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Public smiles, private problems as Saudi prince visits White House

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince received an effusive welcome Tuesday at the White House from US President Donald Trump, who hailed a “great friendship” with the kingdom — but made no public mention of the sticking points in the burgeoning alliance. In front of the cameras, it was all back-slapping, handshakes, smiles and warm [...] The post Public smiles, private problems as Saudi prince visits White House appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource: manilatimes_net manilatimes_netMar 21st, 2018

US First Lady Melania Trump reappears after ‘vanishing act’

Melania Trump attended a White House event for military veterans on Monday, ending a 25-day absence from the public eye that had sent the rumor mills into overdrive. The US first lady, known for her privacy and independence, had not been seen in public following a surgery last month. In pictures posted on her official Twitter account, she was seen sitting next to President Donald Trump at a private reception for families of US soldiers killed in action. She and Trump "were honored to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Thank you to the Gold Star families that joined us in celebration & remembrance," the tweet said. Melania, 48, had not been spotted since May 10, when she jo...Keep on reading: US First Lady Melania Trump reappears after ‘vanishing act’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

Cyberattacks are costly, and things could get worse: US report

        Cyberattacks cost the United States between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, a White House report said Friday, warning of a "spillover" effect for the broader economy if the situation worsens. A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers sought to quantify what it called "malicious cyber activity directed at private and public entities" including denial of service attacks, data breaches and theft of intellectual property, and sensitive financial and strategic information. It warned of malicious activity by "nation-states" and specifically cited Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. The report noted particular concern over ...Keep on reading: Cyberattacks are costly, and things could get worse: US report.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2018

Bolton says he’s no longer allowed to see Trump – CNN News

A hawkish ally of Donald Trump claims he cannot see the President due to &'8220;staff changes&'8221; at the White House. John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN who at one point was a candidate to lead the State Department, claimed in a National Review op-ed published Monday that his plan for the US to exit the Iran nuclear deal had to be presented publicly, because staff changes at the White House have made &'8220;presenting it to President Trump impossible.&'8221; CNN has reached out to the White House for comment. His alleged snubbing is the latest development in the tug-of-war for influence over Trump's White House between firebrands such as Bolton and those who have taken a more moderate approach to foreign policy, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Bolton's op-ed comes days after Sebastian Gorka, who advocated a hawkish stance against terrorism, left his position as a White House adviser. Chief of staff John Kelly, who assumed the role in late July, has been conducting a review of the West Wing that includes assessing individual staffers' portfolios. In a memo drawn up after a July directive from Steve Bannon, the recently ousted White House chief strategist, Bolton pushes for selling the idea of leaving the Iran deal to the public in a &'8220;white paper&'8221; and lays out a strategy for the &'8220;campaign&'8221; and its &'8220;execution.&'8221; Bolton has been frustrated at the rise of more traditional foreign policy thinkers within the White House, such as Mattis and Tillerson, who have favored remaining in the deal. The agreement curbs Iran's nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Iran remains under multiple sanctions for terrorism-related activities. &'8220;Trump can and should free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity,&'8221; Bolton writes. Where proponents of the deal, including lawmakers and former Obama administration officials, see the pact as a way to get visibility on Iran's nuclear activities, and, at least for the time being, stop it's nuclear program, Bolton sees only danger. &'8220;The JCPOA is a threat to US national-security interests, growing more serious by the day,&'8221; Bolton writes, though he doesn't offer evidence. &'8220;If the President decides to abrogate the JCPOA, a comprehensive plan must be developed and executed to build domestic and international support for the new policy.&'8221; His memo, he says, fills that function. &'8220;It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, 100-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement,&'8221; Bolton writes. He adds that there is no need to wait for the next deadline in October, when the US must next certify that Iran is sticking to the deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the JCPOA, was an international agreement hammered out over 20 arduous months of negotiations. China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US, the EU and Iran reached a deal in July 2015 and it was implemented in January 2016. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has regular access to nuclear sites inside Iran and verifies that it is implementing its side of the deal; in exchange, the US, UN and EU lifted nuclear related sanctions. Every 90 days, the US president must certify that Iran is keeping up its end of the deal. Trump campaigned against the deal and continues to criticize it, but because Iran is complying, he has certified it twice on the advice of his national security staff. But officials in his administration have clearly been looking for ways to find wiggle room to get out of the deal. Some, like US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have used the line that Iran is not complying with the &'8220;spirit&'8221; of the deal, pointing to Tehran's activities in the region, including its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and its backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Bolton says that Trump can bolster his case for abrogating the deal &'8220;by providing new, declassified information on Iran's unacceptable behavior around the world.&'8221; These activities, though, are not part of the JCPOA, deliberately left as a separate issue by the Obama administration and the other international negotiators, who said that to include every single gripe with Iran would make negotiations too unwieldy to resolve. Some proponents of the deal, watching the Trump administration's moves, are already campaigning to keep it. They point to the security consequences of an Iran without constraints on its nuclear weapons program and to the economic fallout as European and Asian firms would likely continue to do business with Tehran while US firms are shut out. &'8220;Accordingly,&'8221; Bolton writes, &'8220;we must explain the grave threat to the US and our allies, particularly Israel.&'8221; But many in Israel's security establishment argue for keeping the deal in place, and making sure its implementation is as rigorous as possible. Bolton makes the case for a four-step campaign that begins with &'8220;early, quiet consultations with key players such as the UK, France, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to tell them we are going to abrogate the deal based on outright violations and other unacceptable Iranian behavior, and seek their input.&'8221; That would be followed by a detailed white paper that includes declassified intelligence explaining why the deal hurts US security interests; a diplomatic campaign against the deal, especially in Europe and the Middle East; and efforts to sway lawmakers and the [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsAug 30th, 2017

Trump asked me to let Flynn investigation go – CNN News

Fired FBI Director James Comey aimed a dagger blow at Donald Trump Wednesday, saying the President had demanded his loyalty, pressed him to drop a probe into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and repeatedly pressured him to publicly declare that he was not under investigation. Comey magnified the political crisis engulfing the White House by releasing his opening statement ahead of a blockbuster appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday. The dramatic document sketched a stunningly detailed account of Comey's intimate meetings with the President, included direct quotes from Trump and revealed the former FBI chief's discomfort with the President's behavior. The testimony appeared to bolster the case of Trump critics who believe that the President may have obstructed justice and abused his power in his dealings with Comey, who he later fired. Comey said that Trump asked him to drop FBI investigations into Flynn centering on his calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, which eventually led to his dismissal as national security adviser after it emerged he had lied about the conversations to Vice President Mike Pence. Interactive: The many paths from Trump to Russia He wrote that Trump said: &'8220;'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.&'8221; &'8220;I replied only that 'he is a good guy.'&'8221; Comey wrote, describing a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on February 14, then added: &'8220;I did not say I would 'let this go.'&'8221; The exchange took place after a meeting between Trump and senior intelligence and homeland security officials, after which the President asked to speak to the FBI Director alone. Comey said in his testimony that he understood the President to be requesting that he drop the investigation into Flynn, who had resigned the day before. But he says he did not understand Trump to be referring to the wider Russia investigation. &'8220;Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency.&'8221; Trump critics contended that this encounter appears to be tantamount to an inappropriate pressure on the FBI by the President, an allegation that if proven could have dire consequences for Trump's presidency itself. Comey's account of this encounter conflicts with Trump's own statements. At a press conference on May 18, the President was asked whether he had asked the FBI Director to pull the plug on the Flynn component of the Russia investigation. &'8220;No, No, next question,&'8221; Trump said. &'8220;There is a criminal investigation going on of one of the President's top associations &' he gets fired, he is under under investigation and the President brings in the FBI Director and says 'please stop your investigation,'&'8221; said CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. &'8220;If that isn't obstruction of justice, I don't know what is,&'8221; Toobin said. But Trump's defenders were quick to seize on the document as well, arguing that it supported Trump's claims that the former FBI chief had told him three times that he was not personally being investigated in the Russia probe. Comey wrote in his testimony that he twice told Trump he was not being investigated once before the inauguration and once when he was President and also said that he had told congressional leaders that the FBI was not &'8220;personally investigating President Trump.&'8221; Trump's camp argued that fact vindicated the President and sought to use it to sweep away the Russia questions that have been clouding his White House ever since the inauguration. &'8220;The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe,&'8221; said Marc Kasowitz, Trump's personal attorney. &'8220;The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.&'8221; Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN, &'8220;Comey's statement released today needs to be carefully scrutinized as his testimony claims the president was concerned about the dossier.&'8221; The Republican Party also singled out the same helpful passages of Comey's testimony. &'8220;President Trump was right,&'8221; said Republican National Committee Chairwoman McDaniel. &'8220;Director Comey's statement reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along &'8212; he was never under investigation,&'8221; McDaniel said in a statement that did not mention the other aspects of Comey's testimony. The testimony was posted without notice on the website of the Senate Intelligence Committee, instantly electrifying Washington, which has been on edge for days ahead of Comey's planned testimony. The dramatic intervention was classic Comey: the towering FBI chief, branded a &'8220;showboat&'8221; by Trump, has a reputation for theatrical public coups, and his move will only intensify the anticipation for his appearance on Thursday. &'8220;The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.&'8221; Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN, &'8220;Comey's statement released today needs to be carefully scrutinized as his testimony claims the president was concerned about the dossier.&'8221; The Republican Party also singled out the same helpful passages of Comey's testimony. &'8220;President Trump was right,&'8221; said Republican National Committee Chairwoman McDaniel. &'8220;Director Comey's statement reconfirmed what the president has been saying all along &'8212; he was never under investigation,&'8221; McDaniel said in a statement that did not mention the other aspects of Comey's testimony. The testimony was posted without notice on the website of the Senate Intelligence Committee, instantly electrifying Washington, [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJun 8th, 2017

Republicans lose patience with FBI on Russia, Trump campaign ties information – CNN News

Top Republicans in Congress expressed their dissatisfaction Wednesday about getting answers from the FBI, as lawmakers trying to investigate Russia's meddling in the US election say they've continued to see no evidence of President Donald Trump's claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor. The FBI's decision to brief the Senate Judiciary Committee comes after the committee's Chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, threatened to not schedule a vote for Rod Rosenstein to be deputy attorney general unless his panel got the FBI briefing he and the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, requested weeks ago. Grassley &'8212; a stalwart Republican with a powerful post &'8212; expressed his exasperation the FBI hours before a private meeting at the Capitol with Comey. He called the scheduled meeting a &'8220;positive step,&'8221; but also added: &'8220;I don't want to say that's enough at this point.&'8221; Grassley said he was frustrated that officials haven't been as forthcoming as lawmakers would like, and said his committee hasn't been given the respect it deserves for its oversight of the executive branch. &'8220;That's very irritating,&'8221; Grassley told CNN. He wasn't the only Republican venting his displeasure: Sen. Lindsay Graham, who sits on a subcommittee that's seeking FBI answers, said earlier that he would subpoena the agency for information if it wasn't provided to him and fellow subcommittee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. &'8220;We wrote a letter &'' Sen. Whitehouse and myself &'' wanting to know if there's evidence of a warrant issued by the Trump campaign,&'8221; the South Carolina Republican told CNN's Chris Cuomo on &'8220;New Day. &'8220;He hasn't answered that letter or confirmed if there's a real investigation of the Trump campaign.&'8221; &'8220;He needs to answer the letter and give the nation some information about what's going on here,&'8221; Graham said. Whitehouse and Graham said later Wednesday they had received a letter from the FBI saying they would respond to their questions next week in a classified letter. It was also announced Wednesday that Comey will testify at the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 hearing and there will be a second hearing in the committee March 28, the committee's chairman said. In a Fox interview with Tucker Carlson Wednesday, the President defended his decision to tweet about wiretapping before producing evidence by hinting &'8212; again without evidence &'8212; that more information will emerge in the weeks to come, presumably proving his point. &'8220;Wiretap covers a lot of different things,&'8221; Trump said. &'8220;I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.&'8221; House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said he does not believe Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped him, but said it's possible Trump communications may have been gathered in &'8220;incidental&'8221; intelligence collection. &'8220;I don't believe Trump Tower was tapped,&'8221; Nunes told reporters Wednesday. &'8220;We don't have any evidence that that took place and, in fact, I don't believe &'8212; just in the last week of time, the people we've talked to &'8212; I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,&'8221; Nunes said at a news conference in reference to the claim originally made by Trump several weeks ago. Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said they want to see any evidence of wiretapping by their March 20 hearing or they may also issue a subpoena for the records. Asked if he had seen any evidence that Trump aides spoke with Russian officials other than Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, Nunes said, &'8220;Not that I'm aware of.&'8221; But Schiff added: &'8220;I wouldn't answer that question as categorically as my colleague. We're not privileged to talk about the contents of the investigation but, you know, I think we need to be very precise when we talk about this. And I just don't think that we can answer it categorically in this forum.&'8221; Nunes and Schiff also sent a letter to the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency demanding information on the leaks regarding Russia's contact with Trump advisers by Friday. The two leaders of the House investigation said their work has been stalled so far by trouble accessing computers used by the director of national intelligence &'8212; Schiff said he has been taking handwritten notes when he views evidence. The two have not yet interviewed former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and declined to say whether he would appear at a public hearing. Schiff added that he is very concerned about Trump adviser Roger Stone's admission that he communicated with &'8220;Guccifer 2.0&'8221; &'8212; who was later determined by intelligence agencies to be a Russian hacker or group of hackers. Stone has described his contact with Guccifer as limited to a &'8220;brief exchange with him on Twitter&'8221; and any suggestion otherwise, he told CNN, is &'8220;a fabrication.&'8221; The White House has vacillated on Trump's claims in the last two days. Press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump did not mean literally that Obama personally wiretapped him. But on Tuesday, Spicer said Trump was &'8220;extremely confident&'8221; he would be vindicated by the evidence. &'8220;I think there's significant reporting about surveillance techniques that existed throughout the 2016 election,&'8221; Spicer said, without providing any examples. &'8220;He feels very confident that what will ultimately come of this will vindicate him,&'8221; Spicer said. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday he never gave Trump any reason to believe the GOP candidate [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 16th, 2017

Top Saudi prince to meet Trump in White House visit

RIYADH — The White House confirmed yesterday that President Donald Trump will meet this week with Saudi Arabia's second-in-line to the throne in the highest-.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 13th, 2017

Obama to block Saudi 9/11 prosecution

WASHINGTON: Barack Obama will on Friday veto legislation allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, risking public outrage and the first congressional override of his presidency. The White House confirmed Thursday that Obama would veto the legislation.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2016

Saudi, U.S. snub of climate report unsettles U.N. talks

KATOWICE, Poland – The refusal of the United States and Saudi Arabia to embrace a landmark environmental report has unsettled UN talks to breathe life back into the Paris climate pact, negotiators and observers said Monday, December 10. It may also signal more direct involvement of Donald Trump's White House, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated News5 hr. 36 min. ago

Bill on mandatory school armchairs for lefties gets House nod

  MANILA, Philippines --- The House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill requiring all public and private schools in the country to provide armchairs for left-handed people. With a unanimous vote of 207, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 8654 on third and final reading. Antipolo City 1st Dist. Rep. Cristina Roa-Puno, the principal author of the bill, said the intent of the measure was "to promote equal development of students." Section 3 of HB 8654 states it should be "obligatory for all educational institutions, both public and private, to provide the appropriate armchairs for left-handed students, equivalent to at least 10 percent of the student popul...Keep on reading: Bill on mandatory school armchairs for lefties gets House nod.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

George H.W. Bush — kinder, gentler Republican

Every day Donald Trump comes closer to perfecting his Rodrigo Duterte impression. The CIA briefing on the Khashoggi murder essentially confirms that the Washington Post journalist was killed, then dismembered. There's no directive to "kill him." But as one U.S. senator said, "There's a smoking saw." But what do we hear from Trump about the culpability of the Saudi Crown Prince BSM? It's still "Maybe he did, maybe he didn't." That's the president of the free world, sounding like a White Duterte. In that sense, the 41stU.S. President George H.W. Bush departs the living at a good time. He lies in state, while the current president just lies. That was Bush's main role in current p...Keep on reading: George H.W. Bush — kinder, gentler Republican.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 6th, 2018

‘Snow White’ bites the apple a fifth time

They are stronger. They are a joy to work with," Effie Naas smiles as she takes a brief break from coaching three pairs of dancers who alternate in the roles of Snow White and the Prince. It is the fifth time in the 49-year history of Ballet Philippines that this original full-length ballet by Naas is being restaged. Collaborating with her are former principal dancers who played the leads in prior stagings: Perry Sevidal, who played Dopey, one of the seven dwarfs in the original 1988 production; Ria Bautista and Biag Gaongen who danced Snow White and the Prince, respectively, in the more recent 2007 restaging. On the road to its 50th anniversary next year, artistic director Alice Rey...Keep on reading: ‘Snow White’ bites the apple a fifth time.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 25th, 2018

Mandatory ROTC bill pending in House

Reinstituting the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide will not be an uphill battle because a bill is already pending at the House of Representatives and is just awaiting approval from lawmakers......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 25th, 2018

Saudi king backs son amid furor over Khashoggi murder

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi King Salman stood by the crown prince and heaped praise on the judiciary Monday, November 19, in his first public remarks since critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder tipped the country into one of its worst crises. The public prosecutor last week exonerated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

Saudi FM says global outcry over Khashoggi ‘hysterical’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates --- Saudi Arabia's top diplomat said Saturday that the global outcry and media focus on the killing of a Saudi journalist earlier this month has become "hysterical" as he urged the public to wait for the results of an investigation before ascribing blame to the kingdom's top leadership. Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by Saudi agents at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. "This issue has become fairly hysterical," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said. "I think people have assigned blame on Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is comple...Keep on reading: Saudi FM says global outcry over Khashoggi ‘hysterical’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Saudi Arabia now says Khashoggi murder ‘premeditated’

DUBAI/ISTANBUL — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate this month was premeditated, reversing previous official statements that the killing was unintended. The death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has sparked […] The post Saudi Arabia now says Khashoggi murder ‘premeditated’ appeared first on Interaksyon......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

Saudi crown prince deplores repulsive Khashoggi murder

journalist Jamal Khashoggi and vowed justice will prevail, in his first public comments on the case, without addressing US accusations of a monumental cover-up. After phoning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the October 2 killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which triggered a diplomatic crisis, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

Saudi crown prince deplores ‘repulsive’ Khashoggi murder

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia's crown princedenounced Wednesday the "repulsive" murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and vowed justice will prevail, in his first public comments on the case, without addressing US accusations of a monumental cover-up. After phoning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the October 2 killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which triggered a diplomatic crisis, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged there would be "no rupture" in ties with Ankara. "The incident was very painful for all Saudis, it's a repulsive incident and no one can justify it," Prince Mohammed said during an address to the Future Investment Initiative for...Keep on reading: Saudi crown prince deplores ‘repulsive’ Khashoggi murder.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

Saudi crown prince to make first speech since Khashoggi murder

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is scheduled to address an investment forum in Riyadh Wednesday, his first public speech since the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi plunged the kingdom into...READ MORE The post Saudi crown prince to make first speech since Khashoggi murder appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsOct 24th, 2018

White House calls for justice in Khashoggi case, lawmakers criticize Saudi statement

The White House said on Friday it would press for justice after Saudi Arabia announced that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had died in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul and that 18 Saudis had been arrested in connection with his death. Source link link: White House calls for justice in Khashoggi case, lawmakers criticize Saudi statement.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsOct 20th, 2018

Harry and pregnant Meghan get baby gifts, meet koalas Down Under

SYDNEY, Australia – British royals Harry and Meghan received baby gifts, met a koala couple and posed in front of Sydney's dazzling Opera House Tuesday, October 16, on their first public outing since announcing they are to become parents . The happy prince and his US-born wife laughed as they were given a pair ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 16th, 2018