Tag Archives: deal

Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talks

Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talksSyrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday called for progress on a stalled buffer zone deal around jihadist-dominated Idlib region ahead of fresh talks aimed at ending his country’s eight-year war. Assad met envoy Alexander Lavrentiev from key ally Russia in Damascus to discuss the negotiations due April 25-26 in Kazakhstan. Iran and Russia are the major supporters of the Syrian regime, and along with rebel backer Turkey have sponsored repeated rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation.



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French Jet Deal to Be Examined by India Court in a Blow to Modi

French Jet Deal to Be Examined by India Court in a Blow to ModiIndia’s top court will review fresh evidence in the multi-billion dollar purchase of French warplanes, a potential setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before the start of national elections. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Supreme Court will further hear petitions alleging corruption in a deal to buy 36 Rafale jets by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.



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Thousands protest at Israel-Gaza fence amid cease-fire deal

Thousands protest at Israel-Gaza fence amid cease-fire dealGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Palestinians thronged the perimeter fence between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday as the weekly, bloody demonstrations rolled into their second year.



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Labour can do Brexit deal with PM May but needs new referendum: deputy leader

Labour can do Brexit deal with PM May but needs new referendum: deputy leaderBritain’s opposition Labour Party can do a deal with Prime Minister Theresa May on customs arrangements but the party might not support any Brexit proposal unless it includes a new referendum, deputy leader Tom Watson said. Labour is meeting the government for a third day of talks on a possible solution to the impasse over Brexit, with May seeking a further delay while she seeks to find a deal that can get parliamentary support. “We’re genuinely going in with an open mind, but if it comes out of that process without the idea of a confirmatory ballot, I think we would have a bit of difficulty with our parliamentary party,” Watson said in an interview with BBC radio, adding that talks on customs arrangements could be easier.



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Dem. Rep. Bashes Green New Deal: ‘There’s No Need to Lie to Voters’

Dem. Rep. Bashes Green New Deal: ‘There’s No Need to Lie to Voters’Representative Max Rose (D., N.Y.) lambasted fellow New York freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday for using the threat of climate change to advance a “massive socialist economic-policy platform” via the Green New Deal plan she introduced earlier this year.Rose, during a Wednesday interview on New York's local Metro Focus program, agreed with Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressives that climate change is an existential threat that requires a commensurate response, but argued that the federal-jobs and housing guarantees included in the plan are not necessary to combat climate change.“This is not the time for milquetoast incrementalism,” Rose said. “It just isn't. But with that being said, nothing about what I just said would provide a justification for a massive socialist economic-policy platform. [It's] just not needed.”“There's no need to lie to voters right now," he added. "We don't need the Democratic version of 'repeal and replace.'”Rose, who earned a Purple Heart and a bronze star for his Army service in Afghanistan, dared Ocasio-Cortez to back a primary challenger against him when asked about her threat to unseat any Democrat who refused to back her progressive vision.“She's going to keep a list,” Rose said, referring to reports that Ocasio-Cortez threatened to make a list of uncooperative Democrats to provide to liberal activists. “This is very simple because I'm not one to deal in subtleties. I think it's best not to be passive-aggressive. If she wants to primary me, if the Justice Democrats want to primary me, I'll lay out the red carpet. We can settle this at the polls."The Green New Deal, which calls for a comprehensive restructuring of the economy in order to transition to 100 percent renewable energy within twelve years, would cost between $ 51 and $ 93 trillion in new government spending, according to the estimates of the American Action Forum.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell held a vote on the plan late last month, prompting accusations from Democratic leadership that he was rushing the legislation to the floor in order to avoid having a substantive debate on it. Rather than going on record in support of the resolution, Democrats uniformly voted “present” while Republicans unanimously opposed its passage.



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Woman who posed as black makes plea deal in fraud case

Woman who posed as black makes plea deal in fraud caseSPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state who was exposed in 2015 as a white woman pretending to be black has reached an agreement to avoid trial on charges of welfare fraud.



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Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea deal

Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea dealA Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating Kim Jong-un’s half-brother pled guilty to a lesser charge on Monday and may now be freed in early May.  Doan Thi Huong, 29, had been facing the death penalty after being charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, 45, who died in February 2017 after the Vietnamese woman and an accomplice allegedly smeared toxic VX agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.  Her high-profile trial in a Malaysian court ended abruptly on Monday after prosecutors offered to reduce the murder charge to a lesser one of “causing hurt by a dangerous weapon.” Ms Doan accepted the plea deal and was sentenced to just over three years in prison, with the jail term backdated to her arrest in 2017.  “It is my view that the length of imprisonment would serve the interest of justice,” said Judge Azmi Ariffin, as he announced the verdict. He told Ms Doan that she was “very very lucky” and he wished her “all the best.” The defendant stood up in the dock and thanked the judge, prosecutors and the Malaysian and Vietnamese governments.  As she left the courtroom, she told reporters she was happy and hoped to be a singer and actress when she returned to Vietnam.  Kim Jong Nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in 2017 Credit: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, her lawyer, said she was expected to be freed by the first week of May, after a one third reduction in her sentence for good behaviour.  Ms Doan had been the sole remaining suspect on trial for the painful, public death of Kim whose body seized up and organs shut down within minutes of inhaling the VX agent in the departures hall of the busy international airport.  Siti Aisyah, an alleged Indonesian accomplice, was released last month without charge after high level lobbying from her government.  Vietnam also publicly appealed to the Malaysian authorities for the fair treatment and acquittal of Ms Doan who her lawyers said had been left “traumatised” that she had been left to face charges alone.  The two women, from impoverished backgrounds and with aspirations in showbusiness, claimed that they had been duped into believing they were actors in a reality TV prank show and had no intention to murder Kim.  Their legal teams argued that the women had been cynically used as pawns in an audacious Cold War-style assassination of a potential future challenger to Kim Jong-un, who maintains an iron grip on power in reclusive North Korea.  Four North Korean suspects in the murder remain at large, although Pyongyang has always denied any state involvement in the crime.  Le Quy Qunyh, the Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, said he was “very happy” that Ms Doan had been released and thanked the Vietnamese and Malaysian governments.  “But I have to say that Doan Thi Huong is a victim in this case, like the Indonesian citizen, Siti Aisyah,” he added.



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Ocasio-Cortez says Green New Deal critics are making 'fools of themselves'

Ocasio-Cortez says Green New Deal critics are making 'fools of themselves'Congresswoman hit back at Republicans who claim her resolution would cause ‘genocide’ and the end of hamburgers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to the media after a televised town hall in New York on 29 March. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Reuters Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has rounded on her Republican opponents, accusing them of making “total fools of themselves” in criticising her Green New Deal proposals. The Democratic congresswoman from New York has come under increasing attack from conservatives over her resolution that calls for a 10-year “national mobilization” to eliminate greenhouse gases and avert the worst impacts of climate change. Republicans have claimed that the resolution, which contains no actual legislation, is a socialist manifesto which would cause “genocide”. At a rally this week, Donald Trump called the proposal an “extreme $ 100tn government takeover” which would mean “no more airplanes, no more cows, one car per family”. The Texas senator Ted Cruz has said the Green New Deal will result in the end of hamburgers. Such assertions have no basis in fact: the resolution does not call for the elimination of animal agriculture or aviation. The extraordinarily large cost attributed to the plan by Republicans, typically $ 93tn, is also false. Sign up for the US morning briefing Ocasio-Cortez said she expected such attacks. “But I didn’t expect them to make total fools of themselves,” she told MSNBC on Friday. “I expected a little more nuance, and I expected a little more ‘concern trolling’,” meaning expressions of disingenuous concern. Ocasio-Cortez added that politics in Washington DC often feels like “the upside down”, a reference to a distorted parallel reality depicted in the Netflix show Stranger Things. The New Yorker said the challenge of climate change was inextricably linked to tackling issues such as economic inequality, requiring an enormous national effort to address. “We need to save ourselves, period,” she said. “There will be no livable future for generations coming, for any part of the country if we don’t address this issue urgently. “Historically speaking we have mobilized our country around war. It doesn’t need to be this way when the greatest existential challenge we face is climate change. We will have to mobilize our entire economy around saving ourselves and taking care of this planet.” Reducing emissions from agriculture “doesn’t mean you end cows”, Ocasio-Cortez said, but rather deploy new farming techniques to cut methane and other planet-warming gases. Some Democrats have questioned the feasibility of the Green New Deal, albeit in less extreme terms than Republicans. Ocasio-Cortez said action on climate change had been delayed for so long that only an aggressive response would be enough to avoid disastrous sea level rise, extreme weather and food and water insecurity. “A lot of what the Green New Deal is is about shifting our economic, political and social paradigms on every issue because we don’t have time to wait,” she said. “We don’t have time to wait five years for a watered down compromise solution. To think that we have time is such as privileged and removed from reality attitude that we cannot tolerate.” Trump has said he welcomes the chance to campaign for re-election on opposition to the Green New Deal. The president has routinely dismissed the scientific reality of climate change, vowed to remove the US from the Paris climate accords and attempted to spur new oil, gas and coal mining. On Friday, Trump issued a new presidential permit to push ahead the construction of the controversial Keystone pipeline, which would bring oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in the US. “By personally approving the climate-killing Keystone XL pipeline, President Trump is showing complete contempt for the law and the idea of leaving a livable planet for future generations,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the environment groups opposing the pipeline. Environmentalists have vowed to use the courts to block this agenda. They found encouragement on Saturday after a federal judge in Alaska overturned the Trump administration’s attempts to open huge areas of the Arctic and Atlantic for oil and gas drilling. Protections for virtually all Arctic and Atlantic waters were put place by Barack Obama before he left office. These can only be undone by Congress, ruled Sharon Gleason, a US district court judge, meaning Trump’s move to scrap the protections was unlawful.



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Venezuela: Red Cross brokers Maduro-Guaidó deal to allow aid delivery

Venezuela: Red Cross brokers Maduro-Guaidó deal to allow aid deliveryFirst shipment for 650,000 could reach Venezuela in two weeksRed Cross says aid must be ‘neutral, impartial and unhindered’ Tthe Tienditas bridge, which links Venezuela and Colombia, was blocked off with containers earlier this month. Photograph: Juan Pablo Bayona/AFP/Getty Images The Red Cross has brokered a deal with representatives of Venezuela’s embattled leader Nicolás Maduro and his rival Juan Guaidó to allow humanitarian aid into the country, indicating a seldom-seen middle ground between the two men that contest the presidency. The first shipment of aid for about 650,000 vulnerable people could reach Venezuela in two weeks, Francesco Rocca, the president of the International Federation of the Red Cross told a press conference on Friday. “This is an operation similar to what’s going in Syria, in terms of the amount of people that will be attended,” Rocca said. “This obviously will not resolve the problems in Venezuela – and nobody should assume this is a complete solution.” The shipment will include medical equipment, surgical kits and power generators – which are desperately needed as Venezuela grapples with devastating blackouts. The operation once again puts humanitarian aid at the centre of the battle for power in Venezuela, following Guaidó’s failed attempt to unilaterally bring US-supported aid into the country last month. Venezuela has been mired in an economic, political, and humanitarian crisis for five years. Shortages and hyperinflation – set to reach 10 million percent this year – have made medicines and even basic foodstuff hard to obtain for most people. The average Venezuelan has lost 10kg in weight, according to Caritas, a Catholic humanitarian organisation, while 3 million people have fled. Venezuela’s embattled president Nicolás Maduro has long denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis, and on 23 February blocked an effort led by Guaidó to bring aid into the country. That day, violence erupted on Venezuela’s borders with Brazil and Colombia. Opposition supporters clashed with security forces, while some of the trucks carrying the food and medical supplies were burned in circumstances that remain unclear. Most of the trucks were turned around and little aid entered Venezuela. Maduro portrayed the aid as a prelude to a foreign intervention, while his vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, described the packages as “cancerous”. The new effort seems more likely to succeed in large part because of the involvement of the Red Cross, which had distanced itself from the previous attempt to shift the aid into Venezuela. “Today’s Red Cross development is clear evidence that independent shuttle diplomacy and separate negotiations with Maduro and the opposition can pay off in Venezuela,” tweeted Geoff Ramsey, a Venezuela analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America. Rocca stressed that the delivery of aid must remain “independent, neutral, impartial and unhindered”. Guaidó, speaking in a video posted to Twitter on Friday morning, was quick to seize the announcement as a win, claiming a “great victory in our struggle”. Maduro has not yet made an announcement on the new aid delivery.



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Brexit: DUP leader says abstaining on PM May's deal 'never an option'

Brexit: DUP leader says abstaining on PM May's deal 'never an option'The head of the Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Thursday its 10 members of parliament would vote against her Brexit divorce deal and had never considered abstaining. In a serious blow for May, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) announced on Wednesday it would not support her deal. A leading Brexiteer in May’s Conservative Party, Jacob Rees-Mogg, had earlier suggested some critics of the divorce deal might back it if the DUP agreed to abstain.



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