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Despite China’s Objection, Obama meets Dalai Lama at the White House

The Dalai Lama has advocated for a middle way — not asking for independence from China for Tibet, but for more autonomy

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President Barack Obama greets His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House, June 15, 2016
  • President Barack Obama greets the Dalai Lama as an individual who is a leader and an inspiration
  • Earlier, China warned Obama against meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it could damage mutual trust
  • The president reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is a part of China and that the United States does not support Tibetan independence

o video cameras or reporters to document the event.

But afterward a photo emerged, first on the Dalai Lama’s Instagram account and then released by the White House, of the two men facing each other, locked in an embrace that spoke volumes about the warmth of their relationship.

Inan interview with VOA, Myles Caggins, National Security Council spokesman for Asia, said the meeting was personal in nature.

“In this case, personal because the president, as he hosted the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the residence, greets him as an individual who is a leader, who is internationally recognized as a leader for religion and a cultural leader of Tibet. But in contrast, an official visit or a state visit would include the normal trappings of the parade on the South Lawn, potentially a meeting in the Oval Office and a state dinner, potentially.”

Image Source:The Ubyssey

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China warning

Earlier, China warned Obama against meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it could damage mutual trust. China sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Obama refers to the Dalai Lama as “a good friend.” But China fears these meetings between the two send the wrong message to Tibetans.

“If such meeting goes through, it will send a wrong signal to the separatist forces seeking Tibet independence, and it will damage mutual trust and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Wednesday in Beijing.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president has “warm personal feelings” for the Dalai Lama, and thanked him for his letter of condolences to the families of those hurt and killed in Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Earnest said the president also appreciated the spiritual leader’s commitment to nonviolence and his efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

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White House statement

After the meeting, the White House released a statement saying: “The president and the Dalai Lama discussed the situation for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China, and the president emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China. The president lauded the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence, and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ approach.”

The Dalai Lama has advocated for a middle way — not asking for independence from China for Tibet, but for more autonomy.

Asked about more autonomy for Tibet, NSC spokesman Caggins told VOA that the U.S. position on China has not changed.

“During the meeting, it is important to note that the president reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is a part of China and that the United States does not support Tibetan independence. But both leaders, the president and the Dalai Lama, agreed that it is important for the United States and China to have a constructive and productive relationship. It is also important that the Dalai Lama and his representatives have a fruitful dialogue with Chinese authorities.”

There has been no dialogues between the Dalai Lama and China’s central government since 2010 .After the re-election of their prime minister in May, they maintain hope to have talks with China to give Tibet more autonomy can continue.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna(with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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The Great U.S. Government Shutdown

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.

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The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen beyond a chain fence during the partial government shutdown in Washington, Jan. 8, 2019. VOA

By Vishvi Gupta

The partial shutdown of the Government of the United States has now entered Day 31. With as many as 800,000 federal employees furloughed, the entire nation remains in a turmoil due to the longest government shutdown in the history of United States.

The shutdown which started on December 22 of 2018, due to the disagreement of United States Congress and the President Of United States on ‘Border Security Funding’  has followed us well into 2019 and still has bleak chances of ending.

President Donald Trump remains undeterred in his conquest to get the funding for wall, no matter who pays for it, it seems. In a tweet and several different speeches, during the presidential election race of 2016, the then presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that “Mexico will pay for the wall”. However, he now demands almost $5Bn from the taxpayers of the country.

The country’s senate remains at an impasse and the only ones affected? The people.

Thousands of federal employees joined hands in protests and social media to share their stories of how exactly the shutdown is affecting them. Many employees have had to set up Gofundme donation websites to get by or to meet their basic needs. The shutdown led the hastag, ‘#ShutdownStories’ trend on twitter. Even students who rely on free or reduced fee meals at school are impacted. The lunch menus at schools are being revised so as to conserve food and funding.

As the shutdown drags on, it sees many businesses also take a hit. Mohammad Badah, a local falafel street vendors who saw a steep fall in his sales said,” Usually I do in this area, like 60-70 customers, so far I did like 19 customers today.” Badah can now afford to operate only one of his two trucks.

Also Read: U.S. Senate Stays Divided Over Trump’s Immigration Deal

Meanwhile, there is no budging on the democratic or republican side. President Donald Trump proposed a deal to the democrats in which he backs away from a simple demand for border funding and now offers a 3 year extension of the program for refugees and immigrants who came to America illegally as minors, also called ‘Dreamers.’ Democrats, however rejected this deal saying that Donald Trump’s proposal is “unacceptable” and said the president’s proposal was “not a good-faith effort.”

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.