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British and French Foreign Ministers Absent in European Union (EU) Special Talks Over Donald Trump

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump's stunning victory Tuesday

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FILE - Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (R) and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (L) attend a ministerial summit to hold discussion on the future of Mosul city, post-Islamic State, in Paris, France, Oct. 20, 2016. VOA
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Nov 13, 2016: The British and French foreign ministers will not participate in special talks with their European Union counterparts Sunday to discuss how to deal with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday on stated policies that include questioning Washington’s commitment to Europe.

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A British Foreign Office spokesman said Boris Johnson would not go to the meeting Sunday but would attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting Monday.

“We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the U.S. election timetable is long established,” the spokesman said. “An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition period and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain.”

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Following his victory, Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May. A Downing 10 Street spokesman said they agreed that the relationship between London and Washington is “very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both.”

Meanwhile, the French news agency AFP is reporting that Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will be “absent for agenda reasons.”

Britain and France will instead be represented by their ambassadors to the EU.

Defense cooperation

Monday, the foreign ministers will discuss plans to boost defense cooperation — a move that Britain had long blocked — including a controversial proposal for a European military headquarters.

In blunt remarks Friday reflecting the shock and concern among some European leaders at the election of Trump, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Trump poses risks for the relationship between the EU and the U.S.

“I believe we’ll have two years of wasted time while Mr. Trump tours a world he doesn’t know,” Juncker said, referring to Trump’s lack of solid foreign policy priorities that has kept much of the world guessing.

During the U.S. election campaign, candidate Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, questioned the principle of collective defense in NATO, and criticized the open border migration policies of some EU nations, among foreign policy issues.

On Wednesday, after Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk invited him to an EU-U.S. summit to discuss issues including terrorism and Ukraine. (VOA)

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Climate Change Not A Hoax: Trump

President Trump signed a declaration Sunday saying the federal government will, for now, pay for 100 percent of the cleanup in Florida

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Climate Change
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump is backing off his claim that climate change is a hoax.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Trump told CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again…I’m not denying climate change, but it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over millions of years.”

Trump has over the years called global warming a hoax and had once called it a Chinese plot aimed at wrecking the U.S. economy.

climate change
People clean up their house that was destro. yed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. VOA

Trump told 60 Minutes he does not know if global waning is manmade, despite the scientific research showing that pollution and human activity is the major contributor. He said he does not want to give “trillions and trillions of dollars” and lose “millions and millions of jobs” to prevent it.

Most scientists link a warming planet with storms that are more intense. Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle last week as the strongest storm to strike the continental United States in nearly 50 years.

Trump said there have been hurricanes that were “far worse” than Michael and said scientists calling for action on climate change have a “very big political agenda.”

Meanwhile, the town of Mexico Beach, Florida was just about wiped off the face of the earth by Hurricane Michael.

“Mexico Beach is devastated,” Florida Governor Rick Scott says. “It’s like a war zone.”

Climate Change
Scenes of devastation in Mexico Beach, Florida in the aftermath for Hurricane Michael. VOA

Michael’s 250 kilometer per hour winds left only a handful of buildings standing. Concrete slabs are left where houses and stores thrived. Only a few trees are left. The main U.S. highway that goes through the town is not drivable.

Mexico Beach police chief Anthony Kelly told VOA’s Spanish Service, “When you come here and see the devastation, it’s hard, it’s emotionally hard.”

“We know each person in the majority of the houses. They know us,” Kelly said. “All these people are close to us. And now we’re going around the neighborhoods making sure that they’re not in any of these houses that are so extremely damaged.”

“Looking in the debris, seeing photos of grandkids, people that we know that have come back here year after year, that’s the emotional side,” he said. “I’ve got officers that this is their first catastrophic event, and it’s hard to explain to them, you know, it’s going to get better, because they’re seeing reality.”

The town’s medical manager, Patricia Cantwell, said, “It’s extremely sad that the devastation has been so rampant throughout the Panhandle” of the state.

“Having lived through Hurricane Andrew in south Florida (in 1992), it’s going to take a while,” she told VOA. “It’s one day at a time. It looks overwhelming to start, but, you know, one day at a time. It’s going to take years to get things back up and running.”

Climate Change
Scenes of devastation in Mexico Beach, Florida in the aftermath for Hurricane Michael.. VOA

Brock Long, the head Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the death toll in Mexico Beach could rise, as rescue workers continue to search the rubble left behind by the storm. It could take another 10 days to compile a damage estimate.

Some physical structures in the town were lifted off their moorings and moved hundreds of meters away by the winds and storm surge from the storm. Other buildings were left in masses of debris, demolished beyond recognition.

Also Read: US First Lady Melania Trump Starts The Final Leg of Her Africa Trip

President Trump signed a declaration Sunday saying the federal government will, for now, pay for 100 percent of the cleanup in Florida, temporarily easing the financial burden from the state. (VOA)