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The US and Russia are already contradicting each other about what happened in Trump-Putin meeting



The US and Russia are already contradicting each other about what happened in Trump-Putin meeting

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany. Source: Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged from their first in-person meeting with conflicting narratives about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump kicked off the meeting by bringing up Russia’s hacking in the election, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump accepted Putin’s denial that Russia did any meddling at all.

Tillerson said Trump “pressed Putin more than once” on Russia’s meddling, according to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny. But Putin denied that Russia interfered.

“The question is what we do now,” Tillerson said, according to Zeleny. “The relationship is too important to not find a way to move forward.”

Lavrov, however, suggested both sides were now moving on, as Trump accepted Putin’s denial about meddling in the U.S. election.

Trump came under fire Thursday for not fully accepting the U.S. intelligence committees’ unanimous conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has said he thinks Russia meddled, but said others could have as well, and has yet to issue a full-throated public condemnation of Russia’s actions.

Putin, on the other hand, said he spoke to Trump about fighting terrorism and cyber security, according to RT, a state-owned Russian news outlet.

“We’ve had a very long discussion with the U.S. president. Many issues accrued, including Ukraine, Syria and other problems, as well as some bilateral issues,” Putin said, according to RT.

During the meeting, the Associated Press reported that the United States and Russia came to a joint ceasefire in Syria — where the two countries back opposing sides in Syria’s years-long civil war.

Before the meeting kicked off, Trump and Putin sat down to exchange pleasantries while cameras snapped photos and captured video of the world leaders’ interactions.

Trump said it was “an honor” to meet with Putin. Putin said he was “delighted” to meet with Trump.

The meeting, which was scheduled to be 30 minutes long, lasted two hours and 16 minutes, according to a pool of reporters traveling with Trump.


Russian presidential election slated for March 18



Russian Flag

Moscow, Dec 15: The Russian Federation Council, or the upper house of parliament, on Friday officially set the country’s presidential election for March 18, 2018.

A resolution to set the date will effectively give a start to the election campaign, chairman of the Federation Council’s Constitutional Legislation Committee Andrei Klishas said in a statement.

President Vladimir Putin, who has declared his intention to participate in the race as an independent candidate, is widely expected to win his fourth term, reports Xinhua news agency.

The latest public opinion poll by government-owned research centre VTSIOM showed that Putin’s approval rating stood at 53.5 per cent as of December 10, up from 53 per cent a week earlier, leaving all possible rivals far behind.

To be registered as an independent presidential candidate, a candidate has to collect at least 300,000 voters’ signatures on his or her behalf by February 1, 2018.

If a candidate wishes to run within the framework of a political party, this party will have to collect no less than 100,000 signatures on the candidate’s behalf.

The election was previously planned for March 11, but later it was postponed to March 18, when the country will celebrate the Day of Incorporation of Crimea.

The peninsula joined Russia in 2014 following a local referendum, which Western countries did not recognise as legitimate.

The law declaring March 18 a national holiday was adopted in 2015.


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Donald Trump should resign, says Kamala Harris



Washington, Dec 15: Kamala Harris, first Indian-American to serve in the US Senate, has joined a growing group of Democratic senators calling for President Donald Trump to step down amid resurfaced allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I think he should resign in the best interest of the country,” the California Democrat told Politico in an interview on Thursday.

Harris joined six other Democratic senators — Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, Mazie Hirono and Ron Wyden — who called for Trump to resign.

The former California Attorney General’s remarks came as Trump faced renewed scrutiny over past accusations of sexual misconduct. At least 16 women have accused him of inappropriate behaviour.

Earlier this week, three of the 16 women renewed their allegations publicly as they detailed their accounts of being groped, fondled and forcibly kissed by Trump before he was elected the US President. They urged Congress to investigate their stories.

Trump inflamed his critics again this week when he said in a tweet that Senator Gillibrand used to “come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions” and that she “would do anything for them”.

Harris, a potential presidential contender in 2020, said Trump’s tweet “was completely inappropriate on every level”.

“First of all, we know he’s not going to resign,” Harris said. “So let’s just be clear about that. But if he were going to make a decision that was in the best interest of the country, I think he should. He should seriously consider it.”

Trump has repeatedly denied accusations of sexual misconduct, taking to Twitter to deride what he called “false accusations and fabricated stories”.

Harris said she believed Trump’s accusers and said that there should be an inquiry into the veracity of their claims.


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Oxford Dictionaries named ‘Youthquake’ Word of the Year



Oxford Dictionaries

London, Dec 15: Oxford Dictionaries has declared “Youthquake” as 2017’s Word of the Year, reflecting what it calls a “political awakening” among millennial voters, the media reports on Friday.

It was first coined in the 1960s by Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, who used it to describe sudden changes in fashion, music and attitudes, reports the BBC.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines youthquake as the “series of radical political and cultural upheavals occurring among students and young people in the 1960s”.

Oxford Dictionaries said late Thursday that its use had seen a recent resurgence, to describe young people driving political change.

Oxford Dictionaries’ Casper Grathwohl said it was “not an obvious choice”.

But he said Youthquake’s use in everyday speech had increased five-fold during 2017.

“In the UK, where it rose to prominence as a descriptor of the impact of the country’s young people on its general election, calls it out as a word on the move,” he said.

Grathwohl said youthquake’s use in Britain peaked during the June general election, after polls delivered a better-than-expected result for the Labour party.

Oxford Dictionaries said the word sounded a note of hope after what it described as a “difficult and divisive year”.

The word of the year is a word, or expression, that Oxford Dictionaries deems has “attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date” and is drawn from newspapers, books, blogs and transcripts of spoken English, the BBC reported.

Last year’s word, “post-truth”, was chosen after the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.


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