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Will Not Bend in Wall Funding Demand: Donald Trump

Democratic leaders call the idea of a wall an immoral wasteful pipe dream.

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Trump not declaring emergency 'right now'. VOA

Another work week begins in the U.S. Monday – but not for hundreds of thousands of federal employees forced to stay home because of the government shutdown.

Hundreds of thousands of others will be on the job this week, but will not get a paycheck.

President Donald Trump said Sunday he can “relate” to the hardship of not getting paid. But he is telling federal workers to “make adjustments” because he said he will not bend in his demand for $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration.

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Visitors take their pictures at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. VOA

Congressional Democrats refuse to include money for a wall in the federal budget, with the standoff having prompted the Trump administration to order the partial shutdown.

Trump said Sunday he could make a deal with Democratic leaders “in 20 minutes if they want to. If they don’t want to, it’s (the shutdown is) going to go on for a long time.”

He also said the barrier along the southern border could be a fence made of steel instead of a wall made of concrete if that will make people happier.

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A border patrol office inside his vehicle guards the border fence at the U.S. side of San Diego, Calif., as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 2, 2019. VOA

But Republican Senator Susan Collins called the argument over whether the wall is steel or concrete “bizarre” and says reopening the government must be Congress’ top priority.

“I’ve never thought that shutdowns are an appropriate means of trying to achieve any kind of solution. This isn’t a matter of one side or the other caving in. It’s a matter of getting to a compromise and that is a sign of strength,” Collins told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Trump says national security is his top priority and claims many federal workers are glad to give up their paychecks for a wall to stop drugs, terrorists and criminal gangs from crossing into the county from Mexico.

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The Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum is seen shuttered during the partial government shutdown, Jan. 4, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Trump says he is considering declaring a national emergency which would allow him to build a wall without congressional approval – a move some Democrats say would be challenged in the courts.

“Look, if [President] Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border,” Congressman Adam Schiff said on CNN.

Also Read: U.S. And China Hold Fresh Trade Talks

Democratic leaders call the idea of a wall an immoral wasteful pipe dream. They say they are interested in border security too, but believe there are better and more tangible ways toward that end. (VOA)

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Devendra Fadnavis Sworn-in as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister

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Chief Minister of Maharashtra taking oath
Hon Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of Chief Minister of Maharashtra to Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy CM to Shri Ajit Pawar.

In a stunning political development, Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari on Saturday morning administered the oath of office to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister.

The two were sworn-in at a function in the Raj Bhavan held around 8 a.m. in the presence of a few BJP and NCP leaders, and other government officials.

Soon afterwards, Fadnavis said that the Governor would give them a letter instructing when to prove the new government’s majority on the floor of the Assembly.

He added that the cabinet would be expanded at a later date.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed his best wishes to Fadnavis for taking over as the CM for a second consecutive term, and to Pawar on his appointment as Dy.CM.

A letter was issued from Union Home Ministry simultaneously that said that President’s Rule was lifted from Maharashtra.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis taking oath.

Speaking to the media, Fadnavis said that after the elections, the Shiv Sena which had secured a clear majority in alliance with BJP rejected the public mandate and was engaged in forming the government with some other parties necessitating President’s Rule in Maharashtra.

Since it did not appear possible for those three parties to form a ‘khichdi’ (hotch-potch’) government and in order to provide a stable government to the state the decision was taken.

“Along with Ajit Pawar and support of others, we submitted a list to the Governor who discussed the issue with the centre to conclude that a viable government could be formed,” Fadnavis said.

Accordingly, after discussing with the Centre, the Governor invited Fadnavis and Pawar to form the government which was sworn-in.

ALSO READ: Terrorist Safe Havens Should Be Eliminated: Rajnath Singh

On his part, Ajit Pawar said that giving the state a stable government was the need of the hour which did not appear to be happening.

“I was tired of the continuous negotiations going on and so decided to go with Fadnavis and give a stable government to the state,” Pawar said. (IANS)