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China urges US to withdraw sanctions against its companies over N. Korea

Beijing has urged the US to drop the new batch of sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals, saying that the restrictions do not contribute to defusing the Korean standoff.

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Foreign Ministry headquarters in Beijing

Beijing has urged the US to drop the new batch of sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals, saying that the restrictions do not contribute to defusing the Korean standoff.

The sanctions were imposed by the US Treasury on Tuesday. They affect 16 mainly Chinese and Russian individuals and companies over alleged “support of the North Korean regime” and assisting Pyongyang in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

“China opposes the imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council, especially the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed on Chinese entities or individuals by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws. Our position is clear and consistent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing.

Beijing has always conducted a “comprehensive and earnest implementation” of the UNSC resolutions, the spokeswoman stated, adding that China would punish anyone caught violating the sanctions under Chinese law.

The unilateral US actions contribute neither to solving problems on the Korean Peninsula, nor to Sino-US trust, the spokeswoman said, adding that Beijing has urged Washington to drop the sanctions.

One of the Chinese companies hit by the new US sanctions, Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., has firmly rejected the allegations of violating the UNSC resolutions. The US Treasury accused the company of purchasing vanadium ore from North Korea.

“We did not import vanadium ore from North Korea. We imported products based on vanadium and refined from coal impurities. This product was not under sanctions. That’s why we’ve been able to register respective import with the Chinese customs services,” Li Xiaoguang, a manager at the company, told RIA Novosti, dismissing the accusations that the company’s business helped Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

He said the company “would have never been able to import sanctioned materials from North Korea, since they would not have passed through the Chinese customs,” the company representative added.

Earlier, reacting to the same round of sanctions targeting a Russian company and four individuals, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov expressed disappointment and warned Washington of “retaliatory measures that are inevitable in this situation.”

“Against this deplorable backdrop, statements by US representatives about a desire to stabilize bilateral ties sound highly unconvincing,” Ryabkov said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have always advocated and will continue to advocate efforts to resolve our existing differences through dialogue. Over the past few years, Washington should have grasped the idea that we consider the language of sanctions to be unacceptable, and that such actions only hamper the resolution of real problems. So far, however, it appears that they have failed to comprehend these obvious truths.”

Senior Russian Senator Andrey Klimov said that the sanctions lack legitimacy.

“These sanctions are illegal in themselves, because the only thing recognized by international law is the sanctions of the UN Security Council,” Klimov told Interfax. “We must react in principle to this insane and confrontational policy. The toolbox is rich, let’s hope that we will act consistently, reasonably, professionally and effectively.”

America

Bomb Threats Across United States – reports

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crime

Law enforcement authorities around the United States were reponding to a wave of bomb threats, many of them sent by email NBC reported.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma City police told NBC News that individuals in and around that city have gotten 10 to 13 specific email bomb threats, with specific addresses.

Bronx Science said it evacuated its building at 11 a.m. after it received a bomb threat by phone. The school said students were “currently well supervised at neighboring schools.”

The New York police department confirmed it received a call about the threat and responded to the school. The department later tweeteed it was monitoring “multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city.”

Nearly a dozen threats were received at businesses throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. At least three others were reported in Orlando.

Massachusetts State Police are investigating after multiple bombs threats were allegedly mailed to “numerous businesses in the state.” Authorities said the MSP Fusion Center is tracking the activity.

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Trump accuses Comey of lying in testimony to Congress

Trump criticised Comey’s testimony, the transcription of which was made public Saturday evening and was published on Sunday by several US media outlets.

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James Comey

Washington, Dec 10 : US President Donald Trump has accused former FBI Director James Comey of lying during his testimony before a congressional committee last week, when the ex-official revealed that the investigation into presumed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was initially focused on four US citizens.

In two tweets, Trump criticised Comey’s testimony, the transcription of which was made public Saturday evening and was published on Sunday by several US media outlets, Efe reported on Sunday.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful! This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president added that during Comey’s appearance before the House Judiciary and Government Reform committees on Friday, the former FBI chief told lawmakers “on 245 occasions” that “he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked. Opened investigations on 4 Americans (not 2) … All lies!”

Comey, who was abruptly fired by Trump in May 2017, was ordered to appear before Congress behind closed doors on Friday to respond to questions from lawmakers investigating the actions of the FBI and the Department of Justice during the scandal involving former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

In July 2016, Comey closed the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of her private server to send a number of e-mails while she was serving in the Barack Obama administration, but a few days before the election he reopened the probe to review new messages, something that Democrats say could have influenced the result of the election, which Clinton lost to Trump in what most regarded as a stunning upset.

In his appearance before the House committees, Comey defended the decisions he made in 2016 and revealed that the FBI investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign initially was focused on four Americans, according to the transcript.

Comey did not identify those four people, but he said that Trump was not one of them.

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Former US President George H.W. Bush dead at 94

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Herbert Walker Bush-

Washington, Dec 1: George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the US who is best known for sanctioning the Gulf War, presiding over the fall of the Berlin Wall and steering America through the end of the Cold War, has died at the age of 94 in Houston.

The announcement of his passing on Friday night was made in a statement by his son and 43rd US President George W. Bush on Saturday. “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died,” Bush said.

George Herbert Walker Bush served as a fighter pilot during the Second World War, a Congressman, Ambassador to the UN, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director and served two terms as Ronald Reagan’s Vice President between 1981 and 1989, before concluding his four-decade long political career by serving as the US President from 1989 to 1993.

During his stint in the White House, Bush Sr. saw the end of the Cold War, the first Gulf War and the invasion of Panama while the Soviet Union collapsed and Germany reunified.

Despite military and diplomatic successes, he was unable to secure re-election and handed over the reins of the White House to Bill Clinton and retired to his home in Boston, Texas, along with his wife Barbara Bush.

Bush Sr’s death came eight months after that of his spouse to whom he was married for 73 years. They had six children together. The cause of his death was not immediately known.

He was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease that left him on a wheelchair over the last few years. He was also frequently hospitalised especially for respiratory problems.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump said Bush guided the nation and the world to a victorious end to the Cold War.

“With sound judgement, common sense and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our nation and the world to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War,” Trumps said.

Bush Sr. was also lauded by former President Barack Obama who called him “a patriot and humble servant”.

“His life was a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling,” Obama said.

Grandson George P. Bush said: “He was a good man. His courage was matched by his compassion; and his dedication to country was equalled only by his devotion to his family.”

Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the daughters of former President Richard Nixon, said: “George H.W. Bush lived a life that was purposeful, and extraordinarily rewarding – for our nation, and for our world.”

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