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Trump Blames US ‘Foolishness, Stupidity’ Heading Into Summit With Putin |RN

By AFP

President Donald Trump headed into his first summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday determined to forge a personal bond with the Kremlin chief, saying only “stupidity” by prior administrations had brought US-Russian ties to their present low.Hours before the Helsinki summit, Trump was asked if he would press Putin over Russia’s alleged manipulation of the 2016 election that brought the mercurial property tycoon to power. He said only: “We’ll do just fine.”

Democrats had called for the summit’s cancellation after new revelations surrounding the alleged election meddling.

But Trump has insisted it is “a good thing to meet”, as he attempts to replicate with Putin the sort of personal rapport he proclaims with the autocratic leaders of China and North Korea.

If the pair does find common ground, then the summit may take the heat out of some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts, including Syria.

But there are many points of friction that could yet spoil Trump’s hoped-for friendship with the wily former KGB spymaster.

Trump began the day’s talks by meeting Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, who has loaned his harbour-front palace for the occasion.

But first, he fired a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.

After a stormy NATO summit in Brussels last week, Trump was accused by critics of cosying up to Putin while undermining the transatlantic alliance.

But over breakfast with Niinisto, he insisted NATO “has never been stronger” and “never been more together” thanks to his insistence on all allies paying their fair share.

With Washington and Moscow at loggerheads over Ukraine, Iran and trade tariffs as well as Syria, even Trump has cautioned that he is not approaching the Putin summit “with high expectations”.

The brash 72-year-old billionaire has been president for 18 months while Putin, 65, has run Russia for the past 18 years.

In a weekend interview with CBS News, Trump admitted that Russia remains a foe, but he put Moscow on a par with China and the European Union as economic and diplomatic rivals.

The Kremlin has also played down hopes that the odd couple will emerge from their first formal one-on-one summit with a breakthrough.

Putin, who arrived in Helsinki Monday after playing host at the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday, has remained tense in the run-up to the summit.

On Friday his adviser Yuri Ushakov played down expectations, saying: “The state of bilateral relations is very bad…. We have to start to set them right.”

Giving up ground?

Indeed, after the bad-tempered NATO summit and a contentious trip by Trump to Britain, anxious European leaders may be relieved if not much comes out of the Helsinki meeting.

Those leaders are already fuming over Trump’s imposition of trade tariffs on various countries, including Russia.

Turning the tables, European Union President Donald Tusk said Trump was guilty of “spreading fake news” with his remark about foes, and warned that the trade tensions could spiral into violent “conflict and chaos”.

“Europe and China, America and Russia, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it,” he tweeted.

“I hope this message reaches Helsinki.”

Protesters have been on the streets of Helsinki to denounce the policies of both Trump and Putin. Greenpeace draped a giant banner down a church tower urging: “Warm our hearts, not our planet.”

Trump is also under pressure from Britain to press Putin over the nerve agent poisoning of four people in southern England.

One of the victims, Dawn Sturgess, has died and her 19-year-old son Ewan Hope told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “We need to get justice for my mum.”

Extradition demand?
Many fear that Trump — in his eagerness to prove that he was right to seek the summit with Putin despite US political opposition — may give up too much ground.

Trump has refused to personally commit to the US refusal to recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea, leaving open the possibility of a climbdown linked to a promise by Putin to somehow rein in Iranian influence in Syria.

If Washington were to acquiesce in Russia’s 2014 land-grab, this would break with decades of US policy and send tremors through NATO’s exposed eastern flank.

And there will be outrage at home if Trump does not confront Putin over the election scandal.

But the US leader would not say whether he would demand the extradition of 12 Russian intelligence officers who were indicted last week by US special prosecutor Robert Mueller.   (The Guardian)

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92-year-old Mother Kills Son For Trying To Put Her Into Old Peoples’ Home |RN

A 92-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of her son after allegedly telling him “you took my life, so I’m taking yours”, over his decision to place her in a care home.

Anna Blessing is accused of shooting her 72-year-old son during an argument at their home in Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona. Police was called to the property at around 10:00am on Monday night by the son’s girlfriend, who reportedly disarmed Blessing in a struggle after the incident.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, as reported by Msn.com, Blessing said she had been thinking about her son’s plan to place her in a home for a number of days prior. She told detectives she then took two pistols and concealed them in the pockets of her robe before confronting him in his bedroom. The nonagenarian had moved in with her son four months earlier and the girlfriend told officers she had “become difficult to live with”.

In her statement to police, the girlfriend said Blessing told her son she was tired of the way she was being treated by the pair. The sheriff’s report said during the confrontation, the old woman pulled out one of the pistols and fired multiple times at her son. The victim, who has not been named, was later found with a gunshot wound to the neck and jaw and pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives said the 92-year-old then pointed the pistol at her son’s girlfriend, which was knocked out of her hand before reaching for the second pistol, which was also taken from her. The young lady then called the police and the old woman was placed into custody.

Court documents said that as Blessing was escorted from the home, she said to detectives that she had told her son “you took my life, so I’m taking yours”. She explained she felt her life was effectively being ended by her son and his girlfriend’s decision to place her in a home. Asked what she thinks should happen to her, she told detectives she should be “put to sleep”.

The nonagenarian has since been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of kidnapping.  (Punch)

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Britain Is No Longer A Top Military Power |The Republican News

Typhoons Kuznetsov opener   © Provided by Business Insider Typhoons Kuznetsov opener

 

Theresa May this week asked Britain’s defence secretary to justify the UK’s role as a “tier one” military power, causing dismay in the Ministry of Defence.

Underlying the statement is a realisation that the UK can no longer economically compete with top powers, defence experts told Business Insider.

“It’s a reflection of our economic status – times are tough,” said Tim Ripley, a defence analyst, adding: “It’s all about money… if you don’t have money you can’t spend it.”

 

The Prime Minister questioned defence secretary Gavin Williamson on whether money for the military should be reallocated to areas like cyber, and if Britain needed to maintain a Navy, Army, Air Force and nuclear deterrent all at once.

Ripley called it a retreat from “grand ambitions.”

“No matter how we dress it up, this newfangled cyber stuff is just an excuse for running away from funding hard power,” Ripley said.

Troops cross a river on military M3 ferry during Sabre Strike, a large-scale military drill © PA Troops cross a river on the military M3 ferry during Sabre Strike, a large-scale military drill

 

“If you don’t pony up the money and the hard power you don’t get a seat at the top table. No matter how to flash your cyber warfare is, people, take notice of ships, tanks and planes.”

There is a strong correlation between military power and economic status. The major powers including the US, China and Russia all demonstrate their strength through military posturing, and countries that don’t have enough resources for defence often pool with others.

Dr Jan Honig, a senior lecturer in war studies at King’s College London, said that shared defence can be disrupted in times of nationalism, and called it “highly ironic” that Brexit could mean the UK can longer fund its military.

“You can’t really do it by yourself even if you spent a lot more on defence which is not going to happen in this country with this measly economic growth and the uncertainty about international trade details,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s comments, which were first reported by the Financial Times, come in the context of her recent pledge of a fresh £20 billion for the National Health Service (NHS) and debate about where the money will come from.

Governments need to ensure that their policies have support from the people, and pouring money into the military is harder to sell then spending on the NHS and social welfare which are immediate issues, said Honig, adding that populations are now also more switched on to the horrors of war.

But Julian Lewis, Chair of the UK’s defence committee told Business Insider that he’s now concerned about whether May will be able to properly fund the military after the NHS pledge.

“I am not won over … by this jargon of calling it a ‘tier one’ military power… What I’m much more concerned about is whether Theresa May will be able to give the defence the money it needs,” he said, citing a “whole” of over £4.9 billion in the defence budget.

May’s comments will not lead to definitive action to pare down the military but are a clear sign of the direction of travel said, Ripley. (Business Insider)

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Calls For BBC To Drop Lord Sugar Over Racist Tweet About Senegalese Football Team

By Helena Horton and Anita Singh
a man looking at the camera         © Provided by The Telegraph

 

Lord Sugar could be dropped by the BBC and face a parliamentary investigation after he tweeted a “joke” comparing the Senegal football team to beach hawkers in Spain.

The businessman, who has appeared in The Apprentice since 2005, posted a doctored image of the team posing with sunglasses and counterfeit handbags and wrote: “I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multitasking resourceful chaps.”

Embarrassingly for the BBC, his tweet coincided with the publication of the corporation’s ethnic diversity report, which called for a “substantial culture change” and recommended that managers be given compulsory cultural awareness training.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by The Telegraph The cross-bench peer and former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur was initially bullish when Twitter users called his comment offensive, saying: “Frankly, I can’t see that. I think it’s funny.”

Babita Sharma, an anchor for BBC World News, wrote that his tweet was “vile”, to which Lord Sugar replied: “You make me sick.”

But an hour later, having perhaps taken some advice from the BBC, he issued a contrite statement that read: “I misjudged my earlier tweet. It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly, my attempt at humour has backfired. I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry.”

 

https://twitter.com/osasuo/status/1009390056195461120

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, promptly wrote to the House of Lords commissioner for standards and to the BBC, calling for an immediate investigation.

She said: “Racism has no place in Parliament or society. Swift action must be taken.”

The row overshadowed the launch of the BBC’s report into how it plans to reflect the UK’s ethnic diversity within its workforce.

Among the report’s recommendations are that two members of the 15-strong executive committee must be from a black or minority ethnic (BAME) background by 2020, and that shortlists for all jobs at middle management level and above must include at least one BAME candidate.

 

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Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers, in addition to the currently mandated unconscious bias training.

The report canvassed staff who said that recent on-air blunders could have been avoided if the BBC had a more ethnically diverse newsroom. They included an obituary of Shashi Kapoor, the Bollywood star, is illustrated with footage of the wrong actor.

In a second gaffe, a BBC reporter asked Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, if his visit to Pakistan was “like coming home”.

Mr Khan replied: “Home is south London, mate.”   (The Telegraph)

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Trump Announces Plans For Pentagon To Create ‘Space Force’ |RN

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
Watch: Trump wants US to dominate space (Reuters)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

President Donald Trump shows off a "Space Policy Directive" after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows off a “Space Policy Directive” after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”

Trump had previously suggested the possibility of creating a space unit that would include portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the ‘Space Force’ as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. He said the new branch’s creation will be overseen by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. He added: “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”

Donald Trump     © associated press Donald Trump

 

The president also used the White House event to establish a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space. The policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, and several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

The council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.

AP

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Elizabeth Holmes, Founder Of Theranos, The World Youngest Billionaire May Spend 10 Years In Jail

Avery Hartmans
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Trump, Kim Shake Hands To Commence Momentous Summit In Singapore

 SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump says that his one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship.”

Trump and Kim met for about 40 minutes Tuesday one-on-one, joined only by interpreters.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un kicked off a momentous summit Tuesday that could determine historic peace or raise the spectre of a growing nuclear threat, with Trump declaring they would have a “great discussion” and Kim said they had overcome obstacles to get to this point.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Standing on a red carpet in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, the leaders shook hands warmly at a Singapore island resort, creating an indelible image of the two unorthodox leaders. They then moved into a one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters.

“We are going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. We will be tremendously successful,” Trump said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said: “It wasn’t easy for us to come here. There was a past that grabbed our ankles and wrong prejudices and practices that at times covered our eyes and ears. We overcame all that and we are here now.”

Trump and Kim planned to meet with their interpreters for most of an hour before aides join the discussion and talks continue over a working lunch. But even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave Singapore early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

 

The first meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was the product of dizzying weeks of negotiations over logistics and policy.

Up early in Singapore, Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

In the run-up to the talks, Trump had hopefully predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, meaning his time with Kim would be fairly brief. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations for the summit in check.

“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks,” Pompeo said, describing a far more modest goal than Trump had outlined days earlier.

 

The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked U.S. allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America’s closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group’s traditional closing statement.

As for Singapore, the White House said Trump was leaving early because negotiations had moved “more quickly than expected,” but gave no details about any possible progress in preliminary talks. On the day before the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with U.S. and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.

Trump spoke only briefly in public on Monday, forecasting a “nice” outcome. Kim spent the day mostly out of view — until he left his hotel for a late-night tour of Singapore sights, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, billed as the world’s biggest glass greenhouse.

As Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sat down for a working lunch at the Istana house, the president sounded optimistic, telling Lee, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting, in particular, tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.” Trump had earlier tweeted about “excitement in the air!”

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people — the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

U.S. and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Delegates were outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an icebreaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © AP President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Trump’s early exit will be his second from a summit in just a few days.

As he was trying to build a bridge with Kim, he was smashing longtime alliances with Western allies with his abrasive performance at the G-7. After his premature departure from Quebec, he continued to tweet angrily at Trudeau from Singapore, saying Monday, “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

Alluding to the North’s concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Pompeo told reporters that the U.S. was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was “radically different than ever before.”

“I can only say this,” Pompeo said. “We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique than America’s been willing to provide previously.”

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has the advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep scepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.

While advisers say Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, the president insists his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim. He told reporters he thinks he will know almost immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: “I will know, just my touch, my feelings. That’s what I do.”

(AP)

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