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NAFTA talks: Trump open to bilateral Canada-US trade deal

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Donald Trump with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Donald Trump with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Washington, Oct 12:US President Donald Trump has said if talks to reform North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) fail, he could envisage a US-Canada trade pact, excluding Mexico.

The US president said if there was no deal on the NAFTA, it would be terminated. He was speaking at the White House on Wednesday with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BBC reported.

Replying to a question, Trump said he would consider a trade pact with Canada minus Mexico, adding that both the US and Canada wanted to protect their workers.

The current round of talks on renegotiating the trade bloc is reported to be stalling, with Mexico opposing a US move to increase the percentage of US-made components in car manufacturing.

Trump’s stance has, however, been criticised by US businesses.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, speaking ahead of the latest round of talks, said terminating Nafta could harm US-Mexico relations and damage co-operation on issues like fighting drug-trafficking.

Trudeau said he believed the Nafta talks could still end in a “win, win, win”.

But he said Canada had to “be ready for anything” if the attempts to modernise the 23-year-old deal faltered.

Overall trade between the three Nafta partners reached $1.1 trillion in 2016.

American and Mexican officials say they want a re-negotiated deal by December.

This week the influential US Chamber of Commerce warned it was time to “ring alarm bells” over the NAFTA talks.

The business lobby group said there were “several poison pill proposals” put on the table by the US that could tank the renegotiations.

Those include US demands to adjust the rules of origin, which would increase the percentage of the content of car parts and other materials that would come from NAFTA countries in order for a good to qualify as duty free – a specific concern for the North American auto industry.

The US and Canadian leaders also discussed the Bombardier-Boeing trade dispute.

Canada and the UK are sparring with the US over Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier.

The Trump administration has imposed hefty duties on Bombardier’s C-Series jetliner.

American aerospace firm Boeing claims Bombardier received unfair government subsidies to produce its showcase passenger jet.

Bombardier is a significant employer in Northern Ireland and Canada.

Trudeau said he “highlighted to the president how much we disagree vehemently” on the decision to impose anti-dumping duties.

(IANS)

World

Suicide attack near US embassy in Montenegro

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US Embassy
Image: Reuters

Podgorcia, Feb 22: An unidentified man on Thursday threw a hand grenade near U.S. embassy compound in Montenegro before blowing himself up.

“In front of the USEmbassy MNE building in Podgorica, Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device. Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device,” the Montenegrin government tweeted, adding that the device was “most probably” a hand grenade.

As of now, no casualties or loss of property has been reported.

WeForNews 

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44 killed in Peru bus accident

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Peru bus accident
Photo taken on Feb. 21, 2018 shows the site of a bus accident off a highway in Camana, Arequipa, Peru. (P C-Xinhua)

Lima, Feb 22: At least 44 people were killed and 24 others injured when a bus skidded off the road and plunged into a river in Peru’s Arequipa region, authorities said.

Seven of the injured are in serious condition, including three children, reports Efe news agency.

Health workers transport a man injured in a bus crash in Arequipa, Peru, on Wednesday. At least 25 people were killed when their bus veered off a highway and tumbled 200 meters down a cliff. (Photo Credit: AP)

The accident occurred on Wednesday on the Pan-American Highway.

The authorities were still trying to determine what caused the bus to skid off the road and plunge 200 metres into the Ocona River.

The bus was travelling from Chala to Arequipa city, and was running on an expired operating permit, the transportation ministry said.

“My condolences to the families of the victims of the transit accident in Arequipa,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted.

IANS

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Pakistan Supreme Court orders ex-PM Nawaz Sharif removed as head of his political party – judge

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nawaz sharief

ISLAMABAD: In another blow to the ruling PML-N, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ruled that a disqualified individual cannot head a political party.

The apex court elaborated that a person disqualified under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution can not head the party. As a result of this verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president stand null and void.

As a consequence, Senate tickets issued by Nawaz are also declared void, throwing the fate of March 3 Senate elections in doubt.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded on Thursday the hearings of several petitions against the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.

A three-member bench had been hearing several petitions challenging specific clauses of the act that led to Nawaz Sharif’s appointment as party president following his dismissal as prime minister last year.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Another petitioner’s counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party’s head.

The chief justice remarked that in other countries intra-party elections are held but the situation is different in Pakistan.

“The party head is an important position,” the chief justice observed, adding that in Pakistan people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders.

Disqualification to party president
Following Nawaz’s disqualification as prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former premier to retain his chairmanship of the PML-N.

As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, MNA Jamshaid Dasti, National Party and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), among others, challenged the law for allowing a disqualified parliamentarian to become a party head.

The petitions, challenging specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, state that Nawaz’s appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

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