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Include Pakistan in list of state sponsor of terrorism and cut financial aid; US Lawmakers

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Top US lawmakers  called for cutting financial aid to Pakistan  and imposing sanctions against it as prominent think tanks  pointed to Pakistan’s double standards in combating terrorism  and said it is opportune time to consider putting Pakistan on the list of state sponsor of terrorism.Congressman William Keating that the US arms supply to Pakistan is unlikely to help it in the fight against terrorism, but would arm it to be used against India.

“Patience on Pakistan is growing very thin and just cutting off the funding is not going to be enough and put some sanctions ,” Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.

“Those who suggest giving aid to Pakistan need to give justification for using the tax payer’s money,” Congressman Brad Sherman, Ranking member of the subcommittee joined Salmon and other lawmakers for actions against Pakistan.

Congressman William Keating, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade argued that there is little reason to believe that Pakistan is going to change its policies of using terrorism as a tool to meet its strategic needs. as two of the top al Qaeda leaders have been killed in Pakistan.

“We also need to suspend all military and non-education assistance,” Zalmay Khalilzad, a former top American diplomat of the Bush Administration, said in his testimony during the hearing titled ‘Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?’. It was jointly convened by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Meanwhile, former top diplomats and think tanks said it is time that US consider putting Pakistan on the list of state sponsor of terrorism.

“Pakistan now is a state sponsor of terrorism. There is no question that ISI supports the Haqqani network, which we regard as a terrorist network,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former top American diplomat of the Bush Administration.

“It is also clear that the Pakistani military and intelligence provide sanctuary and support to the Taliban,” Khalilzad said

“I believe we need to consider a different policy… One of increasing the cost of the policy of Pakistan,” he said and called for additional drone attacks against terrorist groups.

Khalilzad said,”Because of the duplicity of the Pakistan’s leadership ,specific sanctions should be imposed  against individuals in Pakistan military and ISI officials”.

 

America

US unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to a new five-decade low of 3.5%, while employers added a modest 136,000 jobs.

The Labor Department says that despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which was down from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose just 2.9% from a year earlier, lower than 3.4% at the beginning of the year.

Hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed, and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Still, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9%, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

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Trump embarrassed by TV channel

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

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New York, Sep 26 : US President Donald Trump was subjected to an embarrassment when the MSNBC news channel cut away from his press conference while he was speaking on the controversy surrounding him over the Ukrainian probe against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump on Wednesday was addressing the press conference against the backdrop of impeachment proceedings announced against him by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following allegations that he put pressure on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to order a probe against Biden whose family has business interests there.

The allegation against Trump came to light because of a whistleblower and a transcript of the conversation between him and Zelensky in July, which has become public.

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

She added that Trump was trying to do it to deflect the attention from his impeachment.

According to the transcript of the telephonic conversation that has gone public, Trump is heard asking Zelensky to “do us a favour”, after the latter expresses gratitude for the military aid the US provided to his country.

Trump’s words of “do us a favour” is seen as a quid pro quo for the American military aid, because of which the impeachment proceedings have been announced.

After Wallace cut the press conference, her guest on the programme, justice and security analyst Matthew Miller, rebuked Trump for saying that Biden and his son had done wrong.

“This story has been looked at and thoroughly debunked by everyone involved,” Miller said, adding the real issue was whether Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”.

Trump is facing problem at a time when he is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

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Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump

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Pyongyang, June 23 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter with “excellent” and “interesting” content from US President Donald Trump, Pyongyang’s state media said on Sunday.

“After reading the letter, the Supreme Leader of the Party, the state and the armed forces said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” the Korean Central News Agency said, referring to its leader.

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” it added.

The KCNA did not disclose when and how the letter was delivered to Kim, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The letter appears to be in response to the one Kim sent to Trump recently in time for the anniversary of their first-ever summit in Singapore last June.

Trump had described Kim’s letter as “beautiful” and “very warm”. He also emphasized that the relationship between them remains strong and that “something will happen that’s going to be very positive”.

The exchange of correspondence between the leaders renewed hopes for a resumption of denuclearization talks which have stalled since the breakdown of their second summit in February.

The summit collapsed as Pyongyang wanted sanctions relief as a corresponding measure in exchange for dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex, while Washington insisted that sanctions should remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons programme.

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