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Sunday
Jan222017

McCain, Graham to Vote in Favor of Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson 

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. John McCain praised President Donald Trump's cabinet picks and revealed he will vote in favor of Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick to lead the State Department, despite concerns about the nominee's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I will be voting in favor of his nomination," McCain said of Tillerson in an interview Sunday with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

"Listen, this wasn't an easy call. But I also believe that when there's doubt the president, the incoming president, gets the benefit of the doubt, and that's the way I've treated every president that I've had the obligation to vote for or against as a member of the United States Senate."

Sen. John McCain and his fellow Republican foreign policy hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham released a joint statement Sunday supporting Tillerson's nomination.

"After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be secretary of state. Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests," the statement said.

But, another prominent Republican senator has still apparently not made up his mind on Tillerson.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who sharply questioned Tillerson on Russia's involvement in Syria during the confirmation hearing, has not decided whether to vote for Tillerson, according to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, who spoke to Rubio on Friday.

Rubio has met with Tillerson privately since the hearing, the senator's office said. He's also met with Vice President Mike Pence on the subject, according to Corker.

Wihtout Rubio's vote, Tillerson's nomination would not move out of committee. Republican leadership could still hold a full Senate vote and confirm him, especially now that he has McCain and Graham's public support, but it would be an embarrassing bruise for Trump administration.

McCain also praised some of Trump's other Cabinet picks on This Week, saying he has the "utmost confidence" in Trump's national security team, in particular.

"I have the utmost confidence in Gen. Mattis, Gen. Flynn, Gen. Kelly, Dan Coats. I couldn't have picked a better team," he said.

But, the Arizona senator did not have the same praise for the president himself.

Asked by Stephanopoulos if he has the "utmost confidence" in the commander-in-chief, McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, replied, "I don't know because he has made so many comments that are contradictory."

"I think the fact that he's appointed and nominated these outstanding individuals is bound to be an encouraging sign," McCain added. "I trust them, and I believe in them, and I've worked with them over many years.

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Sunday
Jan222017

Millions Reportedly Missing After Gambia's Longtime Leader Flees

iStock/Thinkstock(BANJUL, Gambia) -- More than $11 million is missing from the Gambia's state coffers after the country's longtime leader flew into exile, an adviser to the new president, Adama Barrow, said according to BBC.

The Gambia's leader of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh, had refused to leave the country, but agreed to exit after talks with regional leaders, BBC reports. Jammeh cited "irregularities" in the vote after initially conceding the election to Barrow in a huge upset.

Adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty said to reporters the Gambia's coffers were "virtually empty" ahead of Barrow's arrival to the country, adding that it was "confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia," according to BBC.

Jammeh was criticized by human rights groups for reportedly restricting freedom of the press, calling for anti-gay violence, and for claiming he could cure HIV/AIDS and infertility. Barrow said he would investigate the allegations.

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Sunday
Jan222017

Trump Invites Israeli PM Netanyahu to Washington, Israel Says

RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington next month, the prime minister's office said Sunday, making the Israeli one of the first foreign leaders with whom Trump will have met after taking office.

During a phone call on Sunday, one of Trump's first with a foreign leader since assuming the presidency Friday, Trump and Netanyahu discussed "the nuclear deal with Iran, the peace process with the Palestinians and other issues," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

Trump also invited the Israeli prime minister to visit Washington in February, with a final date to be determined in the coming days, the statement said.

The call was the third Trump has held with a foreign leader since Friday, according to the White House. He previously spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Saturday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to meet with Trump in the Oval Office on Friday -- which would be Trump's first meeting with a foreign leader -- and Pena Nieto is set to meet with Trump at the end of the month.

Netanyahu and former President Barack Obama long had a frosty relationship, but Netanyahu has signaled he looked forward to working with Obama's successor. His office characterized their conversation as "warm."

"There are many issues between us including the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the situation in Syria and the Iranian threat," Netanyahu tweeted Sunday, before the call. "Stopping the Iranian threat, and the threat reflected in the bad nuclear agreement with Iran, continues to be a supreme goal of Israel."

Trump has said he would move the United States' embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital, a move Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors have warned could prove destructive to the peace process.

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Saturday
Jan212017

US Will Not Take Part in Syria Peace Talks in Kazakhstan

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The United States will not send a delegation to Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan, citing "Our presidential inauguration and the immediate demands of the transition," the State Department announced Saturday. However, the United States ambassador to Kazakhstan will be an observer to the talks being sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

"The U.S. Government this week received an invitation from the Government of Kazakhstan to attend the January 23 talks in Astana," said Mark Toner, the acting State Department spokesman. "We welcome and appreciate Kazakhstan’s invitation to participate as an observer.

"Given our presidential inauguration and the immediate demands of the transition, a delegation from Washington will not be attending the Astana conference," Toner said. "The United States will be represented by our Ambassador to Kazakhstan."

Toner added, "The United States is committed to a political resolution to the Syrian crisis through a Syrian-owned process, which can bring about a more representative, peaceful, and united Syria."

Scheduled to begin on Monday, the talks in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana will bring together representatives from the Syrian government and rebels groups. Russia, Turkey and Iran arranged the talks following a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war enabled by the defeat of rebel forces in the northern city of Aleppo. Russian airstrikes and Iranian advisers supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the fight over the city.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet to schedule a vote on Rex Tillerson's nomination to become the next Secretary of State that would lead to a full confirmation vote by the Senate.

For now, Thomas Shannon, a career diplomat and the previous under secretary for political and military affairs, is serving as acting secretary of state.

Last week, then Secretary of State John Kerry had urged the incoming Trump administration to attend the peace talks.

"My hope is the next administration will decide to go," he said. "I think it would be good for them to go."

Kerry told reporters traveling with him in Paris that he hoped the Astana talks would not be a substitute for stalled United Nations-led peace talks being held in Geneva, Switzerland, but would spur their resumption.

Reflecting the complexity of the Syrian Civil War, there is disagreement among the participants in the Astana talks about whether the United States should have participated.

While Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had expressed hope that the U.S. would participate in the talks, Iran opposed any American participation.

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Saturday
Jan212017

Juan 'El Chapo' Guzman Will Soon Face Justice in the US

ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mexican drug lord Juan "El Chapo" Guzman is now in one of the most secure prisons in the U.S. after he was extradited to the U.S. late Thursday.

Guzman, who is a leader of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, is accused of running a "criminal enterprise responsible for importing into the United States and distributing massive amounts of illegal narcotics and for conspiring to murder people who posed a threat to the narcotics enterprise," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officials allege Guzman committed crimes involving drug trafficking spanning over three decades. Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said Friday that Guzman led a "life of crime, violence, death and destruction" and continued to grow his drug empire during his time in prison.

Guzman has escaped from prison twice; once in 2001 and a second time in 2015. He was recaptured in January 2016 and is now behind bars at New York City's Metropolitan Correctional Center, which has housed mobster John Gotti and associates of Osama Bin Laden.

On Friday he pleaded not guilty to the 17-count indictment and is expected back in court next month.


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Saturday
Jan212017

Canadian Protesters Allegedly Barred from Marching

iStock/Thinkstock(LACOLLE, Canada) -- A number of Canadians travelling to the massive women's rights rally in Washington were turned away at the border according to BBC News. Some say they were questioned before being allowed into the country.

Sasha Dyck, who was heading to Washington D.C., told the BBC that US officials stopped him and seven others who were crossing between Quebec and New York state. Dyck alleges he was fingerprinted, photographed, and had his phones confiscated and was asked they be unlocked and was then told to go "back to Canada."

BBC reports Joseph Decunha from Montreal he was turned away at the Lacolle crossing point after he expressed he, his partner, and his friend "were quite vehemently anti-(Trump)."

US Customs and Border Protection told BBC News it was not at liberty to discuss individual cases.

Hundreds of Canadians travelled into the United States to participate in rallies while thousands of others are taking part in companion rallies across Canadian cities.

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Saturday
Jan212017

Marine Le Pen Declares 2017 Nationalist Uprising in Europe

Sean Gallup / Getty Images(KOBLENZ, Germany) -- Leader of the French National Front Marine Le Pen told right-wing politicians in Germany that patriotism is the future of European politics according to a BBC News report.

In attendance were Dutch politician Geert Wilders of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), Frauke Petry of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), Harald Vilimsky of the Freedom Party of Austria and Matteo Salvini of Italy's anti-EU Northern League.

BBC News reports the meeting between right-wing politicians was met by hundreds of protesters.

Le Pen dubbed 2017 the "year of the awakening," a time during which she predicts France, Germany, and the Netherlands will reject the political establishment and elect nationalist and anti-immigrant policies.

Each of those three countries are facing upcoming elections this year. Le Pen is a presidential candidate in France, where current president Francois Hollande will not seek re-election.

She said Britain's vote to leave the European Union in 2016 will have a domino effect across Europe, adding that there will be a "return of nation-states."

Geert Wilders was quoted opening the meeting with the statement, "Yesterday, a new America. Today... a new Europe.

The meeting comes a day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

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Saturday
Jan212017

Hundreds of Women's Marches Planned Worldwide

ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump was sworn into office, tens of thousands of people gathered in the U.S. capital for the Women’s March on Washington.

Outside of Washington, D.C., so-called sister marches are taking place in every state across the nation and in dozens of other countries around the world.

Some 673 sister marches are planned worldwide. Total attendance could surpass 2.5 million, based on online RSVP estimates, according to the Women’s March on Washington website. The marches spanned all 50 U.S. states, several U.S. territories and at least 60 countries across all seven continents.

“It was clear from week one this was going to be a global movement,” said Evvie Harmon, co-founder and global coordinator of the Women’s March on Washington. “It’s like the women of the world were sitting on a powder keg and Donald Trump lit the match.”

Organizers said the sister marches are solidarity events inspired by the Women’s March on Washington and planned by volunteers around the globe. These marches are taking place “as part of a united proactive international stance on women’s equality worldwide,” according to a press release from Women’s March Global.

Sister Marches Across U.S. Cities

Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington urged people around the globe to join or host a sister march if they can’t make it to the U.S. capital. One of the largest is taking place in New York City, where participants will end the march at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan.

In Georgia, thousands are expected to participate in the women’s march in downtown Atlanta this afternoon, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV.

In Massachusetts, organizers anticipated as many as 80,000 participants for the sister march in Boston. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a harsh critic of Trump, is expected to be among the attendees, according to ABC affiliate WCVB.

Leah Charney of Colorado said she’ll be participating along with her family and friends in a sister march planned in Denver.

"For me, it’s about showing up and being counted and being visible," Charney told ABC affiliate KMGH on Friday night while working on her sign for the rally.

The event’s organizers told KMGH the Denver rally isn’t just about women’s rights, but also about supporting all human rights, minorities and other marginalized communities.

Ramona Brant of Charlotte, North Carolina, traveled to Washington, D.C., for the women’s march. But a sister march is also taking place in her hometown Saturday morning.

“We want to be respected and honored in our position in corporate, as mothers and we don’t want to be disrespected by any man anywhere at any time,” Brant told ABC affiliate WSOC.

In Chicago, as many as 75,000 were expected to participate in the march. The organizers said they’ve been in “constant contact” with the Chicago Police Department as well as city officials to ensure a peaceful demonstration.

"It's about more than the election of the president; it's about the mindset which led to his election." organizer Jessica Scheller told ABC affiliate WLS.

Sister Marches Around the Globe

Meanwhile, sister marches took place in South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and even Antarctica, according to organizers.

In Kenya, organizers of the march in Nairobi cited Trump’s election as a threat to human and civil rights.

"The recent elections in the United States have shown how real the threat is to our collective rights and liberties,” the organizers stated on the event’s Facebook page. “We march together for the protection of our rights, our safety, our families, our health and the health of our planet—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our society.”

 In Germany, marchers descended on Berlin, saying they “will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

Gloria Steinem, who addressed the Women’s March on Washington, relayed a message to Americans from the marchers in Germany: “We in Berlin know that walls don’t work.”

 In Czech Republic, hundreds gathered in freezing temperatures for the march in Prague, waving portraits of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and carrying banners that read, "This is just the beginning," "Kindness" and "Love."

"We are worried about the way some politicians talk, especially during the American elections," organizer Johanna Nejedlova told The Associated Press.

In Australia, thousands of people marched in solidarity in Sydney, according to the AP. Organizers stated on the event’s Facebook page that they are marching “to raise our voices in defense of women’s rights and against hatred and bigotry.”

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Friday
Jan202017

Netanyahu, Trudeau, Pope and Other World Leaders React to Inauguration of Donald Trump

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th president of the United States at the Capitol Friday, and leaders from around the world offered well wishes and congratulations to America's new commander in chief.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to his "friend."

The head of the U.K. Independence Party and leader of the Brexit movement, Nigel Farage, had kind words for Trump's inaugural address, tweeting, "A very strong speech by @POTUS. He means it."

However, not everyone was in a congratulatory mood.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took to Twitter to criticize America's new president.

"Speaking of allegiance, Trump? Speaking of greatness? Speaking of success? America was already great and succesful [sic], then you happened!" Fox tweeted.

Fox, who has sparred with Trump on Twitter before, also tweeted, "Let America build bridges and railways in their land. The World will continue to go on building bridges and much more all over the globe."

Pope Francis sent the 45th president of the United States a message of "cordial good wishes" on the day of his inauguration.

"I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide," the pope wrote.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a statement extending his "heartfelt congratulations" to President Trump on being sworn in to office.

“Please accept my best wishes for your great success, as well as for health and happiness of you and your family," the statement said.

He also noted that he's looking forward to meeting with Trump "at the earliest possible occasion."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his congratulations to President Trump in a statement.

“We look forward to working with President Trump, the U.S. Administration, the 115th Congress, and officials at the state and local levels to restore prosperity to the middle class on both sides of the border, and to create a safer and more peaceful world," Trudeau said.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, sent his best wishes to President Trump on Twitter.

 

 

"Best wishes in leading USA to greater achievements in the coming years," he wrote.

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Friday
Jan202017

'Good Luck, America:' Trump's Inauguration in Global Headlines

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The world's eyes are on Washington Friday as Donald Trump is sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States.

From Buenos Aires to Berlin, Trump's likeness can be seen on the front page of newspapers from every corner of the globe.

Some express fear, others express hope. But all will be looking to see how the incoming administration will wield U.S. influence across the world.

Argentina


In the Argentine capital, the Buenos Aires Herald goes big with a large profile shot of Trump and the headline: "Good luck America."

"What was once laughed off and thought of as unthinkable by the overwhelming majority of politicians, pundits, journalists and citizens will become a reality," the Herald's front page reads.

"Take a deep breath, this is really happening."

Austria

Austria's Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung newspaper led with a simple headline: "Change of Power."

Canada

Our northern neighbor's Toronto Star engaged in a bit of wordplay, headlining its Friday edition with "Pomp and Acrimony" beneath a photo of a proud Donald and Melania Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday.

In taking the oath, journalist Daniel Dale wrote, Trump would be "completing this astonishing triumph over the 'haters and losers' who doubted him," and "his devotees ... described as racists and fools by pundits they distrust ... had prevailed, and the country felt Thursday like it was theirs again."

Colombia

Colombian newspaper El Espectador took a more fatalistic tone, using the headline "God Save America" over an image of a grinning Trump pointing at the camera.

An overlaid paragraph reads, in part, "Donald Trump becomes president of the United States today with 37% popularity, the lowest in national history."

France


France's Libération newspaper ran a rather comical photo of Trump disheveled by windy conditions -- his hair and tie billowing behind him.

"Let's go!" the simple headline reads, with a small paragraph stating: "The 45th president of the United States takes the oath Friday in Washington."

Israel

The Jerusalem Post played it straight with a headline that reads: "Donald Trump to become 45th US president today."

Mexico

Vanguardia, a newspaper published in Saltillo, Mexico, features a caricature of a bomb with President Trump's hair, and a headline that reads: "despite everything, an era of fear arrives."

A sub-headline reads, "Trump assumes the presidency of the U.S.: Mexico and the world in uncertainty for new geopolitics."

South Africa


South Africa's Cape Times in Cape Town features a photo of Trump with the headline: "Duck, it's Donald."

Spain

The front page of Madrid's El País newspaper reads, "Trump today assumes the power before a world on alert," and, "worry and uncertainty dominate the oath of office of the 45th president of the United States, a man made on the stages."

A sub-headline reads: "The number one enemy of Mexico."

United Kingdom

Across the pond, The Guardian newspaper features a quote-based headline -- "We have no idea what this guy's gonna do" -- and calls President Trump, "the most disruptive political candidate in modern times."

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