WASHINGTON: Donald Trump launched into another furious Twitter tirade against James Comey here today hours before the broadcast of an extended interview with the fired former FBI director and with a memoir detailing his interactions with the US president soon to hit US bookstores.
Excerpts of the interview with ABC News already have been aired, as have reviews of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”
The book, which is due out Tuesday (17th of April), likens Trump to a dishonest, ego-driven mob boss and says he demanded Comey’s personal pledge of loyalty – a damning account that has infuriated the president at a moment of intensifying legal pressure on other fronts. “I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty.
I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!” Trump said in one of his latest tweets. The president again called Comey, who has said he took detailed notes of his meetings with Trump, a “slime ball” and said he “stupidly” handled a probe into Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.
In another tweet, the president undertook a mini-review of Comey’s memoir: “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?”
The jumble of references appeared to allude to unsubstantiated accusations Trump has previously made claiming Comey lied in Senate testimony last May in denying he had served as an anonymous news source.
17 dead as tourist boat sinks in US lake
CHICAGO: A tourist boat capsized and sank in a sudden storm on a lake in Missouri leaving 17 dead, authorities said Friday after divers recovered the bodies of the last people who were missing.
The accident occurred the night before in full view of witnesses, at least one of whom captured video of the small boat bobbing in rough waters on Table Rock Lake near the city of Branson, a popular holiday destination.
The boat was seen struggling to reach shore against strong winds, before succumbing to the waves and beginning to sink.
Police said 31 people were aboard the amphibious vessel, known as a duck boat for its wheels that allow it to ride on land and float low on the water.
Some passengers were able to swim to shore, but the death toll quickly climbed as divers headed back in the water Friday morning to search for four people that had yet to be found.
“We found those (missing) within the last hour,” Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Pace told AFP Friday morning.
Pace said authorities were “in the process of making notification to the families.”
Authorities would not release the ages of the dead until those notifications were completed, but said several of them were children. The boat’s driver had also died, police said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims in this tragic event,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson told a news conference.
The accident was caused by heavy winds as a storm moved over the man-made lake in southern Missouri.
The duck boat was one of two in the water at the time. The other safely reached shore.
People on a nearby larger vessel, known as the Branson Belle, jumped into the water to rescue victims, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said.
Seven people were hospitalized, two in critical condition. Rick Kettels, who owns the Lakeside Resort, said the storm formed suddenly. “It just came up real quick,” he told AFP, adding the severe weather struck around 6:15 pm local time. “I’ve been here most of my life and I never saw a storm this bad,” he added.
Divers located the boat in 80 feet (25 meters) of water, landed on its wheels.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate, and the sheriff urged witnesses to submit any additional video of the accident.
Among the unanswered questions were whether the boat crew was aware of weather warnings and whether passengers were wearing life vests.
“From what I understand, there were life jackets in the duck (boat),” said Rader.
Missouri meteorologist Steve Lindenberg told AFP a string of severe thunderstorms had barreled through the area. Winds reached 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour and a weather warning was issued at approximately 6:30 pm.
The first emergency call about the boat came in about 30 minutes later.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.
“My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the terrible boat accident which just took place in Missouri. Such a tragedy, such a great loss. May God be with you all!” he said.
Branson, Missouri, is a vacation destination popular for its theaters and country music, including singer Dolly Parton’s Civil War-themed attraction.
The company Ripley Entertainment owns the capsized boat, having added the “Ride the Ducks” attraction to its roster last year. “Ride the Ducks” is a seasonal tour through the area’s famed Ozarks region.
The storm system that hit Missouri also struck much of the Midwest late Thursday, according to meteorologists.
Several tornadoes tore through Iowa to the north, causing injuries as well as damage to a number of buildings.
No fatalities were reported, but a hospital was evacuated and a manufacturing plant suffered significant damage, according to the state’s emergency operations department.
US pushes UN to maintain sanctions pressure on N Korea
MANHATTAN: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today urged UN member-states to keep tough economic sanctions fully in place on North Korea and maintain pressure on Kim Jong Un to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
“We need to see Chairman Kim do what he promised the world he would do,” Pompeo told reporters after meeting with the Security Council.
The United States believes that North Korea can shed its “pariah” status from its nuclear and missile programs, but “it will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there,” he said.
Pompeo traveled to New York for the one-hour meeting with the council to provide the first briefing to the top UN body on North Korea since Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s summit.
China and Russia have argued that North Korea should be rewarded with the prospect of eased sanctions for opening up dialogue with the United States and halting missile tests.
But US Ambassador Nikki Haley made clear that the best way to support US diplomacy on North Korea was “to not loosen the sanctions.”
“We can’t do one thing until we see North Korea respond to their promise to denuclearize,” Haley said.
Pompeo’s talks in New York came a day after Russia and China put a six-month hold on a US request to cut off deliveries of refined oil to North Korea.
Pakistani Students Prepare for a Semester at American Universities
ISLAMABAD: Thanks to the U.S. government-funded program, over 108 students from across Pakistan will spend a semester in the United States studying at colleges and universities alongside American peers.
During a pre-departure orientation in Islamabad, American Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Hoover congratulated the students who have been selected to participate in the fall 2018 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD).
Chargé d’Affaires John Hoover told the students they would become “powerful messengers” between the United States and Pakistan. “You will tell stories that go beyond the headlines,” he said, “and your stories will give your friends and families a genuine understanding of the shared values between our two nations.”
2017 Global UGRAD alumna Fer Ghanaa Ansari shared stories of her year studying in New Jersey and explained how her time abroad changed her. “I fully realized all that I had gained from the UGRAD experience only after I came back,” she said. “I gained confidence; I wanted to take more initiatives to make my country better; I wanted to remain an active member of my community.”
PS: USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States, helps the American Embassy administer the Global UGRAD Program in Pakistan. Executive Director Rita Akhtar said that since the program began in 2010, more than 1,500 students have participated as Global UGrads, and 60 have gone on to study for Masters or Ph.D. degrees in the United States on the prestigious Fulbright Program.
A relevant piece published earlier:
A pre-departure orientation ceremony of over 100 students who will begin their graduate and undergraduate programs in the United States was hosted by United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan on Monday 17th of July here at Avari Towers. Susan Ross, Cultural Attaché of the Consulate General of USA in Karachi addressed the parents and students who have got admissions in bachelor, Masters and Ph.D. programs in the universities including Dartmouth College, University of Texas Arlington, Boston University, New York University, University of Houston, Washington State University…Susan Ross stated: “I’m really pleased to be here, I really really like these kinds of events because I know that everyone in the room (as has been mentioned before) had to work really hard to get to this point. So I would re-iterate the congratulations toward you and commend you for your accomplishments and were really here to wish you well. Some of us will be participating in your breakout sessions and your activities this evening. I also wanted to commend you for your courage. It’s not easy to leave your home and go somewhere very unfamiliar very different from where you used to be. And to embark on your course of study and path that will take you and a direction that is yet unknown so from the US Consulate to you congratulations to you and go forth with our admiration and support.”
Janan Ali Mirza, who is going to the University of Central Florida said:“I’m currently a pre-engineering student and I’m going to the state of Florida in the University of Central Florida to continue mechanical engineering. I went to Mama Parsi Girl’s Secondary School and then I went to Agha Khan higher secondary school and now I’m going to the US for my education my visa is for 5 years. I intend to study there for 4 years and then for some experience. And then I tend to come back and to work over here. I already have a scholarship but it’s not too much so I plan on increasing that scholarship by improving my grades more and more. (What a student should do to get scholarship/admission at an American University?) Okay, first of all, you need to plan exactly what you want to study. And then you need to decide a state where you want to study where its best according to your major. And then you just research and research and apply according to what you can afford and what you want to do.”
Izan Ahmed who will be studying at the Grinnell College said: “I’m going to Grinnell College in Iowa… and… I’ll be leaving next month. I did my O Levels from Indus Academy and A levels from Nixor College and I applied through there. I’m going to be studying math, chemistry and physics and maybe computer science I’m not sure, I’m going to decide that later. I do have a (70%) scholarship at Grinnell College. I’d just advise that you should start early and not like waiting for the last moment. And for example, if you’re writing the essays for the colleges just start like 5 to 6 months early. Because that’s what I regret doing and you’re going to like to cramp up in the end. And just prepare for your SAT as well from really early. And yeah you’ll do a great job and extracurricular just be a part of that, be a part of the sports team or debate team it’s going to help you out”.According to details, overall 150 pupils from across the country secured admissions for their higher education in the US. As compared to 2017, this year the number of students has augmented by 14.7 percent. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan-United States governments had formed USEF (P) back in 1950. USEF-P is guided by a bi-national commission composed of an equal number of Pakistanis and Americans, with the chair alternating each year between a Pakistani and an American. Advisers at USEF centers assist students with researching choices and preparing for standardized tests, applying and securing admission, financing education, preparing for and securing the U.S. student visa.
PS: The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) helps Pakistani students achieve their dreams of U.S. higher education through its scholarship programs and free advising services. The orientation sessions include practical student information for an international program of study in the United States to maximize the takeaways from such potentially life-changing experiences. The sessions are designed to help ensure that Pakistani students fully benefit from their travel and study abroad experience. Topics covered include travel documentation, campus life, academics, U.S. society, and culture. The goal of all USEFP programs is to help Pakistanis learn more about the U.S. and to help Americans learn more about Pakistan and its people. (Published on 18th July 2018)