.

Six weeks after his upset victory over the Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump sailed past the 270 votes needed to make his victory official, clearing the way for him to succeed Barack Obama on January 20.

Trump Nominates US Ambassador To Israel

US President-elect Donald Trump has nominated David Friedman, a hardline Zionist, as US ambassador to Israel, likely paving the way toward a controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds

Friedman, a fervent supporter of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and opponent of the so-called two-state solution, served as one of Trump’s main advisers on Israel during his presidential campaign.

“(Friedman) has been a long-time friend and trusted adviser to me. His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East,” Trump said in a statement Thursday.

Friedman said he looked forward to filling the diplomatic position at a future US embassy in Jerusalem al-Quds, a move that would distance Washington from most of the international community, including its closest allies in Western Europe and the Arab world.

Trump vowed during his presidential campaign that he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds, a step that would enrage Palestinians and create an international furor.

Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush promised the same thing during their presidential campaigns in order to court pro-Israel voters, but later reversed their proposals.

Read More: presstv

Obama Vows Action Against Russia Over Election Hacks

US President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Russia for its alleged interference in the US presidential election campaign.

“We need to take action and we will,” he told US radio station NPR.

Russia stands accused by the US of hacking the emails of the Democratic Party and a key Hillary Clinton aide, which the Kremlin strongly denies.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump has also dismissed the claim as “ridiculous” and politically motivated.

The intelligence agencies say they have overwhelming evidence that Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin were behind the hacks.

And on Thursday, a White House spokesman said President Vladimir Putin was involved in the cyber-attacks.

Hours later, Mr Obama said: “I think there’s no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact on the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and a place of our own choosing.

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised. Some of it may not be.

“Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

Read More: BBC

Putin Calls For Syria Ceasefire As #Aleppo Evacuations Continue

A nationwide ceasefire is the next step to restore peace in Syria after the recapture of Aleppo in the country’s north, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters at press conference in Japan on Friday.

As he spoke, thousands of civilians and rebel soldiers continued to flee Aleppo in convoys as the second day of evacuations within an agreed ceasefire began on Friday.
Up to 9,000 people have already been taken out of the besieged city in nine convoys since Thursday, including 108 wounded, according to Russian and Syrian state media.
For many of those leaving, their destination will be the rebel-controlled Syrian province of Idlib — likely the Bashar al-Assad regime’s next target.
An activist working inside the city broke down talking to CNN reporters on Friday, saying he wasn’t sure if his children would ever return to Aleppo.
“We waited for the international community and the United Nations to punish the criminal and not the victims (the people). Unfortunately the punishment was for the people. They have displaced us from our land,” he said.
“Honestly I don’t know if we can return back someday to our land or if it is going to be like the fate of the Palestinians.”
Read More: CNN

Why Trump’s Secretary Of State Pick Is So Controversial

Boosters of Donald Trump’s candidate to be the next secretary of state talk about his experience leading one of the world’s largest companies — and so do his detractors.

Fans of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson say running a global energy company equips the 64-year-old with the management tools needed to represent the US abroad. Skeptics say a closer look at that experience raises questions about conflicts of interest and whether the nominee would put US or corporate interests first.
The criticism is bipartisan, with both Republicans and Democrats voicing reservations about the Texan. Scientists, human rights activists and environmental groups also raised concerns Tuesday at the news of Tillerson’s nomination.
What’s their problem? They have a few. Here’s a look.
Trump campaigned hard on the promise that he would “drain the swamp” and target “global special interests” that partner with “corrupt” Washington politicians to rob “our working class.”
Yet Tillerson was recommended to the President-elect by three former government heavyweights: former secretaries of state James Baker and Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. All three, after their government careers, have benefited financially from ExxonMobil contracts.
Tillerson, while a Washington outsider, would also be the latest millionaire to join Trump’s Cabinet, which already has at least seven millionaires and two billionaires. And ExxonMobil, critics say, is the embodiment of global corporate power, a private empire with its own foreign policy.
“People did not vote on November 8 to … have the international corporate establishment be the face of America’s workers and interests around the world,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment.
This will likely be the biggest hurdle to clear in confirmation hearings. Tillerson has spearheaded ExxonMobil partnerships with a Russian energy company with ties to President Vladimir Putin, who has given him Russia’s highest honor for a non-citizen.
That connection has fueled concerns particularly because of Russia’s alleged hacking of the elections and Trump’s conciliatory stance toward Moscow, which many lawmakers see as a geopolitical threat. They point to Russian support for the Syrian regime, its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine and aggressive moves against NATO allies.
Read More: CNN

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Cairo Cathedral Bombing

So-called Islamic State say it was behind a bomb attack on a church in Cairo on Sunday in which at least 25 people were killed.

One of its fighters carried out the suicide attack on the Coptic Christian cathedral, the group said in a statement.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi had earlier named the attacker as Shafik Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa, 22.

Mr Sisi said the attack caused “pain to all Egyptians”.

IS named the attacker as Abu Abdallah al-Masri.

President Sisi used his address at a service for victims on Monday to urge the government to amend the country’s terrorism laws, which he said were “restricting the judicial system” in its battle to prevent such attacks.

He also declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the blast.

The Christian minority in Egypt has frequently been targeted by Islamist militants.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by militants since 2013, when the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, an elected leader who backed the Muslim Brotherhood, and launched a crackdown against Islamists.

Some of Mr Morsi’s supporters blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow.

Credit: BBC

British Police Nab Six Over Christmas Terror Plot

British police say they have arrested six people suspected of plotting terror attacks for Christmas on behalf of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group (ISIS) in the United Kingdom.

Police officials said the arrests in the English Midlands city of Derby on Monday foiled a “significant” terror plan that came after months of close surveillance by the MI5 and counter-terrorism police forces.

The detainees, all aged 22 to 36, had planned to set off a bomb in a crowded British shopping center during the Christmas period, according to reports.

The Guardian confirmed the reports, saying, “Material recovered from an address raided in Derby has been initially assessed as being consistent with that needed to make homemade explosives.”

The counter-terrorism unit in Britain also noted that the detentions were linked to “international-related terrorism.”

Further investigations are under way to determine the motives behind the foiled terror plot.

In a late-October report, British security services said they had foiled at least 10 terrorist attacks over the past two years in the country.

“We continue to work at a relentless pace with our key partners, currently dealing with around 550 live cases at any one time. The counter-terrorism network and security services have successfully foiled at least 10 attacks in the last two years, with 294 convictions for terror-related offenses,” said Neil Basu, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Read More: presstv

#Aleppo Evacuation Delayed, Opposition Blames Pro-Assad Militia

The evacuation of rebel-held eastern Aleppo was delayed on Wednesday and, while a war monitor said the reason was unclear, an opposition official blamed Shi’ite militias allied to President Bashar al-Assad for the hold up.

A ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia, Assad’s most powerful ally, and Turkey ended years of fighting in the city and has given Assad his biggest victory yet after more than five years of war.

Officials in the military alliance fighting in support of Assad could not be reached immediately for comment on why the evacuation was delayed.

Sources on Tuesday had given different expected start times for the evacuation. A military official in the pro-Assad alliance had said the evacuation was due to start at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT), while opposition officials had been expecting a first group of wounded people to leave earlier.

However, none had left by dawn, said a Reuters witness waiting at the agreed point of departure. Twenty buses were waiting there with their engines running but showed no sign of moving into Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern districts.

“There is certainly a delay,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, a war monitor.

Officials with Aleppo-based rebel groups accused Shi’ite militias backed by Iran of obstructing implementation of the Russian-brokered deal. The pro-opposition Orient TV cited the negotiation committee in eastern Aleppo as saying there was no clear reason why the wounded had yet to be evacuated.

Assad has been backed by an array of Shi’ite militias from across the region in his campaign for Aleppo.

Read More: reuters

What Trump Discussed With Kanye West

Rap superstar Kanye West on Tuesday delivered a surprise even in this most unusual of political years — he met President-elect Donald Trump, marking the artist’s first appearance since a reported mental breakdown.

West, a rare US celebrity to voice support for Donald Trump, showed up in the early morning with an entourage and his own cameraman at Trump Tower and boarded the elevator of the tycoon’s skyscraper home.

An uncharacteristically taciturn West returned to the lobby with the president-elect himself who, pressed on what the two discussed, said: “Life.”

“Just friends, just friends. He’s a good man. Long time. Friends for a long time,” said a visibly upbeat Trump.

West, sporting a fitted black sweatshirt, at first stood sullenly with his arms folded as reporters peppered him with questions — including on whether he would make good on his earlier promise to run for president in 2020, presumably challenging Trump.

“I’m just here to take a picture right now,” West finally said before flashing a smile and a thumbs-up sign.

Notably absent was the rapper’s wife, reality television star Kim Kardashian.

She has kept a low profile since gunmen broke into her Paris hotel room and robbed her of $10 million worth of jewelry — and gossip pages have recently speculated on the state of the couple’s marriage.

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Donald Trump Intends To Live At The White House Full-Time

Following speculation that he might only be living at the White House part-time after his inauguration, president-elect Donald Trump confirmed in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that this would not be the case.

In the interview, the president-elect explained that he would move to Washington, D.C. in January full-time, and that his wife Melania Trump and son Barron Trump would join him once the 10-year-old finishes the school year.

“I’m going to live in the White House with my family,” he said. “Barron’s going to finish up school because he’s got just a couple of months to go so it’s a little hard to take him out of school.”

He also stated that his wife would travel back and forth between D.C. and New York City as needed, despite previous reports that he would be frequently commuting between the two cities until his family would be able to join him at the White House. (As People points out, the fact that Melania and Barron will remain at Trump Tower likely means that the Secret Service will continue their 24/7 surveillance of the building.) When asked if he was worried about getting lonely or missing them, he responded that he would likely be too busy to get to focus on it.

“I’ll be working,” he said. “It’s a very special place and it represents so much and there’s a lot to do — more than I even thought.”

Read More: cosmopolitan

Indonesian soldier found alive two weeks after helicopter crash

A soldier has been found alive two weeks after an Indonesian army helicopter he was travelling in crashed, killing three people, the military said on Friday.

The helicopter went down in a ravine in northern Indonesia on Nov. 24 while carrying supplies to military posts near the border with Malaysia.

Armed forces spokesman Brig.-Gen. Sabrar Fadhilah said Second Lt. Yohannes Saputra was found on Thursday in a nearby village with injuries to his arms, waist and legs.

“He was extremely weak because he had not eaten for days,’’ he said.

Local media reported that Saputra made his way to a farm where he stayed in a hut overnight and ate sugar before being found by villagers.

The helicopter’s pilot was found alive three days after the crash, while the other three soldiers were dead.

First US Somali Lawmaker Gets ‘Islamophobic Threats’ In Taxi

The first Somali-American lawmaker in the US has said she was subjected to “hateful” anti-Muslim threats from a taxi driver in Washington DC.

Minnesota Representative-elect Ilhan Omar said the cabbie threatened to remove her hijab during a confrontation on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old said the incident occurred just after she attended policy training at the White House.

Ms Omar, a Democrat, came to the US as a child from a refugee camp in Kenya.

She made history and national headlines last month when she defeated a Republican to gain a seat in Minnesota’s state house of representatives.

“On my way to our hotel, I got in a cab and became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, Islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced,” she wrote in a post on social media.

Ilhan Omar's Facebook post 

“The cabdriver called me ISIS [so-called Islamic State] and threatened to remove my hijab, I really wasn’t sure how this encounter would end as I attempted to rush out of his cab and retrieve my belongings.

“I am still shaken by this incident and can’t wrap my head around how bold being (sic) are becoming in displaying their hate toward Muslims.

“I pray for his humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts.”

Read More: bbc

Italy President Starts Talks Over New Government

Italy’s president has started talks with the political leaders of the country to form a new government following the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

President Sergio Mattarella began consultations on Thursday to decide whether to appoint an interim prime minister until upcoming elections scheduled for 2018 or to assign the leadership of the country to an interim government, which should serve until a snap vote could be held in spring.

Mattarella, a former constitutional court judge, began by consulting the speakers of the upper and lower houses of the parliament, Pietro Grasso and Laura Boldrini, respectively. Grasso is widely viewed as one of the possible candidates for new leadership.

Renzi announced his resignation after he lost a constitutional reform referendum on Sunday aimed at reducing the role of Senate and limiting the powers of regional governments. He had said a “No” vote at the referendum would also mean an end to his government.

Read More: presstv

American Space legend, John Glenn Dies at 95

John Glenn, who made history twice as the first American to orbit the Earth and the first senior citizen to venture into space, has died at the age of 95, the Ohio college bearing his name said Thursday.

The US space agency NASA was among the first to pay tribute to the legendary astronaut who later served in the Senate for more than two decades, calling him a “hero.”

“We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra,” NASA tweeted.

Glenn died on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs announced on its website, paying tribute to “an American icon.”

Glenn had been in declining health, undergoing heart-valve replacement surgery in 2014, reportedly suffering a stroke, and was admitted more than a week ago to a cancer ward, according to the college.

The college at Ohio State University said Glenn’s “belief in civic duty and public service led him to serve his country as a Marine combat pilot, a pioneer in space travel and an United States senator from Ohio.”

“Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich.

“Godspeed, John Glenn!”

Glenn served in both World War II and the Korean War, and in 1957 he made the first nonstop supersonic flight from Los Angeles to New York.

In 1962, Glenn was the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth in a flight lasting just under five hours, and returned to space decades later at the age of 77 — becoming the oldest astronaut in space.

After his 23-year career in the US military and space program., Glenn entered the Senate as a Democrat.

In 2012, Barack Obama awarded Glenn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

“On the morning that John Glenn blasted off into space, America stood still,” Obama said during the medal ceremony.

“The first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn became a hero in every sense of the word.”


Six Drug Traffickers die in Gunfight With Thai Army

Six drug traffickers from the notorious Wa tribe died in a late night shoot-out with a Thai army patrol near the rugged Golden Triangle border region, officers said Thursday.

The fighting broke out after the men, who were travelling through the remote and mountainous region by foot, refused to stop for a search.

“Six drugs traffickers were killed,” said Jiradech Kamolpetch, the commander of the border task force, revising down an initial toll of seven dead that was released by authorities in error.

“There were 20 people in this group,” he told AFP, adding that soldiers and police were in “hot pursuit” of the remaining suspects in Thailand’s Chiang Mai province.

Thai officials seized 554,000 methamphetamine tablets, approximately 30 kilogrammes (66 pounds) of heroine and two firearms from the men after the gunfight, according to another military officer who requested anonymity.

He said authorities suspect the men were ethnic Wa — a minority based chiefly in northwestern Myanmar.

Backed by a powerful rebel militia, the Wa control a large swathe of territory in Myanmar where they are accused of running a narcotics empire.

Some Wa communities have also settled in northern Thailand, which forms part of the notorious Golden Triangle — a drug-producing zone where the two countries meet Laos.

Long a hub for illicit opium trade, the Golden Triangle has more recently become a hotbed of methamphetamine production as demand for the drug soars in Asia.

The latest United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report said global amphetamine seizures reached a new peak of more than 170 tonnes in 2014, with Southeast Asia, East Asia and North America the three major markets.

Decades of harsh drug laws and an attempted “war” on narcotics has left Thai prisons overflowing with offenders, often caught in possession of small amounts of narcotics.

Senior Thai Junta figures have unexpectedly admitted that the country’s tough approach has failed to stem the scourge of drug addiction and have floated decriminalisation of meth as a solution.

Pakistan Plane Carrying 48 Crashes Killing All On Board

A Pakistani plane carrying 48 people crashed Wednesday in the country’s mountainous north and burst into flames killing everyone on board, authorities said, in one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the nation’s history.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Flight PK661 came down after one of its two turboprop engines failed while travelling from the city of Chitral to Islamabad, the civil aviation authority said.

Rescuers, including hundreds of villagers, pulled the charred remains from the wreckage of the aircraft, parts of which were found hundreds of metres away from the main site in Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

An AFP reporter at the site near the village of Saddha Batolni said part of the plane was still on fire more than five hours after the crash, as rescuers picked up torn human remains with their hands and placed them in bags before they were taken by ambulance to Islamabad for identification.

“The bodies were burnt so badly we could not recognise whether they were women or men,” a villager in his thirties, who declined to give his name, told AFP.

“We put into sacks whatever we could find…and carried them down to the ambulance.”

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Azam Saigol, the airline’s chairman said the plane was an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, which contacted ground authorities after one engine failed and issued a Mayday call at 4:14 pm (1114 GMT).

It began descending a minute later before disappearing from radar at 4:16 pm.

“This plane was technically sound, and was checked in October,” he said, adding the captain had flown more than 12,000 hours and the aircraft was nine years old.

“Our focus now is to retrieve all the dead bodies,” he added, vowing a full investigation.

A senior rescue official on the site who requested anonymity added: “The villagers told us that the plane was shaky before it crashed. It was about to hit the village but it seems that the pilot managed to drag the plane towards the hills.”

Three foreigners were among the dead, officials said, with Austria’s foreign ministry later confirming two of its nationals were killed and Chinese state media saying one of its nationals was also among the victims.



Michelle Obama Finally Reveals How She Reacted The Night Trump Was Elected

As many Americans waited into the wee hours of election night to find out who would be voted the nation’s next president, First Lady Michelle Obama says she was not among them.

Instead, she was fast asleep in her White House bed.

In a joint interview with President Barack Obama for this week’s PEOPLE cover story, the first lady breaks her silence on President-elect Donald Trump‘s stunning victory, and reveals why she didn’t stay up to see the results.

“I went to bed. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; I never have,” Obama tells PEOPLE, adding of her husband, “I barely did with him.”

The first lady was one of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton‘s most powerful surrogates on the campaign trail, where she delivered passionate speeches about the dangers of electing Trump, being careful all the while to avoid mentioning him by name.

Her now-famous mantra, “When they go low, we go high,” delivered at the Democratic National Convention in July, moved audiences and became an unofficial slogan for Clinton’s campaign.

“Anything that I felt about the election I said and I stand by,” the first lady says now, adding of her early election night, “Once you do what you can do, then the rest is easy. It was in the hands of the American people.”

Though the first lady stands by her campaign-trail criticisms of Trump, she, like her husband, is prepared to help the president-elect as he transitions to the White House.

“This is our democracy, and this is how it works,” she says. “We are ready to work with the next administration and make sure they are as successful as they can be. Because that’s what’s best for this country.”

Credit: yahoo

Weakened Merkel Embarks On Tough Election Campaign

Angela Merkel’s conservatives gave her an over 11-minute standing ovation after handing her another term as party chief, but also issued a warning in re-electing her with the worst score since she became German chancellor.

With the mixed verdict Tuesday from her party rank and file on her bid for a fourth term, Merkel embarks on her toughest election campaign weakened by her liberal refugee policy that has polarised Europe’s biggest economy.

While 89.5 percent is hardly a score to be scoffed at, it fell just short of the 90 percent of Christian Democratic Union delegates seen as a crucial threshold.

“It shows that she has lost confidence but has not fully regained it,” said Spiegel Online.

Rheinische Post daily agreed, saying that “it is clear that this chancellor is no longer strong enough to simply use ‘you know me’ to win the 2017 elections,” referring to a previous Merkel slogan.

“That attitude, which helped her in the 2013 (general election) campaign, almost led to her doom in the refugee crisis. For too long, she has trusted her party and voters to simply follow her,” it said.

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KKK Holds Parade To Celebrate Trump’s Win

The Ku Klux Klan held a pathetic parade to celebrate the election of Donald Trump in North Carolina on Saturday.

The hate group’s “parade” was originally to be held in Pelham but was moved one county over to Roxboro because of protestors.

The Burlington Times-News reports that the KKK rally had a full police escort. State troopers blocked intersections while 30 vehicles drove around the town.

The paper reports that men and women shouted “White power!” and “Hail victory!” from vehicles flying KKK flags, Confederate battle flags, Donald Trump flags, and Christian flags.

The hate group had originally planned their parade in Pelham, but cowardly moved it when protestors showed up.

Groups in Greensboro, Mebane and Charlotte held rallies Saturday to counter the KKK’s event.

Read More: yahoo

Joe Biden Reveals His Plans to Run for Presidency In 2020

On Monday, December 5, just 27 days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the Vice President, 74, told reporters after a senate session in the Capitol: “I’m gong to run in 2020.”

When asked what position he planned to make a bid for, he revealed: “For president. So uh, what the hell, man.”

Biden was asked by CNN if he was serious, and he said: “Yeah, I am. We’re going to run again.”

Biden ran for president, but dropped out early both times, in 1988 and again in 2008. He bowed out in October 2015 for a presidential bid and endorsed Hillary Clinton instead.

He will be 78 years old shortly after the 2020 election. Ronald Reagan was just shy of his 78th birthday when he left the office in 1989, making him the oldest person to serve as president.

TIME Announces 2016 Person Of The Year, Meet The 11 Finalists

The shortlist of candidates for the 2016 Person of the Year—TIME’s annual selection of the person who most influenced the news, for better or for worse—was revealed Monday morning on NBC’s Today.

In alphabetical order, the 11 candidates chosen by TIME magazine’s editors are:

Simone Biles

Making her Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro, the talented 19-year-old gymnast earned four gold medals and one bronze, leading her “Final Five” team to victory and affirming her status as the best in the world.

Hillary Clinton

The former First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State became the first woman to receive the U.S. presidential nomination of a major political party, going on to lose the election but win the popular vote—the culmination of a hard-fought, divisive presidential race.

CRISPR Scientists

These scientists have developed a groundbreaking new technology that can edit DNA, a technique that has the potential to transform science and the human experience, as it could be used to find and remove mutations responsible for incurable diseases.

Recep Tayyip Erdo?an

After an attempted military coup failed in July, the Turkish president has tightened control over the country, arresting political opponents, firing thousands of state employees and shutting down news organizations.

Nigel Farage

As head of the U.K. Independence Party, Farage was a face of the successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, positioning the referendum as the start of a global populist wave against the political establishment.

The Flint Whistleblowers

Local residents, along with civil-engineering professor Marc Edwards and local pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, blew the whistle on the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Mich., drawing national attention to an environmental crisis that still has yet to be fully resolved.

Beyoncé Knowles

With a headline-worthy Super Bowl halftime performance, a world tour and a powerful second visual album, Lemonade, Beyoncé continued to surprise and provoke a global audience, using her platform to speak out about racial injustice, police violence and feminism.

Narendra Modi

At the head of a powerful government, the Indian Prime Minister has guided his country’s economy into position as the “emerging-market world’s most positive story.” Late in the year, however, he also stoked concern when he unexpectedly banned 500- and 1,000-rupee bills—a move that aimed to curb untaxed wealth but now threatens to slow the country’s economic growth.

Vladimir Putin

The Russian president made headlines this year with his country’s intervention in Syria and evidence showing that Russian operatives were responsible for the hack of Democratic National Committee servers.

Donald Trump

After campaigning as an anti-establishment, populist candidate, Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States—a stunning end to a presidential bid that repeatedly broke with political precedent.

Mark Zuckerberg

In the year that Facebook surpassed the 1 billion mobile daily users mark, the social-media titan has an unprecedented global reach. The CEO has also faced pressure to take responsibility for the site’s role in spreading fake or misleading news, amid criticism that those stories influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The 2016 Person of the Year will be unveiled on Today on Wednesday morning, when the news will also be shared on Time.com.



John Key, New Zealand PM Resigns

New Zealand prime minister John Key has announced a shock resignation because of family pressure. Key made the announcement at his weekly press conference this afternoon.

According to New Zealand, The Herald, the prime minister bowed out because his wife Bronagh asked him to do so. Key, his voice shaking with emotion, said he told his Cabinet of his decision this morning.

“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I don’t know what I’ll do next.” Key cited family reasons for leaving, saying the job had required great sacrifices “from those who are dearest to me”.

His wife Bronagh had endured “many lonely nights” and his children Stephie and Max had been put under “extraordinary levels of intrusion”. Key met his wife Bronagh while attending Burnside High School.

The pair married in 1984 and have two children, Stephie and Max. “Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home.”

Bill English is expected to take over as Prime Minister and Steven Joyce is expected to take on the finance role.

The National Party caucus will hold a meeting on December 12 to decide the new party leader and Prime Minister. Key said he would support whoever the caucus chose, but he endorsed Bill English as his replacement.

Read More:


Trump Picks Ben Carson For HUD Secretary

Dr. Ben Carson will be nominated as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Trump transition team announced Monday.

“I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development,” President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”
The secretary of housing and urban development oversees federal public housing programs and helps formulate policy on homelessness and housing discrimination. As is the case with all cabinet secretaries, Carson needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
Carson had signaled he would be named to the job Wednesday afternoon, posting on Facebook that an announcement about his forthcoming role in the administration was forthcoming.
“After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” he wrote. “We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid.”
Trump praised Carson as a “greatly talented person” in a tweet two weeks ago when he announced he was considering Carson for the HUD position.
“I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I’ve gotten to know him well — he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!” Trump tweeted.
Read More: CNN

North Korea: Kim Jong-un’s Wife Reappears In Public After Long Mysterious Absence

The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reappeared in public after a nine-month-long absence. The reasons for her disappearance are still not known, but speculation has been rife.

Ri Sol-ju emerged in public along with Kim during an air combat training competition conducted by the Korean People’s Air Force and Defense (KPAF).

Pyongyang’s state-run mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the event without many details about the presence of Ri. The exact date of the occasion is also unclear.

This is said to be the first time in nearly nine months Ri was mentioned by the North Korean state media as her last appearance was on 28 March.

Rumours have been doing the rounds that she might have been removed from Kim’s inner circle.

During the event jointly attended by Ri and Kim, the North Korean leader provided “field guidance” to the country’s air force personnel asking them maintain high vigilance. The

The KCNA dispatch said Kim “stressed that once an order of final attack is issued, they should promptly take off and mercilessly blow up the strongholds of aggression and pave a broad avenue to the units of the People’s Army advancing southward”.

The Korean peninsula has become highly unstable in recent months after the North’s nuclear and missile tests. Despite global condemnation, Pyongyang has refused to scale down any of its programmes. The regime has also reacted strongly to the recent economic sanctions announced by the UN Security Council.

The regime has also reacted strongly to the recent economic sanctions announced by the UN Security Council.

Credit: ibtimes

Trump Picks Twitter Fight With China

US President-elect Donald Trump fired a Twitter broadside at China on Sunday, accusing the Asian giant of currency manipulation and military expansionism in the South China Sea.

The taunt came two days after Trump risked offending Beijing by accepting a call from the Taiwanese president, and heralded the prospect of a trade battle between the world’s largest economies.

China was a frequent target of Trump’s during his presidential campaign and, as he prepares to take office next month, every sign points to his taking an aggressive line with Beijing.

“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” he demanded, adding: “I don’t think so!”

China is the United States’ largest trading partner, but America ran a $366 billion deficit with Beijing in goods and services in 2015, up 6.6 percent on the year before.

US politicians often accuse China of artificially depressing its currency, the renminbi, in order to boost its exports — its value has fallen by around 15 percent in the past two-and-half years.

Trump has vowed to formally declare China a “currency manipulator” on the first day of his presidency, which would oblige the US Treasury to open negotiations with Beijing on allowing the renminbi to rise.

With China holding about a trillion dollars in US government debt, Washington would have little leverage in such talks, but the declaration would harm ties and boost the prospect of a trade war.

China charges an average 15.6 percent tariff on US agricultural imports and nine percent on other goods, according to the World Trade Organization.

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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key resigns

John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister and leader of the National party, has resigned.

According to The Telegraph, announcing his resignation, Key said, he did not see himself as a career politician and had “nothing left in the tank”.He cited family reasons as one of the factors in his decision and had reportedly been asked to resign by Bronagh, his wife of 32 years.

His resignation will be effective from 12 December, when National MPs will meet to select a new leader.


Cuba Starts Fidel Castro’s Burial

Fidel Castro’s ashes were taken on Sunday to a cemetery in the cradle of his revolution as Cuba opens a new era without the communist leader who ruled the island for decades.

Capping a week of tributes and mass rallies, a jeep pulled the cedar turn into the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba as a crowd chanted “viva Fidel!”

Castro, who died on November 25 at age 90, will be laid to rest during a “simple” ceremony near the mausoleum of 19th century independence hero Jose Marti, said his brother and successor, President Raul Castro.

The funeral was closed to the public.

On Saturday night, Raul Castro led a massive, final rally in his brother’s honor at Santiago’s Revolution Plaza, leading the crowd into pledge to uphold the socialist ideals.

“In front of Fidel’s remains … we swear to defend the fatherland and socialism,” Raul Castro said.

“He demonstrated that, yes we could, yes we can, yes we will overcome any obstacle, threat, turbulence in our firm resolve to build socialism in Cuba,” he said.

While Castro was sidelined by emergency intestinal surgery a decade ago, he remained a towering figure in Cuba.

He was revered by supporters for the free health care and education he spread across the island, and vilified by dissidents who saw him as a brutal dictator.

Although he was an omnipresent figure in the lives of Cubans, Castro’s dying wish was that no statues be erected in his memory and no streets or building be named after him.

The national assembly, which meets later this month, will pass a law to follow Castro’s order, his brother said.

“The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality,” Raul Castro said.

– ‘I trust Raul’ –

His burial ends a nine-day period of mourning during which Cubans, often encouraged by the government, flooded the streets to pay tribute to Castro, chanting “I am Fidel!” as his ashes were taken across the Caribbean country this week.

“I am very sad because we have lost a father,” said Marta Loida, a 36-year-old university professor sitting on the ground and holding a picture of Fidel Castro after Raul’s speech.

The government nurtured the religious-like fervor, with state media calling Castro the “eternal comandante.”

In the past week, Cubans were urged to go to schools and other public buildings to sign an oath of loyalty to his revolution.

“I trust Raul because Raul is Fidel’s brother. Fidel taught him everything,” said Irina Hierro Rodriguez, a 23-year-old teacher at Saturday’s rally.

Fidel and Raul Castro launched a failed attack on Santiago’s Moncada military barracks in July 1953, but it was the seed of a revolution that triumphed in 1959.

After taking power, Fidel Castro became a Soviet ally and was a constant thorn in the side of successive US presidents until illness forced him to hand power to Raul in 2006.

Since succeeding his brother, Raul Castro has implemented modest economic reforms in recent years, restored diplomatic relations with the United States and vowed to step down in 2018.

“No longer under the shadow of his older brother, Raul may now feel freer to pursue the modest economic reforms he initiated in the last decade,” said Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

– Fidel’s long shadow –

While US President Barack Obama has chipped away at the US embargo’s trade and travel restrictions, foreign companies still face obstacles to invest in Cuba.

Food supplies are tight and public services are being cut back while socialist ally Venezuela, which has been providing cheap oil to Cuba, is in the middle of a political and economic crisis, said Ted Piccone, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank.

Castro needs to pick up the pace of reforms to kickstart the economy and ensure a smooth transition to his successor in 2018, he said.

“The legitimacy of the post-Raul government will depend on a much better economic performance,” said Piccone, a senior foreign policy adviser during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

And while Castro has died, his legacy is not going to vanish overnight.

“Given his outsized impact on Cuba and the region, it’s not really goodbye,” Piccone said. “His memory will cast a shadow over Cuba for a long time.”


I Was Blinded By Love, Young ISIS Recruit Confesses

His friends know him as “Mo.” And he is the most unlikely ISIS recruit you will ever meet.

In fact, in virtually every way Mo, whose real name is Muhammad Dakhlalla, was an ordinary and typical American college student. But he was arrested with a fellow Mississippi State University student just over a year ago, trying to board a plane to go join the notorious terrorist organization.
“Where do you want me to start exactly?” he said, laughing somewhat nervously, as he sat recently for the first extensive, tell-all interview with CNN in a federal prison.
Today, Mo, just 24, is at the start of an eight-year prison sentence for trying to join and help ISIS. But he is hardly a radical Muslim extremist. Remarkably, he said he got into this whole mess because he fell in love.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Mo is the youngest of four brothers and has both Muslim and non-Muslim friends. He dated very little and had few girlfriends until his senior year at Mississippi State. There, he met and fell for Jaelyn Young, a sophomore studying chemistry who was a one-time honors student and cheerleader.
“In the beginning of my senior year I met this lady,” Mo said, recalling his strong feelings for her.
“She was beautiful and things like that,” he said, “but also another thing that I find attractive in a woman is one who’s, you know, bright, intelligent, open-minded. And that’s how I got to know her a bit. We started hanging out. She not only was interested in me, but she had told me prior to us being together that she was interested in Islam.”
Islam is the religion in which Mo grew up. His father, Oda, is an imam, who originally hailed from Bethlehem in the West Bank before settling decades ago in Mississippi. Mo’s father, along with his mother, Lisa, a New Jersey-born woman who converted to Islam, helped found and build the Islamic Center of Mississippi in Starkville.
Not long after they became a couple, Jaelyn converted to Islam, and it was a complete surprise to Mo.
“At one point, you know, she told me that she’s very serious about Islam, and she wanted to become a Muslim,” he said. “Then on that day when she did, actually it was a big surprise for me. My parents actually found out first that she became a Muslim. I was actually at the mosque at that time, saying my prayers. And I came back to find out that she had become Muslim, and I had no idea.”
Then came another surprise, he said.
“A few weeks later, and I never said anything to her about this, or, like, tried to, you know, force her … she decided to wear the full hijab or niqab by herself. Like, it was on her own — her own choice. You know, she was wearing it from her head and full robe that you typically see of Muslim women.”
The niqab she wore covered every part of her in a black shroud, leaving only slits for her eyes visible, according to Mo’s family.
Jaelyn was changing fast, he said, becoming stricter and more conservative in all parts of her life.
“As far as, like, the rapid stages that she was going through, I may have, should have been, like, scratching my head a little bit. I should have had … a skeptical, like, analysis of, like, ‘OK, maybe we’ve gone a little too fast,’ ” he said laughing.
But, he said, he was deeply in love.
“And, you know, that love can ultimately … blind out your intelligence, your reasoning. I believe that. I mean, without that love there, I don’t believe I would be here today, with my charge and talking to you today. … I wouldn’t have even considered it at all.”
Read More: CNN

China Lodges Protest After Trump Call With Taiwan President

China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the “petty” move.

The 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan’s leadership was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it had lodged “stern representations” with what it called the “relevant U.S. side”, urging the careful handling of the Taiwan issue to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties.

“The one China principle is the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship,” it said.

The wording implied the protest had gone to the Trump camp, but the ministry provided no explanation.

Speaking earlier, hours after Friday’s telephone call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointedly blamed Taiwan for the exchange, rather than Trump, a billionaire businessman with little foreign policy experience.

“This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the ‘one China’ structure already formed by the international community,” Wang said at an academic forum in Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry quoted him as saying.

“I believe that it won’t change the longstanding ‘one China’ policy of the United States government.”

In comments at the same forum, Wang noted how quickly President Xi Jinping and Trump had spoken by telephone after Trump’s victory, and that Trump had praised China as a great country.

Wang said that exchange had sent “a very positive signal about the future development of Sino-U.S. relations”, according to the ministry’s website. Taiwan was not mentioned in that call, according to an official Chinese transcript.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office also called the conversation a “petty” move by Taiwan that does not change the island’s status as part of China. Beijing is resolute in opposing independence for Taiwan, it added.

Trump said on Twitter that Tsai had initiated the call he had with the Taiwan president. “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” he said.

Credit: reuters

Hundreds Contact Police Over Sex Abuse In UK Football

British police officials say hundreds of people have filed reports of child sex abuse within the country’s football system.

In a statement released on Thursday, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said 350 people had approached police forces across the UK with allegations of child abuse in football clubs.

Officials said the police would be investigating all of the reports they receive, with many believed to be dating back decades.

“We continue to encourage those who have been the victim of child sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place,” said Chief Constable Simon Bailey, NPCC spokesperson.

“We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.”

The police statement came as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said it had received more than 800 calls on a dedicated phone line set up to report abuse in football.

“The number of prominent footballers bravely speaking out about their ordeal has rightly caught the attention of the entire country,” said Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive.

“We have had a staggering surge in calls to our football hotline which reveals the worrying extent of abuse that had been going on within the sport.”

The flood of reports follows revelations by former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward detailed abuse he suffered in the 1980s.

Read More: aljazeera

Syria Now In Control Of 60% Of East Aleppo- Group

Syrian forces have retaken another district in the east of the city of Aleppo, now exerting control over 60 percent of the city’s militant-held eastern part, according to a monitoring group.

Joined by allied fighters, the Syrian military seized Aleppo’s Tariq al-Bab neighborhood from the militants, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.

The advance also restored control on a road leading from Aleppo’s government-held western neighborhoods to the city’s airport, which is also under government control.

Foreign-backed militants amassed in the city’s eastern side in 2012. The government has been controlling its west and fighting to retake the east.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency said the military had also wrested back control over the Karam Al-Qaterji, Jazmati, and Halwaniyah neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo. An unspecified number of the militants were killed in the operations.

The government’s advances have taken by surprise many of the foreign states that have been channeling financial and military support to the militants since the onset of the foreign-backed militancy in Syria in 2011.

Amid the victories, some countries, including France, have called for the implementation of a ceasefire in Aleppo, citing a need for secure corridors for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to the city.

On Wednesday, Russia warned that the issue of aid delivery in Syria was becoming highly politicized as most UN humanitarian aid was going to the areas occupied by foreign-backed militants. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said only one percent of the UN aid supplies was being directed to the western city of Dayr al-Zawr, where at least 200,000 people trapped by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group remain in desperate need of help.

Russia has, meanwhile, voiced outrage at the recent formation in Aleppo’s east of a militant umbrella group calling itself the Army of Aleppo, describing it a diversion tactic to shield a notorious terrorist group there.

The move, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, was just an attempt to disguise and shield al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaeda that has recently renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and has claimed to have broken up with al-Qaeda.

Lavrov said nearly all the militant groups fighting in eastern Aleppo were controlled by the Takfiri terrorist group.

“I do not rule out that this is just another attempt to rebrand al-Nusra Front and shield it from righteous retaliation,” Lavrov said, referring to the formation of the so-called Army of Aleppo.

Also on Saturday, a unit grouping army forces and its allies destroyed the positions of al-Nusra, in the suburbs of the city of al-Rastan in the southwestern Syria Dara’a Province.

Credit: presstv

Thailand’s New King Makes First Public Appearance

Thailand’s new king on Friday made his first public appearance since ascending the throne the previous day, ending a period of uncertainty since the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on Oct. 13.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, 64, took part in a merit-making ceremony at Bangkok’s Grand Palace to mark 50 days since his father’s death plunged the country into grief.

Civil servants dressed in black and white, the official colors of mourning, lined the streets to the palace as the new king’s convoy passed.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was then the crown prince, surprised some when he asked to delay his succession following the death of his father, leaving the throne unoccupied for seven weeks.

His official taking of the throne, in a brief ceremony televised late on Thursday, ends that unprecedented interregnum while raising new questions about the palace’s relationship with the generals who have been in power since a 2014 coup.

The military government has made it clear it wants to oversee economic and political developments for years to come, even after a general election it has promised to hold in 2017.

Read More: reuters

Ban Ki-moon Apologizes For UN Role In Haiti Cholera Epidemic

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has apologised for the first time to the people of Haiti for the international organisation’s role in a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed more than 9,300 people and infected over 800,000.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly we apologise to the Haitian people,” he said three times, in Haitian Creole, French and English, to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

“We simply did not do enough with regards to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti … We are profoundly sorry for our role,” Ban said.

According to numerous independent experts, cholera was introduced to Haiti by infected Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent to the Caribbean country after the massive 2010 earthquake.

Cholera, a disease that is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhea, is a major challenge in a country with poor sanitary conditions.

The UN reiterated its rejection of claims that it is also legally responsible for the damages from the health emergency.

“We do not change our basic legal position,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told reporters on Thursday.

The UN chief also formally presented the 193-nation General Assembly with a “new approach,” a two-pronged programme to help the families of the cholera victims and support the battle against the disease.

The UN hopes the new proposal will raise $400m over two years, but funding for prior UN assistance to Haiti has been slow to arrive.

Read More: aljazeera

Trump Picks “Mad Dog” James Mattis For US Secretary Of Defense

US President-elect Donald Trump has announced that retired Marine General James Mattis, an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear agreement, will serve as his secretary of defense.

“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense. But we’re not announcing it until Monday so don’t tell anybody,” Trump told a rally on Thursday in Cincinnati, the first stop on a post-election “thank-you tour.”

“They say he’s the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have and it’s about time,” he added.

Mattis, 66, served more than four decades in the Marine Corps. The retired four-star general, known as “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” had been involved in several key military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In November 2001, he led Marines that carried out a raid in helicopters on Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, giving the US military a new foothold against Taliban militants after the October 2001 American-led invasion of the country.

In 2003, Mattis commanded a division of Marines during the Iraq war, and in 2004 he led Marines in bloody street fighting in the city of Fallujah.

Like Trump, Mattis is also an opponent of the Iran nuclear agreement, which was reached last year between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Under the deal, Tehran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for removal of sanctions.

Read More: presstv

Ashes Of Fidel Castro Begin Final Journey Across Cuba

The ashes of Cuban leader Fidel Castro began a four-day journey across Cuba on Wednesday to his final resting place, retracing the late communist leader’s revolution victory tour of 1959.

The “caravan of freedom” left at 7:16 am (1216 GMT) from Havana, and will make symbolic stops along a 950-kilometer (590-mile) route that will end in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba over the weekend.

The urn containing the remains of Castro, who died Friday at age 90, was covered by a Cuban flag and protected by a crystal covering as it was transported.

Senior officials of the government and Communist Party, and Castro’s longtime partner, Dalia Soto del Valle, attended the farewell ceremony at the armed forces ministry before the caravan headed out to travel through 13 of the Caribbean island nation’s 15 provinces.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets, waving Cuban flags and shouting “Vivas!” to the late leader as the seven-vehicle motorcade passed by, escorted by police on motorcycles.

The trip follows two days of tributes in Havana where massive crowds were encouraged by the government to view a picture memorial to Castro at the Revolution Square.

The commemorations in the capital ended with a massive rally Tuesday night at the square attended by Latin American, African and Caribbean leaders, along with the Greek prime minister — the only European leader at the event.

Raul Castro, 85, expressed his gratitude for the “countless gestures of solidarity and affection from around the world” after his brother’s death. The rally ended with the revolutionary battle cry, “Until victory, always!”

Castro ruled from 1959 until an illness forced him to hand power to Raul in 2006.

Read More:


Saudi Prince Seeks To End Ban On Women Driving

An outspoken billionaire Saudi prince has called for an “urgent” end to his country’s ban on women driving, saying it is a matter not just of rights but of economic necessity.

“Stop the debate: Time for women to drive,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on his official Twitter account.

Alwaleed is an unusually forthright member of Saudi Arabia’s extensive royal family. He holds no political posts but chairs Kingdom Holding Co., which has interests including in US banking giant Citigroup and the Euro Disney theme park.

He is a longtime advocate of women’s rights in the conservative Islamic kingdom, which has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women and is the only country where they are not allowed to drive.

In conjunction with his short tweet, Alwaleed’s office issued an uncharacteristically long statement late Tuesday outlining his reasons for supporting an end to the ban. “Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity,” Alwaleed said.

“They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.” He also detailed the “economic costs” of women having to rely on foreign private drivers or taxis, since public transit is not a viable alternative in the kingdom.

Using foreign drivers drains billions of dollars from the Saudi economy, Alwaleed said. He calculated that families spend an average of 3,800 riyals ($1,000/940 euros) a month on a driver, money which otherwise could help household incomes at a time when many are making do with less. Even if their husbands can take time out to transport the women, that requires temporarily leaving the office and “undermines the productivity of the workforce,” Alwaleed said.

“Having women drive has become an urgent social demand predicated upon current economic circumstances.” The prince said he is making his call on behalf of those with “limited means”.

Activists say women’s driving is not technically illegal but that the ban is linked to tradition and custom. Some women have challenged the prohibition by getting behind the wheel and posting images of themselves online.

Read More:


Trump Vows To ‘Remove’ Himself From His Business

Donald Trump promised Wednesday to ‘remove’ himself from his businesses and said he will announce details in two weeks about how he’ll avoid conflicts of interest when he is president.

Trump used his favorite method of communicating with the public — Twitter — to announce plans for a “major news conference” on Dec. 15 to discuss plans to leave the Trump Organization.

His adult children, whom he has said he will put in charge of the company, will be a part of the news conference.

Trump owns or has a position in more than 500 companies, according to a CNN analysis. That includes about 150 that have done business in at least 25 foreign countries, including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

There have been growing questions about the potential conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s continued business interests and his role as president. A poll by CNN found that 6 in 10 Americans believe Trump is not doing enough to address conflicts of interest.

His tweets said he is not mandated to leave his business by law, but that “I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

Trump also said he is doing so “in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again.” Legal documents are being crafted which take him completely out of business operations, he claimed. “The Presidency is a far more important task!”

Read More: CNN

Burn American Flag, Go To Jail; Trump Warns

The President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, has warned that anybody who burns American flag may lose citizenship or go to jail.

He posted this on his Twitter handle on Tuesday.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!,” he said.

Credit: dailytrust

Activists Push For US Presidential Election Votes’ Recount

A growing number of academics and activists are calling for US authorities to fully audit or recount the 2016 presidential election vote in key battleground states, in case the results could have been skewed by foreign hackers.

The loose coalition, which is urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to join its fight, is preparing to deliver a report detailing its concerns to congressional committee chairs and federal authorities early next week, according to two people involved.

“I’m interested in verifying the vote,” said Dr Barbara Simons, an adviser to the US election assistance commission and expert on electronic voting. “We need to have post-election ballot audits.” Simons is understood to have contributed analysis to the effort but declined to characterise the precise nature of her involvement.

A second group of analysts, led by the National Voting Rights Institute founder John Bonifaz and Professor Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan’s center for computer security and society, is also taking part in the push for a review, and has been in contact with Simons.

In a blogpost early on Wednesday, Halderman said paper ballots and voting equipment should be examined in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, warning that deadlines were rapidly approaching.

“Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts,” he said.

The developments follow Clinton’s surprise defeat to Donald Trump in the 8 November vote, and come after US intelligence authorities released public assessments that Russian hackers were behind intrusions into regional electoral computer systems and the theft of emails from Democratic officials before the election.


Mexican Cement Company Offers To Help Trump Build His “Big, Beautiful, Powerful” Border Wall

A Mexican cement maker is ready to lend its services to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to build the wall he wants to erect on the southern border of the United States to curb immigration.

“We can’t be choosy,” Enrique Escalante, Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) said in an interview. “We’re an important producer in that area and we have to respect our clients on both sides of the border.”

Based in Chihuahua, a large northern state bordering Texas and New Mexico, GCC is one of the biggest construction materials companies in Mexico. It generates around 70 percent of its sales in the United States, where it also has three plants.

Escalante said Trump’s plans to invest in energy and infrastructure in the United States augured well for the firm.

“For the business we’re in, Trump is a candidate that does favor the industry quite a bit,” Escalante said.

Luckily for Trump, and Grupo Cementos, the National Enquirer has already drawn up “construction plans & blueprints.”

Read More: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-23/



Obama Gives His Final Presidential Medals Of Freedom To Diana Ross, Jordan, De Niro, Springsteen, Others

Basketball star, Michael Jordan, actor Robert De Niro and music legend, Bruce Springsteen, were among the 21 people honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by outing President Barack Obama.

During a ceremony at the White House, President Obama gave out the awards which is the nation’s highest civilian honour – for his last time to a diverse group of sports stars, scientists, artistes and philanthropists.

“Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful personal way,” Obama said. “It’s useful when you think about this incredible collection of people to realise that this is what makes us the greatest nation on earth.

“Not because of what we are, not because of our differences, but because in our differences we find something common to share.”

According to AFP, the star-studded group included actors Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, basketball great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, cultural icon, Diana Ross and comedian and talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres.

While speaking on the accomplishments of DeGeneres, Obama lauded the comedian’s courage for coming out as a gay.

Read More:


I’ll Build a Fence, Rather Than a Wall – Trump

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has softened his initial immigration threat to build a wall along the United States border line with Mexico.

Speaking with New York Times on Tuesday, Trump said he might have to build a fence, rather than a wall, in some areas of the U.S.- Mexican border to stop illegal immigration.

This is contrary to one of his signature campaign promises on immigration where he promised to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump also for the first time did not sound so optimistic about investigating and prosecuting his rival at the polls, Hillary Clinton.

“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways,” he told reporters, editors and other newspaper officials at the Times headquarters in Manhattan.

Recall that during his campaign, Trump never missed to stress how he would prosecute Clinton for her family’s charitable foundation or her use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state.

The U.S. President-Elect is also reconsidering his threat to back out of the International Climate Change Deal saying he was now keeping an ‘open mind’.

He in an interview that he thinks there is “some connectivity” between human activity and global warming, despite previously describing climate change as a hoax.

Recall that Trump had been quoted as seeking the fastest way to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

But speaking on Tuesday, Trump said “I’m looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it.” U.S. withdrawal from the pact, agreed to by almost 200 countries, would set back international efforts to limit rising temperatures that have been linked to the extinctions of animals and plants, heat waves, floods and rising sea levels.

Trump also said that he was thinking about climate change and American competitiveness and “how much it will cost our companies,” he said.

Two people advising Trump’s transition team on energy and environment issues said they were caught off guard by his remarks.

A shift on global warming is the latest sign Trump might be backing away from some of his campaign rhetoric as life in the Oval Office approaches, Reuters reports.

Trump Announces South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley UN Ambassador

US President-elect Donald Trump has announced South Carolina Governor,  Nikki Haley, as UN ambassador.

Haley, 44, a rising star in the Republican Party and a daughter of Indian immigrants, has led South Carolina since 2011. She is Trump’s first female appointee to a Cabinet-level post, and she would be taking on a position that requires intense diplomatic and navigational skills in an often-frustrating international bureaucracy.

In 2015, Haley drew national praise and attention for her response to a mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, when she called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of the state capitol. “By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven,” she said, while acknowledging that some saw the flag as a symbol of tradition.

During the Republican presidential primary, Haley was sharply critical of Trump’s policies, especially his proposal for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, which she called “un-American.” Haley’s parents are members of the Sikh faith, but she’s a Christian and attends a Methodist church.

Haley endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio ahead of the South Carolina primary, and campaigned with him vigorously throughout the state, which he lost by 10 percentage points to Trump. And when she delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Haley urged the party to reject the “angriest voices” — a line widely seen as aimed at Trump.

Trump punched back, tweeting: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”

“Bless your heart,” she responded.

Haley met with Trump late last week, however, and afterwards described him as “a friend and supporter before he ran for president.”

She explained her criticism of Trump as truth-telling, not an irrevocable breach: “When I see something I am uncomfortable with, I say it. When we met, it was friends who had known each other before.”


Read more: politico.com

How Trump’s divisive and ugly views may affect US World Cup bid – Bradley

A former manager of the United States national team, Bob Bradley, has expressed fears that United States’ President-elect, Donald Trump’s “divisive and ugly” campaign comments would thwart America’s dreams of staging the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 2026 World Cup.

The USA is bidding to stage the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles while the United States Soccer Federation, USSF, has expressed interest in bidding to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, either alone or with neighbouring Mexico.

But Trump’s comments during his campaign about banning Muslims from entering the country; building a wall along the Mexican border; and withdrawing from international organisations has raised fears that the country could miss out on staging the world’s two biggest sporting events.

And the newly appointed Swansea City boss Bradley, who led the USA into the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, noted, “Everything that the President does in terms of domestic policy and international relations determines how you are received in all different areas, including sports.

“The next World Cup is in Russia and, when you take some of the things that are going on between Russia and Ukraine, there is going to be debate before the tournament.

“I can only hope moving forward that the responsibilities of the job of President will show a marked difference from what we saw throughout the campaign.”

Bradley who left the U.S national team in 2011 has not worked in his homeland since his five-year reign came to an end.

He became the first American to manage in the Premier League when he was appointed Swansea boss at the start of October.

The coach who kept a close eye on the battle to the White House believes the views of the President-elect do not represent traditional American values.

He said, “I didn’t like any part of the Trump campaign, I can’t stand this type of message.

“I can’t put up with the type of values that don’t include an understanding of people that come from different backgrounds.

“And I can’t put up with values that don’t take into account that people sometimes don’t have everything that you have.

“I think our country was built upon caring about people who came from different places.

“I guess if you want to be optimistic you just have to hope that the responsibilities of the job make a big difference in the way Trump handles himself.

“Because if you just go by the campaign, for me it was divisive and ugly.”

Trump Urged to Denounce White Nationalists Supporters

Donald Trump faced growing calls Tuesday to denounce a fringe white nationalist group that celebrated his election win with rousing Nazi salutes.

The so-called National Policy Institute held a conference Saturday around the corner from the White House. It had been scheduled before the results of the November 8 election were known.

The group describes itself as an organization dedicated to “the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.” It is part of the far-right movement known as the alt-right.

One of the conference organizers, Richard Spencer, concluded a speech by shouting “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” — reminiscent of the German ‘heil’.

Some of the people in the crowd clapped wildly, cheered and gave the Nazi salute. This was seen in a video excerpt posted online by the magazine The Atlantic.

Trump attacked the cast of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” over the weekend when it expressed worry that his administration might not respect America’s racial and cultural diversity.

“Mr. Trump’s itchy Twitter finger, however, fell silent when 200 or so white nationalists of the ‘alt-right’ movement gathered … to celebrate his election with a very public coming-out party filled with racist and anti-Semitic filth,” the New York Times said in an editorial Tuesday.

“Mr. Trump, who brought this group out of the shadows during the campaign, has a duty to unequivocally denounce its toxic propaganda,” the newspaper said.

The National Policy Institute says on its website that “the past 12 months might be remembered as the year of Donald Trump … the year of the Red Pill … and the year of the Alt Right.”

The pill reference comes from the 1999 movie “Matrix” and refers to the act of embracing reality.

The NPI adds: “It was a time when more people joined our movement then ever before and when our ideas began invading the mainstream.”

Spencer told the Times he does not believe Trump should be considered alt-right.

“I do think we have a psychic connection, or you can say a deeper connection, with Donald Trump in a way that we simply do not have with most Republicans,” Spencer said.

Trump has caused alarm among Democrats and other critics by naming as his chief strategist Steve Bannon, former head of the news website Breitbart, associated with white nationalism.

“If Trump doesn’t do something more forceful to disown his neo-Nazi hangers on, they will continue their brazen march into the mainstream,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote Tuesday.

“There is room for cooperation on much of Trump’s agenda. But cooperation is difficult, if not impossible, when a president gives sanction to bigotry,” Milbank added.


Donald Trump Reveals What He Plans To Do 100 Days In Office (WATCH VIDEO)

Nearly two weeks after winning the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has yet to hold a single news conference — an unprecedented move for the president-elect and a sign his administration will likely be one of the least accessible to the press (and therefore the public) in recent history.

Dodging reporters altogether, the president-elect instead opted to release a “video message” on Monday via the Transition 2017 social media channels, explaining his plans for his first 100 days in office and giving a brief, non-update about how the transition is going.

As with his campaign, in the video, Trump claims his overarching goal is to put “America first.” This allegedly entails withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office; removing restrictions on energy production; reducing the number of regulations (his idea: with everyone new one, remove two old ones); developing a plan to protect America’s infrastructure from cyber-attacks; investigating “abuses” of all visa programs; and imposing a five-year ban on lobbying.

“These are just a few of the steps we will take to reform Washington and rebuild our middle class,” he said. “I will provide more updates in the coming days, as we work together to make America great again for everyone, and I mean everyone.”

Credit: Cosmopolitan

Duterte Slams Critics of His War on Drugs: “If You Destroy My Country, I will Kill You.”

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has continued to hit the international headlines, hurling insults at Barack Obama, threatening to end the Philippines-US alliance, and waging a brutal war on drugs that is earning him condemnation from around the world.

Now, Rodrigo Duterte: The President’s Report Card offers a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most controversial leaders.  In this revealing documentary, 101 East senior presenter and reporter Steve Chao spends time with the President as he continues his ruthless crackdown on drugs, hunts down Abu Sayaaf militants, and launches an expletive-ridden attack on the Philippines’ long-time ally, the US.

With the type of access not granted to any other media, Chao follows Duterte on his busy Presidential schedule, travels with him on his private jet, visits the Presidential palace and even shares in Duterte’s rare moments of relaxation.  In a series of explosive interviews, Duterte shows he has no intention of backing down from his uncompromising crackdown on drugs. “During the campaign, I said I would stop corruption… I will suppress drugs, I will suppress crime… and I am doing it.”

The European Union, the US and the United Nations have condemned allegations of extrajudicial killings but Duterte is unrepentant.  “What is their f****** problem?” he asks Al Jazeera. “I am not here to serve the UN Rapporteur or the EU. I am here to serve my own countrymen. Who are they to me… they are nothing.”

He admits, “I never went to a school called the Academy for a Statesman.  I am not a statesman; I do not aspire to be one.  I just would like to be an ordinary President who can f*** you … if you f *** with me.”

“If you destroy my country, I will kill you,” he warns drug dealers.

He also says he wants the US out of the Philippines, signaling an end to their long-standing alliance.  “I believe they should be out, because of their bullying,” he says. “Somebody has to stand up against them.”

Chao gets a brutally close look at the human cost of Duterte’s war on drugs, arriving at a bloody crime scene just moments after yet another police shooting. He finds a young man shot dead on the street, still wearing handcuffs.

Chao also meets a hitman who claims he was a member of Duterte’s personal death squad for more than 20 years and carried out gruesome killings on his behalf.  “I couldn’t do anything without his orders. I received a salary from City Hall,” says Edgar Matobato, who now fears for his life after testifying before the Philippines’ Senate.  Matobato says he even witnessed Duterte pulling the trigger himself, a claim Duterte denies.

Chao travels to the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where Duterte is waging another war. Jolo is the heartland of Abu Sayaaf, a heavily armed group that has pledged allegiance to ISIL.  With Duterte sending 10,000 troops to wipe them out, 101 East looks at whether he is likely to succeed.

In a surprising move, Duterte also tells 101 East that he will take in all of the world’s refugees. “They can always come here, and I will even welcome them. Until we are filled to the brim … I say send them to us.”

In this extraordinary episode, 101 East goes behind the scenes for an intimate look at one of the most controversial leaders in the world today.


French Police Foil Terror attack, Arrest Seven

Police have broken up a terror ring  plotting an attack in France after arresting seven individuals in Strasbourg and Marseille, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.

The weekend arrests of seven suspects — of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin — “enabled us to prevent a long-planned terror attack on our soil,” Cazeneuve told a televised news conference.


Why Melania Trump, Son Won’t Be Moving Into The White House

Wife of US President-elect, and future First Lady, Ms. Melania Trump will not be moving to the White House after Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

The 46-year-old wife and their 10-year-old son, Barron are staying put at the family’s Trump Tower penthouse so that Barron can continue attending his Upper West Side private school, according to The New York Times.

“Melania is extremely close to Barron, and they have become closer during the campaign,” said a source close to Trump’s transition team. “The campaign has been difficult for Barron, and she is really hoping to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Another source said Melania Trump will travel to the White House as needed, but that her primary focus is on Barron.

“Melania is very supportive of her husband and is fully on board of doing everything that’s needed as first lady,” said the second source familiar with the Trump transition.

That source said also that there is a possibility that Melania and Barron may move to the White House at the end of the school year, but no plans are in place.

“She is really devoted to Barron,” said a source close to the family, adding that Melania has not relied on nannies to raise the child and is frequently seen picking the fourth-grader up from his prep school, where tuition is north of $40,000.

SSANU urge Buhari to Sack Three Vice-Chancellors over Alleged Corruption

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack three vice-chancellors over alleged abuse of office, gross misconduct and corrupt practices.

The vice-chancellors are: Prof Olusola Oyewole of Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Prof Biyi Daramola of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) and Prof. Michael Adikwu of University of Abuja(UNIABUJA).

SSANU’s national vice-president western zone, Comrade Alfred Jimoh made the call yesterday while addressing reporters at Ibadan.

He accused Oyewole of sacking SSANU members when he discovered they exposed his alleged corruption and abuse of office to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Jimoh said: “As at the last count, he has sacked 23 members of SSANU in FUNAAB without following due process and he is still threatening to sack more.

“Yet he has not been able to disprove any of the allegations against him.

“Also in FUTA, a similar scenario is happening and Prof Daramola has been accused of corrupt practices and should be placed on suspension.

“At UNIABUJA, Adikwu has suspended the chairman and secretary of SSANU without even half salary for daring to ask questions about ongoing maladministration in the University of Abuja.”

He alleged SSANU members were being victimised for keying into the anti-corruption crusade of the current administration.

The union called for immediate recall and protection of all its members sacked by the rampaging vice chancellors.

It also demanded for immediate arraignment of the affected vice chancellors by the EFCC and ICPC.

Germany’s Merkel Announces Bid for Fourth Term

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced late on Sunday that she will run for a fourth term in office in general elections next year in order “to serve Germany … in these difficult and uncertain times.” Support for the 62-year-old Christian Democrat (CDU) – who has been in power since 2005 – has waned over the past year amid fierce criticism of her handling of the refugee crisis and the rise of a right-wing populist movement.

A dominant figure in European politics with no clear domestic rival for the chancellorship, Merkel is seen as a strong contender to win another term, which would make her one of the longest-serving chancellors in German history.

In a scheduled press conference widely expected to address the speculation surrounding her political future, Merkel said the upcoming general election would be “more difficult than any before.” German society was facing strong polarization and the political centre was facing “challenges from all sides,” she said. She said she was honoured by high expectations of what she could achieve in a possible fourth term – especially since a surprise election win for Donald Trump gave a boost to political outsiders – but said such hopes were “grotesque and downright absurd.”

The CDU’s grand coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has not yet put forward a candidate for the chancellorship. Thomas Oppermann, head of the SPD’s parliamentary group, told dpa earlier, after she had revealed her decision to her own party: “The parliamentary election is up for grabs. Angela Merkel is no longer invincible.” Fifty-five per cent of Germans said they want to see a continuation of Merkel’s time as head of government, while 39 per cent wanted a new leader, according to an Emnid poll commissioned by the Bild tabloid on Sunday. Merkel’s candidacy comes against the backdrop of political turbulence across Europe, especially in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, and as growing populist movements siphon off support from the political centre ground.

Trump’s victory in the US election and the imminent departure of Merkel’s close ally, Barack Obama, also reheated speculation on the future of the German leader. A chancellor can serve a maximum of four years in office. CDU co-founder Konrad Adenauer held the position for 14 years, with Merkel’s one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, holding the record at 16 years in power.

The German constitution does not limit the number of terms that a chancellor can serve.

EU States Agree Visa-Free Travel For Ukraine

European Union states agreed on Thursday to waive visas for Ukrainians on short visits, but only after the bloc beefs up a mechanism to suspend visa-free agreements in an emergency.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, has fostered closer ties with the EU since Moscow annexed its Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and started backing rebels fighting Kiev’s troops in the east of the country.

Many difficulties to progress remain, not least Ukraine’s sluggish fight against endemic corruption and the EU’s caution on immigration after the arrival of about 1.3 million refugees and migrants in 2015, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa.

But, a week before an EU-Ukraine summit on Nov. 24, EU states gave their conditional backing to allowing Ukrainians to travel visa-free to the bloc for short visits.

Implementation, however, will take time as further negotiations are needed between the EU states, the European Parliament and the bloc’s executive European Commission.

The decision on Thursday also says visa liberalisation for Ukraine should not take effect until after the bloc – wary of a repeat of last year’s refugee influx – rolls out a beefed-up mechanism to lift any visa waivers in case of emergency.

Talks on the so-called suspension mechanism have been making slow progress and diplomats say it could take weeks before it is in place.

CEO of US cybersecurity Firm Resigns After Trump Threat

The CEO of a cybersecurity firm in San Diego has resigned after posting on his now-deleted Facebook page threatening comments about President-elect Donald Trump.

Matt Harrigan, who founded PacketSled, stepped down on Tuesday after his online postings prompted a backlash and calls for a probe.

The company said that it had accepted Harrigan’s resignation after he admitted to posting the online comments on election night November 8 as the shock outcome of the vote became clear.

“Once we were made aware of these comments, we immediately reported the information to the Secret Service and will cooperate fully with any inquiries,” the company said in a statement.

Harrigan in his expletive-laden online rant wrote that he would be “getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts.”

He added, apparently addressing Trump: “Find a bedroom in the whitehouse (sic) that suits you (expletive). I’ll find you.”

He later apologized in a Twitter message saying his comments were a “flawed joke” taken out of context and that he had no “malicious intention” toward Trump.

Saudi Activist Given 2-year Jail Term Over Tweets

Saudi Arabia has handed down a 2-year prison sentence to an activist on charges that he used Twitter to encourage protests against the ruling Al Saud regime and to urge the release of political prisoners.

The unnamed man was found guilty and sentenced to jail by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on Wednesday for his tweets, among other offenses. This Saudi court’s jurisdiction involves terrorism-related charges.

The activist was accused of opening Twitter accounts and using them to call for gatherings against the Saudi regime, and inciting “riots” to demand the release of detainees who are imprisoned for security and terrorism charges.

His charges included being hostile to the Saudi dynasty and publishing posts offensive to security forces as well as King Salman.

According to Saudi media, the man’s mobile has been confiscated and his active Twitter account shut. He is also barred from traveling and posting messages on social media sites for two years after his release.

The monarchy is consistently singled out and criticized for its widespread violation of human rights. US-based Human Rights Watch and UK-based Amnesty International have both condemned Saudi Arabia for cracking down on activists and political dissidents.

Back in March, the Amnesty released a statement, saying the kingdom had enforced an “abusive” anti-terror law, which associates peaceful protests with terrorism and allows it to hand down lengthy jail terms to peaceful critics and human rights activists after holding “deeply unfair” trials for them.

Saudi Arabia has put several prominent reform activists behind bars since 2001 when the country’s first criminal procedure code was introduced.

The regime allows for up to 10 years of imprisonment for anyone who is charged with offending the Saudi monarch and causing panic among the public.

Read More: presstv

Protest Turns Violent During Obama’s Visit To Greece

Six people have been arrested in the Greek capital after a group of anarchists started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails following an anti-capitalism protest, Athens police told CNN.

The trouble came as Barack Obama visits Athens on his final state tour as President of the United States. He gave a speech Wednesday after touring the Acropolis, the complex of monuments known as the “cradle of democracy,” in which he said democracy was “complicated” and “messy” but designed to correct mistakes.
The arrests occurred Tuesday after a peaceful demonstration, organized by the Communist Party and permitted by police, in Omonia Square near central Athens.
About 5,000 people attended the anti-establishment protest, police said. After it was over, a group of some 100 to 150 anarchists became violent, police said.
Unrest broke out as the group tried to break through a police cordon to march to the US Embassy and Presidential Mansion, where Obama was attending an official state dinner.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails, and police responded with stun grenades and tear gas, dispersing the crowds who eventually retreated into the side streets.
Three officers suffered minor injuries, police said.

Ukraine begs Trump for Help against Russian Aggression

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko asked Donald Trump for support against “Russian aggression” during a congratulatory telephone conversation with the US president-elect on Tuesday.

Trump’s shock election victory has been met with trepidation in Kiev because of the outspoken reality TV star’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his apparent indifference to the Western coalition against Moscow.

The billionaire businessman suggested earlier this year the US could accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea if it led to improved relations between the two nations, which are bitterly at odds over Syria.

Poroshenko congratulated Trump on his victory and said he wished “to work together with his administration to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States”, according to a statement by the Ukrainian presidency.

He also “underlined the necessity of strong support from Washington in the fight against Russian aggression and the implementation of crucial reforms” in Ukraine.

The two men agreed to organise “a bilateral meeting”, the statement said, without giving further details.

The US election outcome had sparked fears in the ex-Soviet republic after Trump was accused several times by his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton of being Putin’s “puppet”.

Earlier this week, Poroshenko said he had “no doubt” that Trump would refuse to recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Putin and Trump spoke on the phone on Monday evening for the first time since the US vote, agreeing on the need to normalise ties between Washington and Moscow, the Kremlin said.

After Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014, which saw US-Russia relations dip to their worst since the Cold War, Washington imposed heavy economic sanctions on Russia.

Russia also has been accused by Washington of supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin denies.