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Trump names ex-ambassador John Bolton as new National Security Adviser

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Washington, March 23: US President Donald Trump has named former ambassador and Fox News analyst John Bolton as his new National Security Adviser replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, media reports said.

The President announced the news in a tweet on Thursday, saying that Bolton would take the job starting April 9, making him Trump’s third National Security Adviser in the first 14 months of his presidency, reports The Washington Post.

“I (am) pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job and will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/19,” he tweeted.

Bolton’s appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

Following Trum’s tweet, McMaster said in a statement released by the White House: “After 34 years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service… I am thankful to President Donald Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as National Security Adviser.”

Trump and Bolton have been discussing for weeks how he could replace McMaster, CNN quoted an informed source as saying.

Shortly after the news broke, Bolton said on Fox News that he was not expecting an announcement to be made Thursday afternoon.

According to the source, Trump and Bolton had met earlier on Thursday.

Bolton’s hard edged, hawkish views on issues like North Korea, Iraq and Syria make him a controversial pick especially ahead of a proposed meeting between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Bolton is a fierce North Korea hawk who, in his prolific writings and television commentary, has said that pre-emptive war would likely be the only way to stop North Korea from obtaining the capability to attack the US with a nuclear missile, reports The Washington Post.

Bolton had touted “the legal case for striking North Korea first” in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

However, Bolton, who had dismissed negotiations with North Korea as a waste of time, moderated his views slightly after Trump announced he would sit down with Kim, suggesting that the encounter between the two leaders would be short and largely devoid of traditional diplomacy.

Regarding Iran, Bolton told Fox News in January that Trump should dump the nuclear deal, re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran and work toward an overthrow of the government there.

Bolton had previously served in the George W. Bush administration in a key arms-control job.

IANS

World

67 killed, 126 injured in polling day violence in Afghanistan

The 193 attacks against security forces and polling centres began at around 7 a.m and continued until at least 6 p.m, Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi told a press conference, reports Efe.

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Afghanistan Polls Day Attack
Picture Credit : Swadaya Srikandi @swadayasrikandi

Kabul, Oct 21 (IANS) At least 67 people were killed — 27 civilians, nine members of security forces and 31 insurgents — and 126 injured in 193 attacks carried out throughout Afghanistan by the Taliban, who had threatened to target Saturday’s parliamentary elections, which were held three years late.

The 193 attacks against security forces and polling centres began at around 7 a.m and continued until at least 6 p.m, Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi told a press conference, reports Efe.

The attacks include a suicide blast in Kabul, 76 raids against polling centres throughout the country, a dozen explosions near those polling centres, as well as armed fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

As a result of these attacks, 27 civilians were killed and close to 100 were wounded, while at least nine members of the security forces died and 25 were injured, Ibrahimi said.

In addition, 31 Taliban insurgents were killed and 18 were arrested, he said.

According to the Deputy Interior Minister, the number of attacks on Saturday represent half of those that took place in 2014 during the presidential elections.

Despite the violence, presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansori described the elections as a “success” and a “defeat for terrorists”.

According to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior, authorities deployed 70,000 soldiers and police officers to provide security during Saturday’s election.

The Taliban warned Afghans that they would target all polling booths and urged people against voting.

“Enemy’s polling stations all over the country are under attack by Mujahideen, countrymen must refrain from taking part in this fake process to save their lives and not to become a tool for the implementation of the evil plans of the enemy,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

Another Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed that 400 attacks were carried out, in which “dozens of soldiers and police were killed or injured,” adding that “the elections failed”.

The elections were initially planned to take place in 2015, but were delayed for three years due to security challenges and political and economic instability.

These elections have been seen as a test regarding the state of Afghanistan’s fragile democracy, as well as a trial ahead of the presidential elections set to take place in April 2019.

This was the first time that the Afghan government was responsible for security during an election since NATO ended its combat operations in the country in 2014.

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Kasatkina wins Kremlin Cup title, ends Jabeur’s historic run

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

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Kasatkina jabeur
Picture Credit Twitter : @DKasatkina

Moscow, Oct 20 : Daria Kasatkina of Russia won the Kremlin Cup title on Saturday, prevailing over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and ending Jabeur’s historic run in which she became her country’s first-ever WTA finalist.

Kasatkina, World No. 14 and her country’s highest-ranked player, needed a little over two hours to claim her second WTA trophy and her first on home soil, having lost to Germany’s Julia Gorges in straight sets in the 2017 championship match, reports Efe.

But Saturday’s match looked to be headed in a similar direction as her 24-year-old Tunisian opponent, ranked world No. 101, easily came out on top in the opening set and took a 4-1 lead in the second.

However Kasatkina staged a comeback, and two extremely long breaks in a row sent them into the tie-breaker, which the 22-year-old Russian won.

After a tough third set, Kasatkina outlasted Jabeur and won the Premier-level trophy, becoming one of the few Russian players to do so, alongside Anastasia Myskina (2003-2004), Anna Chakvetadze (2006), Elena Dementieva (2007), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2014) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2015-2016), according to the WTA.

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

IANS

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Second Brexit referendum: Over half a million people march in London

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London, Oct 20 : Over half a million people marched through central London on Saturday calling for a second, final vote on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, protest organizers announced.

Demonstrators assembled at London’s Park Lane before marching en masse towards Parliament Square in a show of force that hoped to bring about a so-called People’s Vote, essentially a second referendum on whether to go ahead with Brexit once a final deal has been drafted, the BBC reported.

Organizers at the People’s Vote HQ said more than 570,000 people had descended on central London, with many coming from across the nation to vent their frustration with the Brexit process. Scotland Yard said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd.

Several well-known British personalities have endorsed the People’s Vote initiative, as have politicians from across the political spectrum, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Khan, who started the march, was among those to speak at Parliament Square, along with representatives from the main political parties.

“What’s clear is that the only options on the table now from the Prime Minister are a bad Brexit deal, or no deal whatsoever. That’s a million miles away from what was promised two-and-a-half years ago,” he said.

Labour’s Lord Adonis, a campaigner for People’s Vote, said: “Brexit’s becoming a dog’s dinner. This week’s fresh chaos and confusion over Brexit negotiations has exposed how even the best deal now available will be a bad one for Britain.”

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon sent a message of support to the rally, saying the Scottish National Party would support a vote that would give the option of staying in the EU.

Richard Tice, founder of Leave Means Leave and former co-chair of Leave.EU, said: “The idea that you should have a second referendum would be incredibly damaging, most of all to the trust in democracy from people up and down this country.”

The protest came at a time when Brexit negotiations were deadlocked over how to maintain a soft border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, once Britain is no longer part of the EU’s single market.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who leads the minority Conservative Party government, had dismissed the possibility of staging a referendum on the terms and conditions of Brexit.

The UK narrowly voted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016. The country is on track to leave in March 2019, with or without a deal.

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