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Fight radical Islam, not Muslims: Republicans to Trump

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Washington: Republican presidential candidates joined issue with frontrunner Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from coming to the US, with Senator Ted Cruz citing the example of India to assert all Muslims were not jihadists.

“I understand why Donald made that proposal. I introduced legislation in the Senate that I believe is more narrowly focused at the actual threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism,” he said participating in the final Republican debate of 2015 among nine top candidates on Tuesday night.

Asked if he disagreed with Trump because he was too broad, Cruz quipped amid laughter: “Well, you know, I’m reminded of what FDR’s grandfather said. He said ‘All horse thieves are Democrats, but not all Democrats are horse thieves’.

“In this instance, there are millions of peaceful Muslims across the world, in countries like India, where there are not the problems we are seeing in nations that are controlled — have territory controlled by Al Qaeda or ISIS,” he said.

“And we should direct at the problem, focus on the problem, and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. It’s not a war on a faith; it’s a war on a political and theocratic ideology that seeks to murder us,” Cruz added.

In the debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Trump defended his proposals to ban non-American Muslims from coming to the US, ban refugees fleeing ISIS, deport 11 million illegal immigrants and wall off America’s southern border.

“We are not talking about isolation; we are talking about security,” he said.

“We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security. Our country is out of control.”

Asked about his earlier comments calling Trump “unhinged”, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said: “Donald, you know, is great at the one-liners.”

“But he’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president. He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe,” he declared.

Trump was quick to hit back, saying: “Jeb doesn’t really believe I’m unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It’s been a total disaster. Nobody cares. And, frankly, I’m the most solid person up here.”

Like Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio too declined to attack Trump outright and said: “We must deal with this threat of radical Islamists, especially from ISIS.”

Trump also reiterated his strategy to cut off the ISIS’ recruiting methods on social media, which he argued would involve collaboration with the Silicon Valley and limiting internet access.

Trump’s suggestion prompted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to ask “if you are going to close the internet, realise America what that entails. That entails getting rid of the First Amendment. Okay. No small feat.”

He added that some of Trump’s proposals for fighting terrorism “would defy every norm that is American”.

Trump dismissed his rival’s attacks with a wave of his hand saying:

“These are people that want to kill us, folks. And you’re objecting to us infiltrating their conversations? I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

Earlier, in the undercard debate of bottom four candidates, Senator Lindsey Graham too rebuked Trump for his controversial proposal to ban Muslims as a “coup” for ISIS.

Former New York governor George Pataki said Trump’s proposal was “unconstitutional and it is wrong”.

Senator Rick Santorum called Trump’s idea “not the right proposal” and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee described the ban as “impractical”.(IANS)

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
FILE IMAGE- Donald Trump

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS