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Obama: senators ‘failed the American people’ on gun control

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington June 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The White House accused U.S. senators of a “shameful display of cowardice” on Tuesday and said they failed the American people by not advancing any gun control measures after the nation’s largest mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, last week.

“Gun violence requires more than moments of silence,” President Barack Obama said on Twitter. “It requires action. In failing that test, the Senate failed the American people.”

Earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest appeared on morning television news shows excoriating the U.S. Senate for rejecting on Monday four gun bills aimed at keeping firearms away from people with suspected ties to militants.

“What we saw last night on the floor of the United States Senate was a shameful display of cowardice,” Earnest said on MSNBC.

After Monday’s votes, the Senate turned away from gun control, at least temporarily, to debate a different tactic for battling domestic attacks that could be inspired by Islamic State and other foreign militant groups.

Senators were aiming to vote by Wednesday on legislation by Senator John McCain of Arizona expanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ability to conduct secret surveillance in counterterrorism investigations.

“This week we’ll have the opportunity to strengthen our ability to combat lone wolf terrorists and connect the dots so we are better able to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States” such as the Orlando massacre, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State during the June 12 rampage in which he killed 49 people and wounded 53 at a gay nightclub before being fatally shot by police.

NEW GUN CONTROL PROPOSAL EXPECTED

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine was trying to keep gun control attempts alive. She was expected on Tuesday to introduce a measure that would curb weapons sales to people on a narrow terrorism watch list.

Democrats’ efforts to pass a broader prohibition failed on Monday.

It was not yet clear whether Collins’ plan would draw significant bipartisan support or whether McConnell would even schedule a vote on her legislation, which likely would draw opposition from the National Rifle Association, a close ally of many Republican lawmakers.

The NRA has worked hard to defeat gun control measures, including attempts in the wake of mass shootings such as the one in Orlando.

Gun control groups, meanwhile, promised to intensify their push for legislative action, but not just in Washington.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said her group, besides supporting pro-gun control candidates for the U.S. Congress, would work to strengthen gun sale background check laws “state by state until Congress acts,” states including Maine and Nevada.

“If the NRA and their lapdogs in the Senate thought moms would feel dispirited and back down they are sorely mistaken,” Watts told reporters in a teleconference.

Earnest said the bills put forth for votes on Monday evening should have drawn strong bipartisan support aimed at shoring up the country’s defenses by keeping firearms away from people on terrorism watch lists.

He said U.S. law enforcement officials are concerned that there are individuals in the United States who could have ties to terrorism or are susceptible to online recruitment efforts of the militant group Islamic State.

“And right now there is not a law on the books that prevents those individuals from walking into a gun store and buying a gun,” Earnest said.

The Senate votes against the measures restricting gun sales were a bitter setback to advocates who have failed to get even modest gun curbs through Congress despite repeated mass shootings.

The gun control measures lost in largely party-line votes that showed the political power in Congress of gun rights defenders and the NRA.

“Republicans have run around and spent the last week saying ‘radical Islamic extremism’ to anybody who will listen,” Earnest said. “But when it actually comes to preventing those extremists from being able to walk into a gun store and buy a gun, they’re AWOL. They won’t do anything about it because they’re scared of the NRA. That’s shameful.”

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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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America

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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America

Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump

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Kim , Trump

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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