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US House rejects immigration bill backed by Trump

The vote failed with 121 votes in favour and 301 against. The opposition was from all Democrats and dozens of Republicans, Xinhua reported.

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Washington, June 28 (IANS) The US House of Representatives on Wednesday defeated Republican-drafted immigration bill despite President Donald Trump’s last-minute plea and amid chaos over reunion of separated families who illegally cross the US border.

The vote failed with 121 votes in favour and 301 against. The opposition was from all Democrats and dozens of Republicans, Xinhua reported.

Hours before the vote, Trump made the last-minute push for the legislation on Twitter.

“House Republicans should pass the strong but fair immigration bill, known as goodlatte II, in their afternoon vote today, even though the Dems won’t let it pass in the Senate,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Passage will show that we want strong borders and security while the Dems want open borders = crime. Win!” he added.

However, the second bill, a so-called “moderate” or “comprise” one, won much less Republican votes than the “hardline” bill which failed last week in the House with 193 in favour and 231 against.

Following the failure of the “hardline” bill, House Republican leaders twice delayed the second voting, in hope that Republicans, given more time, would modify the bill again so as to secure 218 votes to pass the legislation.

The failed “hardline” bill would have provided funding for a border wall, ended the diversity visa lottery programme, limited family-based visas, created an agriculture guest worker program requiring employers to use the E-Verify program and allowed for the federal government to cut funding for sanctuary cities. Every Democrat and 41 Republicans voted against it.

Under the “moderate” or “compromise” bill, the Donald Trump government would have stopped the forced migrant family separation, got 25 billion dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and allowed up to 1.8 million Dreamers, the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, to apply for US citizenship.

Both bills were backed by the White House, whose “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration has come under fire home and abroad over the forced separation of children from their parents entering the US illegally.

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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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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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