Americas

Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29
Americas

Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29

The radical Taliban movement has announced its intention to sign an agreement with the United States on February 29. This was reported on Friday by the representative of the Taliban, Zabihulla Mujahid.

“Now both parties must create an appropriate security environment in anticipation of the signing of the agreement,” Mujahid said.

Earlier, the upcoming signing of the agreement with the Taliban was announced by the head of the press service of the US Department of State, Morgan Ortegus. It was noted that soon after this, intra-Afghan negotiations will be held, on which, on the basis of this agreement, an attempt will be made to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The National Security Council of Afghanistan, announced that the government and the Taliban have reached an agreement on a regime to reduce violence, which should take effect at midnight from Friday to Saturday. The regime will last seven days.

On Thursday, the Taliban radical movement announced that it will soon reach final agreements with US authorities to reduce violence in Afghanistan. In the future, this should allow all foreign troops to withdraw from the country. US President Donald Trump said on February 13 that Washington and the Taliban could soon announce deals. He added that the United States “would like to bring its military back home” from Afghanistan.

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Wikileaks Founder Might Receive Pardon  For Trump
Americas

Wikileaks Founder Might Receive Pardon For Trump

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could save his life if he would just deny that Russia had anything to do with WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic Party emails in 2016, the Trump government has said. This has been confirmed by his lawyer in London who is now considering releasing the Australian editor-journalist.

This announcement could actually lead to his extradition to the U.S. His lawyers have proven the fact that the former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher had been sent by the president to visit Assange in 2017 to offer him a pardon. However Rohrabacher has denied ever having spoken to the president about Assange.

Assange is wanted in the US on 18 counts of including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades behind bars if convicted.

The Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. In 2010, his website is said to have enraged Washington by leaking secret U.S. documents making them easy for public consumption.

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Trump Sacks Maguire Over Spill Of Beans On Russia Connect To House Committee
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Trump Sacks Maguire Over Spill Of Beans On Russia Connect To House Committee

Someone from the National Intelligence Department spilled bean which he was not supposed to. It has resulted in Joseph Maguire losing his job. The acting director of national intelligence was pulled up insubordination coming to light from within his area of work. It was learned that one of his subordinates had briefed the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s apparent preference for Mr. Trump in the 2020 presidential contest.

It is confirmed that Shelby Pierson, the top election-security official in Mr. Maguire’s office had delivered information on election interference in a classified hearing before bipartisan members of the House panel, alongside national security officials from other federal agencies.

According to Pierson’s statement in the hearing, Russia seemed to be favouring Trump towards the 2016 election campaign. This is where Trump has suddenly decided to drop the retired navy admiral and opted for someone less experienced for the role. Trump has now named Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, as his next acting director of national intelligence.

The first openly gay cabinet level official in American history, Grenell has exhibited certain amount of loyalty to Trump in the past; hence the favoritism. Grenell, it is believed, might have to face stiff resistance and sharp opposition from Democrats if the White House tried to push through a Senate nomination and confirmation process.
Moscow interfered in “sweeping and systemic fashion” in the 2016 election in an effort to boost then-candidate Trump’s chances by spreading divisive social media content and hacking and leaking Democratic emails, according to the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller. Russia has denied election interference.

Trump has publicly and privately always denied any knowledge and showed skepticism over the US intelligence services drawing up with such conclusions. Trump does not share good vibes with any of the US intelligence services and has tried constantly to rid them of officers to replace with the ones that can toe-the-line for him.

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Democrats battle in heated Las Vegas debate with Bloomberg as the prime target
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Democrats battle in heated Las Vegas debate with Bloomberg as the prime target

Michael Bloomberg was invited to his first presidential debate with a volley of attacks commonly held for front-runners. For parts of the debate, he was the primary target of his Democratic contenders. Yet, there were additionally various clashes between different candidates in what may have been the most argumentative discussion of the season, CBS News reported.

Bloomberg has so far spent more than US$409 million of his cash on crusade adverts. While the spending has impelled him into the runner up, as indicated by ongoing surveys, it has exposed him to a tempest of assaults from rivals in Nevada.

Bloomberg was tested on his record on stop-and-search, his slanderous remarks about women, his wealth, his tax returns, and his organization’s utilization of nondisclosure negotiations.

Representative Elizabeth Warren criticized Bloomberg saying, “I’d prefer to discuss whom we’re running against: a wealthy person who calls females fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren stated. “No, I’m not discussing Donald Trump; I’m discussing Mayor Bloomberg,” The CBS News reported.

In the opening half of the debate, Bloomberg attempted to clarify a portion of his past approaches, including the proceeding of the controversial stop and frisk strategy in New York, whereby cops halted and addressed individuals they doubted to be associated with a crime.

According to The National, Bloomberg demonstrated more vitality in the subsequent half, taking on Senator Bernie Sanders. He attacked Sanders’ grip of socialism. “I don’t believe there’s any way that the senator [Sanders] defeating President Trump,” he added.

Both CNN and the Washington Post pronounced Senator Warren as the victor of the night. However, regardless of Sanders’ augmenting lead, none of the candidates might have the option to arrive at the 1991 representatives required to guarantee the nomination in July at the national conference.

Article Credit: The National/CBS News

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Buttigieg hits back at Trump and Limbaugh, saying, ‘I’ve never transferred hush money’
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Buttigieg hits back at Trump and Limbaugh, saying, ‘I’ve never transferred hush money’

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has again targeted President Trump over the issue of “family esteems” by bringing up that his marriage has never included him paying “quiet cash to a pornography star.”

As per The Guardian, Buttigieg, who came out as gay in 2015 and wedded his better half, Chasten Buttigieg, in 2018, has been the subject of late homophobic remarks by radio host Rush Limbaugh, who said, his audiences were “yet not willing to elect a gay person kissing his spouse on the stage of the presidential debate.”

Limbaugh, who was facing controversy since Trump gave him the presidential medal of freedom, stated the US president advised him to “never apologize” for his remarks.

Questioned on if he believed Trump would not be disagreeing with a president coming from the LGBTQ+ people group, Buttigieg answered: “Well, not if he’s sending out his supporters to speak in this manner, stated during a CNN town hall in Las Vegas.

“What’s more, look, I mean, the possibility of the likes of Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh addressing anyone on family esteems,” the Democratic presidential candidate said to applause, Buttigieg included.

Buttigieg then made a sharp reference to the cash paid to porno star Stormy Daniels by Trump through his former legal advisor Michael Cohen. “I mean, I’m sorry; however, one thing about my marriage is it’s never included me sending hush cash to a pornography star in the wake of cheating my husband with him or her,” he said.

“So they need to discuss family esteems? We should debate family esteems. I’m ready.” he added.

According to The Guardian, it is the second time that Buttigieg has conflicted with Trump during the week over his private life and Limbaugh’s remarks. On Sunday, the former South Bend mayor stated that he was “disheartened for what the Republican party has turned into if they agree to that sort of homophobic speech.”

Article Credit: The Guardian

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Where Does McSally and Gardner’s Loyalty  Lie?
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Where Does McSally and Gardner’s Loyalty Lie?

Those who stood by the obtuse and obstinate President of the United States at a time when he was being tried for misuse of power at office are now reaping the benefit.

Many such Republican senators are now banking on their loyalty to take them through the elections. As a gesture of thank you, Trump is now said to be holding campaign rallies this week that will give a thrust to the credibility of two of the most vulnerable GOP senators. This includes Martha McSally of Arizona and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Both the state of Colorado and Arizona are said to be giving a competitive fight in the presidential election in November 2020. No wonder Gardner and McSally are banking on the Midas touch that should eventually help them rally voters and raise money.

Another reason for them being in good books of Trump, is that they seem to have followed in his footsteps and campaigned like the mentor. McSally has liberally used tactics like criticizing media houses, creating advertisements against the opponents and the likes.
Both McSally and Gardner have been instrumental in convincing voters not to push for testimonies towards the impeachment of the Mr. Donald Trump.

While the truth remains hidden, their stance of favoring the President could be winning for them now. But it could go into history with the Democrats to mark them as what they stand for and whether constitutional well being is (at all) on their minds or not.
Indeed, embracing the president on stage has helped the senators rally the Republican base. But will continue to serve as a reminder to independents too of how they cast their votes on impeachment and where do their loyalties really stands.

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Trump Chooses Loyalist Over Apt Candidates For National Intelligence Position
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Trump Chooses Loyalist Over Apt Candidates For National Intelligence Position

Donald Trump is now turning to his well wishes and loyalist than working a way to keep in good terms with his own administration. It is confirmed that Trump has now named Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, as his next acting director of national intelligence. Trump has been seen to be in logger heads with his own intelligence agencies.

Grenell will be replacing the current acting director, Joseph Maguire, whose temporary term expires in March 2020. Grenell is known for his blunt style and seems to have won himself this position due to his close ties to Mr. Trump.

Trump has had multiple persons holding the gate for him. Earlier it was Rep. John Ratcliffe (R., Texas), who was promptly removed after he raised concerns among senators that he would seek to politicize U.S. intelligence.

He was replaced by Mr. Maguire, a retired Navy vice admiral who acted as the interim steward of the U.S. intelligence community last summer.

The first openly gay cabinet level official in American history, Grenell might have to face stiff resistance and sharp opposition from Democrats if the White House tried to push through a Senate nomination and confirmation process.

It is still not confirmed as to when he would be assuming the new role, but news has been out that Grenell has been looking at getting out of his official role and entering the private sector instead. He is expected to serve as acting director of national intelligence for at most four months, providing a stopgap that allows Mr. Trump to find a director for his potential second term.

The law creating the job of DNI, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, states that any nominee for the post “shall have extensive national security expertise.” In the perception of the Democrats, Grenell lacks any kind of exposure and experience in dealing with intelligence to be considered fit for such a role.

However, Trump seems to be believe more in his loyalists as he has been extremely mistrusting of any kind of intelligence shared with him through the existing set of officials in the various intelligence agencies.

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Trump Retracts Stance Over High End Technological Share With China
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Trump Retracts Stance Over High End Technological Share With China

As a classic case of a turnaround yet again, Mr. Donald Trump has denounced his own people who were going ahead with what had been pushed by him in the first place.

It has been reported that through a series of tweets, Mr. Trump retracted his own statements of withholding technological know-how to China. In the previous weeks, the White House and Commerce Department had decided to halt the export of controlled technologies including jet engines and semiconductors to China. This would cost General Electric Co. dearly because they had taken due clearance from the concerned authorities in 2014 itself to supply engines for China’s homegrown airliner, in collaboration with French company Safran.

The halt in deliverable was being proposed out of concern that the products could be pirated and used to undermine U.S. commercial advantage in those sectors. GE, on its part has explained that it is not possible to reverse engineer the kind of technology they are sharing with China. Such technology has already existed with them before hand and they could have already done so, if they wanted. They had enough time to do so since 2014.

Trump has now done a turnaround, something which he is known to have done in the past, on the pretext that he does not want the wrong message to out in the market about the American sensibilities. Speaking to the media he said, “We don’t want to make it impossible to do business with us,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “That will only mean that orders will go to someplace else.”

It has been noted that America is threatened with China’s growing prowess in technology. Going ahead with everything which revolves around that fear, American officials are also considering changes to the foreign direct product rule. This will limit the use of U.S. technology in military and national-security functions. The changes would also require semiconductor manufacturers to obtain export licenses to use U.S. equipment when producing chips for Huawei Technologies Co. of China, people familiar with the discussions said.

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AG Barr has considered resigning over Trump’s continuous tweets on the Justice Department
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AG Barr has considered resigning over Trump’s continuous tweets on the Justice Department

President Trump’s continued tweets concerning Justice Department investigations have compelled Attorney General William Barr to consider leaving office, as indicated by numerous reports Tuesday night.

According to The Washington Post, three administrative authorities, who stated that Barr told people close to the President that he was thinking about quitting over Trump’s tweets.

The Justice Department representative Kerri Kupec denied any ideas to leave on Twitter, stating, “Addressing Beltway gossip: The Attorney General has no intentions to leave.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham rehashed Kupec’s tweet.

A week ago, Barr expressed in an interview with ABC News, that “the President’s tweets make it “difficult” for him to carry out his responsibility “I believe it’s time to stop the tweeting on the Department of Justice criminal cases.”

Barr remarked after the Justice Department repealed a proposal that GOP political operative and longtime Trump counsel Roger Stone be convicted to seven to nine years in jail for misleading investigators and tampering witnesses.

The office has denied that Trump’s tweets censuring the first sentence recommendation had any impact on the verdict.

The President has utilized Twitter to proclaim the initial verdict recommendation for Stone a “miscarriage of justice,” and expressed his opinion on various sensitive Justice Department matters before.

Barr has since long been criticized for his recognized defense of the President, since the time he described then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s report without giving a full picture of Mueller’s findings. Barr’s critics have suggested he still intends to defend the President.

As a result of the continuous tweets by President Trump, Four federal prosecutors managing the Stone case, which stems from the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference, resigned in protest of the Justice Department’s actions.

Whereas, Trump publically backed Barr ere Tuesday, telling correspondents: “I have absolute confidence in my attorney general. I believe he’s working admirably. He’s a strong person.”

He agreed by saying, “I do make his task harder,” Trump included. “I do concur with that. I feel that is valid.”

Republican leaders also openly expressed support for the attorney general on Tuesday, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and regarding him a “man of the most noble character and perfect integrity” in a joint statement.

Article Credit: The Hill/ CBS News

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Utah Passes Bill To Decriminalise Polygamy
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Utah Passes Bill To Decriminalise Polygamy

Utah senate has decriminalized polygamy amongst consenting individuals. This had led to reducing penalties for a practice that has deep religious roots in a predominantly Mormon state.

A bill has been passed for the same. But there are chances for it to face great resistance at the Utah House of Representatives. There seemed to be little room for discussion over the bill that got a clean sweep of a vote of 29-0 at the Republican-controlled Senate.
Up until now, the act of keeping more than one wife was considered a third degree felony, punishable to five years of imprisonment. If the currently proposed senate bill does become a law, punishments for plural marriage would be limited to fines of up to $750 and community service instead of a jail term.

However fraudulent bigamy remains as a punishable offence. In this case, an individual who obtains licenses to marry more than one spouse without their knowledge, or seeks to wed someone underage without her consent is subject to a prison term as these acts are considered a felony.

While the chief senator who has pushed for the bill has said that the idea is not to promote polygamy, the latter will eventually become true. According to Senator Deirdre Henderson, by passing such a bill, there is more of a possibility of lowering the penalties meted on such individuals. After such a bill has been passed, those from polygamous communities, if they feel victimized, can come forward without fear of being prosecuted themselves.

There is obviously a flipside to the whole thing. Many young women and girls have been forced into such marriages where men exploit their personal circumstances. Those against the bill are rightful is saying that the current law should not be changed because polygamy is inherently dangerous and harmful to women and children, particularly young girls, some of whom have been forced into marriages with older men.

However, with the bill being put into place, the earlier discrimination against such individuals who had indulged in polygamy, access to basic medical care, and other services does not stop. Polygamy practitioners when disclosed were refused access to critical services such as medical or mental health care, education or even employment.

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Mahathir Mohamad and asked him to continue his work until a new prime minister is chosen and a new government is formed.
#Malaysia #Mahathir #Politics #NewsToday
https://theworldreviews.com/asia-pacific-focus/2020/02/25/king-of-malaysia-accepts-mahathirs-resignation/

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