ABU DHABI: George W. Bush (US president from 2001-2009), while rejecting Trump’s denials said there was pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.
Giving a talk here on Thursday (8th of Feb) Bush added: “Whether they affected the outcome is another question…It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the intelligence agencies of USA, after due investigation, had confirmed that Russia did meddle in the said elections.
Though Trump had repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, a number of investigations are being carried out to figure out whether Trump’s campaign aided Russia in its efforts.
N. Korean-US summit will not take place: Trump
WASHINGTON: In a correspondence addressed to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un President Donald Trump has made it clear that due to North Korean anger and hostility the Singapore summit had been canceled.
Trump and Kim had been due to hold high-stakes talks on June 12 aimed at ridding the reclusive state of nuclear weapons, but the meeting was recently thrown into doubt as both sides raised the prospect of scrapping the discussions and traded threats.
Trump’s letter came a day after North Korea attacked US Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.” “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim released by the White House.
“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”
Trump also brandished the threat of America’s nuclear might in his letter, writing: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
The US leader’s letter appeared to leave the door open to a future meeting with Kim, however, stressing that he had been “very much looking forward to being there.” “We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions” relative to the summit, he told Kim.
It is pertinent to mention here that today North Korea has proclaimed that it had fully demolished its nuclear test site with a series of planned detonations. According to an official declaration: “The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24… to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test…
“Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by the explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site”. It has been confirmed that no leakage of radiation had been detected at the site during explosions.
Relevant piece published earlier: US President Donald Trump asks North Korea to abandon its nuclear program on Tuesday, ahead of an expected summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un. Earlier, the US leader – who had spent the day in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron – had described Kim as “very open” and “very honorable” – his most positive comments yet about a man he once publicly belittled. But when pressed about what he hoped to gain from Pyongyang, the 71-year-old Republican president was blunt. “Meetings are being set up, and I want to see denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump told reporters. Asked to explain what he means by denuclearization, Trump replied: “It means they get rid of their nukes – very simple.” “It would be very easy for me to make a simple deal and claim victory. I don’t want to do that. I want them to get rid of their nukes.” While Trump has repeatedly referred to North Korea’s denuclearization, Pyongyang however consistently defines the term as “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” – code for the removal of America’s military presence in the South, a condition Washington is unlikely to accept. Amid preparations for a landmark bilateral US-North Korea summit, which could come in June, Trump had kind words for Kim, whom he once called a “madman” and “little rocket man.”
Texas schools tighten security after deadly shooting
SANTA FE: Texas schools tighten security after deadly shooting, Some Texas schools beefed up security Monday as students returned to classrooms following the mass shooting Friday at a rural high school that left 10 dead and 13 wounded, mostly teenagers.
At least two of the wounded were still hospitalized, including school police officer John Barnes who remained in critical condition, said the University of Texas Medical Branch.
A statewide moment of silence was held at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) to remember the eight students and two teachers killed at Santa Fe High School, where mourners gathered Monday around white wooden crosses representing each victim. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school, faces charges of capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant.
He is alleged to have used his father’s legally owned shotgun and a revolver in Friday’s rampage. “He was playing music, making jokes, had slogans and rhymes he kept saying,” student Trenton Beazely told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program Monday. “Every time he’d kill someone he’d say, ‘another one bites the dust.’
” Schools in Santa Fe were closed through Tuesday and a crisis hotline was set up for traumatized students and parents.
Relevant Piece: TEXAS: Namaz-e-Janaza of slain student Sebika held in Texas – who was killed in school firing on Friday – has been held at Sugar Land’s Masjid Sabireen. Members of US Congress, US and Pakistani Consulate officials attended the funeral.
As many as ten people (two teachers and eight students – including one exchange program student from Karachi Sabika Shaikh) have died and ten wounded as result of Friday morning’s shooting at Texas’ Santa Fe High School.
According to Harris County Sheriff, the culprit is 17-year-old student of Santa Fe High School Dimitrios Pagourtzis. He had taken his father’s .38-caliber revolver to school and opened fire at students.
Sources told that Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into an art class at Santa Fe High School and began firing using his gun.
Footage of the crime scene showed several police officers outside the school. Some were searching students and their backpacks. The high school has about 1,400 students.
Santa Fe school informed: “This morning, an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The situation is active but has been contained.
“There have been confirmed injuries. Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location. Other schools in the district were not affected.”
It is pertinent to mention here that this is the third school shooting in eight days, and the 22nd since the beginning of the year in the United States.
Exchange program student Sabika Sheikh from Karachi was one of the ten killed by the fellow student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in his statement has said: “I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sabika Sheikh, who was killed in the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, yesterday. Sabika was in the United States on the State Department-sponsored Youth Exchange and Study program, helping to build ties between the United States and her native Pakistan. Sabika’s death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply both here in the United States, and in Pakistan.”
First woman CIA director sworn in
WASHINGTON: First woman CIA director sworn in, Veteran CIA officer Gina Haspel was sworn in as the agency’s first female director Monday, hailing the “heroines” who had gone before her and expressing hope she and her team would be “role models.”
The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russia specialist who spent her career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, takes over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.
Haspel was confirmed by the Senate last week in a 54-45 vote, despite the deep reservations of some lawmakers about her past involvement in the torture of terror suspects in the post-9/11 era.
“I stand on the shoulders of heroines who never sought public acclaim, but served as inspirations to the generations they came after them,” Haspel said after being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence and introduced by President Donald Trump.
“I would not be standing before you today if not for the remarkable courage and dedication displayed by generations” of women officers, she said at CIA headquarters in Virginia. to cheers “In roles both large and small,” Haspel said they “challenged stereotypes, broke down and opened doors for the rest of us.”
“I am deeply indebted to them and I am extremely proud to follow in their footsteps and to carry on their extraordinary legacy.” Haspel added: “I want the current CIA leadership team to be role models and mentors for our next generation of officers.”