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Trump will ask SC to overturn new travel-ban ruling

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Washington, July 15, 2017: The US Justice Department said on Friday that it will ask the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that the administration’s definition of close family in allowing exemptions to President Donald Trump’s ban on US entry for residents of six Muslim-majority countries is too narrow.

“(W)e will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the Executive Branch’s duty to protect the nation,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, Efe reported.

Last month, the Supreme Court set aside injunctions issued by federal appellate courts and said that portions of Trump’s March 6 executive order could take effect.

That document barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days.

In allowing the order to take effect, the Supreme Court said that the restrictions could not be applied to people with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States.

Under the Trump administration guidelines, spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, fiances and siblings of those already in the country can be admitted. But grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are excluded.

Thursday’s ruling by the judge in Hawaii struck down those exclusions.

“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” US District Judge Derrick Watson found. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”

Besides expanding the definition of close family, Watson said that the government could not prohibit entry by refugees assured of placement in the United States by recognized refugee agencies.

The judge said that such assurances constituted a bona fide relationship with a US entity.

Sessions, however, said that “the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for that of the Executive branch, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court.”

“The district court has issued decisions that are entrusted to the Executive Branch, undermined national security, delayed necessary action, created confusion, and violated a proper respect for separation of powers,” the attorney general said.

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife charged with fraud

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Jerusalem, June 21: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara on Thursday charged with fraud over alleged misuse of funds at latter’s residence.

Suspicions included the misuse of around $100,000 in official funds for catering services at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, Reuters reported citing the ministry said in a statement.

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Trump signs executive order ending family separations at border

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Donald Trump

Washington, June 21 : US President Donald Trump has bowed to public pressure and signed an executive order promising to “keep families together” in migrant detentions.

Trump reversed his own policy amid international fury over the separation of undocumented parents and children.

He said he had been swayed by images of children who have been taken from parents while they are jailed and prosecuted for illegal border-crossing.

It was not immediately clear when Trump’s order would be implemented.

“It’s about keeping families together,” Trump said at the signing ceremony on Wednesday, reports BBC.

“I did not like the sight of families being separated,” he said, but added the administration would continue its “zero tolerance policy” of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally.

The executive order states that immigrant families will be detained together, except in cases where there are concerns about the child’s welfare, but it is unclear for how long.

Trump’s order also calls for prioritising immigration cases involving detained families.

The President said his wife, Melania, and daughter, Ivanka, who reportedly have been applying pressure on him to drop the policy in recent days, “feel strongly” about ending the practice of separating migrant families.

“I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it,” he said. “We don’t like to see families separated.”

Vice-President Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has emerged as the face of the White House policy, were both present for Wednesday’s order signing.

Republican congressional leader Paul Ryan said the House of Representatives will vote on Thursday “on legislation to keep families together”.

He did not immediately provide details of the bill, but said it resolves the issue of so-called Dreamers, undocumented adult migrants who entered the US as children, “in a very elegant way”.

On Wednesday, American Airlines, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines said they did not want their planes used by the US government to transport the migrant children.

United chief executive Oscar Munoz said: “We want no part of it.”

For days administration officials have insisted they were simply following the law as written and their “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings meant they “have to take the children away”, in the president’s words.

Critics have countered that Mr Trump unilaterally created the situation that produced the heart-rending accounts of children separated from their parents, and he could unilaterally fix it.

By taking executive action, the president is effectively acknowledging they were correct.

Now the fight will probably move to the courts, with legal challenges to the administration’s decision to hold detained families together while their immigration status is adjudicated.

That is more politically hospitable ground for Republicans, who already face challenging mid-term congressional elections.

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Turkey hits US with retaliatory tariffs

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Ankara, June 21 : Turkey on Thursday became the latest country to hit back at the US for its tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Turkey’s Ministry of Economy said that it was imposing tariffs worth $267 million on US goods, targeting items like coal, paper, walnuts, tobacco, rice, whiskey and cars after negotiations with Washington failed to yield meaningful progress, CNN reported.

“Turkey is committed to active, robust and reciprocal trade relations with the US — but with the understanding that fairness cannot be one-sided,” Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said in a statement. “We cannot and will not allow Turkey to be wrongly blamed for America’s economic challenges.”

The US enacted 25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and 10 per cent tariffs on imported aluminium in March. Exemptions were initially given to the EU, Canada and Mexico, but the Trump administration let them lapse at the beginning of the month.

Turkey didn’t receive an exemption.

Later, the EU, Canada and Mexico announced retaliatory tariffs against the US. China imposed tariffs on $3 billion of US products in early April in response to the steel and aluminium measures.

Turkey is the world’s eighth largest steel exporter, according to a report prepared in March by the Department of Commerce. The US was Turkey’s top market for steel in 2017.

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