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Sonia congratulates Trump on election victory

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New Delhi, Nov 9 : Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday congratulated Donald Trump on his election as the 45th President of the US and hoped that bilateral relations will be strengthened during his presidency.

Sonia wished him a great tenure at the Oval Office.

Republican Trump was on Wednesday elected the new US President, proving wrong the forecasters who predicted Hillary Clinton’s win in one of the most bitterly fought presidential elections.

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US sanctions Myanmar military personnel, units over human rights abuse

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Rohingya Muslims

Washington, Aug 18 (IANS) The US Treasury Department on Friday announced to sanction four commanders and two military units in Myanmar, accusing them of being related with human rights abuse cases in the country.

In a statement, the Treasury said the targeted commanders were from Burmese military and Border Guard Police (BGP), Xinhua reported.

Together with the 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) and the 99th LID, the commanders were punished over the alleged involvement in ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State and “other widespread human rights abuses” in Kachin and Shan States.

These individuals and entities were designated according to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016 that targeted “perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.”

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the statement that the US government “will continue to systematically expose and bring accountability to human rights abusers in this region.”

As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked.

Additionally, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.

Building upon the act, US President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, or “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.” To date, 84 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under the order.

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Trump’s military parade estimated to cost $92 mn

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Donald Trump

Washington, Aug 17 (IANS) US President Donald Trump’s military parade is estimated to cost 92 million dollars, according to a CNBC report on Thursday, quoting an anonymous US defence official.

An earlier estimate put the cost at 12 million dollars, $80 million less, said the report, Xinhua reported.

The new figure consists of 50 million dollars from the Pentagon and $42 million from interagency partners such as the Department of Homeland Security.

The parade is scheduled to take place in US capital city Washington on November 10 this year, featuring armored vehicles, aircraft flyovers and period uniforms.

The final plan has not been approved by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, according to local media.

The ceremony is said to be largely inspired by Trump’s front-row seat at France’s Bastille Day military parade in Paris last year.

The United States has not held a major military parade in Washington since 1991 to mark the end of Operation Desert Storm.

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Process to replace Kennedy on Supreme Court will ‘begin immediately’ : President Trump

The president said he would review an existing list of 25 candidates for the opening. The list was put together to fill the seat now held by Justice Neil Gorsuch. It was developed in consultation with conservative legal scholars.

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would move quickly to nominate a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced that he will retire on July 31.

Trump told reporters the process would “begin immediately .”

The president said he would review an existing list of 25 candidates for the opening. The list was put together to fill the seat now held by Justice Neil Gorsuch. It was developed in consultation with conservative legal scholars.

“It will be somebody from that list,” Trump said.

Among the front-runners is Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Also potential replacements: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, who serves on the 6th Circuit.

The retirement of Kennedy, who turns 82 next month, gives Trump the chance to further cement the court’s conservative bent. Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been a swing vote on issues like abortion and affirmative action to gay rights and capital punishment. On those issues, he has often sided with the court’s liberal justices. Trump has made clear he wants to nominate justices with staunch conservative credentials.

Kennedy’s retirement is likely to elevate the issue of the Supreme Court in the Nov. 6 midterm elections, in which Democrats are seeking to wrest the House and Senate from Republican control.

Republicans have a 51-seat majority now, giving them the ability to withstand Democratic opposition. The traditional 60-vote threshold for high court nominees was abolished last April when Democrats threatened to block Gorsuch’s confirmation, prompting Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to push through a rules change allowing justices to be confirmed with simple majority votes.

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