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Trump, Clinton turn presidential debate into personal war

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Hillary and Trump

St. Louis, Oct 10 : Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shook hands after ending the nastiest US presidential debate, with CNN indicating the Republican lost with only 34 per cent votes to Clinton’s 57.

As the Democrat tried to pin down Trump over his video remarks about groping women, Trump launched a blistering attack against Clinton and her husband during the bitter Sunday night debate in Washington University.

Unlike the first debate, there was no sign of cordiality between the two as they entered the arena with former President and the Democrat’s husband Bill Clinton and the Republican’s wife Melania Trump already seated with their extended families.

The first question was from a teacher in the audience who asked if the two candidates were modelling appropriate behaviour for American children.

Clinton promised to work “with every American” and to be “the president for all Americans”. A cautious Trump said she agreed “with everything she said”.

The explosion came soon after CNN’s Anderson Cooper questioned Trump about the 2005 video leaked by the Washington Post. “You bragged you sexually assualted women — do you understand that?”

Trump tried his best to defend his lewd comments. “No that’s not what I said. This was locker room talk. I am not proud of it.”

He then turned to terrorism and “bad things happening” in the world.

The video leaked on Friday sparked a dramatic rebuke of the billionaire, with dozens of Republican leaders saying he should step aside and let his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, lead the GOP ticket.

Clinton said Trump “was not fit to be president and commander in chief”.

“We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to 10… It’s not only women, it’s not only this video… This is who Donald Trump is.”

Trump then accused Bill Clinton of doing much worse than just talking about sexual assault and targeted Hillary Clinton of harassing a rape victim.

This was hours after Trump made a surprise appearance with women who have in the past accused Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual advances. The women later joined the audience.

Trump went on to call Hillary Clinton a “devil” and “liar” with “hate in her heart”. But Clinton stayed calm.

Trump also threatened to use the power of the American government to investigate Clinton and jail her over the private email server saga.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. There has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” Trump thundered.

Clinton was less dominant than in the first debate and less effective in parrying Trump’s attacks in an encounter far more frosty than their first clash.

Clinton hammered Trump for his treatment of the parents of a Muslim solider killed in Iraq, his disparagement of a judge with Mexican heritage and for his mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter.

The Republican accused her of starting the birther claim and asked her to apologise to President Barack Obama. He also mentioned WikiLeaks’ disclosures of internal emails from Democrats.

Trump appeared hassled by the fact that his rival was getting more time to respond and that the moderators were not bringing up issues related to Clinton.

At one point, Trump insisted that Clinton answer the question about healthcare. He insisted that the Affordable Care Act was too expensive and vowed to repeal it.

Asked by a young woman in the audience about Muslims in the US being targeted, Trump said: “She (Clinton) won’t say the name, and Obama won’t say the name, but the name is there: ‘Radical Islamic terror’.”

On his proposal to ban entry of Muslims into the US, the Republican said: “I don’t want to have hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about their values, their love for our country.”

Clinton called out Trump for denying his support for the war in Iraq. Trump interrupted and said he was always against the war in Iraq.

Replying to a voter’s question, whether the candidates will be a devoted president to all people, Trump spoke about African-Americans, the inner cities and Latinos.

He cited a remark Clinton made, saying that half Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables”. Clinton apologised for the remark.

Trump suggested he would align himself with some of America’s enemies, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to fight the Islamic State.

“I don’t like Assad at all but Assad is killing IS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

When Cooper pressed Trump about his early hours Twitter rant against former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, the billionaire deflected and began talking about Clinton and Libya.

He brought up the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Libya, saying Clinton ignored multiple requests for more security from the US ambassador who was killed.

Asked by an undecided voter to find something she admired about Trump, Clinton mentioned his family, who she said had inherited their father’s drive.

Trump admitted to some grudging respect for Clinton’s resilience.

“I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter.”

The debate ended with a handshake that was missing at the outset. In contrast, Bill Clinton and Melania shook hands before the debate started.

According to a CNN/ORC poll, 57 per cent of debate watchers thought Clinton won compared to 34 who thought Trump came out on top.

America

US unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to a new five-decade low of 3.5%, while employers added a modest 136,000 jobs.

The Labor Department says that despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which was down from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose just 2.9% from a year earlier, lower than 3.4% at the beginning of the year.

Hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed, and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Still, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9%, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

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Trump embarrassed by TV channel

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

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New York, Sep 26 : US President Donald Trump was subjected to an embarrassment when the MSNBC news channel cut away from his press conference while he was speaking on the controversy surrounding him over the Ukrainian probe against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump on Wednesday was addressing the press conference against the backdrop of impeachment proceedings announced against him by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following allegations that he put pressure on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to order a probe against Biden whose family has business interests there.

The allegation against Trump came to light because of a whistleblower and a transcript of the conversation between him and Zelensky in July, which has become public.

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

She added that Trump was trying to do it to deflect the attention from his impeachment.

According to the transcript of the telephonic conversation that has gone public, Trump is heard asking Zelensky to “do us a favour”, after the latter expresses gratitude for the military aid the US provided to his country.

Trump’s words of “do us a favour” is seen as a quid pro quo for the American military aid, because of which the impeachment proceedings have been announced.

After Wallace cut the press conference, her guest on the programme, justice and security analyst Matthew Miller, rebuked Trump for saying that Biden and his son had done wrong.

“This story has been looked at and thoroughly debunked by everyone involved,” Miller said, adding the real issue was whether Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”.

Trump is facing problem at a time when he is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

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Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump

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Pyongyang, June 23 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter with “excellent” and “interesting” content from US President Donald Trump, Pyongyang’s state media said on Sunday.

“After reading the letter, the Supreme Leader of the Party, the state and the armed forces said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” the Korean Central News Agency said, referring to its leader.

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” it added.

The KCNA did not disclose when and how the letter was delivered to Kim, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The letter appears to be in response to the one Kim sent to Trump recently in time for the anniversary of their first-ever summit in Singapore last June.

Trump had described Kim’s letter as “beautiful” and “very warm”. He also emphasized that the relationship between them remains strong and that “something will happen that’s going to be very positive”.

The exchange of correspondence between the leaders renewed hopes for a resumption of denuclearization talks which have stalled since the breakdown of their second summit in February.

The summit collapsed as Pyongyang wanted sanctions relief as a corresponding measure in exchange for dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex, while Washington insisted that sanctions should remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons programme.

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