Trump To Nominate NFL Team Owner As Ambassador To Britain

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will nominate National Football League team owner Woody Johnson as U.S. ambassador to Britain, the White House said on Thursday.

Johnson, a billionaire investor and owner of the New York Jets, will require Senate confirmation to take up the diplomatic post. Johnson’s nomination does not come as a surprise. In January, Trump referred to Johnson as “ambassador” during remarks at a luncheon and said the NFL team owner was “going to St. James.”

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Jared Kushner Arrives In Israel For Whirlwind Visit On Peace Efforts

JERUSALEM, June 21 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, beginning a new U.S. effort to revive long-fractured Middle East peace efforts.

Kushner, a 36-year-old real estate developer with little experience of international diplomacy or political negotiation, arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning and will spend barely 20 hours on the ground ― he leaves shortly after midnight.

Video showed him giving Netanyahu, a friend of Kushner’s father, a handshake and a hug as they prepared to sit down with the Israeli ambassador to Washington, the U.S. ambassador to Israel and other senior officials for preliminary discussions.

“This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and Continue reading “Jared Kushner Arrives In Israel For Whirlwind Visit On Peace Efforts”

Nearly 1,300 Children Die From Gunshot Wounds In U.S. Each Year, Report Shows

Firearms kill almost 1,300 American youngsters each year, and boys and black children are most often the victims, a U.S. study finds.

During the 13-year study, more than half of the gun-related deaths were homicides, while 38 percent were suicides and 6 percent were fatalities from accidental gun injuries, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Each year, guns seriously wounded about 5,800 additional kids under 18.

“Firearm injuries are a leading cause of death among U.S. children aged 1 to 17 years and contribute substantially each year to premature death, illness and disability of children,” said lead study author Katherine Fowler of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

“About 19 children a day die or are medically treated in an emergency department for a gunshot wound in the U.S.,” Fowler said by email.

Although accidental firearm deaths among children declined from 2002 Continue reading “Nearly 1,300 Children Die From Gunshot Wounds In U.S. Each Year, Report Shows”

Arrest Warrants Issued For Members Of Turkish President’s Security Detail

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – Washington prosecutors have charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visit to the U.S. capital last month, officials said on Thursday.

The daytime brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the city on May 16 left nine protesters injured and strained U.S.-Turkish relations.

A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as Washington police struggled to intervene.

“I condemn this attack,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters at a news conference announcing the charges. “It was an affront to our values.”

Arrest warrants for the members of Erdogan’s security detail have been issued, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said.

“If they attempt to enter the United States, they will be arrested,” he said.

Newsham said there was no probable Continue reading “Arrest Warrants Issued For Members Of Turkish President’s Security Detail”

Trump Reportedly Gives Mattis Authority To Set Troop Levels In Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, opening the door for future troop increases requested by the U.S. commander.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no immediate decision had been made about the troop levels, which are now set at about 8,400.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

The decision is similar to one announced in April that applied to U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and came as Mattis warned Congress the U.S.-backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war.

“We are not winning in Afghanistan right now,” Mattis said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier on Tuesday. “And we will correct this as soon as possible. Continue reading “Trump Reportedly Gives Mattis Authority To Set Troop Levels In Afghanistan”

EPA Starts Offering Buyouts In Bid To Cut Staff

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday initiated a buyout program to reduce staff numbers as the agency seeks to refocus its agenda on a reducing regulation, according to an internal memo to staff seen by Reuters.

The memo was sent to all EPA employees on Thursday afternoon as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House where he announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

The memo said the agency wants to complete the buyout program by September.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Trump Described The Manila Shooting As A ‘Terrorist’ Attack. It Wasn’t.

 

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was closely monitoring what he described as a “terrorist” attack in Manila, while the police chief of the Philippines said the shooting incident at a gaming resort may have been a robbery.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation … but it is really very sad as to what’s going on in the world with terror,” Trump said at a White House ceremony where he announced the United States would withdraw from a landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected,” Trump added.

The Philippines’ police chief said on Friday there was no indication the shooting incident at a Manila gaming resort was related to terrorism Continue reading “Trump Described The Manila Shooting As A ‘Terrorist’ Attack. It Wasn’t.”

President Trump Signs Waiver Barring Move Of U.S. Embassy In Israel To Jerusalem

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a six-month waiver that will keep the U.S. Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv, at least temporarily backing down from a controversial campaign promise, according to White House officials.

The waiver to the Jerusalem Embassy Act ― the 1995 U.S. law that declared Jerusalem Israel’s capital and required that the American embassy be officially relocated there ― was set to expire on June 2. Since the law’s adoption, every president has signed the recurring waiver.

Trump had vowed during the presidential campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem “fairly quickly” after taking office, a promise welcomed by many of his supporters, including the new U.S. ambassador to Israel and the country’s government. 

The White House on Thursday insisted that Continue reading “President Trump Signs Waiver Barring Move Of U.S. Embassy In Israel To Jerusalem”

Trump Expected To Delay U.S. Embassy Move To Jerusalem

WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is expected this week to delay relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, U.S. officials and a diplomatic source said on Wednesday, despite his campaign pledge to go ahead with the controversial move.

With a deadline for a decision looming, Trump is likely to continue his predecessors’ policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the embassy be transferred to Jerusalem, an action that would have complicated his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the sources said.

Trump has yet to make his decision official but is required by law to act by Friday, according to one U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Barring a last-minute surprise, Trump is expected to renew the waiver. His administration intends to make clear, however, that Trump remains committed to the promise he Continue reading “Trump Expected To Delay U.S. Embassy Move To Jerusalem”

U.S. Might Ban Laptops On All Flights Into And Out Of The Country

May 28 (Reuters) – The United States might ban laptops from aircraft cabins of all flights into and out of the country, John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, said on Sunday.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday Kelly said the U.S. plans to “raise the bar” on airline security, including tightening screening of carry-on items.

“That’s the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people.”

In March the government imposed restrictions on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.

Kelly said the move would be part of a broader effort to tighten airline security to combat what he called “a real sophisticated threat.” He said no decision has been made Continue reading “U.S. Might Ban Laptops On All Flights Into And Out Of The Country”

Netanyahu Orders Cabinet Ministers To Attend Trump’s Welcoming Ceremony

Angered by the news that several of his colleagues planned to skip a welcoming ceremony for President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday made attendance to the event mandatory for cabinet members.

Netanyahu became incensed when he learned during a meeting with coalition leaders that several ministers were not planning to attend Trump’s arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport the following day, several Israeli news outlets reported over the weekend.

Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary had informed the prime minister that some ministers did not want to attend because they would have had to wait several hours on the tarmac for Trump’s arrival, according to The Jerusalem Post. While The Times of Israel reported other ministers had argued they didn’t want to cancel their regular plans given that the American Continue reading “Netanyahu Orders Cabinet Ministers To Attend Trump’s Welcoming Ceremony”

White House Approves Supplying Weapons To YPG Fighters In Syria

May 9 (Reuters) – Despite fierce opposition from NATO ally Turkey, the White House has approved supplying arms to Kurdish YPG fighters to support an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not disclose how soon arms would start being delivered to the Kurdish fighters, who Ankara sees as an extension of PKK militia waging an insurgency on Turkish soil.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart in Vilnius, Lithunia; editing by Grant McCool)

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North Korea Says It Has Detained Another American Citizen

SEOUL, May 7 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Sunday it has detained another American citizen on suspicion of acts against the state, which if confirmed would make him the fourth U.S. citizen to be held by the isolated country amid diplomatic tensions.

Kim Hak Song, who was detained on Saturday, worked for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the North’s KCNA news agency said.

“A relevant institution of the DPRK detained American citizen Kim Hak Song on May 6 under a law of the DPRK on suspension of his hostile acts against it,” KCNA said. DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

A third U.S. citizen, Kim Sang Dok, who was associated with the same school, was detained in late Continue reading “North Korea Says It Has Detained Another American Citizen”

Canada And The U.S. Face Off As Trade War Heats Up

OTTAWA, April 25 (Reuters) – The United States and Canada faced off on Tuesday in a renewed battle over softwood lumber that threatened to spill over into multiple other sectors, though President Donald Trump said he did not fear a trade war.

Canada vowed to resist Washington’s move on Monday to impose tariffs on lumber that mostly feeds U.S. homebuilding, noting trade authorities have consistently sided with Ottawa in the long-standing dispute.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Trump on Tuesday to reject “the baseless allegations” against Canada’s industry and the “unfair decision” to impose tariffs, said a statement from Trudeau’s office.

“The Prime Minister stressed the government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry,” said the statement, which nevertheless added both men agreed that Continue reading “Canada And The U.S. Face Off As Trade War Heats Up”

Trump Admin Plans To Impose 20 Percent Duties On Canadian Softwood Lumber

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday his agency will impose new anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports, a move that escalates a long-running trade dispute between the two countries.

Speaking to Reuters by phone a day ahead of the expected announcement, Ross said that the duties would affect $5 billion worth of softwood lumber imports from Canada.

“It’s about 31.5 percent of the total U.S. market, so it’s a pretty big deal in terms of the Canadian relationship,” he said.

The trade case was filed at Commerce against Canadian lumber producers by their U.S. competitors, who argued that Canadian timber grown on public lands receives an effective subsidy from the government that is unavailable to the U.S. firms, who cut timber grown largely on private land.

A Commerce Department fact sheet on the pending Continue reading “Trump Admin Plans To Impose 20 Percent Duties On Canadian Softwood Lumber”

The First Round In The French Presidential Elections Marked A Political Earthquake

PARIS ― The wait is finally over. At the end of a historic campaign, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen decisively defeated Jean-Luc Mélenchon and François Fillon in the first round of the French presidential election.

Sunday’s results are a landmark moment in France’s recent political history. As many as four candidates stood a chance of advancing to this year’s runoff, and for the first time ever in the history of the Fifth Republic, neither the Republican Party nor the Socialist Party will have a candidate in the second round. 

Macron, the centrist candidate who formed his own party, En Marche! (which translates roughly to “Onward!”), is set to win the first round of the election with 23.8 percent of the vote, according to projections on Sunday night. Continue reading “The First Round In The French Presidential Elections Marked A Political Earthquake”

North Korea, With Characteristic Bluster, Threatens To Sink U.S. Aircraft Carrier

SEOUL, April 23 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, as two Japanese navy ships joined a U.S. carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to rising tension over the North’s nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

The United States has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive “within days” but gave no other details.

North Korea remained defiant.

“Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of Continue reading “North Korea, With Characteristic Bluster, Threatens To Sink U.S. Aircraft Carrier”

Mnuchin Warns Health Care Debacle Will Delay Tax Reforms

(Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration’s timetable for tax reform is set to falter following setbacks in negotiations with Congress over healthcare, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Mnuchin told the Financial Times in an interview that the target to get tax reforms through Congress and on President Donald Trump’s desk before August was “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point”.

“It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the healthcare,” Mnuchin told the newspaper. 

Mnuchin also told the Financial Times he agreed with Trump’s view that the dollar’s strength in the short term was hurting exports, but said he saw the currency’s strength over the long term as a positive.

“As the world’s currency, the primary Continue reading “Mnuchin Warns Health Care Debacle Will Delay Tax Reforms”

Top Trump Aide: U.S. Working With China To Counter North Korean Threat

WASHINGTON/PYONGYANG, April 16 (Reuters) – The United States, its allies and China are working together on a range of responses to North Korea’s latest attempted ballistic missile test, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday, citing what he called an international consensus to act.

“We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week” program.

“This latest missile test just fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime,” McMaster said.

He said the president has asked the national security council to integrate the efforts of the Defense and State departments and U.S. Continue reading “Top Trump Aide: U.S. Working With China To Counter North Korean Threat”

Cairo Court Acquits Egyptian-American Aid Worker After 33 Months In Custody

CAIRO, April 16 (Reuters) – A Cairo court acquitted on Sunday an Egyptian-American woman and seven others who worked with street children and had been detained for nearly three years on human trafficking charges, in a case that had raised concerns in Washington.

Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian who holds U.S. citizenship, founded Belady, an NGO that promotes a better life for street children.

She has been in custody for 33 months in violation of Egyptian law, which states that the maximum period for pretrial detention is 24 months.

Dressed in a white prison uniform, Hijazi stood in the courtroom cage with her husband and Belady co-founder Mohamed Hassanein. With tears of joy streaming down their cheeks, they vowed to resume their charity work.

“We were delayed for three years … starting today, God willing, there won’t be any children without shelter,” Hassanein told reporters.

“Humanity became free, Continue reading “Cairo Court Acquits Egyptian-American Aid Worker After 33 Months In Custody”