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Trump to Meet Russian Envoy Lavrov During Washington Visit

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Trump to Meet Russian Envoy Lavrov During Washington Visit (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, a discussion certain to draw scrutiny given Trump’s history with the Kremlin envoy.A senior administration official said Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will discuss the state of the bilateral relationship with Lavrov. Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that Lavrov would meet Trump hours before the White House confirmed it.Lavrov is making his first visit to Washington since a trip in 2017 set off a storm of criticism. Trump told Lavrov in an Oval Office meeting that he had relieved pressure from an investigation into his dealings with Russia by firing James Comey as FBI director, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.He also was alleged to have disclosed sensitive intelligence information to his Russian guests, though the White House disputed those reports.In May, Pompeo and Lavrov met in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the top U.S. diplomat also held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.While Pompeo called those talks “very productive,” relations between the countries remain at the lowest point since the Cold War. While most of official Washington regards Russia as an adversary over its interference in the 2016 election, its military incursion into Ukraine and its support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Trump again called for closer ties while at the NATO summit in London last week.Trump has repeatedly advocated for a new arms-control agreement with Moscow and Beijing, despite withdrawing from an accord governing intermediate-range weapons after Russia was alleged to have violated it.“With respect to nuclear weapons, I’ve spoken to President Putin and I’ve communicated with him,” Trump said. “We are -- he very much wants to and so do we -- work out a treaty of some kind on nuclear weapons.”Arms TreatyThe visit comes as Trump is facing an impeachment investigation that turns in part on his embrace of a discredited theory that Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Lavrov arrives a day after the Justice Department’s inspector general released the results of an inquiry into the FBI’s investigation in 2016 of people associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.Russia has criticized U.S. plans to keep troops in Syria and warned that time is running out to extend an existing arms-control agreement called New Start.“It’s hard to say what the rush is” for the Lavrov meeting, said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat and foreign policy analyst. “The only thing would be to get the negotiations started on extending” the New Start agreement, he said.Tuesday’s meeting comes a day after Putin meets in Paris with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for talks on ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine.Trump has also said he’s considering Putin’s invitation to come to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II on May 9 in Moscow.To contact the reporters on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net;Jordan Fabian in Washington at jfabian6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Alex Wayne, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Justice Department Backs Free-Speech Lawsuit Against Mississippi Junior College: U.S. Is ‘Not a Police State’

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Justice Department Backs Free-Speech Lawsuit Against Mississippi Junior College: U.S. Is ‘Not a Police State’ The Justice Department weighed in on a federal campus free-speech lawsuit on Monday, proclaiming that neither Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, nor any other public educational institution, can “trample on” its students’ First Amendment rights.Former student J. Michael Brown—along with the non-profit group Young Americans for Liberty—filed the lawsuit in September, claiming that the college had instituted a policy requiring campus administrators to pre-approve all “meetings or gatherings” at least three days before any event for any purpose anywhere on campus, The Clarion-Ledger reported at the time. Brown’s lawsuit alleged that college officials twice called the campus police on him when he “sought to engage on campus with fellow students about topics such as free speech and civil liberties” and the legalization of marijuana, according to a press release from the Justice Department on Monday. Based on the school’s current policies, a student’s violation of its rules about meetings and gatherings could result in expulsion, according to the statement.‘Your Word Against Mine’: College Baseball Coach Accused of Raping Teen PlayersThe government’s 14-page statement of interest filed in federal court on Monday points to Supreme Court case law and compares the college’s “extreme preconditions to speech” to the dystopia depicted in George Orwell’s famous novel 1984.“As alleged, these draconian regulations are no mere paper tigers: JCJC enforces them to the extreme,” the government said in its legal filing. “Preconditions like these have no place in the United States of America.”“Some people get in trouble for smoking weed, but at Jones College, I got in trouble just for trying to talk about it,” Brown told The Clarion-Ledger when he first filed his lawsuit. “That’s not what college is for. We’re supposed to debate openly about important issues, especially ones with huge national significance.”Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who works in the civil rights division of the Justice Department, slammed the college’s policies on Monday in a statement, writing: “The United States of America is not a police state.”“Repressive speech codes are the indecent hallmark of despotic, totalitarian regimes,” said Dreiband. “They have absolutely no place in our country, and the First Amendment outlaws all tyrannical policies, practices, and acts that abridge the freedom of speech.”In a similarly critical statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called the case “yet another concerning example of students encountering limits on what, when, where, and how they learn.”Wheaton College Students Sue Chicago for Banning Them From Evangelizing at The Bean“This is happening far too often on our nation’s campuses,” she continued. “This administration won’t let students be silenced. We stand with their right to speak and with their right to learn truth through the free exchange of ideas—particularly those with which they might disagree.”Mike Hurst, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, added that “unconstitutional restrictions on our first freedoms to speak and assemble directly threaten our liberty as Americans.” “While some may disagree with the content of one’s speech, we should all be fighting for everyone’s Constitutional right to speak,” said Hurst. “I pray JCJC will do the right thing, change its policies to comply with the U.S. Constitution, and encourage its students to speak and assemble throughout our free state.”The college said in September that its policies exist “not to limit students' right to free speech or assembly” but to “ensure that all students have equal and safe access to an environment free from hate speech; racial, gender, national origin, religious affiliation; and disability discrimination.”A spokesperson for Jones County Junior College did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Monday.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

U.S. sanctions Latvian oligarch charged with corruption

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U.S. sanctions Latvian oligarch charged with corruption The United States on Monday sanctioned Aivars Lembergs, the suspended mayor of Latvia’s seaport city of Ventspils and an oligarch with substantial influence in the country’s politics, over alleged corruption, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement. According to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Lembergs controls "entities through political parties and corrupt politicians, and systematically exploits those entities and individuals for his own economic gain". "This U.S. action underscores the U.S. commitment to Latvia and our determination to hold corrupt oligarchs accountable for their actions against a key European ally", it said. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

U.S. border arrests dropped again in November amid Trump crackdown on migrant crossers

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U.S. border arrests dropped again in November amid Trump crackdown on migrant crossers Border arrests - which are used to estimate illegal crossings - initially plummeted after U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. The Trump administration credits the decline to tougher asylum policies and increased cooperation with Mexico and Central American nations. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Monday that Congress needs to take legislative action to discourage illegal crossings in the long term. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Cold, snow to blast central, eastern U.S. this week; wind chill could drop to -25

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Cold, snow to blast central, eastern U.S. this week; wind chill could drop to -25 Some of the coldest air of the season is poised to barrel into portions of the central and eastern U.S. over the next couple of days, forecasters say. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near Damascus

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Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near Damascus Assad's comments to Italy's Rai News 24 came after the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressed confidence in the report into the deadly attack in Syria. OPCW's chief Fernando Arias supported the report issued in March by a fact-finding mission from the watchdog that found "reasonable grounds" that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure'

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Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure' Ed Smart told Gayle King he wanted to speak out publicly because he wanted to reach out to other gay men "who are struggling in the same spot." Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Saudi Arabia Tightens Purse Strings But Aramco Cash Beckons

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Saudi Arabia Tightens Purse Strings But Aramco Cash Beckons (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will earmark less money for subsidies, social benefits and the military, embarking on three years of spending cuts as the government looks to private businesses to pull a greater load in channeling investment.A fiscal program unveiled on Monday marks a shift away from stimulus that helped power non-oil economic growth this year to the fastest since 2015. With output curbs negotiated by OPEC still a drag on the world’s biggest crude exporter, Saudi Arabia is expecting its sixth consecutive deficit to widen next year.Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview that Saudi Arabia would tap both the international and local bond markets in 2020 to help finance a budget shortfall that is expected to reach 6.4% of gross domestic product from 4.7% this year.“We have seen the effort of enabling the private sector to do some of the projects that we would have otherwise done which yielded a reduction of about 50 billion Saudi riyals from our expenditure envelope this year. That is going to continue next year,” Jadaan said.How Aramco’s record initial public offering will affect the biggest Arab economy in 2020 remains among the biggest questions hanging over its annual budget. The windfall of almost $26 billion could be used to soften the blow of spending cuts, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying in 2017 that at least half of the cash will be deployed at home by the Public Investment Fund.Jadaan said the PIF, which has its own board, was likely to allocate “a lot” of the Aramco proceeds to local investments, with the government projecting economic growth will accelerate to 2.3% next year from near zero despite the stimulus cut and an expected decline in oil revenues.The budget is based on an average Brent crude oil price of $65 per barrel in 2020, close to current levels, according to Bloomberg Economics.Read: The $26 Billion Question and What Else to Expect in Saudi BudgetFollowing are other highlights in the budget announcement:RevenueNext year’s revenue is expected at 833 billion riyals versus 917 billion riyals in 2019Oil revenue is seen at 513 billion riyals in 2020 compared with 602 billion this yearNon-oil revenue is expected to rise to 320 billion riyals next year versus an estimated 315 billion riyals in 2019SpendingSpending is expected to fall from about 1.05 trillion riyals this year to 1.02 trillion riyals in 2020, then to 955 billion riyals by 2022.Capital spending next year will rise slightly to 173 billion riyals, while the wage bill will stay unchanged at 504 billion riyals. Military spending is set to drop to 182 billion riyals in 2020 from 198 billion riyals this yearEconomic GrowthGDP is expected to grow 2.3% in the coming year, after being revised down to 0.4% this yearPrivate sector non-oil GDP grew 2.9% in the first half of 2019, while oil GDP shrank 1% in the period(Updates with finance minister’s comments in interview, details)--With assistance from Reema Alothman, Sarah Algethami, Nour Al Ali and Lin Noueihed.To contact the reporters on this story: Abeer Abu Omar in Dubai at aabuomar@bloomberg.net;Vivian Nereim in Riyadh at vnereim@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Diplomats: US backs out of North Korea human rights meeting

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Diplomats: US backs out of North Korea human rights meeting The United States changed its mind and is now refusing to sign a letter that would have authorized the U.N. Security Council to hold a meeting on the human rights situation in North Korea, diplomats said Monday. Without support from the United States, European and other countries that wanted the U.N.'s most powerful body to discuss human rights in North Korea can’t go ahead Tuesday because they are now one vote short of the minimum nine “yes” votes required, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private. Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France

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Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France Turkey has deported to France the “Islamic State matchmaker” who lured a British teen bride to Syria as part of a drive to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Tooba Gondal, 25, is among 11 French nationals that Turkey repatriated early on Monday, according to France's Centre for Analysis of Terrorism, CAT, citing official sources. A French judicial source confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France. Two of the women returned were already targeted by arrest warrants and will soon face a judge, while the other two were sought by police and have been placed in custody, the French source said.  The children have been taken into care. Ms Gondal, from Walthamstow, east London, has been "detained for questioning" and faces terror charges, said CAT. She will then likely be detained while awaiting trial. She was born in France but moved to UK capital as a child and had British residency. A source close to the family told The Telegraph they were upset by the UK's decision to refuse her return. "Her kids most certainly will go into foster care away from her and any of her family in Britain,” said the source. Tooba Gondal, known as the 'Islamic State matchmaker' pictured before leaving for Syria in 2015 Ms Gondal has been accused of acting as an online recruiter and “matchmaker” for the terrorist group by luring women to Syria to marry Isil fighters. Among them was reportedly Bethnal Green schoolgirl Shamima Begum. She used social media to post images of herself wearing a burqa and holding an assault rifle. In October, Ms Gondal told the Telegraph how she managed to escape from Ain Issa camp with her two infant children, along with hundreds of other foreign suspected Isil women in a mass prison break after Turkey launched its offensive. She expressed a desire to be sent to the UK or Turkey. “I want to go home, see my family,” the former Goldsmiths, University of London, student said via WhatsApp messages. “But if I am not able, I want to seek refuge in Turkey." Married and widowed three times while living in Isil’s “caliphate”, she was banned from re-entering the UK last November by a Home Office exclusion order, but her three-year-old son is entitled to citizenship because of his British father. However, her 18-month-old daughter's late father was Russian. Last month, Turkey stepped up the return of suspected foreign Isil members - either held in Turkish prisons or in Syria - back to their countries of origin, saying Turkey was "not a hotel" for foreign fighters. The Turkish interior ministry on Monday confirmed it had sent 11 French relatives of suspected "terrorist fighters" back home. According to CAT, one of the deported women was Amandine Le Coz, who had been married to a Moroccan militant killed in Syria. She joined Isil with her husband in 2014. The French foreign ministry and interior ministry declined to comment. The mother-of-two, seen here with a Kalashnikov, was denied return to the United Kingdom with her children Credit: Telegraph Turkey stepped up its deportation of foreign fighters after criticism from Western countries, in particular, France, over its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria. The move has created a conundrum for European governments over how to manage the return of radicalised militants, some of them battle-hardened. Britain, which has taken one of the strongest stances against the return of its nationals, has deprived many of them of their citizenship. Under a 2014 accord between France and Turkey, Paris agreed to take back jihadists trying to return home from Syria via Turkey and incarcerate them at home. Some 300 French nationals have been thus returned in the past five years. However, France is keen on foreign suspects being sent for trial near to their place of arrest - notably Iraq, where several of its nationals have recently been handed death sentences. America last month clashed with Europe over the issue, with Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, insisting they needed to “hold them to account”. "Coalition members must take back the thousands of foreign terrorist fighters in custody and impose accountability for the atrocities they have perpetrated," he said in a meeting of the international coalition against Isil in Washington DC. Ankara says it has around 1,200 foreign Isil members in custody. There are understood to be around 10 British men, 20 women and 30 children, currently detained in Kurdish-run camps and prisons around no Číst dále >>> Přeložit do en

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