Category Archives: World

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US Embassy’s Move in Israel Draws Criticism from Around the World

Many of the United States’ allies, along with its foes, expressed criticism of the U.S. decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem Monday, saying it would increase tensions in the Middle East.

 

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital” before a final peace agreement is reached in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Monday’s violence in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers killed more than 50 Palestinian civilians in clashes at the border. Macron said he had “warned repeatedly of the repercussions” of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

In a statement, Macron’s office said he talked with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and is planning to talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated Moscow’s objection to the U.S. move. “We firmly believe that it is inappropriate to unilaterally revise the decisions of the international community in this way,” he said.

 

Many Arab leaders also condemned the move, with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri calling it “provocative,” and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif describing it as “a day of great shame.”

Saudi Arabia condemned the Israeli gunfire against Palestinians in Gaza but did not mention the opening of the U.S. Embassy.

 

“Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ gunfire against unarmed Palestinian civilians, which has left dozens of dead and wounded,” a Saudi foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a visit to London that the embassy move was “very, very unfortunate” and said it disqualified the United States from being a mediator in the Middle East peace process.

 

Turkey’s government said was recalling its ambassador to the United States “for consultations” over the U.S. Embassy move. It also recalled its ambassador to Israel following what it called a “massacre” of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

Turkey also has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations. Erdogan wants the meeting to be held Friday. In response to the thousands of people who took to the streets of Istanbul Monday, Erdogan promised to hold a pro-Palestinian rally on Friday after the OIC meeting. 

 

Kuwait also condemned the violence in Gaza and requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council for Tuesday.

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US Embassy’s Move in Israel Draws Criticism from Around the World

Many of the United States’ allies, along with its foes, expressed criticism of the U.S. decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem Monday, saying it would increase tensions in the Middle East.

 

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital” before a final peace agreement is reached in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Monday’s violence in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers killed more than 50 Palestinian civilians in clashes at the border. Macron said he had “warned repeatedly of the repercussions” of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

In a statement, Macron’s office said he talked with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and is planning to talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated Moscow’s objection to the U.S. move. “We firmly believe that it is inappropriate to unilaterally revise the decisions of the international community in this way,” he said.

 

Many Arab leaders also condemned the move, with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri calling it “provocative,” and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif describing it as “a day of great shame.”

Saudi Arabia condemned the Israeli gunfire against Palestinians in Gaza but did not mention the opening of the U.S. Embassy.

 

“Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ gunfire against unarmed Palestinian civilians, which has left dozens of dead and wounded,” a Saudi foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a visit to London that the embassy move was “very, very unfortunate” and said it disqualified the United States from being a mediator in the Middle East peace process.

 

Turkey’s government said was recalling its ambassador to the United States “for consultations” over the U.S. Embassy move. It also recalled its ambassador to Israel following what it called a “massacre” of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

Turkey also has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations. Erdogan wants the meeting to be held Friday. In response to the thousands of people who took to the streets of Istanbul Monday, Erdogan promised to hold a pro-Palestinian rally on Friday after the OIC meeting. 

 

Kuwait also condemned the violence in Gaza and requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council for Tuesday.

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China Sends Trade Envoy to US, Welcomes Trump ZTE Comments

China said Monday it is sending an envoy to the United States this week for talks aimed at cooling a trade dispute that threatens to upend markets from soybeans to steel, and welcomed comments by President Donald Trump hinting at a possible easing of sanctions on embattled Chinese telecoms firm ZTE.

The foreign ministry said Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. from Tuesday to Saturday for consultations with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also said China appreciated tweets by Trump saying he would help ZTE Corp. get “back into business” because too many jobs in China are at stake after the U.S. government cut off access to ZTE’s American suppliers.

“We think highly of the U.S. statement regarding ZTE’s case. We are currently in close communication over details of the implementation,” Lu told reporters at a daily news briefing.

Referring to Liu’s visit, Lu said China was willing to work with the U.S. to “strive for positive and constructive outcomes from the next round of economic and trade discussions.”

Partially state-owned ZTE makes cellphones, network switching equipment and other telecommunications equipment. Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department banned it from buying U.S. technology or components for seven years after it misled regulators by failing to discipline employees involved in illegal exports and instead paid them bonuses.

Liu’s trip to Washington follows a visit by Mnuchin and other U.S. officials to Beijing earlier this month, where they conveyed a demand that China slash its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion by the end of 2020.

An intensifying rivalry over advanced technology has also fueled demands by Washington that China give up policies that favor domestic companies. Beijing considers such programs as fundamental to its state-driven economic model and vital for its future growth.

America’s trade deficit with China amounted last year to $337 billion in goods and services.

The intensifying trade dispute has rattled financial markets for weeks. In March, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. China counterpunched with tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including bourbon and blue jeans.

An even higher-stakes fight looms over American allegations that China steals technology and forces U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. The United States is considering imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese products, and Beijing has countered with proposed tariffs on $50 billion in American goods, including soybeans and small aircraft.

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Melania Trump Steps Onto Public Stage Amid White House Scandals, Controversies

U.S. first lady Melania Trump stepped into the limelight this month as she launched her official platform to address major issues facing children today. Since becoming the first lady, Mrs. Trump has kept a relatively low profile amid the turmoil and controversies surrounding the Trump White House, but experts say Mrs. Trump, who enjoys a higher approval rating than her husband, may be ready to take on a more public role. VOA White House Correspondent Peggy Chang has more from the White House.

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Sanders: Aide’s McCain Comment Shouldn’t Have Leaked

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told staffers Friday that an aide’s recent comment about Sen. John McCain was inappropriate but shouldn’t have been leaked to the media.

Sanders told communications’ staffers in a private meeting that it was inappropriate for aide Kelly Sadler to dismiss McCain’s opinion during a recent closed-door meeting because, Sadler said, “he’s dying anyway.”

Sanders said the leak was selfish and distracted from the president’s agenda and “everything we’re trying to accomplish for the American people,” according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting. She noted that it garnered attention following the president’s welcoming home of three Americans detained in North Korea and an upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

During the meeting, White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp defended Sadler, saying the private comments shouldn’t have been leaked to the media, the person said.

Sanders declined to condemn Sadler’s comments during a White House briefing on Friday, saying she wouldn’t “validate a leak out of an internal staff meeting.”

McCain, the 81-year-old Arizona GOP senator, was diagnosed in July with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. He left Washington in December and underwent surgery last month for an infection.

Sadler is a special assistant to the president. She has declined to respond to requests for comment on her McCain remark.

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Trump: Congress Should Get Spending Bills Done Before Break

President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to get its work done on funding before the August break “or NOT GO HOME.”

The president tweeted Saturday that “Wall and Border Security should be included.” He also said that he was “waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history.”

Trump blamed Democrats for “doing everything possible to obstruct.”

The president’s push for speedy action on spending measures and nominations followed a recent letter from a group of Senate Republicans pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the August recess later this year. That effort was led by Senator David Perdue of Georgia.

The Senate Republicans said that spending more time on their pending work was particularly critical with Congress facing what they called “historic obstruction” by Democrats.

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Trump: Congress Should Get Spending Bills Done Before Break

President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to get its work done on funding before the August break “or NOT GO HOME.”

The president tweeted Saturday that “Wall and Border Security should be included.” He also said that he was “waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history.”

Trump blamed Democrats for “doing everything possible to obstruct.”

The president’s push for speedy action on spending measures and nominations followed a recent letter from a group of Senate Republicans pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the August recess later this year. That effort was led by Senator David Perdue of Georgia.

The Senate Republicans said that spending more time on their pending work was particularly critical with Congress facing what they called “historic obstruction” by Democrats.

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Ryan Says Trump Will Be Asset for Republicans

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Saturday that he thought President Donald Trump would be an asset to GOP candidates this fall in states like Wisconsin that he narrowly won, even as he warned fellow Republicans that a “blue wave” could wipe out advancements made during his presidency.

Ryan addressed about 600 people at the Wisconsin Republican convention, his final one after 20 years in office. The state’s entire GOP congressional delegation, along with Governor Scott Walker, honored Ryan, who received a standing ovation and chant from the audience of “Thank you, Paul!”

Ryan told delegates he was surprised on election night in 2016 when it became clear Trump was going to win Wisconsin — the first Republican to carry the state since 1984. Trump won by less than 1 percentage point.

Ryan told reporters later he didn’t think controversies surrounding Trump were resonating with voters in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“The president is strong in these states,” Ryan said. “He’s an asset. … Whether I’m running around southern Wisconsin or America, nobody is talking about Stormy Daniels. Nobody is talking about Russia. They’re talking about their lives and their problems. They’re talking about their communities, they’re talking about jobs, they’re talking about the economy, they’re talking about national security.”

​’Ton’ of accomplishments

Ryan defended his and the Republican record in Congress, including the tax overhaul law he championed, saying “we have gotten a ton of things done.”

But he, like other Republicans speaking at the convention before him, warned it could all be quickly be undone.

“The blue wave, as they say it, they want to take it all away,” Ryan cautioned.

He also reminisced about his career, telling reporters after his convention speech, “I never thought I’d be here in the first place. I wanted to be an economist.”

Walker presented Ryan with a personalized Green Bay Packers jersey with a number “1” on the back. That is the number of Ryan’s southeastern Wisconsin congressional district.

Ryan has not endorsed anyone in the race to replace him, saying he didn’t know if he would. Candidates have until June 1 to file.

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McCain Still Up for a Fight, Even in Illness

John McCain is not signing off quietly.

As in so much of the senator’s extraordinary life, the rebellious Republican is facing this challenging chapter — battling brain cancer — in his own rule-breaking way, stirring up old fights and starting new ones. Rarely has the sickbed been so lively.

McCain is promoting a new book, delivering a counterpunch of ideals contrary to President Donald Trump’s running of the White House. McCain’s long-distance rejection of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel’s history with torture goaded former Vice President Dick Cheney into a fresh debate over waterboarding and other now-banned interrogation techniques. On Friday, friends rallied to defend McCain against a White House official’s cruel joke that his positions don’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

If this is Washington’s long goodbye to a sometimes favorite son, it’s also a reemergence of old resentments and political fault lines that continue to split the nation.

Perhaps no one should have expected anything less from the 81-year-old senator, who can be crotchety and cantankerous but is also seen by many, both in and out of politics, as an American hero, flaws and all.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday as McCain “fights for his life, he deserves better — so much better.”

Our children learn from our example,'' Biden said.The lingering question is: Whose example will it be? I am certain it will be John’s.”

Said House Speaker Paul Ryan, “His legacy is so long that John McCain is a hero to us all.”

McCain was diagnosed in July with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. He left Washington in December and few expect him to return. Up-and-down reports of his health shift every few days.

A steady stream of visitors have stopped by the McCain family ranch in Arizona — including Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, on Friday.

Close friend and political ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., visited McCain this week, and the two watched an old movie and talked about McCain’s imprint on politics.

Graham said he told McCain he will leave behind a long list of Republicans — and Democrats — he has mentored, Graham included.

Your legacy is the people you affected,'' Graham said he told his friend.John McCain’s going to have a hell of a legacy.”

Not everyone, though, is so keen to listen to McCain these days.

Most Republican senators are not heeding his advice to reject Haspel, who was chief of base of a detention site where terror suspects were waterboarded. McCain lived through years of captivity during the Vietnam War.

Trump has suggested reviving the now-banned brutal interrogation techniques. And Cheney, who was an architect of the post-Sept. 11, 2001, strategy, said he would keep the program active and ready for deployment, and doesn’t think it amounted to torture.

“People want to go back and try to rewrite history, but if it were my call, I’d do it again,” Cheney told Fox Business.

One retired Air Force general, Tom McInerney, called McCain “songbird John” on the same station this week for allegedly providing information to the North Vietnamese while he was a prisoner of war. McCain has said he gave inaccurate information after being tortured. Fox said McInerney would not be invited back on its business or news channels.

Still, one of McCain’s longtime sparring partners, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky., re-affirmed his opposition to Haspel on Friday.

In explaining his opposition, Paul said, “We shouldn’t reward somebody who participated in torture, really still has trouble saying and articulating that it’s an immoral thing.”

Just a few years ago, McCain called Paul and fellow Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “wacko birds” for their filibuster blocking then-CIA nominee John Brennan. McCain later apologized.

After McCain’s recent hospitalization for an intestinal infection, Graham said he was worried about his old friend’s health. But after seeing him this week, he decided McCain will “be with us for a while.”

The two weren’t quite yet saying their goodbyes. In fact, “there’s not talk of funerals, there’s talk of the future,” Graham said.

They watched a classic Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'' -- with McCain narrating along the way in words that cannot be repeated -- and talked about McCain's book, which Graham says couldn't have come at a better time.I told him it should be required reading,” he said.

It’s a story about the country, and “even though we make our share of mistakes, we’re always trying to make it a more perfect union,” Graham said.

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