Trump upbeat on bipartisan U.S. healthcare fix

US President Donald Trump's administration has accused Iran of violating the "spirit" of the agreement.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGESWASHINGTON -16 October 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism on Monday that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will craft a short-term fix for healthcare insurance markets after he last week scrapped Obamacare subsidies to insurers.Trump, speaking to reporters at the start of a meeting with his Cabinet, said he believes congressional Republicans will agree to a long-term fix for healthcare by early next year, but said he does not expect Democrats to support that effort.He did not provide details on what might be included. "I think we'll have a short-term fix and then we'll have a long-term fix, and that will take place probably in March or April," Trump said.Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that he was hopeful that an agreement was near to stabilize Obamacare. "If he's (Trump) now supportive of an agreement that stabilizes and improves the existing system under the Affordable Care Act, we certainly welcome that change of heart," Schumer said.Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have been trying to craft a bipartisan deal aimed at helping stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.The two senators have been meeting privately for months on a possible bipartisan deal. Republicans repeatedly have failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with their own, more limited healthcare program.It was not clear whether Trump was specifically referring to the Alexander-Murray effort in his remarks.Despite the two senators' months of work, Trump said Republicans and Democrats in Congress were meeting "because of what I did with the CSRs – because I cut off the gravy train. If I didn’t cut the CSRs ... they’d be having lunch and enjoying themselves.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2017 18:33 UTC

Catalan police chief walks free after sedition hearing

Josep Luis Trapero (C), the chief of Catalonia's regional police force, faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of seditionMADRID-16 October 2017:Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero on Monday was allowed to walk free from a court in Madrid where he faced charges of sedition, a judicial source said.Spanish state prosecutors had demanded he be remanded in custody pending trial on accusations that he failed to stop Catalonia's banned independence referendum from going ahead on October 1.Trapero, who became a popular figure in Catalonia for his handling of the August jihadist attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils, faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of sedition.The head of the Mossos d'Esquadra regional force is also accused of failing to contain protests that followed arrests and searches in Catalonia last month by national police as part of a crackdown on the outlawed independence vote.The Guardia Civil national police force accused Catalan police of disobeying orders.The Mossos defended themselves, saying they stopped voting at 446 polling stations and that a more aggressive intervention would have been counterproductive.Monday's appearance at Madrid's National Court was Trapero's second in 10 days.It came as the region's separatist leader Carles Puigdemont -- who counts Trapero as a close ally -- failed to clarify Monday whether he intended to follow through with his threat to declare independence in Catalonia, despite a government deadline.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded by giving Puigdemont a fresh deadline of 0800 GMT on Thursday to "return to legality".

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2017 17:15 UTC

We seek to ease Palestinian suffering: Hamas spokesman

Hamas spokesman, Abdul-Latif QanouCAIRO – 16 October 2017: Hamas spokesman, Abdul-Latif Qanou, stated that Hamas looks forward to meeting the upcoming national government headed by Ramy Hamadallah to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people.Qanou added that Hamas is committed to implementing the assigned timetable of the reconciliation last Thursday, stressing that the punishment measures posed by president Mahmoud Abbas must be undone.“Our people look forward to putting an end to these punishment measures especially after dissolving the administrative committee one month ago,” stated Qanou.He added that all ministries, bodies and authorities of the Gaza strip are now under the control of Hamadallah government, with all doors opened and paved to take over the strip.Qanou further stated that the Palestinian Authority Director-General for Border Crossings Department Nazmi Muhanna arrived on Monday as part of the reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah.Head of the Civil Affairs Authority Hussein el-Sheikh said a governmental delegation of the crossings' crew will begin implementing the items of the agreement whereby the national reconciliation government will oversee management of the enclave crossings.Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mofeed al Hasaynah announced that the Italian government agreed on building a new housing district in northern Gaza to compensate the owners of houses that have been demolished during the Israeli aggression.Deputy Chief of Fatah Movement Mahmoud al-Aloul said his movement is closely following up with measures to empower the reconciliation government in Gaza.He also said that the upcoming days would witness a meeting of the specialized committees and security officials to follow-up on the implementation of a deal which has been recently reached between the two Palestinian factions in Cairo under the auspices of Egypt.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2017 15:56 UTC

U.N. coordinator follows up on reconciliation with Palestinian PM

Palestinian National reconciliationCAIRO – 16 October 2017: Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov met on Monday Palestinian Prime Minister Ramy Hamadallah to follow up on the implementation of the Palestinian national reconciliation in Ramallah.This came as part of the U.N. role to support the reconciliation sponsored by Egypt, which played the most important role in the Palestinian reconciliation.Mladenov pointed out that the agreement stipulates the return of Gaza crossings to the Palestinian Authority by November 1, indicating that this will empower the national government in the Gaza Strip effectively.Mladenov confirmed that the U.N. continues its efforts to coordinate and support the national Palestinian government, which is considered decisive step to achieve stability in the whole region.The national reconciliation and Palestinian national unity will be the main impetus for restoring the Palestinian cause to its natural state, as a national issue for all Palestinian people.He continued to call for unifying all Palestinian efforts and energies, expressing his hope that the positive aspects of the reconciliation will be reflected on all Palestinian issues.Earlier, Abbas extended the Palestinian people’s appreciation to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for his administration’s efforts in signing the reconciliation agreement in Cairo, according to the Palestine News Agency (WAFA).“What was agreed upon strengthens and accelerates the steps to end the division and restore the unity of the Palestinian people, land and institutions,” said Abbas.The two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, signed an Egypt-brokered reconciliation deal in Cairo, in a key step towards ending a decade-long rift between the two movements.The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2017 14:26 UTC

Palestine condemns Israeli expansion of settlement policy

A tire is set ablaze as Palestinians protesters are seen during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the West Bank village of Kofr Qadom, near Nablus, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad TorokmanRAMALLAH– 16 October 2017:The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned on Monday the expansion of settlements and the large-scale Judaization operations in al Quds city.In a statement, the ministry slammed the decision by the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu to resume operations to expand Israeli settlements that were suspended during the term of US Former President Barack Obama.The ministry said that such move hinders any chance to establish the Palestinian state with al Quds (occupied east Jerusalem) as its capital and diminishes political solutions based on the two state solution.Occupation authorities started implementing a massive expansion scheme in Givat Hamatos settlement in al Quds by announcing its plan to build about 2600 new settlements that had been approved in 2014, the ministry said adding that it will lead to the separation of the south of al Quds (Jerusalem) from its Palestinian extension, enabling occupation forces to isolate and surround a number of neighborhoods in al Quds.The ministry added that the silence of the international community on Israeli settlements and violation of the international law and legitimate international resolutions represented a cover that encourages Israel to continue its destruction of the opportunities to revive peace negotiations.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2017 13:18 UTC