The “talks about the talks” have been long underway, with each side seeking to arrive at the US-North Korea summit in the strongest position. The venue for the Singapore event has almost certainly been decided, and officials are apparently buying up rooms in hotels that meet the logistical and security requirements for what may be among the most significant geopolitical encounters since the end of the Cold War. And a month before Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are scheduled to meet, both men are busily engaged shadow boxing and brinksmanship. Last week, North Korea surprised everyone when it cancelled an event with South Korea and threatened to call off its meeting with the US, in what appeared to be a response to US national security adviser John Bolton saying Pyongyang ought to give up all its nuclear weapons as a starting point. Now, in what may be the latest display of diplomatic maneuvering, it has been reported Mr Trump is suddenly having second thoughts about … [Read more...] about Is Donald Trump losing his nerve over the North Korea summit with Kim Jong-un?
Donald trump election results
Venezuela's leftist leader Nicolas Maduro won a new six-year term on Sunday, but his main rivals disavowed the election alleging massive irregularities in a process critics decried as a farce propping up a dictatorship. Victory for the 55-year-old former bus driver, who replaced Hugo Chavez after his death from cancer in 2013, may trigger a new round of western sanctions against the socialist government as it grapples with a ruinous economic crisis. US President Donald Trump's administration is threatening moves against Venezuela's already reeling oil sector. Read more Venezuela blocks opposition candidates from presidential election Venezuela's election board, run by Maduro loyalists, said he took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 million for his closest challenger Henri Falcon, a former governor who broke with an opposition boycott to stand. "They underestimated me," Maduro told cheering supporters on a stage outside Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas as fireworks … [Read more...] about Venezuela election result: Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro wins by landslide in vote criticised as illegitimate
Donald Trump has revealed in his financial disclosure that he reimbursed his personal lawyer for unspecified “expenses”, with no mention of a payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual tryst she said they had. The head of the nation’s ethics office questioned why Mr Trump did not include this in his previous year’s sworn disclosure and passed along his concerns to federal prosecutors. “I am providing both reports to you because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing,” David Apol, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Mr Apol wrote that he considers Mr Trump’s payment to Michael Cohen to be a repayment on a loan and that it was required to be included in Mr Trump’s June 2017 disclosure. Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham that the US president was “fully … [Read more...] about Donald Trump disclosure of lawyer payment raises legal questions
Just before the ceremony to mark the move of the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pastor John Hagee, a leading American evangelical, CEO of a “mega church” in San Antonio, Texas, and big time tele-preacher, predicted that President Trump would, as a result, “historically step into immortality ... He will be remembered for thousands of years for his act of courage.” Nearly right, pastor. For the president is certainly going to be remembered for his decision, and for a long time, but not exactly in the way he had in mind. Indeed for those of a religious disposition, it is quite conceivable to imagine Donald Trump ending up spending thousands of years in an afterlife even warmer and less hospitable than the fires burning today across the occupied territories. When a single act of arrogant diplomacy can, utterly predictably, contribute to dozens of deaths – including, possibly, that of an eight-month-old infant from teargas poisoning … [Read more...] about Donald Trump has ruined any chance of a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict – and the American public knows it
The unexpectedly poor showing of Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, in parliamentary elections has dealt a blow to US influence in the country. It was a poor return for American backing for the Baghdad government’s drive to extirpate Islamic State and regain lost territory. But the bigger loser may be Iran, whose allies in Iraq’s Shia militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces were pushed into second place by Moqtada al-Sadr, the veteran nationalist. Put simply, Sadr believes Iraqis should run Iraqi affairs – not Washington, not Tehran and not their proxies. The pressing question now, for Iraqis and the wider Arab world, is whether the election marks the high watermark of Iranian influence that has grown steadily across the region since the 2003 US invasion. Recent events have blown large holes in the prevailing narrative of an inexorable Iranian advance. In short, have we reached “peak Iran”? Evidence the tide may be turning emerged … [Read more...] about Iraq’s shock election result may be turning point for Iran