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Trump hosts Australian PM for lavish WH state dinner

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Washington, Sep 21 US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania hosted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny, to a lavish state dinner in the White House.

The dinner on Friday night was hosted outdoors in the iconic Rose Garden decorated with a carpet and circular and rectangular tables for the guests.

The menu included ravioli with Reggiano cream and sauteed vegetables. The second course had crunchy parsley, fennel ‘mousseline’ (savoury mousse), pumpkin and zucchini flowers, and garlic ‘rouille’ (sauce), reports Efe news.

Apple pie with calvados ice cream was served for dessert, paired with American sparkling wines.

According to Melania Trump’s office, the menu highlighted “the lush, late summer season across the vast lands of America”.

It said, “pays homage to Australia’s special blend of culinary adaptations from its various cultures, not unlike the diverse food traditions of the US”.

The US First Lady, known for her tasteful fashion choices, opted for a J. Mendel green foam gown for the evening with transparent sleeves and a high neck.

The ceremony included Marine band performances of the national anthem of both countries. The entertainment part also featured musical groups from the US Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Morrison is the second world leader to be hosted for a state dinner during the nearly three years of Trump administration. French President Emmanuel Macron was feted last year in April.

The day began with the traditional welcome ceremony for Morrison’s state visit in the South Garden of the White House.

“The Trump administration is proud to carry on the traditional military arrival ceremony, which has been part of our nation’s history for centuries,” Melania’s office noted,

Nearly 500 members of the US Armed Forces from the five military branches were present on the South Lawn for the “Review of the Troops”.

Those invited to attend the arrival ceremony included the President’s Cabinet, Members of Congress, military families, and guests of the Australian Embassy.

Trump and Morrison later held a meeting and a joint press conference.

World

Guterres urges avoiding actions raising tension on India-China border

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, May 27 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is watching the rising border tensions between India and China and has urged both countries not to do anything to heighten it.

His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday: “We are obviously looking at the situation and we would urge all the parties involved to avoid any action that would make the situation more tense.”

Asked at his daily briefing about US President Donald Trump’s offer to “mediate or arbitrate” the dispute between the two Asian giants, he said: “That would be for the parties involved to decide who they would want to mediate. This is not for us to opine.”

Indian and Chinese troops are in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector in Ladakh, where China’s People’s Liberation Army has reportedly moved two brigades.

Trump had tweeted on Wednesday, “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!”

This was Trump’s latest attempt to project himself as an international statesman by inserting himself into disputes that India is embroiled in.

He has offered to mediate or arbitrate between India and Pakistan and even claimed that Prime Minister had asked him to.

India has denied that such a request was ever made.

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India

US offers to mediate between China, India on border row

The offer for arbitration came a day after both China and Pakistan issued blatant threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir, early Tuesday.

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Donald Trump

New Delhi/Washington, May 27 : The US on Wednesday revealed that it has offered to mediate in the ongoing standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

In his morning tweet, US President Donald Trump said that the White House has “informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute.”

Though China has been aggressive against India at the border in the eastern sector in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, its latest offensive at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in Ladakh has resulted in Indian and Chinese soldiers locked in a face-off in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.

The offer for arbitration came a day after both China and Pakistan issued blatant threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir, early Tuesday.

On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua, saying “It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war” and “to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions.” His statement was preceded by a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by 6.6 per cent.

China’s close ally, Pakistan expressed similar views threatening war. Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his second visit in a month, to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday, said “Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge disputed status, including any political-cum-military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might,” threatening that “disturbing strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences”.

“Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations,” he warned.

Both China and Pakistan which have occupied portions of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have aggressively opposed India’s bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories last year.

Though China has already built heavy infrastructure on the occupied territory, it is now suddenly objecting to the infrastructure development work that India has been carrying out on its side of the LAC.

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Disaster

Global COVID-19 cases cross 5.6 mn: Johns Hopkins University

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,955), France (28,533), Spain (27,117), and Brazil (24,512).

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COVID-19 cases

Washington, May 27 : The overall number of global coronavirus cases have crossed 5.6 million, while the death toll increased to 350,876, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday evening, the total number of cases stood at 5,609,079, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is also reaching a grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Currently, the country has 1,681,418 confirmed cases and 98,929 deaths, both tallies accounting for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 391,222 infections.

Meanwhile, the UK ranked second after the US with 37,130 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,955), France (28,533), Spain (27,117), and Brazil (24,512).

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