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Trump, Kim Next Summit Likely In Vietnam

WASHINGTON, Jan 19: US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the location has been decided for his next summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, around the end of February.

"We picked a country," Trump told reporters, without giving more details.

A Vietnamese government source earlier told AFP that "logistical preparations" were under way to host the encounter, most likely in the capital Hanoi or coastal city of Danang.

The White House on Friday confirmed that the second Trump-Kim meeting would occur next month, following a rare visit to Washington by a senior North Korean general.

Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol, a right-hand man to the North Korean strongman, met Trump at the White House on Friday for an unusually long 90 minutes as the countries seek a denuclearization accord that could ease decades of hostility.

On Saturday, Trump said a "lot of progress" has been made on the issue.

Kim Jong Un and Trump first met in June in Singapore, where they signed a vaguely worded document in which Kim pledged to work toward the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

Progress stalled soon afterward as Pyongyang and Washington -- which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea -- disagree over what that means.

The United States expects Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal, doggedly built by the Kim dynasty despite sanctions and nationwide famines.

Kim, whose family has brutally ruled North Korea for three generations, is seeking guarantees of the regime's survival as well as relief from biting UN sanctions.

Analysts say that a second summit has to make tangible progress on the issue of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons if it is to avoid being dismissed as "reality TV."

Trump again rules out any collusion with Russia

WASHINGTON, Jan 14: President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed once against any suggestion he was working for Russians or was under their influence as his nominee for attorney general, William Barr is expected to tell lawmakers he will allow special Counsel Robert Mueller to complete his probe into the Russian interference in 2016 elections.

“I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax,” Trump told reporters, and added that his meetings with Russian president Vladimir Putin were like the one-on-ones he has had with other world leaders.

A news report over the weekend said the FBI had launched an investigation against President Trump in the aftermath of his firing of then director James Comey to determine if he was working for Russians. Another report had said the American president goes to extraordinary extents to conceal details of his meetings with President Putin even from his own senior aides.

Questions about Russian interference in the 2016 elections to help Trump will have dogged the president’s presidency from even before he took office, and his meetings and calls with President Putin have also drawn close scrutiny.

Questions have also been raised about what Barr, the nominee for the post of attorney general, plans to do with Mueller’s probe, having been critical of it in the past, before getting the nomination. And lawmakers have worried he might shut it down, given how his boss, the president, feels about it. Trump has slammed it as a “witch-hunt”.

“On my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work,” Barr said in prepared remarks ahead of two days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Barr, a former former attorney general to President George H.W. Bush, will face questions from lawmakers about his views that the Russia probe was “fatally misconceived”.

Trump mocks Modi over Afghan library

WASHINGTON, Jan 3: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, suggesting it was of no use.

Trump brought up India’s aid during a rambling press appearance at a cabinet meeting as he defended his push for the United States to invest less overseas.

While stating that he got along with Modi, Trump said the Modi was “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan.”

“You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” Trump said.

“And we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan,” Trump said.

It was unclear to which project Trump was referring, but India has committed $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the extremist Taliban regime after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Projects have included the reconstruction of an elite high school in Kabul and scholarships to India for 1,000 Afghan students each year.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren takes step toward US presidential bid, to challenge Donald Trump in 2020

WASHINGTON, Jan 1: US senator Elizabeth Warren become on Monday, the last day of 2018, the highest profile Democrat to formally move towards a White House run, announcing the launch of an exploratory committee, usually, but not necessarily, the first step in that direction.

Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and others are expected to follow soon, with similar exploratory committees or a formal run in coming days a week.

“Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love,” Warren wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me,” the 69-year-old said.

In an embedded video for supporters, she pitched herself as a candidate who will fight for the middle-class, people of colour and people immigrants who may come to the country from anywhere and take on corruption by politicians and big corporation.

“Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead, it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected … If we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win.”

Warren, a janitor’s daughter who went on teach law at Harvard, shot into public limelight after president Barack Obama named her to set up a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, based on an idea mooted by her, following the Great Recession triggered by them in 2008.

The aim was to protect consumers from banks and financial institutions, the Wall Street, that had triggered the financial crisis most of the world, because of their linkages to the US economy.

Warren went on to run, and win, for the Senate from Massachusetts and was re-elected for a second term in the November mid-term elections.

Speculation about her run has attracted attention and snide remarks from President Donald Trump, who will be seeking a second term in 2020.

He has attacked her over her claims of Native American ancestry and calls her Pocahontas, after the daughter of a Native American chieftain who interacted with the first American settler in the late 16th century and married one of them.

 

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