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Journal Archives

U.S. In Direct Contact With North Korea, Tillerson Says

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY Published 10:28 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2017 | Updated 9:13 p.m. ET Sept. 30, 2017

For the first time, the Trump administration acknowledged Saturday that it is in "direct contact" with the North Korean government and has asked Pyongyang whether they would like to discuss their missile and nuclear tests.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Beijing when asked how the U.S. might start a dialog with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang,” he said.

The secretary spoke to reporters at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Beijing after meeting with President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese leaders.


Local Football Teams Shows Support For Police

U.S. Navy Closes Last Base In Puerto Rico (How's that working out for you???)

April 9, 2004 3:09 AM CDT

On March 31 the U.S. Navy closed down the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The closing of the base, a victory for the progressive and pro-independence forces of this Caribbean nation, came after the Puerto Rican people won the fight to stop the Navy’s use of the island municipality of Vieques for bombing practice. The Roosevelt Road base was used to service the bombing practice and the Atlantic Fleet.

The Navy was forced to close down Camp García, the firing zone in Vieques, on May 1, 2003, after using the area for target practice since the 1940s. The Culebra bombing area closed after a similar fight in the 1970s. The closing of Roosevelt Roads leaves only one U.S. Navy base in the Caribbean – the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.

Similar to Vieques and Culebra, the people of Cuba do not support the use of their territory by the U.S. and have demanded that the base close. The U.S. government has refused, however, because of its antagonism to the Cuban revolution.

The end of Puerto Rican municipalities used for target practice is positive because of the dangers it poses, but there is also concern that the closing of Roosevelt Roads may lead to greater economic hardship because of Puerto Rico’s colonial dependency on the United States. According to the Navy, the base poured about $300 million into the local economy. The base was staffed by 5,500 people and provided jobs for 2,000 local civilians.

Puerto Rican economists José Joaquín Villamil and Elias Gutierrez, in a 1999 El Nuevo Día interview, said that the base closing would benefit the whole of Puerto Rico economically in the long run, even though Ceiba and the surrounding municipalities will suffer with a short-term economic downturn.


Hannity Beats Maddow In First Week Of 9 P.m. Showdown

By JASON SCHWARTZ 09/29/2017 02:11 PM EDT

In the first week of the head-to-head battle between Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow, the conservative heavyweight drew significantly higher ratings than his liberal counterpart.

Fox News moved Hannity’s show from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. as part of a broader shakeup of its prime-time line-up, designed in part to counter a dramatic ratings surge by rival MSNBC, led by Maddow, the biggest ratings winner of the Trump era.

Hannity pulled out all the stops, bringing in Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh to boost his numbers. It appears to have worked: The Fox News pundit pulled in an average of 3,498,000 viewers from Monday through Thursday, with 713,000 in the key adult 25-54 demographic, according to early Nielsen figures.

Maddow averaged 2,649,000 viewers, with 599,000 adults 25-54. CNN’s 9 p.m. hour — which usually features Anderson Cooper’s “AC360,” but this week had two special town halls — finished third, with 1,173,000 viewers and 416,000 in the key demographic.


I think Tucker Carlson's 8p show on Fox is much better and both of them...

'Bring Your Bible To School Day' - October 5th, 2017

Welcome to Bring Your Bible to School Day! On this day — this year’s event is Oct. 5 — thousands of students across the whole country will share God’s hope and celebrate religious freedom by doing something simple, yet powerful: They’ll bring their Bibles to school and talk about it with friends!

Tom Price Resigns As Health Secretary After Tumultuous Eight Months

Tamar Hallerman Greg Bluestein The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
4:39 p.m Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 National/World News

Health Secretary Tom Price resigned from his Cabinet post on Friday, the White House said, after racking up at least $1 million in travel on private and military jets, a string of taxpayer-funded expenses that drew bipartisan condemnation.

The former Roswell orthopedic surgeon had lost support from President Donald Trump, who said Wednesday that he was “not happy” with his health secretary despite Price’s pledge to pay back taxpayers for part of the bill and to stop flying on chartered jets.

The White House said Don Wright, a top deputy at the department, would serve as acting secretary of Health and Human Services until a new secretary can be confirmed by the Senate.

Price’s departure came after the news outlet Politico reported in a series of stories that the health chief had taken more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded trips on private planes to locales from Africa to Georgia’s St. Simons Island.


Putin Heads To Turkey For Talks On Weapons Deal, Syria

Istanbul (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday meets his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on Syria and a key weapons deal, hoping to strengthen an increasingly active relationship that has troubled the West.

Despite a regional rivalry that goes back to the Ottoman Empire and the Romanov dynasty, Russia and Turkey have been working closely since a 2016 reconciliation ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian war plane over Syria.

"Russia and Turkey are cooperating very tightly," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said ahead of the one-day working visit by Putin to Ankara.

Both Moscow and Ankara are pushing for the creation of four "de-escalation zones" in Syria to end the civil war that has raged since 2011.



September 29, 2017

Days before the meeting this week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the press in both countries was busy discussing the potential issues on the agenda: Syria, the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 defense system and — last, but very important to Turkey — Russia’s embargo on Turkish tomatoes.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov only added to the speculation by saying the day before the meeting that the visit had “solely pragmatic goals.”

On Sept. 28, Putin arrived in Ankara for his second visit to Turkey since the two countries began normalizing relations last year after Turkish forces downed a Russian jet in November 2015. From the airport, Putin headed to a working dinner with Erdogan that lasted almost two hours. Afterward, the talks continued in an expanded format. Putin was accompanied by a delegation including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller and Alexey Likhachev, the director general of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp.

A glance at the list of participants gives a sense of why the Russians came to Ankara.

The key issues discussed were the Syrian civil war and the aftermath of the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, both of great importance for the two countries. For Turkey, with its significant Kurdish population and decades of attacks by the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, the referendum is certainly a sore point. During a press conference that day, Erdogan called the vote “illegitimate” and said authorities in northern Iraq made a big mistake. “No one has a right to throw our region into the fire,” he added.

Read more:

Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation Team Loses 2nd FBI Veteran


Special counsel Robert Mueller has now lost a second official that he brought in from the FBI to help investigate Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election, ABC News has learned.

The latest FBI veteran to leave, Lisa Page, was described by media accounts in June as a trial attorney with “deep experience money laundering and organized crime cases.” She was part of what Wired magazine called Mueller’s “investigatory dream team.”

But weeks ago, Page left the Special Counsel’s office and returned to work in the office of the FBI’s general counsel, sources said. According to one source, Page joined Mueller’s team on a short, temporary assignment and always expected to return as soon as that assignment ended.

Page’s departure came around the same time that one of the FBI’s top investigators also left the team, as first reported by ABC News last month.


State Dept. Distances Itself From U.S. Israel Envoy's West Bank Comments

(CNN)The State Department distanced itself from its ambassador to Israel Thursday, after he broke with decades-long US policy by claiming that Israeli settlements built after 1967 are a part of Israel.

Ambassador David Friedman told Walla News that Israel is "only occupying 2% of the West Bank" and said "settlements are part of Israel."

The Trump administration has said that settlement activity is not helpful to reaching a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians which President Donald Trump has said is a top priority.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that Friedman's comments "should not be read as a way to prejudge the outcome of any negotiations" between Israelis and Palestinians and "should not be read as a shift in US policy." "I just want to be clear that our policy has not changed," Nauert said. "I want to be crystal clear."


Russia Accuses CNN International Of Violating Russian Media Law

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s communications regulator on Friday accused U.S. TV channel CNN International of violating Russian media law and said it had summoned the broadcaster’s representatives in connection with the matter.

The Russian foreign ministry accused Washington on Thursday of putting unwarranted pressure on the U.S operations of Kremlin-backed media outlet RT, and warned that Moscow could take tit-for-tat measures.

President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of Russia’s Security Council on Friday that Russian media outlets working abroad were facing growing and unacceptable pressure, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement on its website that it would look at warning CNN about the alleged violations, which it said also breached the terms of its broadcast license.

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