Death toll in Stockholm attack climbs to 4; police make arrest

At least 15 injured as driver ploughs truck into crowd in Swedish capital; authorities have one person in detention

Source: Death toll in Stockholm attack climbs to 4; police make arrest

Why Israelis are happy about Trump’s missile strike — and why they should be wary

Trump ordered the attack on the airfield in northern Syria believed to be where a sarin attack was launched that killed at least 72 civilians, including many children

Source: Why Israelis are happy about Trump’s missile strike — and why they should be wary

With 59 cruise missiles, US sends message to the world: We’re back

While Israel, Saudis, Syrian rebels delight at the attack on Assad’s Shayrat air base, one airstrike does not make for a new foreign policy

Source: With 59 cruise missiles, US sends message to the world: We’re back

President’s Trump And Xi: Had Very Frank, Candid, Positive Discussions At Summit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Palm Beach, Florida (CNN) President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping established a new framework for high-level negotiations on a range of issues and pledged to make progress on trade negotiations within the next 100 days during meetings here Thursday and Friday, top US officials said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touted the first summit between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies as a success and said Trump and Xi enjoyed “very frank, very candid” discussions that were “very positive.” The officials signaled that the trading relationship between the two countries and North Korea’s nuclear program were at the top of the agenda during the meetings, which took place here over 24 hours at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The meetings, which were overshadowed by Trump’s launch of an airstrike against a Syrian government target during the summit, did not yield any concrete accomplishments beyond pledges of increased cooperation and new frameworks for dialogue.
Tillerson, who briefed reporters alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the conclusion of the summit, also said Trump said China needs to make changes to its economy in order to “level the playing field for American workers, stressing repeatedly the need for reciprocal market access.”
“President Trump noted the challenges caused by Chinese government intervention in its economy and raised serious concerns,” Tillerson said.
Mnuchin said the discussions focused on creating a “more balanced economic relationship, specifically on trade.”
All three Cabinet secretaries, though, used diplomatic language to describe the trading imbalance between the two countries, avoiding the hard-nosed rhetoric Trump has used for years in railing against the multibillion dollar US trade deficit with China. Trump has accused China of “raping” the US and argued that it has engaged in trade abuses to gain an advantage over the US.
The two leaders also agreed on the “urgency of the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program” and agreed to work together to resolve the issue “peacefully,” Tillerson said.
“The two sides noted the urgency of the threat of North Korea’s weapons program, reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and committed to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions,” Tillerson said. “They agreed to increase cooperation and work with the international community to convince the [North Korea] to peacefully resolve the issue and abandon its illicit weapons programs.”
Discussions between Trump and Xi over North Korea came days after Trump warned that the US was prepared to act unilaterally to stop North Korea’s nuclear program from advancing further should China be unwilling to use its leverage over Pyongyang.
The discussions also came as Trump launched a strike against a Syrian government air base as retaliation for its recent chemical weapons attack against a rebel stronghold, which killed civilians, including children. Some experts interpreted the strike as a warning to North Korea that the US is prepared to act militarily to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Trump informed Xi of the strike as they finished eating dinner together on Friday, just as the US-launched cruise missiles struck their targets.
Tillerson said Xi told Trump that he “understood that such a response was necessary when people are killing children” and expressed “an appreciation” to Trump for informing him of the number of missiles that were launched and explaining the rationale behind the strike.

West Virginia Legislature Votes To Legalize Medical Marijuana ‘As Soon As Possible’

 

MPP Blog


WV Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted: 07 Apr 2017 12:34 PM PDT

 West Virginia is on the verge of becoming the next state with an effective medical marijuana law!

The bill received final approval in the West Virginia Legislature on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice. He has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and is expected to sign the bill into law, making West Virginia the 29th state to adopt an effective medical marijuana law.

SB 386, titled the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, charges the Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries. Patients with specifically listed qualifying medical conditions will be allowed to use extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not marijuana in flower or leaf form. This differs from the original version of the bill and the medical marijuana programs in most other states. A summary of SB 386 is available at http://bit.ly/2nbUAq3.

MPP issued the following statement in a press release:

“Some of the House amendments to the bill are concerning, but it still has the potential to provide relief to thousands of seriously ill WestVirginians,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “We commend the Legislature for passing this compassionate and much-needed legislation, and we encourage Gov. Justice to sign it into law.

“This will be an important and, in some cases, life-saving program,” Simon said. “It is critical that the state implement it promptly. We are committed to working with officials to make sure the program is as effective as possible and to get it up and running in a timely fashion. Many patients cannot afford to wait much longer.

The post WV Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

Poem: For The Love Of My Woman

For the love of my woman

I would do most anything

She brought forth the fruit

Of our love, ignoring the pain

Her heart is so tender

Like the touch of her hand

Balancing the teaching of our child,

Tutor, Mommy and friend

O Lord, please grant me to be worthy

Of the love of this your Angel

You have sent me from Your home

Lord, please grant me the wisdom,

Knowledge, strength, good sense and love

To be the man, teacher and Daddy

To the offspring of our love

O Lord, thank you for your grace

Kindness and tender mercy

Of this woman whom I love

Thank you o Lord for sending me

Your Angel adorned in your love

I pray I be found worthy in your eyes Lord,

Of the love of this woman, my sweetheart, my bride

Lightning Facts: (Besides The Fact That It Hurts)

Lightning Facts

 

Lightning is pretty in the sky at night

It flutters and flashes from the heavens on high

A power from God only an atheist could deny

The beauty is awesome, the power, a fright

 

Like the fingers of God stretched across our domain

The thunder adjoins like the clapping of God’s hands

When the lightning strikes close

It will scare the hell out of a mortal man

 

Do not seek shelter from the beauty

Underneath of a tree

If you feel the hairs of your back stand high

Fall on your face and pray that you will not soon be fried

 

Please take it from me, your brother and friend

If one of God’s fingers touches you

And you are blessed to survive the fright

You’ll never again stand in the open, enjoying the sight.

 

Trump Officials Defend Syria Strikes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Trump officials defend Syria strikes, say they were in ‘vital national interest’

Haley: U.S. airstrikes on Syria were a ‘very measured step’
 
 
At the United Nations on April 7, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended America’s actions in Syria, whereas ambassadors from Syria and Russia called the airstrikes “aggression,” and urged the U.S. to seek a political solution to Syria’s civil war. (Reuters)
April 7 at 4:53 PM
The Trump administration on Friday defended its strikes against Syrian military targets overnight, while Russia and Syria slammed the attacks and warned they would provoke more terrorism and instability in the region.From the United Nations to Capitol Hill to the Pentagon, U.S. officials said the attacks were justified in targeting the Shayrat air base that was used to launch a chemical weapons attack that killed scores of men, women and children in Syria’s Idlib province Tuesday.

“It is in our vital national interest to prevent the use and spread of chemical weapons,” the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told the U.N. Security Council during a special meeting on the strikes. She added that she had warned the council on Wednesday that the United States might act alone.

“Assad did this because he thought he could get away with it,” Haley said of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “He thought he could get away with it because he knew Russia would have his back. That changed last night.”

But Russia condemned the strikes against its ally in Damascus and said it was suspending an agreement to minimize the risk of in-flight incidents between U.S. and Russian aircraft operating over Syria.

President Vladi­mir Putin’s spokesman said the risk of confrontation between warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition and Russia in the skies over Syria has “significantly increased” after President Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed more than 70 civilians.

U.S. military officials said they warned the Russians in advance that they were not the target of the missile attacks launched early Friday from the USS Ross and USS Porter, and that Russian forces did not attempt to use their advanced air-defense systems in Syria to stop the U.S. missiles.

The two countries have traded information about flights by a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State and Russian planes operating in Syria in support of the Assad government, to avoid accidents and misunderstandings, an effort known as “deconfliction.” The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday it was suspending the pact effective at midnight, because it sees the U.S. strike “as a grave violation of the memorandum.”

U.S. military officials said they continued to communicate with the Russians before the deadline, including after the attack.

“There’s someone who is on the other end who is talking to us,” a senior U.S. military official said Friday.

U.S. launches missile strikes in response to Syrian chemical attack

Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe explains why President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military airfield on April 6 and what this means for the fight against the Islamic State. (Sarah Parnass, Julio Negron/The Washington Post)

But the Kremlin’s decision to suspend the 2015 memorandum of understanding on the air operations immediately ratcheted up tensions further, even as Russian officials hoped the strike against Assad’s forces would not further sour U.S.-Russian relations already in a deep chill.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Moscow next week in what was to be an attempt to reset relations with Moscow and lay out U.S. positions on a variety of issues, including Ukraine and suspected attempts by Russia to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. Now, however, the prospects for the meeting have been overshadowed by the fallout from the strikes, which Russia’s U.N. envoy called an “illegitimate action by the United States.”

“The consequences of this for regional and international stability could be extremely serious,” Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said during the U.N. Security Council debate.

“The U.S. has often talked about the need to combat international terrorism,” Safronkov added, yet it attacked the Syrian air force, which he claimed is leading that fight in Syria.

“It’s not difficult to imagine how much the spirits of terrorists have been raised by this action from the United States,” he said.

And Syria’s representative, Deputy Ambassador Mounzer Mounzer, called the United States and its allies, Britain and France, “the three colonialists” who, he said, pursue hypocritical ends in the Middle East.

The Russian government and some critics in the United States have questioned whether it is clear that the Syrians launched chemical weapons, rather than the suspected nerve agent being dispersed by other means such as a conventional bomb hitting a chemical storage facility on the ground. But U.S. military officials said they have high confidence that they know what happened.

“We know the routes that the aircraft took, and we know these aircraft were overhead at the time of the attack,” one senior U.S. military official said of the chemical weapons strike Tuesday.

The Pentagon released images Friday that it said showed the blast site where the Syrian bomb carrying a chemical weapon, likely sarin, detonated on Tuesday. Military officials said the staining on the road around the blast site crater is indicative of a chemical weapons attack. It was launched about 6:50 a.m., and a Russian-made aircraft piloted either by Syrians or Russians carried out an airstrike later in the day on a nearby hospital where many of the victims were taken for treatment, military officials said.

Senior U.S. military officials said they are investigating whether the Russian military participated in any recent chemical weapons strikes against civilians in Syria. But the officials said they do not yet have any information suggesting that the Russians did so.

The Syrian regime has increasingly faced pressure from opposition forces and was in danger of losing control of Hama air base in northwestern Syria, the officials said. The installation is believed to be used as both a base for Syrian helicopters and as a manufacturing facility for barrel bombs.

On March 25, a chlorine attack was launched in Hama, and a second chemical weapons attack of an undisclosed kind of gas was launched March 30, one senior U.S. military official said. That escalated to the attack Tuesday, in which the Syrians launched their largest chemical weapons attack since 2013, he said.

“This escalatory pattern of using industrial chemicals, to using suspected chemical munitions, to verified chemical munitions, caused us obviously great concern about the direction this was going,” the official said.

In Congress, lawmakers called for a response to the chemical weapons attack that could include punitive measures against Russia, Assad’s chief sponsor in his war effort.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that he would look favorably on a proposal to step up sanctions against Russia, Iran and others who support the Assad regime’s war effort in Syria — a measure that passed in the House last year but was never taken up in the Senate.

Putin has been supplying Assad’s army with warplanes and other reinforcements that the United States believes have been used in attacks on Syrian civilians.

But McConnell deferred to the Trump administration as to whether those sanctions would be necessary — unless bipartisan support for such a move in the Senate is considerable.

“If they [the administration] feel they need additional sanctions, or we can come up with something that seems to enjoy bipartisan support, I’d be open to it,” McConnell said. “The Russians are not out friend.”

China-US Relations Should Bring More Benefits To People: Xi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

China-US relations should bring more benefits to people: Xi

VISITING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on China and the United States to bring the two peoples more benefits as the world’s two biggest economies develop ties.

Addressing a welcome banquet hosted by US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, Xi said he and Trump held good talks earlier in the afternoon, reaching important consensus for the development of China-US ties.

The two countries are willing to expand cooperation in trade and investment, diplomacy and security, law enforcement and cyber security, cultural and people-to-people exchanges on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Xi.

He also urged the two countries to manage differences and address sensitive issues in a constructive way.

During the speech, Xi expressed his readiness to lead, together with President Trump, people who have good wishes and passion to upgrade China-US relations.

Trump congratulated Xi on his achievements in leading China’s development, and the international respect Xi earned in the process.

Trump said he had a good discussion with Xi in their first meeting, exchanged opinions on a wide array of topics, and established a warm personal rapport.

Xi arrived in the southeastern US coastal town of Palm Beach on Thursday afternoon, starting his first meeting with Trump in a bid to push forward China-US relations from a new starting point.

The two leaders exchanged in-depth views with each other on major global and regional issues of common concern. They are to further their discussion on Friday.

Xi Says Ready To Boost China-US Ties From New Starting Point With Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

HOME » NATION

Xi says ready to boost China-US ties from new starting point with Trump

CHINESE President Xi Jinping said here Thursday that he is ready to work with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to push forward China-US relations from a new starting point.

While meeting with Trump at the latter’s Florida resort of Mar-a-Lago, Xi said there are “a thousand reasons to make the China-US relationship work, and no reason to break it.”

Since the normalization of China-US relations 45 years ago, the bilateral relationship, even though experiencing ups and downs, has made historic progress and brought enormous and pragmatic benefits to the two peoples, Xi said.

The Chinese president said it takes political resolve and historical commitments from leaders of both countries to enhance the bilateral relations in the 45 years to come.

Xi also invited Trump to pay a state visit to China in 2017.

Xi said he has maintained frequent contacts with Trump through phones and letters for some time, and is glad to meet Trump here as his guest.

A sound bilateral relationship will benefit not only the two countries and peoples, but also the world at large, he stressed.

He added that cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States, saying that the two countries are capable of becoming great cooperative partners.

The Chinese president also underlined the role of four newly-established high-level mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in such areas as diplomacy and security, economy, law enforcement and cyber security, as well as social and people-to-people exchanges.

Xi urged the two countries to set up a cooperative priority list for early harvest, advance negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty, and explore the pragmatic cooperation in infrastructure construction and energy, among other areas.

He also said the two sides should properly handle sensitive issues, manage and control differences in a constructive manner, and strengthen communication and coordination in major international and regional affairs.

China and the United States should expand their cooperation in addressing global challenges, such as non-proliferation and the fight against cross-border crimes, Xi said.

Xi called on the two counties to strengthen communication and coordination in such multilateral mechanisms as the United Nations, the Group of 20 and APEC, so as to jointly safeguard world peace, stability and prosperity.

For his part, Trump accepted the invitation for a state visit to China with pleasure, and hoped to make the trip at an early date.

The United States and China bear heavy responsibilities as major countries in the world, he said, adding that he is full of expectations for the meeting and hopes to establish a sound working relationship with Xi for the greater development of bilateral relations.

The two heads of state also informed each other of their current priorities in domestic and diplomatic agenda, and exchanged views on regional hot-button issues.

Upon their arrival at Mar-a-Lago, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were greeted by Trump and US First Lady Melania.

Before the in-depth, friendly and long-time conversation between Xi and Trump, the two couples also enjoyed the singing of a traditional Chinese ballad and the recitation of Chinese ancient poems by Trump’s grandchildren.

Xi arrived in the southeastern US coastal town of Palm Beach earlier in the day for the first meeting with Trump, in a bid to chart the course of bilateral ties in a new era.

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