Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Merkel: ‘Good for all’ that Trump, Putin plan to meet again (Angela Taking The High Road)

July 20, 2018

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Meetings between the US and Russian presidents should become the “normality”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, adding that it is “good for all” that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin plan new talks.

“That talks are held is basically good for all, in particular between these two countries,” Merkel said at her regular summer press conference.

“I find that meetings between the US and Russian presidents must return to normality,” she said.

Trump is planning to host Putin for talks in Washington later this year, after a first bilateral meeting in Helsinki on Monday.

Trump has come under fire following the Helsinki talks for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of the Russian strongman — and his seeming disavowal of his own intelligence agencies and their assessment that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

© AFP/File | German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it would be good for all concerned if US President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) were to meet regularly after their Helsinki summit

The talks in the Finnish capital were closed-door and with no one else present but interpreters.

The US president on Thursday listed the topics discussed as “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”

Putin was last invited to the White House in 2005 by then-president George W. Bush, while former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev visited in 2010.

Pressed by reporters on how she viewed her relationship with Trump in light of his repeated criticism of Germany’s asylum policies, defence spending and trade surpluses, a diplomatic Merkel stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation.

Ties at the moment are “under strong pressure”, she acknowledged.

“Nevertheless the transatlantic working relationship, also with the US president, is central to us and I will continue to maintain it.”

She also expressed hope that a trade war with the US could be staved off, ahead of European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Washington next week to try and negotiate a solution.

Merkel said the European Union was “ready” to respond if Trump makes good on his threat to slap steep tariffs on foreign cars, a move that would hit Germany’s auto industry particularly hard.

But tit-for-tat retaliation would be “by far the worst-possible solution”, Merkel warned, describing the current trade tensions as “very serious”.

The potential car tariffs would not just violate the rules of the World Trade Organization, she added, but could also “endanger the prosperity of many people around the world”.

AFP

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Blue State Blues: Why America Hates CNN

July 20, 2018

Americans dislike the news media, though we depend on them for information. And cable news has been a target for ridicule for at least a decade, ever since Jon Stewart used The Daily Show to lampoon the genre. But CNN is particularly disliked, especially —though not uniquely — by supporters of President Donald Trump.

CNN’s unpopularity is reflected in its shockingly poor ratings, but also in the chants of “CNN sucks!” that erupt at Trump rallies.

What is it about the pioneering cable news network that is so hated?

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CNN might argue that it is the victim of a vicious campaign, led by President Trump himself, to label the network “fake news.”

But Trump would not be the first president to single out a news outlet. Barack Obama did the same to Fox News, telling Rolling Stone in 2010 that the network was “destructive to [America’s] long-term growth.” His staff also called Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” Few journalists, and even fewer Democrats, denounced Obama’s attacks as a threat to democracy.

Democracy survived — and so did Fox, which actually thrived under attack from Obama. CNN’s fortunes, by contrast, have moved in the opposite direction.

One reason is that CNN has competition that Fox does not, in the form of MSNBC, the openly left-wing network that has seen its ratings rise in the Trump era. In an increasingly divided political environment, viewers may have less interest in news produced by a network whose brand — theoretically, at least — is one of non-partisan objectivity and “facts first.”

The question is whether CNN is actually true to that brand. And many viewers feel that it is not. CNN is perceived as being guilty of false advertising — namely, claiming to be in the middle of the political spectrum while actually driving a hard left-wing agenda.

When the Black Lives Matter movement erupted, for example, CNN pushed the false idea that Michael Brown had raised his hands in surrender and told police, “Don’t shoot.” A CNN panel — including conservative Margaret Hoover — offered a protest of its own.

In the run-up to 2016, CNN — perhaps aware of the perception that it was, in fact, left-wing — added new conservative panelists, including pro-Trump pundits like Jeffrey Lord. It fired him on the flimsiest of pretexts after the election, leaving behind nominal Republicans who usually endorse their liberal opponents’ hatred of Trump.

After Trump won, CNN became hostile to Trump — perhaps, rumor had it, to deflect liberal criticism that it had “enabled” him by giving him too much airtime during the race.

CNN soon moved beyond covering the news into creating it. It was one of the first to report the unverified Russia “dossier” on Trump, which had served as the basis for the Obama administration’s surveillance of Trump associates during the campaign. In doing so, CNN allegedly worked with former Obama intelligence chief John Brennan, one of the more unhinged Trump-haters on Twitter.

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Since then, CNN’s coverage has been guided by the idea that Trump ought to, or is about to, be removed from office. To that end, for example, it covered porn star Stormy Daniels as if her lawsuit against Trump were more important than nuclear talks with North Korea.

This week, CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of Reliable Sourcesdefended U.S. journalists in Helsinki who asked Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin about the 2016 election while ignoring foreign policy. Stelter’s predecessor, Howard Kurtz (now at Fox News), used the show to critique the press. Today, it is merely a megaphone for CNN’s anti-Trump hysteria.

That hysteria has a damaging effect on American politics, and on America’s image abroad. In many countries, CNN is a major source of international news, and news about the United States. It presents an image of politics in the U.S. that is badly skewed against the Trump administration.

CNN could have chosen a different path. Faced with accusations of bias and “fake news,” it could have proven the president wrong by delivering more accurate news coverage and more balanced opinion.

Instead, it chose to become a player in the partisan fight, while still pretending it stood for objective truth. That ambivalent — and, ultimately, fraudulent — posture epitomizes the problem with the news media in general.

CNN confuses attacking Trump with defending journalism. That is why Americans change the channel.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

https://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2018/07/20/blue-state-blues-why-america-hates-cnn/

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James Comey told Stephen Colbert what it had felt like to be fired as F.B.I. director. Credit CBS

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Food Network Beats CNN In ratings

CNN continues to struggle with its ratings, failing to crack the top five in both total day and primetime cable ratings last week.

According to Nielsen Media Research for the week of June 18 to June 24, Fox News continued to dominate the other cable news networks by ranking number one in both total day and primetime ratings. MSNBC fell slightly behind at number two in both categories.

Fox News earned its 24th consecutive week on top of basic cable with 1,465,000 average daily viewers. They also earned 2,513,000 average primetime viewers for the week.

CNN, meanwhile, trailed far behind both of its news competitors, ranking 13th in primetime and 7th in total day. In primetime, CNN lost to HGTV, Investigation Discovery, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the Food Network.

The Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo-led lineup earned them just 914,000 average primetime viewers.

http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/26/cnn-food-network-ratings/

Why NATO Matters

July 20, 2018

President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, has opened another round of debate on the purpose and future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Since assuming office, Trump has moved away from his earlier position that NATO is obsolete, preferring instead to highlight the disparity between U.S. defense expenditures (3.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product) and those of other signatories to the treaty, especially Germany (1.2 percent). Indeed, Trump rightly views the commitments of NATO powers to increase defense spending as one of the ways he has strengthened the alliance.

Some of his supporters, however, continue to wonder why America is part of NATO at all. They point to NATO’s newest and 29th member state, Montenegro, and ask why American soldiers should be committed to the defense of its capital Podgorica. This is the latest version of the “Why die for Danzig” argument that originated among the French left in the run up to the Second World War: What reason is there, these critics say, to agree to defend the borders of small and faraway countries engaged in quarrels between people of whom we know nothing?

But to ask the question this way is to misunderstand the nature of deterrence. We join alliances such as NATO and we welcome countries like Montenegro—and Poland—into those alliances so that we will not have to perish for Podgorica.

Deterrence relies on the perception of strength. The tougher one’s adversaries perceive you to be, the higher the probable cost of aggression, the less likely foes or competitors or whatever will move against you. The principle of collective security manifested in NATO is nothing more than bolstering this perception of strength through greater numbers: As membership and resources scale upward, so does the price of hostile activity.

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Would NATO invoke Article Five for the second time (the first was after 9/11) if Russia moved into Estonia or Latvia or Melania Trump’s native Slovenia? The honest answer is we don’t know. But here’s the thing: Russia doesn’t know either. And that uncertainty is precisely the mechanism by which Russia is deterred. It’s risky, tenuous, and occasionally messy. And it has kept the peace.

The alternative did not. America’s lack of forward presence in Europe in the interwar years no doubt contributed to German rearmament and expansionism. So did the fact that the League of Nations—just like the U.N. and E.U. today—had no real military capability. It is worth remembering that many of the French who had no issue with the German annexation of Danzig ended up dying anyway, for among the lessons of history is that belligerent powers never stop with the small countries. They keep advancing until they run into a wall.

Nor is there any question that Putin’s Russia is a belligerent power. Ask yourself: Why do these central, eastern, and southeastern European nations want to belong to NATO? It’s not because they particularly enjoy the alliance’s swanky new headquarters. It’s because they have been under Russian domination before and, if they are not careful, will be again. They notice that Vladimir Putin has so far limited his invasions to non-NATO members Georgia and Ukraine. He meddles with NATO powers, trolls them, harasses them, and threatens them. He walks up to the line, for sure. But he dares not cross it.

OK, comes the reply, but why should Americans care who dominates Romania? I am happy to cite the nobility of freedom, democracy, and national sovereignty, but I recognize that these concepts will be dismissed as idealistic abstractions. So I offer instead this cold-hearted and realistic principle: As the late professor Harold Rood was fond of saying, you either run the show or the show runs you.

American retreat from NATO or Europe would, like we have seen in the Middle East, create a vacuum for an alternative power to revise political, economic, and security arrangements according to its will and in its favor. It would be the very definition of idealism to suggest that those arrangements would be friendly to or consonant with American interests. If you think America is getting a bad deal now, wait until Russia is shaping European trade policy. Only the Ladas will be tariff free.

The counterargument is that other powers will rise to balance against Russia. But the voices most skeptical of NATO and happiest with American withdrawal from Europe are also the most critical of the only power with the capacity to face down the bear. That power is Germany. Is this an outcome we really wish for? I seem to be the sole conservative left who is more than happy with Germany not spending too much money on soldiers, tanks, and artillery. There’s not a really happy track record there.

Germany is already extending its reach and dominating Europe through the E.U. Do we want to give Merkel, or whoever follows her, NATO as well? What would that look like? “Better take these migrants, Italy, or the Bundeswehr will have to make sure you do,” are words no one should want to hear.

I’ve heard the laments in recent days that debate over NATO has been closed. Where have these people been? We have been debating the future of NATO and its expansion since the foundation of the alliance in 1949 and especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. And that debate has been decided, again and again, by American voters, in NATO’s favor: first as a means to deter Soviet aggression, then as a way to expand and consolidate democratic gains, and for the last decade as a check against revanchist Russia. True, the two most recent presidents have been wary of NATO—Trump more loudly than his predecessor. But both Barack Obama and Donald Trump have come to assert, however grudgingly and haltingly, its value.

And for good reason. This is an alliance that furthers American interests in the service of American ideals. It’s worth preserving because the choice is not between NATO and peace. The choice is between NATO and war.

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https://freebeacon.com/columns/why-nato-matters/

‘Hi, I’m a soybean’: In trade war, China deploys cartoon legume to reach U.S. farmers

July 20, 2018

In the tense trade war with the United States, China’s government has turned to an unlikely weapon: a cartoon bean.

“Hi, everybody. I am a soybean. I may not look like much, but I’m very important,” says the animated character in a video posted on Friday on the website of China Global Television Network (CGTN), the overseas news network of state-owned China Central Television.

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The short video in English with Chinese subtitles seems designed to undermine support for the trade dispute from U.S. farmers, key supporters of President Donald Trump, by highlighting the damage tariffs could have on American soybean exports.

Its release follows the imposition on July 6 of tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports by the United States. In return, China levied taxes on the same value of products from the United States, including soybeans. Trump has also threatened further tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

The video also highlights efforts by China’s Communist Party to turn to foreign actors, cartoons and even rap to try to deliver its ideas in less turgid formats.

Opting for the unusual narrator illustrates how Beijing views soybeans as a powerful tool in its battle with its top trading partner. Soybeans were the United States’ biggest agricultural export to China, worth $12 billion last year.

The video is partly educational, but is mostly aimed at delivering a political message.

After outlining the main uses of soybeans from tofu to animal feed to biscuits, the bean turns its focus to its central role in the trade war.

China can choose to buy beans from other exporters, such as Argentina and Brazil, if prices become too expensive, the bean says in the video.

But falling prices and lower sales would hurt U.S. soybean farmers, it warns, pointing out that U.S. prices have fallen by 18 percent from May to early July, to their lowest this year.

Nine out of the top 10 soybean growing states voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, the video notes.

“So will voters there turn out to support Trump and the Republicans once they get hit in the pocketbooks?” asks the bean.

The cartoon does not mention that soymeal prices in China are rising, triggering fears of food inflation. Soymeal is a crucial animal feed ingredient for pork producers and the country is the world’s biggest pork consumer.

It is not the first time soybeans have had a starring role in Beijing’s trade showdown with Washington. Social media was transfixed by a ship racing to deliver its cargo of U.S. beans before the tariffs kicked in.

Reuters

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/20/business/hi-im-soybean-trade-war-china-deploys-cartoon-legume-reach-u-s-farmers/#.W1HXdNJKhaQ

Reuters:

Trump Says He’s ‘Ready To Go’ With $500 Billion in Tariffs on All China Imports

July 20, 2018
President says he doesn’t like U.S. being taken advantage of

U.S. has imposed duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods so far

China accused American officials of making false accusations

President Donald Trump said he’s “ready to go” with tariffs on $500 billion of Chinese imports, saying the U.S. has been taken advantage of for too long.

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“I’m not doing this for politics. I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country,” Trump said in a CNBC interview aired Friday. “We are being taken advantage of and I don’t like it.”

The $500 billion figure is about the value of Chinese goods imported into the U.S. last year. S&P stock-index futures declined along with the Stoxx Europe 600 gauge after Trump’s comments aired.

The threat is likely to put further strain on a trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies. China accused American officials of making false accusations Thursday as it fired back against a claim President Xi Jinping is blocking talks with the U.S. Earlier, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said Xi has no intention of making a deal over trade with the Trump administration.

Trump earlier this month imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to follow soon. The administration has also released a list of 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods, which could take effect as early as next month. China retaliated on the first wave of tariffs by slapping duties on the same dollar amount of U.S. imports, and Beijing has said it’ll fight against any further U.S. actions.

China imports far less from the U.S., buying about $130 billion in American goods last year, so it doesn’t have as much to leverage with tariffs, but it could use other measures to hit trade such as tightening regulatory oversight.

Can Trump Win a China Trade War? We May Soon Find Out: QuickTake

Trump authorized the tariffs after an investigation he ordered by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office found that China was violating intellectual property rules and forcing American companies operating in China to hand over their technology secrets to gain access to the market. Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng last week called those accusations “groundless” and said that the U.S. trade penalties contravene rules at the World Trade Organization.

Trade discussions aimed at defusing tensions between the U.S. and China have stalled, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. would only be willing to get back to the table if China agrees to deepen structural changes to its economy.

The International Monetary Fund warned earlier this week that escalating trade tensions are threatening to derail a global upswing. If threatened trade barriers become reality, global output could drop by about 0.5 percent below its projected level by 2020, IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld said. The U.S. economy would be “especially vulnerable,” given it would be the focus of retaliation in a tit-for-tat conflict, Obstfeld said.

The Trump administration has also angered key allies by imposing tariffs of steel and aluminum imports earlier this year. On Thursday, automakers and vehicle-making nations such as Mexico criticized the administration’s study into whether auto imports pose a risk to national security, which could lead to tariffs.

An IMF analysis shows that potential U.S. duties on foreign cars represent a greater risk to the global economy than the tariffs the Trump administration is considering on Chinese imports.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-20/trump-says-he-s-ready-to-go-with-tariffs-on-all-china-imports

Angela Merkel rejects Donald Trump’s definition of EU as ‘foe’ — Want to end trend toward “squalidness” in political discourse

July 20, 2018

In her annual summer press Q&A session, the German chancellor stressed that Europe and the US are not enemies. She also held up the EU as a model of a “win-win” situation — words clearly aimed in Washington’s direction.

    
Sommerpressekonferenz Merkel (picture-alliance/dpa/W. Kumm)

In her yearly meet-the-press session before her summer vacation, Angela Merkel put forward the European Union as an example of cooperation and multilateralism. While reaffirming the centrality of Germany’s trans-Atlantic relations with the US, she acknowledged that US President Donald Trump had put the two country’s traditional friendship “under pressure.”

When asked whether she agreed with Trump that the US and the EU were “foes,” the chancellor replied, “I’m not going to adopt that choice of words.”

When asked why Trump seems to have developed an antipathy toward Germany, Merkel said that she “hadn’t done any research into the root causes” but surmised that it may have to do with Germany’s economic might.

She said that she has tried to argue against Trump’s accusations that Germany was maintaining a skewed balance of trade with the US with arguments, for instance, that the trade balance actually favored the US when services were included.

But she admitted Trump wasn’t always persuaded.

Merkel and Trump (picture-alliance/AP Images/The Yomiuri Shimbun)Merkel has become a gallion figure of European multilateralism in contrast to Trump

A more influential Europe

While avoiding confrontational language, Merkel sketched out a vision of a multilateral Europe ready to emancipate itself somewhat on the US and assume a greater role globally.

Merkel said that events of the past months had “confirmed” the truth her statement from May 2017 that “the days when we could completely rely on the US are in part over.” And she added that Europe’s geography made it predestined to exert greater influence.

“It’s legitimate for Europe to find a role of its own in the world,” Merkel told journalists. “We have a number of the world’s conflicts directly on our doorstep. So Europe needs to play a greater role in resolving conflict.”

That, Merkel said, would involve increased German spending on defense, if not at anything like the levels Trump has demanded.

Hits out a possible trade war

Amidst increasing conflicts between the US and the EU and other parts of the world over trade, Merkel acknowledged that the situation was “serious.” And she cited recent history as an alternative model to Trumpian protectionism.

“The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 was only overcome through multi-national action, for instance, by the G20,” Merkel said.  “China also made a big contribution. This path led us out of an extremely complicated situation.

With regard to possible US tariffs on foreign automobiles, which could potentially hurt German carmakers, Merkel stressed the international character of the industry, pointing out that BMW’s largest factory was located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She also took aim American protectionism.

“The possible tariffs violate the rules of the World Trade Organization and endanger the prosperity of many people around the world,” Merkel said.

She said that Europe was united behind EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who travels to the US next week for trade talks next week. She said that the EU was prepared to impose retaliatory tariffs if necessary but that this was “the worst solution.”

A plea for more civility

Whole questions about Donald Trump and European-American relations set the tone for the session, Merkel also had the opportunity to address other issue, including the conflict over migrants that threatened to bring down her government late last month.

Merkel had some clear words for her interior minister Horst Seehofer, who initiated that conflict, on who ultimately set government policy.

“I’m responsible for ensuring that the government is able to function,” Merkel said. “We found a joint path forward. The standard is that ministers have to recognize the chancellor’s responsibility for determining policies. If that’s not the case, cooperation in a government would be impossible.”

But Merkel also said that there had been a certain “erosion of language” and called for a change in tone in German political culture.

“I try to pay attention to my language and describe things as precisely as possible,” Merkel told reporters, saying she aimed to combat the trend toward “squalidness” in political discourse.

That remark was pointed not only at Seehofer but also the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany and Trump himself.

Merkel’s performance was a reassertion of her own particular brand of low-key but thus far undefeatable authority. Despite weeks of speculation that her rein might be coming to an end or that she no longer had the energy for the job, the chancellor survived until the summer and seems little worse the wear for the acrimony. She will now have a chance to recharge her batteries for a bit, before the battles at home and abroad resume.

https://www.dw.com/en/angela-merkel-rejects-donald-trumps-definition-of-eu-as-foe/a-44761001

China denies breaching sanctions on North Korea

July 20, 2018

Both Beijing and Seoul insist they will uphold sanctions after UN report highlights coal shipments that arrived in port after ban came into force

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 5:49pm

China and South Korea vowed to uphold the sanctions regime on North Korea after a UN committee accused the two countries of being reluctant to enforce a ban on coal exports from the North.

Five direct North Korean coal shipments arrived in China last August, according to the UN North Korea Sanctions Committee report.

It also said that two shipments, sent from a Russian port 2,000km (1,200 miles) away from the Korean peninsula, had arrived in South Korea in October.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday that China had obeyed the UN Security Council resolution.

It added that coal imports shipped before August 2017 were legitimate.

The five Chinese shipments, which arrived in Bayuquan, Nantong and Guangzhou in August, had been sent from the North Korean ports of Nampo and Taean in June and July.

“The Chinese side has always implemented the Security Council resolutions comprehensively and strictly, and the relevant departments have issued an announcement for this purpose,” a ministry statement said.

“If China is to report relevant import data to the Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee, [China will provide] completely open and transparent [data], and it will comply with the relevant provisions of the Security Council resolution,” it added.

Seoul also promised not to violate the sanctions regime, adding that the government was investigating two shipments, which the UN report said had been sent from Kholmsk on Sakhalin island to the ports of Incheon and Pohang.

The report claimed that the delivery to Pohang alone was valued at US$325,000.

South Korean foreign affairs ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said earlier this week that Seoul was “making diplomatic efforts, by closely cooperating with the international community and the sanctions committee, so that the UN Security Council can implement its sanctions”.

“I’m aware of an ongoing investigation by the authorities,” Noh added.

Beijing has recently promised to restore its economic ties with Pyongyang.

President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he would support North Korea’s efforts to develop the economy during Kim’s third visit this year to China last month.

UN diplomats said that on Thursday Russia and China delayed a United States push for a UN Security Council committee to ban refined petroleum exports to North Korea.

The United States last week complained to the 15-member Security Council North Korea sanctions committee that, as of May 30, there had been 89 illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products this year by Pyongyang, which breached the cap of 500,000 barrels a year.

But Russia’s UN mission put a “hold” on the US request on Thursday, telling the committee it was “seeking additional information on every single case of ‘illegal’ transfer of petroleum,” diplomats said.

China backed the Russian request and asked the United States “to provide additional factual information to facilitate all states to study and make a judgment,” diplomats said.

Boo Seong-chan, a research fellow at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, said: “Easing economic sanctions sits at the centre of North Korean economic prosperity, as Kim has vowed to his people that he would move on to an economy-first policy … This means that he must show some fruits for his people in the short-term in order to legitimise his rule.

“After all, authoritarian regimes’ legitimacy to rule comes from their people’s quality of life.”

Park Ihn-hwi, an international studies professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, acknowledged that there could be loopholes in the UN sanctions regime that would allow China to boost its trade with the North.

“Some trading may be resumed, especially between China and North Korea, easing the UN sanctions regime … There may also be illegal trading at the border area,” Park added.

North Korea’s gross domestic product. contracted 3.5 per cent in 2017 compared with the previous year, marking the biggest contraction since 1997, South Korea’s central bank estimated on Friday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2156159/china-and-south-korea-insist-they-will-enforce-un

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Merkel says transatlantic ties with Trump ‘crucial for us’

July 20, 2018

Germany’s relationship with the United States is crucial, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump last week accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, child, closeup and indoor
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Asked about her working relationship with Trump, Merkel told a news conference: “One can say that the values, or our usual framework, are under strong pressure at the moment.”

“However, the transatlantic working relationship, including with the U.S. president, is crucial for us and I will carry on cultivating it,” she added

Reuters

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Caroline Copley

Donald Trump Should Start a National Cybersecurity Defense Effort

July 20, 2018

Donald Trump should use his executive powers as President of the United States to solve one of the most vexing problems of modern government: unauthorized cyber intrusion, theft, hacking and service disruption.

The U.S. government and the American people have long been the victims of cyberattacks.

During the Obama Administration, cyber attacks and loss of government data became commonplace. While Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used a computer without any government security features in her home for virtually all her State Department email and business. Huma Abedin copied many of the emails which ended up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

The fact that the FBI under James Comey and Peter Strzok failed to hand down an indictment does not mean that Mrs. Clinton, or anyone else, didn’t commit a crime. Clinton and her staff certainly violate statutes with regard to the handling of classified information. The lackluster cybersecurity measures of the DNC and the Clinton campaign have caused America an undue amount of anguish and division ever since.

For no reason.

This does not mean that Republicans are OK on cybersecurity. They aren’t.

Every corner of the U.S. government needs more attention on cybersecurity.

We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to be our guardian.

Trump needs to look at the big picture.

The president can easily get started by naming a Blue Ribbon panel of experts from the technology sector like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to pay pay back the United States of America for their riches by helping to make the U.S. the most cyber-secure nation in the world.

Maybe the retired Mr. John Brennan and James Clapper can contribute some expertise.

The United States should be the world leader in cybersecurity; ready, willing and able to defend itself at all times and to help friends and allies around the world.

Commentary
By John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

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FILE PHOTO: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference on the Trump Administration’s tax cuts at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, U.S., on June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan/File Photo

Did Hillary’s email security negligence as U.S. Secretary of State invite Russian cyber meddling?

Hillary Clinton speaking during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday.

Personal, not secure, “home-brew” email server? Poster child for bad cyber security/National security.

Hillary Clinton was exonerated for mishandling classified email by:

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And….
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Vladimir Putin in Moscow in December. Credit Pool photo by Alexei Druzhinin

 

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Ten Years of Russian Cyber Attacks on Other Nations

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hacking-in-america/timeline-ten-years-russian-cyber-attacks-other-nations-n697111

President Barack Obama announced the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, a prisoner swap and the $1.7 billion settlement with Iran in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Jan. 17.
President Barack Obama  PHOTO: JIM LO SCALZO/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

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John Emerson, Washington's man in Berlin, to meet with Guido Westerwelle, German foreign minister, over claims Angela Merkel's phone was tapped by US

Chancellor Merkel called President Obama demanding answers after reports emerged that the US may have been monitoring her phone Photo: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS
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James Clapper talking to a group of people
James Clapper
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks at the Center for American Progress’ 2014 Making Progress Policy Conference in Washington November 19, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama at a joint news conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama at a joint news conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25. Photo: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg News
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Clapper: “Badge Of Honor” When Trump Attacks Me, John Brennan, Hayden, Comey — Is something fishy in U.S. intelligence?

July 20, 2018

President Trump ripped former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, General Hayden, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe as well as Peter Strzok and “his lover” Lisa Page and said that he never had confidence in them in an interview that aired on CBS Evening News.

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Trump specifically called out Brennan and Clapper in the interview with Jeff Glor of CBS News that aired Wednesday night. He called Brennan a “total low-life” and that Clapper had gone “haywire.”

“In the past, no, I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he’s a total low-life. I have no confidence in Clapper,” Trump told CBS News.

Trump’s comments inspired Clapper to go on CNN late Wednesday evening to respond to the attack.

TRUMP: Well, certainly in the past, it’s been terrible. You look at Brennan, you look at Clapper, you look at Hayden, you look at Comey, you look at McCabe, you look at Strzok and his lover, Lisa Page. You look at other people in the F.B.I. that have been fired, are no longer there.

Certainly I can’t have any confidence in the past. But I can have a lot of confidence in the present and the future, because it’s getting to be now where we’re putting our people in. But in the past, no, I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he’s a total low-life. I have no confidence in Clapper. You know, Clapper wrote me a beautiful letter when I first went to office, and it was really nice.

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CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. FILE photo

And then, all of a sudden, he’s gone haywire because they got to him and they probably got him to say things that maybe he doesn’t even mean. But no, I certainly don’t have confidence in past people. You look at what’s happened. Take a look at all of the shenanigans that have gone on. Very hard to have confidence in that group.

“It’s reached the point, and I think I’m speaking for my case and John Brennan’s. It’s almost a badge of honor when the president sees fit to go after individual private citizens. And I think I can speak, as well, for all of us to say — and I include Jim Comey in this,” Clapper told CNN.

Clapper responded on Wednesday’s The Situation Room, calling the attacks a “badge of honor” for himself and John Brennan.

JAMES CLAPPER, FMR. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLEGENCE: It’s reached the point, and I think I’m speaking for my case and John Brennan’s. It’s almost a badge of honor when the president sees fit to go after individual private citizens. And I think I can speak, as well, for all of us to say — and I include Jim Comey in this. The only reason we’ve spoken out about all of this is our genuine concerns about this president and this presidency and who is assaulting values and institutions and standards of this country, which collectively we’ve spent decades defending.

As for the beautiful letter that I wrote to then President-elect Trump, it was a note that accompanied the first presidential daily briefing he received after he became president-elect. One of the things that I made a point of in that letter was to join him or ask him to abide by, support and protect the principle of truth to power, Which Dan Coats, to his great credit, is doing. And so, anyway, I’ll stop there if you have more questions.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: I do. General Clapper, he’s basically accusing and John Brennan and General Hayden and others of plotting against him during the campaign, while he was running for president, trying to undermine him. I mean, this is the president of the United States making an accusation like that.

CLAPPER: This is an absurd allegation and there’s no basis in facts or evidence for that.

Our concern — and now I’m speaking specifically for Jim Comey and John Brennan and Mike Rogers as well. What’s is it that the Russians were doing to interfere in our political processes?

As I said before, I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in my 60+ years in intelligence but nothing that disturbs me as much as this. So it was about the Russians and there was no intent to undermine President-elect and later President Trump. It’s an absurd allegation.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/07/19/clapper_badge_of_honor_when_trump_attacks_me_john_brennan_hayden_and_comey.html