French Official: France Ready to Take Trump’s Tariff Threat to WTO

French Official: France Ready to Take Trump’s Tariff Threat to WTO

France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on champagne and other French goods in a row over a planned French tax on internet companies, the finance minister said on Sunday.”We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches U.S. companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on France 3 television.
  

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Analysts: Risks Are High for Paris Summit on Ukraine

Five years after Kremlin-backed separatists seized power in Ukraine’s Donbas region, leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine will meet in Paris December 9 in a bid to revive efforts for a peaceful resolution to a conflict that’s left more than 13,000 civilians and combatants dead and 30,000 wounded.Hopes of a possible breakthrough had been boosted by recent withdrawals of rival troops from some key frontline positions and a prisoner exchange between the Russians and Ukrainians. France’s Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the Paris talks, the first direct negotiations in three years over the Donbas, is keen to break the impasse and so, too, is Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he hopes his planned talks with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany will settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine.The 41-year-old Zelenskiy pulled off a landslide election win earlier this year over incumbent Petro Poroshenko by promising a fresh political start for Ukraine and pledging to end the conflict in the Donbas within 12 months.But there’s mounting anxiety in Ukraine that the rookie president, a former television comedian, will be be out-maneuvered in the Paris talks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has since the conflict broke out only agreed to stuttering talks and at times his position appeared to be stronger than Kyiv’s.And there are fears Zelenskiy will be pressured into giving too much away to secure peace by the Western Europeans, especially Macron, who’s keen to end Russia’s isolation imposed by the West for its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its fomenting of separatism in the Donbas.Ukraine’s leader has advertised his high expectations for tangible outcomes from the historic meeting, saying Friday in a television interview that he’s eying at the very least the release of more Ukrainian prisoners and a detailed plan for enforcing a cease-fire in the Donbas.”I want to return with concrete results,” he said, arriving for the interview dressed in army green camouflage and after visiting Donbas front-lines.The meeting in Paris Monday will be Zelenskiy’s first face-to-face meeting with President Putin, though the pair spoke by phone in July about the release of Ukrainian sailors held by Russia.Monday’s Paris meeting, though, comes amid escalating tensions between Berlin and Moscow over a suspected Kremlin-sponsored assassination of a former Chechen rebel fighter in the German capital as well as the exposing by European intelligence services of a Russian military intelligence hit-squad based in the French Alps.People carry the body of the victim who has been identified as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian Muslim who fought against Russia in the Second Chechen War during the funeral in Duisi village, the Pankisi Gorge valley, in Georgia, Aug. 29, 2019.German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being urged by her compatriots to confront President Putin in Paris during the talks over the suspected Kremlin-ordered slaying of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot twice in the head at close range at the end of August in Berlin’s famous Little Tiergarten Park, near the German Interior Ministry.The prime suspect, a 54-year-old Russian, Vadim Krasikov, was arrested minutes after the brazen shooting and is suspected of having entered Germany with a false passport issued by Germany’s FSB intelligence agency. The German government last week pointed the finger of blame firmly at Moscow for the killing and expelled two Berlin-based Russian diplomats which it said were agents with Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.Merkel has so far been cautious in her comments about the killing, confining them to accusing Moscow of stonewalling the German probe into the assassination — one in a series of alleged Kremlin-linked killings and attempted slayings in the past few years in European countries.With the Berlin shooting as a backdrop to the Paris talks, there’s increasing skepticism that a major breakthrough will be secured and some Zelenskiy critics warn any progress that’s made will likely be false and will soon fall away. They argue too much has already been given away in a pre-summit peace plan which mandates local elections in the Russian-controlled areas of Donbas followed by special, self-governing status for the region.And they say in the run-up to the Paris talks it has been Ukraine that’s been fulfilling its obligations readily when it comes to disengagement of forces in Donbas while Russia-backed separatists have continued to violate a ceasefire agreement on a daily basis. On Friday there were 14 separatist attacks in which two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded, according to European monitors.Zelenskiy’s peace plansFILE – Servicemen of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic stand guard at a checkpoint in the settlement of Petrovskoye (Petrivske), near the contact line with the Ukrainian armed forces in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2019.Ukrainians are divided on the current peace plan. A recent poll by a Ukrainian think tank, the Razumkov Center, found 59 percent of Ukrainians are against plans for an amnesty for the separatists and 56 percent are opposed to granting special self-governing status for the Donbas. Protests against President Zelenskiy’s peace plans have attracted tens of thousands. Other polls have suggested a majority back Zelenskiy’s search for an end to the conflict and surveys suggest most Ukrainians are eager to see an end to the war.The risks are high for Monday’s meeting, say analysts. “The summit to resolve the Ukraine conflict may provide some diplomatic opportunities, but could also come at a high strategic price,” warns Neil Melvin, director international security studies at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, a London-based defense think tank.”Zelenskiy has faced criticism from Ukrainian mass media, civil society, war veterans and nationalists that he is too eager to meet President Putin and to acquiesce to Russia’s conditions,” says Melvin.He adds, “Zelenskiy’s apparent willingness to discuss the issues of elections and status before a real cease-fire has been put in place and Russia-backed forces withdrawn, and while Ukraine has yet to regain control of its border, has attracted particular criticism. Zelenskiy has been accused of lacking a thought-through concept of how to end the war without establishing Donbas as a Russian proxy within Ukraine.” Adrian Karatnycky, an analyst at the Atlantic Council, a U.S. research group, remains skeptical, warning that Putin’s aim “is to create a Russian enclave inside Ukraine.” He believes “Putin wants either to dominate or dismember Ukraine. A peace deal will do neither. And when his popularity drops, he needs external foes. So, maybe I’m missing something, but I do not see a peace deal for a country which Russia’s president believes is part of the Russian people.”Pavlo Klimkin, who served as Ukraine’s foreign secretary until recently, told Britain’s Independent newspaper Sunday that Zelenskiy had “failed to appreciate Putin’s long-term strategic goals” and has agreed too easily Moscow’s terms for the summit. “Zelenskiy somehow thinks that he will win him [Putin] over with his charisma, which is incredibly naive,” Klimkin said.President Zelenskiy’s says he’s realistic about the negotiations and will focus on a complete exchange of prisoners held by both sides, a cease-fire along the 250-mile frontline and preparations for elections in the Donbas held under Ukrainian law and only after a full withdrawal of military forces.He has also sought to dispel fears Friday that he’ll be pressured by France or Germany or the U.S. to give too much away. “When representatives of empires are sitting at the table, I really do not want us to be the dish served to these big bosses. I want us to sit at this table too and to be accepted as an equal, independent, strong country,” said Zelenskiy 

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Nadler: ‘Rock Solid Case’ for Trump’s Impeachment

The leader of the House of Representatives committee weighing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump contended Sunday that there is a “rock solid case” against the U.S. leader.Congressman Jerrold Nadler declared on CNN that Trump would be found guilty in “three minutes flat” if he were facing charges before a criminal court jury that he abused his office by soliciting Ukraine to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden.Nadler said if Trump “had any exculpatory evidence,” he would be making it known rather than rejecting participation, as the White House has, before the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of impeachment allegations against the Republican president.Nadler said the Judiciary panel, after a hearing Monday on evidence already collected by the House Intelligence Committee on Trump and his aides’ interactions with Ukraine, could possibly vote on the articles of impeachment by the end of the week. The full House then could be on track to impeach Trump before it recesses for its annual Christmas holiday break in two weeks, setting the stage for a January trial in the Republican-majority Senate, although Trump’s conviction and removal from office remains unlikely.But Nadler declined to speculate on how many articles of impeachment will be brought against Trump and their content.There is a division among the majority House Democrats advancing the impeachment case against Trump on whether to limit the allegations to abuse of power (asking a foreign government for help in a U.S. election) and obstruction of Congress (for refusing to turn over key documents related to Ukraine and to allow key Trump aides to testify) or to also include allegations that Trump sought to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks in Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2019.Some more moderate Democratic lawmakers who won seats in the current session of Congress by capturing districts that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election have sought to limit the articles of impeachment to Ukraine, centered on his July 25 telephone request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “to do us a favor,” to investigate Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election Trump won, not Russia, as the U.S. intelligence community concluded.More vocal Trump opponents among House Democrats say they want to include allegations related to Trump’s actions during the Mueller investigation.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told the CBS “Face the Nation” show on Sunday that he thinks it is best to focus the impeachment charges on Ukraine.”It’s always been my strategy … to charge those that there is the strongest and most overwhelming evidence and not try to charge everything, even if you could charge other things,” Schiff said.Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations came at a time he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military assistance from Kyiv it wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country, although Trump in September released the aid without Zelenskiy announcing any investigations.Twenty years ago, when a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was facing impeachment for lying about an affair he had with a White House intern, Nadler said the impeachment case against Clinton would lack legitimacy if it was almost entirely supported by Republicans and few Democrats, as was the case.No current Republicans have supported the impeachment effort against Trump. Asked whether he was comfortable with such a Democrats’-only impeachment vote against Trump, Nadler said of Republicans, “It’s up to them to decide whether they want to be patriots or partisans.”Trump has almost daily vented his wrath against the impeachment effort, even as his legal team has rejected Nadler’s invitation for it to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s hearings this week.Trump said Sunday on Twitter, “Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!” It was not immediately clear what rules Trump was referring to.Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019One of Trump’s most vocal Republican supporters in the House, Congressman Mark Meadows, noted in another CNN interview that Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations made no mention of a reciprocal deal for the military assistance Kyiv wanted.”It’s appropriate to make sure nothing was done wrong in Ukraine,” Meadows said of Trump’s call for investigating Biden and his son. He said that “to give [Biden] a free pass, that’s just not appropriate.”Trump could be the third U.S. president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Clinton two decades ago, although both were acquitted in Senate trials and remained in office. Former President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in the Watergate political corruption scandal and cover-up.      

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Папа Римський помолився за «нормандський формат»

Папа Римський Франциск помолився за успіх зустрічі лідерів «нормандського формату» в столиці Франції Парижі 9 грудня.

«Супроводжую зустріч своєю молитвою, наполегливою молитвою, бо там потрібен мир, і вас запрошую чинити те саме, аби ця ініціатива політичного діалогу причинилася до плодів миру в справедливості для цих теренів та їхнього населення», – сказав Франциск під час проповіді на площі Святого Петра в Римі.

9 грудня відбудеться перша за три роки зустріч лідерів «нормандської четвірки». Президент України Володимир Зеленський, президент Франції Емманюель Макрон, канцлер Німеччини Анґела Меркель та президент Росії Володимир Путін проведуть переговори в столиці Франції Парижі.

 

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Шаман Габишев знову вирушив до Москви «виганяти» Путіна – соратники

У Росії шаман Олександр Габишев із Якутська знову вирушив до Москви «виганяти» президента Росії Володимира Путіна, повідомили в коментарі Сибір.Реалії (проєкту Радіо Свобода) його соратники.

Габишев почав свій шлях 7 грудня разом з двома супутниками – чоловіками на ім’я Олексій та Кирило.

За словами Євгенія Ростокіна на прізвисько «Ворон», Габишев вирушив до Москви після «спілкування з духами». Він зазначив, що підписка шамана про невиїзд завершилася 14 жовтня.

У березні Олександр Габишев вперше вирушив з Якутії до Москви для проведення «обряду вигнання Путіна». Його затримали 19 вересня на кордоні Бурятії й Іркутської області. Проти шамана порушили кримінальну справу про заклики до екстремізму. З нього взяли підписку про невиїзд.

Прессекретар президента Росії Дмитро Пєсков заявив, що Кремль не має відношення до затримання шамана.

 

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Biden Calls Sanders’ Pitch to Leverage Israel Aid ‘Bizarre’

OELWEIN, IOWA – Joe Biden said Saturday that it is “bizarre” for Bernie Sanders to propose withholding U.S. military aid from Israel if the government there doesn’t moderate its treatment of Palestinians.
The remarks highlight a nuanced but significant distinction between the Democratic presidential contenders. Biden and Sanders support a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, and both men have criticized political leaders on each side of the long-standing conflict. But Biden’s take, offered during a question-and-answer session with Iowa voters, hewed a more traditional U.S. establishment line by reaffirming a financial commitment to Israel regardless of its actions toward Palestinians.
The former vice president, while casting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “counterproductive” and “extreme right” leader and accused Palestinian leaders of fomenting'' the conflict andbaiting everyone who is Jewish,” while suggesting that some on the U.S. political left give the Palestinian Authority a pass'' when criticizing Israeli leadership.
"In terms of Bernie and others who talk about dealing with Zionism, I strongly support Israel as an independent Jewish state,'' Biden said in rural northeastern Iowa. He added,
The idea that I’d withdraw military aid, as others have suggested, from Israel, is bizarre. I would not do that. It’s like saying to France, Because you don't agree with us, we're going to kick you out of NATO.''
Sanders, a Vermont senator, elevated the matter in late October when he said the U.S. should ``leverage'' its billions of dollars in annual Israeli aid. ``My solution is to say to Israel:
You get $3.8 billion every year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.’ In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that should go right now into humanitarian aid.”
Netanyahu said Thursday, despite warnings from the International Criminal Court, that he has the full right'' to annex the Jordan Valley altogether if it chooses, and he said he discussed annexation this week in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The Palestinians seek all the West Bank, captured by Israel in 1967, as the heartland of their hoped-for state. The Jordan Valley comprises about a quarter of the West Bank and is one of the few open areas that could be redeveloped by the Palestinians. Israel counters that the area is vital to its security. President Donald Trump's administration aligns closely with Netanyahu, already recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. Democrats, especially in the party's progressive flank, have become increasingly critical of Netanyahu and the long-standing U.S. alliance with the Jerusalem government.
Biden on Saturday called it
a serious mistake, a fundamental mistake for the occupation of the West Bank now to become annexed property,” and he chided Netanyahu for a lurch to the extreme right'' as a means "to keep control.''
But Biden had perhaps even harsher words for the Palestinian Authority, seemingly blaming them for a failure to reach new peace accords
and get 98% of what they wanted” when President Barack Obama was in office with Biden as his top lieutenant.
“They continued to insist on baiting everyone who is Jewish, saying they would not sign a deal with a Jewish state, will not recognize one even if we have an independent nation,” Biden said.
Biden said that, as president, he’d continue to push Israel to accept a Palestinian state, but added that he’s “tired of everybody giving the Palestinian Authority a pass … as if they’re not continuing to foment all of this.” 

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NYC Set to Require ‘Bird-Friendly’ Glass on New Construction

New York City lawmakers are poised to adopt legislation requiring “bird-friendly” glass on all new construction in an effort to cut down on the tens of thousands of birds who die flying into the city’s buildings every year.New York will be the largest city in the nation to require glass that is visible to birds if the measure passes. Several California cities including San Francisco and Oakland have adopted similar rules.Groups that monitor bird populations said they are thrilled at the prospect of the legislation’s adoption in New York City.“Long term this stands to have a significant impact on the birds that live in and are passing through our city,” Chris Allieri, a board member of the Wild Bird Fund, said Saturday. “I think it will significantly reduce the number of window collisions for birds in newly constructed buildings.”New York City Audubon estimates that 90,000 to 230,000 birds from hawks to hummingbirds are killed every year from flying into New York City buildings.The legislation proposed by Democratic City Council member Rafael Espinal would require that at least 90% of the exterior of the first 75 feet of all new buildings or major renovations be constructed with materials that are visible to birds, such as glass with a glazing or pattern.An example of a bird-friendly building is the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s west side, where glass imprinted with patterns that was installed during a 2015 renovation reduced bird deaths by 90%, according to NYC Audubon.Ornithologist Susan Elbin, NYC Audubon’s director of conservation, said legislation mandating similar glass in other new buildings and major renovations will make a huge difference. “We think of this as the most broad-reaching bird-friendly building policy in the country,” Elbin said.The measure has wide support on the City Council and is expected to pass.“Unfortunately, our buildings have become a death trap for thousands of birds each year,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat. “As a bird-friendly city, this bill will help protect our feathered friends and reduce the number of bird mortality due to collisions.”The Real Estate Board of New York expressed concerns earlier about issues including the availability of materials that would meet the requirements of the legislation, but an official with the group indicated Saturday that its issues had been addressed.“We thank the Council for addressing a number of concerns we had with the original version, and support a science-based approach to reducing bird deaths,” said Basha Gerhards, the real estate group’s vice president of policy and planning. “We hope the Council will track over time the efficacy of these measures and monitor the commercial availability of these materials to optimize compliance and the goals of the bill.” 

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Russia Not an Enemy? Macron’s Moscow Strategy Faces First Test

French President Emmanuel Macron this week faces the first major test of his policy of directly engaging with Russia that has disturbed some European allies, as he hosts a summit seeking progress in ending the Ukraine conflict.Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron will bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for their first face-to-face meeting at an afternoon summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday.The stakes are high: this will be the first such summit in three years and while diplomats caution against expecting a major breakthrough, a failure to agree concrete confidence-building steps would be seen as a major blow to hopes for peace and also Macron’s personal prestige.Macron, who is pressing ahead with the summit despite crippling public transport strikes at home over contested pension reforms, has invested hugely in efforts to end the conflict in the east of Ukraine that has claimed 13,000 lives since 2014.And he has also placed his bets on a risky strategy to deal directly with Putin, based on the assumption that one day Russia will understand it is in the national interest to see Europe as its long-term strategic partner.”It is an important test for Macron and for the Europeans,” said Michel Duclos, a former ambassador and senior fellow at the Institut Montaigne, a French think tank.”He is already very isolated. And if he obtains nothing on Ukraine he is going to be even more isolated,” he added.But he added the Kremlin was “astute enough” to understand that the summit had to be declared a success and Putin was gladdened by Macron’s overtures as he “sees in that a chance to divide the Europeans”.’Threat but also a partner’Macron has adopted an increasingly assertive presence on the international stage in recent months, at a time when Germany is a less imposing diplomatic player as Merkel prepares to leave office.His thoughts were summed up in an explosive interview with The Economist last month, when he declared NATO was brain dead and said Europe needed to have a strategic dialogue with Russia.Examining Russia’s long-term strategic options under Putin, Macron said in the interview that Russia could not prosper in isolation, would not want to be a “vassal” of China and would eventually have to opt for “a partnership project with Europe”.Macron notably described ex-KGB agent Putin as a “child of Saint Petersburg”, the former Russian capital built by Peter the Great as a window onto the West.His comments disturbed newer EU members that want a tough line against their former master Russia like the Baltic States and, in particular, Poland. And they added to a raft of growing tensions between France and Germany.But after a summit of NATO leaders in England earlier this month, Macron was unrepentant and categorical about his strategy of cultivating Russia.”Who is NATO’s enemy? Russia is no longer an enemy. It remains a threat but is also a partner on some subjects. Our enemy today is international terrorism and in particular Islamist terrorism,” he said.’Being a nuisance no strategy’A French diplomatic source argued Russia could not forever pin its strategy on being a “power of disturbance” with policies like its military intervention in Syria to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power or its alliance with NATO member Turkey which has rattled the West.”If having a capacity to be a nuisance is your only lever it is not a lasting and viable strategy,” said the source, adding there was also a “profound Russian concern about being locked into a rivalry with China”.Konstantin Kalachev, director of the Moscow-based Political Expert Group, warned “it would be naive to think Emmanuel Macron can exercise any kind of influence on Vladimir Putin with the aim of bringing Russia closer to the EU.”There is only one person who can influence President Putin. And that is President Putin himself.”In a glimmer of hope for Macron he added: “Mr Putin has no interest that this (Ukrainian) conflict worsens. But he wants any solution to be drawn up according to his conditions”. 

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КНДР заявляє, що більше не обговорює зі США ядерне роззброєння

Ядерне роззброєння Північної Кореї більше не є предметом переговорів з США, заявив посол КНДР в ООН Кім Сонг, повідомляє агентство Reuters.

«Нам не потрібні тривалі переговори з США», – заявив Сонг. Він назвав діалог, до якого прагнув Вашингтон, «вивертом з економією часу в інтересах американської внутрішньої політики напередодні президентських виборів».

Пхеньян заявив 7 грудня про «дуже важливі випробування» на ракетному полігоні Сохе. Вони нібито справлять значний вплив на стратегічне становище країни в найближчому майбутньому. Телекомпанія CNN, ґрунтуючись на супутникових знімках полігону, повідомляло про готовність Північної Кореї відновити випробування ракетних двигунів.

Раніше лідер КНДР Кім Чен Ин заявляв про «новий шлях» у наступному році, не розкривши деталі. Це може означати відновлення випробувань ядерних бомб і ракет великої дальності, які були припинені в 2017 році, відзначає Reuters. Трамп називав це ключовою перемогою в діалозі двох країн.

Минулого тижня МЗС КНДР знову закликало Вашингтон виробити гнучкішу позицію на переговорах із ядерного роззброєння і вирішити, «який різдвяний подарунок» отримають США. У відповідь президент США Дональд Трамп заявив, що здивований недружніми заявами Пхеньяна.

Сторони проводять робочі зустрічі, обговорюючи повне припинення ядерної програми Північної Кореї, але про прогрес поки не повідомляли. Пхеньян наполягає на знятті американських санкцій і зупинці спільних військових навчань США і Південної Кореї.

З травня цього року Пхеньян провів щонайменше 13 ракетних випробувань.

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Saudi National Officially Identified as US Naval Base Shooter

The FBI has officially identified the shooter at the U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida who shot and killed three people Friday.The shooter was Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer at the Naval Aviation Schools Command at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  The FBI has not determined a motive for Alshamrani’s rampage.  The victims were also students at the flight school.  They have been identified as Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Coffee, Alabama; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, from St. Petersburg, Florida; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia.”The sorrow from the tragic event on NAS Pensacola will have a lasting impact on our installation and community,” Captain Tim Kinsella, the commanding officer of the naval base said in a statement.Eight people were wounded in the shooting naval base, officials say.The shooter, who was also killed in the incident, is reported to have hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he showed videos of mass U.S. shootings to his guests, according to media reports. At least one of his guests is reported to have videotaped Friday’s massacre.  Several Saudi students are being held for questioning.  Before the pilot opened fire at the base, he tweeted a will and quoted Osama bin Laden in justifying his actions, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which translates jihadist threats and communications.In the Twitter post, he said America “has turned into a nation of evil.”  He condemned the U.S. for its support of Israel and its invasion of Muslim countries and many other countries.  Using a bin Laden quote, he also said that the security of the U.S. and Muslims is a “shared destiny.”  He added, “You will  not be safe until we live it as reality in pleastain [sic], and American troops get our of lands.”Guns are not permitted at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, but Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the shooter managed to get a handgun onto the base before targeting individuals at one of the buildings. Officials said the rampage ended when a sheriff’s deputy cornered and shot the suspect in a classroom.
 
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the nature of the investigation would be different due to the involvement of the Saudi air force pilot.
 
“There is obviously going to be a lot of questions about this individual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi air force,” he told reporters.
 
“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims,” he added. “They are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.”
 
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he had been in contact with Saudi King Salman, who offered condolences.
 
“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” Trump said.
 King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2019 
Later, Trump told reporters at the White House, “It’s a horrible thing that took place and we’re getting to the bottom of it.”
 “It’s a horrible thing that took place and we’re getting to the bottom of it,” @POTUS tells reporters.— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 6, 2019In a statement, Salman called the shooting a “heinous crime” and said he expressed his sorrow over the attack in his phone call with Trump. The king said he has directed Saudi security services to cooperate with American agencies to uncover information that will help determine the cause of the “horrific attack.”
 
Hours after the shooting at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, a bomb threat at Patrick Air Force Base, also in Florida, forced authorities to evacuate parts of the base. Authorities later determined there was “no credible threat” and normal base operation resumed.
 
The shooting at the Pensacola Naval Air Station is the second deadly shooting at a U.S. naval facility in the week.
 
A U.S. sailor shot three civilians at a base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Wednesday, killing two of them before committing suicide.
 
In a response to both shootings, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement Friday, “The Department of Defense continues to monitor the situation in Pensacola and gather all the facts of each attack.”
 
He said he is “considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families.”
                         
“These acts are crimes against all of us,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a statement.  

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In Florida, Trump Says He’s Israel’s Best Pal in White House

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises.”
Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.
“They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of U.S. policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.
In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough.
“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more,” Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people – they don’t love Israel enough.”
Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic.
“Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community – even Jewish Republicans,” Keyak said.
Trump has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes before, including in August, when he said American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” A number of Jewish groups noted at the time that accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews.
The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump’s top supporters, the husband-and-wife duo of Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate.
Both Adelsons appeared on stage to introduce Trump, with Miriam Adelson asserting that Trump “has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history, and that is before he’s even completed his first term in office.”The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 congressional elections.
Trump’s entourage at the event included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael Waltz, whom he described as “two warriors” defending him against “oppression” in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump criticized Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.
Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.
“America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” he said.
The president introduced his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has played a leading role in helping the administration craft its Mideast peace plan.
A self-described deal-maker, Trump said he had long been told that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest deal of all.
But “if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Trump said.
The White House has said its Mideast peace plan is complete and had promised to release it after Israeli elections in September. The long-delayed plan remains under wraps, and Israel appears headed for its third round of elections this year.
The plan also is facing rejection by Palestinian officials, who object to the pro-Israel leanings of the Trump administration.
During his speech, Trump also name-dropped Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticizing her for supporting the “BDS” movement against Israel: boycott, divest and sanction. In August, at Trump’s urging, Israel denied Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., entry to the country over their support for the BDS movement. Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and outspoken critics of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
“My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric,” Trump said. “As long as I am your president, it makes no difference. It’s not happening.”
Before addressing the Israeli American Council summit, Trump spoke at the Florida Republican Party’s Statesman’s Dinner in nearby Aventura. The state GOP closed the event to media coverage.
  

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