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Indian Envoy to US Taranjit Singh presents credentials to Trump

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Houston Howdy Modi Donald Trump

Washington, Feb 7 : Indian envoy to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu presented his credentials to President Donald Trump at the Oval office of the White House.

Wishing him success in his responsibilities as India’s Ambassador to the United States, the President mentioned his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and their several interactions.

Ambassador Sandhu affirmed his commitment to work towards strengthening strategic partnership between India and the United States.

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Trump commutes long-time aide’s jail sentence

Mueller did not find evidence to charge Trump campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but found that the campaign welcomed Moscow”s interference efforts.

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Washington, July 11 : US President Donald Trump commuted the jail sentence of long-time aide Roger Stone after the former campaign adviser was sentenced to three years and four months in prison in connection with former special counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe, the media reported.

Friday”s decision came roughly an hour after an appeals court denied Stone”s motion to delay the start of his prison term, scheduled to begin on July 14, reports The Hill news website.

Stone, 67, had claimed he suffered from health conditions that put him at serious risk of dying if he went to that prison, which is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement on Friday evening, saying: Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr.”

The statement described Stone as “a victim of the Russia hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump presidency”.

McEnany said that Trump had signed an executive grant of clemency commuting his “unjust” sentence.

“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man,” she added.

Stone, who has maintained his innocence and tried to appeal his conviction, was the last of six Trump associates to be charged in connection with Mueller”s investigation into the Trump campaign”s contacts with Russia that dogged the President”s first two years in office, said The Hill news report.

Mueller did not find evidence to charge Trump campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but found that the campaign welcomed Moscow”s interference efforts.

Justice Department leadership moved to reduce Stone”s sentencing recommendation in February in a highly controversial move, leading all four career prosecutors working on his case to quit.

Stone was convicted last November by a jury in Washington, D.C., of all counts he was charged with, including lying to Congress in connection with its separate investigation into Russian interference, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding.

Friday”s development has been criticised as damaging to the rule of law and an abuse of presidential power.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who leads the congressional panel to which Stone lied, sharply criticized the decision as “among the most offensive to the rule of law and principles of justice”.

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said they would seek an “immediate briefing” from the White House counsel”s office on the circumstances surrounding Stone”s commutation.

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UNSC fails to extend authorization for aid access to Syria

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

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United Nations, July 11 : The UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed on its third attempt this week to extend its authorization for the access of lifesaving food, medicine and shelter into Syria from Turkey.

Meeting via video-teleconference, the Council took up a draft resolution, presented by Belgium and Germany, that would have kept humanitarian aid flowing through the Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa crossing points until January 10, 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.

Thirteen of the Council”s 15 members voted in favour, but the text failed to be adopted owing to the negative votes cast by Russia and China, two permanent council members with veto power.

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

Belgium and Germany, the council”s penholders on the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian conflict, had initially put forward a largely similar draft that would have extended the so-called cross-border mechanism, for a full year.

A competing draft resolution from Russia that would have authorized deliveries only through Bab al-Hawa until January 10, 2021, failed to be adopted on Thursday as it lacked the required number of votes.

The result was four in favour (China, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam) to seven against (Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, UK, US), with four abstentions (Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia).

Bab al-Salam is the humanitarian gateway to northern Aleppo while Bab al-Hawa serves Idlib.

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Pakistan PM urges coordinated national response to cope with locust attack

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Imran Khan at UNGA

Islamabad, July 11 : Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged a coordinated national response of federal and provincial governments and organizations to cope with locust attack to ensure food safety, the Prime Minister Office said.

While visiting the National Locust Control Center in Islamabad to review the locust situation, Khan said locust attack in parts of the country combined with COVID-19 has become a huge challenge for Pakistan, according to a statement released by the office on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The prime minister was briefed about the efforts being made for monitoring, survey and control, inter-organisational coordination, resource allocation and mobilization and awareness campaign for locust control in the country.

Khan said his government will undertake every possible effort for locust control since it involves food security of the country, according to the statement.

Due to the trans-boundary nature of locust swarm movement, Pakistan has maintained close liaison with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and affected countries in the region to take timely pre-emptive measures, the statement said.

At a briefing to the diplomatic community in Islamabad, Pakistan had called for regional and international cooperation to combat desert locusts in Pakistan and beyond, the country”s foreign ministry said late Thursday.

The Pakistani government earlier this year declared national emergency over locust swarms after the pest destroyed large quantities of crops across the country.

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