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Top American executives slam Trump’s withdrawal from Paris accord



Washington, June 2 : Top American executives have voiced their anger and displeasure after President Donald Trump announced that he will pull the US out of the historic Paris climate accord due to the “draconian financial and economic burdens” it imposes on the country, the media reported.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk quit two of Trump’s business advisory councils, reports CNN.

“(I) am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk tweeted on Thursday, shortly after Trump’s announcement from the White House’s Rose Garden.

Musk had earlier vowed to step down if the President pulled out of the pact.

Musk was one of 18 business leaders serving on Trump’s chief business advisory council, known as the Strategic and Policy Forum. He was also an adviser on the president’s manufacturing jobs initiative.

Disney CEO Bob Iger also announced on Thursday that he was resigning from the Strategic and Policy Forum — bumping the number of high-profile CEO departures up to two.

“As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal,” Iger tweeted.

Google’s Indian-American CEO Sundar Pichai said: “Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”

“Disappointed with today’s(Thursday) decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government,” General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said on Twitter.

Microsoft President Brad Smith echoed those sentiments.

“We’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals,” CNN quoted Smith as saying.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also voiced his opinion.

“Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk,” Zuckerberg said.

Hundreds of companies had lobbied the Trump administration to remain in the agreement.

Apple, Starbucks, Gap, Nike, Adidas, L’Oreal and Monsanto all voiced their support for the Paris deal.

Even oil companies like ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) gave their backing, reports CNN.

Exxon CEO Darren Woods wrote Trump a personal letter earlier this month asking him to remain in the pact, saying it ensures the US is “well positioned to compete”.



Won’t cede even an inch of land, ready for bloody battle: Xi Jinping



Xi Jinping

Beijing, March 20: President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China won’t cede even an inch of its land and was prepared to fight the bloody battle against its enemies.

“Not a single inch of our land will be or can be ceded from China,” Xi said on the concluding day of the annual session of the National’s People’s Congress – China’s parliament.

“We are resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies,” Xi said at the Great Hall.

China fears secession by Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Taiwan is a self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as its own and vows to unite it with China one day.

People in Hong Kong — a former British colony and now a special administrative region of China – resent growing interference by Beijing.

Xi’s views were echoed by Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

“China is resolute in upholding its own territorial integrity and will not abandon an inch of its own land. China will not take and occupy an inch of land of others,” Li said in a press conference on the closing day of the NPC session.


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Donald Trump wants death penalty for drug traffickers



Donald Trump

Washington, March 20: President Donald Trump has said that he would ask for the death penalty for certain “really bad” convicted drug traffickers and will try to toughen sentencing guidelines in an attempt to fight the opioid epidemic that takes 175 lives per day in the US.

On Monday, Trump travelled to New Hampshire to present his plan to deal with the opioid crisis that will have the Department of Justice request the death penalty for drug traffickers although current law does not allow it, reports Efe news.

“This scourge of drug addiction in America will stop,” Trump said in a speech in Manchester.

“It will stop. Failure is not an option. We will raise a drug-free generation of American children.”

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were accompanied by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several cabinet members to launch the administration’s “Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse” at the Manchester Community College.

“We have to get tough on these people,” said Trump.

“These are terrible people, and that toughness includes the death penalty. They will kill thousands of people in their lifetime, and yet they get caught and go away for 30 days.

“This isn’t about nice anymore… No more ‘let’s have everyone go to a blue ribbon committee and get a medal.’ This is about a very tough problem. If we don’t get tough on these dealers, we are not going to win this battle. I don’t want to leave at the end of seven years and still have this problem,” he said.

Trump said that it was “possible” that Americans might not be prepared to impose the death penalty on all drug traffickers, as some other nations do.

The event was attended by more than 250 community members, law enforcement officials, first responders and local families affected by the opioid crisis.

Also in the audience were New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.

Sessions confirmed in a statement that his department will utilise federal law to seek the death penalty “when appropriate”.

US law permits applying the death penalty only in cases of murders linked to drug trafficking or drugs, according to the independent Death Penalty Information Centre.

The Trump administration also had considered imposing capital punishment on people who traffic even small quantities of fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid used as a painkiller.

Current anti-drug law establishes penalties of up to 20 years behind bars for small traffickers and reserves a term of life in prison for especially serious cases.

According to US Centres for Disease Control figures, 64,000 people died of opioid overdoses in in 2016.


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Afghan government’s peace offer to Taliban

China and the European Union believe the Taliban should accept Ghani’s offer to recognize the movement as a legitimate political group.



Ashraf Ghani

US is concerned over the increasing number of high-profile attacks in Kabul orchestrated by Taliban that is aimed at undermining the Afghan government and international resolve to bring peace to war-torn Afghanistan after 16 years of war as Jakarta is preparing to host a trilateral conference where religious scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia would seek to establish peace and security, and the end of terrorism.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has assured unconditional talks to the Taliban and offered to recognize the group as a political party. The president also offered to provide passports to Taliban members and their families, along with an office in Kabul, but the Afghan Taliban remains skeptical about the Indonesia conference.

Kabul is our main effort. To harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the international community that are here,” US General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan stated.

To defeat ISIS and Taliban, Washington has shifted resources from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan by adopting the regional approach, Considering the complexities of political realities in Afghanistan, US is working to achieve a reconciliation, a political reconciliation, not a military victory.

As regards with strategic framework of U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s South Asia strategy unveiled in August 2017, it was hoped that Ghani would embark on a path toward more inclusive politics by shaping a broad-based consensus to prepare the grounds for the success of the new U.S. strategy.

General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan said the United States held a series of private talks with Pakistani officials about the elimination of insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.

US asserted that the recent pressure applied to Pakistan has not resulted in the reduction of violence in Afghanistan and reiterated that Washington will take steps to cut the aid coming from Pakistan to the Taliban and other groups.

Meanwhile, Head of Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has called on the Taliban to accept government’s peace offer.Hekmatyar said he has sent a peace outline to government and to the Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada and asked him to use the opportunity and join the peace process.

According to Hekmatyar, war is of no benefit to anyone and only the Afghan people are victims of the ongoing conflict. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s support of an Afghan-led peace deal. “I commend President Ghani for his courageous leadership. His offer to the Taliban is the clearest invitation to peace yet. So I call on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. There is an opportunity now to end the conflict”, he added.

China and the European Union believe the Taliban should accept Ghani’s offer to recognize the movement as a legitimate political group.

Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

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