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Japan braces for Super Typhoon Hagibis’ landfall

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Tokyo, Oct 9 Japan on Wednesday warned of the expected arrival of Super Typhoon Hagibis in the archipelago over the next few days, which will lead to very strong winds, torrential rain and rough seas.

The storm, which was tracking near the Ogasawara islands as of Wednesday afternoon is forecast to continue moving toward Honshu, weakening only slightly before a possible landfall on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

The exact path remains unclear, and turns to the west toward central Japan or the east toward the sea are among the possibilities, the Met said.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the typhoon was moving to the northwest of the Mariana Islands and, according to its current trajectory and speed, is expected to reach the south of the Japanese archipelago on Saturday, the Efe news reported.

Meteorologist Robert Speta, an expert on typhoons who now works for the U.S. Navy in Florida, said, “The storm went from a tropical storm to a violent typhoon in the matter of hours. In fact it was an historic amount of intensification in such a short time,” he said.

The waves were expected to increase significantly in height throughout the Pacific coast of the country from Friday, and that from Saturday there will be torrential rains in the south, west and center, including the Greater Tokyo Area, as the typhoon advances north.

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WH warns Democrats against adopting articles of impeachment

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The White House has warned the Democrats in the House over the adoption of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter on Friday to Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is leading the Trump impeachment proceedings.

The move “would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history”, Xinhua news agency quoted Cipollone as saying.

Nadler, in a statement, pointed to the White House’s consistent refusal to cooperate with the impeachment proceedings previously led by the House Intelligence Committee and two other panels.

“The House invited, and then subpoenaed, his top advisors. The President ordered them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress,” Nadler said in response on Friday.

“Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair.

“The President’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty,” he added.

Cipollone’s letter came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was asking Nadler’s panel to write articles of impeachment against Trump.

House Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine into launching investigations that could benefit him politically.

Lawmakers were also examining whether the President conditioned a White House meeting or a military aid to Ukraine on those probes.

Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing or a “quid pro quo”, lashed out at Democrats over the impeachment Friday evening.

“Nadler hasn’t had a single fact witness testify,” he tweeted, accusing Democrats of doing nothing but pursuing impeachment.

The articles of impeachment under consideration might be approved by the House Judiciary Committee as early as next week.

According to the US Constitution, the House shall have the sole “Power of Impeachment” while the Senate shall have the sole “Power to try all impeachments”.

Trump will be impeached if the House approves any of the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee has recommended by a simple majority vote.

But conviction can only happen in the Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favour.

Currently, the Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents.

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Trump urges World Bank to stop lending to China

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Washington: US President Donald Trump has criticized the World Bank for loaning money to China on low-interest rates and urged the institution to stop lending to Beijing.

“Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. Stop,” Trump tweeted on Friday.

Trump’s criticism comes after the World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to lend China $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually for the period between 2020 and 2025, reports Efe news.

US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, also reacted to the World Bank’s announcement.

In a Congressional hearing, he said on Friday that the Trump administration had opposed the new five-year framework lending plan by the bank that has already loaned over $1 billion to China this year.

“We negotiated significant reductions in China lending with a path to get below $1 billion. We submitted our objection to the current country plan,” Mnuchin said.

The reductions that Mnuchin referred to are part of a $13-billion capital increase the US supported for the bank last year reluctantly though. The US is the World Bank’s largest shareholder but it does not have veto power over lending to any country.

World Bank loans to China fell from $2.4 billion in 2017 to $1.3 billion this year.

With his criticism of the World Bank for loans to China, Trump has opened a new front in an ongoing confrontation with Beijing.

The two largest economies in the world are currently locked in a long-running trade dispute that has already accumulated tariffs of billions of dollars.

The trade war runs the risk of aggravation with new impositions if Washington and Beijing do not reach an agreement before the end of this year.

Besides, Trump recently enacted two bills in support of protests in Hong Kong that provide for sanctions against Chinese officials. The move has angered Beijing.

The US Congress is now considering another bill in support of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which also provides for sanctions against Beijing officials.

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Johnson bested Corbyn in final UK election debate

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London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson got the better of opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in their second and final debate ahead of the December 12 general election, according to 52 per cent of viewers responding to a snap poll.

The YouGov poll said that Johnson appeared to have thwarted Corbyn’s bid to deliver a knockout blow in the face of surveys indicating that the incumbent’s Conservative Party would win an absolute majority in the election, reports Efe news.

The main themes of Friday’s debate, which aired on the BBC, were Brexit and the need for investment in public services.

Vowing again to “get Brexit done”, Johnson attacked Corbyn’s proposal for a second referendum giving voters the chance to choose between a new, Labour-negotiated withdrawal agreement with the European Union (EU) and remaining in the bloc.

While Johnson’s Conservatives were overwhelmingly pro-Brexit, Labour voters remained divided and Corbyn has sought to accommodate those opposing views, insisting that he would remain neutral if there was a second referendum.

“We have a fantastic plan to get Brexit done,” Johnson said of the accord he reached with EU leaders in October, though Parliament declined to ratify the deal.

“The people want to turn the page,” the Prime Minister said, asserting that only a Conservative government can “unleash the potential of this country”.

If the Conservatives secure an absolute majority, Johnson pledges to take the UK out of the EU no later than January 31, 2020 and to hammer out a new trading arrangement with the bloc before the start of 2021.

In response, Corbyn said that Johnson’s approach would lead only to years of “painful negotiations and broken promises”.

“What he (Johnson) will do is walk out of a relationship with the EU into a relationship with nobody,” the Labour leader said.

“We have ample time to get on and build a new free trade partnership, not just with the EU but with countries around the world,” Johnson said.

Labour’s platform calls for boosting public investment in the UK to levels last seen in the 1970s, to be financed by increasing taxes on the wealthy and big corporations.

“There are now four million children living in poverty in our country,” Corbyn said.

Johnson said that he would make “massive investments” in healthcare and education.

To afford that spending, he said, the UK needs a “solid economy” that will only be achievable if Brexit is completed.

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