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US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns over Russian ties

White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned from his position over his contact with the Russian ambassador to the US. He reportedly misled officials on whether he discussed sanctions with the envoy. US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned late Monday night in the midst of a raging controversy over his phone calls with Russian officials, the White House confirmed. Reports emerged that Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials about his conversations with Russia prior to Trump taking office. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he held several calls with the Russian ambassador in Washington during Trump's transition to the White House and that he gave "incomplete information" to Pence about those discussions. "Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador," Flynn said in the letter. Possibly illegal calls Flynn told Pence that he had not discussed US sanctions against Russia issued by then-President Barack Obama with Russian officials in the weeks leading up to Trump's inauguration. This led Pence to defend Flynn in numerous television interviews. In recent days, Flynn acknowledged that he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not say with 100 percent certainty. According to a "Washington Post" report from last week, Flynn reportedly discussed lifting sanctions aginst Moscow with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29 - the same day that Obama issued them over Russian interference in the US presidential campaign. The conversations were revealed in intercepted transcripts, described previously by US officials, that showed that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. The talks potentially violated the Logan Act, a law banning private citizens from engaging in diplomacy with foreign officials. Michael McFaul, a former US ambassodor to Moscow, said on Twitter that what got Flynn into trouble was misleading Pence. Blackmail threat Reports also emerged on Monday that the Justice Department warned the Trump administration weeks ago that Flynn misled officials about the nature and content of the calls, sources told the Associated Press. Then-acting US Attorney General Sally Yates said Flynn might have put himself in a compromising position and possibly left himself open to blackmail with the phone calls. Yates was later fired from her post for opposing Trump's entry ban for people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump named retired Lt. General Keith Kellogg to replace Flynn as acting national security adviser but it is unclear if he will remain in the post.

White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned from his position over his contact with the Russian ambassador to the US. He reportedly misled officials on whether he discussed sanctions with the envoy. US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned late Monday night in the midst of a raging controversy over his phone calls with Russian ... Read More »

Former Wall Street banker Mnuchin sworn in as US Treasury head

Steven Mnuchin, a former Hollywood financier and Goldman Sachs executive, has been sworn in as treasury secretary. The ex-banker now heads the agency that controls taxation, sanctions and bank regulation. The bitterly divided US Senate confirmed Steven Mnuchin to be the next secretary of the US Treasury on Monday night, with Republicans overcoming strong objections from Democrats over President Donald Trump's nominee. Shortly after his confirmation, Mnuchin was sworn in the Oval Office where Trump hailed his track record and called him a "financial legend." "He has spent his entire career making money in the private sector - and that's ok. It's what we want, especially when you're secretary of the Treasury," Trump said. Trump added that the 54-year-old will work on tax reductions for the middle class as well as financial reforms. Policy questions Lawmakers and businesses alike have been waiting for Mnuchin to take office and bring clarity to how he will pursue tax reform as well as international economic cooperation efforts with partners in China, Mexico and Europe who are worried about the extent of Trump's "America First" strategy. Mnuchin, however, did not reveal many details of his plans for the Treasury after he was sworn in on Monday. "I am committed to using the full powers of this office to create more jobs, to combat terrorist activities and financing, and to make America great again," Mnuchin said. In the past, Trump has pledged to loosen up capital markets regulation, saying he wants to undo substantial parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law enacted after the 2007-2009 housing collapse. He's also threatened to impose a border tax adjustment system to boost US exports. As head of the Treasury, Mnunchin will also be in charge of imposing economic sanctions, including Russia. 'Foreclosure machine' The US Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Mnuchin, with all but one Democrat opposing him. The confirmation votes for Trump's Cabinet picks have unveiled partisan divisions in the Republican-controlled Senate, with many of Trump's nominees being approved by party-line votes. Republicans praised Mnunchin's experience in finance, saying it makes him qualified to run the department. Democrats, on the other hand, argued that Mnunchin made a great deal of money by foreclosing on thousands of homes as head of OneWest Bank during the financial crisis. Some lawmakers labeled him a "foreclosure machine" for foreclosing on 36,000 homes shortly after Mnunchin's investor group acquired IndyMac Bank and rebranded it as OneWest. In 2011, the Treasury Department found that OneWest used "unsafe or unsound" practices in mortgage servicing and foreclosure proceedings.

Steven Mnuchin, a former Hollywood financier and Goldman Sachs executive, has been sworn in as treasury secretary. The ex-banker now heads the agency that controls taxation, sanctions and bank regulation. The bitterly divided US Senate confirmed Steven Mnuchin to be the next secretary of the US Treasury on Monday night, with Republicans overcoming strong objections from Democrats over President Donald ... Read More »

Trump attacks adversaries on Twitter for revoking travel ban

امریکی صدر ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ نے کہا ہے کہ سیاٹل کی ایک وفاقی عدالت کے ’نام نہاد جج‘ کا امیگریشن پابندیوں سے متعلق جمعہ تین فروری کو سنایا گیا فیصلہ ’مضحکہ خیز‘ ہے، جسے منسوخ کروا کے یہ پابندیاں بحال کرائی جائیں گی۔ امریکی دارالحکومت واشنگٹن سے ہفتہ چار فروری کو ملنے والی نیوز ایجنسی ایسوسی ایٹڈ پریس کی رپورٹوں کے مطابق کل جمعے کی رات ریاست واشنگٹن میں سیاٹل کی ایک وفاقی عدالت کے جج نے ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ کے ایک صدارتی حکم نامے کے ذریعے ستائیس جنوری سے امریکا میں مہاجرین اور سات مسلم اکثریتی ممالک کے شہریوں کی آمد پر تین ماہ کے لیے لگائی گئی پابندی کو معطل کرتے ہوئے پورے امریکا میں اس پر جو عمل درآمد روک دیا تھا، اس ہر آج ہفتے کی صبح صدر ٹرمپ کی طرف سے شدید برہمی کا اظہار کیا گیا۔ سیاٹل کی وفاقی عدالت کے جج کے فیصلے پر اپنے رد عمل میں ٹرمپ نے کہا کہ ان کی قیادت میں امریکی انتظامیہ اس ’نام نہاد جج‘ کے حکم کو منسوخ کرواتے ہوئے دوبارہ وہی امیگریشن پابندیاں بحال کر دے گی، جو اس جج نے عبوری طور پر معطل کر دی ہیں۔ اس فیصلے کے فوری بعد وائٹ ہاؤس کی طرف سے کہا گیا تھا کہ امریکی محکمہٴ انصاف اس عدالتی فیصلے کے خلاف اپیل کرے گا۔ لیکن آج مقامی وقت کے مطابق ہفتے کی صبح ہی صدر ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ نے ٹوئٹر پر اپنے پیغامات میں اس فیصلے پر اپنے شدید عدم اطمینان کا اظہار بھی کر دیا۔ صدر ٹرمپ نے اپنے ایک ٹوئٹر پیغام میں کہا، ’’اس نام نہاد جج کی رائے، جس کے ذریعے اس ملک سے قانون کے نفاذ کا حق چھین لیا گیا ہے، ایک مضحکہ خیز بات ہے، جسے منسوخ کر دیا جائے گا۔‘‘ اسی موضوع پر اپنی ایک اور ٹویٹ میں صدر ٹرمپ نے کہا، ’’جب کوئی ملک یہ طے کر ہی نہ سکے کہ کون اس ملک میں آ سکتا ہے اور کون نہیں، خاص طور پر تحفظ اور سلامتی کی وجوہات کی بنیاد پر، تو یہ ایک بڑا مسئلہ ہے۔‘‘ امریکا میں سیاٹل، بوسٹن، نیو یارک اور واشنگٹن سے ملنے والی مختلف نیوز ایجنسیوں کی رپورٹوں کے مطابق اس عدالتی فیصلے کے چند ہی گھنٹے بعد امریکا کے کسٹمز اور قومی سرحدوں کی حفاظت کے ملکی محکمے کی طرف سے تمام فضائی کمپنیوں کو یہ کہہ دیا گیا کہ وہ اپنی تجارتی پروازوں کے ذریعے ایسے مسافروں کو پھر سے امریکا لانا شروع کر سکتی ہیں، جنہیں اس عدالتی فیصلے سے قبل کسی مہاجر یا پابندی سے متاثرہ سات ملکوں کے کسی شہری کو امریکا لانے کی اجازت نہیں تھی۔ صدر ٹرمپ کے اپنا عہدہ سنبھالنے کے صرف ایک ہفتہ بعد ستائیس جنوری کو جاری کردہ ایک ایگزیکٹو آرڈر کے بعد امریکا کے درجنوں بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈوں پر اس وقت انتہائی پریشان کن صورت حال پیدا ہو گئی تھی، جب باقاعدہ ویزا لے کر آنے والے ہزاروں غیر ملکیوں کو امریکا میں داخلے کے اجازت دینے سے انکار کر دیا گیا تھا۔ تب امریکا کے مختلف شہروں میں ٹرمپ کے خلاف مظاہرے بھی شروع ہو گئے تھے۔ یہ سات مسلم اکثریتی ملک ایران، عراق، شام، لیبیا، سوڈان، صومالیہ اور یمن ہیں، جن کے شہریوں کو، چاہے وہ پہلی بار امریکا آ رہے تھے یا پہلے سے امریکا ہی میں مقیم تھے لیکن غیر ملکیوں کے طور پر بیرون ملک سے واپس لوٹ رہے تھے، دوبارہ امریکا داخلے کی اجازت دینے سے انکار کر دیا گیا تھا۔

US President Trump has criticized a judge’s ruling that blocked his order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. Trump vowed to overturn the ruling even as the State Department said the ban was suspended. US President Trump has criticized a judge’s ruling that blocked his order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. Trump vowed to overturn the ruling even as ... Read More »

Protesters in Britain demonstrate against Trump immigration policy

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump's executive order suspending travel to the US from several Muslim-majority countries. Protesters held banners bearing slogans such as "No to Trump, No to War" and "Trump: Special Relationship? Just say no." The protest is taking place the day after a US judge temporarily suspended the order, saying the order had caused "immediate and irreparable injury." It is the third protest addressing various aspects of Trump's presidency to have taken place in the British capital in two weeks. A similar protest was to take place on Saturday afternoon before the US embassy in the Germany capital, Berlin. Trump, on Saturday, criticized a "so-called judge" for suspending the ban saying it was "ridiculous" and would be overturned. Anti-Muslim order? The executive order signed by Trump suspended entry to the United States to people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen - for 90 days, as well as putting a temporary halt to the entire US refugee program.The administration said the move is designed to combat terrorism. The US State Department on Friday said that 60,000 visas had been revoked following Trump's order, after media reports quoted government lawyers as saying that more than 100,000 people had been affected. Critics of the order say that the ban has separated families, harmed thousands of US residents and goes against international law on taking in refugees fleeing conflict. Rights groups have also warned that the move could heighten religious tension and encourage Islamophobia. Australian protests The order also brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in Australia on Saturday, with protesters coupling their outrage at Trump's move with calls for Australia to close its offshore processing centers on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Australia's hardline refugee policy, which denies asylum to anybody attempting to enter the country by boat, has been slammed by rights groups, and the United Nations have called for the offshore centers to be shut amid allegations of violence, sexual assualt, degrading treatment and self-harm. The protests in Australia come following a diplomatic spat between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with Trump calling a deal between the two nations struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, "dumb." The deal is to see the United States taking up to 1,250 asylum-seekers held on Nauru and Manus to enable Canberra to stick to its "no boat" policy. In return, Australia would take in refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Trump later said he planned to stand by the agreement, which has been widely criticized in Australia. Student rallies against Trump's immigration policy were also held in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and outside the US embassy in the Philippine capital, Manila.

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump’s executive ... Read More »

US slaps new sanctions on Iran over missile test

The Trump administration has issued new sanctions on Iranian nationals and entities, in a clear hardening of policy towards Tehran. Days earlier, Washington threatened Iran over its latest ballistic missile test. Washington added 13 individuals and 12 entities to its Iran sanctions authority list, the US Treasury said on its website on Friday. The decision came days after the White House put Tehran "on notice" over Sunday's test of a medium-range ballistic missile, and for supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen. Some of the entities listed are based in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China, and the sanctions affect nationals of those countries as well as Iran. "Iran's continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States," said John Smith, acting director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. US President Donald Trump has signaled that he will take a tougher tone with Tehran, tweeting on Friday that they were "playing with fire," and that the Obama administration had been too "kind." No US business dealings Friday's move freezes any assets the sanctioned parties might have in US banks and prohibits US companies and people from doing business with them. Among those sanctioned were companies, individuals, and brokers Washington said support a trade network run by an Iranian businessman, Abdollah Asgharzadeh. A Lebanon-based network was also targeted which the US Treasury said was run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite military body that is also powerful in Iranian politics and the economy. 'Iran won't start a war' Ahead of the new sanctions, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Tehran was "unmoved by threats," adding that "we'll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense." Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal in 2015, but the latest test was the first since Trump became president. The new sanctions come just a year after international sanctions were lifted following a landmark deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. None of the new restrictions appear to reverse the lifting of sanctions as part of that deal. Nevertheless, the action will almost surely increase tensions with Tehran. Iran insists it has the right to conduct ballistic missile tests now that its nuclear program has been curtailed. "The amateur and irrational policies of the new US administration will change nothing about the principles of Iranian politics," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Responding to news of the sanctions, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he "understood" Washington's reaction, adding that "clearly, these missile tests violate all relevant UN Security Council resolutions."

The Trump administration has issued new sanctions on Iranian nationals and entities, in a clear hardening of policy towards Tehran. Days earlier, Washington threatened Iran over its latest ballistic missile test. Washington added 13 individuals and 12 entities to its Iran sanctions authority list, the US Treasury said on its website on Friday. The decision came days after the White ... Read More »

Hundreds of US State Department officials sign Trump dissent memo

American diplomats around the world have added their signatures to a memo criticizing President Donald Trump's travel ban. However, an opinion poll found that Americans are sharply split over the measure. Hundreds of state department officials in Washington, DC, and in embassies and consulates scattered across the globe had signed the internal dissent memo by Tuesday evening. News agency Reuters reported the number of signatories could be as high as 900. The document lambasted Trump's executive order that bans citizens from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Libya from entering the United States, while also suspending the US refugee program for 120 days. "This ban does not achieve its aims [of making the country safer] - and will likely be counterproductive," the memo stated. "Moreover, such a policy runs counter to core American values of non-discrimination, fair play, and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and immigrants." "We are better than this ban," the memo also read. Word of the dissent memo leaked over the weekend, prompting White House spokesperson Sean Spicer to warn on Monday that career diplomats should either "get with the program or they can go." Signatories to the so-called 'dissent channel cable' should be protected by law from retaliation. The dissent memo was created during the Vietnam War to allow US diplomats to express their disagreement with the US administration on major policy, which they are publically obligated to support and enforce as US civil servants. Americans divided over the ban The travel ban dissent memo is thought to be one of the most well-supported statements since the mechanism was first established. But a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released Tuesday indicated that Americans remain highly divided along partisan lines over Trump's executive order that has unleashed protests at American airports. According to the poll, 49 percent of American adults either "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed with the ban whereas 41 percent "strongly" or "somewhat" disagreed. 10 percent answered as being undecided. When broken down by political party, 53 percent of Democrats "strongly disagree" with the measure while 51 percent of Republicans "strongly agree." However, only 32 percent of Americans feel "more safe" because of the ban. A majority of Americans agreed on one point, however: 56 percent believe that the United States should not give preference to Christian refugees over Muslim ones.

American diplomats around the world have added their signatures to a memo criticizing President Donald Trump’s travel ban. However, an opinion poll found that Americans are sharply split over the measure. Hundreds of state department officials in Washington, DC, and in embassies and consulates scattered across the globe had signed the internal dissent memo by Tuesday evening. News agency Reuters ... Read More »

US President Trump names Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court nominee

US President Donald Trump has announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court pick. If confirmed by the Senate, the selection of the 49-year-old US appeals court judge swings the court to a conservative-majority position. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday picked Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch's assignment will likely swing the court in the conservative's favor and could prove to be one of the Trump administration's most consequential moves, with ramifications that could long outlast the president's time in office. Trump announced his Supreme Court pick in a live televised broadcast, his first televised from the White House since becoming President. "Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," Trump said, adding that Gorsuch's resume is "as good as it gets." Gorsuch, a Colorado native, attended Colombia University and Harvard Law School, and also completed doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford University. After several years in private practice, he went on to work in George W. Bush's Justice Department for two years before he was appointed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. "I respect ... the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws," Gorsuch said following Trump's announcement. "It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people's representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands." At 49, Gorsuch's appointment makes him the youngest Supreme Court nominee in over a quarter century. The vacancy on the US Supreme Court arose when judge Antonin Scalia died almost a year ago. President Barack Obama had nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat. However, Republican senators blocked the pick, saying the appointment should only be made after November's presidential election. Despite Gorsuch's conservative track record, he is not expected to call into questions recent high profile rulings, such as on abortion and gay rights, which have narrowly divided the nine-seat court by five votes to four in recent years. However, the Supreme Court's conservative tilt is likely to have a strong bearing on divisive issues such as gun control, the death penalty and religious rights. Gorsuch's appointment requires 60 Senate votes to be confirmed. As Republicans hold a slim 52-seat majority, Trump's pick will still need to win over some Democratic votes. Some Democrats, however, had already vowed to mount intense scrutiny and a stern challenge against whoever Trump would have picked in protest to what they view as the court's "stolen seat." Following the announcement, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he had "very serious doubts" over Gorsuch's appointment. At 49, Gorsuch's appointment makes him the youngest Supreme Court nominee in over a quarter century. The vacancy on the US Supreme Court arose when judge Antonin Scalia died almost a year ago. President Barack Obama had nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat. However, Republican senators blocked the pick, saying the appointment should only be made after November's presidential election. Despite Gorsuch's conservative track record, he is not expected to call into questions recent high profile rulings, such as on abortion and gay rights, which have narrowly divided the nine-seat court by five votes to four in recent years. However, the Supreme Court's conservative tilt is likely to have a strong bearing on divisive issues such as gun control, the death penalty and religious rights. Gorsuch's appointment requires 60 Senate votes to be confirmed. As Republicans hold a slim 52-seat majority, Trump's pick will still need to win over some Democratic votes. Some Democrats, however, had already vowed to mount intense scrutiny and a stern challenge against whoever Trump would have picked in protest to what they view as the court's "stolen seat." Following the announcement, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he had "very serious doubts" over Gorsuch's appointment.

US President Donald Trump has announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court pick. If confirmed by the Senate, the selection of the 49-year-old US appeals court judge swings the court to a conservative-majority position. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday picked Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s assignment will likely swing the court in the ... Read More »

Trump causing domestic political problems in Mexico

After provocations from President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a scheduled US visit. Although people in Mexico have shown support for the move, the mood in the country is bad. "Many Mexicans are scared," says Mexican political scientist Carlos Perez Ricart, who is currently researching at the Free University of Berlin's Institute of Latin American Studies. Businesses, citizens with relatives in the United States, and not least, the middle-class, all of whom who have had more influence on the county's economy than anyone else until now, are worried about President Donald Trump's threats of punitive tariffs, tighter border controls and higher import taxes. "Right now many Mexicans are looking closely at the US," says Perez Ricart. "That has led many to ignore Mexico's domestic problems and look instead to the external enemy." The result has been an increasingly nationalist sentiment. Currently, profile images featuring the Mexican flag or other national symbols are very popular on social networks. Mexicans dissatisfied Still, none of that can hide the country's deeper problems. Not only do drug cartels still control much of the country, its government has also been involved in a number of corruption scandals. These are things that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had wanted to tackle. "Mexicans don't see any structural improvements, instead life has just gotten worse for them," says Mexican political scientist Luicy Pedroza of the Hamburg-based German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA). "The promised reforms were poorly enacted, both in the energy sector and the business sector," she says. Recent polls show that just 12 percent of Mexicans approve of their president. Scared of Trump, frustrated with Pena Nieto But Pena Nieto intends to stick to his plan - part of which is the deregulation of fuel pricing. The next phase of the plan is to be introduced in February. Total deregulation is to be complete in 2018. Until now, gas prices have been set by the finance ministry. The measures could not have come at a worse time for Mexico: The peso is at a historic low, and global oil prices are on the rise. The liberalization means that not only do Mexicans have to pay more for gasoline, but they have had to pay higher electricity prices since the beginning of the year as well. Other everyday items have also gotten more expensive due to inflation. People are so angry that even around the time of Trump's inauguration - when hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to the streets to protest the new US president - Mexicans didn't protest the man that so often insulted them publicly. Instead, they demonstrated against Pena Nieto. Many even accused him of being partially responsible for Trump getting elected. Pena Nieto was the only international leader to extend Trump an invitation to visit during his candidacy. Pena Nieto invited Trump to Mexico City despite the fact that he had repeatedly used strong anti-Mexican rhetoric to drum up support. In fact, he began his presidential bid by defaming Mexicans as "rapists" and "drug dealers," charges he repeated throughout the campaign. The day after his Mexico City visit, Trump campaigned in New Mexico, saying: "They're paying for the wall, they just don't know it yet." In an editorial titled "Trump is a problem, Pena Nieto is not the solution," Mexican journalist Ricardo Raphael wrote that Donald Trump had "used Enrique Pena Nieto as the warm-up act for his show." Actually, Pena Nieto should have been able to use the situation with Trump to his own advantage, says political scientist Carlos Perez Ricart: "But the Mexican government lacks strength and confidence." Pena Nieto, he says, acted far too timidly.

After provocations from President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a scheduled US visit. Although people in Mexico have shown support for the move, the mood in the country is bad. “Many Mexicans are scared,” says Mexican political scientist Carlos Perez Ricart, who is currently researching at the Free University of Berlin’s Institute of Latin American Studies. Businesses, ... Read More »

Obama ‘heartened’ by protests against US travel ban

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized the travel ban policy of his successor, Donald Trump. It comes as Washington's attorney general filed a lawsuit against the executive order, labeling it unconstitutional. Former US President Barack Obama on Monday added his voice to a myriad of American figures criticizing President Donald Trump's executive order, banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee resettlement in the country indefinitely. Obama "fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discrimination against individuals because of their faith or religion," the former president's spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement. Lewis noted that Obama was "heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities across the country" after thousands across the US and abroad protested against the executive order. "Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake," he added. The former president also rejected Trump's claims that his travel ban resembled what Obama did in 2011, when he banned visas for Iraqi refugees for six months. Obama's statement marks the first of its kind since he left office less than two weeks ago. Since then, hundreds of demonstrations have emerged across the country to protest Trump's executive orders, whether barring refugees from entering the country or building a wall on the US-Mexico border. 'No one is above the law' Meanwhile, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging the executive order as illegal and unconstitutional. "No one is above the law - not even the president," Ferguson told a press briefing. "And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It's the constitution." While at least federal judges have moved to halt deportations, the White House has remained steadfast in its resolution that the travel ban will remain active. However, Ferguson's complaint argued that the travel ban was separating and harming families "and undermining Washington's sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for migrants and refugees." "Never has our system of checks and balances been more important," said Washington state Governor Jay Inslee at the press conference. "Until Congress takes this administration to task for the obvious moral and legal injuries suffered by innocent, law-abiding people entering our country, it is up to states to protect and promote the rights of the people who reside in our borders," he added. Major companies based in Washington, including Microsoft and Amazon, have provided information to Ferguson detailing the impact the ban would have on their business. "We'd be happy to testify further if needed," said a Microsoft spokesman.

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized the travel ban policy of his successor, Donald Trump. It comes as Washington’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the executive order, labeling it unconstitutional. Former US President Barack Obama on Monday added his voice to a myriad of American figures criticizing President Donald Trump’s executive order, banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries ... Read More »

Millions march against Trump

ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ کی صدارت کے پہلے روز اُن کے ناقدین نے دنیا بھر میں مظاہرے کیے ہیں، جن میں خواتین پیش پیش ہیں۔ ایک بہت بڑا مظاہرہ امریکی دارالحکومت واشنگٹن میں ہو رہا ہے، جس میں لاکھوں افراد بالخصوص خواتین شریک ہیں۔ یہ مظاہرہ ، جسے ’خواتین کے مارچ‘ کا نام دیا گیا ہے، مقامی وقت کے مطابق سہ پہر ایک بجے کے بعد شروع ہو رہا ہے تاہم اس میں شرکت کے لیے لاکھوں افراد علی الصبح سے جمع ہونا شروع ہو گئے تھے۔ اس احتجاجی مظاہرے میں بڑی تعداد میں امریکی شو بزنس سے تعلق رکھنے والے ستارے بھی شریک ہو رہے ہیں۔ ستّر سالہ ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ نے ایک ہی روز قبل ’نیشنل مال‘ پر پنتالیس ویں امریکی صدر کے طور پر اپنے عہدے کا حلف اٹھایا تھا۔ اپنے دورِ صدارت کے ابتدائی لمحات ہی میں ٹرمپ نے اپنے پیش رو باراک اوباما کی طرف سے عمل میں لائے گئے اقدامات کو منسوخ کرنے کا عمل شروع کر دیا ہے۔ ان اقدامات میں صحت کے شعبے میں اصلاحات کا پیکج ’اوباما کیئر‘ بھی شامل ہے، جس کے تحت انشورنس کمپنیوں کو اس بات کا بھی پابند کیا گیا تھا کہ وہ پہلے سے بیمار کسی فرد کو اپنے ہاں قبول کرنے سے انکار نہیں کریں گی اور چھبیس سال تک کی عمر کے افراد اپنے والدین کی انشورنس سے استفادہ کر سکیں گے۔ ’ویمنز مارچ آن واشنگٹن‘ نامی تحریک کے منتظمین نے ملک بھر میں سوشل میڈیا پر عوام سے اس جلوس میں شرکت کے لیے اپیل جاری کی تھی۔ جمعے کے روز تک ہی سوا دو لاکھ افراد نے اس مظاہرے میں اپنی شرکت کی تصدیق کر دی تھی۔ منتظمین کو توقع تھی کہ اس مظاہرے میں دو لاکھ افراد شرکت کریں گے تاہم آخری خبریں آنے تک اس مظاہرے میں شریک افراد کی تعداد پانچ لاکھ سے بھی تجاوُز کر چکی تھی۔ خواتین خاص طور پر گلابی رنگ کی ٹوپیاں اور ملبوسات پہنے اس مظاہرے میں شرکت کر رہی ہیں۔ ان خواتین کے احتجاج کا مقصد اپنے اُن حقوق کا دفاع کرنا ہے، جنہیں وہ ٹرمپ کے ماضی کے بیانات اور مستقبل کی ممکنہ پالیسیوں کے تناظر میں خطرے میں دیکھ رہی ہیں۔ واضح رہے کہ متعدد خواتین ٹرمپ پر اپنے خلاف جنسی حملوں کے الزامات لگا چکی ہیں جبکہ اسقاط حمل کے حوالے سے ٹرمپ کے کچھ بیانات بھی متنازعہ حیثیت اختیار کر چکے ہیں۔ واشنگٹن میں مظاہرہ کرنے والی خواتین کے ساتھ یک جہتی کے طور پر امریکا بھر کے تین سو شہروں میں ’سسٹرز مارچ‘ منظم کیے جا رہے ہیں۔ ان شہروں میں نیویارک، بوسٹن، لاس اینجلس اور سیئیٹل بھی شامل ہیں۔ ان امریکی خواتین کے ساتھ یک جہتی کا اظہار دنیا بھر کے تین سو شہروں میں بھی کیا جا رہا ہے۔ دنیا بھر میں ہونے والے مظاہروں کا آغاز ہفتے کی صبح آسٹریلیا اور نیوزی لینڈ سے ہوا تھا۔ بعد ازاں کئی یورپی شہروں بشمول برلن میں بھی مظاہرے منظم کیے گئے۔ واشنگٹن میں ہونے والے اجتماع کے موقع پر شو بزنس کی کئی اہم شخصیات مظاہرین سے خطاب بھی کریں گی، جن میں ہالی وُڈ کی نامور اداکارہ سکارلیٹ جوہانسن اور ڈائریکٹر مائیکل مُور بھی شامل ہیں۔ امریکا اور دیگر ملکوں میں ادیب ادبی نشستوں کا اہتمام کرتے ہوئے ٹرمپ کے خلاف احتجاج کر رہے ہیں۔ گزشتہ کئی عشروں میں کسی بھی امریکی صدر نے عوام کو اس حد تک تقسیم نہیں کیا، جتنا کہ جائیداد کی خرید و فروخت کا کاروبار کرنے والے ارب پتی ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ نے کر دیا ہے۔ جمعے کے روز ٹرمپ کی حلف برداری کے موقع پر واشنگٹن ہی میں پُر تشدد مظاہرے بھی ہوئے، جن کے دوران پولیس نے دو سو سے زائد افراد کو حراست میں لے لیا۔ اکیس جنوری ہفتے کے روز ٹرمپ کے پروگرام میں محض ایک مذہبی سروس میں شرکت شامل تھی، جس میں ایک یہودی ربی اور ایک امام سمیت دیگر مذاہب کے نمائندوں کو بھی شریک ہونا تھا۔ جمعے کو ہی ٹرمپ نے وزیر دفاع جیمز ماتیس اور وزیر داخلہ جان کیلی کی حلف برداری کی دستاویزات پر دستخط کر دیے۔ اس سے پہلے سینیٹ نے ٹرمپ کی کابینہ کے ان دونوں ناموں کی توثیق کر دی تھی۔ ٹرمپ نے کہا کہ چھیاسٹھ چھیاسٹھ سال کی عمروں کے یہ دونوں سابق جنرل ’امریکی ہیرو‘ ہیں اور فوج کے ڈھانچے میں اصلاحات عمل میں لانے، امریکی قوم کے دفاع کو مضبوط کرنے اور سرحدوں کو محفوظ بنانے کے سلسلے میں ’فوری طور پر اپنی ذمہ داریاں نبھانے کا سلسلہ شروع کر رہے ہیں‘۔ ماتیس افغانستان اور عراق میں جبکہ کیلی بھی عراق میں خدمات انجام دے چکے ہیں۔

Trump’s first full day in office belonged to the women who oppose him. The Women’s March on Washington and its hundreds of sister events drew millions of participants across the globe. Turnout at President Trump’s inauguration may have been lackluster, but the same could not be said for the Women’s March on Washington and its hundreds of connected events across ... Read More »

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