Jenna McLaughlin National Security and Investigations Reporter,Yahoo News•President Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at an event about United States 5G deployment on April 12. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)WASHINGTON — Amid ongoing trade talks with Beijing, President Trump heralded the success of the American private sector for building 5G while warning of foreign competition, but in a marked departure for his administration made no specific mention of China.Surrounded by workers in hardhats and men and women in cowboy hats who Trump identified as farmers, the president said, “We cannot allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future.” However, in contrast to the Trump administration’s worldwide tour warning allies about the security dangers of implementing foreign technology in the development of 5G — the networks that will operate with lightning-speed connections — Trump did not specifically bring up China or its top telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE.The decision to omit mention of China lines up with an apparent switch in strategy that senior administration officials have pursued in recent weeks, advocating a “country and company” agnostic policy when it comes to 5G security. Amid a cooling trade war and an international community that remains undecided on how to deal with Huawei, which provides inexpensive and high-quality technology to rural and developing regions, the administration has hesitated in outright banning the Chinese technology by executive order.President Trump also dismissed a former potential strategy, developed by a former National Security Council senior official, Rob Spalding, to get the government more involved in securing 5G throughout development. While Trump said the new networks “have to be guarded from the enemy,” an opponent that went unnamed, he also indicated speed as a top priority for rolling out 5G.“We had another alternative of doing it … leading through the government,” he said. “We don’t want to do that, because it won’t be nearly as good, nearly as fast.” Spalding, a retired Air Force brigadier general, repeated a frustration he has had about 5G for a long time to Yahoo News — that the telecom industry has so far succeeded in “controlling the narrative.”“That’s why Randall Stephenson went to see him,” wrote Spalding in an email to Yahoo News, referring to a briefing the AT&T CEO gave the president on progress in the race to 5G earlier in the week, according to Politico. “I’m sure of it.”The government isn’t completely staying out of 5G, however. Trump gave Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai the floor on Friday afternoon to talk about how the FCC would be auctioning off broadband spectrum to companies for their 5G networks, as well as a program to help rural communities get access to the necessary technology for advancing network connectivity.These are part of the FCC’s “5G Fast Plan,” said Pai.
Capitol custodial staff report harassment from lawmakers in oversight investigation SARAH KOLINOVSKY,• Capitol custodial staff report harassment from lawmakers in oversight investigation originally appeared on abcnews.go.comThe U.S. Capitol’s overnight custodial staff allege they were sexually harassed, exposed to pornography in lawmakers’ offices and overheard conversations in which others were being harassed, according to a watchdog investigation into 10 years of sexual harassment reports in the Architect of the Capitol, the office responsible for maintenance and operations on Capitol Hill.In a report submitted to Congress by the Office of the Inspector General, Architect of the Capitol staff said they often do not speak up about inappropriate behavior for fear of retaliation. One staffer reported no one had an answer for them when they asked during sexual harassment prevention training, „what happens if the harasser is a member of Congress?”(MORE: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand defends handling of aide’s alleged sexual misconduct)The report doesn’t specify how many complaints about lawmakers were filed.
Congress asked the inspector general in October to look into years-worth of sexual harassment reports within the Architect of the Capitol, and whether that office was handling the cases properly.
The inspector general found there were 57 reports of sexual harassment over a decade. The report notes this number of reports is low for a workforce the size of the Architect of the Capitol , although it also acknowledges fear of retaliation could lead employees to choose not to report their experiences.
The report also found there is a „widespread perception that sexual harassment is a pervasive problem” within the Architect of the Capitol and the investigators attribute that perception to „lingering cultural bias.”
The report highlighted the Architect of the Capitol for appearing “to be energetic in its efforts to improve the agency culture and create an environment of civility” and that „the results of our inquiry were primarily positive, with the majority of identified gaps already receiving the attention” of department officials.
Still, problems remain.
Employees said they don’t trust the process to report harassment, and the avenues to report are overly complicated.
One staffer said “The whole system is [designed] to protect the Architect of the Capitol, EEO, Office of Compliance or any other assistance under this Agency.”
Kim Jong-un said the US must change its attitude to talks by the end of this year if there was to be a third summit with Donald Trump.
The North Korean leader made the comments during a speech on Friday at a session of North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament, which made a slew of personnel changes that bolstered his diplomatic lineup amid deadlocked negotiations with the United States.
His speech came hours after Mr Trump and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in Washington and agreed on the importance of nuclear talks with North Korea.
„We of course place importance on resolving problems through dialogue and negotiations. But US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn’t fit us, and we have no interest in it,” Kim said during the speech.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, he blamed the collapse of his summit with Trump in February on what he described as unilateral demands by the United States, which he said raised questions over whether Washington has genuine willingness to improve relations. But Kim said his personal relationship with the American president remains good and that they could exchange letters at „any time.”
Kim repeated earlier claims that North Korea’s crippled economy would persevere through heavy international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons programme and that he wouldn’t „obsess over summitry with the United States out of thirst for sanctions relief.”
The United States has said the summit in Vietnam broke down because of the North’s excessive demands for sanctions relief in return for limited disarmament measures. In their first summit last June in Singapore, Mr Trump and Kim issued a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.
Kim said the United States has been refusing to withdraw what the North perceives as „hostile policies” while sticking to „mistaken judgment that we would succumb to maximum pressure.” He said the North would not compromise on the „fundamental interests of our country and people, even by a speck,” and blamed the United States for arriving in Hanoi with „completely unrealisable plans.”
„If the United States approaches us with the right manner and offers to hold a third North Korea-U.S. leaders’ summit on the condition of finding solutions we could mutually accept, then we do have a willingness to give it one more try,” he added. „We will wait with patience until the end of the year for the United States to come up with a courageous decision. But it will clearly be difficult for a good opportunity like last time to come up.”
Kim also during the speech made a nationalistic call for South Korea to support the North’s positions more strongly and criticised Seoul for acting like an „overstepping mediator” between Washington and Pyongyang. Kim held three summits last year with Moon, who lobbied hard to revive the nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea.
Following collapse of the Trump-Kim summit, the North had been urging the South to break away from Washington and proceed with inter-Korean economic projects that are currently held back by U.S.-led sanctions against the North.
„The South should not act as an ‘overstepping mediator’ or a ‘facilitator’ and should rather get its mind straight as a member of the (Korean) nation and boldly speak up for the interest of the nation,” Kim said.
When asked about Kim’s comments, South Korea’s presidential office said Seoul is committed toward keeping the atmosphere of dialogue alive and helping negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang resume at an early date.
A tragic accident.
That Time a U.S. B-2 Stealth Bomber Dropped Weapons on a Chinese Embassy
Despite assurances that the attack was a mistake, a wave of anti-American protests spread across China, targeting the U.S. embassy in Beijing and consular facilities in other major cities.
During NATO’s 1999 air war over Yugoslavia, the Atlantic alliance struck hundreds of targets over Serbia and Kosovo. Most were uncontroversial: air-defense sites, army headquarters and other military targets. The destruction of one target in particular, however, set off a wave of anti-Western—and anti-American in particular—protests half a world away. That target was the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
NATO’s bombing campaign began on March 24, 1999, after peace talks meant to stop the persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo collapsed. Targets in both Yugoslavia and Kosovo were struck—first the Serb air defense network that opposed NATO planes, then a broader target array including Yugoslav army forces said to be directly involved in the persecution of Kosovars. The target list also included political-military targets inside the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade itself.
(This first appeared in 2018.)
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko speaks during an interview on board his plane on the way from Berlin to Paris
By Matthias Williams and Sergiy Karazy
PARIS (Reuters) – Ukraine’s leader on Friday said he was confident of turning the tables on his inexperienced opponent in the second round of the presidential election, saying voters would choose a substantive program over his challenger’s dangerous populism.
President Petro Poroshenko has been fighting for his political survival against Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no prior political experience, who has a commanding poll lead as the two go into a run-off on April 21.
Vowing to take Ukraine into the European Union if he wins, Poroshenko has sought to paint Zelenskiy as a buffoonish lightweight whose victory would push Ukraine back into Russia’s orbit.
Poroshenko and Zelenskiy are due to hold a policy debate next Friday, where Poroshenko believes he can expose his opponent’s campaign as an „empty package”.
„There is a rising demand for my opponent just (to) put (his) card(s) on the table,” he told Reuters in an interview on board his plane between whistle-stop visits to meet leaders in Berlin and Paris. „I’m absolutely confident that my program is better, my support is strong.”
A 53-year-old confectionary magnate, Poroshenko took office in 2014 after the Maidan street protests forced his Kremlin-backed predecessor to flee into exile and after Russia annexed Crimea.
As president, he secured visa-free travel for Ukrainians to the EU, ramped up spending for the military fighting Kremlin-backed rebels, helped establish a new independent Orthodox church and successfully lobbied Western countries to keep sanctions on Moscow in place.
But his popularity has fallen sharply amid widespread voter disillusion with Ukraine’s political class. Critics say he has moved too slowly on implementing reforms and fighting corruption.
Poroshenko has struck a contrite tone since the first round of the election, apologizing for mistakes and firing some of the people he appointed to high office.
On Thursday he announced the launch of a special court to try corruption cases, part of a flurry of activity aimed at shoring up his reform credentials ahead of the run-off next week.
Speaking to Reuters on Friday, Poroshenko stressed that his achievements, from strengthening the army to passing healthcare reforms, should not be overlooked.
„It’s difficult to find any sphere where reforms have not been launched. Definitely if you launch reform in such a big number of spheres, you make a mistake,” he said.
Poroshenko has also been an energetic campaigner for Ukrainian integration into the EU and NATO.
He has had more than a dozen meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Friday’s meeting could be their last with Poroshenko in office, if a survey by Ukrainian pollster Reiting is anything to go by. Figures released on Thursday showed him at 24 percent compared with Zelenskiy’s 61 percent.
On Friday, Merkel and Poroshenko discussed security in war-torn east Ukraine. Germany promised an additional 85 million euros ($96 million) for the construction of homes for Ukrainians displaced inside the country by the war, Poroshenko announced on Twitter on Friday.
Poroshenko also shared a photograph with French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he met in Paris later that day.
But not to be outdone, Zelenskiy traveled to Paris to meet Macron a few hours ahead of him.
Poroshenko and Zelenskiy have traded insults in public statements, TV show appearances and tit-for-tat viral social media videos since the first round of the election on March 31.
The show of rivalry culminated in them taking televised blood tests for alcohol and drug addiction.
Poroshenko has painted Zelenskiy as a puppet of a powerful oligarch on whose channel Zelenskiy airs his comedy shows. Zelenskiy in turn has hinted at his opponent’s corruption.
But on Friday Poroshenko said that if Zelenskiy had any proof of his wrongdoing, he should go through the legal system.
„If you have anything, you should go not to the TV show, but exactly to the law enforcement agency. While they don’t have anything, this is just blah, blah, blah,” he said, gesturing with his fingers.
If he wins a second term, Poroshenko said he would push ahead with measures to tackle corruption. That includes introducing a new law to criminalize officials illegally enriching themselves. He also promised an overhaul of law enforcement agencies.
Poroshenko also wants to launch Ukraine’s application for EU membership as early as 2023.
One day, he said, he would like to fight in another election: European parliamentary elections once Ukraine is an EU state.
„This is my dream,” Poroshenko said.
(Writing by Matthias Williams and Polina Ivanova; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian Serb leader has wrongly called the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, where over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb troops, „a fabricated myth.” The comments defy international court rulings that say genocide was committed in the eastern Bosnian enclave.
Both the International Court of Justice and the U.N. war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, have ruled that the killings in Srebrenica were genocide.
The Bosnian Serb wartime political and military leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, have been sentenced to life in prison for the Srebrenica genocide and other war crimes during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, which killed over 100,000 people and made millions homeless.
But Milorad Dodik, who now heads Bosnia’s multi-ethnic joint presidency, has told a conference discussing war crimes during the Bosnian conflict that the Srebrenica massacre was „something that does not exist.”
„(Bosnian Muslims) did not have a myth, so they decided to construct one around Srebrenica,” Dodik said Friday.
Dodik has repeatedly downplayed the Srebrenica massacre, along with other Bosnian Serb politicians and the authorities in neighboring Serbia, who deny that genocide was committed. Bosnian Serbs have also announced a special commission tasked with establishing the „truth” on Srebrenica.
Dodik’s comments have drawn condemnation from Muslims in Bosnia.
„Srebrenica is a court-proven fact, just as is a court-proven fact that the military and political leadership of the Bosnian Serbs have been convicted of a joint criminal enterprise and genocide,” said Ramiz Salkic, a Bosnian Muslim official.
„Those are historic facts, not a myth. And that is what Dodik should tell his people,” said Salkic.
The Srebrenica massacre was one of the bloodiest slaughters in Europe since World War II. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed and their bodies dumped in numerous mass graves in the days after Bosnian Serb forces captured the eastern town of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995.
Over 6,600 Srebrenica victims have been identified but experts are still excavating the victims’ bodies from hidden mass graves. Many of the remains were torn apart. Experts have used DNA analysis to put bodies back together from bones found in locations miles from each other after the perpetrators tried to hide their war crimes.
TOKYO (AP) — A U.S. serviceman fatally stabbed a Japanese woman and then killed himself in Okinawa on Saturday, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said, amid growing resentment about the presence of American troops in the southwestern Japanese region.
U.S. Forces Japan said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was working with local police to look into the deaths of a U.S. Navy sailor assigned to a Marine unit and an Okinawa resident. „This is an absolute tragedy and we are fully committed to supporting the investigation,” it said in a statement, adding that more information would be released later.
Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Akiba telephoned U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty, asking for cooperation with the investigation and efforts to prevent a recurrence, and expressed „extreme regrets,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Although Okinawa makes up less than 1 percent of Japan’s land space, it hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan, and is home to 64 percent of the land used by the U.S. bases in the country under a bilateral security treaty.
People there have long complained about crime, noise and the destruction of the environment.
A plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station called Futenma to a less populated part of Okinawa has also been contentious. Denny Tamaki, elected Okinawa’s governor in October, is pushing to have the base moved off the island.
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban announced Friday the start of their spring offensive despite talking peace with the United States and ahead of a significant gathering of Afghans meant to discuss resolutions to the protracted war and an eventual withdrawal of American troops from the country.
The insurgents released a lengthy missive in five languages, including English, saying the fighting would continue while foreign forces remain in Afghanistan.
In a series of tweets later Friday, U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad condemned the announcement as „reckless” and „irresponsible.”
„Through this announcement, Taliban leaders demonstrate their indifference to the demands of Afghans across the country,” he tweeted.
The announcement is something the militant group does every year, even though Taliban attacks never really ceased during the harsh winter months. The insurgents carry out daily attacks targeting Afghan security forces and NATO troops, and inflicting staggering casualties, including among civilians. Most recently, a Taliban attack near the main U.S. air base in Afghanistan killed three Marines on Monday.
The Taliban now hold sway over half the country after a relentless 17-year war, America’s longest.
Khalilzad, however, tweeted: „many Talibs including fighters and some leaders oppose this announcement,” although he didn’t explain how he knew this.
Friday’s announcement instructs the Taliban mujahedeen, or holy warriors, to „launch jihadi operations with sincerity and pure intentions,” strictly abiding by the Taliban command structure. It also urges fighters to avoid civilian casualties.
The U.N.’s annual report earlier this year said civilian deaths hit a record high last year, blaming the insurgents and other militants, such as the Islamic State group, though it also noted an uptick in civilian casualties from U.S. bombing raids, most often in aid of Afghan troops on the ground.
Still, preparations are underway for Afghan-to-Afghan talks starting next week in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office.
In Kabul, the Afghan High Peace Council, a government body created years ago to talk peace with anti-government forces, condemned the Taliban announcement, saying it brought into question the insurgents sincerity in seeking a peaceful end to the war.
Atta-u-Rahman Saleim, a council deputy, told The Associated Press over the phone that it undermines the credibility of the Taliban.
„They are insisting on war,” he said. „We can see this every day.”
Khalilzad, who has escalated efforts to find a peaceful end to the war since his appointment last year, has been urging the Taliban to accept a cease-fire and hold talks directly with the Kabul government, something the insurgents refuse to do. The Taliban, who see the Afghan government as a U.S. puppet, say they will talk to Kabul officials at the upcoming Qatar meeting only as „ordinary Afghans” and not as government representatives.
„The killing of Afghans must stop,” Khalilzad tweeted. „All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in intra-Afghan dialogue, which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year.”
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP on Friday that the insurgents banned the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization from operating in territory under their control. This is the second time in the past year the insurgents have barred Red Cross workers.
Robin Waubo, a Red Cross official in Kabul, said the organization was putting its activities „on hold” until its representatives can meet with the Taliban to resolve the issue.
„We are going to have a dialogue with them in order to try and begin our work again,” Waubo said, warning that thousands of displaced people will be adversely affected by the Taliban decision.
„It is a big issue for us because we have to stop working,” he said.
Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.
Kabul suffered horrific bloodshed in 2018, but has in recent weeks enjoyed something of a lull in violence
Kabul (AFP) – The Taliban on Friday announced a new spring offensive, alarming the US negotiator who has been sitting with the militants to seek an end to more than 17 years of war.
Operation Fath — meaning „victory” in Arabic — will be conducted across Afghanistan with the aim of „eradicating occupation” and „cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption”, the Taliban said in a statement.
The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though the announcement is largely symbolic as in recent winters the Taliban have continued fighting Afghan and US forces.
„Our jihadi obligation has not yet ended,” the Taliban said.
„Even as large parts of our homeland have been freed from the enemy,” the Taliban said, „the foreign occupying forces continue exercising military and political influence in our Islamic country.”
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US diplomat who has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in hopes of reaching a peace deal, called the once-routine annual announcement „reckless” and „irresponsible”.
„If executed, it will only yield more suffering and thousands more causalities,” he tweeted.
„At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past,” he said.
But Khalilzad said the United States still wanted dialogue — and gave a timeline of a peace plan by the end of 2019.
„The killing of Afghans must stop. All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in intra-Afghan dialogue which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year,” he said.
Khalilzad also pressed Pakistan and Qatar, two of the countries with the closest relationships with the Taliban, to join in the condemnation.
– Fears of spike in violence –
After suffering horrific bloodshed in 2018, Kabul has in recent weeks enjoyed something of a lull in violence.
But on Monday three US Marines were killed in a Taliban blast at Bagram air base north of the city, and authorities in the capital are on high alert for new attacks.
The administration of President Ashraf Ghani recently declared its own spring offensive, Operation Khalid, and the Taliban used that announcement as a justification for launching a new push.
It shows „the enemy still seeks to attain its malicious objectives through the use of force”, the Taliban said.
Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, dismissed the Taliban’s spring offensive as „mere propaganda.”
„The Taliban will not reach their vicious goals and their operations will be defeated like previous years,” Mangal said.
A fresh round of talks is expected to take place later this month between Afghan political leaders, including some officials from the Kabul government, and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha.
The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a „puppet” of the West, and the militants have insisted that government officials are attending only in a „personal capacity”.
– Seeking ‘position of strength’ –
Kabul-based military analyst Ateequllah Amarkhail said violence is likely to increase even as negotiations proceed.
The Taliban „want to enter the talks from the position of strength. Their operations are to challenge the government, and they want to have the upper hand,” Amarkhail told AFP.
He predicted „intense” fighting for 2019, with the renewed bloodshed taking a toll on civilians.
In 2018, a record 10,993 civilians were wounded or killed in Afghanistan, according to UN figures, and several thousand Afghan police and soldiers are dying each year.
Fed up with the $45 billion annual price tag and what his military leaders termed a „stalemate”, US President Donald Trump last year decided to slash the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
No such drawdown has happened yet and the US still has about 14,000 troops in the country, nearly 18 years after the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban.
While Western forces quickly ousted the group in late 2001, the insurgents went on to regroup and over the years have reclaimed much of Afghanistan, primarily in rural areas.
Many Afghans are worried that in America’s push for a settlement, concerns for human rights and democracy will ultimately be cast aside and the Taliban will return to power and reimpose their extreme version of Sharia law.
Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will begin consulting political parties on Monday before deciding who to charge with forming the next government, his office said Friday.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the task is most likely to fall to incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu following Tuesday’s elections.
In a first, the presidential statement said Rivlin has ordered the consultations be open to public scrutiny.
„The meetings with the parties will be broadcast live on all platforms, to ensure transparency for Israeli citizens,” it said in English.
The talks at the president’s official Jerusalem residence will kick off with Netanyahu’s Likud party, followed by the Blue and White alliance of his defeated centrist challenger, former military man Benny Gantz.
Likud came out just ahead of Blue and White in the general elections with 36 seats in the 120-member parliament compared to 35 for its rivals.
Meetings with smaller parties will continue throughout Monday and Tuesday, the statement said, adding that „at the end of the round of consultations” Rivlin will announce who he will invite to try to forge a viable coalition.
The president must make his decision by April 24 at the latest.
The chosen politician then has 28 days to form a government, but can ask for an extension of up to 14 days.
An initial count of the votes cast put Likud and Blue and White neck and neck with a projected 35 seats each.
However, an update issued just before midnight Thursday showed Likud a whisker ahead, with local media saying that translated into a one-seat lead, making it the largest party in parliament.
The Central Elections Committee, which updated the figures to include voting by soldiers on active service, prisoners, diplomats abroad and seamen, warned the results could still change until the final and binding tally is published on April 17.
The combined total of seats projected for Likud and what Netanyahu calls its „natural partners” among the right and religious Jewish parties adds up a comfortable 65 seats — a workable 5-seat majority.
No single political party in Israel’s more than 70-year history has ever won an absolute majority in elections and coalitions are the norm.
Gantz and his potential allies trail far behind and on Friday he called Netanyahu to congratulate him and send greetings for next week’s Passover Jewish festival.
– National unity government? –
„I would like to congratulate you on your achievement in the elections,” a Blue and White statement quoted Gantz as saying.
A Likud spokesman said Netanyahu thanked Gantz, adding that after the tumultuous election campaign it was now time to „restore Israel to calm”.
Maariv daily, citing an unnamed senior official, said Rivlin could suggest Netanyahu and Gantz agree to form a national unity government.
Such an alliance would have a strong majority and would not be beholden to smaller parties.
Contentious issues on the horizon include a pending initiative from US President Donald Trump to try to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, public spending cuts or a tax hike and the fierce debate over whether ultra-Orthodox Jews should perform mandatory military service.
A presidential spokesman told AFP he had no knowledge of any planned Rivlin-Netanyahu-Gantz meeting.
Commentators have said the looming prospect of indictments in several corruption cases against Netanyahu makes him vulnerable to demands for concessions from smaller parties in any coalition bargaining.
Israel’s attorney general has announced his intention to charge him with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases.
By Julio-Cesar Chavez
EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send about 100 agents to the Mexico border to speed up crossing times, a U.S. congresswoman said on Thursday, as businesses grapple with trade delays after officers were redeployed to immigration duties.
The slowdowns began late last month after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico did not halt a surge of people seeking asylum in the United States.
The administration moved several hundred border agents to handle the influx of migrants, triggering long delays for cross-border traffic because of the staffing shortage.
As soon as Monday, CBP plans to send officers from the Canadian border and other parts of the country to El Paso, Texas, said Democratic U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas, noting she had been informed by CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez.
CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Rio Grande Valley, on the eastern edge of the border, was being considered as another point to deploy extra officers, Escobar added.
Wait times totaling hours have hit industrial trade hard.
Losses have amounted to $800,000 a day for transportation businesses in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, said the head of Mexican trucking association CANACAR, Manuel Sotelo.
Data from border business association Index Juarez showed that losses from 28 exporting firms in Ciudad Juarez that utilize the crossing total $15 million over the past week.
In El Paso, several truckers said they usually did four crossings a day and were now managing only one.
Some manufacturing plants, including automotive factories that depend on constant cross-border shipments, have turned to expensive air freight to stay on schedule.
Passenger vehicles that would normally wait up to an hour and a half to cross are now facing four-hour waits.
(Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez in El Paso, Texas; Additional reporting by Sharay Angulo in Mexico City; Editing by Peter Cooney and Stephen Coates)
ESPOO, Finland (AP) — The United States soared into the gold-medal game at the women’s world hockey championship by routing Russia 8-0 Saturday behind two goals each by Hilary Knight and Kelly Pannek.
The undefeated Americans will be going for their fifth straight title Sunday against Finland. The host nation jolted Canada 4-2 in the other semifinal.
„We really hit our stride in the second period tonight and were able to generate a lot of offense,” U.S. coach Bob Corkum said. „We’re one step closer to what we came here for and couldn’t be more excited.”
Goalie Alex Rigsby of the U.S. made 11 stops for her second shutout of the tournament.
Canada will face Russia for the bronze medal Sunday. Earlier in the tournament, the U.S. concluded pool play with a 10-0 romp over Russia.
The U.S. and Canada had met in all 18 previous world championship finals, dating to the first in 1990.
Finland goalie Noora Raty, playing in her hometown, made 43 saves in sending her country past the heavily favored Canadians. It was Canada’s first semifinal loss at the women’s worlds.
„We’ve been pretty confident that one day it could happen when we play a perfect game and I have a good game,” Raty said. „So we finally scored three on Canada. That doesn’t happen too often. If you keep believing in yourself, anything can happen.”
Ronja Savolainen scored twice, including the empty-netter, to seal it with 37 seconds left. Jenni Hiirikoski and Susanna Tapani also scored for Finland.
Jamie Rattray and Loren Gabel countered for the Canadians, who beat Finland 6-1 Tuesday in the group stage. Shannon Szabados stopped 15 shots in her first loss against Finland in 18 starts.
The Finns scored their first two goals on power plays and pulled ahead 3-2 when Tapani scored with 3:42 left in the second period.
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