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Trump lashes out in ‘crude outburst’ against migrants

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Washington, Jan 12: US President Donald Trump has reportedly lashed out at immigrants in a foul-mouthed Oval Office outburst, media reports said. A backlash to his latest remarks was swift.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump told lawmakers on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.

The remark was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the BBC said. Trump told lawmakers the US should instead be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.

The White House did not deny the comment, which has been confirmed by other US media.

In Thursday’s meeting, lawmakers were reportedly proposing restoring the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits for certain countries, while offering $1.5bn for a wall that Trump wants built on the US border with Mexico.

Trump’s comments “are further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda”, black Democratic lawmaker Cedric Richmond said.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” a statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

It continued: “Like other countries that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the US through a legal pathway.”

Trump’s remark reportedly came as lawmakers from both parties visited him to propose a bipartisan immigration deal, the BBC said.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin was discussing US temporary residency permits granted to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, the US media said.

Three weeks ago, The New York Times reported that Trump had said Haitians “all have Aids” during a similar June meeting.

Reacting to Trump’s remarks on Thursday, Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democratic lawmaker, tweeted: “I condemn this unforgivable statement and this demeaning of the office of the Presidency.”

Mia Love, a Utah Republican and the only Haitian-American in Congress, demanded Trump apologise for the “unkind, divisive, elitist” comments.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) accused the president of falling “deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia”, the BBC reported.

However, the White House brushed off such criticism.

A Trump official was quoted by CNN as saying: “Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it.”

This week the Trump administration announced it was withdrawing TPS for more than 200,000 people from El Salvador. It means Salvadoreans living in the US for last three decades have until next year to leave, seek lawful residency or face possible deportation.

They were granted provisional US residency after an earthquake devastated the Central American nation in 1991. The State Department said on Monday that much of it has since been repaired.

TPS permits have already been withdrawn from Haitians and Nicaraguans.

With this, hundreds of thousands of migrants face possible deportation from the US, the BBC said.

IANS

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France ditches plans for controversial west coast airport

Activists on the 1,600-hectare rural site say they have developed it into a utopia of organic farming and political debate.

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Edouard Philippe

The French government on Wednesday formally abandoned decades-old plans for a controversial new airport on the west coast that became a site of resistance for environmental activists.

In a keenly awaited announcement, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the divisions unleashed by the proposed new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes near the city of Nantes made it impossible to proceed.

“The project cannot go ahead in a climate of bitter opposition between two sides of the population that are nearly equal in size,” he said, adding: “The project is therefore abandoned.

The decision ends years of debate over a project first mooted in the 1960s — but sets the stage for a possible standoff with environmental activists who have been occupying the airport site for the past decade.

Activists on the 1,600-hectare rural site say they have developed it into a utopia of organic farming and political debate.

Philippe gave them until the spring to leave voluntarily, after which they would be evicted.

“We will put a stop to the no-go zone which has flourished in this area for nearly 10 years,” he said.

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North Korea to send 550-strong delegation to Winter Olympics: South Korea

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New Delhi, Jan 17: South and North Korea began their second high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea.

North Korea and South Korea agree to march together under unified Korea flag at Winter Olympics, said South Korea. North Korea to send a 550-strong delegation to the Winter Olympics – South Korea.

The Winter Olumpic Games will begin on February 9 in the South Korean county of Pyeongchang.

This is the second high-level inter-Korean meeting in little more than a week, after both countries held their first such meeting in two years on January 9, Efe reported.

Both countries agreed to convene future military meetings to avoid further conflicts and to discuss the appointment of a North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang.

The South Korean delegation is led by Deputy Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, while the three-member North Korean delegation is led by Jon Jong-su, vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), an organization in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

The meeting will be carried out “in a calm manner, on the basis of the spirit of mutual respect and understanding,” South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun said.

During the meeting, North Korea is expected to announce its decision on South Korea’s offer to march together during the opening and closing parades of the games, as well as on whether or not North Korea will allow its athletes to officially compete in the events.

However, Pyongyang has yet to respond to the request made by Seoul on January 9 to hold a meeting in mid-February for families whose members were separated by the 1950-1953 Korean Wars.

South Korea’s vice Unification Minister noted that, given the approaching start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, it is very likely that the Wednesday dialogue will focus only on the sports event.

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Goldman Sachs reports 4Q loss on big charge for US tax reform

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New York, Jan 17: Goldman Sachs on Wednesday said it lost $1.93 billion in the fourth quarter, as the bank had to record more than $4 billion in charges related to the new tax law.

Goldman witnessed a net loss of $5.51 a share, as compared with a profit of $2.35 billion, or $5.08 a share, in the same period last year, according to The Washington Post report.

Excluding the one-time charges, the bank gained $5.68 a share, beating analysts’ estimates.

The $4.4bn charge forced Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs into its first quarterly loss since the third quarter of 2011.

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