Pompeo reaffirms to Jaishankar of 'strong US commitment' to closer ties | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Pompeo reaffirms to Jaishankar of ‘strong US commitment’ to closer ties – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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Pompeo reaffirms to Jaishankar of ‘strong US commitment’ to closer ties

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New York, June 20: Ahead of his New Delhi visit, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday to convey “strong US commitment to working closely with the new Indian government to advance our strategic partnership”, according to his spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

Pompeo, who begins a three-day visit to New Delhi next Tuesday, congratulated Jaishankar on becoming the external affairs minister and discussed security and economic cooperation between the two countries with Jaishankar, she said in a statement.

“Secretary Pompeo and Minister Jaishankar also discussed shared US and Indian objectives in safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific, US-India security cooperation, and the US-India economic partnership”, Ortagus said.

Pompeo’s visit will be the first high-level meeting between the two countries after the Lok Sabha elections returned Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a stronger mandate.

On Wednesday, Pompeo cancelled a visit to Sri Lanka next week citing “unavoidable scheduling conflicts”.

Earlier in New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “Secretary Pompeo’s visit will provide an opportunity and importance for both sides to explore ways to further strengthen India-US strategic partnership and continue the high-level engagement on matters of mutual interest, including bilateral, regional, and global issues.

“We look at this visit as an opportunity to discuss the issues which will be on the table,” he said.

Key bilateral issues, like trade, are expected to be discussed at the meeting between Pompeo and Jaishankar.

Bilateral trade between India and US has almost touched $150 billion and there has been a growth every year in the last few years, Kumar said, adding there has been a seven-fold increase since 2001.

“There are 500 US companies operating in India”, he said. “The contribution of Indian-Americans in the growth of US has been recognized by the US leadership. US has supported India for the permanent member of the (UN) Security Council. Last year, we held a two-plus-two dialogue (between Foreign and Defence Ministers/Secretaries). There is lot of cooperation going on in the high technology trade. So, there is plenty of action going on between India and US bilateral relationship.”

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California firm to pay $13.5bn to wildfire victims

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San Francisco, Dec 7– Californian utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has agreed on a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires in the state, it was reported on Saturday.

The company’s equipment has been linked to several blazes including the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, 2018’s ‘Camp Fire’, the BBC reported.PG&E filed for bankruptcy this year and has already settled with insurers and local authorities.

The agreements should allow the firm to emerge from bankruptcy.PG&E’s settlement relates to claims over several deadly blazes, including the Camp Fire, Northern California wildfires (2017), Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland (2016) and Butte Fire (2015).

The four combined killed more than 150 people and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars. PG&E President Bill Johnson said since entering the bankruptcy process “getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal.

“We want to help our customers, our neighbours and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires,” the BBC quoted Johnson as saying on Friday. This year saw yet more rampant wildfires and the firm sought to prevent them by cutting off power to customers in California.

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2nd Epstein victim claims to have slept with Prince Andrew

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London, Dec 7 : A second victim who was allegedly abused by late American financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has claimed that she slept with the UK’S Prince Andrew, a media report said on Saturday.

The revelation comes after the Duke of York denied having slept with another victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre at the Belgravia home of Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of trafficking in young women for Epstein, the Daily Mail quoted the Mirror newspaper as saying in its report.

The second woman, who has not been named, has communicated with lawyers who are representing Epstein’s other alleged victims, according to the Mirror report which cited sources as saying.

It was now being decided whether these allegations would form part of a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate and a “rigorous investigation” was underway, the sources said.

In response, a Palace spokesperson said the allegation were “not something we would comment on”.

The victims have said that Prince Andrew witnessed how people were given massages at the sex offender’s homes.

But the Duke of York has denied the claims, adding that he did not witness or suspect any suspicious behaviour during visits to Epstein’s homes.

Criticism of Andrew for his relationship with the well-connected financier increased after the airing of the Prince’s interview with the BBC last month.

Besides denying any memory of having met victim Giuffre, Andrew evinced no sympathy for the late financier’s victims.

Giuffre has produced a photograph of her then-17-year-old self with Prince Andrew, his arm around her waist, and Maxwell standing in the background.

Though the sex-trafficking case against Epstein ended with his death four months ago inside a federal detention centre in New York, victims were suing his estate and prosecutors have left open the possibility of charging others people as accomplices.

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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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