Daily Archives: January 27, 2017

France 24 : Trump and May underscore US-UK ‘special relationship’

Trump and May underscore US-UK ‘special relationship’


US President Donald Trump on Friday pledged America’s “lasting support” with Britain after he emerged from his first meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, a leader hoping to nudge the populist president toward the political mainstream.

May, who said the meeting gave the two a chance to build a relationship, announced thatTrump had accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit later this year with his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.

“I am honoured to have the prime minister here for our first official visit from a foreign leader,” Trump said, standing alongside May in the ornate White House East Room. “This is our first visit so, great honour.”

He added that the United States and the United Kingdom have “one of the great bonds.”

“We pledge our lasting support to this most special relationship,” Trump said during brief opening remarks. “Together, America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law.”

May congratulated Trump on what she called his “decisive victory” and thanked the president for inviting her to visit so soon after his inauguration last Friday, saying their meeting was an indication of the strength and the importance of maintaining good relations between the trans-Atlantic allies.

She said there was “much on which we agree,” adding that Trump had given strong backing to NATO, an alliance that the US president has previously called obsolete, raising fears that the US might not come to the aid of countries that don’t meet targets for their own defense spending. May’s comments were meant to put those concerns to rest.

“Today’s talks, I think, are a significant moment for President Trump and I [sic] to build our relationship,” May said.

Different positions on Russia sanctions?

While May took a tough stance when asked about sanctions on Russia, insisting they won’t be lifted until the Minsk ceasefire agreement has been fully implemented in Ukraine, Trump did not go as far, saying it is still “very early to be talking about that”.

The new American leader, who is due to speak with his Russian counterpart in a telephone call on Saturday, said he hoped to forge a “fantastic relationship” with Vladimir Putin. “We’ll see what happens,” he added.

May’s meeting with the president is being hailed by the British government as a sign that the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” is valued by the new administration.

Her visit, so soon after Trump’s inauguration, has been criticised by her political opponents, and risks being overshadowed by the flood of announcements, plans and proposals coming out of the White House.

Trump is something of a mystery to world leaders, many of whom expected Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the election. They also don’t know his administration’s main interlocutors with foreign governments, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior adviser Steve Bannon, a conservative media executive.

So May is a bit of a scouting party – or guinea pig – among global politicians.

She has strong reasons for wanting the relationship to work. Britain is set to leave the European Union and its 500 million-person single market. A trade deal with the US, Britain’s biggest export market, is a major prize.

Trump has drawn parallels between Britain’s choice to leave the EU and his own success, using the Brexit vote to bolster his derision of the 28-nation bloc and his preference for striking bilateral agreements.

That puts May in an awkward spot. She wants a good relationship with Trump, but does not share his disdain for the EU, saying it’s in Britain’s interests that it succeed.

During the press conference, Trump called Brexit a “fantastic thing” for the UK, concluding, “I think when it irons out, you’re going to have your own identity, and you’re going to have the people that you want in your country.”

Trump ‘going with leaders’ on torture

Pressed about his stance on torture, Trump – who, since taking office, has signaled a renewed embrace of the practice in the fight against Islamic extremism – said he would defer to the views of his defense secretary, James Mattis, who has questioned the effectiveness of waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

“He has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding, or however you want to define it — enhanced interrogation I guess would be a word that a lot of … words that a lot of people would like to use. I don’t necessarily agree. But I would tell you that he will override because I’m giving him that power. He’s an expert,” Trump said. He called Mattis a “general’s general,” whom he would rely upon.

“I happen to feel that it does work. I’ve been open about that for a long period of time. But I am going with our leaders. And we’re going to win with or without. But I do disagree.”


Perseus with the head of Medusa, 1545, By Benvenuto Cellini. Florence.

Perseus with the head of Medusa, 1545, By Benvenuto Cellini. Florence.


” Portrait of Philip II in Armor ” 1550Artist : Titian Museo del Prado , Madrid, Spain

BBC News: Trump’s looming ‘extreme vetting’ order sows seeds of panic

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Trump’s looming ‘extreme vetting’ order sows seeds of panic – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38764743

BBC News: The lure of New Zealand for jaded Americans

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

The lure of New Zealand for jaded Americans – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38766821

BBC News: Trump announces ‘vetting for terrorists’

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Trump announces ‘vetting for terrorists’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38777437

Watch “Mexico’s president cancels meeting with Trump” on YouTube

Watch “Theresa May Republican retreat speech #Breaking #Trump #Maga” on YouTube

Watch “Johann Strauss I – Loreley-Rhein-Klänge – Walzer, Op. 154” on YouTube

BBC News: Remembering the Holocaust’s forgotten victims

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Remembering the Holocaust’s forgotten victims – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38773057

France 24 : Trump clashes with Mexico over import tax to fund wall

Trump clashes with Mexico over import tax to fund wall


Determined to wall off America’s border with Mexico, President Donald Trump triggered a diplomatic clash Thursday as the White House proposed a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto scrapped his U.S. trip.

The swift fallout signaled a remarkable souring of relations between Washington and one of its most important international partners just days into the new administration. The U.S. andMexico conduct some $1.6 billion a day in cross-border trade, and cooperate on everything from migration to anti-drug enforcement to major environmental issues.

At the heart of the dispute is Trump‘s insistence that Mexico will pay for construction of the massive wall he has promised along the southern U.S. border. Trump on Wednesday formally ordered construction of the wall.

The plan was a centerpiece of Trump’s election campaign, though he never specified how Mexico would fund the project or how he would compel payments if Pena Nieto‘s government refused.

The two leaders had been scheduled to discuss the matter at the White House next week. But Pena Nieto took to Twitter Thursday to say he had informed the White House he would not be coming.

In a speech in Philadelphia later Thursday, Trump cast the cancellation as a mutual decision. He said that “unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route. We have no choice.”

On the flight back to Washington, Trump’s spokesman told reporters the president was considering the 20 percent import tax to foot the bill, the most specific proposal Trump has ever floated for how to cover a project estimated to cost between $12 billion and $15 billion.

“By doing that, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone,” Spicer said. “This is something that we’ve been in close contact with both houses in moving forward and creating a plan.”

Spicer said Trump was looking at taxing imports on all countries the U.S. has trade deficits with, but he added, “Right now we are focused on Mexico.”

But the announcement sparked immediate confusion across Washington, and the White House tried to backtrack. During a hastily arranged briefing in the West Wing, chief of staff Reince Priebus said a 20 percent import tax was one idea in “a buffet of options” to pay for the border wall.

A 20 percent tariff would represent a huge tax increase on imports to the U.S., raising the likelihood of costs being passed on to consumers. Half of all non-agricultural goods enter the U.S. duty free, according to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The other half face import tariffs averaging 2 percent.

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray said Thursday, “A tax on Mexican imports to the United States is not a way to make Mexico pay for the wall, but a way to make the North American consumer pay for it through more expensive avocados, washing machines, televisions.”

Mexico is one of America’s biggest trade partners, and the U.S. is the No. 1 buyer from that country, accounting for about 80 percent of Mexican exports. A complete rupture in ties could be damaging to the U.S. economy and disastrous for Mexico’s. And major harm to Mexico’s economy would surely spur more people to risk deportation, jail or even death to somehow cross the border to the U.S. – undercutting Trump’s major goal of stopping illegal immigration.

House GOP lawmakers and aides interpreted Spicer’s comments on a 20 percent border tax as an endorsement of a key plank of their own tax plan, which Speaker Paul Ryan has been working to sell to the president. The House GOP “border adjustability” approach would tax imports and exempt exports as a way of trying to help U.S. exporters and raise revenue.

Earlier this month, Trump called that concept confusing. And during the White House’s clean-up efforts Thursday, Spicer wouldn’t say whether Trump agreed with the border adjustment tax being considered by the House GOP.

The new president has previously raised the prospect of slapping tariffs on imports, but had not suggested it as a way to pay for the border wall.

There’s also disagreement within his new administration over the effectiveness of tariffs in general. Wilbur Ross, Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary, dismissed tariffs for trade negotiations during his confirmation hearing, saying the 1930 Tariff Act “didn’t work very well then and it very likely wouldn’t work now.”

Pena Nieto has faced intense pressure at home over his response to Trump’s aggressive stance toward his country. Until this week, Mexico had tried its traditional approach of quiet, cautious diplomacy combined with back-room discussions, sending Cabinet officials for talks with the Trump administration.

But that changed when Trump decided to announce his border wall on Wednesday – the same day that two senior Mexican Cabinet ministers arrived in Washington for preliminary talks ahead of what was to be a presidential tete-a-tete. Many Mexicans were affronted by the timing, and Pena Nieto faced a firestorm of criticism at home.

The diplomatic row recalls the rocky days of U.S.-Mexico relations in the 1980s, prior to the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact that Trump has vigorously criticized.

“There is a change in the understanding that had been in operation over the last 22 years, when Mexico was considered a strategic ally,” said Isidro Morales, a political scientist at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. “Trump has unilaterally broken with this way of doing things.”


France 24 : Video: Meet the US abortion foes in the heart of Trump country

Video: Meet the US abortion foes in the heart of Trump country


Anti-abortion activists in the United States are set to stage a major annual march on Washington Friday, six days after women’s marches across the United States and around the world drew millions.

Vice President Mike Pence and top Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway are scheduled to speak at the 44th annual March For Life, marking the first time a vice president has ever spoken at the event, say organisers, reflecting the presence of a new ally for pro-life, or anti-abortion, crowd in the White House.

FRANCE 24 met some of the Americans who will make the trip to Washington in Wisconsin, in the heart of rural, industrial and religious America.

“[Former President Barack Obama] professes to be a Christian, but he is pro-choice. The two are not compatible,” John Wogerman, a parishioner at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and father of 13, tells FRANCE 24. “I don’t believe that you can be a Christian and follow Jesus Christ and kill babies in mothers’ wombs.”

Gallagher Fenwick and Philip Crowther report.

To watch the video in full, click on the player above.

France 24 : Live: UK Prime Minister May meets US President Trump in Washington

Live: UK Prime Minister May meets US President Trump in Washington


Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday met US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC to discuss potential partnerships as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Click the player below to watch their joint news conference live.


BBC News: Sanctions on table ahead of US-Putin call

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Sanctions on table ahead of US-Putin call – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38773608

BBC News: Theresa May and Donald Trump to hold Oval Office talks

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Theresa May and Donald Trump to hold Oval Office talks – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38766781