Top Stories Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:12:13 +0000 en-gb Mexico will not pay for Trump’s wall on US border: Nieto Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto says his country will not pay for the construction of a 2000-mile wall on the US-Mexico border, as proposed by US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I have to say that I regret (the plan), and of course, I can't agree with this American politician's position," said Nieto on Tuesday, when asked about financing the construction of the wall.

The remarks came after Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul, infuriated Mexico last June by declaring that the country was sending “criminals” and “rapists” across the border and that he would force the neighboring government to pay for a giant wall to keep illegal migrants out.

He has promised, if elected president in 2016, to expel undocumented immigrants in the United States and build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

"They say you'll never be able to build a wall," Trump said on March 2. "Well, it's 2,000 miles but we really need 1,000 miles. The Great Wall of China, built 2,000 years ago, is 13,000 miles, folks, and they didn't have Caterpillar tractors.”

Nieto compared the rhetoric of the US Republican front runner to that of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.


Top Stories Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:42:43 +0000
Sanders wins Michigan; Clinton takes Mississippi US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has won the Michigan Democratic primary while frontrunner Hillary Clinton triumphed in Mississippi.

"This has been a fantastic night in Michigan," Sanders said shortly before the race was called in his favor in Michigan, one of two states holding Democratic presidential nominating contests on Tuesday.

With about 97 percent of the precincts reported, Sanders had 50 percent of the vote to Clinton's 48 percent in Michigan, where 130 delegates are at stake.

“What tonight means it that the Bernie Sanders campaign, the people’s revolution that we are talking about, is strong in every part of the country and frankly we believe that our strongest areas are yet to happen,” said the senator.

“I want to thank the people of Michigan who repudiated the polls which had us down 20-25 points and repudiated the pundits who said Bernie Sanders wasn’t going anywhere,” he added.

Clinton earlier won Mississippi by a wide margin, continuing a spectacular run in southern America where she has so far attracted the large African American vote.

Speaking at an evening rally in Cleveland before the Michigan results were announced, Clinton avoided criticizing Sanders, but slammed Republicans.

“I’m proud of the campaign that Sen. Sanders and I are running. We have our differences as you can see when we debate,” she said.

“Those differences pale in comparison to what’s happening on the Republican side. Every time you think it can’t get any uglier they find a way,” said Clinton. “As the rhetoric keeps sinking lower, the stakes in this election keep getting higher.”


Top Stories Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:38:28 +0000
US says in talks to deploy long-range bombers to Australia The United States says it is negotiating with Australia to station long-range bombers in the country, amid rising tensions with China over the South China Sea.

Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Spokesman for the US Air Force in the Pacific, said on Tuesday that talks are underway for possible deployments of B-1 bombers and an expansion of B-52 bomber missions, Reuters reported.

"These bomber rotations provide opportunities for our Airmen to advance and strengthen our regional alliances and provide (Pacific Air Forces) and US Pacific Command leaders with a credible global strike and deterrence capability to help maintain peace and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Pickart.

The United States has currently no deployments of B-1 bombers in Australia, but it occasionally flies B-52 missions from the country.

General Lori Robinson, Commander of US Pacific Air Forces, also said talks are under way to deploy American B-1 bombers and aerial tankers in northern Australia, within striking distance of the disputed South China Sea.

"We're in the process of talking about rotational forces, bombers and tankers out of Australia and it gives us the opportunity to train with Australia," she said on Wednesday.


Top Stories Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:32:47 +0000
US to release death toll from terror drone strikes The White House will for the first time release the death toll from US terror drone strikes conducted since 2009, officials say.

The figures will be disclosed in a review of the US airstrikes worldwide outside of active war zones, Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama's top homeland security adviser, said Monday.

According to Press TV, the review will include the number of both fighters and civilians who were killed in the air raids.

“In the coming weeks, the administration will publicly release an assessment of combatant and non-combatant casualties resulting from strikes taken outside areas of active hostilities since 2009,” Monaco said during a speech at a Washington think tank.

The report, set to be released following a 2013 promise by Obama to provide more transparency in the assassination drone program, will be published annually, she added.

Jameel Jaffer, a senior official with the American Civil Liberties Union, called the planned report "an important step," but noted it "should be part of a broader reconsideration of the secrecy surrounding the drone campaign."

"The authority to use lethal force should be subject to more stringent oversight by the public, by Congress, and, at least in some contexts, by the courts," Jaffer added.

According to the nonpartisan Stimson Center think tank, the US has drone bases in over a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Niger, the Philippines, Qatar, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE.


Top Stories Tue, 08 Mar 2016 09:31:57 +0000
Number of Gitmo inmates suspected of joining terrorists rises The number of released Guantanamo prisoners now suspected of having returned to fighting for terrorists, increased by 6 reaching 12 from July 2015 to January this year, the Obama administration says.

The figures, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Monday, show that as of January 15, seven out of 144 Guantanamo inmates released since January 2009, have returned to fighting, Reuters reported.

The ODNI report is released every six months, but does not provide details on where or for which groups the detainees are confirmed or suspected to be fighting.

One hundred and eleven of 532 inmates freed by the administration of former President George W. Bush are confirmed to have returned to terrorists, with 74 others suspected of doing so.

Under Bush, suspected militants, who were arrested overseas as the United States became involved in Afghanistan and Iraq wars, were imprisoned at Guantanamo.

Now, the reported increase could fan the flames of the already GOP criticism of President Barack Obama’s plan to close the prison in Cuba.

On January 10, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Obama would keep his promise to close the prison, before his presidency ends in 2017.

Obama had promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison during the 2008 presidential election campaign, citing its damage to the US reputation abroad.


Top Stories Tue, 08 Mar 2016 09:14:21 +0000
Bloomberg nixes 2016 run because it might boost Trump Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will not launch a run for president as he had been considering, because of fears that a third-party campaign would result in a Republican victory.

In a column at Bloomberg News titled ‘The Risk I Will Not Take’, Bloomberg said he suspects he could win some states but not enough to grab “the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency.”

He argued that an independent run might further divide voters and lead to congressional Republicans uniting behind front-runner Donald Trump, also a billionaire from New York.

“I love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity and darken our future -- and so I will not enter the race for president of the United States,” he wrote.

With no candidate winning an electoral majority, Bloomberg said, the presidency would be decided by Congress, with the House of Representatives picking the president and the Senate the vice president.

Bloomberg had previously said that he was “looking at all the options” for the 2016 race. Rumors about a possible run intensified after Trump surged past other GOP contenders.

“I have known Mr. Trump casually for many years, and we have always been on friendly terms. I even agreed to appear on ‘The Apprentice’ -- twice. But he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears,” he wrote in the op-ed.

Trump’s presidential campaign has been defined by controversy from the beginning, with inflammatory remarks directed against immigrants, Muslims and women.


Top Stories Tue, 08 Mar 2016 09:05:07 +0000
US government 'silent' as UAE tortures my family: US citizen An American citizen whose father and brother are being detained in the United Arab Emirates has accused the Obama administration of keeping silent as her family continues to suffer torture.

Amal Eldarat, a Libyan American, said her father Kamal and brother Momed, who were arrested by UAE security officials in late August 2014, are being denied basic medical care, were forced to sign confessions, and have inadequate access to their lawyers, according to the Huffington Post.

They were arrested along with other residents with ties to Libya on charges of aiding groups the UAE considers terrorists, citing confessions the Eldarat signed while in detention.

“[The State Department] contacted me and told me that unfortunately, my brother had lost his hearing from the torture in his left ear and that they’re ensuring that he gets access to medical care, and that didn't take place," Amal Eldarat told the Huffington Post.

She said Momed had been complaining about a pain in his ear and that the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi assured her that her brother would get proper treatment. “Now, 17 months later, my brother's lost his hearing in his left ear,” she lamented.

She added that her family’s involvement in Libya was limited to humanitarian work there and the confessions they signed were obtained under duress.

Asked if she thought the US government believed the allegations against her father and brother, Amal Eldarat said, “I don't think they think it’s legit, but they’re silent.”

The United Nations has called on the UAE to release the Eldarats and other detainees of Libyan descent because they are being held arbitrarily and tortured.


Top Stories Tue, 08 Mar 2016 09:02:28 +0000
US National Guard may join cyber offense against ISIL: Carter US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the National Guard's cyber unit may join the fight against the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

"Units like this can also participate in offensive cyber operations of the kind that I have stressed we are conducting, and actually accelerating, in Iraq and Syria, to secure the prompt defeat of ISIL, which we need to do and will do," Carter said at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington late on Friday. "We're looking for ways to accelerate that, and cyber is one of them."

The National Guard's cyber unit, a 101-person team that includes employees of Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc's Google, is "famous throughout the country" for several high profile vulnerability assessments, Carter said.

He noted that the squadron was not currently engaging in offensive cyber missions but could be in the future.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Borchers, Deputy Commander of the cyber unit, the squadron is the only National Guard group that currently assesses industrial control systems, but it is now looking to train others. It is also studying the security of big weapons programs, such as the B-52 bomber.

“Using National Guard units for such work made sense because it allowed the military to benefit from private sector cyber experts,” Carter said.

"It brings in the high-tech sector in a very direct way to the mission of protecting the country," he added. "And we're absolutely going to do more of it."

In a separate report published on Friday, the US military announced it could begin using its massive B-52 long-range strategic bombers against the Takfiri group in April.

Each aircraft is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds of payload, the officials said.


Top Stories Sun, 06 Mar 2016 07:31:16 +0000
Cruz, Trump, Sanders score wins on 'Super Saturday' Major candidates in US presidential nomination contests clinch important victories on Super Saturday as the race for the Oval Office heats up.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz won in Kansas and Maine, while New York billionaire Donald Trump compensated by snatching a victory in Louisiana and Kentucky.

During his speech on Saturday, Trump ridiculed Rubio’s recent losses, calling on him to drop out of the race.

“Marco Rubio had a very, very bad night and personally I’d call for him to drop out of the race,” he said. “I think it’s probably time.”

“As a party we should come together and stop this foolishness,” he added later.

Cruz said the results showed he was gaining momentum in the race to catch Trump.

"The scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington, D.C., is utter terror at what 'We the People' are doing together," Cruz told supporters in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, after his win in Kansas.

Saturday’s caucuses were not good for Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich as both shut out in the day's four Republican contests.

The races were open only to registered Republicans, but not the independent and disaffected Democratic voters who have helped Trump to be the front-runner candidate.

On the Democratic side, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recorded two crucial victories in Kansas and Nebraska as he tries to narrow the gap with the overall front-runner Hillary Clinton, who won in Louisiana.

Following his wins on Saturday, Sanders said he was not planning to end his efforts for the White House anytime soon.


Top Stories Sun, 06 Mar 2016 07:25:07 +0000
Egyptian student to be deported from US over Trump threat An Egyptian student in the US state of California is facing deportation after threatening on Facebook to kill US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

On February 12, Emadeldin Elsayed, aged 23, was apprehended by US federal agents at the Los Angeles-area flight school where he was attending after posting a death threat against Trump.

"I am willing to kill Donald Trump and serve a life sentence. The whole world would thank me for doing that," Elsayed wrote on his Facebook page, according to his attorney Hani Bushra.

Bushra said on Thursday his client had shown poor judgment in his Facebook posting and he by no means meant to harm Trump and regretted his actions.

Authorities did not file any criminal charges against Elsayed but an immigration judge earlier this week ordered his deportation on condition that the flight school had terminated his enrollment and as such his student visa was no longer valid.

"He is just a kid who did something stupid," attorney said. "This was more angry rhetoric similar to rhetoric that perhaps is even used by Mr Donald Trump himself when he says things like we are going to kill the family members of terrorists and their children and their wives,”

He added, "I don't think he really means that and I don't think my client meant what he said."


Top Stories Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:24:36 +0000