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Showing posts from October, 2017

Trump chief of staff's Civil War comment sparks criticism

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s comment that the U.S. Civil War was sparked by a lack of “compromise” drew criticism and reignited a debate over Confederate monuments and the role of slavery.
In an interview on Monday night with Fox News, Kelly was asked whether a Virginia church should have removed plaques honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee and President George Washington, both Virginians. Kelly said figures of the past could not be viewed through the lens of current moral values.
“I think it’s just very, very dangerous and it shows you ... how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is,” Kelly said. 
“I will tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.”
“The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand,” Kelly added.
The comment sparked an immediate backlash, with critics noting that the United States had made a number of compro…

U.S. Senate Republicans want to speed Trump nominee approvals

Leading Republicans in the U.S. Senate, expressing frustration at how slowly President Donald Trump’s nominees are being confirmed, on Tuesday called for changes in the chamber’s procedures to speed up the approval process.
“I believe it is time to change the rules of the Senate,” Senate Republican Policy Committee Chair John Barrasso told reporters, saying a way needed to be found to shorten debate times.
Trump has complained bitterly about Senate rules slowing progress on his agenda. 
But the president has generally focused his criticism on a Senate rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation to advance in the 100-member chamber - the so-called filibuster rule.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Republicans do not want to change the 60-vote requirement for legislation. 
But McConnell, speaking to reporters after Barrasso on Tuesday, said there may be a way to reduce the time spent on debating judicial and other nominees after they clear an initial hurdle.
Currently …

Canada oil, gas drilling to pick up in 2018: industry body

Canadian oil and gas drilling activity will climb 5 percent in 2018 as a gradual uptick in crude prices gives rise to cautious optimism among producers, an industry body forecast on Tuesday.
The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) expects energy firms to drill 7,900 wells next year, up from 7,550 in 2017. The biggest increase in activity will be in Canada’s main crude oil and gas-producing province of Alberta.
Based on PSAC’s forecast, next year will be the busiest for drilling since 2014, when oil prices crashed because of global oversupply.
The 2018 estimate is still 30 percent below 2014 well totals, highlighting the slow speed of recovery. U.S. crude prices are hovering just under $55 a barrel CLc1, well below early 2014 prices of above $100.
“For 2018, confidence that oil will stay in the low-to-mid $50 range as markets tighten and inventories reduce, along with growing interest in Canada’s vast liquids rich natural gas, should support a 4 to 5 percent increase in activit…

Foreign buyers inch back into Vancouver housing market

Foreign buyers have started inching back into the Vancouver housing market, more than a year after the province of British Columbia imposed a foreign buyer tax on real estate deals, according to government data released on Tuesday.
Foreign nationals were behind 5 percent of home purchases in Metro Vancouver in September, up from about 0.9 percent in August 2016, the month the 15 percent levy was enacted in response to offshore money flowing into the west coast city’s overheated housing market.
In the suburb of Richmond, home to Canada’s largest immigrant population, foreign buyers accounted for 10.8 percent of purchases in September, while in nearby Burnaby, foreign buyers were behind 9.6 percent of deals.
The numbers were still below those of July 2016, when more than 24 percent of home sales in both Burnaby and Richmond involved foreign nationals, as buyers scrambled to close to deals before the tax took effect.
British Columbia’s New Democratic government inherited the foreign buyer ta…

U.S. pursues direct diplomacy with North Korea despite Trump rejection

The United States is quietly pursuing direct diplomacy with North Korea, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s public assertion that such talks are a waste of time.
Using the so-called “New York channel,” Joseph Yun, U.S. negotiator with North Korea, has been in contact with diplomats at Pyongyang’s United Nations mission, the official said, at a time when an exchange of bellicose insults between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has fueled fears of military conflict.
While U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Oct. 17 said he would continue “diplomatic efforts ... until the first bomb drops,” the official’s comments were the clearest sign the United States was directly discussing issues beyond the release of American prisoners, despite Trump having dismissed direct talks as pointless.
There is no sign, however, that the behind-the-scenes communications have improved a relationship vexed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile t…

In Russia probe, Mueller's first charges a show of force

President Donald Trump brushed off the first indictments in the probe of his campaign’s ties to Russian election meddling, but the charges sent a clear signal to the White House and other Trump associates: Robert Mueller means business.
By going after Trump’s campaign manager and another aide on money-laundering charges and securing a guilty plea from a third campaign adviser, the special prosecutor showed he would delve deeply into the past in search of criminal activity and use his broad powers aggressively.
That left some Trump associates worried about what or whom Mueller would target next, despite the White House’s public dismissal of the developments as unrelated to the president and his campaign.
“They’re flexing their muscles for anybody that they approach in this investigation and letting them know we really mean it,” said former federal prosecutor Patrick Cotter. 
“So if we come to you, you should talk to us. Manafort didn’t and look what happened to him.”
Manafort and Rick Gates…

Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. seeks return to U.S. to defend money laundering settlement

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, wants permission to return to the United States to defend a claim by prosecutors that her client’s company has failed to pay a $6 million settlement in an international money laundering case.
Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a Russian-controlled company, which in May this year agreed to pay nearly $6 million to the U.S. government to settle a $230 million Russian tax fraud case related to Hermitage Capital, an American fund that invested in Russia.
In a court filing in federal court in Manhattan on Monday U.S. prosecutors said the settlement payment was due on Oct. 31, but in a letter on Tuesday filed in federal court in Manhattan lawyers for Prevezon disagreed.
About half of the settlement money was supposed to come from 3 million euros owed to Prevezon that the U.S. government had asked the Netherlands to freeze.
The Netherlands lifted the hold on the money on …

South Korea exports to U.S. drop in Oct., shipments to China surge

South Korea’s exports to the United States declined 12 percent in October from a year earlier while shipments to China surged 13.5 percent, government data showed on Wednesday.

The decline in shipments to the United States was mainly because of South Korea’s public holiday from Oct 2 to Oct 9, the trade ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said exports to China rose on strong demand for South Korean memory chips and petrochemical products.

Manafort spent millions on homes, rugs, clothes: court filing

Paul Manafort, the indicted former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, spent almost $1 million on eight rugs in two years and more than $1.3 million on clothes from shops in Beverly Hills, California, and New York City.
His lavish lifestyle - with homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons, Arlington, Virginia and elsewhere - were detailed in an indictment filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that was revealed on Monday.
The indictment filed by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller said Manafort “used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States.”
Prosecutors said they found payments by Manafort for four Range Rovers and a Mercedes-Benz among transactions that they alleged came illegally from overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes, according to the 31-page court filing.
Prosecutors said they found evidence he bought a condo in a restored red-brick building in New York’s upscale Soho neighborhood for $2.85 m…

Return Manafort's money, Democrats demand of California Republican

A California neuroscientist vying to unseat Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher stepped up his criticism of the conservative on Tuesday, demanding he return a $1,000 contribution from indicted Trump adviser Paul Manafort.
The Orange County seat held by Rohrabacher is key to Democrats’ hopes to increase their numbers in the U.S. House of Representatives in next year’s elections. 
Neuroscientist Hans Keirstead, a stem cell researcher and entrepreneur from Laguna Beach, is one of seven Democrats aiming to beat him, according to the Federal Election Commission.
“We’ve got a Russian-tainted Congressman taking Russian-tainted money from Manafort,” Keirstead said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Something has to be put straight here.”
Federal investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election on Monday charged Manafort, a lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager, with money laundering.
Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has frequen…

Eight dead in suspected terrorist truck attack on Manhattan bike path

A driver in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path alongside the Hudson River in New York City on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring about a dozen others in what authorities said was an act of terrorism.
It was the greatest loss of life from a suspected terrorist attack in New York since suicide hijackers crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, killing more than 2,600 people.
Tuesday’s assault, on the far west side of lower Manhattan not far from the site of the World Trade Center, was reminiscent of several deadly vehicle attacks in Europe during the past 15 months.
(To view a graphic on where the New York truck attack happened, click
The 29-year-old suspect in Tuesday’s attack was shot in the abdomen by police and taken into custody after he crashed the truck into a school bus and fled his vehicle, New York City Police Commissioner James O‘Neill told a news confere…

نامه سناتورهای آمریکا به سفیر ایالات متحده در سازمان ملل برای پاسخگویی ایران

چندین سناتور امریکا در نامه ای به نیکی هیلی سفیر ایالات متحده در سازمان ملل از او خواستند که از آژانس بین المللی انرژی اتمی بخواهد از تأسیسات نظامی ایران بازدید بعمل آورد.
این سناتورها در عین حال خواستار گزارشگری و الزامات بررسی قوی تر و تأئید پیروی ایران از توافق هسته ای شده اند.
امضا کنندگان این نامه عبارتند از سناتورهای جمهوریخواه تد کروز، مارکو روبیو، دیوید پردو، جان بوزمن، جانی ایزاکسون، جان براسو، مایک لی، کری گاردنر، جیم ریچ، دن سالیوان، مایک راندز، لوتر استرینج، جیمز اینهاف و جان کندی.
در بخشی از این نامه آمده است: «هنگامی که برجام آشکار شد، پرزیدنت اوباما قول داد که بازرسان به مکان های مشکوک دسترسی داشته باشند. 
بدین معنا که آژانس بین المللی انرژی اتمی، سازمان مسئول بازرسی ها، هرگاه لازم باشد به هر کجا که ضروری باشد، دسترسی خواهد داشت. 
او تاکید کرد که برنامه هسته ای ایران با محدودیت های شدید روبروست و مورد شدیدترین بازرسی های اتمی قراردارد. 
اما در عمل به نظر می آید که چنین نیست. در همین تابستان گذشته مقامات ایرانی گفتند که که سایت های نظامی ایران از شمول بازرسی ها بیرون است و انه…

مشاور کمپین ترامپ درباره تماس با روس‌ها دروغ گفته بود

یکی از مشاوران مبارزات انتخاباتی دونالد ترامپ اتهام دروغ گفتن به اف بی آی درباره زمان ملاقات ها با کسانی که ادعا می شود رابط روسیه بوده اند را پذیرفته است.
اسناد دادگاه نشان می دهد که جورج پاپادوپولوس اذعان کرده است که گفتگو با این افراد زمانی اتفاق افتاد که او برای آقای ترامپ کار می کرد نه قبل از آن.
او گفت به او گفته شده بود که روس ها اطلاعاتی برای "تخریب چهره" هیلاری کلینتون در اختیار دارند.
اینها اولین اتهاماتی است که رابرت مولر، دادستان ویژه تحقیق درباره ادعای تبانی میان روسیه و ستاد مبارزات ترامپ، مطرح می کند. هر دو طرف چنین اتهامی را رد می کنند.
پیشتر معلوم شد که تحقیقات آقای مولر در این باره به طرح اتهام کلاهبرداری مالیاتی علیه پال مانافورت، مدیر سابق ستاد مبارزات آقای ترامپ، منجر شده است.
دوازده مورد اتهام علیه آقای مانافورت و یکی از همکاران او به نام ریک گیتس مطرح شده که شامل توطئه برای پولشویی هم هست.
این اتهامات به کمپین آقای ترامپ مربوط نمی شود بلکه به معاملات تجاری این دو تا قبل از سال ۲۰۱۵مربوط است.
تاثیر احتمالی پرونده پاپادوپولوس بر ترامپ چیست؟
تحلیلگران می گویند پر…