Tag: Donald Trump

Biden Promise Shows Shift Towards Quick Economic Recovery Road
Americas

Biden Promise Shows Shift Towards Quick Economic Recovery Road

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the new American dream for a better tomorrow, discussions around his stimulus package are already doing rounds in the political circuit. 

The bottom line drawn is that the seriousness and vow of delivery will entirely depend on the effectiveness of his stimulus package.  According to a former economic advisor to Obama, Biden indeed has a tough task at hand as he is “inheriting among the worst crises a president has stepped into.”

An old saying goes that ‘the first 100 days tests the effectiveness of someone’s leadership’. Indeed, Biden will have all the opportunity to test his from the beginning.  He would need to move in lightening speed, to repair damage and create some immediate buttressing of the fractured economy. Critics feel he has the right experience having worked under Obama as Vice President. 

Reversing the damage course, as soon as he was sworn, he quickly signed off 17 executive orders. They included extending a pause on student loan payments, renewing an eviction moratorium, and rejoining the Paris climate accords.

There is hope when Biden makes announcements about collective strength and desire to bring together the bipartisanship and unite Americans after almost four years of divided chaos under Donald Trump.  According to economists, there is a need for robust input of finances to help the economy to get back on its feet. 

Biden has already introduced a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan last week building on an earlier federal rescue package. The plan includes relief provisions like enhanced unemployment insurance through September, aid to state and local governments, vaccine funds, and new stimulus checks.

Biden has also said he would unveil a second major plan during a joint session of Congress next month to unleash new federal investments into infrastructure, childcare and manufacturing.

Currently, the infection numbers in America have out past those even killed in the World War II, amounting to 4.5 million. Around 10 million less Americans have jobs due to the ongoing corona virus strain on the economy. Much of the economic burden has fallen squarely on women and minority communities, who have suffered larger job losses. Last week, employers have said to have shed 140,000 jobs, not making things any further pleasant that they already are. 

Trump in his final farewell: “It’s been an honor and we will be back In some form”
Americas

Trump in his final farewell: “It’s been an honor and we will be back In some form”

On Wednesday, 8:15 a.m. Donald Trump and left the White House for the final time as president. He landed at the Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where hundreds of supporters greeted Trump. He addressed the crowd on his final departure ceremony as the 45th president of the United States. 

Trump was the first president in the history of the United States to be impeached twice, with a term that witnessing millions of citizens unemployed and 400,000 dead due to the coronavirus pandemic. Inciting an assault on Capitol Hill that stunned Americans, and left five dead, including a Capitol Police official.

As per the Associated Press, Trump stated, “it’s been a great privilege, a truly incredible honor to serve the greatest people in the world, the best home in the world,” before he headed for Marine One, rotors whirring, on South Lawn.

“We love the American public, and once more, it has been something exceptionally special. What’s more, I simply need to bid farewell yet hope it’s not a long goodbye. We’ll see each other soon,” he added 

Trump will be the first president in modern history to boycott President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. He also wouldn’t partake in any of the representative symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions and the peaceful transition, including welcoming the Bidens over a get-to-know-you visit. 

Trump stated while addressing a small crowd at Andrews base, “This has been remarkable four years.” “We’ve achieved such a lot together,” “I will consistently battle for you, and we will be back in some form or other.” 

Bidding a final goodbye, Donald Trump and Melania Trump boarded the Air Force One and took off for the two-hour trip to Florida as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played on the tarmac.

With ‘tyrant’ Trump’s exit and Biden bringing hopes of Obama-era return, are Iran’s nuclear facilities safe from attack?
Middle East & Africa

With ‘tyrant’ Trump’s exit and Biden bringing hopes of Obama-era return, are Iran’s nuclear facilities safe from attack?

With the exit of ‘tyrant’ Trump, as called by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran is taking a big but careful sigh of relief. Rouhani has called on the incoming president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to return to JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal formulated under former US President Barack Obama. 

In a televised cabinet meeting aired on Wednesday, Rouhani said, “the ball was in the US court now.” 

Rouhani added, “If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact. A tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign.”  

The outlook of Trump towards Tehran is no secret. Trump withdrew US from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) on May 8, 2018. This was followed by series of sanctions slapped on Tehran, crippling it economically. In fact, many in the Gulf region anticipated that Donald Trump might act on his earlier plan of launching military strike on Iran’s nuclear plants, during the last days of his presidency. At one point in November, Trump was reportedly talked out by his advisers from launching a military strike on Iran to create “maximum pressure”

But incoming president Joe Biden has made his intensions of rejoining the nuclear deal pretty clear, provided Tehran assures of complete compliance and following of the deal pacts. This would mean reversal of sanctions and economic support to Tehran. 

But does this mean that now Iran’s nuclear facilities are safe from any attack? Definitely no! 

Iran is concerned over its ambitious plans of creating ballistic missiles arsenal as well as civilian nuclear activities. Israel, the hard-core enemy of the Islamic Republic, sees Iran’s nuclear programme a threat to its existence and has repeatedly urged global leaders to take action against Tehran. In response, Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. But its recent uranium enrichment boost has set up red flags. 

Iran is a tough target to track – geographically, accessibility, and strategic location of its nuclear plants. It is a high possibility that over the years Iran has made its underground nuclear facilities practically impenetrable. But experts suggest that its not impossible. 

An expert on arms control, and associate fellow at International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Mark Fitzpatrick says, “Iran’s facilities are not impregnable. The one at Natanz is vulnerable to precise bunker-busting bombing, maybe taking two precise hits: one to dig a crater and the other to burst through it or at least to shake the delicate machines enough to put them out of commission.”

Assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, godfather of Iran’s nuclear programme, by US, is enough to dent ego and development of its nuclear programme. Furthermore, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency has been active in Iran and has been carrying out operations to impact and neutralize its nuclear programme. 

As long as Iran is under suspicion of carrying out secret development of nuclear warheads, there will always be a possibility of it being under attack. 

Trump administration imposes more sanctions on Venezuela
Americas

Trump administration imposes more sanctions on Venezuela

Trump administration has imposed more financial sanctions on Venezuela to limit its oil sales

A day ahead of leaving the White House, the outgoing Trump administration imposed an array of strict financial sanctions on a network of oil trading companies and individuals in Venezuela. 

As per reports, the US targeted the network for allegedly assisting Venezuelan state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) sell crude to Asia and other countries across the world, in a violation of US sanctions on the oil sector in the South American country. 

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned 14 companies, three individuals, and six vessels for helping the President Nicolas Maduro-led administration in evading sanctions and selling oil from Venezuela to other countries for millions of dollars.

As per a statement released by the US Treasury, the three primary targets of the sanctions are Francisco D’Agostino, Alessandro Bazzoni, and Philipp Apikian, along with oil trading companies Swissoil Trading SA and Elemento Ltd. The sanctions have been imposed on these businesses and individuals for operating a sanction-evasion scheme to benefit the illegitimate Maduro regime and PDVSA, the statement added. 

“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the release.

Over the past two years, Trump has time and again regarded Maduro as an illegitimate leader of the South American country, exerting pressure on him to leave the office. Slamming Maduro for Venezuela’s political and economic crisis, the Trump administration recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of the country. 

After Maduro’s re-election in 2018, which was dubbed as fraudulent, the US has imposed massive sanctions on the country to curb its oil exports. PDVSA was sanctioned by the Trump administration in early 2019 in a bid to limit its oil sales. Last year, the United States had warned of more sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector to choke off finances to Maduro’s government. 

Amid escalated tensions with the US, the Maduro-led Venezuelan regime has received support from China and Russia. 

At the same time, the US President also halted the deportation of thousands of Venezuelan nationals from the country for 18 months, citing “deteriorative condition” in the South American country. According to a 2017 estimate by Pew Research Center think tank, there are almost 130,000 Venezuelans living illegally in the US.

Donald Trump’s last day in the White House, the day of forgiveness
Americas

Donald Trump’s last day in the White House, the day of forgiveness

Trump’s last day is the day of forgiveness. The United States outgoing president will sign at least one hundred clemency acts between one box and another. Donald Trump is in the White House for another 24 hours. A shower of indulgences granted precisely by those who have also dusted off the death penalty, sending 13 convicts to death in six months.

With his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s help, Mr president completed the beneficiaries list Sunday. To enjoy the pardons and commutations of sentences will be largely lobbyists, political allies, and the famous rapper Lil Wayne. He risks ten years for illegal weapons possession. Together with many responsible for financial crimes: such as the well-known eye doctor of Palm Beach Salomon Melgen.

The name of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, would have been purged. While there may have ended up last minute, the names of Rudy Giuliani and that of his friend Steve Bannon, accused of stealing funds for the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, were among the firsts. We still do not know if the name of Trump and his children will also be on the list. The councillors have repeatedly advised him against forgiving himself and his family: the act, with uncertain legal boundaries, would be equivalent to admitting to having committed crimes. Capitol Hill attackers shouldn’t be on the list either.

Granting pardon is a constitutional power of the president, widely used in the past as well. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for example, granted a whopping 2,819 and commuted 418 sentences. Also, Barack Obama – who on his penultimate day pardoned Chelsea Manning, sentenced to 35 years for having passed confidential documents to WikiLeaks – in 8 years, he queued 212: commuting 1715 sentences. But Obama and the other presidents before him have always tried to use that power to correct judicial or health errors. While the 68 graces granted by Trump in these four years mainly concern friends and political allies: from the anti-immigrant sheriff of Arizona Joe Arpaio to the tax evader Charles Kushner.

To get to the recent pardons granted in December to former general Michael Flynn, former councillor Roger Stone and former manager of the first election campaign Paul Manafort, all involved in Russiagate. Unlike his predecessors, Trump nevertheless never used the institutional channel of the Department of Justice.

The requests for pardon have always gone through his trusted men: his son-in-law Jared, the chief of staff Mark Meadows, and the legal adviser Pat Cipollone. The system, denounces the New York Times, has led to a real market for indulgences. Shameless collaborators such as former prosecutor Brett Tolman and attorney John M. Dowd have taken advantage of it. They can get paid thousands of US dollars to get the instances on the president’s table in the White House. A system that would have determined, in the last few weeks only, the acceptance of 41 requests for forgiveness, literally paid in gold.

China censures the US trade ban on products in Xinjiang region over forced labor
Asia Pacific Focus

China censures the US trade ban on products in Xinjiang region over forced labor

US trade ban: The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a ban on imports of China’s tomato and cotton products in the Xinjiang region over forced labor on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, China dismissed the decision and demanded Washington to drop the decision of banning cotton and tomato imports over forced labor allegations.

The ban adds to the numerous sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese products, companies, and officials over national security concerns and human rights complaints.

The US and China tensions soar higher during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as the blame game began over the origin of the virus. 

A Chinese Foreign Ministry representative claimed without proof that the U.S. military brought the infection to China, while President Trump over and over called it a “Chinese virus.” 

The latest ban on the trade of cotton and tomato from China’s Xinjiang region was declared by its Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday following the UK and Canada presented similar actions. 

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) additionally criticized China for repressing Uygurs people in a human rights report and stated that the human rights situation in China is exacerbating.

The ban applies to raw fiber, textile, and apparel produced using Xinjiang’s cotton. It additionally applies to items made in other countries, Reuters revealed. 

On Thursday, the Chinese authorities, including the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Foreign Ministry (FM), asserted solid resistance to the prohibition, calling it an interference in the domestic affairs of China.

The forced labor accusation is a big lie, and it will damage the global business chain, the Chinese authorities added. 

The Chinese FM representative Zhao Lijian express that the forced labor allegation is the century’s biggest lie that the US and some Western nations made.

“The US is attempting to bolster its own farming advancement by setting such trade bans, including constraining China,” Zhu added, taking note that China could likewise consider countermeasures against the US government since forced labor issues exist in America too.

In a press conference on Thursday, Zhao reported that forced labor existed in the US as well, pointing towards Texas prisoners who were reportedly forced to work without pay for 12 hours to create masks during the COVID-19 outbreak, The Global Times reported.

Donald Trump condemns the violence and the Twitter founder questions the decision to ban the tycoon
Americas

Donald Trump condemns the violence and the Twitter founder questions the decision to ban the tycoon

Donald Trump condemns the violence: The outgoing President of the United States, Donald Trump, said he brought in thousands of national security personnel to protect Washington DC, and to ensure a safe transfer of power. In a videotaped speech on Thursday, he condemned the violence that took place in Capitol Hill last week, adding that “those who participated in the violence will be brought before the law.”

Donald Trump added that “there is no real supporter of mine who could threaten or attack an American citizen.” The outgoing President said the United States is witnessing an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, referring to the closure of his social media accounts following the violence. Trump appeared calmer during his speech and no longer mentioned the rigged elections as in the past, but did not acknowledge his electoral defeat.

Trump became the first president in US history to be referred to the Senate twice for impeachment, after the Parliament accused him on Wednesday of inciting rebellion after a mob of his supporters stormed the country Capitol on January 6. A week before The Donald leaves the White House, with 232 votes, 191 all Democratic lawmakers and ten Republicans voted in favor of the impeachment decision. According to Agence France-Presse, Trump’s trial in the Senate is expected to begin after his term ends on January 20.

And because Democrats control the House of Representatives, the prosecution’s approval has been guaranteed. But the most important question that worried Americans on Wednesday is how many Republicans defect and join the Democratic majority. Among the ten Republicans who have defected is Representative Liz Cheney, considered the party’s third-senior official in the House of Representatives.

Wednesday evening, the democratic House president Nancy Pelosi found that the indictment just passed by the House against the outgoing, for his second trial before the Senate, to impeach him proves that “no one is above the law.” During signing the indictment in preparation for the referral to the Senate, that the House of Representatives demonstrated today, with bipartisan participation, that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States, reiterating the warning that Trump represents an “obvious and immediate danger” to the country.

Twitter founder and president Jack Dorsey said Wednesday that the social platform’s decision to impose a ban on Donald Trump was the “right choice,” but still a failure and sets a dangerous precedent for the amount of power enjoyed by major Internet companies.

In a series of tweets addressing the company’s decision to stop Trump from using the platform indefinitely, Dorsey said this ban represents a failure on Twitter’s part to foster a healthy conversation on the internet. Dorsey added that the ban on Trump, who had more than 88 million followers on his Twitter account, sets a precedent that strikes me as dangerous: the power an individual or company enjoys over part of the public conversation.

EU urges Iran to reverse its decision on uranium enrichment
Middle East & Africa

EU urges Iran to reverse its decision on uranium enrichment

Uranium Enrichment: ran should reverse its decision to enrich uranium up to 20% if it wishes to save the 2015 atomic agreement, the EU said on Monday. EU showed concern about reports from the U.N. atomic watchdog that Iran had continued enriching uranium and it would keep attempting to recover the global atomic deals that limited such activities. 

Addressing columnists in Brussels, EU representative Peter Stano stated that Iran’s activities “will have genuine ramifications with regards to atomic restraint.” 

Iran as of late educated the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its arrangements to expand enhancement to 20 percent, levels unheard of since the atomic arrangement was struck. Whereas, Under the current atomic deal, Iran is permitted to enrich up to 3.67% of uranium.

In 2018, President Trump declared that the United States was unilaterally pulling out from the JCPOA agreement and has reimposed many economic sanctions on Iran.

Critics state that this move by Iran on uranium enrichment might be an endeavor to give it influence in future dealings. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that the move was “completely reversible” if other accomplices in the deal went along as well, without explaining. 

The US President-elect Joe Biden has stated that he hopes to restore the nuclear deal, Borrell and other nations would welcome such a step. 

“At this difficult situation, Iran’s activity additionally risks subverting endeavors pointed toward expanding upon the current diplomatic means. We ask Iran to shun further acceleration and rethink this policy immediately,” Borrell stated in his assertion, delivered late Monday. 

Despite Iran’s breach of the nuclear deal, the IAEA has announced that Tehran proceeds with giving auditors full access to its atomic sites — an important reason the signatories suppose it is worth preserving.

US State Department puts Cuba back on ‘sponsor of terrorism’ list, makes early days tough for incoming Biden administration
Americas

US State Department puts Cuba back on ‘sponsor of terrorism’ list, makes early days tough for incoming Biden administration

Biden administration: Outgoing United States President Donald Trump and his administration are not backing down from making early days of Biden administration tough as it takes charge on January 20, one week from now. State Department led by Mike Pompeo has put Cuba back on the list of ‘sponsor of terrorism’. This action will make Biden’s attempts to realign with Havana more complicated. 

The controversial decision has put Cuba reclassified into the list, putting it alongside Syria, North Korea and Iran. The announcement was made by Mike Pompeo who said that Cuba was engaging in a “range of malign behavior across the region”. With this Pompeo has highlighted Cuba’s support to Nicolas Maduro, authoritarian leader of Venezuela, that Trump had tried to overthrow, though unsuccessfully. 

Pompeo has justified the decision of reclassifying Cuba on the list by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

This action reverses former President Barack Obama’s decision of 2015 to remove Cuba from the list after being there for over three decades. 

The move by Trump administration is in reference to enabling and giving shelter to former Black Panther Assata Shakur who was jailed in the US over killing of police officer in 1973. She later escaped to Cuba where was given shelter by then Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Furthermore, the decision is also made due to refusal by Cuba to hand over a group of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerillas, which were involved in Bagota bomb attack in 2019. 

But many US allies are not in favour of Trump’s charges on Cuba. Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House said, “Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Sabatini explains that move by Trump is more of a “parting gift” to incoming Biden administration. He said, “It’s like when departing armies leave scattered mines in a field. They are planting these political mines for the Biden administration that will be very difficult to be rolled back and to lock in, at least temporarily, their policy preferences.” 

Havana is furious with the decision. Its foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted, “The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.” He called the move ‘hypocritical and cynical’. 

US Secretary of State planning to announce new Iran-Al Qaeda ties
Middle East & Africa

US Secretary of State planning to announce new Iran-Al Qaeda ties

Iran-Al Qaeda ties: The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to publicly blame Iran for its ties with Al-Qaeda in Tuesday’s speech, as per The Reuters.

Pompeo plans to utilize the declassified US intelligence in the statement, The Reuters reported, referring to “two people acquainted with the issue.” He is expected to reveal details on Iran purportedly shielding Al-Qaeda leaders and supporting the terror organization, the report stated. 

During the National Press Club meeting in Washington on Tuesday, Mike Pompeo is expected to make some allegations in his speech. Pompeo has blamed Iran for its ties with the Al-Qaeda before, however, without providing any proof. 

There are a few doubts about openly examining the data among legislators and the intelligence community, the report added. 

The announcement might probably complicate the situation of President-elect Joe Biden’s objective of reconnecting with Tehran over the nuclear deal. 

The White House has attempted a year-long campaign against Iran by withdrawing from the 2015 atomic deal, imposing heavy sanctions, and assassinating the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

Pompeo’s speech could include information on the killing of Al-Qaeda’s second in command in Tehran in Aug 2020, stated by Israel. 

The New York Times revealed in Nov 2020 that an Israeli agent completed the attack on Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah in the direction of the US. Abdullah was charged for being one of the main conspirators of decimating assaults on two US consulates in Africa in 1998 and a 2002 assault on an Israeli-owned inn in Kenya.

Iran has completely denied the allegations and accused Israel of killing its top atomic researcher, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

It’s vague why Iran would shelter al-Qaeda members. Iran is a Shiite state and has battled with Al-Qaeda, a Sunni jihadist group. Experts revealed to The New York Times that Iran may have sheltered members of Al-Qaeda to forestall assaults in Iran or to permit them to lead operations against America. 

Joe Biden has stated that if Iran recognizes the terms and conditions of the nuclear deal, then we would think of rejoining the nuclear deal. However, Iran has welcomed America’s stand, but only after they remove the imposed economic sanctions.

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