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Peter Boykin
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Trump administration announces new Iran crackdown targeting oil revenue

The Trump administration on Monday targeted Iran’s energy sector by announcing the U.S. would no longer exempt any countries from sanctions for importing Iranian oil.

“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the White House said in a statement.

TRUMP DESIGNATES IRGC A TERROR ORGANIZATION

The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, won't be renewed when they expire on May 2.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in formally announcing the move, described it as part of the “pressure campaign” to choke off funding to the regime and incentivize Iran to act like a “normal country.”

“It’s the regime’s number one source of cash,” Pompeo said of oil revenue. “We will no longer grant any exemption [to sanctions for importing Iranian oil] … We’re going to zero across the board.”

According to a State Department official, the decision to end waivers for countries importing Iranian oil was made by Trump and Pompeo.

The crackdown on Tehran’s oil revenue comes as the administration toughens its already strict penalties on Iran. The administration earlier this month labeled Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization," in Washington’s first such designation for an entire foreign government entity.

The oil-sanction waivers had been in place since November, when the administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. They were granted in part to give those countries time to eliminate their purchases of Iranian oil but also to ease any impact on global energy markets with the abrupt removal of Iran's production.

IRAN HITS BACK AT IRGC DESIGNATION

U.S. officials now say they do not expect any significant reduction in the supply of oil given production increases by other countries, including the U.S. itself and Saudi Arabia.

The White House on Monday assured that the U.S. and other top oil producers “have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”

The White House said: “The Trump Administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilizing activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies, and security in the Middle East.”

Fox News’ Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Russia’s Putin, North Korea’s Kim on track to meet by end of April: Kremlin

A combination of file photos North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russia's President Vladimir Putin
A combination of file photos shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending a wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam March 2, 2019 and Russia's President Vladimir Putin looking on during a joint news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma after their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Krasnodar region, Russia, May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Pool/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

April 22, 2019

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’ President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are on track to meet by the end of April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

Last week the Kremlin said that Kim Jong Un would travel to Russia this month, announcing the first Russia-North Korea summit since Kim came to power in 2011.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva; editing by Gareth Jones)

Source: OANN

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Turkey detains nine people over attack on main opposition leader

Supporters of the main opposition CHP pose in front of a party bus with a picture of their leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on it, in Istanbul
Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) pose in front of a party bus with a picture of their leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on it, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

April 22, 2019

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has arrested nine people, including a member of the ruling AK Party, after the country’s main opposition leader was punched and his car was stoned at a soldier’s funeral at the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.

Kilicdaroglu was attacked on Sunday as he attended a funeral in a northern district of Ankara for a soldier killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

The incident took place after his Republican People’s Party (CHP) defeated President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party in March 31 mayoral elections in the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, painful losses for the ruling party.

During campaigning, Erdogan often accused the CHP and Kilicdaroglu of links to terrorism because it had election deals in some constituencies with the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP, which Erdogan said has ties to the outlawed PKK.

The HDP denies links to the PKK, which has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984, and is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that nine people had been detained, adding that Kilicdaroglu’s recent “contacts” with the Kurdish party (HDP) made him a target.

“CHP’s contacts with the HDP, and HDP’s policy that doesn’t distance itself from the PKK are all happening before the public eye. Kilicdaroglu should have informed the authorities if he wanted to attend the funeral,” Soylu told a new conference.

“It’s wrong to blame the interior ministry for such incidents while partnering with the political arm of the PKK at the same time,” Soylu added, saying Kilicdaroglu’s party was trying to make political gains from the attack.

Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said heated political rhetoric had fueled the attack. “Likely inspired by hate speeches of ruling politicians. This radical polarization must end,” Piri said.

(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Source: OANN

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Arrests at London climate-change protests top 1,000

Extinction Rebellion protest in London
FILE PHOTO: Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London, Britain April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

April 22, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The number of environmental campaigners arrested during eight days of direct action in London topped 1,000 on Monday, police said, adding that Waterloo Bridge, one of the sites blockaded by the protests, had re-opened to traffic.

Climate group Extinction Rebellion has targeted sites in central London, such as Oxford Circus and Parliament Square, in a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience with the aim of stopping what it calls a global climate crisis.

Police said 1,065 people had been arrested in connection with the protests, and they had charged 53 with offences including obstructing the highway.

Oxford Circus and Parliament Square were re-opened to traffic on Sunday, they said, while Waterloo Bridge was cleared overnight.

Police had appealed to activists to move to Marble Arch, where they are allowing protests to continue.

Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed crowds at Marble Arch on Sunday, urging them to never give up their campaign to save the planet.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

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Elizabeth Warren proposes canceling billions in student loan debt

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to supporters in Memphis
FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to supporters in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht/File Photo

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election, wants to cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt and make college cheaper for students going forward.

Warren, in a post on the website Medium, proposed canceling $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with annual household income under $100,000, which her campaign said would amount to 42 million Americans. It would also cancel some debt for those with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000.

Warren, who has long advocated in Congress for providing debt relief to students, called student loan debt a “crisis.” She said canceling debt for millions of people would help close the nation’s racial and wealth gap, and also proposed making all two-year and four-year public colleges free.

“The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place,” Warren wrote.

Warren is competing in a crowded field of more than 20 Democrats vying for their party’s 2020 nomination and has sought to distinguish herself by offering numerous, expansive policy proposals.

Anticipating Republican criticism that her proposal would be too expensive, Warren said her debt cancellation plan and universal free college could be paid for through an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” which would impose a 2 percent annual tax on families with $50 million or more in wealth.

Education has been a topic on the campaign trail for some of Warren’s rivals as well.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, another contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, released a plan last month that would use $315 billion in federal money over 10 years to give the average teacher a $13,500 raise, or about a 23 percent salary increase.

(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

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Thai navy tows floating home of fugitive U.S. ‘seasteader’

A Royal Thai navy ship drags a floating home, lived in by an American man and his Thai partner, in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket Island in Thailand
A Royal Thai navy ship drags a floating home, lived in by an American man and his Thai partner, in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket Island in Thailand, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

April 22, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s navy on Monday began towing to shore the floating cabin of a fugitive U.S. citizen and his Thai girlfriend, both prominent members of the “seasteading” movement who face possible death sentences for setting up their offshore home.

The cabin set on top of a spar 14 nautical miles off the Thai island of Phuket had been touted as milestone in the movement to build floating communities in international waters as a way to explore alternative societies and governments.

Authorities have revoked the visa of bitcoin trader Chad Elwartowski, 46, and charged him and his partner, Supranee Thepdet, with violating Thai sovereignty, punishable by the death penalty or life in prison.

The Royal Thai Navy dispatched three boats on Monday to dismantle the structure and bring it back to shore for use as evidence in the government’s case against the couple.

“The couple announced on social media declaring their autonomy beyond the jurisdiction of any courts or law of any countries, including Thailand,” Rear Admiral Vithanarat Kochaseni told reporters, adding they had invited others to join them.

“We see such action as deteriorating Thailand’s independence,” he said.

HTMS Mannai, a landing craft utility ship, was expected to return to Phuket with the six-meter (20 ft) wide, hexagon-shaped cabin by late Monday.

Elwartowski and Supranee lived in the cabin for two months and left before the Thai navy raided the structure on April 13.

Their whereabouts are unknown, though the government has said the pair is believed to be in Thailand.

Elwartowski has referred requests for comment to Ocean Builders, which funded and built the cabin, and the Seasteading Institute, which advocates building offshore floating cities and originally received backing from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Ocean Builders said on its website the cabin was in international waters and beyond Thailand’s jurisdiction. Thai authorities say the structure is within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone and therefore a violation of its sovereignty.

Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute, said the couple had achieved a milestone for the movement.

“They proved a single-family seastead can float stably in international waters for less than the cost of the average American home,” Quirk said in a statement.

Elwartowski also conducted valuable research on ecosystems over the two months the couple lived in the cabin, he said.

“You can demolish the seastead, but you can’t demolish the knowledge that was gained,” said Quirk, who is described by his group as a “seavangelist” and an “aquapreneur”.

(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat. Editing by Kay Johnson and Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

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Companies warn Trump: Census citizenship question could be costly

FILE PHOTO: An informational pamphlet is displayed at an event for community activists and local government leaders to mark the one-year-out launch of the 2020 Census efforts in Boston
FILE PHOTO: An informational pamphlet is displayed at an event for community activists and local government leaders to mark the one-year-out launch of the 2020 Census efforts in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

April 22, 2019

(This April 17 story corrects the tenth paragraph to show DeVere Kutscher is no longer executive director of the Census Business Coalition.)

By Lauren Tara LaCapra

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An array of U.S. companies have told the Trump administration that a citizenship question on the 2020 Census would harm business if it leads to an undercount of immigrants, undermining the data they use to place stores, plan inventory and plot ad campaigns.

Corporate executives, lobbyists and representatives from major industry groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the International Council of Shopping Centers have raised the issue in meetings with government officials, according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the matter. Some meetings date back to 2017, when the administration was first mulling adding the question.

Industry officials continue to seek assurances from the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department that the question’s impact on the quality of Census data will be minimized, according to the sources, who described the meetings on condition of anonymity.

The pressure reflects the economic importance of the decennial count of America’s inhabitants.

The Census is used to draw voting districts and divide some $800 billion in federal programs. For companies, it provides the most detailed picture available of consumer and labor markets. Under the administration’s proposal, the Census would ask whether respondents are citizens of the United States for the first time in 70 years.

Corporate America finds itself in an unlikely alliance with immigrant advocacy groups that have sued to block the question on the basis it could scare immigrants out of participating, and therefore cost their communities funds and political representation. The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments on the case next week.

Clothes-maker Levi Strauss & Co, transport companies Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc and media group Univision Communications Inc are among a handful of companies supporting that lawsuit. In court documents, they said the citizenship question “threatens to undermine (the) reliability of Census data and therefore substantially reduce its value to businesses.”

Few other companies or trade groups, however, have been willing to discuss their opposition to the citizenship question publicly. In interviews, sources said they are only voicing opinions in private meetings, out of concern about a White House backlash.

Spokespeople for several major trade groups along with big name companies like Walmart Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Amazon.com Inc and many others either declined to offer a statement for this story or did not respond to requests for comment.

“While corporations and business groups are reluctant to enter the political turmoil surrounding the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, they nonetheless depend heavily on accurate Census data for their operations,” said DeVere Kutscher, who was until recently executive director of the Census Business Coalition, one of the main groups advocating on behalf of industry.

“As a result, they are focusing their efforts on what they can do to support a complete, secure, and accurate count, and are understandably concerned about the impact of any factor which could jeopardize that,” he added.

Underscoring the political stakes, earlier this month President Donald Trump ripped “radical” Democrats opposed to the citizenship question on Twitter, saying a Census without such a question would be “meaningless.”

The Census Bureau has taken pains to ensure everyone is counted, Burton Reist, a longtime Census official who oversees decennial communications and stakeholder relations, said in an interview. In response to questions about the business community’s view on the citizenship question, a spokesman pointed Reuters to the Census Bureau’s official responses to stakeholders.

The Commerce Department, which houses the Census Bureau, provided a statement detailing the planned communications and outreach spending that will encourage people to respond. The budget is $500 million, up from the $376 million spent in 2010.

“The Census Bureau has long been planning the most robust marketing and outreach effort in Census history for the 2020 Census,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Documents released through litigation confirm that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met with dozens of interested parties, including business groups, to get their views before announcing his decision to add the citizenship question last year.

While many expressed concerns that the question would hurt response rates, Ross was not convinced, according to a March 2018 memo he wrote explaining his decision. He said data from the question would help the Department of Justice enforce provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

AN “MRI” FOR BUSINESS

The stakes are high in getting an accurate count.

Retailers like Walmart and Target Corp use Census data to decide where to open stores or distribution hubs, and what to stock on shelves.

Big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co use the information similarly for branch strategy, and real-estate firms scrutinize the statistics to determine where to build homes and shopping centers.

TV networks like Univision, meanwhile, rely on the numbers to plan programming in local markets. And the Census is an important input for tech giants like Google when they create myriad data-based products, such as maps.

“You get households, number of people, number of bedrooms, income, gender, age, race, marital status — it’s almost like an MRI,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. “And it all goes into assessing where and how to provide goods and services.”

Underscoring how the survey can drive major business decisions, Amazon’s 20-city search for a new headquarters location also had Census data at its core.

Having failed to convince the administration to drop the question, companies are now focused on programs to encourage people to participate in the Census to bolster data quality, sources said.

Efforts could include company-wide email messages to employees, prominently displaying a link to the Census on corporate web sites or setting up physical stations where customers can fill out the survey inside of stores or malls, the sources said.

Ahead of the 2010 Census, McDonald’s Corp featured information on restaurant placemats, Walmart greeters handed out flyers, big retailers featured reminders on receipts and utility companies stuck inserts into electric, gas and water bills.

Such programs have been helpful in the past, said John Thompson, who spent nearly 30 years at the Census Bureau before leaving as director in 2017. But whether they can overcome the negative impact of the citizenship question is an open question.

“They’ve got a tougher row to hoe,” he said.

(Reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York; Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Kenneth Li, Herb Lash and Caroline Humer in New York; and Katie Paul and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Paul Thomasch)

Source: OANN

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Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., noting her smarts in resisting pressure to impeach the president after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

“I think the smartest person is actually Speaker Pelosi,” he told “Fox and Friends” on Friday. Scaramucci said that while he understood Democrats tried to use the impeachment issue to raise money off of their base’s anger, it would be a bad strategy going into the 2020 elections.

He said that Democrats should, instead, focus on finding a candidate who could beat President Trump. Though Trump has a good shot at winning in 2020, Scaramucci commented, Sanders was a “formidable” opponent and even the president admitted that on the campaign trail.

Sanders, who has led the declared Democratic candidates in polling, has received mixed reactions from his own party. Earlier this week, former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina predicted Sanders wouldn’t be able to pull off a victory.

MUELLER REPORT IGNITES NEW DEM BATTLE OVER IMPEACHMENT

Sanders has called for further investigation after the Mueller report but reportedly ignored questions about impeachment. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., another 2020 hopeful, officially called for impeachment this week and pushed back on the suggestion that Democrats should table the issue for political reasons.

“I know people say this is politically charged and we shouldn’t go there, and that there is an election coming up, but there are some things that are bigger than politics,” she said.

Pelosi, however, has repeatedly quashed the idea and said Trump wasn’t “worth” the effort required for an impeachment battle.

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“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” she said in an interview published in March.

While other progressives have signed onto impeachment efforts, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. indicated Pelosi ultimately had the power to make that decision. “There’s only one person who matters: Nancy Pelosi. She sets the agenda for House Democrats,” he told Fox News on Friday.

Source: Fox News Politics

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway On Sunday said she did not believe President Donald Trump had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was going to be arrested by the British police and charged by U.S. prosecutors.

“Not to my knowledge,” Conway told NBC’s “Meet the Press” show, when asked if Trump knew ahead of time about Assange, who last Thursday was hauled out of the Ecuador’s embassy in London where he had taken refuge since 2012 to avoid extradition.

U.S. prosecutors subsequently announced charges on Thursday and accused Assange of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

The Justice Department said Assange was arrested under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain.

Lawyers for Assange said he may risk torture and his life would be in danger if he were to be extradited to the United States. They have also suggested the charges could chill press freedom.

Conway said she believed Trump did not have any knowledge of what was going to happen to Assange but added that based on her numerous conversations with him on the issue, he is against releasing such classified information.

“The President believes that those who publish classified information should not do that,” she said. .”..So anybody who’s publishing classified information, in our view, should think thrice before they do that because you can imperil folks.”

Trump in 2016 said “I love WikiLeaks” after the website released emails that U.S. authorities have said were hacked by Russia to harm his election opponent Hillary Clinton. On Friday, he told reporters he had no opinion on the charges against Assange. “I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing,” Trump said.

Assange’s U.S. indictment arose from a long-running criminal investigation dating back to the administration of President Barack Obama.

It was triggered in part by WikiLeaks’ publication in 2010 of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the diplomatic communications – disclosures that embarrassed the United States and strained relations with allies.

Source: NewsMax Politics

 Dozens of medical professionals in Appalachia, a region hard-hit by the U.S. opioid crisis, have been charged with writing hundreds of thousands of illegal prescriptions and committing health care fraud, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Sixty people, including 31 doctors, were accused of illegally prescribing opioid drugs in exchange for cash and sexual favors in the rural, mountainous region stretching from Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Alabama and Louisiana.

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

Some 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The charges were the result of an investigation by the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, a joint law enforcement agency created in December to crack down on prescription fraud schemes that have contributed to the deadly drug epidemic.

The charges were filed against individuals in seven states: West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.

One doctor in Tennessee who called himself the “Rock Doc” was accused of bargaining for sexual favors by prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines, federal authorities said in the statement. Another doctor in Alabama allegedly recruited prostitutes to become patients at his clinic and allowed them to abuse drugs in his home.

Several doctors were accused of writing pre-signed, blank prescriptions for controlled substances without medically examining the patients that received them.

A few were accused of running “pill mills,” including one in Ohio that allegedly distributed over 1.75 million pills between October 2015 and October 2017.

The period in which many doctors were accused of illegally and excessively dispensing drugs coincided with a spike in overdoses in the United States. Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017 in 45 states, according to the CDC.

Source: NewsMax America

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo meets with senior North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo escorts Vice Chairman of the North Korean Workers’ Party Committee Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s lead negotiator in nuclear diplomacy with the United States, into talks aimed at clearing the way for a second U.S.-North Korea summit as they meet at a hotel in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

April 19, 2019

By David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. diplomatic efforts will continue toward the goal of denuclearization of North Korea, a day after a North Korean official said it no longer wanted to deal with him in talks.

“Nothing has changed. We’ll continue to work to negotiate; still in charge of the team. President Trump’s obviously in charge of the overall effort, but it’ll be my team,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington.

He added that U.S. diplomats led by Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun would continue efforts to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization, which he said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to last June.

“I am convinced we will have a real opportunity to achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said at a joint news conference after talks with Japan’s foreign and defense ministers.

In answer to a question, Pompeo said he believed it was possible to maintain diplomatic engagement with North Korea even without providing the sanctions relief it had been demanding.

“We will continue to press North Korea to abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles related programs and facilities,” Pompeo said. “We will continue to enforce all sanctions on North Korea and encourage every country to do so.”

Despite Pompeo’s comments, the future of U.S. engagement with North Korea has appeared to be in limbo since the summit, with no sign of direct contact between the two sides.

On Thursday, the North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of U.S. affairs said North Korea no longer wanted to deal with Pompeo and he should be replaced in talks by someone more mature.

That statement came hours after North Korea announced its first weapons test since a second summit between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un broke down in February.

Experts said the North Korean statement appeared aimed at dividing Trump from senior officials in the hope of exacting concessions, particularly relief from punishing sanctions.

U.S. officials have played down the test of what North Korea has described as a “tactical” weapon, implying a short-range system rather than the ballistic missiles seen as a threat to the United States.

“I don’t have the details; I just haven’t been chasing it, there’s been a few other priorities, so that’d give you kind of a sense of where it ranks,” acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said before talks at the Pentagon with his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya.

Kim warned last week that the summit breakdown risked reviving tensions and said he was only interested in meeting Trump again if Washington showed more flexibility. He gave a year-end deadline for a change in attitude.

Trump has said he is open to another summit with Kim, but his national security adviser, John Bolton, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday there first needed to be “a real indication from North Korea that they’ve made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.”

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu; additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Australian Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten laughs during remarks at his election night party in Melbourne
FILE PHOTO – Australian Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten laughs during remarks at his election night party in Melbourne, July 2, 2016 on Australia’s federal election day. REUTERS/Jason Reed

April 20, 2019

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten gave himself 100 days to make sure that low-paid workers get more money for working overtime if he wins next month’s election.

Labor party leader Shorten, a former union organizer, said on Saturday he would reverse the decision by a tribunal to cut overtime pay in several low-paying industries within 100 days of the May 18 poll.

“Do we really want to go down the American path of workplace relations where a worker … to make ends meet has to rely on tips and charity and the coins and dollar notes left on the table after the guest has gone?” Shorten told supporters in Melbourne.

“That is not the Australian way.”

In 2017, the Fair Work Commission ruled that reductions in the so-called penalty rates for weekends, public holidays and late night or morning shifts in retail, hospitality, fast-food and pharmacy would be phased in gradually by 2020.

The commission, an independent tribunal that sets the minimum wage, ruled that the cuts would vary, depending on the industry.

Opinion polls have had Shorten’s center-left Labor party well ahead for years and show that the coalition of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberals and the rural-focused National party is headed for a resounding defeat.

A recent poll showed that support for Australia’s once-influential far-right One Nation party plummeted after a series of scandals, paving way for Morrison and Shorten to intensify their fight for the right-wing voter.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN



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