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Trump Gets the Royal Treatment with State Visit to the United Kingdom

U.S. President Donald Trump is in Britain for a visit that includes meeting with the royal family

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Trump, Royal Treatment, United Kingdom
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (2L), U.S. President Donald Trump (L), First Lady Melania Trump (C), Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2R) and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, June 3, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump is in Britain for a visit that includes meeting with the royal family, a state dinner and talks with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

The day full of pomp and circumstance began with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth greeting Trump and his wife Melania after they arrived at Buckingham Palace by helicopter Monday. After a welcoming ceremony that included a 41-gun salute, the Trumps had a private lunch with the queen and a tour of the palace art gallery.

Trump, Royal Treatment, United Kingdom

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, left, pose for a photo with Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall prior to afternoon tea at Clarence House, in London, June 3, 2019. VOA

The rest of the day included inspecting the Guard of Honor formed by the Grenadier Guards, a tour of historic Westminster Abbey, and tea with Prince Charles at his London home, Clarence House.

But the highlight of the day was the white-tie-and-tiaras state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Besides the queen and her husband Prince Philip, other royals in attendance included Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

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Also at the dinner were Trump’s four adult children — Donald Trump Jr.; Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner; Eric Trump and his wife, Lara; and Tiffany Trump.

Trump said in this toast that the liberation of millions from tyranny in World War II “forever sealed” the bond between Britain and the United States.

Trump, Royal Treatment, United Kingdom

U.S President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania and Britain’s Prince Andrew, second left, places a wreath on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during a tour of Westminster Abbey in central London, June 3, 2019. VOA

In her toast, the queen said, “Tonight, we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come.”

Noticeably absent from the Trumps’ day was Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the American-born wife of Prince Harry who is on maternity leave after giving birth to a son last month. She had been critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Before leaving Washington, Trump said his trip would be “very interesting” and that he thinks the United States and Britain have an opportunity to work out a “very big trade deal” in the near future.

Trump wades into Brexit debate

His visit comes as Britain is in the midst of political turmoil, as May is scheduled to resign on Friday after failing to complete Britain’s exit from the European Union.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth review items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, June 3, 2019. VOA

That process will be inherited by her successor, with no clear path to a resolution among sharply divided parties.

Trump has publicly backed former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, and told reporters late Sunday he may meet with Johnson and pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage while he is in London.

‘Stone, cold, loser’

What is certainly not on his agenda is a meeting with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who wrote in The Observer newspaper that welcoming Trump for a state visit is “un-British.” He cited Trump’s sharing of tweets from a “British far-right racist group,” the president’s rejection of scientific evidence of climate change, and Trump “trying to interfere shamelessly” in the race to replace May.

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When asked if he would be open to meeting with Khan, Trump said Sunday, “No, I don’t think much of him.”

Upon landing in London, Trump continued his attack on Khan, calling him a “stone cold loser” who “has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom.”

Trump’s trip will also include D-Day commemoration ceremonies in both Britain and France, and a stop in Ireland. (VOA)

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Trump to Pursue Higher Sales Age for Vaping Devices: ‘An Age Limit of 21 or So’

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details

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Trump, Sales, Vaping
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Nov. 8, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details.

“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House.

Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one-third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21.

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FILE – A woman buys refills for her Juul at a smoke shop in New York, Dec. 20, 2018. VOA

A federal law raising the purchase age would require congressional action.

Administration officials were widely expected to release plans this week for removing virtually all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Those products are blamed for soaring rates of underage use by U.S. teenagers.

However, no details have yet appeared, leading vaping critics to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Trump resisted any specifics on the scope of the restrictions.

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“We’re talking about the age, we’re talking about flavors, we’re also talking about keeping people working — there are some pretty good aspects,” Trump said.

Mint flavor

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other sweet vaping flavors have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users.

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FILE – A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019. VOA

On Thursday, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, announced it would voluntarily pull its mint-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. That decision followed new research that Juul’s mint is the top choice for many high school students who vape.

With the removal of mint, Juul only sells two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Vaping critics say menthol must be a part of the flavor ban to prevent teens who currently use mint from switching over.

‘Tobacco 21’ law

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Juul and other tobacco companies have lobbied in support of a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The effort also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes and other products is clear: Most underage teens who use e-cigarettes or tobacco get it from older friends. Raising the minimum age to 21 is expected to limit the supply of those products in U.S. schools.

Delaying access to cigarettes is also expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.

Still, anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason young people use e-cigarettes. (VOA)