Archives 19th March 2017

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‘Donald Trump’s administration is preparing a deal to sell a big arms package to Taiwan so the island can defend itself in case of an attack from China, US officials have said.

The deal, which is bound to be designed to anger Beijing, could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles.

This comes as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in China on Saturday for what was anticipated to be a potentially uncomfortable visit.

China has been angered by the Trump administration’s repeated calls to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea and exercise more control over its neighbour.

The deal is much bigger than one that was considered by the Obama administration but never went ahead and sources told Reuters it is likely to top the $1bn mark.’

Read more: Trump challenge to China: White House preparing big arms sales to Taiwan, sources say

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‘President Donald Trump has said Germany owes Nato “vast sums of money” and should pay the United States more for defending it.

He made the statement in a series of tweets from his Mar-a-Lago base in Florida on Saturday morning.

Mr Trump, after a video appeared to show him ignoring Ms Merkel’s request to shake hands at a photo opportunity, said: “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

The US has some 35,000 service personnel stationed in Germany, according to US military figures.’

Read more: Donald Trump says Germany owes US and Nato ‘vast sums of money’ for defence

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‘A former CIA officer responsible for previously peddling false allegations played a prime part in the fake claim that Barack Obama secretly asked GCHQ to wiretap Donald Trump, The Independent has learned.

Larry C Johnson, who made bogus charges that Michelle Obama made a racist speech against white people and that former Secretary of State John Kerry had raped women while serving in Vietnam, has emerged as one of the key figures behind what has become an international diplomatic confrontation between the US and UK.

On 6 March, the week after Mr Trump first accused Mr Obama of being responsible for the wiretap, Mr Johnson “revealed” in an interview with Russian state sponsored network Russia Today that there was a conspiracy between US intelligence and “Britain’s own GHCQ (sic)” to derail Donald Trump’s election campaign.’

Read more: Man behind Michelle Obama and John Kerry hoaxes emerges at centre of GCHQ row

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‘Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he would approve the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey “without any hesitation” as he drummed up support for the upcoming constitutional referendum.

“I believe, God willing, that after the April 16 vote, the parliament will do the necessary thing concerning your demands for capital punishment. As for me, I will approve it without any hesitation,” he said at a Martyrs’ Memorial Day rally, commemorating the Ottoman Empire’s victory in the battle of Gallipoli in 1915.’

Read more: ‘Without any hesitation’: Erdogan vows to reinstate death penalty

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‘The £1  million police investigation into allegations that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile is being wound up amid claims it has found no evidence to justify tarnishing the former prime minister’s reputation.

Private investigators hired by police to help conduct the inquiry have been told contracts are not being renewed, according to sources.

The inquiry, codenamed Operation Conifer, will be closed in the coming weeks but the report on its findings will remain confidential.’

Read more: Police wind up Sir Edward Heath sex abuse probe

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‘The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has condemned the UN for revoking a report accusing Israel of imposing an apartheid regime on Palestinians.

“Instead of succumbing to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censured or intimidated by external parties, the UN should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible,” said PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi on Saturday.

On Friday, a senior United Nations official, Jordanian Rima Khalaf, resigned due to coercive measures used against her to withdraw the UN report which was taken down from UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) website.

Ashrawi stated that the report was “a step in the right direction” which “highlights the true reality on the ground which is one of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and military occupation.”’

Read more: PLO condemns UN for removing report accusing Israel of apartheid

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‘Israel used a local Amnesty International branch as a front for the foreign ministry in the late 1960s and 1970s, according to an exclusive report by Haaretz, based on official documents authenticated and translated by the Israeli news outlet.

The documents reveal how some heads of Amnesty International Israel were allegedly in regular contact with the Foreign Ministry from the late 1960s to the mid -1970s, reporting on their activity in real time, consulting with officials and taking instructions from them.

Haaretz obtained the documents from the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research and say they show how Israel tried to influence Amnesty’s activity from within.’

Read more: Israel turned ‘local Amnesty branch into a foreign ministry front’ — report

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‘More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for George Osborne to either stand down as an MP or resign as editor of the London Evening Standard.

Mr Osborne has attracted criticism after it was announced on Friday that he would be taking over from Sarah Sands as editor in May.

The petition, named ‘George Osborne MP – Pick a job’, was set up on site 38 Degrees and has gathered almost 135,000 signatures.’

Read more: More than 100,000 people sign petition calling for George Osborne to either resign from his new role as editor of the London Evening Standard or stand down as an MP 

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‘The BBC was last night dragged into a new fakery row after a documentary about Australian aborigines ‘ravaged by alcohol addiction’ misled viewers by pretending to show a ‘party scene’ which was actually a wake.

An episode of Hidden Australia presented by Reggie Yates showed mourners having a few drinks and some food after the death of a friend.

But to fit with the show’s agenda, producers described it as a ‘party scene’ after they panicked when they realised they didn’t have enough footage of drinking.

The BBC has apologised for ‘misleading’ viewers and taken the episode Black in the Outback offline.

It has also banned any more shows made by Sundog Pictures which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s 31-year-old son Sam, reports The Sun.’

Read more: BBC in new fakery row as show made by Richard Branson’s son’s firm showed ‘partying alcohol-ravaged Aborigines’ who were actually at a WAKE

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