26 Sep 2017
2017/09/24 – Trump expands enhanced vetting to include Chad, North Korea and Venezuela – Washington Times
President Trump issued a new travel ban policy Sunday night, adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela to the five majority-Muslim countries whose citizens were already prohibited from entering the country under his “extreme vetting” executive order.
After a monthslong review, the administration said Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen will also remain on the list, though in some cases the restrictions are being altered. Sudan is being removed from the list. Iraq is deemed to be troubled, but it won’t face severe restrictions as a reward to that government for cooperating with the U.S.
But the Trump administration said the latest policy is on firm legal footing since it follows a long review that involves asking nearly 200 countries to detail their own information-sharing and identity processes and to promise cooperation when it comes to verifying the identities of their citizens seeking to enter the U.S.
More than a dozen countries were deemed inadequate in the first go-around, but some of them quickly updated their levels of cooperation, allowing them off the list, the administration said.
But the countries that remain on the list either were unable or, in some cases, unwilling to cooperate.
The initial regulation ends October 18th.
7 Sep 2017
2017-09-07 – Israel’s airstrike message to Syria, Iran, and the US – Washington Examiner
On Thursday, Israel launched an airstrike on a Syrian regime factory at Masyaf, approximately 10 miles west of Hama (which Assad’s father once destroyed). The former chief of Israel’s Aman intelligence service tweeted that the factory was used to produce chemical weapons and precision ground-to-ground rockets.
Related… 2017/01/16 – Obama Adviser Susan Rice Cites Syrian War As Biggest Disappointment – NPR
Per Susan Rice…
We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. Our aim in contemplating the use of force following the use of chemical weapons in August of 2013 was not to intervene in the civil war, not to become involved in the combat between Assad and the opposition, but to deal with the threat of chemical weapons by virtue of the diplomacy that we did with Russia and with the Security Council. We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.
Well – not so much…
30 Jun 2017
2017/06/29 – U.S. blacklists China bank, revving up pressure over North Korea – Washington Times
The Treasury Department on Thursday declared the Bank of Dandong a “primary money-laundering concern,” proposing to sever it entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period. Although Trump’s treasury secretary said the move didn’t target China, it comes a week after the president lamented that China’s promise to help with North Korea “has not worked out.”
27 May 2017
2017/05/26 – U.S. Quietly Lifts Limit on Number of Refugees Allowed In – NY Times
Despite repeated efforts by President Trump to curtail refugee resettlements, the State Department this week quietly lifted the department’s restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States.
The State Department’s decision was conveyed in an email on Thursday to the private agencies in countries around the world that help refugees manage the nearly two-year application process needed to enter the United States.
In her email, Jennifer L. Smith, a department official, wrote that the refugee groups could begin bringing people to the United States “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place.”
Here’s the technically that was used…
The department’s quotas on refugee resettlement were largely the result of budget constraints imposed by Congress in a temporary spending measure passed last fall. But when Congress passed a spending bill this month that funded the government for the rest of the fiscal year, the law did not include any restrictions on refugee admissions.
Interesting – this is definitely not the desire of Trump or Tillerson as I see it…
25 May 2017
Say what you want about President Trump… he’s going to lay out what he thinks regardless of who is present. Here he is in a speech, suggesting other NATO members pay their fair share as they watch in the background.
25 May 2017
2017/05/24 – Trump In Israel Gave ‘Rachashei Lev’ Pediatric Cancer Patient Her Dream – Yeshiva World News
During his recent visit to Israel, President Donald Trump made a 14-year old girl’s dream come true. Emilee Imbar has been battling cancer for the last seven years, and has dreamed of meeting with the U.S. President.
24 May 2017
2017/05/24 – Moody’s downgrades China’s credit rating – BBC News
Moody’s, one of the world’s big three ratings agencies, cut China by one notch to A1 from Aa3.
Moody’s said that the downgrade reflected expectations that China’s financial strength would “erode somewhat over the coming years, with the economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows”.
The other two main credit rating agencies have so far left their evaluations unchanged.
Standard & Poor’s rating for China currently stands at AA- with a negative outlook, while Fitch’s rating is A+ with a stable outlook.