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Trump pushes wall plan in US-Mexico border visit

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WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump warned of murderers and gangsters spreading across the country during a visit to the US-Mexican border Thursday to push his demand for a multi-billion dollar wall.

Trump used the backdrop of the Rio Grande border river at McAllen, Texas, to ramp up what has already turned into a hugely messy political fight with Democratic opponents, resulting in the shutdown of swaths of the US government.

With typical rhetorical flourishes, Trump said that only building more walls along the Mexican border could stop an onslaught of violent crime.

“They just go where there’s no security and you don’t even know the difference between Mexico and the United States,” he told a meeting of border patrol officers.

They have women tied up, they have tape over their mouths, electrical tape.”

“If we had a barrier of any kind, a powerful barrier, whether its steel or concrete…, we would stop it cold,” Trump said.

Opposition Democrats are refusing to approve $5.7 billion in wall funding, saying that overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants do not commit serious crimes and that Trump is mainly promoting the project to satisfy his right-wing base.

Trump said that illegal immigrant crime stretched right up into the north of the country. However, widely respected studies show that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than people born in the United States.

 

 

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Asia

Railway track from Kr. to Peshawar under CPEC

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways has planned to upgrade railway track from Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore in the next five years under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project for better rail communication facilities.
The PR sources told APP on Wednesday that under this plan, the track from Lahore to Peshawar will be dualized so that trains could be run without any interruption and for a safer journey.
The sources said that average 77.10 percent of the track was overage, while 86 percent of Railways bridges were more than 100 years old but all bridges are safe for train operation due to effective maintenance, rehabilitation, and strengthening of these bridges.
The bridges are inspected annually as per schedule and minor repair is carried out departmentally in routine to ensure safety, however, these bridges will also be upgraded under the CPEC, the sources said.

 

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Crime

IS-claimed suicide attack kills 15 in N. Syria

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QAMISHLI: A suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed 15 people including a US serviceman today in the northern Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border.
Nine civilians and five US-backed fighters were among the dead in the attack on a restaurant in the flashpoint city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Rubble littered the outside of the eatery in the city center, footage from a Kurdish news agency showed, and its facade was blackened by the blast.
The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said it was the first such suicide attack in the city against the US-led coalition fighting IS in 10 months. The bombing came as Kurds who control a large swathe of northern Syria rejected a Turkish plan to set up a “security zone” on the Syrian side of the border.

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Politics

Pompeo’s ME tour fails to achieve its goals

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Mike Pompeo arrives in Islamabad

CAIRO: The Middle East tour of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not successful as it has not fully achieved its goals, experts said.

Pompeo on Monday cut short his Middle East tour over a family funeral. “Secretary Pompeo will return to the United States after his meetings in Muscat, Oman,” State  Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Palladino said in an emailed statement. “This curtailment  of travel is required so that the Pompeo family may attend a family funeral.” The U.S. top diplomat’s tour covered Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq,  Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar.

Palladino said Pompeo will look to visit Kuwait at an agreeable time in the near future. “The main goal of the visit is to establish an Arab alliance… there are other minor goals, of course,” Noha Bakir, professor of political sciences with the American University in Cairo, told  Xinhua. Based on that main objective, the countries of the tour were carefully chosen, she said, adding the most important pillar for building that alliance was to bring Qatar back to the Arab alliance.

While in Qatar, Pompeo called for ending the continuing crisis between Qatar and mainly its  Gulf neighbors. “We are all more powerful when we are working together and disputes are limited. When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful,”  Pompeo told reporters in Doha.

“There is no consensus among the Arabs to resolve the Qatari crisis. The priorities of the Arab countries on Iran are also completely different,” Bakir said. Delivering a major speech at the American University in Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo said countries of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance dreams of their peoples if Iran’s regime persists on its current course.

While Pompeo focused on forming an alliance to defy Iran’s influence, the Egyptian Foreign Minister  Sameh Shoukry focused on combating terrorism in all its forms, she said, stressing that Pompeo did not touch upon the Palestinian cause, which is the main priority for Egypt. She explained that Pompeo’s visit wasn’t successful as aspired by the U.S. side, adding that his tour
was met with Arab dissatisfaction in general.

Meanwhile, professor of political sciences with Cairo University, Tariq Fahmy, said Pompeo’s visit has not brought successful results “because the U.S. side wanted only to focus on the political vacuum in Syria and the Arab  region, as well as Qatari crisis.” “The agendas of Arab countries forced Pompeo to get far from his own agenda during his tour,” Fahmy told  Xinhua. “Pompeo came to market the U.S. administration policies as the power that rescues the Arab  region, while the Arabs delivered a message that they can handle their own problems.”

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