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Biden says "Note my words" Trump will try to delay the vote in November. Trump has called it "make-up propaganda."

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WASHINGTON, 28 April 2020, TON: US military delegation as a part of the Pentagon’s military engagement strategy on Tuesday, met an Afghan faction known as Afghan Taliban leaders in Doha in an undisclosed location. The visit was aimed to “Reduce Violence”. Spokesman for the US military, Sonny Leggett could not be approached for comments. If we recall, NATO commander of US origin in Afghanistan, Austin Miller met with representatives of Afghan faction Taliban’s political office in Doha on 10 April, to discuss the reduction of violence. 

In the past Afghan Taliban published video footage claiming to show a house bombarded by US forces in Badakhshan Province on 10 April. Its authenticity could not be independently verified at that time but after the publication of report by UN Secretary General's special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA the report supports Taliban claims. The UN Report says that during timeframe; 1st January and 31st March 2020, Afghan government forces and international troops caused more child casualties than anti-government armed groups.

 

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WASHINGTON, 27 April 2020, TON: The US Army has moved its combatants for a news role to confront threats in the Sahel. In the recent decision from Pentagon, the US personnel and helicopters available for casualty evacuation flights and medical aid in Africa would end mission. But this withdrawal would be redeployed in Sahel region including Niger to join local combat forces to defeat rebels. According to a report US has deployed Bell 214ST and H225 Super Puma helicopters for new joint combat role with the regional forces in Niger.

If we recall back in 2017, the US forces carried out similar operations against Boko Haram.  US Commander in Niger claimed that their fight is against mix of Islamic State and Al Qaida fighters in tri-border region of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The decision was taken after last month Diffa Operation on border with Nigeria in which a number of residents in the border area were killed on the suspicion of links with extremists. 

 

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Donald Trump tweet on Wednesday that called on US Navy " If Iranian gunboats harass us then we're gonna destroy their ships".

 The U.S. Navy says an Iranian gunboat with High Speed Crossed front of a US Coast Guard cutter.

 

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WASHINGTON, 4 April 2020, TON: The United States of America has agreed in principle to relax sanctions imposed on Iran to allow the country fight COVID-19 related import, said a Pentagon official on the condition of anonymity. It may come as surprise but independent reports speaks that Washington has already provided aid and material to Iran to fight Corona virus.

The senior official having remained deployed in Baghdad, Iraq said Pentagon feels that it is time to engage Tehran if it agrees to new terms and conditions.

US sanctions has disallowed world’s companies and individuals from carrying out even lawful trade with Iranian companies. Reportedly, China and Moscow are supplying medicine to Iran.

In the past, President Donald Trump administration’s refused to halt its economic war on Iran saying it is against US’s national interests.

 

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KARACHI, 3 April 2020, TON: US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells said, “We welcome Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict,” after the Home Department of Pakistan’s Sindh Province issued an order against Sindh High Court’s decision that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh will remain at least for another 90 days on the grounds of “public safety.” Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was acquitted from the charges of murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

The ruling came on 3 April 2020, a day after the High Court of Sindh Province overturned conviction of death sentence on the grounds of Daniel Pearl ‘s murder due to lack of evidence. Criticizing the High Court’s decision, Alice Wells on 2 April said, "The overturning of the convictions for Daniel Pearl's murder is an affront to victims of terrorism everywhere." 

The order said, “The government of Sindh has sufficient reason that Ahmed Omar Sheikh and Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib, Sheikh Muhammad Adil be arrested and detained for a period of three months from the date of arrest (April 2, 2020).” It is important to mention here that the latest High Court decision awarded the accused 7 years imprisonment, however, all the accused, especially Ahmed Omar Sheikh is in prison since 20022 and has already spent 18 years in prison.

Defense lawyer Khawja Naveed said that decision of the Court in converting death sentence for murder to seven years in prison for kidnapping has been viewed by international media-freedom watchdogs as a "denial of justice."

The provincial Prosecutor-General, Faiz Shah said that he intended to appeal the ruling, however, under Article 185 of Constitution of Pakistan, Sindh Government has no right to file an appeal exercising Appellate Jurisdiction of Supreme Court unless leave to appeal is filed as the decision of Sindh High Court has neither reversed an order of acquittal of  accused persons and sentenced him to death or to transportation for life or imprisonment for life nor the revision has enhanced a sentence.

It is important to recall, in January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University following an investigation into his death claimed that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl's murder.

 

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KARACHI, 2 April 2020, TON: Pakistani Court has passed judgment in Daniel Pearl’s murder case that the murder charges were not proven and has converted death sentence to life imprisonment.

A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court reduced Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh's sentence to seven years in prison for kidnapping Daniel Pearl. Ahmed Omar Saeed has been in prison since 2002, and was expected to be released after the court verdict, but the prison authority says the court had yet to issue such an order.

Ahmed Omar Saeed was a former student at the London School of Economics and arrested in 2002.  An anti-terrorism court sentenced to death, while three other defendants in the same case were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau Chief was abducted and beheaded in Karachi in 2002. A video showing Pearl's decapitation was delivered to the US Consulate in Pakistan’s provincial capital Karachi nearly a month later of the kidnapping. Another version of the story says that the murder of Daniel Pearl was filmed and the video posted online by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who is presently in US custody. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was arrested from Pakistan in 2003, denied all charges and claimed before the American court that he was systematically tortured by the US authorities including waterboarded to get his confession. 

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WASHINGTON, 28 March 2020, IANS: Overwhelmed by the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus infected people, the US government has decided to use its navy ships as hospitals and move non-Covid-19 patients from most-affected cities to the sea. The US on Thursday surpassed China, where the novel coronavirus had originated four months ago, with the highest number of coronavirus infected people. Over 85,000 people have tested positive for the deadly virus and more than 1,300 have died of the disease in the US so far. New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the US with over 38,000 cases diagnosed as on Friday. On the West Coast, California has got the largest number of cases with over 4,000 infected people.

Sources said that since New York hospitals are unable to cope with the growing number of coronavirus positive cases, even as hotels are being used for non-corona patients, the government has decided to move some of the non-Covid-19 patients to navy ships. As the outbreak is spreading fast in New York, many people have been fleeing the city, sources said. 

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WASHINGTON, 28 March 2020, IANS: The World Bank Group President David Malpass said hat the multilateral lender was finalizing a package that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support for the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The goals are to shorten the time to recovery; create conditions for growth; support small and medium enterprises; and help protect the poor and vulnerable,” Malpass told a conference call of the Extraordinary Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders’ Summit on Thursday.

Noting that the World Bank has approved a $14 billion package focused on the immediate health and social consequences of the outbreak, Malpass said “we’re now finalizing an additional package that will focus on the broader economic consequences”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The World Bank President further said that on Wednesday, he presented a program to the Board that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months.

“I’m particularly concerned about poor, densely populated countries such as India, where weak health systems need massively scalable investments in human capital, supplies and infrastructure,” Malpass said. “We are working hard to provide support through our public and private sector tools,” he said.

Malpass noted the World Bank has new COVID-related projects underway in 56 countries, encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. The World Bank is restructuring existing projects in 24 countries in order to direct funds to the health emergency.

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WASHINGTON, 23 March 2020, TON: The Spokeswoman of the US Department of State Morgan Ortagus has strongly refuted Iranian leader Khamenei's repetition of allegations that the United States created the coronavirus "Wuhan Virus" (SARS-CoV-2). On 23 March 2020, in a speech broadcast live to the Iranian nation, Khamenei turned down the United States' offer of help in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic in Iran including sending medicines to fight the outbreak. Khamenei said to US, "Use what you have for your own patients." Khamenei also said Iran could not trust the US because they could be giving medicines that spread the virus or cause it to remain and alleged that a section of the virus was created to match the genes of Iranians. In a tweet on, Morgan Ortagus quoted a tweet from Khamenei's account to the same effect and said the "conspiracy theories about the Wuhan Virus" by Khamenei are harmful, irresponsible, and 100 percent false.

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ISLAMABAD, 23 March 2020, TON: (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday urged the United States President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Iran on humanitarian grounds, as the country was worst hit by the recent wave of deadly Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

On his twitter account, the prime minister posted, “I want to appeal to President Trump on humanitarian grounds to lift the sanctions against Iran till the COVID19 pandemic is over.”

He further said the people of Iran were facing untold sufferings as sanctions were crippling Iran’s efforts to fight COVID19.

“Humanity must unite to fight this pandemic,” he added.

Iran is among the worst affected Coronavirus countries in the world with over 1,000 reported human casualties. The country had already been facing crippling US sanctions after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

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WASHINGTON, 19 March 2020, TON: The US President Donald Trump, who signed on Wednesday, 18 March, H.R. 6201, the 'Families First Coronavirus Response Act' (the "Act") has approved multi-billion emergency aid package to help Americans mitigate the adverse economic impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus.  

The bill offers free coronavirus testing including free testing through commercial insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program), Indian Health Service (HIS), responsible for providing direct medical and public health services to members of federally-recognized Native American Tribes and Alaska Native people.( original inhabitants of land that now constitute America) and TRI-CARE, formerly known as the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS).

Medicaid in the United States is a federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, including nursing home care and personal care services. 

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