Trump blasts French President Emmanuel Macron at NATO

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Trump blasts French President Emmanuel Macron at NATO meeting planned to show unity

NATO Summit

President Trump during his meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in London on Tuesday.
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump lit into French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, criticizing comments the French leader made about NATO as “insulting” “very, very nasty,” and “very disrespectful.”

Trump’s comments came hours before he was scheduled to meet with Macron at the start of a two-day leaders conference of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that is supposed to stress unity for an alliance that is marking its 70th anniversary.

While Trump targeted Macron’s comments that questioned NATO’s effectiveness — something he has also done — he suggested that his greater ire stemmed from Macron’s threat to levy a 3% tax on tech companies, including American giants Facebook, Google and Amazon, a topic he and Macron have been at odds over for much of this year.

“If anybody’s going to take advantage of the American companies it’s going to be us,” Trump said. “It’s not going to be France.”

On another international economic issue, Trump continued the slow walk-back of his statement from last week that the U.S. and China were close to resolving their trade war.

“I have no deadline,” Trump said, suggesting that a new trade deal with the Chinese might not come until after next year’s election. “The China trade deal is dependent on one thing: Do I want to make it?” he said.

Trump has made a habit of clashing publicly with allies and breaking diplomatic norms during international conferences, which factored into NATO officials’ decision to keep this year’s leaders meeting short.

Trump arrived in London late Monday evening and is scheduled to depart on Wednesday.

Trump answered questions for more than 50 minutes with reporters during his initial meeting here with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, at the Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. ambassador in the United Kingdom, located in Regent’s Park.

As Trump held forth on a variety of issues including impeachment, Russia, China trade and North Korean missile tests, Stoltenberg mostly sat watching, occasionally interjecting a comment about the importance of unity.

In addition to NATO officials, British political figures and candidates in next week’s parliamentary elections have also worried Trump would interfere in the campaign during his visit. Some conservatives here fear that Trump’s association with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party leader, could hurt Johnson with British voters.

Trump said he would stay out of the election, but praised Johnson and insisted the two would be meeting, even though he does not have a one-on-one with the British leader on his public schedule.

“I stay out of it,” Trump said. “I think Boris is very capable, and I think he’ll do a good job.”

Trump also said he “can work with anybody” when asked about Jeremy Corbyn, the Labor Party leader who is Johnson’s chief opponent.

Macron had stirred controversy last month, worrying about NATO’s “brain death” in an interview with the Economist.

Ironically, the comments were spurred in large part by Trump’s “America First” agenda and his overall go-it-alone approach in Syria and other global hot spots that have concerned European allies about America’s reliability.

Trump called NATO “obsolete” during his campaign for president. But on Tuesday, he cast himself as the alliance’s defender, blaming Macron as an outlier while touting his own efforts to prod allies to increase the size of their defense budgets.

“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” Trump said. “We benefit the least….That’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

He said the United States is helping Europe protect against a foe “that may or may not be a foe,” referring to Russia. Trump took credit for pushing NATO, which was founded to counter what was then the Soviet Union, to broaden its focus to other threats.

“There are other foes out there also,” he said, further de-emphasizing Russian aggression.

Macron has tried more than other European leaders to befriend and flatter Trump. But like other allies, he has been frustrated by Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal as well as his fights over trade. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on wine and other French products in retaliation for France’s tech tax.

The public clash with an ally is hardly unusual for Trump, who has flouted diplomatic norms observed by his predecessors. During the same session, Trump also attacked domestic foes, something prior presidents have usually resisted while on foreign soil.

“In Germany, they like Obama. The reason they like Obama because Obama gave the ship away. He allowed them to take everything,” Trump said of his predecessor. “They may not like me because I’m representing us, and I represent us strong. President Obama did not represent us strong.”

“He gave everything away” to Europe, Trump said, without specifying what he was talking about. “We’re still paying the price for what he did.”

He called Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry against him “unpatriotic” and said they would be to blame if the probe causes “a cloud” on his efforts internationally.

He said he would not accept a censure resolution that would condemn his actions in Ukraine while stopping short of removing him.

“You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong,” he said. “They’re what you call an investigation in search of a crime.”

Trump also weighed in on another domestic issue, the possibility that Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo would resign to run for Senate in Kansas.

Trump said Pompeo, who stood behind him while he made the comments, was doing a “tremendous job,” but “if I thought there was a risk to losing that seat, I would sit down and seriously talk to Mike.”

Many Republican leaders think there is a serious chance the party could lose the Senate seat being vacated by Pat Roberts, who plans to retire, and they have urged Pompeo to run.

Even as Trump clashed with an ally and Democrats, he continued to stress his strong relationship with American adversaries. He shrugged his shoulders when asked about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s missile tests.

“He really likes sending rockets up doesn’t he? That’s why I call him rocket man,” Trump said, again emphasizing his personal ties to the autocrat.

And even as NATO allies and American officials have complained about Turkey’s incursion in northern Syria and its decision to purchase Russian S-400 missiles, Trump undercut any attempts to rein in the NATO member country.

He praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for allowing the U.S. military to cross its airspace during the mission that led to the death of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the founder of Islamic State. And he misleadingly blamed Obama for Turkey’s decision to buy the weapons, echoing Erdogan’s own line.

In addition to meeting Macron later today, Trump is also scheduled to hold a Republican fundraiser expected to raise $3 million, meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have tea with Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles, and attend a reception with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.


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China: ‘Yellow Vest’ back in France, tensions raised in Paris

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

‘Yellow Vest’ back in France, tensions raised in Paris

Xinhua

Tensions were high at several places in Paris on Saturday afternoon as “Yellow Vest” resumed nation-wide action to mark the anniversary of their movement.

At Place d’Italie in the 13th disfranchisement, where hundreds of demonstrators gathered, barricade gates, street vending booths were broken, garbage cans and scooters were set on fire. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse violent protesters.

At several spots near the Peripheral road, the situation turned tense as protesters blocked roads and clashed with police.

On avenue Champs-Elysees and surrounding areas, where had been the worst scenes of mayhem last year, the situation was calm. Fully-armored police forces were heavily present to prevent radical acts.

Paris police prefecture announced 41 arrests and 1,497 preventive controls, reported Franceinfo, a French domestic rolling news channel.

Outside Paris, 118 demonstrations have been launched with some 2,500 participants, according to French media.

On social networks where the movement was born, “act 53” — the 53rd weekend of action, promises some 270 actions over the weekend across the country in a bid to show that they can still win support.

Attendance of demonstrations sharply diminished in past months from the height of the movement which began on Nov. 17 last year.

4 Most Active Volcanoes in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Most Active Volcanoes in the World

There are approximately 1,500 active volcanoes around the world today. When volcanoes erupt, they can cause immense damage, destroying towns, forcing massive relocation’s, and even grounding planes. While some volcanoes lie dormant for decades, others are more active. Here are four of the world’s most active volcanoes.

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Stromboli, Italy

Stromboli, Italy

Credit: AZ68/iStock

Located in the south of Italy among the Aeolian Islands, Stromboli is one of the most popular volcanoes for tourists to visit. Beautiful beaches and incredible vegetation surround it. Stromboli has been erupting almost non-stop since the 1930s and was fairly active for 2,000 years before that. Its fiery eruptions mean that it glows for miles in the night, which has led it to be nicknamed “the lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” Stromboli’s eruptions are generally small but frequent, with streams of lava spewing from its summit approximately every 20 minutes. This style of eruption is so distinct to Stromboli that scientists refer to any other volcano with small, frequent eruptions as “Strombolian.”

Stromboli is also unique in that ancient records all indicate that it has been active for as long as people have been able to keep track of it — this volcano has never lied dormant. Fortunately, it rarely erupts in any sort of catastrophic explosion. Only three times in the past 100 years has Stromboli caused human fatalities or property damage: once in 1919, once in 1930, and, most recently, in 2003. Otherwise, this volcano is relatively safe despite its steady stream of activity.

Of course, as with any natural phenomena like this, Stromboli does still pose a risk. One of its most significant hazards is the Sciara del Fuoco, or Stream of Fire — this large scar stretches along the northwest edge of the volcano. If it collapses, it could cause tsunamis and dangerous clouds of volcanic material to erupt into the air.

Piton de la Fournaise, France

Piton de la Fournaise, France

Credit: Avanius/Shutterstock

Piton de la Fournaise is located on France’s island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It erupts approximately once every nine months. Although it is in a state of nearly constant eruption, these eruptions are generally small and harmless. Piton de la Fournaise’s activity tends to consist of one explosion of lava, followed by a slow, steady lava stream down the mountain. While this could pose significant problems in populated areas, the lands around this volcano are mostly uninhabited due to its constant activity. This means that the eruptions cause little to no damage when they do occur.

Scientists closely monitor Piton de la Fournaise in the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory. These scientists can predict eruptions several weeks before they happen, which gives them plenty of time to warn hikers, close the paths, and provide emergency instructions to anyone staying nearby. When no eruptions are expected, the volcano is open for people to hike and sightsee, and plenty of tourists visit — The La Réunion islands are a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This volcano has only had two catastrophic eruptions in the past 50 years. The first occurred in 1977 when an unusually strong lava flow made it to a populated area and caused severe damage to the village of Piton Sainte-Rose. The second was 30 years later, in 2007 — a considerable eruption released dangerous clouds of sulfur and sent a strong stream of lava down the mountain, destroying the island’s main road.

Mount Etna, Italy

Mount Etna, Italy

Credit: SalvoV/iStock

The second most active volcano on earth, Mount Etna is in the south of Italy, near Sicily. Locally known as “Mongibello,” or “Beautiful Mountain,” this enormous volcano currently stands over 10,000 feet high, although this is subject to change — its frequent eruptions often cause Mount Etna to grow as lava solidifies along the top of the mountain. This volcano is the tallest in Italy.

Although Mount Etna’s eruptions rarely cause any damage, disruptions do still happen. In July of 2019, a particularly ashy eruption forced authorities to close two airports in Catania, Sicily. One flight had to be diverted, and several more could not take off. There was also once an attempt to divert a flow of lava that was threatening Catania. This attempt, which occurred in 1992, was called “Operation Volcano Buster.” It involved United States Marines working with the Italian government to take explosives and blast a large hole on the side of the volcano. They then dropped concrete into the hole in an attempt to slow down the lava. Unfortunately, they were ultimately unsuccessful.

However, Mount Etna is mostly harmless and is even good for Sicily’s economy. The fertile soil it creates ensures that residents do very well agriculturally. The volcano also brings in quite a bit of money from tourism, as visitors to the island flock to see it.

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Mount Kilauea, United States

Mount Kilauea, United States

Credit: Ishigaki Taira/Shutterstock

Mount Kilauea is currently the most active volcano in the world. It is on the island of Hawai’i, also known as The Big Island — the southernmost Hawaiian island. This unique volcano is in the middle of the longest eruption ever recorded, which began back in 1983. This eruption has produced lava covering over 100 square miles of land and has expanded the coastline of the island.

Mount Kilauea is so active that it has become part of Hawaii’s traditional Polynesian legends. According to these legends, Mount Kilauea is home to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. Pele is both a destroyer and a creator — while the eruptions cause damage, the solidified lava creates new land and fertilizes the existing soil.

Kilauea is a UNESCO World Heritage property, part of a national park, and can be visited by tourists. Although sections of the park are closed due to recent eruptions, visitors can stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center to see what’s open, learn about hiking routes, and sign up for activities. But make sure you don’t take any lava rocks with you; this is considered disrespectful to Pele, and locals strongly discourage it.

France, Germany, and UK say Iran is responsible for attacks on Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

France, Germany, and UK say Iran is responsible for attacks on Saudi Arabia

“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the leaders of the three European powers said. “There is no other explanation.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a lunch on “digital transformation” in Biarritz, France, on August 26, 2019.
 Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the attacks on two vital oil facilities belonging to Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company Aramco nine days ago. That assertion was met with deep skepticism by politicians, experts, and even some US allies, mostly because the Trump administration has executed a maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic and many believe Washington has exaggerated intelligence about Tehran in the past.

But America’s claim received a major boost on Monday as the leaders of three key allies — France, Germany, and the UK — put out a joint statement at the UN saying that there’s no question Iran was behind the apparent drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia.

“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” they said. “There is no other explanation.”

“These attacks may have been on Saudi Arabia but they concern all countries and increase the risk of a major conflict,” the statement continued. The European powers also called on Iran to act more responsibly and in line with the terms of the Iran nuclear deal.

Raphaël Justine@RaphJustine

Leaders of 🇫🇷, 🇩🇪 and the 🇬🇧 just met in NYC and issued a joint statement:

It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.

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This is significant. Ever since the US withdrew from the nuclear agreement last year, the European countries who are party to the agreement — which include the nations from the statement — have tried to maintain good relations with Tehran.

French President Emmanuel Macron in particular has worked tirelessly to keep the accord alive and even tried to broker a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, at the UN this week.

But it seems they cannot ignore the intelligence they have, and decided to openly condemn the Islamic Republic.

With more allies on its side, the Trump administration may feel emboldened to increase the pressure on Tehran even more. That could come in the form of even more sanctions, or cyberattacks that can digitally render critical Iranian computers and networks useless. Those punishments could now be seen as more legitimate since other major world powers more friendly to Iran have also blamed it for the Saudi attacks.

Perhaps trying to fend off the worst, Iran has warned that a military response might prompt an “all-out war” in the Middle East.

The question now is how Iran will respond. With even more countries lambasting it publicly, it’s possible that it may choose more belligerence as a way to compel the US and others to lift the mounting economic and political pressure on it. If it goes that route, though, it may find itself in much more trouble than it’s already in.

Brazil: Bolsonaro intends to attack Venezuela, Cuba and Macron in UN speech

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS OUTLET)

 

Bolsonaro intends to attack Venezuela, Cuba and Macron in UN speech

Even at the risk of being protested internationally during his trip to the United Nations over anti-civilian stances and the destruction of the Amazon, Jair Bolsonaro decided to go to the opening of the UN General Assembly. His speech will be aligned with Donald Trump’s policy, with attacks on Venezuela, Cuba and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron.

Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro (Photo: REUTERS / Adriano Machado)

247 – Jair Bolsonaro has even decided to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, where he will address the opening day of the event, exposing Brazil to unprecedented shame, as even diplomatic representatives are considering protesting against its policies. and their anti-civilization postures. The speech will be fully in line with Donald Trump’s interests and will have criticism of Cuba, Venezuela and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron – one of the US interests in South America is undermining the agreement to build nuclear submarines in partnership with France. , in Brazil.

“The speech that President Jair Bolsonaro prepares for the opening of the 74th United Nations General Assembly, on the 24th in New York, will have harsh criticism of the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Cuba as one of the main points of his speech. Brazil’s sovereignty over the Amazon, in a response to French President Emmanuel Macron, should also be included in the text, which is in the final stages of adjustment, “said Jussara Soares and Daniel Guilino, in a report published in Globo.

“He will present our country and our potential and will clarify once and for all these issues Brazil versus the environment. How much Brazil defends the environment and has been doing, since now, a sustaining process often unknown, either because of ignorance of the person or not wanting to disclose what Brazil has been doing in terms of protection, “said spokesman Octavio Rêgo Barros.

From the hospital, Bolsonaro calls Macron a liar again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

(Isn’t it amazing how a person who is known for being an habitual liar like Bolsonaro or Trump has the gall to call another person a liar!) 

From the hospital, Bolsonaro calls Macron a liar again

“Trump was the decisive person to contain Mr Macron in a corner, who was campaigning against Brazil over fake news, a lie. Those burnings unfortunately happen, but not by the proportion reported by the European press,” Bolsonaro said in an interview. this Monday to Record TV before leaving the hospital

247 – “Trump was the decisive one to hold you Macron in a corner, who was making a campaign against Brazil over a fake news, lie Those fires unfortunately occur, but not by the proportion released by the European press.” – said Bolsonaro in an interview this Monday with TV Record, before leaving the hospital.

The statements were made by Jair Bolsonaro announcing that he will make at the opening of the UN General Assembly an unusual “conciliatory” speech, reports The Globe . Bolsonaro fears that protests by heads of state will be held against his arrogant, rude, and extreme stances against the environment and indigenous peoples. During Monday, the federal government received signals that heads of state could even withdraw from the UN plenary when Bolsonaro spoke.

Bolsonaro said he would attend the UN next day and insisted on compliments to Trump, who he said restrained French President Emmanuel Macron.

The occupant of Planalto Palace again defended his son Eduardo’s appointment as ambassador to the United States, despite his lack of commitment to diplomatic activity. “If he is not my son, he will be someone’s son. A person who has freedom with President Doanld Trump’s family, so much so that a week ago he went to the United States and was received by President Donalt Trump. No one has ever known that. And the problem we had is solved – he said, referring to the burnings “.

4 Mediterranean Islands You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Mediterranean Islands You’ve Never Heard Of

The Mediterranean islands are steeped in rich historydelicious food, and wondrous natural beauty. They comprise one of the world’s most unique biospheres and attract visitors from the world over. However, some islands are better known than others. The following four Mediterranean islands are well worth a spot on your bucket list, and you’ve probably never heard of them.

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Hvar, Croatia

Aerial photo of the island of Hvar
Credit: Dreamer4787/ Shutterstock

Off Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast in the Adriatic Sea lies the island of Hvar. Hilltops are littered with pine forest, and olive groves and lavender fields overlook the pristine waters of the shore. Unlike a few of the more popular places in the Mediterranean, Hvar has a reputation for its lack of paparazzi and is therefore a popular destination for celebrities looking for quiet luxury.

The island has an ancient history with inhabitants on the islands since the Neolithic period. In later times, the location of the island made it a critical port for ships passing between Italy and the larger Mediterranean, allowing the island to flourish from trade. Its rich history isn’t far from reach as cobblestone squares and medieval architecture provide contrast to the wide selection of hotels, restaurants and nightlife.

Corsica, France

Photo of the coastline of Corsica
Credit: stilikone/ Shutterstock

The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Corsica sits between the Southeast coast of mainland France and the Western coast of the Italian peninsula. Due to its location, the island and its inhabitants have adopted cultural heritage from both countries, having been under the control of each throughout varying periods in history. Italian influences are seen in the Baroque churches, Tuscan influences in cuisine, and Genoese influences are seen in various fortresses. In the present day, Corsica is a territorial collectivity of France, granting it a higher degree of political autonomy.

Though two-thirds of the island consists of mountain ranges, the beauty of coastlines is renowned: white-sand beaches with pristine turquoise waters. The mix of geography makes it an ideal destination for lounging on the beach as much as adventurous hiking. However you choose to spend your days in Corsica, sampling the local cuisine is a must.

Corfu, Greece

Photo of a beach on Corfu
Credit: Balate Dorin/ Shutterstock

The Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea is another Mediterranean locale with rich history extending to antiquity.  Then ancient Korkyra was a powerful force among the Greek city-states and was one of the few regions in Greece that was never captured by the Ottomans. It is this fact, along with later conquests by the French and British, that ensured Corfu remained steeped in Western tradition rather than Levantine tradition.

Byzantine churches, Greek temples and ancient ruins are scattered throughout the island. One of its crown jewels is the Old Town district, a UNESCO Heritage Site, where Renaissance, Baroque, and classical influences shine brightly. However, it’s far from the only site visit on the island with countless museums, historical buildings, and the waterfalls of Nymphs, all sharing the rich history and extensive beauty of the island.

Nisyros, Greece

Photo of buildings along the coast of Nisyros
Credit: vangelis Karpathakis/ Shutterstock

A hidden gem of the Greek coastline, Nisyros is a volcanic island in the Aegean Sea. The wealthy island presents a tantalizing juxtaposition of high art, natural beauty and culture.

Mountain villages overlook the pristine coastline, one of which (Emporio) is invisible from the sea, which allowed it to thrive when piracy plagued the Mediterranean. Artists and musicians in modern times have flocked to the island to take in its beauty, earning it the nickname of “island of the arts.” Furthermore, festivals, feasts and celebrations of the island’s longstanding Christian Orthodox faith attract pilgrims from around the country. Finally, the island’s active volcano is one of the most accessible in the world, a short drive from the major towns for any tourist to take in.

Adrift in Wonder

Photo of a sailboat on the water with mountains in the background
Credit: Anna Om/ Shutterstock

Whether you’re a gourmand, a person of leisure, or a passionate naturalist, the Mediterranean is a destination that you will not regret. If you’ve already visited the bigger names, don’t hesitate to venture off the beaten path.

Lebanon: Hariri: France Satisfied with Investment Plan Progress

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Hariri: France Satisfied with Investment Plan Progress

Friday, 6 September, 2019 – 11:30
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visits Beirut Port on Friday September 6, 2019. Dalati and Nohra photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
French President Emmanuel Macron is satisfied with Beirut’s progress on starting an infrastructure investment program, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s press office said on Friday, a day after a French envoy criticized the speed at which Lebanon is reforming its economy.

Foreign governments and donor institutions last year pledged $11 billion in financing to Lebanon for a 12-year infrastructure investment program at the CEDRE conference in Paris, on condition that it carries out reforms.

Hariri’s office said in a statement Friday that the PM received a telephone call from Macron, who “expressed his satisfaction with the progress made towards launching the CEDRE investment projects.”

Macron called Hariri after French diplomat Pierre Duquesne concluded a four-day visit to Lebanon to assess Beirut’s progress on starting work on the infrastructure projects and other reforms.

Duquesne himself said that the donors’ funding offers still stand, but stressed that Lebanese authorities need to speed up reforms, pass a state budget for 2020 this year and decide which of the 250 infrastructure projects will take priority.

“Donors are still ready to help, provided that things happen in the required and right way,” he said.

Funding has not yet begun to flow, he said, because Lebanon was without a government for nine months following elections last year.

“And even after (government) formation, donors continue to question the Lebanese government. This view is shared by all donors,” Duquesne said.

He was also critical of how some Lebanese politicians were approaching the urgency of the economic problems in the country.

“Some people still believe that there is a miracle solution, a magical solution to solve all the problems. This does not exist.”

“Time is running out and we cannot continue with the endless debates,” he added.

On Monday Lebanese politicians declared a “state of economic emergency” and Hariri said the government would take emergency measures to speed up reforms, including holding more meetings.

With one of the world’s highest debt burdens, low growth and crumbling infrastructure, Lebanon’s economy is struggling and authorities are seeking to implement reforms to ward off a crisis.

During Thursday’s phone call, “Macron also stressed France’s commitment to Lebanon’s stability and security, the strengthening of its state and institutions and the importance of preserving calm on the southern border,” Hariri’s office said.

The frontier between the two countries has remained calm since Israel and Hezbollah traded fire on Sunday.

One person was killed, 8 others wounded in knife attack outside Lyon, France

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

One person was killed, 8 others wounded in knife attack outside Lyon, France

Emergency services at work on the outskirts of Lyon after a deadly knife attack

(CNN)One person was killed and eight others wounded during a knife attack at a subway stop near Lyon, France, according to authorities and media reports.

Three of the eight victims were seriously wounded, CNN affiliate BFM TV reported. The station had earlier reported nine wounded but later revised the number to eight, citing police sources.
A suspect has been taken into custody, according to Lyon Mayor Gerard Collomb. The motive for the attack is not known.
Emergency services at scene of knife assault that left one person dead and nine others wounded.

“I am extremely shocked by the attack that just took place in the Lyon area, during which one person died and several others wounded, some seriously,” the mayor tweeted.
The suspected attacker is a 33-year-old asylum seeker, BFM reported.
The attack is not a terror investigation at the moment, a police trade union official told CNN.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, via Twitter, expressed his condolences to “friends and family of the young man killed.” He said he was following the situation.
The assault occurred in Villeurbanne, a suburb of the southeastern city of Lyon, about 4:30 p.m., BFM reported. Emergency services responded to an exit at the Laurent Bonnevay stop of the Lyon Metro.
In September, seven people were injured, including two British tourists, during an attack by a man wielding a knife and an iron bar in northeastern Paris, police said. The assault came after a series of knife attacks in France.

Trump’s G7 performance suggests he’s either a ‘Russian asset’ or a ‘useful idiot’ for Putin

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON INSIDER NEWS)

 

US spies say Trump’s G7 performance suggests he’s either a ‘Russian asset’ or a ‘useful idiot’ for Putin

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump returns after travelling to the AMVETS convention in Kentucky, at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis
President Donald Trump.
 Reuters

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  • Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump’s fervent defense of Russia at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
  • “It’s hard to see the bar anymore since it’s been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump’s behavior over the weekend was a new low,” one FBI agent who works in counterintelligence told Insider.
  • At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump’s behavior was “directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.”
  • A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is “overwhelming” that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.
  • Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump’s freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he’s a “useful idiot” for the Russians. But “it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“It’s hard to see the bar anymore since it’s been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump’s behavior over the weekend was a new low.”

That was the assessment an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence gave Insider of President Donald Trump’s performance at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France. The agent requested anonymity because they feared that speaking publicly on the matter would jeopardize their job.

Trump’s attendance at the G7 summit was peppered with controversy, but none was more notable than his fervent defense of Russia’s military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine.

Trump repeatedly refused to hold Russia accountable for annexing Crimea in 2014, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia’s move to annex it, expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and castigated other G7 members for not giving the country a seat at the table.

Since being booted from the G8 after annexing Crimea, Russia’s done little to make up for its actions. In fact, by many accounts, it’s stepped up its aggression.

In addition to continuing to encroach on Ukraine, the Russian government interfered in the 2016 US election and was behind the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in the UK. US officials also warn that as the 2020 election looms, the Russians are stepping up their cyberactivities against the US and have repeatedly tried to attack US power grids.

“What in God’s name made Trump think it would be a good idea to ask to bring Russia back to the table?” the FBI agent told Insider. “How does this serve US national-security interests?”

Trump’s advocacy for Russia is renewing concerns among intelligence veterans that Trump may be a Russian “asset” who can be manipulated or influenced to serve Russian interests, although some also speculate that Trump could just be currying favor for future business deals.

Read more: DOJ watchdog finds James Comey violated FBI policy by sharing memo with The New York Times

‘We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office’

Donald Trump Sergey Lavrov Sergey Kislyak
Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP

A former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was FBI director, didn’t mince words when reacting to Trump’s performance at the G7 summit: “We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.”

“There is no fathomable explanation for why the president said these things,” the former official said. “Letting Russia off the hook for bullying smaller countries and then blaming Obama for it? It’s directly out of the Putin playbook.”

While arguing for Russia to be invited back into the G7, Trump said the country would be helpful in addressing hot-button issues like Iran, Syria, and North Korea and that the alliance was better off with Russia “inside rather than outside.”

But Russia is a staunch ally of Syria’s Assad regime, and it’s also cozied up to Iran in recent years. US military and intelligence officials view Russia as one of the US’s foremost rivals and believe it generally stands in opposition to American interests.

Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative and frequent Trump critic, told Insider there’s been “no question” in his mind for years that the president is behaving like “a spy for the Russians.”

“The evidence is so overwhelming that in my 35 years in intelligence, I have never seen anything so certain,” Carle said, adding that he’s spoken with several intelligence veterans about the matter in the four years since Trump first launched his presidential campaign, many of whom believe Trump’s actions are a threat to national security.

Read more: Russia came out the winner of this year’s G7 summit despite being kicked out, and Trump looked like ‘Putin’s puppet’

“Intelligence assets become convinced to be spies for multiple reasons,” Carle, who specialized in getting foreign spies to become turncoats when he was at the CIA, said in an earlier interview with Insider. “It might start with kompromat or financial hooks, and the asset may be convinced he is acting as a patriot until he becomes accustomed to his role.”

“Trump clearly responds favorably to praise,” he said. “And over the years, the handling officer — Putin, in this case — realizes what the asset wants, and that’s what they provide. Trump wants to be told he’s the greatest, so that’s what you tell him, over and over again, until he comes to believe that is the motivation for his actions.”

‘A useful idiot’ or ‘currying favor’

trump putinReuters

Frank Montoya Jr., a recently retired FBI special agent, told Insider it’s “hard not to think the Russians have an asset in the White House.”

But he added that Trump’s freewheeling and often false statements imply he’s “not playing with a full deck on any matter of state these days. Still, those same delusions are what give me pause when conclusions are reached about the likelihood he is a Russian asset.”

“Useful idiot is more like it,” Montoya said. But he added that given the abundance of meetings and contacts between Trump associates and Russians before, during, and after the election, “it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.”

Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, agreed that Trump was catering to Putin’s interests, but he disagreed on why.

“I think what’s going on right now is an Occam’s razor scenario,” he told Insider, referring to the philosophical theory that the simplest explanation for an event is often the correct one.

“Trump wants to do deals with Russia when he leaves the presidency,” Deitz said. “We already know he was interested in building a Trump Tower in Moscow before and during the election. The best way of doing a deal with Putin is to be nice to him, so I think what Trump is doing is currying favor.”

He emphasized, however, that regardless of Trump’s motives for being subservient to Putin, “it’s still harmful” to US interests.

“When Trump goes to bed each night, what do you think his last thoughts are: the welfare of the United States, or the size of his bank account?” Deitz added.

Trump’s defense of Putin at the G7 summit didn’t go unnoticed in Russia.

According to The Washington Post, one show on the state-run Rossiya-1 network played a celebratory soundtrack as it showed six video clips of Trump demanding that Putin be given a seat at the table.

The Russian media analyst Julia Davis said that Kremlin-controlled media reacted to Trump’s G7 performance with laughter and mockery.

One anchor rejoiced that “Trump is dancing to Putin’s tune,” while others were amused by the “maniacal persistence” with which Trump was lobbying for Russia.

Read more: Trump’s G7 performance shows how he’s living in a totally different reality and isolating the US from the rest of the world

A familiar pattern emerges

trump putin
Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

This isn’t the first time the president has been accused of working to advance Russia’s interests ahead of the US’s.

Perhaps the sharpest example of this was when Trump and Putin held a bilateral summit in Helsinki last year. After the meeting, Trumpstunned the US national-security apparatus and foreign allies when he sided with Russia over the US intelligence community, blamed “both sides” for the deterioration of US-Russia relations, and praised Putin as being “extremely strong and powerful.”

In 2017, Trump refused to accept the US intelligence-community finding that Moscow meddled in the 2016 race to propel Trump to the presidency.

That May, he fired FBI director James Comey, who was overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and cited “this Russia thing” as the reason. Two days after firing Comey, Trump shared classified intelligence with two Russian officials in the Oval Office and told them firing Comey had taken “great pressure” off of him.

Shortly after, the FBI began investigating whether Trump was a Russian agent.

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