Tuesday December 12, 2017
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Campaign says, Trump Believes Obama was Born in US

Trump and Clinton both held campaign events on Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Laconia Middle School, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Source: VOA
  • The US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s campaign office in a statement, praised Trump for his dedication to prove President Obama’s citizenship and bringing closure to the issue
  • Trump, who has always raised questions against the Obama administration in their 8-year term, is not the only one, Hillary Clinton, also raised an issue on this in her failed 2008 campaign for president
  • Clinton has, in the past, had denied the claims that it was her campaign that started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – or, at least his campaign – admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.

The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.

“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”

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Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.”

She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.

Clinton urged voters to “conclusively” stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.

While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer.”

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The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.

Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”

Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.

Dueling campaign events

Trump and Clinton held competing for campaign events Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college campus, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history.

“It’s great to be back,” Clinton told an audience in Greensboro, North Carolina. She admitted that she tried to “power through” her illness before realizing it did not work and that she needed to stay home and rest.

“I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go before election day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”

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But Clinton said she considers herself lucky to be able to afford time off if she gets sick. She said millions of Americans have no backup if they fall ill and are just one paycheck away from losing their homes or facing other catastrophes.

She said she is running for president to make life better for children and their families.

“Every child, no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.”

Later, Clinton appeared before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, saying she would send Congress comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. She said her plan would include a path toward citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared on a television talk show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz Thursday and presented a letter from his doctors proclaiming him to be healthy after he took a physical exam last week.

“We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health,” the campaign said, “and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States.”

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Trump, who is known to be fond of fast food, admitted to Oz that he takes drugs to treat high cholesterol.

He told the doctor that just like many other Americans, he wants to lose weight. Trump is 1.9 meters tall, (6 foot 3 inches) and weighs 107 kilograms (236 pounds). He is overweight by medical standards.

But it is Trump who has suggested Hillary Clinton does not have the strength and stamina to be president.

Clinton mocked the way Trump disclosed his medical condition by appearing on a daytime TV talk show, calling him a “showman.”

If the 70-year-old Trump wins the November 8 election, he would be the oldest to be elected U.S. president, while Clinton would be the second oldest. She turns 69 on October 26.

A new New York Times/CBS News poll of likely voters shows Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck at 42 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Trump has been steadily gaining ground on Clinton in the polls recently, and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Trump edging out Clinton in the key political battleground states of Florida and Ohio. (VOA)

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    US elections this year are taking more horrendous turns by the day. The fact that both of these candidates are finally standing in elections is still unbelievable,

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Over 7,000 people granted National Verification Cards (NVC) in Rakhine State of Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi has prioritized three main tasks for Rakhine - repatriation of refugees who have crossed over to Bangladesh and providing humanitarian assistance effectively; resettlement and rehabilitation; and bringing development and lasting peace to the region

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Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia.

Myanmar, October 29, 2017 : More than 7,000 people have been granted national verification cards (NVC) in Myanmar’s Rakhine since an authentication process started on October 1, authorities said on Sunday.

The process is one of the recommendations proposed by an advisory commission on the state, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, reports Xinhua news agency.

Using biometric methods for the national identity system, the process is being carried out in areas where stability returned to normalcy, U Aung Min, director of the Rakhine State Immigration and Population Department, said.

National verification process is the first step toward scrutinizing citizenship in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Law, the officer said, urging local people to hold national verification cards as long as they live in Myanmar under the 1949 and 1951 Union Citizenship Acts.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has formed nine private sector task forces to join the mechanism of Union Enterprises for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) in Rakhine, chaired by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

ALSO READ UN Report on Rohingya Hunger Crisis Suspended on Order of Myanmar Government

The newly established mechanism aims to allow the government and all local and international organizations to work in all sectors and all strata of society for the development of the state.

Suu Kyi prioritised three main tasks for Rakhine – repatriation of refugees who have crossed over to Bangladesh and providing humanitarian assistance effectively; resettlement and rehabilitation; and bringing development and lasting peace to the region.

The government is also ready to implement a national verification and repatriation process in accordance with agreed criteria set out in a joint statement between foreign ministries of Myanmar and Bangladesh in 1992. (IANS)

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US-North Korea Tensions: Are we on the brink of Destruction?

The US is the only country on Earth, which has committed the gruesome act of using nuclear bombs against humanity. Towards the end of World War II, the then American President Harry S. Truman ordered Japan to surrender, or, “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

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Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un
Leaders of United States of America and North Korea. Salil Gewali

– by Salil Gewali

Are we on the brink of destruction? Are our precious lives worthless in the hands of two lunatics? Can Mother Earth withstand another holocaust-this time a full-scale destruction? Will sanity prevail in those two demented heads?

Answers to these dreadful questions lie in Washington and Pyongyang. We, like the rest of the inhabitants in the lap of Mother Earth, can only be the dumb spectators. If the dreaded catastrophe befalls, it will be beyond our means to prevent, and beyond our means to survive. Yes, a series of a dreadful missile is being blasted off from the soil of North Korea too frequently. And it is duly matched with the more alarming thunders by the US President Donald Trump. It is frightful to imagine when these two capricious men will be losing their sensible judgment and start acting against the norms of humanity.

The US is the only country on Earth, which has committed the gruesome act of using nuclear bombs against humanity. Towards the end of World War II, the then American President Harry S. Truman ordered Japan to surrender, or, “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” He followed up his ultimatum by dropping nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and the 9th of August, 1945, killing around 200,000 people (Wikipedia).

This gruesome murder of innocent people can be attributed to the American arrogance of power, and affirmation of their destructive capacity. It has been termed as a war crime on humanity and a manifestation of state terrorism. Opponents of this kind of state terrorism argue that the American bombing was immoral and militarily unnecessary. The U.S. still justifies similar horrendous action against any nation, which does not subserve their interests. President Donald Trump’s shocking and outrageous utterances are extensions of the U.S. state behavior. It is frightful to imagine when this vacillating individual will act on his shocking threat of “fire and fury,” as his predecessor did (Article).

On the other hand, why does Kim Jong-un harbor a boundless grudge against the U.S.? Why is he inexhaustibly hostile to the U.S.? Why does Korean People’s Army plan to strike the U.S island of Guam and trigger a grievous conflict? Why does Kim provoke President Donald Trump for the deadliest conflict in history?

ALSO READ: Las Vegas Massacre Begs the Question: Who Regulates Gun Selling?

Actually, the root cause of this conflict can be traced back to more than half-century. The conflict centers on the Korean War of 1950-53. The 38th parallel divided Korean Peninsula into two in 1948: the South Korea supported by the United States, and the North Korea supported by the then Soviet Union. The infamous Korean War broke out in the year 1950, the South Korea supported by the United States and its allies, and the North Korea supported by the then Soviet Union and China. Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and the then dictator of North Korea fought this gruesome war against America and its allies with the support of the then Soviet Union and China. The War lasted till 1953, injuring or killing an estimated three million Koreans, ten percent of its overall population. This background left Kim Jong-un a wounded dictator. He has been planning a U.S. attack since 2013 (Amstrong). Recently, Pyongyang celebrated the anniversary of the war’s flare-up as “the day of struggle against U.S. imperialism.” (News, Conflict explained).

North Korea is estimated to have 60 nuclear weapons and it has the capability to produce at least six additional nuclear bombs every year. Their intercontinental ballistic missiles could travel about 10,400km putting almost the whole world within its range. North Korea claims it can mount nuclear warheads on its ballistic missiles. In September 2017, North Korea detonated its deadliest hydrogen bomb with an estimated yield of about 100 kilotons. This caused an earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitudes. The tremor was felt in China, about 400km away from the test site. It is worrying to learn that this H-bomb could be 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped by the U.S. air (article)force on Hiroshima in World War II (News, North Korea testing nuclear weapons).

Experts estimate the casualties of a U.S. – North Korea conflict could be a minimum of one million. A nuclear attack by North Korea can decimate Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York. The U.S.’s anti –ICBM systems may defend the country from a usual test. But, experts opine, on the face of a sudden multiple ICBM’s assaults, the horrifying result could be unpredictable. Of course, the U.S.’s and its allies’ military assets stationed all over the world, including at striking distances could decimate North Korea in seconds. That could not justify the irreparable loss the U.S. would be inflicted upon (News, U.S.- North Korea conflict).

President Donald Trump and Dictator Kim Jong Un must introspect with all seriousness. They must exercise strategic restraint. They must avoid a potential flashpoint. They must think of a world outside their egomania. They must introspect on the devastating consequences of their protracted antagonism.  They must understand military provocations, militant statements. Crossing swords will not solve problems of this magnitude. So, they must listen to the reason and display the right statesmanship which the world’s citizens expect. They must display their compassion and exercise their prudence. They have never been mandated to hurt humankind and to injure the Earth crust.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali. 

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Supports Releasing Russia-linked Advertisements

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Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F, in Paris. voa

Washington, October 12: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she “absolutely” supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Sandberg said the company is “working on transparency” following the revelation last month that a group with alleged ties to the Russian government ran $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook promoting “divisive” causes like Black Lives Matter.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” she said during the interview with Axios’s Mike Allen.

Later Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer is set to meet with Congressional investigators who are looking into what role the advertisements which began running in 2015 and continued through this year may have played in the 2016 presidential election.

The $100,000 worth of ads represent a very small fraction of the total $2.3 billion spent by, and on behalf of, President Donald Trump and losing-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaigns during the election.

Multiple congressional investigations have been launched, seeking to determine what effect alleged Russian meddling may have played in the election.

In addition, Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is conducting a criminal probe, including whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the election season. Trump has denied working with the Russians.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks “it’s important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people.”

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content. She said the company is also using “machine learning and automation” to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

She defined fake news as “things that are false hoaxes” and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because “a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves” and “when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” she said.

Hundreds of fake accounts were used to distribute the Russia-linked advertisements, Sandberg said. But had those ads been posted by legitimate users, “we would have let them run,” she said.(VOA)