Trump urges a new 'structure' for U.S.-China trade deal

AFP/File | President Donald Trump is denouncing Tehran's "brutal and corrupt" regimeWASHINGTON - 24 May 2018: U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled a new direction in U.S.-China trade talks and said any deal would need “a different structure,” fueling uncertainty over current negotiations.In an early Wednesday morning post on Twitter, Trump said the current track appeared “too hard to get done” and cited difficulties such as verification, but he gave no other details about what he or his administration was looking for amid ongoing negotiations.Representatives for the White House did not respond to a request for more information about the president’s statement.“Our trade deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion,” Trump wrote in his post.U.S. stocks slipped after his comments, but ended Wednesday up after release of the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting, which indicated a gradual approach to interest rates hikes.On Thursday, the Trump comments on China trade talks and the launch of a U.S. national security probe into U.S. auto imports dented shares of Asian automakers.Trump’s statement comes amid the negotiations between the world’s two largest economies after potential tariffs on both sides raised fears of a trade war, even as some tensions have eased over signs of some possible progress.Both sides claimed victory on Monday and pledged to continue talking after last week’s round in Washington produced pledges that China would import more American energy and agricultural commodities so as to trim the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China, although there were no specifics. [nL3N1SS1VH]“China unswervingly defends its core interests, and did not make any promise on cutting its trade surplus with the U.S. by a specific figure,” Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, said on Thursday.But both sides are willing to strengthen cooperation in agricultural, energy, medical, high-tech products as well as the financial sector, Gao told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing.U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was expected to visit China next week to help finalize an agreement. On Tuesday, however, Trump raised doubts the meeting would take place as planned, and suggested Kim’s recent meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping had influenced Kim to harden his stance.

Source:Egypt Today

May 24, 2018 04:41 UTC

2 criminals killed, officer injured in drug-trafficking raid

Egypt's Interior Minister General Magdi Abdel Ghaffar speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt on March 6, 2016. Photo - ReutersCAIRO – 24 May 2018: Security forces raided the country’s notorious drug-trafficking desert area of Al-Sehr W Al-Jamal (Charm and Beauty) on Wednesday and killed two criminals during a police shootout that also led to the injury of an officer.According to the Security Directorate of Ismailia governorate, and based on information gathered by the security apparatus, security forces have been tracking down a dangerous criminal taking shelter in the area of Al-Sehr W Al-Jamal, which is located on the desert road linking the governorates of Ismailia and Suez.The investigations further revealed that the criminal, who was among the two killed by security forces during Wednesday’s desert sweep, was found to have had a lengthy criminal record, including 13 different cases with various charges relating to drug trafficking, forced robbery, possessing unlicensed weapons and murder.“The accused and his aide sensed the arrival of the forces and initiated by firing heavy weapons, and security forces managed to deter them and cordoned off the area and took control of the situation,” the statement read.A machine gun, 250 bullets and related chambers, a CZ 9mm pistol, large quantities of heroin, five digital scales, 10 mobile phones, an unlicensed motorcycle, and LE 23,000 ($1,284) were in possession of the criminals.A short time later, the public prosecution was reported to have been officially notified and pertinent investigations were launched accordingly.

Source:Egypt Today

May 24, 2018 03:45 UTC

France proposes initiative to end Libyan political stalemate

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army / press photoCAIRO – 24 May 2018: France is seeking to resume its mediation role in solving the Libyan crisis by proposing an initiative to end Libya's political impasse with the participation of high official parties, a Libyan source told Egypt Today.According to the source, Paris has recently conducted several negotiation meetings with Libyan factions' leaders and a number of international countries, before inviting the main parties to participate in a Paris meeting on Tuesday.Libyan Army Commander Khalifa Haftar, Libyan Presidential Council Chief Fayez Serraj, First Deputy of the State Supreme Council Nagy Mokhtar and Parliament Speaker Akila Saleh will take part in this meeting.The meeting is also expected to be attended by representatives of Egypt, Gulf countries, European countries, the United States, the African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States.According to the source, the main items of the initiative include immediate unification of the Libyan central bank and the dissolution of all parallel institutions. It also called for opening a new session for voters' registration on the electoral list for an additional period of 60 days.The initiative added that Libyan army forces should secure election preparations and polling stations, as voting should be taking place later this year. The statement was issued following a tripartite meeting of foreign affairs ministers Sameh Shoukry of Egypt, Khemaies Jhinaoui of Tunisia, and Abdelkader Messahel of Algeria in Algiers. They discussed the latest developments in Libya and prospects for a political solution in the Arab country. "Foreign interference undermines the country's political process, prolongs the crisis, and threatens security and stability in Libya and neighboring countries," the foreign ministers of the three countries said in a statement in support of the political settlement in Libya.Libya has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war that resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO airstrikes.

Source:Egypt Today

May 24, 2018 03:00 UTC

U.S.-led coalition hits Syrian army positions - Hezbollah media unit

An undated handout photo distributed by the Syrian News Agency (SANA) on July 8, 2012, shows Syrian armed forces during a live ammunitions exercise in an undisclosed location. REUTERS/SANA/HandoutBEIRUT - 24 May 2018: Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition targeted two Syrian army positions in the eastern Syrian desert, a military media unit run by Lebanon's Hezbollah group said early on Thursday, but U.S. military officials denied any knowledge of the strikes.The unit, a Damascus ally, said the strikes took place near T2, an energy installation located near the border with Iraq and about 100 km (60 miles) west of the Euphrates river where the coalition is backing ground forces against Islamic State.A U.S. military official denied any knowledge of the strikes. "We have no operational reporting of a U.S.-led coalition strike against pro-Syrian regime targets or forces," Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told Reuters.Another Pentagon spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We have no information to substantiate those reports. "Syrian state media did not immediately report the strikes.Eastern Syria was mostly held by Islamic State until last year, when two rival campaigns, one by the Syrian army backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the other by Kurdish and Arab militias backed by the U.S. coalition, took most of its land.Communication between Russia and the United States averted most clashes between them. However, the coalition has struck Syrian pro-government forces that it said were attempting to attack coalition positions.The U.S. military operating outside the coalition also maintains a base at Tanf in the eastern Syrian desert near the borders with Iraq and Jordan and last year struck pro-government forces moving along a road towards it.

Source:Egypt Today

May 24, 2018 01:07 UTC

U.S. House backs measure to clamp down on Myanmar over Rohingya rights

House Backs Measure to Clamp Down on Myanmar Over Rohingya Rights - ReutersWASHINGTON - 24 May 2018: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday in favor of legislation to pressure Myanmar, also known as Burma, to improve its record on human rights.Lawmakers voted 382-30 to approve the measure as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a massive defense policy bill that is one of the few pieces of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress every year.Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar since August to escape a military crackdown, launched in response to Rohingya insurgent attacks. Refugees have reported murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops.Washington has called the army response "ethnic cleansing," which Myanmar has denied, saying its security forces were conducting a legitimate counter-insurgency operation against "Bengali terrorists. "If included in a final version of the NDAA, typically passed by the House and Senate later in the year, the measure would, among other things, bar U.S. security assistance or cooperation with Myanmar's military or security forces until they have made progress on human rights.It also would impose sanctions on current or former senior Myanmar military officials who perpetrated or were responsible for serious human rights abuses.The amendment was introduced by Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.Earlier this month the United Nations Security Council urged Myanmar’s government to carry out transparent investigations into accusations of violence against the Rohingya Muslims and allow immediate aid access to the region.

Source:Egypt Today

May 23, 2018 21:45 UTC

Trump can't block his critics on Twitter, judge rules

"The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of Twitter users and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.The lawsuit contended that because Trump uses Twitter for a variety of policy announcements, his account is "a designated public forum" that cannot exclude people due to their political views.The judge acknowledged that even though the president has certain free speech rights, he cannot violate the rights of other Twitter users. "Jaffer added in a statement, "The president's practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end. "There was no immediate reaction from the White House.In the lawsuit, the seven individual plaintiffs, which included a University of Maryland professor, a Texas police officer and a New York comic, said they were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after posting tweets critical of his policies.Although they were still able to see the tweets without logging in to Twitter, and to quote Trump's tweets in their own messages, their comments were excluded from the threads that make up a public "conversation. "The case could affect other social media interactions involving public officials.The Knight Institute said it was lodging an appeal in the case of a Virginia resident blocked on Facebook by a local public official.A supporting brief in the New York case argued that the case is important in guaranteeing political speech. "In light of social media's importance to modern life, President Trump's practice of blocking individual users robs them of a singularly valuable opportunity to make their speech heard," said the brief filed by the Georgetown University Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

Source:Egypt Today

May 23, 2018 19:30 UTC

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