U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.
Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. The world, he said, is facing a grave climate emergency.''<br />
In remarks at a summit in Abu Dhabi, he painted a grim picture of how rapidly climate change is advancing, saying it is outpacing efforts to address it.<br />
He lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.<br />
Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.<br />
<br />It is plain to me that we have no time to lose,” Guterres said. Sadly, it is not yet plain to all the decision makers that run our world.''<br />
He spoke at the opulent Emirates Palace, where Abu Dhabi was hosting a preparatory meeting for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in September. Guterres was expected to later take a helicopter ride to view Abu Dhabi's Noor solar power plant.<br />
When asked, U.N. representatives said the lavish Abu Dhabi summit and his planned helicopter ride would be carbon neutral, meaning their effects would be balanced by efforts like planting trees and sequestering emissions. The U.N. says carbon dioxide emissions account for around 80% of global warming.<br />
Guterres was in Abu Dhabi fresh off meetings with The Group of 20 leaders in Osaka, Japan. There, he appealed directly to heads of state of the world's main emitters to step up their efforts. The countries of the G-20 represent 80% of world emissions of greenhouse gases, he said.<br />
At the G-20 meeting, 19 countries expressed their commitment to the Paris agreement, with the only the United States dissenting.<br />
In 2017, President Donald Trump pledged to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement as soon as 2020, arguing it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers. Trump has also moved steadily to dismantle Obama administration efforts to rein in coal, oil and gas emissions. His position has been that these efforts also hurt the U.S. economy.<br />
The secretary-general's special envoy for the climate summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, told The Associated Press it was disappointing that the U.S. has pulled out from the accord. However, he said there are many examples of efforts at the local and state level in the United States to combat climate change.<br />
<br />I think it is very important to have all countries committing to this cause… even more when we are talking about the country of the importance and the size – not only in terms of the economy but also the emissions – of the United States,” he said.
Guterres is urging business leaders and politicians to come to the Climate Action Summit later this year with their plans ready to nearly halve greenhouse emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
He suggested taxing major carbon-emitting industries and polluters, ending the subsidization of oil and gas, and halting the building of all new coal plants by next year.
We are in a battle for our lives,'' he said.But it is a battle we can win.”
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Sudan on Sunday against the ruling generals, calling for a civilian government nearly three months after the army forced out the long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The mass protests, centered in the capital, Khartoum, were the first since a June 3 crackdown when security forces violently broke up a protest camp. In that confrontation, dozens were killed, with protest organizers saying the death toll was at least 128, while authorities claim it was 61, including three security personnel.
Sunday’s demonstrators gathered at several points across Khartoum and in the sister city of Omdurman, then marching to the homes of those killed in previous protests.
The protesters, some of them waving Sudanese flags, chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!” and “Burhan’s council, just fall,” targeting Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the military council. Security forces fired tear gas at the demonstrators.
Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council, said the generals want to reach an “urgent and comprehensive agreement with no exclusion. We in the military council are totally neutral. We are the guardians of the revolution. We do not want to be part of the dispute.”
The European Union and several Western countries have called on the generals to avoid bloodshed.
The June 3 raid followed the collapse of talks on a new government, whether it should be led by a civilian or soldier.
Ethiopia and the African Union have offered a plan for a civilian-majority body, which the generals say could be the basis for new negotiations.
Sometimes, modern problems require ancient solutions.
A 1,400-year-old Peruvian water-diverting method could supply up to 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of water to present-day Lima each year, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability.
It’s one example of how indigenous methods could supplement existing modern infrastructure in water-scarce countries worldwide.
More than a billion people across the world face water scarcity. Artificial reservoirs store rainwater and runoff for use during drier times, but reservoirs are costly, require years to plan and can still fail to meet water needs. Just last week, the reservoirs in Chennai, India, ran nearly dry, forcing its 4 million residents to rely on government water tankers.
Peru’s capital, Lima, depends on water from rivers high in the Andes. It takes only a few days for water to flow down to Lima, so when the dry season begins in the mountains, the water supply rapidly vanishes. The city suffers water deficit of 43 million cubic meters during the dry season, which it alleviates with modern infrastructure such as artificial reservoirs.
Artificial reservoirs aren’t the only solution, however. Over a thousand years ago, indigenous people developed another way of dealing with water shortages. Boris Ochoa-Tocachi, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, saw firsthand one of the last remaining pre-Inca water-harvesting systems in the small highland community of Huamantanga, Peru.
Water diverted, delayed
The 1,400-year-old system is designed to increase the water supply during the dry season by diverting and delaying water as it travels down from the mountains. This nature-based “green” infrastructure consists of stone canals that guide water from its source to a network of earthen canals, ponds, springs and rocky hillsides, which encourage water to seep into the ground. It then slowly trickles downhill through the soil and resurfaces in streams near the community.
Ideally, the system should be able to increase the water’s travel time from days to months in order to provide water throughout the dry season, “but there was no evidence at all to quantify what is the water volume that they can harvest from these practices, or really if the practices were actually increasing the yields of these springs that they used during the dry season,” said Ochoa-Tocachi.
To assess the system’s capabilities, the researchers measured how much it slowed the flow of water by injecting a dye tracer high upstream and noting when it resurfaced downstream. The water started to emerge two weeks later and continued flowing for eight months — a huge improvement over the hours or days it would normally take.
“I think probably the most exciting result is that we actually confirmed that this system works,” Ochoa-Tocachi added. “It’s not only trusting that, yeah, we know that there are traditional practices, we know that indigenous knowledge is very useful. I think that we proved that it is still relevant today. It is still a tool that we can use and we can replicate to solve modern problems.”
Considerable increase in supply
The researchers next considered how implementing a scaled-up version of the system could benefit Lima. Combining what they learned from the existing setup in Huamantanga with the physical characteristics of Lima’s surroundings, they estimated that the system could increase Lima’s dry-season water supply by 7.5% on average, and up to 33% at the beginning of the dry season. This amounts to nearly 100 million cubic meters of water per year — the equivalent of 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Todd Gartner, director of the World Resources Institute Natural Infrastructure for Water project, noted that this study “takes what we often just talk about — that ‘green [infrastructure] is as good as grey’ — and it puts this into practice and does a lot of evaluation and monitoring and puts real numbers behind it.”
Another benefit of the system is the cost. Ochoa-Tocachi estimated that building a series of canals similar to what exists in Huamantanga would cost 10 times less than building a reservoir of the same volume. He also noted that many highland societies elsewhere in the world have developed ways of diverting and delaying water in the past and could implement them today to supplement their more expensive modern counterparts.
“I think there is a lot of potential in revaluing these water-harvesting practices that have a very long history,” Ochoa-Tocachi said. “There are a lot of these practices that still now could be rescued and could be replicated, even though probably the actual mechanics or the actual process is different than the one that we studied. But the concept of using indigenous knowledge for solving modern engineering problems, I think that is probably very valuable today.”
Tens of thousands of people turned out for gay pride celebrations around the world on Saturday, including a boisterous party in Mexico and the first pride march in North Macedonia’s capital.
Rainbow flags and umbrellas swayed and music pounded as the march along Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma avenue got underway, with couples, families and activists seeking to raise visibility for sexual diversity in the country.
Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and gay marriage since 2009. A handful of Mexican states have also legalized same-sex unions, which are supposed to be recognized nationwide. But pride participants said Mexico has a long way to go in becoming a more tolerant and accepting place for LGBTQ individuals.
“There’s a lot of machismo, a lot of ignorance still,” said Monica Nochebuena, who identifies as bisexual.
Nochebuena, 28, attended the Mexico City march for the first time with her mother and sister on Saturday, wearing a shirt that said: “My mama already knows.” Her mother’s shirt read: “My daughter already told me.”
Human rights activist Jose Luis Gutierrez, 43, said the march is about visibility, and rights, especially for Mexico’s vulnerable transgender population. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says that poverty, exclusion and violence reduce life expectancy for trans women in the Americas to 35 years.
In New York City, Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan led to a riot and days of demonstrations that morphed into a sustained LGBTQ liberation movement. The city’s huge Pride parade on Sunday will swing past the bar.
Other LGBTQ celebrations took place from India to Europe, with more events planned for Sunday.
In the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm attended the first pride march there in a festive and incident-free atmosphere despite a countermarch organized by religious and “pro-family” organizations.
People from across Macedonia took part, along with marchers from neighboring Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia and other countries.
“This year Skopje joined more than 70 Pride [marches] and the USA are very proud to be part of this,” Schweitzer-Bluhm told reporters. “There is a lot of progress here in North Macedonia but still a lot has to be done.”
Thousands marched through Madrid on Saturday to ask the Spanish capital’s new mayor not to ditch ambitious traffic restrictions in the center only recently set up to improve air quality.
“Madrid Central,” as it is called, was one of the measures that persuaded the European Commission not to take Spain to court last year over its bad air pollution in the capital and Barcelona, as it did with France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
“Fewer cars, better air” and “The new city hall seriously harms your health” were the messages on banners as protesters walked through the city’s center in 40-degree-Celsius heat.
The capital’s new conservative mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, made ditching “Madrid Central” a priority during his campaign, saying it had done nothing to ease pollution and only caused a nuisance for locals.
But since he has taken power as part of a coalition with center-right party Ciudadanos, city officials have toned this down, saying the government is merely seeking to reform a system that does not work properly, having mistakingly handed out some fines.
When the system was launched in November, Madrid followed in the steps of other European cities such as London, Stockholm and Milan that have restricted traffic in their centers.
But while in these cases drivers can pay to enter such zones, Madrid went a step further, banning many vehicles from accessing the center altogether and fining them if they did.
These fines will be suspended from July 1 to the end of September as the new city hall team audits the system.
For Beatriz Navarro, 44, a university biochemistry professor who took part in the march, the system is working fine.
“It’s a small seed … among everything that has to be done to slow down climate change,” she said.
In a statement, environmental group Ecologistas en Accion said “the levels of pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) registered during May this year were lower than those of 2018 in all the [measuring] stations in the system.”
“In 14 of the 24 stations [in Madrid], the value registered in May 2019 was the lowest in the last 10 years.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said early Sunday that his schedule while in South Korea would include a visit with U.S. troops and a trip to the Demilitarized Zone.
It did not mention, however, the invitation Trump had sent through social media on Saturday, in which he tweeted an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet him at the border “to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!
Trump later said he would feel “very comfortable” stepping across the border into North Korea. If that happened, it would be the first time a sitting U.S. president visited North Korea.
Kim has not responded to Trump’s offer. But North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, called the invitation an “interesting suggestion.”
“We see it as a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received an official proposal in this regard,” Choe said in a statement published in the official Korean Central News Agency.
“It would serve as another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations,” Choe added.
Another meeting between Trump and Kim could help reset stalled nuclear talks. But a meeting without substance risks becoming theatrics and would appear to further legitimize the North Korean leader, many analysts warn.
“The DMZ is too consequential a venue to be used simply as backdrop for a photo op,” said Daniel Russel, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.
Trump and Kim met in Singapore last June and in Vietnam in February. Since Vietnam, working-level negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have broken down because of disagreement over how to pace sanctions relief with the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
In recent weeks, Trump and Kim have exchanged personal letters, raising hopes the talks may get back on track. But it isn’t clear how additional top-level diplomacy can advance the talks, as neither side appears to have softened their negotiating position.
A key indicator of progress is whether North Korean counterparts meet with U.S. Special Representative Stephen Biegun, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
“Progress on inter-Korean relations and denuclearization requires that the Kim regime agree to working-level talks to negotiate next steps,” Easley said. Absent substantive talks, further summits with Kim “run the risk of appearing to accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” he added.
Meeting at JSA?
U.S. officials haven’t said where along the 250-kilometer Demilitarized Zone Trump intended to visit.
The Joint Security Area (JSA) has long been mentioned as a possible venue for a Trump-Kim meeting. The JSA, also known as the Panmunjom border village, is the only spot along the DMZ where North and South Korean soldiers can stand face to face.
Past U.S. presidents have used visits to the DMZ to deliver messages on strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance, to pay respect to the troops, and to demonstrate a symbolic show of resolve against North Korea.
“It is absolutely not the place to praise his ‘friend’ Kim, to complain about ‘freeloading’ allies, or to muse about withdrawing U.S. troops,” said Russel, the former State Department official who is now a vice president at the Asia Society.
While Trump’s language may differ from that of past presidents, some analysts welcomed a more conciliatory approach.
“While no major agreements will be signed, both sides can reaffirm their commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, essentially resetting the table for a future deal in the weeks and months to come,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest.
DMZ visit planned ahead of time?
In 2017 during his first visit to South Korea as president, Trump canceled a surprise stop at the DMZ after heavy fog grounded the helicopters that were to take him there.
Bad weather is again a possibility, with the onset of the rainy season in South Korea. However, because of the possibility of a summit with Kim, Trump could choose to take a motorcade to the DMZ, if the weather becomes an issue.
Trump’s visit to the DMZ is less spontaneous than the president suggests. In an interview Monday with the Washington-based newspaper and website The Hill, Trump acknowledged a likely visit to the DMZ, adding he “might” want to meet Kim there.
In Monday interview, Trump acknowledged likely visit to the DMZ and said he “might” want to meet KJU there. WH asked we delay publication, citing security concerns. We agreed. Then he just tweeted it out https://t.co/WHMqJ0ABHz
However, White House officials asked the website to delay the publication of those remarks, citing security concerns.
Before leaving Washington, Trump said he would “not quite” meet with Kim, though he said he may talk with him in a “different form.”
Earlier this week, a North Korean state media article said Kim was “seriously contemplating” the “interesting” contents of a recent letter from Trump.
In a statement, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said “nothing has been finalized,” adding it continues to call for more dialogue with North Korea.
The Financial Times reported late Saturday that White House officials were drafting an “official invitation” for Kim to meet Trump at the DMZ.
It isn’t clear whether South Korea’s Moon would also attend any meeting at the DMZ.
There appear to be wide gaps between North and South Korea on how to proceed with nuclear talks.
Although Trump and Kim agreed in Singapore to work “toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” U.S. officials have acknowledged that Washington and Pyongyang do not agree on what “denuclearization” means.
North Korean officials have made clear they do not see “denuclearization” as Pyongyang unilaterally giving up its nuclear weapons.
Instead, the North wants to see the United States take reciprocal steps, including ending U.S. and U.N. sanctions and providing various security guarantees.
In Hanoi, Kim offered to dismantle a key nuclear complex in exchange for the lifting of most U.N. sanctions. Trump rejected that offer, insisting that Kim agree to give up his entire nuclear weapons program before receiving sanctions relief.
Kim has given the United States until the end of the year to offer what it sees as an adequate counterproposal.
Mexico and the United States are scrambling to address rising numbers of immigrants arriving at their shared border. Mexican border guards are stepping up raids against immigrants traveling north. In the United States, an uproar over the treatment of children in U.S. detention facilities led American lawmakers to approve a $4.6 billion emergency bill. VOA’s Jesusemen Oni has more.
A group of New York bikers has set out to save the environment by starting a bike-powered composting service. They collect food waste from restaurants and households for composting, and then use that compost as fertilizer to grow vegetables. In a city with a population of 8.5 million people, this might seem like a drop in the bucket, but while the scope might be small now, the organizers have big and green plans for the project. Nina Vishneva has the story narrated by Anna Rice.
The desktop personal computer changed the world when it was introduced back in the 1970s. But lately laptops and phones have slowly eaten away at that market. But the creators of a new PC that costs less than a trip to the grocery store are hoping their little PC can change that. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.
Hardly anyone in Congress opposes improving the horrific conditions awaiting many migrants caught spilling across the southwest border. Yet for Democrats, distrust of President Donald Trump runs so deep that a uniformly popular humanitarian aid bill prompted the party’s deepest and most bitter divisions since they took House control in January.
The bill dealt a blow to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who had to accept weaker legislation than she preferred. But it also produced schisms that radiated far broader shock waves.
It pitted House and Senate Democrats against each other and highlighted discord between the House’s sizable progressive and centrist factions. It showed that Pelosi faces a challenging balancing act that goes well beyond coping with a handful of vocal, liberal freshmen like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
The fight suggests that similar power plays between the liberal and moderate blocs could complicate Democrats’ efforts to move future bills on marquee issues like health care, climate change and divvying up federal dollars among defense and domestic programs. And it echoed problems faced by recent Republican speakers when they controlled the House and saw priorities derailed by members of the GOP’s hard-right, often unyielding House Freedom Caucus.
”It is not good for our unity,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a liberal leader, adding, “This is a very rough patch.”
While both chambers of Congress approved the package by lopsided margins, Senate Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed it overwhelmingly, with just six Democrats voting “no.” They congratulated themselves for cutting the best deal they could in the Republican-controlled chamber, where the rules virtually force the two parties to compromise if legislation is to pass.
”You’ve got a 30-1 vote,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senate Democrats’ chief negotiator on the measure, citing the Appropriations Committee’s overwhelming approval, which presaged the Senate’s 84-8 final passage. “Around here these days you couldn’t get 30-1 that the sun rises in the East.”
Yet in the House’s 305-102 vote sending the measure to Trump on Thursday, Pelosi’s Democrats split 129-95 for the measure. Many who backed it did so grudgingly, even though much of the $4.6 billion was aimed at children who have been stockaded in overcrowded, squalid facilities. House Democrats accused their Senate counterparts of killing their leverage to strengthen the measure by backing the legislation so strongly, and even the usually measured Pelosi couldn’t resist a dig.
”We will not engage in the same disrespectful behavior that the Senate did in ignoring the House priorities,” she said. “In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly put the Senate bill on the floor.”
House Democrats were riven internally, with moderates saying liberals were living in a dream world if they thought they could force Republicans to alter the bill.
”The bill was very good. You know why? Because it’s actually going to happen” and get signed into law, said moderate Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.
Countered Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., a top liberal, “Our efforts to try to make this bill much more humane than it is now were basically thrown under the bus” by moderate Democrats.
Progressives wanted to buttress the measure with provisions preventing Trump from transferring money to toughening border security or buying more beds so authorities could detain more migrants. They also sought language strengthening requirements for how migrants are cared for and making it easier for members of Congress to make snap visits to holding facilities.
But swing district moderates, worried they’d be accused of weakening immigration law enforcement and needlessly delaying the aid, warned early Thursday that they would oppose adding such provisions to the bill.
It was already clear that any House changes would die in the Senate. Citing the overpowering support his chamber’s measure had received from both parties, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called it “the only game in town.” Holding almost no cards, Pelosi — who backed the changes that liberals wanted — abruptly brought the Senate-approved bill to the House floor, without the revisions, infuriating progressives.
”They should have been arguing for provisions that actually would hold a cruel administration accountable, and they didn’t,” said Jayapal, expressing her rage at Senate Democrats.
Spotlighting Democrats’ internal turmoil, 24 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus voted against the measure and only eight supported it. The group, for whom immigration and improving the treatment of migrants are top priorities, called the bill “a betrayal of our American values” in a statement.
”We have a president who is very untrustworthy, and giving him a blank check is very frightening for me,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who opposed the measure. In an indication that the fight could have personal repercussions among Democrats, Escobar said of moderates, “I wish even one of them had spoken to me.”
Democrats might have shaped the bill more to their liking if they’d attached it to a disaster aid bill approved several weeks ago that Trump and congressional Republicans badly wanted to pass. House Democrats pulled it off that measure after liberals complained that it lacked money for Puerto Rico and stricter care standards for migrants, a move that may have robbed them of bargaining power.
”Very few people here have actually had to govern, and they don’t know what that looks like yet,” said veteran Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., noting that only a fraction of House Democrats served in the majority until this year.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cited an awkward encounter with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law in a restaurant as an example of diplomacy being conducted behind his back when he was in the administration, according to a newly released transcript of a congressional hearing.
Tillerson, who was fired by Trump in March 2018 , mentioned the story during a day of closed-door testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about his rocky, 13-month tenure as secretary of state. He described his surprise to find that he happened to be dining in the same Washington restaurant while Jared Kushner and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray had a private meal.
The former top U.S. diplomat and CEO of ExxonMobil said he “could see the color go out” of the Mexican official’s face when Tillerson greeted them at their table with a smile.
“And I said: ‘I don’t want to interrupt what y’all are doing,‘” Tillerson recalled for the committee. “I said ’Give me a call next time you’re coming to town. And I left it at that.”
The account from the transcript released Thursday suggests that Trump’s top diplomat was in the dark as the new administration was grappling with major foreign policy issues.
Trump had harsh words for his former top diplomat in December after Tillerson said in rare public remarks that the president was “undisciplined” and did not like to read briefing reports. Trump called him “dumb as a rock” in a tweet.
Tillerson described the restaurant incident as an example of one of the challenges he faced as secretary of state until Trump abruptly fired him over social media.
He said it was a “unique situation” to have the president’s son-in-law as a White House adviser, saying “there was not a real clear understanding” of Kushner’s role and responsibilities.
“No one really described what he was going to be doing,” he said. “I just knew what his title was.”
Tillerson said there other examples. He noted that Kushner “met often” with Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and that the president’s son-in-law requested that the secretary speak with an official from the kingdom to discuss a document they had been developing that was “kind of a roadmap” for the future of the relationship between the two countries.
The foreign trips raised concerns, the former secretary said, because Kushner would not coordinate with the State Department or the local embassy in the countries he visited. Tillerson said he raised the issue with him but “not much changed.”
A committee member asked about a private dinner in May 2017 attended by Kushner, Steve Bannon, bin Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates in which they discussed the plans by Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. to blockade the neighboring Gulf nation of Qatar, which hosts the headquarters of U.S. Central Command, in the coming weeks.
Tillerson said he didn’t know about any such dinner but that it would have made him “angry” if it had occurred, since he and others in the administration were caught off guard by the blockade a few weeks later. The committee did not cite a source for their information about the dinner. The White House said it did not occur and disputed the former secretary’s broader criticism of Kushner.
“This story is false and a cheap attempt to rewrite history. The alleged ‘dinner’ to supposedly discuss the blockade never happened, and neither Jared, nor anyone in the White House, was involved in the blockade,” presidential spokesman Hogan Gidley said. “The White House operated under the belief the Secretary of State at the time, Mr. Tillerson, would and should know what his own team was working on.”
Gidley added that Kushner “consistently follows proper protocols” with the National Security Council and the State Department, “and this instance is no different.”
Bannon did not respond to a request for comment.
The testimony, with Tillerson accompanied by a personal lawyer and a State Department attorney, took place in private last month. A transcript was released Thursday. There were large sections redacted, including some where he discusses issues related to an Oval Office meeting that involved the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak .
He was prohibited from discussing private conversations with Trump and avoided certain highly publicized incidents, including reports he once referred to the president as a “moron.”
He told the committee he had never met Trump before being urged by him to take the job and he was stunned by the offer after his long career as an oil industry executive with extensive overseas experience, especially in Russia and the Middle East.
Tillerson, who had been acquainted with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the late 1990s, said he told the leader during his first visit as secretary of state that relations with the United States were bad but could be improved if they worked to build trust.
“I said the relationship is the worst it’s been since the Cold War but I looked him in the eye and I said but it can get worse and we can’t let that happen,” he said.
Separatists in Cameroon’s restive English-speaking regions have freed a prominent Catholic archbishop they kidnapped Tuesday.
Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua says he was abducted by separatist fighters in a locality called Njinikejem while on a trip to preach peace in regions where a separatist war has raged for the past two years.
“The road was blocked,” he said. “I stood there for sometime, some boys came in and said, ‘No, you cannot go, you should go back.’ They gave me the number of a certain general [commander of separatist fighters]. They called and said, ‘Let me talk to him.’ He said, ‘No, you cannot pass, it has been blocked.’ I came down, I removed the barrier and I passed. The boys came, about 5 or 6 of them very aggressively shouting, ‘Who do you think you are,’ mishandled my driver. ‘No, we are taking you to our camp.'”
Esua says he was taken to the bush with four of his companions. He says they were not physically assaulted while in captivity.
The archbishop says he told the hundreds of youths and the man who called himself the general commanding separatist forces in the area that they should stop killing, maiming and abducting people whom they say they are trying to liberate.
“I told them, ‘You are making people to suffer.’ I said we cannot achieve anything good with evil. Thou shall not kill, thou shall not make other people to suffer. People whom you pretend to be fighting for are suffering. I told them a lot about education. Get the schools open,” he said.
Esua says they listened to him, and replied that they were fighting to save their land and people. He says he was asked to leave after more than 13 hours in captivity; he did not say if a ransom was paid for his release.
It was not the first time clergy have been abducted by the English-speaking separatists, who want to break away from Cameroon’s French-speaking majority.
The Catholic Church says dozens of its nuns and priests have been kidnapped and released. Many believe the church paid to secure their release, an allegation the church denies.
Security analyst Eugene Ongbwa, a consultant with Cameroon’s NGO Ecumenical Service For Peace, says the separatists have not been killing priests because the Catholic Church has preached against abuses by the government, and has called on the central government to listen to the fighters.
When the crisis began, separatist fighters kidnapped and killed missionaries and foreign workers to put pressure on the international community to force the government of Cameroon to grant their requests, Ongbwa said, adding that separatists seem to have dropped that option. The archbishop’s life may have been spared because he has been neutral, though vocal, about the need for the government to listen to the separatists, Ongbwa said.
The Catholic Church says at least nine clergy members have been killed, including American-born Charles Wesco, who died in Bamenda in crossfire with separatist fighters, and Kenyan-born Cosmas Omboto Ondari, who was shot in the southwestern town of Mamfe in a crossfire incident last November.
Kenyan activists are celebrating after a Chinese-backed plan to build East Africa’s first coal-fired power plant near the World Heritage site island town of Lamu has again been halted.Ruud Elmendorp reports from Lamu on the continuing controversy.
Another 10 Democratic U.S. presidential contenders will debate Thursday night, including a larger number of leading candidates, following a spirited Wednesday night debate in the first major event of the 2020 election campaign.
Thursday’s participants include former Vice President Joe Biden and other top-tier possible choices, including Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of the Midwestern city of South Bend, Indiana; along with six others.
All twenty Democratic presidential hopefuls hope to oust Republican President Donald Trump after a single term in the White House.
The immediate focus Wednesday was on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive lawmaker from the northeastern state of Massachusetts who national surveys show has edged closer to Biden as a Democratic favorite to oppose Trump in the election set for Nov. 3, 2020.
She told a live audience in Miami, Florida, and millions more watching on national television, “I want to return government to the people.” She added, referring to major corporations, “What’s been missing is courage, courage in Washington to take on the giants. I have the courage to go after them.”
Later, Warren said she supports a government-run health care system that could end the private insurance-based health care now used in the U.S. Some Democratic candidates and most Republicans, including Trump, oppose such a change as costly and a mistake for the country.
But Warren, a former Harvard law professor, said, “Health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights.”
Even with Warren’s strong performance in the two-hour debate, the other candidates had their moments to control it in their attempt to gain a foothold in the unprecedentedly large field of 25 Democratic candidates.
Former U.S. housing chief Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and other contenders called for major changes in U.S. immigration policies, voicing numerous objections to the way Trump has tried to block Central American migrants from entering the U.S. to seek asylum.
“We must not criminalize desperation” of migrants to reach the U.S., said Castro, who frequently began his answers in Spanish before repeating them in English. He said this week’s photo of an El Salvadoran father and his 23-month-old daughter drowning in the Rio Grande River on the southern U.S. border with Mexico “is heart-breaking…and should piss us all off.”
Warren was also joined on the debate stage by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas and five others as they parried each other’s policy planks and aimed verbal shots at Trump and his 29-month White House tenure. “Immigrants do not diminish America,” Klobuchar said at one point in a rejoinder to Trump, even as she added that some border restrictions must be kept to stop human traffickers.
For many Americans, it was the first chance to size up many of the Democratic presidential candidates, to see whether they might like any of them as an alternative to Trump, the country’s surprise winner in the 2016 election.
The crowd in Miami, a Democratic stronghold in a state Trump won in the 2016 election, cheered raucously at verbal swipes at Trump, with Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee perhaps drawing the biggest response when he contended that Trump was the world’s biggest security threat to the U.S., while the other candidates gave more traditional answers to the same question, naming Russia, China, and global warming.
The Democrats are staging a dozen debates over the coming months, well ahead of the first Democratic election contest to eventually pick the party’s presidential nominee: caucus voting in the Midwest farm state of Iowa in the dead of winter next February.
The unwieldy field of candidates, in addition to another five that did not meet the Democratic National Committee’s minimal political standards to merit a spot in the debates, all sense they might have a chance to unseat Trump.
Democratic voters, however, so far seem uncertain of what they are looking for in their party standard-bearer — someone who best represents their political views on such contentious issues as health care, abortion, foreign policy, immigration, taxes and more, or possibly a candidate who has one overriding quality: the best chance of defeating Trump.
Швидкісні зарядні станції для електромобілів від Tesla можуть з’явитися в Східній Європі і зокрема в Україні до 2020 року – таку відповідь засновник і глава компанії Ілон Маск оприлюднив у Twitter у відповідь на звернення українських власників електромобілів.
Напередодні 26 червня у соцмережах з’явилося відео з власниками машин компанії Маска в Україні. Ролик завершується текстом: «Ми любимо Tesla. Нам потрібні суперчаджери в Україні».
Судячи з опису на YouTube, відео має на меті привернути увагу Маска до попиту на послуги суперчарджерів в Україні.
«Ок», – лаконічно відповів глава виробника електромобілів на аналогічний допис у Twitter вночі проти 27 червня.
Він також зреагував на слова одного з користувачів, що «було б чудово» вкрити всю Східну Європу зарядними станціями у 2020 році.
«Можливо, й раніше», – припустив Маск.
У грудні 2018 року винахідник та мільярдер вже говорив про наміри вкрити всю Європу «від Ірландії до Києва» швидкісними зарядними станціями для своїх електромобілів, однак не уточнював термінів
Згідно з сайтом Tesla, в Україні планують відкрити два суперчарджери цієї компанії – у Рівненській і Житомирській областях. Проте дата початку їхньої роботи наразі невідома. У грудні 2018 року Tesla офіційно почала приймати замовлення на свої електромобілі з України.
У лютому 2019 року Ілона Маска звинуватили в неповазі до суду. Згідно з угодою з Комісією з цінних паперів і бірж США, він не має права публічно коментувати діяльність компанії Tesla без схвалення з боку юристів. Комісія висунула підприємцю претензії через те, що він публікував у Twitter плани щодо виробництва автомобілів на 2019 рік.
Читайте також: Маск планує запустити глобальний супутниковий інтернет, у Росії планують за нього штрафувати
У вересні 2018 року Спеціальна Комісія з цінних паперів і бірж США подала позов проти Маска через повідомлення у Twitter, в яких він допустив перетворення компанії з публічної в приватну при вартості її акцій в 420 доларів за штуку. Тоді він погодився не робити публічних заяв про фінансову діяльність компанії без попереднього узгодження з керівництвом Tesla. …
Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government claim they have seized a key town south of Tripoli from forces from a rival eastern-based government.
Officials with Prime Minister’s Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord said Wednesday that they took over Gharyan in a surprise attack from forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar’s army had set up offices in the town, which also is home to field hospitals and a helicopter base.
Haftar’s forces said there was fighting in Gharyan but did not concede defeat.
Fighting between the two armies has been centered in the suburbs south of Tripoli for several months, with neither side making much progress. But the clashes have driven thousands of civilians from their homes or to government-run shelters.
Libya has been in constant chaos since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011.
Al-Sarraj has been struggling to assert authority while Haftar looks to take power. The turmoil has given extremist groups, such as Islamic State, the opportunity to entrench themselves in Libya.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has identified a new risk that Boeing Co must address on its 737 Max before the grounded jet can return to service, the agency said Wednesday.
The risk was discovered during a simulator test last week and it is not yet clear if the issue can be addressed with a software upgrade or will require a more complex hardware fix, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The FAA did not elaborate on the latest setback for Boeing, which has been working to get its best-selling airplane back in the air following a worldwide grounding in March in the wake of two deadly crashes within five months.
The new issue means Boeing will not conduct a certification test flight until July 8 in a best-case scenario, the sources said, but one source cautioned it could face further delays beyond that. The FAA will spend at least two weeks reviewing the results before deciding whether to return the plane to service, the people said.
Last month, FAA representatives told members of the aviation industry that approval of the 737 Max jets could happen as early as late June.
The world’s largest planemaker has been working on the upgrade for a stall-prevention system known as MCAS since a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October, when pilots were believed to have lost a tug of war with software that repeatedly pushed the nose down.
A second deadly crash in March in Ethiopia also involved MCAS. The two accidents killed a total of 346 people.
“On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate,” the FAA said in the statement emailed to Reuters. “The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so.”
Boeing said in a securities filing late Wednesday that the FAA has asked it to address through software changes a specific flight condition not covered in the company’s already-unveiled software changes.
The U.S. planemaker also said it agreed with the FAA’s decision and request, and was working on a fix to address the problem.
“Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service,” Boeing wrote in the filing.
Boeing’s aircraft are being subjected to intense scrutiny and testing designed to catch flaws even after a years-long certification process.
Two people briefed on the matter told Reuters that an FAA test pilot during a simulator test last week was running scenarios seeking to intentionally activate the MCAS stall-prevention system. During one activation it took an extended period to recover the stabilizer trim system that is used to control the aircraft, the people said.
It was not clear if the situation that resulted in an uncommanded dive can be addressed with a software update or if it is a microprocessor issue that will require a hardware replacement.
In a separate statement, Boeing said addressing the new problem would remove a potential source of uncommanded movement by the plane’s stabilizer.
A hardware fix could add new delays to the plane’s return to service.
The FAA also said on Wednesday that it continues “to evaluate Boeing’s software modification to the MCAS and we are still developing necessary training requirements. We also are responding to recommendations received from the Technical Advisory Board. The TAB is an independent review panel we have asked to review our work regarding 737 Max return to service.”
American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co earlier canceled flights through early September as a result of the grounding. On Wednesday, United Airlines said it also was removing Max flights from its schedule through Sept. 3.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved bipartisan legislation to address the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border with more than $4 billion in supplemental funds and new requirements for the care of detained migrants, especially children.
The 84-8 vote came amid renewed scrutiny of the Trump administration’s treatment of minors in its custody and amid widespread revulsion over the deaths of a father and daughter from El Salvador who perished trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States.
“There is no longer any question that the situation along our southern border is a full-blown humanitarian and security crisis,” Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said, adding that there was “no excuse” for delay in addressing the situation.
“Inaction is simply not an option for those who care about alleviating the suffering of desperate children and families seeking refuge in the United States,” Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said.
The Republican-led Senate approved the bill after voting down a House version that also boosted funds for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies stretched to the breaking point by border arrivals totaling more than 100,000 a month, the highest numbers recorded in more than a decade.
Although broadly similar, the Senate version is less extensive in regulating the care of detained children. Unlike the House version, it provides $145 million for the Pentagon to assist in border operations.
To reach President Donald Trump’s desk, the Senate bill would need to pass the House. Hpwever, majority-Democrats in the House have signaled they want changes to the bill. As a result, a bicameral committee is expected to be formed to try to hammer out a version that can pass both chambers. Time for swift action is growing short, as Congress will be in recess next week for America’s Independence Day holiday.
Speaking with reporters before departing the White House, Trump hailed legislative movement on border funding.
“I believe the House is going to be getting together with the Senate. Hopefully, they can get something done,” Trump said.
Earlier in the day, the president once again blamed Democrats for the border crisis, tweeting: “The Democrats should change the Loopholes and Asylum Laws so lives will be saved at our Southern Border. They said it was not a crisis at the Border, that it was all just manufactured.’ Now they admit that I was right – But they must do something about it. Fix the Laws NOW!”
On the Senate floor, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired back.
“We can do something about this [crisis] if the president would stop playing the political game of blame, blame, blame,” Schumer said. “Mr. President, you are the president of the United States. You are head of the executive branch. You control what’s happening at the border.”
Schumer spoke alongside a blown-up photo, widely distributed by news organizations, of the drowned Salvadoran father and daughter, as reaction poured in across Capitol Hill and beyond.
“I don’t want to see another picture like that on the U.S. border,” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said. “I hope that picture alone will catalyze this Congress, this Senate … to do something.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has faced renewed criticism on Capitol Hill after news reports emerged earlier this week of squalid living conditions at a CBP facility in Texas that houses detained migrant children.
A Senate panel on Wednesday pressed administration officials on the subject.
“What are you doing to actually make sure that children are getting the care and the sanitary conditions and the food that they need?” New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan asked.
The Border Patrol’s chief of law enforcement operations, Brian Hastings, responded that detention facilities are being upgraded with shower facilities and increased medical care. He added that more funds are being devoted to basic supplies, such as diapers and baby formula.
Гривня продовжує наближатися до річного максимуму щодо долара США. Національний банк України встановив на 27 червня курс 26 гривень 17 копійок за долар, це на дві копійки менше, ніж курс, встановлений на 26 червня. До річного максимуму, двічі показаного в травні (26 гривень 11 копійок) залишилося шість копійок.
Міжбанківський валютний ринок завершує торги на рівні 26,175-26,19, що також мало відрізняється від показників відкриття торгів.
Серед чинників, які позитивно впливають на курс гривні, фахівці сайту «Мінфін» називають різке скорочення ліквідності в банках, успішне розміщення облігацій на аукціоні Міністерства фінансів та вплив готівкового ринку, де пропозиція долара також переважає. …
Kenya’s only ice hockey team is still trying to earn a bid for the 2022 winter Olympics, being held in Beijing. In a two-day friendly event held in Nairobi last weekend, the team qualified for the finals but fell to team USA in a nail biter.
In eastern Africa’s only ice rink – Kenya’s only ice hockey team, the Ice Lions, took on their first opponents in a home tournament. Team member Hassan Ali Shah says the Ice Lions got off to a great start even though the matches didn’t count.
“It’s a great feeling, especially for Team Kenya, since this is our first game we are hosting here in Kenya,” Shah said.
The team has come of age since the beginning of last year when it was created. Eric Landberg, who represented the European diplomats’ team has this assessment of its growth.
“It’s a young team but it’s already playing an excellent game and I must say that I have been very impressed by the development lately. I had a chance to play them before and I think they are developing all the time and they are already now a very good team, I like their team spirit it’s really good,” Landberg said.
There is no ice hockey league in the country so Team Kenya plays challengers made up of Western diplomats. It is these friendly tournaments with foreign teams the Ice Lions use to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which they hope to qualify for. Kenya sees the game as a way to market itself as an ice hockey destination.
South Africa is ranked number one on the continent among the six African countries that play hockey. On the last day of the tournament, Team Kenya fell 10 to nine to Team USA.
A father and daughter from El Salvador were found dead Monday after they tried to cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into the United States.
A photo of their bodies published first by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, has become widely circulated by news organizations and on social media, boosting attention on the circumstances of migrants who face long wait times for adjudication of asylum cases at the border.
It also sparked debate about whether it is appropriate to share such sensitive images.
According to reports from La Jornada and the Associated Press, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez was frustrated and tired of waiting for an opportunity to request U.S. asylum and made the decision Sunday night to try to cross the river with his wife and daughter.
Ramirez was able to get the 23-month-old girl to the other side of the river, but when he went back across to help his wife, the girl went into the water. He tried to save her but both were swept away by the river’s strong currents.
El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill said the government was working to help the family, and she cautioned other migrants to not risk their lives as they travel.
U.S. authorities reported 283 migrant deaths last year.
U.S. Border Patrol said Tuesday its agents had rescued a father and small child from Honduras who were struggling in the same river farther to the west.
Guatemala’s government also confirmed Tuesday that a mother and three children found dead in southern Texas from dehydration and exposure to high temperatures after also crossing the Rio Grand are Guatemalan nationals.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to reduce the number of migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border, many of them from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, including discussing with Guatemala an agreement that would require migrants to apply for asylum there instead of traveling on to the United States.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday reversed a move to loosen gun control laws by presidential decree, in a strategic retreat after lawmakers pushed back on one of the far-right leader’s key campaign promises.
In May, Bolsonaro signed decrees easing restrictions on importing and carrying guns and buying ammunition, which needed congressional approval to become permanent law. After the Senate rejected a decree last week, Bolsonaro decided on Tuesday to revoke it and reconsider his strategy.
The former army captain vowed last year to crack down on crime and ease access to guns, rolling back decades of arms control efforts as many Brazilians clamored for a dramatic response to rising violent crime.
Bolsonaro’s reversal on Tuesday, published in a late edition of the government’s official gazette, contradicted comments made just hours earlier by his spokesman OtÃ¡vio RÃªgo Barros that the
president would not revoke the guns decree.
Bolsonaro also sent a new bill to Congress on Tuesday that aims to loosen restrictions on the possession of arms in rural areas, Senate President Davi Alcolumbre wrote on his Twitter
Національний банк України встановив на 26 червня такий же офіційний курс, як і попереднього дня, – 26 гривень 19 копійок за долар. Це лише на вісім копійок більше за річний рекорд щодо долара, якого національна валюта досягала двічі у травні.
На міжбанківському валютному ринку 25 червня коливання були незначними. Торги розпочалися на рівні 26,16-26,19 гривні до долара і впродовж сесії котирування гривні впали до 26,19-26,215.
Проти національної валюти працює фактор періоду виплат основних сум відшкодувань ПДВ експортерам, а також потреба імпортерів у доларі для закриття зовнішньоекономічних контрактів до кінця місяця та кварталу, вказують фахівці сайту «Мінфін». …
A Kenyan ice hockey team, the only one in East Africa, has hosted an exhibition tournament with teams made up by foreign diplomats. The Kenya Ice Lions hope to bring more attention to the sport and its bid to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Sarah Kimani reports from Nairobi.
Just a month after a state visit to Japan, U.S. President Donald Trump this week heads to the East Asian country again.
In Osaka, Trump will attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit, during which he is scheduled to meet one-on-one on the sidelines with such fellow world leaders as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The president is quite comfortable his position going into the meeting” with Xi following the breakdown of U.S.-China trade talks and increased tariffs on Beijing by Washington, a senior administration official told reporters on Monday.
U.S. officials say there is no fixed agenda for Trump’s meeting with Putin although they acknowledge issues involving Iran, Ukraine, the Middle East and Venezuela are almost certain to be discussed.
Casting a pall over the G-20 discussions will be nervousness about the deteriorating situation between Washington and Tehran. Leaders in both capitals have been reiterating they want to avoid war but have also repeatedly stated they will not hesitate to defend their interests if provoked.
Trump is to reiterate to his fellow leaders at the G-20 that the United States intends to continue to increase economic pressure on Iran, which finds itself under escalating U.S. sanctions, and eliminate all of the country’s petroleum exports.
“I don’t think Iran is a distraction,” according to James Jay Carafano, vice president of the Heritage Foundation’s national security and foreign policy institute. “I think that’s under control. Trump should strive for a no drama G-20.”
The G-20 itself no longer has the significance it did after the group’s first several summits late in the previous decade when it cooperated to avert a meltdown of the global economy.
Trump prefers bilateral discussions and agreements over multinational events. Administration officials, however, are attempting to counter the notion that they no longer see these types of meetings as vital, pointing to U.S. leadership on advancing 21st century economic issues
“We believe that G-20 economies need to work together to advance open, fair and market-based digital policies, including the free flow of data,” a senior administration told reporters Monday on a conference call, also stressing promotion of women’s economic empowerment.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a White House adviser, is to give a keynote address on the latter topic at a G-20 side event in Osaka.
G-20 host Shinzo Abe, as prime minister of Japan, and many European participants are trying to maintain the international system and its principles.
“This is where the absence of the U.S. is really harming it,” says Heather Conley, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and director of its Europe program. “We’re seeing the slow death of multilateralism in many respects. It’s a death by a thousand cuts.”
While the U.S. pulls back from such groups, the world is witnessing “the Chinese using international organizations so effectively to shape agendas,” Conley, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, said.
Some analysts expect the Trump-Xi meeting in Osaka to be a repeat of their previous dinner last year in Buenos Aires, when the two leaders agreed to trade talks and tasked their trade ministers with reaching a deal within 90 days.
“I think that that is the most likely outcome, that they’re going to reach some sort of accommodation, a truce like that and push this forward,” predicts Matthew Goodman, a CSIS senior vice president and senior adviser for Asian economics.
“It’s not going to solve the immediate problems,” contends Goodman, who previously served as director for international economics on the National Security Council staff, helping then-President Barack Obama prepare for G-20 and G-8 summits. “Even if we get a deal, it’s unlikely to solve some of the deep structural differences between us in the role of the state in the economy, the governance of technology and data.”
Much attention will also be on the Trump-Putin encounter.
“Whenever President Trump and President Putin meet there is a very strong (U.S.) domestic backlash after that meeting,” notes Conley. “In part, it’s because there’s a total lack of transparency about the topics of discussion and what the agenda is, and I think the president would have a better policy approach domestically if, again, there was clarity of what the agenda would be, that there would be people participating in that meeting – secretary of state, national security adviser and others.”
Trump is also scheduled to hold talks in Osaka with leaders from Australia, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
From Japan, Trump flies to Seoul, where he will be hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss how to further ease tensions with North Korea.
White House officials brush off speculation Trump could meet on the Korean peninsula with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which would be their third encounter after summits in Singapore and Hanoi. And U.S. officials are not commenting on a possible presidential visit to the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas.
There is little pressure on Trump to make any breakthroughs during his visit to Japan and South Korea, according to Carafano.
“I think the U.S. in the driver’s seat with regards to both North Korea and China negotiations,” Carafano tells VOA. “If they come to the table now, fine. If not, fine. Trump can wait until after the 2020 election.”
The United States is convening an economic workshop in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain Tuesday aimed at jumpstarting the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. America’s Middle East allies are attending but the key players are not there.
The “Peace to Prosperity” conference was initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Mideast envoy, Jared Kushner. The aim is to revive the peace process with economic incentives, while putting aside the thorny political issues until later.
The plan offers $27 billion in aid to the Palestinians, most of which would be financed by wealthy Arab states led by Saudi Arabia. Some $23 billion would be earmarked for poorer Arab states bordering Israel, namely, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the workshop, declaring that the plan is a whitewash and dead on arrival.
“I have not seen in the document any reference to [Jewish] settlements,” said Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. “We have not seen in the document any reference to ending [the Israeli] occupation. This workshop is simply a political laundry for settlements and a legitimization of occupation.”
Israel is not attending the conference either, because of Arab opposition to normalizing relations before the Palestinian problem is resolved. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to give the peace plan a chance.
“We’ll hear the American proposition, hear it fairly and with openness; and I cannot understand how the Palestinians, before they even heard the plan, reject it outright. That’s not the way to proceed,” said Netanyahu.
Kushner decided on a new approach after previous U.S. administrations tried and failed to resolve the thorniest issues of the conflict: borders, Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements and the status of Jerusalem. The Trump administration believes economic prosperity will benefit the entire region and curb extremism, but the Palestinians say they cannot be bought and that their homeland is not for sale.
У Національному банку України повідомили, що у жовтні поточного року введуть у обіг банкноту нового найвищого номіналу 1000 гривень. Відбудеться це з 25 жовтня, коли банкноту почнуть видати в банках. На банкноті буде зображений Володимир Вернадський – український науковець, мислитель і природознавець.
«Введення в обіг нової банкноти зробить розрахунки для громадян і бізнесу зручнішими, сприятиме зменшенню операційних витрат банківських установ і витрат на інкасацію. Це дозволить зекономити витрати Національного банку на друкування, зберігання, оброблення та перевезення банкнот», – йдеться в повідомленні.
Повідомляється, що першочергово НБУ планує виготовити та ввести в готівковий обіг близько 5 мільйонів штук банкнот номіналом 1000 гривень.
Водночас з 1 жовтня 2019 року монети 1, 2 та 5 копійок перестануть бути платіжним засобом – ними не можна буде розрахуватися.
«Громадяни зможуть без обмежень та безкоштовно обміняти монети номіналами 1, 2 та 5 копійок на монети та банкноти усіх номіналів, що перебувають в обігу, впродовж наступних трьох років: в банках України – до 30 вересня 2020 року включно; – у Національному банку та уповноважених банках (Ощадбанк, ПриватБанк, Райффайзенбанк Аваль) – до 30 вересня 2022 року», – йдеться в повідомленні.
За даними НБУ, монети номіналами 1, 2 та 5 копійок знищать, а метал піде на переплавку.
У 1996 році відбулася грошова реформа і було введено в обіг грошову валюту – гривню. …
Britain appears to be moving closer to U.S. President Donald Trump’s position on Iran and hardening its attitude towards Tehran — the result, diplomats say, partly of talks during the American leader’s recent visit to London, but also because of aggressive Iranian actions.
U.S. officials say they’ve been cheered by the stiffening of Britain’s public rhetoric in support of Trump in the precarious standoff with Tehran.
They contrast that with British criticism of Trump’s decision last year to pull out of a 2015 deal, co-signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement, citing concerns that Tehran had done nothing to curb expansionist behavior in the region and was still determined to eventually build nuclear weapons.
British officials had also bristled at Trump’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran and had been searching with other European powers ways to circumvent the U.S. sanctions so they wouldn’t impact European businesses.
Britain is still calling for a “de-escalation” in the Persian Gulf, but has been more forthright than France or Germany in condemning Iran for aggression in the Strait of Hormuz, including mining tankers and downing a U.S. drone — as well as for Tehran’s threats to step up nuclear activities and to breach the cap on uranium stockpile limits set by the 2015 accord.
Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said Monday he was worried an accidental war could be triggered, adding, “we are doing everything we can to ratchet things down.”
Hunt said Britain is closely in touch with the United States over the “very dangerous situation in the Gulf” and is “doing everything we can to de-escalate.”
But he did not rule out the possibility Britain would consider a request for military support from its “strongest ally,” and would consider backing the U.S. in the Gulf “on a case-by-case basis.” That might include greater British support in protecting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
Britain blames Iran for strains
And Hunt put the onus on Iran for the dramatic rise in tension.
“We do strongly believe that the solution is for Iran to stop its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and we are very concerned about the sabotaging of tankers that has happened recently, which is almost certainly Iran,” he said.
Concern about a potential armed confrontation between the U.S. and Iran has mounted since Washington blamed Tehran for mine attacks on a pair of oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic sea passage between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Tehran denies it mined any ships.
Last week, Trump said he had canceled a retaliatory airstrike against several Iranian targets, including anti-aircraft missile batteries, for the downing of a U.S. drone, on the grounds that it would have been disproportionate because of the loss of life it would entail.
But according to U.S. news accounts, Trump approved cyber-warfare disruption of Iranian intelligence computer systems used to control missile and rocket launches.
The U.S. president has been criticized in Washington by some in his own party as well as Democratic Party foes for ordering a retaliatory airstrike and then calling it off. Hawks in his own party fear the about-turn makes him look like a “paper tiger;” Democrats says it demonstrates confusion and “strategic incoherence.”
But Trump’s restraint appears to have calmed British fears of the president being reckless, with some officials saying it demonstrates his determination to calibrate his responses. Trump has said he wants to force the Iranians to return to negotiations in order to hammer out a better and more sustainable nuclear deal, in which the Iranians agree to curtail expansionist activity in the region.
“We certainly don’t want to give the Iranians any encouragement or make them think that their threats or aggression will drive a wedge between us and Washington,” a senior British diplomat told VOA.
“Tehran is calculating that it can use brinkmanship to isolate Trump and to get the Europeans en masse on side against Washington, hoping to weaken the American sanctions regime. We need to set them straight. One can dispute whether the U.S. should have withdrawn from the nuclear treaty in the first place, but we are where are,” he added.
The change in Britain’s tone appears to have been noted in Tehran. On Sunday, officials there said they were disappointed in the talks they held with a junior British foreign minister, Andrew Murrison, describing the discussions as “disappointing and repetitive.”
Speaking in the Iranian capital, Murrison said Iran “almost certainly bears responsibility for” the mining, but added, “I was clear that the UK will continue to play its full part alongside international partners to find diplomatic solutions to reduce the current tensions.”
Britain also signed on to a joint statement Monday with the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates expressing “their concern over escalating tensions in the region and the dangers posed by Iranian destabilizing activity to peace and security both in Yemen and the broader region.”