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Ekonomi

UPDATE – Trump says US, China close to trade deal

ADDS BACKGROUND ON TRADE WAR THROUGHOUT

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – China and the U.S. are zeroing in on an agreement that would mark a major milestone in their nearly two-year trade war, President Donald Trump claimed Thursday.

"Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!" Trump said on Twitter.

The trade dispute between the world's top two economies has sent shockwaves through global markets amid fears that it could cause a global economic slowdown.

The Dow jumped more than 300 points in early morning trading on Trump's announcement, hitting all-time highs. Skepticism had been growing that Washington and Beijing would fail to hammer out what Trump has called a "phase one" agreement before year's end.

At issue for Washington is a lopsided trade balance with China — the U.S. had a $378.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2018 — as well as concerns over intellectual property theft, including what the Trump administration says is Beijing's policy of forcing American firms to transfer intellectual know-how to do business in China.

Trump has imposed wave after wave of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and China has responded in kind.

To date, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $360 billion in Chinese imports, and the Wall Street Journal reported U.S. negotiators have offered to cut the penalties by 50%, but would reimpose them if China does not follow through on buying American goods and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

Negotiators are also offering to cancel additional duties on $160 billion of Chinese goods that are set to take effect Sunday, the Journal reported.

The trade war began in Jan. 22, 2018, two days after Trump assumed office, when he imposed tariffs on solar panels and washing machines coming from China.

China was affected again when Trump imposed additional import duties on aluminum imports coming into the U.S. from all countries, and the waves of economic penalties most seriously escalated when Trump slapped tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Successive mutual retaliations have followed with each side raising the percentage of their tariffs and the dollar amount of goods on which they apply.

Trump announced in October that Washington and Beijing agreed to a "phase one" of a larger trade deal, but the time since has been spent on the two sides negotiating details of that agreement, which to date has remained elusive.

Kategoriler
Ekonomi

Trump says US, China close to trade deal

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – China and the U.S. are zeroing in on an agreement that would mark a major milestone in their nearly two-year trade war, President Donald Trump claimed Thursday.

"Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!" Trump said on Twitter.

The trade dispute between the world's top two economies has sent shockwave through global markets amid fears that it could cause a global economic slowdown.

The Dow jumped more than 300 points in early morning trading on Trump's announcement, hitting all-time highs. Skepticism had been growing that Washington and Beijing would fail to hammer out what Trump has called a "phase one" agreement before year's end.

At issue for Washington is a lopsided trade balance with China — the U.S. had a $378.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2018 — as well as concerns over intellectual property theft, including what the Trump administration says is Beijing's policy of forcing American firms to transfer intellectual know-how to do business in China.

Trump has imposed wave after wave of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and China has responded in kind.

To date, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on some $360 billion in Chinese imports.

Kategoriler
Ekonomi

Trump signs contentious order to fight BDS on campuses

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order steeped in controversy that seeks to thwart the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and what he and others say is rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses.

The order will change enforcement of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to apply to anti-Semitic discrimination by defining Judaism as a nationality, not a religion. The law currently prohibits "discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance."

It does not explicitly address religion, and Trump said his executive order seeks to allow the federal government to withhold funds to colleges, universities and educational institutions it deems to be hotbeds of anti-Semitism. The full text of Trump's order was not immediately available, however.

"We have also taken a firm stance against the so-called Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS," Trump said during a Hanukkah reception at the White House. “If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism. It’s very simple.”

The Palestinian-led BDS movement, formed in 2005, calls for a boycott of Israeli companies involved in the Palestinian occupation or violating Palestinian human rights and for other institutions to divest their interests in those companies.

Opponents of the movement, Trump included, view it as a front for anti-Semitism.

In announcing his order, Trump said he is condemning the "anti-Semitic campaign against the state of Israel and its citizens."

But critics have called the measure into question, describing it as a thinly-veiled attempt to curb free speech on campuses.

Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish-American group, challenged the president's stated rationale, saying "Trump isn’t defending Jews. He’s using us as a weapon to attack student activists, Muslims, & people of color."

"Kushner is the one tolerating anti-Semitism. He’s a shanda," the group said on Twitter, referring to the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who played a leading role in advancing the order. In Yiddish, "shanda" means a disgrace.

J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel lobbying group, said in a statement that Trump's order "appears designed less to combat anti-Semitism than to have a chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel."

"It is particularly outrageous and absurd for President Trump to pretend to care about anti-Semitism during the same week in which he once again publicly spouted anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the group's president.

"The same right-wing groups who turn a blind eye to the president’s hateful rhetoric have promoted this executive order as part of a cynical push to turn the issue of anti-Semitism into a partisan political weapon, instead of seriously combating it in all its forms,” he added.

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Politika

US mayor says gunmen targeted NJ Jewish market

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The gunmen who died in a firefight with police intentionally targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey, the city's mayor said Wednesday.

Steven Fulop's comments during a news conference continue to fuel speculation that the rampage was an anti-Semitic attack, and the mayor acknowledged there are "still a lot of questions" around the gunmen's motives, but he was firm in his assessment that the market was intentionally chosen.

"After reviewing the CCTV cameras, on the Jersey City side, we do feel comfortable that it was a targeted attack on the Jewish Kosher deli across the street here," he said.

Fulop said video footage depicts the gunmen driving slowly in a van on city streets before stopping in front of the kosher market, opening the door and opening fire using two long rifles.

The gun battle between police and the suspects at the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket lasted more than four hours. In all, six people died in the carnage, including the two gunmen, a police officer and three bystanders.

The identities of the gunmen have yet to be made public but local media named them as David Anderson and Francine Graham, as per law enforcement sources,

Fulop said on Twitter that he is confident information on the suspects and victims will be provided later Wednesday by the Attorney General's office "and I’m going to respect that process but I do have a responsibility to the residents of JC so I will share what i can and respect a reasonable balance to protect the jc community."

He was using an acronym for Jersey City, and said in a separate tweet that officials have "zero indication" that the gunmen were Muslim.

"Ppl have speculated that the actors were of the Muslim faith but at this point there is zero indication to that being accurate," he said "I can speak to the large Muslim community in JC that is warm/inviting to everyone. We are lucky to have that community in Jc and I don’t want anyone jumping to conclusions that aren’t accurate."

The attack comes as liberal Jewish-Americans warn President Donald Trump against signing a planned executive order that would define Judaism as a nationality rather than a religion.

The plan, first reported by the New York Times, is an attempt by Trump to combat what he and others see as anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses, as well as the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

It would allow the administration to withhold funding from institutions it views as failing to combat discrimination.

Currently, the Education Department is only allowed to halt funding under Title IX based on discrimination "on the grounds of race, color, or national origin," but not religion.

Still, some Jewish-Americans have warned against the proposal, which they say is an attempt to stifle free speech.

"This executive order, like the stalled congressional legislation it is based on, appears designed less to combat anti-Semitism than to have a chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the J Street lobbying group, said in a statement.

Bend the Arc, a liberal Jewish advocacy group, slammed Trump's plan, saying on Twitter: "American Jews are American. We are Jews & we are American."

"Our Jewish identity is vibrant & beautiful, and it belongs to us — not a president who degrades us, insults us, and makes all of us less safe," the group said. "We see through Trump’s hypocrisy and we reject his attacks on civil rights."

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Politika

Pompeo hopes Iran swap leads to ‘broader’ talks

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he hopes a recent exchange of detainees with Iran leads to a "broader discussion," prior to announcing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Pompeo told reporters at the State Department that Washington is working to "develop" the more comprehensive talks, stressing the Trump administration is "very focused on getting every" American detained in Iran back.

Those efforts, however, are likely to face even greater resistance after Pompeo announced new sanctions on an alleged weapons smuggling network working for the external operations branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as well as UAE and Hong Kong-based general sales agents for Iran's Mahan Air.

The network has been working to send arms from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Treasury Department alleged in a statement. Khedri Jahan Darya Co has been added to the Treasury's sanctions list, as well as its owner, Abdolhossein Khedri.

Maritime Silk Road LLC, another company owned by Khedri, is also being designated.

Separately, three sales offices for Mahan Air are being designated for allegedly working on behalf of the airline, which was blacklisted in 2011.

“The Iranian regime uses its aviation and shipping industries to supply its regional terrorist and militant groups with weapons, directly contributing to the devastating humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Aviation and shipping industries should be vigilant and not allow their industries to be exploited by terrorists.”

Mahan Air is Iran's largest airline, and has been accused by the U.S. of ferrying weapons on behalf of the Iranian government to the Syrian regime.

Iran unveiled Sunday what it calls a $39 billion budget of "resistance" backed by a $5 billion Russian investment.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly said the budget was being designed to pushback on the downturn in the Iranian economy caused by U.S. sanctions. Iran's currency has plummeted as the Trump administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran after President Donald Trump chose to unilaterally withdraw in May 2018 the U.S. from the nuclear pact global powers struck with Tehran.

The new budget will "announce to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil," Rouhani told Iranian lawmakers, according to al-Jazeera.

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Politika

UPDATE – Russian FM says Moscow open to release of election docs

ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Russia is open to the release of key communications it says would exonerate it of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

Speaking during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Lavrov said the Trump administration has declined to agree to the release of the documents that are part of a diplomatic channel the countries used from October 2016 until November 2017.

"We used the channels that existed back then between Moscow and Washington,” Lavrov said in remarks translated from Russian, adding that their publication "would clear many matters up," including what he called the "wave of suspicions that has overcome Washington” and hindered bilateral cooperation.

U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia was behind a sweeping disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 elections in favor of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Moscow has staunchly denied the allegations as the Trump administration has imposed sanctions and indicted Russian companies and individuals in retaliation.

Pompeo continued to back the assessment of culpability saying "we don't think there's any mistake about what really transpired there," and rejected the need for the publication of the communications.

"We'll publish all the documents we think appropriate. We think we've shared plenty of facts to show what happened in the 2016 election with our Russian counterparts," he said.

Pompeo continued to warn Russia against further interference in next year's presidential election, saying he made clear during their bilateral meeting Washington's "expectations of Russia."

"Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps to undermine our democratic processes we will take action in response," he said.

The top diplomats also addressed a range of issues, including a gamut of foreign policy issues they are on opposite sides of, and a nuclear nonproliferation treaty set to expire in 2020.

The U.S. wants China to be included as part of an extension of the New START Treaty, while Russia wants it extended as is.

Beijing has stated its lack of interest in joining the arms control pact.

Kategoriler
Politika

Russian FM says Moscow open to release of election docs

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Russia is open to the release of key documents it says would exonerate it of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

Speaking during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Lavrov said the Trump administration has declined to agree to the release of the documents that are part of a diplomatic channel the countries used from October 2016 until November 2017.

"We used the channels that existed back then between Moscow and Washington,” Lavrov said in remarks translated from Russian, adding that their publication "would clear many matters up."

U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia was behind a sweeping disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 elections in favor of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Moscow has staunchly denied the allegations as the Trump administration has imposed sanctions and indicted Russian companies and individuals in retaliation.

Pompeo continued to back the assessment of culpability saying "we don't think there's any mistake about what really transpired there."

"We'll publish all the documents we think appropriate. We think we've shared plenty of facts to show what happened in the 2016 election with our Russian counterparts," he said.

Kategoriler
Politika

UPDATE 2 – House Dems unveil 2 impeachment articles against Trump

ADDS WHITE HOUSE COMMENT IN GRAF 3-4; TRUMP TWEETS IN GRAFS 9-10

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Democrats in the House of Representatives announced Tuesday they would proceed with two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security," Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said, flanked by top Democrats, during a news conference on Capitol Hill. "The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office. That is the power of impeachment."

The White House dismissed the announcement as a "baseless and partisan attempt to undermine a sitting President," and a Democratic attempt to "overturn the votes of 63 million Americans."

"They have determined that they must impeach President Trump because they cannot legitimately defeat him at the ballot box," spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The House's impeachment process is centered on Trump's multiple requests to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to declare criminal investigations into leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.

Also at issue is the holdup of $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned its release and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.

The abuse of power article is focused on Trump's requests to Ukraine and the hold of aid that was released Sept. 11, while the obstruction article is centered on the president's order that top officials not participate in the impeachment probe.

"The evidence of the president’s misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. "The evidence is every bit as strong that the president has obstructed Congress fully, without precedent and without basis in law. If allowed to stand it would decimate Congress' ability to conduct oversight of this president or any other in the future."

Shortly after the announcement, Trump lashed out at Nadler and Schiff, whom he called "a totally corrupt politician," in a series of tweets in which he said both lawmakers are liars.

"Nadler just said that I 'pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.' Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true," Trump said, also continuing his charge that Schiff committed fraud when he read a statement during an Intelligence Committee hearing the lawmaker has said was parody.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the articles later this week. The committee's deliberations will precede a vote likely to send the articles to the full House where a vote is expected next week.

But even in the likely event that the articles clear the House, they are highly unlikely to pass the Senate where they would require a two-thirds majority in the chamber where Republicans hold 53 seats in the 100-member chamber.

To date, the House has only voted three times on articles of impeachment against a sitting president. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted in Senate trials while Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid removal.

Kategoriler
Politika

UPDATE – House Dems unveil 2 impeachment articles against Trump

ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) = Democrats in the House of Representatives announced Tuesday they would proceed with two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security," Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said, flanked by top Democrats, during a news conference on Capitol Hill. "The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office. That is the power of impeachment."

The announcement came hours after Trump continued to insist on Twitter that he did "NOTHING wrong," and Democrats pursuing impeachment "is sheer Political Madness!"

The House's impeachment process is centered on Trump's multiple requests to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to declare criminal investigations into leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.

Also at issue is the holdup of $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned its release and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.

The abuse of power article is focused on Trump's requests to Ukraine and the hold of aid that was released Sept. 11, while the obstruction article is centered on the president's order that top officials not participate in the impeachment probe.

"The evidence of the president’s misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. "The evidence is every bit as strong that the president has obstructed Congress fully, without precedent and without basis in law. If allowed to stand it would decimate Congress' ability to conduct oversight of this president or any other in the future."

The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the articles later this week. The committee's deliberations will precede a vote likely to send the articles to the full House where a vote is expected next week.

But even in the likely event that the articles clear the House, they are highly unlikely to pass the Senate where they would require a two-thirds majority in the chamber where Republicans hold 53 seats in the 100-member chamber.

To date, the House has only voted three times on articles of impeachment against a sitting president. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted in Senate trials while Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid removal.

Kategoriler
Politika

House Dems unveil 2 impeachment articles against Trump

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Democrats in the House of Representatives announced Tuesday they will proceed with two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security," Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said during a news conference on Capitol Hill. "The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office: that is the power of impeachment."

The announcement came hours after the president continued to insist on Twitter that he did "NOTHING wrong," and Democrats pursuing impeachment "is sheer Political Madness!"

The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the articles beginning later this week. The committee's deliberations will precede a vote likely to send the articles to the full House where a vote is expected next week.

But even in the likely event that the articles clear the House, they are highly unlikely to pass the Senate where they would require a two-thirds majority in the chamber where Republicans hold 53 seats in the 100-member chamber.

To date, the House has only vote three times on articles of impeachment against a sitting president. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted in Senate trials while Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid removal.