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It is “logical” for Donald Trump to meet the Dalai Lama: says Lobsang Sangay, Tibet’s prime minister in exile

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FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama watches a dance performance on the last day of his teachings in Tawang in the northeastern Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of Tibet’s government in exile said on Wednesday it would be “logical” for Donald Trump to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, since the U.S. president has visited homes of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions on his current international tour.

FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama smiles during a news conference in Hamburg, August 21, 2011. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

The Dalai Lama has met the past four U.S. presidents, greatly angering China, which considers Tibet a renegade province and the spiritual leader a dangerous separatist. He has not yet been invited to meet Trump, who has been courting Beijing’s support over North Korea.

“Donald Trump … has been to all three major sacred places of three major traditions,” Lobsang Sangay, Tibet’s prime minister in exile, said referring to Trump’s visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

“So what is left is Buddhism and his holiness the Dalai Lama is the most prominent Buddhist leaders in the world,” Sangay told the Heritage Foundation think tank on a visit to Washington.

“If he can meet with all leaders of major traditions, I think it’s just logical that he meet with the most prominent Buddhist leader,” he said.

Sangay did not say whether he thought such a meeting likely, but said: “We are Tibetans. We are perennially optimistic.”

Sangay told Reuters earlier this month that the Dalai Lama had planned to visit the United States in April but had delayed the trip until June because a hectic schedule had left him exhausted. He also said Washington was not part of the June itinerary.

A U.S. administration official told Reuters this week it was premature to talk about a meeting between Trump and the Dalai Lama and that the administration’s priority was persuading China to do more to rein in North Korea’s increasingly threatening nuclear and missile program.

On Wednesday, however, Washington risked Beijing’s anger when a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since Trump took office.

Last week China said it had complained to the United States after a U.S. congressional delegation visited the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in India to draw world attention to human rights in Tibet.

The U.S. lawmakers delivered a blunt message to China that they would not relent in their campaign to protect rights in Tibet and would call for legislative and trade steps to press their point.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Bill Trott)

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U.S. President Donald Trump to Prohibit Abortion Referrals by Family Planning Clinics

The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum, May 22, 2018, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, a move certain to be challenged in court by abortion rights supporters.

The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump’s political base.

The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them, and calls the policy a “gag rule.”

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Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. Pixabay

The regulation was published Friday on an HHS website . It’s not official until it appears in the Federal Register and the department said there could be “minor editorial changes.” A department official confirmed it was the final version.

Known as Title X, the family-planning program serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 1.6 million women. The grant program costs taxpayers about $260 million annually.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

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The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump’s political base.Pixabay

Abortion opponents praised the administration’s move.

“We are celebrating the newly finalized Title X rules that will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement. Although federal family planning funds by law cannot be used to pay for abortions, religious conservatives have long argued that the program indirectly subsidizes Planned Parenthood.

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A group representing family planning clinics decried the administration’s decision.

“This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,” Clare Coleman, head of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement. (VOA)