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Senators should repeal Obamacare if no path to replace: Trump



Washington, July 1, 2017: US President Donald Trump said Republican senators should immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, if they lack the votes at this time to replace it.

In a morning tweet on Friday, Trump wrote that those lawmakers could work again on a replacement bill at a later time, Efe news reported.

Trump wrote:

He had wanted lawmakers to pass a healthcare plan to replace the 2010 ACA prior to the July 4 holiday, but the lack of consensus among Republicans and uniform opposition from Democrats has made that goal nearly impossible.

The Senate leadership’s job is particularly tricky because the bill faces opposition from both the GOP’s conservative and moderate wings.

The healthcare overhaul bill being discussed by the Senate would leave an additional 22 million people without health insurance by 2026, 15 million of whom would drop off the roles in the first year after its implementation, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in a report released on Monday.

The Senate bill differs only slightly from an ACA repeal and replacement bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, a measure that the CBO said would result in 23 million more uninsured people.

Trump last week once again railed against Democrats for refusing to support the ACA replacement bill in the Senate.

“Democrats slam GOP healthcare proposal as Obamacare premiums and deductibles increase by over 100%,” he tweeted on June 24.


Middle East

Italy backs stronger ties, enhanced dialogue with Qatar



Qatar Italy

Rome, June 22 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi on Friday said that his country wanted to strengthen bilateral relations and to deepen dialogue with Qatar.

He was speaking at a meeting with his Qatar counterpart Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim al-Thani here.

“During cordial discussions, Minister Moavero Milanesi confirmed the Italian government’s commitment to intensifying political dialogue and bilateral relations in the economic and trade spheres as well as in terms of cultural cooperation,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

The talks between Milanesi and al-Thani also covered key regional issues including turmoil-wracked Libya, the migration crisis and war-torn Syria, the statement said.

“A detailed exchange of views also took place on the Gulf diplomatic crisis in respect of which Minister Milanesi reiterated Italy’s support for a negotiated solution based on dialogue between the various sides,” the statement added.

Qatar has been locked in a bitter year-long rift with a Saudi-led alliance including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt which abruptly severed ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism and of backing Iran.

Qatar claims the blockade is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy. Diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait and the US to end the rancorous dispute have so far stalled.

At a meeting in Brussels with al-Thani on Thursday, the European Union’s Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini underlined the bloc’s continued support for “an intra-Gulf mediated solution and Kuwait’s mediation in this regard,” the European Commission said in a statement.

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Nepal, China to enhance cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative



Belt and Road initiative

Beijing, June 22 (IANS) Nepal and China have agreed to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity that encompasses ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

In a joint statement issued during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the two sides agreed to take practical measures to promote cooperation in all fields mentioned in the MOUs that included conducting a feasibility study of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, reconstruction of two friendship fridges, protocol on the utilization of Tibetan highways for cargo transport and investment and cooperation on production capacity.

On the railway pact that aims to extend the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, the joint statement said: “Nepal and China underscored it as the most significant initiative in the history of bilateral cooperation and believed that it would herald a new era of cross-border connectivity.

Other pacts reached during Oli’s visit from June 19-24 were setting up of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in the Himalayan nation, MOUs on strengthening cooperation between their Foreign Ministries, cooperation in fields of energy and human resource development.

Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to work together in areas of economy, trade, investment, industrial capacity, post-disaster reconstruction and other mutually beneficial areas, according to the statement.

Another takeaway of the visit was an early finalization of the joint feasibility study on the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement (FTA), establishing cross-border economic cooperation zones and an agreement on completing the post disaster recovery of two frontier inspection stations on Nepal-China border.

Beijing agreed to support the Chinese-funded banks for opening their branches in Nepal. It said that it was ready to negotiate the financing modalities of the projects on road, railway connectivity, hydropower and transmission lines, among others, proposed by Nepal.

The two sides will also boost cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on information exchanges, capacity building and training. They will negotiate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Treaty on Extradition to fight against illegal border crossing and transnational crimes.

There will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Nepal in areas of education, culture, tourism, media, think tanks, youth and people-to-people relations.

China said it will provide more government scholarships every year to Nepal, whereas Kathmandu said it will facilitate the teaching programme of volunteer Chinese language teachers.

“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral forums and to safeguard common interests of developing, least developed and landlocked developing countries in particular,” the joint statement added.

The two countries will also view and support each other’s participation in the regional cooperation process and enhance coordination and cooperation within the SCO, SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms within the agreed frameworks and guidelines.

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London tube station evacuated after bomb threat



London attack

London, June 22 : A London tube station was evacuated on Friday following reports of a man claiming to have a bomb.

The man reportedly went on the tracks of the Charing Cross station, sparking panic and the evacuation as the emergency services went to the scene, reports the Guardian.

British Transport Police have arrested the man and said: “We are now working to reopen the station as soon as possible and would like to thank passengers and rail staff for their patience and understanding during this incident.”

All services from the station were cancelled.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Scotland Yard said: “Officers are currently assisting the British Transport Police at Charing Cross train station following a report of a man acting suspiciously. The station has been evacuated as a precaution and is currently closed.”

Photos on social media showed multiple police vehicles and armed officers outside the station, close to Trafalgar Square.

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