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Trump to welcome May as US-UK relation enters new era

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Washington, Jan 27, 2017: US President Donald Trump will on Friday welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May, first foreign leader to visit the Oval Office.

Both the new US President and the British Premier, who took office in July last year, have strong political incentives, CNN reported.

May has told Britons their country will be a robust global trading power once it exits the European Union, and a free-trade deal with the US is the most important pillar of that plan.

Trump also seems interested in talking up a trade deal with Britain.

The envisioned agreement with Britain is exactly the kind of bilateral pact the Trump administration says is the model for US trade policy going forward.

However, he previewed the visit by griping that Democrats have yet to confirm his Commerce Secretary pick, Wilbur Ross.

“I’m meeting the Prime Minister tomorrow (Friday), as you know. Great Britain … I don’t have my Commerce Secretary — they want to talk trade. So, I’ll have to handle it myself. Which is okay,” he told Republican lawmakers in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Trump’s need for a successful outcome became more acute on Thursday when a spat with Mexico over his vow to build a border wall caused President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a visit to the White House.

May will be in the Oval Office exactly seven days after Trump was inaugurated. It is being seen by her entourage as a sign of the new President’s respect for Britain.

May will use the visit to stress that though Britain is leaving Europe and Trump is suspicious of US attachments abroad, the two nations can still combine to be a force that can shape the world.

“As we rediscover our confidence together — as you renew your nation just as we renew ours — we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to renew the ‘special relationship’ for this new age,” May told GOP lawmakers on Thursday in Philadelphia, her first US stop.

“We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.”

The British Prime Minister will also have the benefit of the advice of former President Barack Obama, who urged her to develop a close relationship with Trump so that she and other centre-right world leaders could be a moderating influence on him, said a former Obama administration official and a British official familiar with the conversations.

Trump and May also have their share of disagreements. Her visit will be the first test of some of Trump’s most controversial views on foreign policy.

Trump’s statements that NATO is obsolete and he wants to improve relations with Russia that has been testing the borders of post-Cold War Europe have triggered alarm on the other side of the Atlantic.

According to the CNN, the no-nonsense Prime Minister is making clear that while she plans to forge a close relationship with Trump, she will not hesitate to speak her mind.

“I am not afraid to speak frankly to the President of the US,” May said in the parliament on Wednesday. “I am able to do that because we have this special relationship.”

Britain’s calls for all members to meet their military spending target of two per cent of GDP, may allow her government to become a point of liaison between states in the western alliance and the new President, who has frequently groused that US allies have not done enough to pay for their own defence.

Trump backed the British exit from the EU and hopes more countries follow suit — in direct contravention of decades of US foreign policy that saw stability in a united Europe.

May did not back Brexit, but in the political carnage that followed the referendum, she found herself Prime Minister and must now manage the most volatile political turbulence in western Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

IANS

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Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving officially ends

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Saudi Women Driving

Riyadh, June 24 : Saudi women can legally get behind the wheel of a car for the first time Sunday as the Kingdom lifts its decades-old ban on women driving.

The change was announced last September and Saudi Arabia issued the first licences to women earlier this month, BBC reported on Sunday.

It was the only country left in the world where women could not drive and families had to hire private chauffeurs for female relatives.

However, the move comes amid an intensified crackdown on activists who campaigned for the right to drive.

At least eight women’s rights activists are being detained and could face trial in a counter-terrorism court and long prison sentences for their activism, human rights group Amnesty says.

They include Loujain al-Hathloul, a well-known figure in the campaign for women’s driving rights.

Amnesty has also called for wider reforms in Saudi Arabia, where women remain subject to male guardianship laws.

Human rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for years to allow women to drive.

Dozens of women were arrested for driving in Riyadh in 1990 and some Saudi women began posting videos of themselves at the wheel in 2008, and between 2011 and 2014.

Thousands of women could soon take to the roads.

“It is a historic moment for every Saudi woman,” Saudi television presenter said.

She said she was behind the wheel minutes after the end of the driving ban at midnight local time (21:00 GMT Saturday).

“Those days of waiting long hours for a driver are over,” said pharmacy student Hatoun bin Dakhil, 21. “We no longer need a man.”

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President of Zimbabwe survives ‘assassination attempt’ in Bulawayo

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Cairo, June 24:Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived an assassination attempt when he was addressing thousands at his ruling ZANU-PF party election campaign rally in the city of Bulawayo on Saturday.

The Zimbabwean president said he narrowly survived an attempt on his life after a explosion at a party rally that injured two of his vice-presidents and several party officials.

He said an object “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”.

In a message on Twitter, Mnangagwa called the explosion a “senseless act of violence”.

“The campaign has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections,” he wrote.

Egypt condemns attack

Egypt has condemned the attack on a rally of Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he was addressing an electoral campaign, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement on Saturday expressed Egypt’s solidarity “with the Zimbabwean government and people to achieve security and stability in the country”.

“Egypt is comfort with the failure of such a sinful attack and the survival of the Zimbabwean president,” said the statement.

Earlier on Saturday, Egypt condemned a failed attempt to “assassinate” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a mass rally in the capital Addis Ababa, which left at least three people dead and more than 160 injured.

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South Korean former PM Kim Jong-pil dies at 92

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

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PM Kim Jong-pil

Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Former South Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil died here on Saturday at the age of 92 while being taken to a hospital.

Kim, considered among the most influential politicians in the country in previous decades, served as Prime Minister on two occasions, between 1971 and 1975, and between 1998 and 2000, Yonhap agency reported.

Born in 1926, Kim graduated from the Korea Military Academy and played an important role in the 1961 military coup led by former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country with an iron fist until his assassination in 1979.

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

Besides holding government posts, the influential and conservative politician served as lawmaker on nine occasions until his retirement in 2004.

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