Trump Predicts Demise of 2 Prominent US Newspapers

U.S. President Donald Trump contended Sunday two of the country’s top newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, would go out of business when he leaves office.

Trump attacked both newspapers, both of which often publish articles that he labels as “fake news” — stories about his chaotic White House and administration policies that he does not like.

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post!” Trump said on Twitter, referring to the Post’s ownership by Jeff Bezos, the founder of the giant online retailer Amazon.

“The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!” Trump said. He was making an assumption that he is re-elected in 2020 and his White House tenure extends through 2024.

… is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019

Trump rarely misses an opportunity to attack the U.S. mainstream news media and its coverage of him, but it was not immediately clear what prompted his joint attack on the Times and Post, both of which were founded in the 19th century, and over the years have won dozens of Pulitzer Prizes, journalism’s top award for excellence.

Late Saturday, however, he unleashed a broadside on the Times for its story disclosing that the U.S. had secretly stepped up its online attacks on Russia’s power grid.

“This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” he tweeted.

…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019



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Israel Moves to Name Golan Settlement After Trump

The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet convened in this hamlet Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

The settlement isn’t exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30 years old and has a population of 10 people.

Israel is hoping the rebranded “Ramat Trump,” Hebrew for “Trump Heights,” will encourage a wave of residents to vastly expand it.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who attended Sunday’s ceremony. Noting that Trump celebrated his birthday Friday, he said: “I can’t think of a more appropriate and a more beautiful birthday present.”

United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife, Tammy, attend the inauguration of a new settlement named after U.S. president Donald Trump in the Golan Heights, June 16, 2019.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in 1981. Most of the international community considers the move illegal under international law.

But during a visit to Washington by Netanyahu in March, just weeks before Israeli elections, Trump signed an executive order recognizing the strategic mountainous plateau as Israeli territory. The decision, the latest in a series of diplomatic moves benefiting Israel, was widely applauded in Israel.

“Few things are more important to the security of the state of Israel than permanent sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Friedman said. “It is simply obvious, it is indisputable and beyond any reasonable debate.”

After the Cabinet decision, Netanyahu and Friedman unveiled a sign trimmed in gold with the name “Trump Heights” and adorned with U.S. and Israeli flags.

Addressing the ceremony, Netanyahu called Trump a “great friend” of Israel and described the Golan, which overlooks northern Israel, as an important strategic asset.

“The Golan Heights was and will always be an inseparable part of our country and homeland,” he said.

Obstacles to development

Developing Ramat Trump will not be easy. Ringed by high yellow grass and landmines, it is roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Syrian border and a half hour drive from the nearest Israeli town, Kiryat Shmona, a community of about 20,000 people near the Lebanese border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony to unveil a sign for a new community named after U.S. President Donald Trump, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, June 16, 2019.

According to Israeli figures, almost 50,000 people live in the Golan, including about 22,000 Jewish Israelis and nearly 25,000 Arab Druze residents.

While Israel has encouraged and promoted settlement in the Golan, its remote location, several hours from the economic center of Tel Aviv, has been an obstacle. The area is home to small agriculture and tourism sectors but otherwise has little industry. 
The eight-year Syrian civil war, which at times has resulted in spillover fire into the Golan, also could present an obstacle to luring new residents.

Rosa Zhernakov, a resident of Bruchim since 1991, said the community was excited by Sunday’s decision.

“We hope it will benefit the Golan Heights,” she said, standing outside her bungalow on one of Bruchim’s few streets. She said the revitalization of the settlement will mean “more security” for residents from any possible return of the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a future peace treaty.

Syria has demanded a return of the strategic territory, which overlooks northern Israel, as part of any peace deal. After the devastating civil war in Syria, the prospects of peace talks with Israel anytime soon seem extremely low.

Vladimir Belotserkovsky, 75, another veteran resident, said he welcomed any move to build up the settlement. 
“We certainly thank, and I personally, am satisfied by the fact that they’re founding the new settlement named for Trump,” he said.

‘No funding, no planning’

Ramat Trump joins a handful of Israeli places named after American presidents, including a village for Harry S. Truman, who first recognized the Jewish state, and George W. Bush Plaza, a square the size of a modest living room in central Jerusalem.  
Following Sunday’s decision to rename the community, developing the settlement still requires overcoming several additional bureaucratic obstacles. With Netanyahu running for re-election in the second national election this year, it remains unclear whether he will be able to complete the task.

Zvi Hauser, an opposition lawmaker who formerly served as Netanyahu’s Cabinet secretary, called Sunday’s ceremony a cheap PR stunt.

“There’s no funding, no planning, no location, and there’s no real binding decision,” he said.

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US Guarantees Hormuz Shipping Passage

The United States says it will “guarantee freedom of navigation” for shipping through the Strait of Hormuz through diplomatic talks or military intervention, contending again that it was “unmistakable” that Iran launched last week’s attacks on two tankers sailing through the narrow passage.

“These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping on the freedom of navigation with the clear intent to deny transit through the Strait,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday.

The top U.S. diplomat said the United States does not want war with Tehran, but it will ensure passage through the chokepoint that links the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, a hook-shaped body of water through which as much as a third of the world’s oil supply is shipped.

“The United States is going to make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that achieve that outcome,” he told Fox.

Strait of Hormuz

Pompeo told another Sunday news talk show, CBS News’ Face the Nation, that military intervention would be employed if necessary.

Iran has rejected the U.S. accusation it is responsible for the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese ships, one transporting oil and the other chemicals.

‘Lots of evidence’

The president of the Japanese company operating the Kokuka Courageous tanker said he saw something fly toward the vessel and did not believe the ship was attacked by a mine or torpedo. But the U.S. Defense Department released a grainy video Friday showing what it said was an Iranian boat recovering an unexploded mine from the side of the ship.

Pompeo told Fox, “It’s unmistakable what happened here,” adding the United States “has lots of data, lots of evidence” that Iran was behind the attacks.

This June 13, 2019, image released by the U.S. military’s Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran.

“The world will come to see much of it, but the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks, as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world over the past 40 days,” he said. 

Nuclear deal

Pompeo said the U.S. is dedicated to keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even as the United States withdrew from the 2015 international pact — which aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against it. 

The U.S. subsequently reimposed sanctions to curb Iran’s overseas business transactions, but in recent days granted Iraq another 120-day waiver to continue to import Iranian natural gas to power its electrical grid. 

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, “it’s not going to be closed for long,” but did not elaborate.

“They know it, and they’ve been told in very strong terms,” Trump said. “We want to get them back at the table, if they want to go back,” he said, referring to U.S. efforts to open bilateral negotiations on a new nuclear deal with Iran.

“I’m ready when they are, but whenever they’re ready, it’s OK,” he told Fox News. “And in the meantime, I’m in no rush. I’m in no rush.”

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У центрі Києва стався вибух, жертв немає, розбирання завалів завершене – ДСНС

Пізно ввечері 15 червня, о 23:25, у Києві по вулиці Тургенєвська, 16, в одному з семи гаражів стався вибух, внаслідок чого зруйновано три гаражі, пошкоджено газопровід, вибито скло у вікнах поруч розташованих житлових будинків та пошкоджено чотири автомобілі. Жертв та постраждалих немає, інформує Державна служба України з надзвичайних ситуацій.

«Станом на 7:00 16 червня роботи із розбирання завалів завершені. До проведення робіт залучалося 70 людей та 9 одиниць техніки. Причини події встановлюються. На місці події працює оперативна група Головного управління ДСНС у Києві», – вказують рятувальники.

За квартал від місця, де стався вибух, розташована будівля Національного цирку України, ще ближче – офіси двох українських телеканалів, «Нового» та «Інтера».

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Taliban, US Set to Hold Crucial Round of Afghan Peace Talks

The United States and the Taliban are scheduled to hold crucial negotiations in Qatar early next week amid high expectations of a breakthrough in a nearly yearlong effort to end the war in Afghanistan. 
This would be the seventh round of talks in Doha, Qatar, where the insurgent group maintains an informal political office. The U.S. team is being led by Afghan-born American reconciliation envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. 
The dialogue, which excludes the Afghan government, has focused on the withdrawal of American forces from the country in exchange for Taliban assurances that transnational terrorists would be not be allowed to use Afghan soil for attacks against other countries. 
U.S. and Taliban negotiators were expected to conclude an agreement covering the two issues in their last meeting in May, but the discussions stalled over the Taliban’s refusal to cease hostilities and participate in an intra-Afghan peace dialogue until Washington announced a troop drawdown timetable. 

FILE – Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesman.

Gradual progress seen

A Taliban spokesman has dismissed reported assertions of a stalemate in the dialogue in the wake of U.S. insistence that the final agreement must cover a cease-fire and the insurgent group’s engagement in intra-Afghan talks, involving the Kabul government. 
“I don’t see the dialogue is deadlocked. It is progressing, but steadily or gradually,” Suhail Shaheen, who speaks for the insurgent negotiating team, told VOA ahead of the upcoming talks. 
“I hope with the announcement of a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the process may gain momentum, paving the way for the Afghans to sit together and chart a road map for a future Islamic system and government,” Shaheen said. 
Khalilzad, in a statement ahead of the upcoming meeting with the Taliban, also vowed he would “try to bring the first two parts of our peace framework to closure,” but he emphasized success would require other parties to show flexibility. 

“We hope Khalilzad will deliver what he has promised — that he would try to bring to closure the framework for peace on these two issues,” Shaheen said when asked to respond to comments by the chief American negotiator. 

Two-day session

Official sources in Kabul, meanwhile, have told VOA a two-day peace dialogue among Afghans, including government and Taliban representatives, is being arranged in Doha early next month. The sources said the meeting was scheduled for July 7 and would be an outcome of the upcoming U.S.-Taliban negotiations. 
The Taliban are opposed to any direct talks with Afghan government officials, dismissing them as American “puppets.” But the insurgent group, Taliban officials said, is not averse to a peace dialogue with a delegation representing all sections of the Afghan society, including government officials in their individual capacity. 

While Washington has engaged in direct talks with the Taliban, a top American military commander noted this week that strongholds of the Islamic State group in eastern Afghan provinces “are very worrisome to us.” 

FILE – In this April 14, 2018, file photo, then-Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie speaks during a media availability at the Pentagon in Washington.

Strong pressure seen

However, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said earlier this week that IS was under strong military pressure in Afghanistan. 
American forces and their Afghan partners routinely attack IS bases in the country while Taliban insurgents also regularly clash with loyalists of the Middle Eastern-based terrorist group. 
“ISIS in Afghanistan certainly has aspirations to attack the United States. … It is our clear judgment that as long as we maintain pressure on them, it will be hard for them to do that,” McKenzie, using an acronym for Islamic State, told reporters in Germany. 
But the Taliban swiftly rejected McKenzie’s assertions as baseless and alleged they were aimed at justifying the U.S. military presence in the country. 
“Their occupation is practically providing Daesh a ground in Afghanistan, and they are using its name and existence as an instrument,” alleged Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, using the local name for IS. 
Mujahid claimed the Taliban had cleared many Afghan areas of IS, and he accused American forces as well as their local partners of launching aerial strikes against Taliban positions in areas where the insurgents are battling IS militants. 

‘Creating hurdles’

“If American generals really fear from Daesh, then why are they avoiding its elimination and creating hurdles against mujahedeen operations? Statements of American generals are opposite of their actions,” Mujahid said. 

FILE – Security personnel display weapons and equipment used in a suicide bomb attack and gunfight at the Interior Ministry, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 30, 2018. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

American military officials, for their part, have reportedly insisted the Taliban have not done enough to fight IS, particularly in the eastern Afghan provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, where the terrorist group has set up bases. 
“But not only are the Taliban mostly avoiding fighting the Islamic State, they are also feeding its ranks. Taliban insurgents serve as one of the Islamic State’s primary recruiting pools, and they often bring a wealth of combat experience with them, according to the officials,” the U.S. military officials told The New York Times
U.S. interlocutors in continuing direct talks with Taliban envoys in Qatar have proposed to leave behind a counterterrorism force in Afghanistan after any peace agreement to fight IS. 
Taliban negotiators, however, have rejected the proposal, insisting their fighters could handle and defeat the Islamic State loyalists, according the Times

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Census Says More Than 60% of US Men Are Fathers

Fathers in the U.S. tend to be better educated than men without children, and relatively few men have children over age 40.

These are some of the conclusions in a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau, just in time for Father’s Day.

The data in the report came from 2014, when the bureau for the first time asked both men and women about their fertility histories.  The goal of the report was to shed greater light on men’s fertility, a topic about which less is known than that of women’s fertility, according to the Census Bureau. 

“In recent decades, there has been growing public and academic interest in fathers and fatherhood given the importance of fathers in children’s lives,” the report said.

It found more than 60% of the 121 million adult men in the U.S. were fathers.

About three-quarters of fathers were married. Almost 13% of dads were divorced and 8% had never been married. 

Just under a quarter of U.S. men between ages 40 and 50 were childless, and about 17% had never been married by the time they reached their 40s. Both figures were noticeably higher than for women who had reached middle age. Just under 16% of women between the ages of 40 and 50 were childless, and 14% had never been married, according to the report.

Workforce participation

There were also noticeable differences in workforce participation between fathers and mothers with young children. Nearly 90% of fathers whose youngest child was under age 6 were employed, while that figure was only around 60% for mothers, according to the report. There was no difference between the sexes for childless men and women. 

Men with children tended to be more educated than those without kids, although the report noted that might be the result of age, since the chances of becoming fathers and reaching higher education levels increases with age.

Fatherhood also varied by race, ethnic background and age.

Almost 30% of Hispanics in their 20s were fathers. That was true for about a quarter of black men, more than a fifth of white men and an eighth of Asian men.

By the time men reached their 40s, those disparities had narrowed. More than 83% of Hispanics were fathers, around 80% of black and Asian men were dads and around three-quarters of white men were fathers. 

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