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Trump to slow down US withdrawal from Syria, says top Republican

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Washington, Dec 31: A senior Republican senator has said President Donald Trump has agreed to reevaluate, for now, his plans to immediately withdraw all US troops from Syria as he had promised to finish the job of destroying the Islamic State in the war-torn country.

“I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way… But the goal has always been the same. To be able to leave Syria and make sure the IS never comes back,” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters at the White House after having a lunch with the President on Sunday.

“I think we’re in a pause situation where we are reevaluating what’s the best way to achieve the President’s objective of having people pay more and do more,” said the South Carolina Republican who has been a vocal critic of Trump’s plan for a 30-day troop withdrawal of American troops from Syria.

Talking to CNN after his appearance in the White House driveway, Graham said he didn’t mean to suggest that the President was pausing troop withdrawal altogether. Trump has not reversed his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, he said.

“The pause is to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground.”

The White House did not clarify whether Trump had come to a new determination about the Syria withdrawal plan, which drew widespread criticism from his allies and prompted Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to resign on December 20.

National Security Adviser John Bolton is scheduled to travel to Israel and Turkey early in the new year to discuss the decision with partners in the region.

Graham said that during the President’s surprise trip to Iraq last week, commanders on the ground informed Trump that the IS was not “completely destroyed”, which he said was an “eye-opening” experience for the Commander-in-Chief, CNN reported.

“The President assured me he is going to make sure he gets the job done. He promised to destroy the IS.

“He’s going to keep that promise. We’re not there yet. But as I said today, we’re inside the 10-yard line, and the President understands the need to finish the job,” said the senator.

Graham said he felt “a lot better” after his lunch with the President. “I feel better about Syria than I felt before I had lunch. The President is taking this really seriously. The trip to Iraq was well timed.”

Before meeting Trump on Sunday, Graham had said that withdrawing US troops from Syria could directly result in the deaths of Kurdish people there.

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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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America

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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