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STATE DEPARTMENT: US NOT to remain in Syria after ISIS “defeat”

The Kurds and the Americans cannot both be telling the truth.

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US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert has responded to questions from reporters about reports from Kurdish militants who last week stated that the US plans to remain in Syria for “decades”.

Nauert refuted these claims by stating the following,

“Syria must be governed by its own people and not by the United States or other force”.

She added that the US intends to “defeat” ISIS and not to stay beyond this mission.

This puts statements from the US and their militant Kurdish allies into direct contradiction. As I wrote recently in The Duran,

“Talal Silo has said that the Kurdish fighters in Syria have reached an agreement that would imply a de-facto Kurdish entity in Syria would form under the auspices of US military occupation of the territory which is recognised by every major international body, including the United Nations as Syrian territory.

The United States has yet to comment on the remarks and for good reason. The remarks open up a Pandora’s Box of problems for all those impacted, including Washington.

Here are three possible interpriations of the Kurdish statement:

1. Blackmail to the US 

Officially, the US does not back the creation of a Kurdish state anywhere, not in Syria, Iraq, Turkey or Iran, even though various Kurdish groups seek the creation of such an entity in all of these places. To this point, the US, like Russia, urges Iraqi Kurds to postpone a separatist referendum in Iraq which is currently scheduled for the 25th of September, 2017.

By implying that a deal has been reached between the SDF and United States to keep American occupying troops in Syria for decades to come, Kurdish leaders in Syria may be trying to force America’s hand in creating a state by default.

If SDF controlled regions of Syria become cut off from the legitimate authorities in Damascus through a line of US military occupation, one could witness a scenario similar to that which Serbia endured in the late 1990s. Starting in 1999, NATO troops brutally occupied the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. This led the province being cut off from the rest of Serbia in spite of being an integral part of Serbian territory.

In 2008, occupied Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally declared itself a state and the US was quick to support this move.

Something similar could happen in Syria where a US occupation of Syria could eventually lead Kurdish regions being cut off from the rest of Syria, making a unilateral declaration of independence all the more likely in the future.

The biggest difference is that unlike in the Balkans where the unilateral declaration of a Kosovar entity could not reasonably have been militarily opposed due to the weakness of west Balkan military power, in Syria it is a different matter. Turkey has said that it will never accept a Kurdish state on its borders and if history is a guide, Turkey will do something about it and what’s more Turkey certainly is militarily capable of doing something about it.

2. A Truthful statement 

It may be that the US which is already effectively cutting off much of Syria east of the Euphrates with its stalwart support of Kurdish militants has already reached a deal with local Kurds for a long-term occupation of Syria.

The fact that the US has not said so publicly and has apparently not told Ankara is a further sign that the US is prepared to lose what is left of its historic Turkish alliance.

If the statement from the Kurdish spokesman represents covert but confirmed American policy, it means that Turkey’s exit from NATO could be even more rapid than many previously thought possible.

3. Wishful thinking 

Kurdish military spokesmen tend to be over-zealous and exaggerate the realities of many situations, especially when geo-political alignments are involved.

It could be that the US has given no more indication to the Kurds that they intend to occupy certain regions of Syria than they have given anyone else and that the Kurds are speaking from a position of desire rather than fact”.

Today’s remarks from the US State department leave only two possibilities: either the Kurds are trying in vain to entice the US further into Syria or that Heather Nauert is being dishonest and the future plans of the US.

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“She added that the US intends to “defeat” ISIS and not to stay beyond this mission”

All they will do is ship in more ISIS fighters….there, problem solved….it will continue to be there forever, or until formally/forcefully made to leave,

7.62x54r
Guest
7.62x54r

US is inside Syria illegally- period. Neither Moscow nor Damascus needs a wider conflict, but the US never leaves a foreign country unless forced out.

Have a cigar!
Guest
Have a cigar!

Indeed. We all remember Yankee Vietnam Disaster. They came to spread horror and spend bloody money. Ended up in nationwide PTSD for decades.

Michellefescobar
Guest
Michellefescobar

Planet94e

Google is paying 97$ per hour! work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
!au64d:
➽➽
➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobs354CashMarketPlanet/GetPay$97/Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!au64l..,…

Milly Vanilly
Guest
Milly Vanilly

So you are working for ONE of George Soros organizations ??

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“US NOT to remain in Syria after ISIS “defeat””
They had no right to go there in the first place. They were neither invited by Syria, nor sanctioned by the international law – via a Security Council resolution.

Peter Hallam
Guest
Peter Hallam

Correct. They are there illegally. They were never invited. They never had permission. They never contributed to the War On Terror. The are conducting a War OF Terror by funding, arming, training, and working with terrorists in order to pretend there is some PLAUSIBLE Deniability. The Coalition have killed more innocent people in a few months than the Russians did since they were invited in. This is joke. A cruel joke even pretending that they are there to help. Open an independent war crimes tribunal. Put some of the terrorists on the stand and we’ll soon see who the real… Read more »

Shahna
Guest

Yes.
I like that idea …. an independent war crimes tribunal….

Gavin Allen
Guest
Gavin Allen

They were invited. The fact that you can’t see beyond the regime is your problem.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

By whom? No one other than the government of Syria can invite foreign armies on Syrian soil. The US has NO bilateral treaty with Syria, not even diplomatic links. US didn’t either declare war to Syria (in order to send troops there), as Syria never attacked in ANY way the US. So stop up your garbage comments.

Tarciso Ribeiro
Guest
Tarciso Ribeiro

she is lying.

JPH
Guest
JPH

Anyway she is lying indeed.

cap960
Guest
cap960

Who to believe…The Kurds which they are getting closer to have a state of their own with American help or our exceptional friends which they have a well known reputation of lies and deceptions.

Graz Bugni
Guest
Graz Bugni

A look at a few tweets by Nauert at the State Dept’s Twitter page might give some insight. I almost had a bullshit overdose.

samo war
Guest
samo war

syria is project oil satan mafia from rookefelder ?

BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

I’ll believe it when I see us troops and equipment LEAVE Syrian soil. Only then, will it be the truth.

BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

“She added that the US intends to “defeat” ISIS and not to stay beyond this mission.”

comment image

Poor meter is off the charts.

Gavin Allen
Guest
Gavin Allen

More fake news and racist bias from the Duran… what a surprise. “Talal Silo has said that the Kurdish fighters in Syria…” – no he hasn’t. Tal represents the SDF, which is Syrian, and not characterised by any one ethnicity. “a de-facto Kurdish entity in Syria” – is in nobody’s heads except the author of this lame propaganda. The DFNS already exists. It’s polyethnic, Syrian, and elections begin next month. “Syrian territory” – exactly. The Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Yazidis and others in the SDF and MDC are Syrians. Well done Adam, ask mummy for a cookie. “Kurdish leaders in Syria… Read more »

John C Carleton
Guest
John C Carleton

The State department had to say that?
When one gets their butts handed to them in a war where they have illegally invaded a country, i am not aware of one war in history where the loosing war criminal aggressor, was allowed to remain so they could try it again.

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Still, as quoted elsewhere, we better watch Israel’s meeting with the US officials this coming week. The journalist who has done so much for Syria and media coverage of the realistic kind, Vanessa Beeley says: “An Israeli delegation will be received at the White House this week. The agenda: Syria. The three members of the Israeli delegation are: • Yossi Cohen (photo), Head of Mossad (Foreign Intelligence); • General Herzl Halevi, Head of Aman (Military Intelligence); • Colonel Zohar Palti, Head of Military and Political Affairs at the Ministry of Defense. This delegation will meet with the following US representatives:… Read more »

Shahna
Guest

“intends to use this visit as an opportunity to present compelling grounds for closing down the Silk Route.”
———–
WHAT?

So China, Russia, indeed all Asia, the Middle East, the Far East AND Europe+GOK who else are ALL going to bow down, throw away the Silk Road – because little Izzies are terrified?

Perhaps little Izzies should (i) grow up and (ii) stop creating the cause of their own terror.

Sheesh – but my heart bleeds custard for those murderers and warmongers!

foxenburg
Guest
foxenburg

I can’t see how a Kurdish state would be viable. No coastline. Oil would be its only source of income. But how would they bring it to the market? Iraq, Turkey, Syria & Iran wouldn’t let it pass through their territories. They would have no over-flying or transit rights and would be completely cut off from the rest of the world.

Shahna
Guest

And JUST THIS ONCE ….. America is not lying?

In your dreams.

richardstevenhack
Guest
richardstevenhack

Like the State Department would even know until they’re told…

seby
Guest
seby

My grandmother taught me to ignore what people say, but note what they do.

A widow at 26, with two small children to raise, she didn’t have time for blah, blah.

Putin's baby
Guest
Putin's baby

Defeated you again, yankees….

Keith Smith
Guest
Keith Smith

duran looks different. changed the layout .

SHAUN BYATT
Guest
SHAUN BYATT

Does the US consider bases inside an independant Kurdistan (after the
referendums) as being inside Syria, or will they use this “loophole” to
justify their actions when they contradict this statement of removing
their forces from the area?

disqus_Xx0Y3HsNsJ
Guest
disqus_Xx0Y3HsNsJ

Suuuure. Doesn’t anyone actually believe that? Tell that to Iraq and Afghanistan.

disqus_Xx0Y3HsNsJ
Guest
disqus_Xx0Y3HsNsJ

Does anyone actually believe that?

Milly Vanilly
Guest
Milly Vanilly

If the U.S.WANTED to eliminate isis all they have to do is STOP their paychecks & fire them. CIA CREATED, Trained & FUNDED isis to keep ‘THEIR’ UNJUSTIFIED wars going so the Military Industrial Complex keeps ROLLING in ILLEGAL money.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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