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CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House access restored

Press Trust of India

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Washington: The White House has restored the full press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, less than two weeks after it temporarily suspended them following the journalist’s altercation with President Donald Trump during a news conference.

The Trump administration’s decision came after a judge ordered that Acosta could continue reporting at the White House.

Following the decision, CNN announced to withdraw its lawsuit against the White House.

Announcing its decision on Monday, the White House also issued “rules governing future press conferences”. The new rules are for reporters covering the news conferences of either President Trump or senior administration officials.

“This afternoon we have notified Jim Acosta and CNN that his hard pass has been restored. We have also notified him of certain rules that will govern White House press conferences going forward,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Reacting to the decision restoring his pass, Acosta said he was looking forward to returning to the White House.

“Thanks to everybody for their support. As I said last Friday… let’s get back to work,” tweeted the Chief White House Correspondent of CNN.

Acosta’s hard pass was temporarily suspended after his argument with Trump during a news conference on November 7.

CNN challenged the decision in the court. After a federal district court overruled the White House’s order, Acosta’s hard pass was temporarily restored on Friday.

As per the new White House guidelines, a reporter can ask a single question and permission for a follow up will be subject to the discretion of the individual holding the news conference.

Any violation of the rule might result in revocation of the press credentials, Sanders said, as she announced restoration of full access to Acosta.

Listing out the three new rules, Sanders said a journalist will ask a single question and then yield the floor to other journalists.

Secondly, at the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted.

Finally, “yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner, Sanders said.

“Failure to abide by any of rules may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass,” she warned.

Shortly after the White House’s decision, CNN announced to withdraw its lawsuit against the Trump administration.


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International

In rebuke to Trump, US Senate blames Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder

Agencies

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Washington: The US Senate delivered a rare double rebuke to President Donald Trump on Saudi Arabia , voting to end US military support for the war in Yemen and blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The votes were largely symbolic because to become law the resolutions would have to pass the House of Representatives, whose Republican leaders have blocked any legislation intended to rebuke the Saudis.

In a historic move, Senators voted 56-41 to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s most dire human crisis, with the country on the brink of famine.

It was the first time either chamber of Congress had backed a resolution to withdraw US forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act. That law, passed in 1973, limits the president’s ability to commit US forces to potential hostilities without congressional approval.

Seven of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Senate Democrats to back the measure.

Immediately after the Yemen vote, the Senate backed a resolution blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder and insisting that Saudi Arabia hold accountable anyone responsible for his death.

Khashoggi, a US resident who was a columnist for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. The Senate vote, which was unanimous, puts pressure on House leaders to allow a vote on the Khashoggi resolution this month, before Congress adjourns for the year.

“Unanimously, the United States Senate has said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is a strong statement. I think it speaks to the values that we hold dear,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and sponsor of the resolution.

Trump has said he wants Washington to stand by the Saudi government and the prince, despite a CIA assessment it was likely he ordered Khashoggi’s killing. He promised to veto the war powers resolution.

Opponents of the resolution are reluctant to take any action to disrupt the strategic US relationship with Saudi Arabia, seen as an essential counterweight in the Middle East to Iran, arch-enemy of close US ally Israel.

Administration officials also see Saudi support as a linchpin for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan yet to be unveiled by the Trump administration. And they have argued that ending US support could complicate Yemen peace talks.

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US to counter China, Russia’s influence in Africa

Agencies

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WASHINGTON: The United States plans to counter the rapidly expanding economic and political influence of China and Russia in Africa, where the two nations use corrupt and predatory business practices, US national security adviser John Bolton said.

The United States’ No 1 priority will be developing economic ties with the region to create opportunities for American businesses and protect the independence of African countries, as well as US national security interests, he said in prepared remarks.

“Great-power competitors, namely China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa,” Bolton said. “They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.”

Bolton’s speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, comes as US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, leaders of the world’s two largest economies, seek to resolve trade disputes that have roiled global markets and created economic uncertainty.

“China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands. Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption,” Bolton said in his remarks.

Bolton had equally harsh words for Russia. “Across the continent, Russia advances its political and economic relationships with little regard for the rule of law or accountable and transparent governance,” he said.

He accused Moscow of selling arms and energy in exchange for votes at the United Nations, “votes that keep strongmen in power, undermine peace and security, and run counter to the best interests of the African people”. Bolton said the “predatory practices” used by China and Russia stunt economic growth in African and threaten its nations’ economic independence.

China’s development policies in Africa have been a concern for Washington as the United States seeks to ramp up development finance in the face of Chinas global ambitions.

The head of the US Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC) said in July that China is saddling poor nations with unsustainable debt through large-scale infrastructure projects that are not economically viable.

Bolton contrasted China’s “bait and switch” policies in Africa to the American approach. “The way we do business is much more straightforward,” he said.

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4 dead, 43 injured after high-speed train crashes into overpass in Turkey

Agencies

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ANKARA: At least four persons died and over 43 injured after a high-speed train crashed into an overpass in Turkish capital Ankara, reported the country’s media.

A video footage uploaded by Posta Gazetesi, a Turkish daily newspaper, showed mangled metal remains of the train. Emergency workers were seen rescuing people from the accident site.

The accident took place at the overpass at the Marsandiz train station, to the west of Ankara at around 6:30 am (9 am IST) as the train was travelling between Ankara and the central Turkish province of Konya.

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