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US ‘Foolish’ For Calling UN Security Meeting — North Korea

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North Korea’s foreign ministry on Thursday criticised the United States as “foolish” for convening a UN Security Council meeting over growing concern about short-range rockets fired from the isolated state.

Washington on Wednesday used the meeting to warn of consequences for North Korea if it followed through with its promise of an ominous “Christmas gift” in the event that the US does not come up with concessions by the end of the year.

“By arranging the meeting, the U.S. did a foolish thing which will boomerang on it, and decisively helped us make a definite decision on what way to choose,” North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Trump has met three times with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, but frustrated North Korea is seeking a comprehensive deal that includes sanctions relief.

“The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open,” it added.

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North Korea said it has “nothing to lose more and we are ready to take a countermeasure corresponding to anything that the U.S. opts for”.

At the UN Security Council, US ambassador Kelly Craft voiced concern that North Korea was indicating it would test intercontinental ballistic missiles “which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons”.

But she said the United States, which used its presidency of the Security Council to convene the meeting, wanted to work towards a deal.

She appeared, however, to rule out meeting North Korea’s demands for an offer in the final weeks of 2019: “Let me be clear: The United States and the Security Council have a goal — not a deadline.”

AFP

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Trump Moves To Block Pregnant Women From Entering US To Give Birth

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Donald Trump

The Donald Trump administration has concluded plans to block pregnant women in foreign countries from obtaining United States tourist visas.

The move is to stop, “birth tourism”, the term coined for persons who travel to another to give birth.

“Under this rule, if a consular officer has reason to believe a B nonimmigrant visa applicant will give birth in the United States, the applicant is presumed to be seeking a visa for the primary purpose of obtaining US citizenship for the child,” a draft rule obtained by BuzzFeed News reads.

“To rebut this presumption, the visa applicant must establish, to the satisfaction of a consular officer, a legitimate primary purpose other than obtaining US citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States.”

The draft guidance to be issued for consular officers reads: “Any B nonimmigrant visa applicant who you have reason to believe will give birth during her stay in the United States is presumed to be traveling for the primary purpose of obtaining US citizenship for the child.

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“The applicant can overcome this presumption if you find that the primary purpose of travel is not obtaining US citizenship for a child.”

A State Department spokesperson told the platform that, “this change is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry.

“We expect the rule will be published shortly. More details will be available when the rule is published.”

However, officers, however, are told not to ask as a matter of course whether the applicant is pregnant or intends to become pregnant, or require an applicant to provide evidence that they are not pregnant.

Meanwhile, the U.S President, Donald Trump is set to slam travel ban on more countries including Nigeria, Africa’s biggest nation.

An announcement is expected on Monday, January 27, exactly three years after Trump signed the original travel ban on January 27, 2017, just a week into his tenure.

It would be recaled that the ban was upheld by the US Supreme Court in June 26, 2018.

It affected Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea.

For the new restrictions, countries on the list include Belarus, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania,

White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said: “The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world.”

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US Senate Rejects Democrats’ Demand For Documents In Trump Impeachment Trial

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The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate on Tuesday rejected three separate motions proposed by the Democrats to acquire documents and evidence in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.

The motions, brought up by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are amendments to the Republican-proposed resolution guiding the trial process.

The first one, rejected in a 53-47 party-line vote, called for subpoenaing any “documents, communications and other records” kept by the White House that were stonewalled from Congress during the House-led impeachment inquiry.

An earlier four-page resolution proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not require additional witnesses to be subpoenaed and does not allow House prosecutors to admit evidence into the Senate trial record until the opening arguments from the two opposing sides are heard.

Schumer then introduced a second amendment seeking to subpoena the State Department for certain documents and records.

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But the second one was rejected by the same voting result as the first one.

The Democratic senator from New York later offered a third amendment to subpoena relevant documents from the Office of Management and Budget.

The third amendment was unsurprisingly nullified along party lines.

The trial then went into a 30-minute recess for dinner.

McConnell in a floor speech earlier in the day vowed to block any early votes on witnesses.

“If a senator moves to amend the resolution in order to subpoena specific witnesses or documents, I will move to table such motions because the Senate will decide those questions later in the trial,” said the Kentucky Republican.

Tuesday marked the formal start of the impeachment trial against Trump, who was accused by the Democratic-controlled House of abusing power and obstructing Congress.

The task for Tuesday was to debate and vote on rules governing the trial.

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America’s No. 1 Priority Is Retiring Trump…I’ll Support Anyone To Stand Against Him — Hillary Clinton

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that retiring President Donald Trump is America’s first priority and as such she is ready to give support to her 2016 rival Bernie Sanders if he wins the Democratic nomination to face Trump in November.

Clinton on Tuesday evening said she would back whichever candidate is chosen to be the Democratic nominee for president after a broadside she made against Sen. Bernie Sanders sparked heavy criticism earlier in the day.

“I’m not going to go there yet.” She had also offered a broad condemnation of the progressive candidate’s style of politics.

“I thought everyone wanted my authentic, unvarnished views!” Clinton tweeted Tuesday night. “But, to be serious, the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”

Her tweet came after Clinton drew backlash earlier Tuesday for saying in an as-yet-unreleased Hulu documentary that “nobody likes Sanders,” who ran against her in the 2016 Democratic primary, The Hill reports.

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Her initial comments ripped open the scars of the brutal 2016 primary battle between Sanders and Clinton just as Democrats are poised to begin voting on their next nominee.

Sanders’ loyalists believed the Democratic establishment had rigged the primary in favor of Clinton, who won the nomination but ended up losing the general election to Trump.

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