Tag Archives: tension

US to move aircraft carrier out of Mideast amid Iran tension


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North Korea's Kim holds military meeting as tension rises under looming deadline

North Korea's Kim holds military meeting as tension rises under looming deadlineNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a meeting of top military officials to discuss boosting the country’s military capability, state news agency reported on Sunday amid heightened concern the North may be about to return to confrontation with Washington. “Also discussed were important issues for decisive improvement of the overall national defense and core matters for the sustained and accelerated development of military capability for self-defense,” KCNA said. The commission is North Korea’s top military decision-making body.



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Indian court rules in favor of Hindus in dispute at heart of tension

Indian court rules in favor of Hindus in dispute at heart of tensionThe ruling paves the way for the building of a Hindu temple at a site where a mosque once stood



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UPDATE 2-Iran warns of crushing response, blames U.S. for regional tension

UPDATE 2-Iran warns of crushing response, blames U.S. for regional tensionIran on Wednesday threatened a crushing response to any military strike after attacks on Saudi oil sites blamed by Washington on Tehran, though it said the Islamic Republic had no desire for conflict in the Gulf region. In a letter sent on Monday to the United States via the Swiss embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Iran, Tehran said it “denies and condemns claims” by U.S. officials that “Tehran was behind the attacks”.



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Five killed as Pakistan and India trade fire amid Kashmir tension

Five killed as Pakistan and India trade fire amid Kashmir tensionThree Pakistani troops and two civilians were killed during a clash with India over the disputed frontier in Kashmir, as Imran Khan warned of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims after Delhi revoked the region's autonomy. Pakistan's military said India had opened fire over the fortified line of control killing three soldiers, before a counter attack had killed five Indian troops. India denied any of its soldiers had died and accused Pakistan of breaking a ceasefire. The fighting came as  Pakistan held a symbolic “black day” of protest to coincide with India's Independence Day. Mr Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, warned there would be "radicalisation and cycles of violence" across the Muslim world if the international community ignored abuses inside Indian-administered Kashmir. Pakistan claims ownership of the disputed territory and has reacted with fury to last week's decision to revoke Indian-administered Kashmir's special status. In efforts to divert attention from precarious situation in IOJ&K;,Indian Army increases firing along LOC. 3 Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat. Pakistan Army responded effectively. 5 Indian soldiers killed, many injured, bunkers damaged. Intermittent exchange of fire continues. pic.twitter.com/wx1RoYdiKE— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 15, 2019 Thursday saw newspapers print editions with black borders and politicians, including Mr Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares. Mr Khan accused the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, of forcing Muslims out of the state of Gujarat when he was chief minister in 2002. Likening the situation in Kashmir to the massacre of Bosniaks during the Bosnian War, Mr Khan said: “Will the world silently witness another Srebrenica-type massacre and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Indian-occupied Kashmir? I want to warn the international community if it allows this to happen, it will have severe repercussions & reactions in the Muslim world setting off radicalisation and cycles of violence.” A man waves a Pakistan-administered Kashmir flag as he takes part in Independence Day celebrations in Karachi on August 14, 2019, Credit: AFP Pakistan says India's abolition of Kashmir's self-rule move was illegal and has started a diplomatic push to try to persuade the United Nations to intervene. Yet the country's foreign minister has also admitted India's trading power and Pakistan's isolation leave Islamabad with little leverage. Despite India imposing a strict military crackdown in what is India's only Muslim-majority state, Pakistan's allies in the Gulf have remained quiet. Mr Modi told an Independence Day gathering that Kashmir's special constitutional status had encouraged corruption and nepotism, while creating injustice for women, children and minority communities. “Today every Indian can proudly say 'One Nation, One Constitution'," he said from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi. Mr Modi also used his speech to warn of an unchecked population boom in the world's second largest nation. He said: "It is time to accept the challenges up front… population explosion. It will bring a lot of challenges for the future generations of this country." "We have to think if we can do justice to the aspirations of our children. There is a need to have greater discussion and awareness on population explosion.” The prime minister hailed an "informed section" of Indians who were already having smaller families as "playing a big role in doing good for the country".



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The Latest: China concerned with rising tension over Kashmir

The Latest: China concerned with rising tension over KashmirChina says it is “seriously concerned” about the developing situation in Kashmir, which Indian lawmakers have voted to split into two central government-controlled territories. Hua’s comments were issued on China’s foreign ministry website. India’s lower house of Parliament ratified a bill presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government to revoke a longstanding constitutional provision that made Kashmir exempt from some Indian laws and gave its residents hereditary rights to land, educational scholarships and public sector jobs within the region.



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House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension

House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension(Bloomberg) — The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the “Cadillac tax” passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the party’s presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing Minds“I’ve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would” lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. “But I’ve read some additional material on it and it’s obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.”The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like “gymnasts,” said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.“Where are you on this stuff?” he said. “Wait a minute, you’re all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.”The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department won’t collect the $ 201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesn’t necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians don’t like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.“Just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn’t offset and there wasn’t any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.“I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority,” he said. “We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.“We’ve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that it’s never going to go into effect,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. “There’s a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.”\–With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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North Korean leader warns of return to tension; Trump thanks Putin

North Korean leader warns of return to tension; Trump thanks PutinKim’s remarks during talks with Putin on Thursday appeared aimed at pushing Washington to be more flexible on North Korean demands for an easing of international sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump, who ended a second summit with Kim in February without a deal for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, seemed unperturbed, saying a lot of progress was being made toward an agreement and welcoming Putin’s support. Putin said after holding his first face-to-face talks with Kim in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok on Thursday that U.S. security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.



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Gaza-Israel Tension Defused as Vote Nears, Israel TV Reports

Gaza-Israel Tension Defused as Vote Nears, Israel TV ReportsThere was no confirmation from Israel, Kan reported. An Isareli government spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, and there was no official confirmation from Gaza. In a sign Hamas wasn’t interested in a further escalation, the weekly Friday protest against Israel that’s been going on for nearly a year was called off.



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Talk to Pakistan, former Modi ally urges India amid Kashmir tension

Talk to Pakistan, former Modi ally urges India amid Kashmir tensionMehbooba Mufti, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people. India has vowed to kill all the militants in the country’s only Muslim-majority state if they don’t give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month. Indian security forces have killed 18 militants in Kashmir since then, the army said on Monday.



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