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Found 127 results

  1. Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena listens to a speech during a Parliament session marking the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka's Government, in Colombo, Sri Lanka October 3, 2017. Photo: Reuters COLOMBO: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena said on Sunday he had lifted a nationwide state of emergency imposed on March 6 after Buddhist-Muslim clashes. "Upon assessing the public safety situation, I instructed to revoke the State of Emergency from midnight yesterday,? Sirisena said on his Twitter feed. He declared a state of emergency to rein in the spread of communal violence after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island's central district of Kandy. Two people were killed and hundreds of Muslim-owned properties and more than 20 mosques were damaged, media reported. Tension has been growing between the two communities over the past year, with some hard-line Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites. Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.
  2. PML-N leader and state interior minister Tallal Chaudry outside the Supreme Court today. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court indicted on Thursday State Interior Minister Tallal Chaudry's for contempt of court. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan read out the charges against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, to which Chaudhry pleaded not guilty. Chaudry had been summoned in person for today's hearing after his indictment was deferred for a day on Wednesday. Chaudry's counsel Kamran Murtaza argued that the charges against his client do not fall under the purview of contempt of court. However, the bench observed that his client will be given a chance to defend himself. Justice Ejaz remarked that the court will not pursue the case if it feels it is not warranted. The hearing was then adjourned until March 27, when the defence will present its arguments. Contempt case: SC to indict State Interior Minister Tallal Chaudry on March 14 Chaudry is facing contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court over his controversial speeches about the judiciary On Wednesday, the court had provided Chaudry a copy of the charge-sheet before adjourning the hearing. On February 24, the minister had requested the court to withdraw the case, stating that scandalising the court or doing anything that tends to bring the court into ?hatred, ridicule or contempt? is ?not even the last thing on the respondent?s mind.? ?Whatever has been said might have been taken into account without relevance to the context due to media reporting,? Chaudry had written in his initial response. SC indicts Federal Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz for contempt A three-member bench of the apex court will hear the case against the federal privatisation minister and PML-N leader The apex court had initiated contempt proceedings against Chaudry on account of "derogatory and contemptuous speeches/statements" with regard to the court, according to a notification issued on February 2. Earlier this week, PML-N leader and privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz was indicted for contempt whereas the Supreme Court has restarted contempt proceedings against former PML-N senator Nehal Hashmi after sentencing him for the same earlier.
  3. Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) pictured with US President Donald Trump (right). Photo: AFP file MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Wednesday said ties with the US could not get any worse under next Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after the sacking of Rex Tillerson. "It?s hardly possible to fall below the floor, so it is unlikely things will get any worse in this regard," President Vladimir Putin?s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a response to a question about the high-level staff changes in the US administration announced on Tuesday. "In any case there of course remains the hope of a constructive and sober approach to bilateral ties. There is always this hope," Peskov said at a regular press briefing. Tillerson in his farewell remarks this week warned Washington must do more to respond to Russia?s "troubling behaviour and actions." "Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interests of the Russian people and of the world more broadly," he said. "Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone?s interest." The US has accused Russia of actively interfering in the 2016 presidential election, stealing Democratic party communications and pushing out disinformation through social media, claims Moscow denies. Pompeo said in his previous role as CIA director that the agency had observed Russian activity to influence the next US election cycle, the November mid-terms.
  4. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announcing on Twitter that he will be replaced by CIA chief Mike Pompeo. "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!" Trump tweeted. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" he added. The US president announced the appointment of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency -- the first woman tapped for the post. Donald Trump wanted to change up his cabinet team before launching high-stakes negotiations with North Korea, a senior US official said. "The President wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea," the official said. The reshuffle comes days after the spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose date and details have yet to be determined.
  5. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/9e394bbf327a40c72e47d974b33d6148.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9My84LzIwMTggNzo1MToxOCBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPTVkTy9SaTNWT1dFelgrTkNVYjVFVXc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] PESHAWAR: A war can only be fought by the state, not by an individual, said Minister for Interior Affairs Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday. While addressing the 25th passing out parade at Scouts Training Academy Warsak in Peshawar, the interior minister spoke about the war on terror that Pakistan is fighting, saying peace has been restored in the country to a great extent and that the ongoing operation was the final nail in the coffin. Iqbal lauded the spirit of the 600 people who graduated at the 25th ceremony of Frontier Corps, saying they were associated with the best profession of current times. The work of Frontier Corps personnel is not an easy job, he said, adding that staying awake and alert for the sake of the country is better than any riches of the world. The interior minister also paid tribute to the martyrs, saying the nation was proud of them. About development in the country, the interior minister said there was a need to pull Pakistan out of the dark and put an end to poverty. In an effort to achieve that, he added, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was proving to be a milestone. With the current pace of work, the interior minister added, it could be said that Pakistan would be among the 25 best countries of the world by 2025. Iqbal also spoke about the International Women?s Day, saying the women of Pakistan were acing in every field.
  6. Tallal Chaudhry (left) outside the Supreme Court last month. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court decided on Thursday to indict State Interior Minister Tallal Chaudry in a contempt of court case. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan heard the contempt case against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader today. The bench decided to frame charges against the minister at the next hearing on March 14, when Chaudry has been summoned in person. At the last hearing on Tuesday, Chaudry appeared before the court where his counsel, Kamran Murtaza, said Chaudry submitted his response to the court's show-cause notice. SC accepts Tallal's request for digital record of contemptuous speech Contempt hearing against state interior minister adjourned until March 8; Chaudry granted exemption from appearing The hearing was then adjourned for March 8 (today), and Chaudry was granted an exemption from appearing owing to a commitment. On February 24, the minister had requested the court to withdraw the case, stating that scandalising the court or doing anything that tends to bring the court into ?hatred, ridicule or contempt? is ?not even the last thing on the respondent?s mind.? ?Whatever has been said might have been taken into account without relevance to the context due to media reporting,? Chaudry had written in his initial response. The apex court had initiated contempt proceedings against Chaudry on account of "derogatory and contemptuous speeches/statements" with regard to the court, according to a notification issued on February 2.
  7. Photo: AFP COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island?s central district of Kandy. Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites. Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise. Sri Lanka imposes curfew in Kandy after anti-Muslim riots Police said there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy ?At a special cabinet meeting, it was decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days to prevent the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country,? the spokesman, Dayasiri Jayasekara, told Reuters. ?It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook,? he added, referring to postings on social media. The government sent troops and elite police to Kandy after a mob set fire to a Muslim-owned shop, imposing a curfew there on Monday to prevent clashes between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims.
  8. Shlomo Filber (L) sits at the Magistrate Court during his remand in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 18, 2018. ? Reuters JERUSALEM: A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to turn state?s witness in one of several corruption investigations posing a serious threat to the conservative leader?s political survival, local media said. Shlomo Filber?s decision to testify for the state against his former boss is a dramatic turn for Netanyahu, whose inner circle had so far seemed watertight. Filber?s change of heart could leave the tough-talking Netanyahu at his most vulnerable yet, with one critic writing him off as a ?political corpse.? The development has also fueled speculation that Netanyahu, 68, will call a snap election to try to stall legal proceedings during the campaign and rally his right-wing power base behind him. Israel?s dominant political figure for a generation - in power since 2009 and for 12 years total since 1996 - Netanyahu calls the allegations against him a ?witch hunt? and has said he will seek a fifth term in a national ballot due in late 2019. Filber, who was appointed by Netanyahu to head the Communications Ministry, was arrested this week along with top executives at Bezeq Telecom (BEZQ.TA), Israel?s largest telecommunications company. In unsourced reports, Israeli media said Filber has now agreed to testify for the state in the case, in which police allege that Bezeq?s owners offered favorable coverage on media they controlled in return for favours from regulators. Bezeq, its owners and executives deny wrongdoing. A spokesman for the police fraud squad declined to comment. Filber?s lawyer was not immediately available to comment on whether a deal had been reached. Police recommended last week that Netanyahu himself be indicted in two unrelated corruption investigations. The attorney-general must decide whether to accept the police recommendation to charge him. In one he is suspected of bribery over gifts, which police say were worth nearly $300,000, that he received from wealthy businessmen. The other involves an alleged plot to win positive coverage in Israel?s biggest newspaper by offering to take measures to curtail the circulation of a rival daily. In another case revealed this week, one of Netanyahu?s former spokesmen is alleged to have tried to bribe a judge to block a case against Netanyahu?s wife for spending state money on personal catering. A spokesman for the Netanyahu family called the allegation ?hallucinatory.? So far, partners in his governing coalition have stood by Netanyahu, saying they were awaiting the attorney-general?s next moves. ?(Netanyahu) is presumed innocent until proven guilty, even if someone is trying to kick out the prime minister without elections,? Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of the Jewish Home party, said on Israel?s Channel 13 after news of the state?s witness deal. Jewish Home has eight lawmakers in Netanyahu?s 66-seat coalition in parliament, enough to topple the government if the party leaves. Early election? Polls before Filber?s decision suggested Netanyahu would just about survive if an election were held now, despite widespread suspicion against him. A survey published on Feb 14 showed that almost half of Israel?s electorate believe police allegations of bribery against Netanyahu, while 25 percent said they believed Netanyahu?s denials. The remainder said they did not know whom to believe. But when people were asked whether he should remain in office or temporarily step aside, 49 percent said he should stay put, while 43 percent said he should step down temporarily. Netanyahu posted an opinion poll on Facebook on Wednesday commissioned by his Likud party that showed that it would boost its representation in parliament from 30 seats to 34 if elections were held now. But in an analysis headlined ?The final days of Netanyahu?s rule?, Aluf Benn, editor of the left-wing Haaretz newspaper, said his leadership ?has been dealt a harsh blow, apparently a mortal one.?
  9. Jonathone Sangma, 43, was returning after campaigning for the upcoming assembly polls. Photo: Facebook GUWAHATI: A landmine explosion killed four people, including an election candidate, in India?s northeastern state of Meghalaya in an area where four militant groups are seeking independence, police said on Monday. The attack occurred on Sunday night in Meghalaya?s East Garo Hills district, about 250 km (150 miles) from the state capital, Shillong. The candidate for the Nationalist Congress Party from the Williamnagar assembly constituency, Jonathone Sangma, was killed along with his driver and two policemen. ?The vehicle in which Sangma was traveling bore the maximum impact of the explosion. Everyone in the car died on the spot,? said Ringrang Momin, a senior state police officer. Police officials said there were four active militant groups in the area demanding secession from India for tens of thousands of Garo tribals living in the state bordering Bangladesh. ?This is the handiwork of the militant groups... We have yet to identify the outfit involved in the landmine explosion,? Momin said. Elections for the 60-member house in Meghalaya state are scheduled for Feb 27.
  10. Tillerson met Erdogan at his presidential palace after landing in Ankara from Beirut-AFP ANKARA: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, seeking to ease tensions between the NATO allies that reached new heights over Ankara´s ongoing operation inside Syria. A prime task of President Donald Trump´s top diplomat will be to allay Turkish anger over US policy in Syria, a dispute which has ignited the biggest crisis in bilateral ties since the 2003 Iraq war. The former chief of energy giant Exxon Mobil, who is on a multi-leg tour of the Middle East, met Erdogan at his presidential palace after landing in Ankara from Beirut. Tillerson will meet Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday morning. Turkey´s operation against the People´s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia in the Afrin region of Syria has added a potentially insurmountable new problem to an increasingly rough bilateral relationship. Analysts said the level of tension was similar to 2003 when Turkey refused to let US troops operate from its territory for the Iraq war, or even the aftermath of Ankara´s invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Turkey´s operation against the YPG, which Ankara blacklists as a terror group, has seen Turkish troops fighting a militia which is closely allied with the US in the battle against Daesh. Speaking in Beirut before his meeting with Erdogan, Tillerson denied Washington ever gave heavy weaponry to the YPG and thus could not gather up such arms, as desired by Ankara. "We have never given heavy arms to the YPG so there is none to take back," Tillerson said. Weakening anti-Daesh efforts Erdogan earlier this month accused Washington of sending in thousands of truckloads and planeloads of weapons to the YPG in Syria, asking why the US still had a presence there if the extremists had been defeated. And Erdogan has further upped the ante by warning US troops to leave Manbij, a YPG-held town east of Afrin, raising fears of a clash between the allies. He also warned that the US risked being dealt an "Ottoman slap" in Syria -- a backhand thwack which, according to legend, could kill an opponent at a stroke. For Ankara, the YPG is a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers´ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terror outfit by the US and the EU. But for Washington, the YPG is an ally against Daesh extremists and Turkey´s operation is a distraction from efforts to ensure the extremists are permanently defeated. But Cavusoglu this week warned Washington that ties were at a "critical point" at which relations would "be fixed or... completely damaged." It was unclear whether Tillerson´s visit could achieve any kind of breakthrough. Following a meeting with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Brussels, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said Ankara wanted to see the YPG pulled out of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) umbrella group. He said Mattis had promised greater support in Turkey´s fight against the PKK in their rear bases in northern Iraq. Litany of problems The squabble over Syria is, however, just one of a litany of issues burdening Turkey-US relations. Ties were damaged after the failed coup of 2016 with Turkey stung by a perceived lack of US solidarity and angered by Washington´s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric blamed for ordering the putsch. Last month, Ankara reacted furiously to the conviction in New York of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. And Washington has expressed concern that several of its citizens -- as well as at least two Turkish employees of US missions -- have been caught up in the post-coup crackdown. Last week, NASA scientist Serkan Golge, a dual national, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for being a member of Gulen´s movement, with the State Department saying he had been convicted "without credible evidence". Another case is that of US pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran a church in Izmir, who has been held on similar charges since October 2016. Such tensions have hit Turkish public opinion, with 83 percent holding unfavourable views of the US, a Centre for American Progress poll showed this week.
  11. Former men's handball player Hannah Mouncey is on her way to the AFL. Photo: News Corp Australia SYDNEY: The Australian Football League has agreed to let a transgender player participate in the country´s second-tier state women´s competition while the governing body considers its gender diversity policy for the national league. Hannah Mouncey, a former national men´s handball representative, last October lost her bid to take part in the AFL Women´s (AFLW) national draft, barring her from the 2018 elite-level season. Several clubs had reportedly shown interest in drafting Mouncey, who is 1.90 metres tall (6ft 2in). The league ruled her out due to the advantage her physical strength and stamina would have over opponents in the newly formed semi-professional competition, but left the door ajar for this year´s draft as it finalises its gender diversity policy. On Tuesday the AFL made a landmark recommendation clearing Mouncey to play in the country´s second-tier state competition. The pioneering transgender player welcomed the decision but described the last four months of deliberation as a "circus", with a lack of understanding in the science of gender transition. "I welcome the AFL´s decision, and I look forward to hopefully playing this season," Mouncey said in a Twitter statement. But she added: "I will not and I think it would be highly inappropriate for me to thank the AFL for allowing me to do something open to every other Australian, which the science and the research has supported all along." The AFL in 2017 introduced a semi-professional national women´s league, which has been heralded as a pioneer for inclusivity in a traditionally male-dominated sport. The national league said Tuesday it was still finalising its gender diversity policy, noting the International Olympic Committee was also reviewing its guidelines on trans participation. It added the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission were also working on a framework for trans and gender participation in Australian sport more generally. "We are committed to inclusion, and want all Australians to be able to play or participate in our game," AFL inclusion and social policy manager Tanya Hosch said in a statement. "These are complex issues and we are considering expert opinion, international frameworks and feedback from the communities that are impacted by our decisions."
  12. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said on Monday that after coming to power he will strengthen the state institutions first. Imran Khan was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the lawyers? club, where he said that in the institutions in a democratic setup there is accountability. He once again claimed that he was offered Rs400 million for a single Senate ticket. The PTI chief said that there is a budget in democracy and the prime minister and chief minister do not have discretionary fund. Imran said that he is against the feudal system and believes in the formation of Islamic welfare state. He said that his ideological role model is Allama Iqbal, whereas, political role model is Muhammad Ali Jinnah. While speaking about the Billion Tree Tsunami project, Imran said that pollution is a major issue and also behind reduction in average life span. He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has put up more than one billion trees. The World Wildlife Fund has twice audited the project, he further said. ?Mian Sahab! Come with me, I will show you the trees,? said Imran while mocking his political rival former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz, while addressing party rallies across Pakistan, has often jibed at the PTI chief regarding the Billion Tree Tsunami project.
  13. The lawsuit comes four months after the Hollywood mogul´s career ended over allegations of sexual harassment NEW YORK: New York state sued Harvey Weinstein, his brother and their production company on Sunday for failing to protect employees from years of his alleged sexual misconduct despite multiple complaints from staff. The lawsuit comes four months after the Hollywood mogul´s career ended over allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape now leveled by more than 100 women spanning 40 years. State prosecutors said the suit, the result of an ongoing investigation, was filed out of fear that an imminent sale of The Weinstein Company, now on the verge of bankruptcy, could leave victims without adequate redress. The lawsuit now threatens to delay the sale. Weinstein´s lawyer poured cold water on the lawsuit and presented his 65-year-old client as a supporter of women´s career advancement. But state prosecutors accuse the company´s board and executives of repeatedly failing to take adequate steps to protect staff or curb Weinstein´s behavior, despite multiple complaints to human resources. The twice-married father of five is being investigated by British and US police, but has not yet been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual *** and is reportedly in treatment for *** addiction. The suit alleges that female assistants were required to facilitate Weinstein´s *** life as a condition of employment and had copies of a manual, known as a "Bible," that included directions on how to do so. Prosecutors said Weinstein made verbal threats to "kill" several staff or their families, and touted his connection to political figures and alleged Secret Service contacts that could "take care of problems." They said one employee flew from London to New York to teach his assistants "how to dress and smell more attractive" to Weinstein. Shrouded in secrecy Largely female assistants allegedly contacted prospective sexual partners via text message or phone at his direction, and maintained space on his calendar for sexual activity. Female executives also allegedly had to meet prospective sexual conquests and follow through on promised job offers, which prosecutors said demeaned and humiliated them, fueling a hostile work environment. The New York state attorney´s office said that despite multiple complaints to the human resources department, there was no meaningful investigation or relief for victims, or consequences for Weinstein. It said the company´s toxic work environment was shrouded in secrecy because of a practice of reaching non-disclosure agreements -- a policy that has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the sexual harassment watershed that has followed Weinstein´s downfall. "While Mr Weinstein´s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality," Weinstein´s lawyer Ben Brafman, one of America´s most celebrated criminal defense attorneys, said in a statement. "At the end of the inquiry, it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader and there was zero discrimination." ´Vicious mistreatment´ "If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr Weinstein will embrace the investigation," Brafman said. "If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself." State attorney general Eric Schneiderman said the lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court, detailed Weinstein´s "vicious and exploitative mistreatment" of employees. "As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination," said Schneiderman. "Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched." Last week, the district attorney´s office in Los Angeles said police had submitted three Weinstein sexual assault cases to prosecutors. A group of investors led by a former official who served in president Barack Obama´s administration is understood to be in advanced talks to buy The Weinstein Company. Deadline, the Hollywood insider website that first reported the advanced talks, said a roughly $500 million bid by the group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet included a fund to compensate victims.
  14. Larry Nassar ? a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges ? sits in the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in the Eaton County Court in Charlotte, Michigan, US, February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/Files Michigan State University is moving to fire a dean who it said had failed to enforce 2014 guidelines created for sports doctor Larry Nassar in treating young athletes after complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Interim Michigan State University President John Engler said in a memo on Friday he would ask a faculty panel to revoke tenure for Dr. William Strampel, who oversaw the college where Nassar worked but has been on medical leave since December. Nassar, who also was a doctor for USA Gymnastics, was recently given two prison sentences in Michigan of 40 to 125 years and 40 to 175 years for molesting female athletes under the guise of medical treatment for nearly 20 years. Michigan State University (MSU) has been criticized for its handling of complaints about Nassar stretching back for years. According to the university memo posted on its website, Strampel did not sufficiently communicate with others or enforce 2014 guidelines put in place for Nassar when performing osteopathic manipulation in sensitive areas. One of those guidelines included having another person present, the Lansing State Journal reported. MSU terminated Nassar in September 2016 for his failure to follow those protocols, including having another person present when he performed the procedures. Numerous women have alleged they were assaulted even after the guidelines were put in place, the memo said. ?William Strampel did not act with the level of professionalism we expect from individuals who hold senior leadership positions, particularly in a position that involves student and patient safety,? Engler said in a statement. One of Strampel?s attorneys, Steven Stapleton, declined to comment on Friday. Engler also said MSU would not cover Strampel?s legal expenses in relation to the Nassar matter. The move against Strampel marked the latest casualty from the scandal at MSU, which has also led to the resignation of the former MSU president and athletic director. The entire board of USA Gymnastics also resigned. ?I sincerely hope the courageous survivors of Larry Nassar will see this as an unmistakable indication that things are changing quickly at Michigan State,? Engler said.
  15. A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China?s top diplomat Yang Jiechi reaffirmed their countries? commitment to exert pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons on Thursday, the US State Department said. Yang was on a two-day visit to Washington that began on Thursday. His talks were also expected to cover the sensitive US-China economic relationship after recent tit-for-tat actions that have raised fears of a trade war between the world?s two largest economies. ?Both sides reaffirmed President Trump?s and President Xi?s commitment to keep up pressure on North Korea?s illegal weapons and nuclear programs,? State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a news briefing. Nauert said Tillerson and Yang ?agreed on the importance of continuing a constructive and productive relationship aimed at cooperation on mutual challenges and addressing our differences forthrightly.? ?They discussed the need to achieve a fair and reciprocal bilateral economic relationship and shared approaches to stemming the flow of deadly narcotics,? Nauert said, adding that the two looked forward to continuing discussions at an annual diplomatic and security dialogue in the first half of 2018. Yang said at the start of his meeting with Tillerson that he would seek to ?push forward our very important relationship.? He said in a statement released by China?s Foreign Ministry trade and business relations between the two countries were mutually beneficial. Both sides should open up each other?s markets and handle differences appropriately, Yang said. Beijing and Washington share concerns about North Korea?s development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the US. China has backed successive rounds of UN sanctions on North Korea but has been wary of US efforts to toughen these further and has been accused by US officials of not fully implementing existing UN steps. ?We expect, we hope that China will do more because we know they can do more in terms of adhering to UN Security Council resolutions,? Nauert said. Yang said the international community should support the improvement in relations between North and South Korea, which has come as South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics that will be formally opened on Friday. The latest trade data showed China?s massive goods surplus with the US narrowed last month, but not to the extent necessary to appease Washington. ?Our president has made very clear our concerns about trade imbalances,? Nauert said. US President Donald Trump slapped steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels last month and is considering recommendations on import restrictions for steel and aluminium or other trade sanctions against China over its intellectual property practices. In response, China?s commerce ministry launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe at the weekend into imports of sorghum from the US. Tillerson upset Beijing last week when he accused China of behaving like an imperial power in Latin America. China?s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier on Thursday Beijing hoped North and South Korea could maintain the momentum of their current rapprochement and gradually open the door to peace. Washington has welcomed a resumption of intra-Korean talks that has led to North Korea?s participation in the Winter Olympics. However, both the US and North Korea have said they have no plans to meet during the Olympics, dampening hopes that the Games will help ease tensions.
  16. US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in Cancun, Mexico, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Files WASHINGTON: The United States could consider ending a suspension of security assistance to Pakistan if Islamabad takes ?decisive and sustained? actions against militant groups in the country, the State Department?s No. 2 official said on Tuesday. ?We may consider lifting the suspension when we see decisive and sustained actions to address our concerns, including targeting all terrorist groups operating within its territory, without distinction,? Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sullivan, however, told the committee the Trump administration has so far seen no evidence that Pakistan has met its demands for a crackdown on extremist groups operating on Pakistani territory. The US government last month said it was suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups. Pakistan has long rejected accusations that it fails to tackle militants battling the government in neighbouring Afghanistan and US-led foreign forces there, from sanctuaries on its side of the border. After Washington announced the aid suspension, Pakistan criticized what it called ?shifting goalposts? and said the move was counter-productive.
  17. This is the second time Yameen has declared a state of emergency. He last took the step in November 2015 after an alleged attempt to assassinate him. MALDIVES: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Monday declared a 15-day state of emergency, his aide Azima Shukoor announced, deepening the political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation. The move gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects and comes amid a tense standoff between the Supreme Court and the government. The president has refused to comply with a court order to release political prisoners, despite growing international pressure and concern. Shukoor read out the declaration on state television shortly after Yameen sent three letters to the judges asking them to reverse their decision. This is the second time Yameen has declared a state of emergency. He last took the step in November 2015 after an alleged attempt to assassinate him. Officials said the president is required to inform the parliament about any declaration of emergency within two days, but the country?s legislature has been suspended indefinitely by authorities. The Supreme Court on Thursday had also restored the seats of 12 MPs who had defected from Yameen?s party, effectively handing the opposition a majority in the 85-member parliament, making the president vulnerable to impeachment.
  18. WELLINGTON: New Zealand ordered a high-level inquiry into historical abuse of children in state care Thursday, saying past failures must be acknowledged to prevent it happening again. The establishment of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care meets an election commitment from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who took power in October. It follows years of lobbying from former state wards who say they suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse while in care. Ardern said the state effectively acted as a parent to society´s most vulnerable children and their abuse while in care was "unconscionable". "This is a chance to confront our history and make sure we don´t make the same mistakes again," she said. "It is a significant step towards acknowledging and learning from the experiences of those who have been abused in state care." The inquiry will start hearings later this year into allegations of abuse dating from 1950 to 1999. New Zealand´s Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy estimated last year that 100,000 children were taken into state care during that period. Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said the inquiry would take a close look at the impacts on New Zealand´s indigenous Maori population who have traditionally made up a large proportion of children in care. Maori are the most disadvantaged community in New Zealand with higher rates of poverty, unemployment and imprisonment than the rest of the population, historically resulting in a disproportionate number of Maori children in care. The royal commission -- the most powerful inquiry that can be set up under New Zealand law -- will be headed by former governor-general Anand Satyanand. It will look at institutions which were directly run by the state -- including orphanages, borstals and psychiatric hospitals -- and those to which care was contracted out, such as churches. No deadline has been set for it to report back and similar inquiries in Australia, Britain and Canada have taken years.
  19. US President Donald Trump delivering his first State of the Union address. Photo: Reuters US President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address on Tuesday. Here is the full text of his speech as prepared for delivery and released by the White House: "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans: Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People -- and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land. Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission -- to make America great again for all Americans. Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine. Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be. We saw the volunteers of the "Cajun Navy," racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip. We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee. We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires. To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else -- we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together. Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House -- a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise. We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room. In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve. Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong. And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America. Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages. Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history. Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans' 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts. And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses. To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit. A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 -- slashing their tax bill in half. This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system -- and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month. We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year -- forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare -- the individual mandate is now gone. We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000. Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income. Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing -- a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door. One of Staub's employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax?cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. Please join me in congratulating Corey. Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses -- many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers. This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen watching at home tonight -- no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything. Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family. We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag. Together, we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "in God we trust." And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support. Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done. Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem. Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return. For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government. Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country. We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty. And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve -- and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey. All Americans deserve accountability and respect -- and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers -- and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people. In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history. We have ended the war on American Energy -- and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world. In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America's autoworkers -- so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again. Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States -- something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing -- for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back. Exciting progress is happening every day. To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history. We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives. People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure -- I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the "right to try." One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down. America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth. The era of economic surrender is over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules. As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year -- is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road? I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment -- to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process -- getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one. Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit. We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day's work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love. We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity. As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave. As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance. Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families. For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives. Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters -- Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens -- were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa's 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ?- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school. Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again. The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise. So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too. Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez -- he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ's murder. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13. CJ: Great work. Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements. Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package. In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise -- one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs. Here are the four pillars of our plan: The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age -- that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States. The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country -- and it finally ends the dangerous practice of "catch and release." The third pillar ends the visa lottery -- a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system -- one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country. The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future. In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford. It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system. For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen. Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done. These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction. In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge. My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult -- but, as Americans always do, we will prevail. As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America. We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby. In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: "You will do it -- because you can." He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope. Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations. As we rebuild America's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad. Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense. For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military. As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated. Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city. Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery. Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin's selfless love for a fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a "V" for "Valor." Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you. Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are. In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield -- including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi. So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa'ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists -- wherever we chase them down. Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans. Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends. As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries. When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom. I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal. My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela. But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening. Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies. Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June -- horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return. Otto's Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight -- along with Otto's brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto's memory with American resolve. Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho. In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves -- permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had -- and he resolved to be free. Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death. Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ?- the truth. Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom. It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world. That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done. Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her. Monuments to Washington and Jefferson -- to Lincoln and King. Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga -- to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia. And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people. A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us -- defending hope, pride, and the American way. They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines. But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them. Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them. Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again. As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail. Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free. Thank you, and God bless America."
  20. First Lady Melania Trump made a very visible return to the public stage Tuesday after weeks of privacy, as she attended her husband´s maiden State of the Union address before Congress. Photo: CNN WASHINGTON: First Lady Melania Trump made a very visible return to the public stage Tuesday after weeks of privacy, as she attended her husband´s maiden State of the Union address before Congress. The enigmatic wife of President Donald Trump emerged publicly for the first time since she fed the Washington rumor mill by cancelling her trip to Davos, Switzerland, leaving her husband to attend last week´s World Economic Forum on his own. A smiling and waving Melania arrived in the chamber to warm and extended applause -- dressed in a crisp cream white pantsuit that stood in contrast to the black donned by many Democratic lawmakers in solidarity with the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. Minutes later, her husband took the floor and exchanged waves with his wife. Among Trumps´ guests in the first lady´s box were a US Marine corporal who stepped on an explosive device and last both legs while deployed in Iraq in 2007; first responders who helped save hurricane victims in Louisiana and Texas, and parents of children killed by the gang MS-13. In what would be a break with tradition, Melania Trump reportedly travelled separately to the US Capitol and not in the presidential limousine. As the 47-year-old wife of a 71-year-old man known for past lewd remarks about women, and who divorced his two previous wives in a blaze of tabloid publicity, Melania Trump is dogged by speculation that they lead largely separate lives. The State of the Union speech was the first lady´s first major appearance since bombshell reports that her husband allegedly had a fling with porn star Stormy Daniels in 2006. Trump stands accused of paying off Daniels one month before the November 2016 election to keep their adulterous liaison quiet. Daniels was set to appear Tuesday on late night ABC talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" "Relaxing before the big night," Daniels wrote Tuesday on Instagram. It was not clear if she was referring to Trump´s speech, or her appearance with Kimmel. Melania, her opinions and goals have remained a mystery to millions of Americans. She is a former model who once posed nude in her husband´s private jet, and the first foreign-born wife of a US president in nearly 200 years. She spent her first months as the first lady living in New York and refused to move to the White House until their young son Barron finished the school year. She makes few public speeches and is rarely seen in Washington.
  21. US President Donald Trump is slated to commence his first State of the Union address shortly, today (Wednesday). Some important topics that he is likely to discuss in his speech have been released ahead of the actual address. As of the documents, Trump is expected to: 1. Push for more efforts against Daesh in the war on terrorism, 2. Talk about employment, infrastructure, immigration, trade, and national security. LIVE UPDATES US President Donald Trump points towards Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan during his State of the Union address to a joint session of the US Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst "Less than one year has passed" since the night when Trump's "administration had already taken very soft action" in the plan to 'make America great again', the US President said, in his first State of the Union address, delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives. ?This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream,? he said. He urged the bitterly-divided Democrats and Republicans to work toward compromises on immigration and infrastructure after a bruising year of partisan battles that have centred on his leadership. ?Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,? Trump said, noting the "incredible progress" and "extraordinary success" experienced since January 20, 2017. ?Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages,? he said. According to Trump, the unemployment in the African-American community has reached the lowest levels, while that for the Hispanic people is at a historical low. A Gallup poll said the incumbent American head-of-state had an average job approval in 2017 of 38 percent, the lowest first-year rating for any president in the firm?s history. Gallup said that was nearly 20 points lower than the 57 percent averaged by Barack Obama ? his Democratic predecessor. Just before the event, stock markets around the world experienced a bearish trend, with the value of the US dollar dipping. ?Geo.tv will be updating this story in real time. Stay tuned.
  22. WASHINGTON: Embattled US President Donald Trump delivers his biggest speech of the year Tuesday, a State of the Union address designed to sell his economic record to a skeptical and fiercely divided America. Trump's maiden address to the country - last year, he delivered a primetime speech that was technically only to Congress - presents a once-in-a-year opportunity for the president to mend his sunken approval ratings. As many as 40 million are expected to tune in when he takes to the floor of the House of Representatives just after 9:00 pm. "It's a big speech, an important speech," Trump said Monday, teasing his remarks. Over the years, the event has lost some of its influence, but it can shape public debate for weeks to come. In 94 previous addresses, presidents have described the state of the union as "good," "strong," "sound" or in the case of a glum Gerald Ford, "not good." Expect no such moderation from the 71-year-old real estate mogul and reality TV star. The state of the union is "incredible," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, outlining a speech that will be long on claims of achievement. Trump is expected to tout a long bull run on Wall Street and improving growth rates, something the White House is calling a "Trump bump" linked directly to the recent "Trump tax cut." That narrative suffered a setback when stocks tumbled at the opening Tuesday, amid fears of a bubble. But expect Trump to plow on. "We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory," Trump said of the speech, "including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut." Since Trump came to office a year ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by around 33 percent. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low. Trump recently told global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland that "America is open for business" again. During his first year, Trump has often sought credit, but he has appeared less concerned about widening his appeal - defying norms and sticking to a base-first approach. With legislative elections scheduled for November and the probe into his campaign´s ties with Russia intensifying, Tuesday´s speech may see something of a change in strategy. "This is a president who wants to lead for everybody," said Sanders. "He's not looking to lead for any one person, any one group, but he wants to be the president of the United States." Trump's approval rating is languishing around 40 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average, and opposition to his presidency is fierce. At a donor retreat in California this week, Republican strategists warned that an unpopular president and strong enthusiasm among Democrats could spell doom. Adding to Republican woes is a steady stream of revelations about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, which is accused of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump´s favor. The eve of Trump's remarks were dominated by the departure of a key figure in that probe, the deputy head of the FBI, who had come under sustained public criticism from the president. The White House also faced criticism for slow-walking lawmakers´ demands for sanctions against Russia. 'America First' Tuesday's speech is also expected to touch on the highly charged issue of migration, where Trump continues to play firmly to his base. Two couples whose daughters were murdered by MS-13, a Salvadoran gang, are among those the White House invited to attend the address in Washington. His remarks are being crafted in part by aide Stephen Miller, who is known in Washington as a hardliner on immigration and has been pressing for an uncompromising stance. "For many, many years, they've been talking immigration, they never got anything done. We´re going to get something done, we hope," Trump said. Trump can also be expected to lift his gaze beyond the United States to what Washington sees as Iran's troublesome activities across the Middle East, as well as North Korea´s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. And trade is expected to be a strong focus, with Trump repeating claims that the current terms of global business are unfair to the world´s largest economy. "The world has taken advantage of us on trade for many years, and as you probably noticed we´re stopping that, and we´re stopping it cold," Trump said. The opposition The Democrats' official rebuttal will come from up-and-coming congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, but 2016 White House hopeful Bernie Sanders and others will also offer their takes. They are likely to concede that the economy is growing, but perhaps not for everyone. "Trump inherited a years-long economic recovery but has yet to turn it to the advantage of working Americans," said analysts at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
  23. A copy of the ticket for US President Donald Trump?s 'State of the Union' speech, which contained a spelling error. Image Courtesy: New Straits Times WASHINGTON: Donald Trump's misspellings have become legendary ? "covfefe," anyone? ? but a glaring typo on tickets for the president's State of the Union speech Tuesday has some lawmakers crying for spell check. Tickets to the prime-time speech before a joint session of Congress were printed inviting lawmakers and guests to the State of the "Uniom," lawmakers and officials said Monday. "Just received my ticket for the State of the Union. Looks like @BetsyDeVosED was in charge of spell checking... #SOTUniom," tweeted House Democrat Raul Grijalva, referring to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has advocated policies that critics say undermine the public education system. Grijalva's tweet also included a photograph of the offending ticket. The White House is not responsible for the error. The printing is overseen by the Sergeant at Arms of the US House of Representatives, whose office on Monday acknowledged the snafu. "There was a misprint on the ticket," a Sergeant at Arms spokesman told AFP. "It was corrected immediately, and our office is redistributing the tickets." But not before a few lawmakers got some ribbing in. "Looking forward to tomorrow's State of the Uniom," tweeted Republican Senator Marco Rubio. On the spelling front, Trump has been a presidential trailblazer. He has routinely posted tweets containing errors, including one on the day after his January 20, 2017 inauguration, in which he wrote he was "honered to serve" as the nation's 45th president.
  24. A sign announcing the closure of the Statue of Liberty, due to the US government shutdown, sits near the ferry dock to the Statue of Liberty BEIJING: China?s official news agency said in a commentary on Sunday that the shutdown of the US government exposed ?chronic flaws? in the US political system. Funding for federal agencies ran out at midnight on Friday in Washington after lawmakers failed to agree on a stopgap funding bill. ?What?s so ironic is that it came on the first anniversary of Donald Trump?s presidency on Saturday, a slap in the face for the leadership in Washington,? China?s Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary by Xinhua writer Liu Chang. The commentary said that the Trump administration had ?backtracked? on policies supported by his predecessor, Barack Obama, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and US participation in the Paris climate agreement. ?If there was any legacy that has survived the transfer of power, it was the spirit of non-cooperation across party lines,? the Xinhua commentary said. While Xinhua commentaries are not official statements, they offer a reflection of Beijing?s thinking. ?The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country,? it said. ?However, what?s happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system,? it said. At a twice-a-decade congress of China?s ruling Communist Party in October, President Xi Jinping was anointed for a second term as party chief, strengthening his grip on power.
  25. .Anurag Kashyap & Vineet Singh On The State Of Indian Sports