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Mattis Begins Trip to China as Tensions Rise

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis will visit China this week amid growing tensions between the two nations over Beijing’s policy on the South China Sea, U.S. sale of arms to Taiwan and a looming trade war. 

Mattis told reporters Sunday he wants to “take measure” of China’s strategic ambitions as it increases its military positions in disputed areas of the South China Sea. He said he is going to China with an open mind and plans to do a lot of listening.

Despite the thorny issues on the table, Mattis also hopes to secure China’s support for pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, the key goal of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this month. 

While in Beijing, from Tuesday to Thursday, Mattis will meet with senior Chinese defense officials and perhaps meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The four-day trip will also take him to South Korea, where he will hold talks with Minster of National Defense Song Young-moo and to Japan, where he plans to meet with Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera.

The meetings are aimed at reassuring South Korea and Japan that Washington remains committed to regional security after Trump announced at the summit with Kim that the U.S. would stop joint military exercises it routinely conducts with South Korea. 

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US High Court to Rule on Travel Ban, Other Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court, winding down its nine-month term, will issue rulings this week in its few remaining cases including a major one on the legality of President Donald Trump’s ban on people from five Muslim-majority nations entering the country.

The nine justices are due to decide other politically sensitive cases on whether non-union workers have to pay fees to unions representing certain public-sector workers such as police and teachers, and the legality of California regulations on clinics that steer women with unplanned pregnancies away from abortion.

The justices began their term in October and, as is their usual practice, aim to make all their rulings by the end of June, with more due on Monday. Six cases remain to be decided.

The travel ban case was argued on April 25, with the court’s conservative majority signaling support for Trump’s policy in a significant test of presidential powers.

Trump has said the ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamic militants. Conservative justices indicated an unwillingness to second-guess Trump on his national security rationale.

Lower courts had blocked the travel ban, the third version of a policy Trump first pursued a week after taking office last year. But the high court on Dec. 4 allowed it to go fully into effect while the legal challenge continued.

The challengers, led by the state of Hawaii, have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims. Lower courts have decided the ban violated federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.

The current ban, announced in September, prohibits entry into the United States by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

In a significant case for organized labor, the court’s conservatives indicated opposition during arguments on Feb. 26 to so-called agency fees that some states require non-members to pay to public-sector unions.

Workers who decide not to join unions representing certain state and local employees must pay the fees in two dozen states in lieu of union dues to help cover the cost of non-political activities such as collective bargaining. The fees provide millions of dollars annually to these unions.

The justices seemed skeptical during March 20 arguments toward California’s law requiring Christian-based anti-abortion centers, known as crisis pregnancy centers, to post notices about the availability of state-subsidized abortions and birth control. The justices indicated that they would strike down at least part of the regulations.

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У Саудівській Аравії жінки отримали право кермувати авто

У Саудівській Аравії 24 червня набув чинності королівський указ, який дозволяє жінкам керувати автомобілем. Указ був підписаний королем Салманом бін Абдул-Азізом у вересні 2017 року.

У січні 2018 року стало відомо про набір інструкторів в першу спеціалізовану автошколу. У травні міністерство транспорту Саудівської Аравії відзвітувало про завершення підготовки до видачі жінкам водійських прав.

Як повідомляє телеканал Al-Arabiya, багато жінок не стали чекати ранку неділі, а сіли за кермо відразу після півночі. Поліція королівства підготувалася до історичної події. Патрульні роздавали жінкам-водіям троянди з поздоровленням від влади королівства. За кермо села і саудівська принцеса Рим аль-Валід бен Таляль – про це написав у Twitter її батько, мільярдер принц Аль-Валід.

Саудівська Аравія була єдиною державою в світі, де жінкам було заборонено кермувати автомобілем. В останні роки влада королівства скасували низку обмежень, що діяли в країні. Реформи пов’язують з іменем наслідного принца Мохаммеда.

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Protests Continue Over Migrant Detentions, Despite Policy Change

Protests continue over the treatment of migrants detained for entering the United States illegally, although the Trump administration last week reversed its controversial policy of separating children and parents at the border. Still, thousands of migrants are in detention awaiting their court cases, and many remain separated from their children. Mike O’Sullivan reports from the California-Mexico border that Americans are hearing two conflicting narratives.

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Trump Officials: We Know Where All the Children Are

Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them.

A fact sheet on “zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification” released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security also says a parent must request that their child be deported with them. In the past, the agency says, many parents have elected to be deported without their children. That may be a reflection of violence or persecution they face in their home countries.

As part of the effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have posted notices in all its facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A parent or guardian trying to determine if a child is in the custody of HHS should contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001, or via email at [email protected] Information will be collected and sent to HHS-funded facility where minor is located.

The fact sheet doesn’t state how long it might take to reunite families. The Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Texas has been set up as the staging ground for the families to be reunited before deportation.

How the government would reunite families has been unclear because the families are first stopped by Customs and Border Patrol, with children taken into custody by HHS and adults detained through ICE. Children have been sent to shelters around the country, raising alarm that parents might never know where their children can be found.

The fact sheet states that ICE has implemented an identification mechanism to ensure on-going tracking of linked family members throughout the detention and removal process; designated detention locations for separated parents and will enhance current processes to ensure communication with children in HHS custody; worked closely with foreign consulates to ensure that travel documents are issued for both the parent and child at time of removal; and coordinated with HHS for the reuniting of the child prior to the parents’ departure from the U.S.

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US Lawmakers Prepare for Vote Next Week on Immigration Bill

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representative plan to hold a vote next week on an immigration bill despite Trump urging them Friday to abandon efforts to pass legislation until after the mid-term elections.

Even if the Republicans — who have a majority in both the House and Senate — approve a bill, it faces almost certain defeat in the upper chamber where Democrats hold enough seats to prevent Republicans, even if they all vote together, from reaching the 60 votes needed for passage.

Earlier in the week, the president had called for Congress to quickly approve sweeping immigration legislation. But in a Friday tweet the president said, “Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing a majority Hispanic district in the state of Florida, who is not running for re-election, termed the president’s tweets “schizoid policy making.”

Another retiring lawmaker, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a frequent Trump critic who recently lost his primary election, said Trump’s reversal sends “a horrifically chilling signal” that “makes immigration reform that much more unlikely.”

On Saturday, California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris spoke in Otay Mesa, a community in San Diego, at a rally for revised immigration policies. “This is a fight born out of knowing who we are and fighting for the ideals of our country,” she said. Harris spoke after touring a detention facility and speaking with several mothers.​

Trump’s call for Congress to postpone action came as House Republican leaders failed to garner enough support for two bills that would overhaul U.S. immigration laws and bolster border security.

A hard-line measure authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte failed to pass on Thursday. The measure would have not guaranteed young undocumented immigrants a way to achieve permanent legal residency and included controversial enforcement measures such as a required worker validation program.

House Republican leaders suddenly delayed a vote Thursday on a compromise measure that has the support of key moderate Republican after concluding they lacked enough support to gain passage despite the growing controversy over separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Next week the House will vote on the compromise bill, which would provide $25 billion for Trump’s border wall, provide a pathway to “dreamers” and keep migrant families intact.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Trump said the path to immigration reform starts on Capitol Hill.

“Congress and Congress alone can solve the problem. And the only solution that will work is being able to detain, prosecute and promptly remove anyone who illegally cross the border,” the president said.

Aboard Air Force One on Saturday en route to Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump lashed out at House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, accusing them on Twitter of favoring illegal immigrants over American citizens. ​

All 435 seats in the House and a third of the 100-member Senate will be contested in the November election.

What is unclear, however, is whether Trump realizes the moderate Republicans he is alienating are among the most vulnerable in the mid-term elections.

“No one has more to lose in November than the president does when it comes to the majority in the House, because if this majority flips over to be a Democrat, there will be a big push for impeachment,” said Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne of Alabama, an opponent of the immigration measure.

Trump demonstrated Friday after his tactical retreat on immigration policy that there is no strategic shift to his overall tough approach to those attempting to illegally enter the country — vowing to “end the immigration crisis, once and for all.”

U.S. immigration laws, Trump declared, are “the weakest in the history of the world.”

Trump made the remarks on Friday in an auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House, where he presided over an event with “Angel Families” — those who have had relatives killed by people who have entered the country illegally.

“Your loss will not have been in vain,” the president told the families who held large photos of their slain relatives. “We will secure our borders … the word will get out. Got to have a safe country. We’re going to have a safe country.”

Family members were called by Trump to the presidential lectern to recount how their loved ones were killed by those who were in the United States illegally. Several of those speaking condemned the media for ignoring the stories of the victims and praised Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their attention to border security.

Trump, in his remarks, also suggested those illegally in the United States commit more crimes on a statistical basis than citizens or resident aliens.

However, studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit a crime in the U.S. than native-born citizens, including one published by the libertarian CATO Institute this year. 

Despite Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, 75 percent of Americans believe immigration in general is beneficial to the U.S., according to a poll released Thursday by the polling organization Gallup.

“Americans’ strong belief that immigration is a good thing for the country and that immigration levels shouldn’t be decreased present the president and Congress with some tough decisions as to midterm elections loom,” Gallup said in a press release.

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DOJ Gives Congress New Classified Documents on Russia Probe

The Justice Department says it has given House Republicans new classified information related to the Russia investigation after they had threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress or even impeach them.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan says the department has partially complied with multiple requests from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. House Republicans had given the department a Friday deadline for all documents, but Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said the department asked for more time.

“Our efforts have resulted in the committees finally getting access to information that was sought months ago, but some important requests remain to be completed,” Strong said in a statement Saturday. “Additional time has been requested for the outstanding items, and based on our understanding of the process we believe that request is reasonable. We expect the department to meet its full obligations to the two committees.”

In a letter sent to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes late Friday, the Justice Department said it had that day provided a classified letter to his panel regarding whether the FBI used “confidential human sources” before it officially began its Russia investigation in 2016. Nunes has been pressing the department on an informant who spoke to members of President Donald Trump’s campaign as the FBI began to explore the campaign’s ties to Russia.

The department has already given top lawmakers in the House and Senate three classified briefings on the informant. But Nunes has said he wanted the entire committee to receive the information.

In the letter, the Justice Department’s acting assistant director of congressional affairs, Jill Tyson, said the department had also given Nunes materials related to oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Republicans have for months questioned whether the department abused that act when prosecutors and agents in 2016 applied for and received a secret warrant to monitor the communications of a Trump campaign associate.

Democrats have criticized the multiple document requests, charging that they are intended to discredit the department and discredit or even undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties and whether there was obstruction of justice.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has backed the document requests, and he led a meeting last week with committee chairmen and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to try to resolve the issue. In a television interview two days after that meeting, on June 17, Nunes said if they don’t get the documents by this week, “there’s going to be hell to pay” and indicated the House could act on contempt or even impeachment. A spokesman for Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Tyson also wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, who had subpoenaed the department for documents related to the Russia investigation and also the department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016. She detailed progress on those requests and said the department is “expeditiously completing them.”

In the letters, Tyson said the department had built “new tools” to search top secret documents and had diverted resources from other congressional requests.

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Trump Emphasizes Border Security as Immigration Debate Rages

President Donald Trump put the emphasis on border security Friday, capping off a week when the immigration issue became a political firestorm that swept through Washington. The president reversed his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents on Thursday, but the administration now faces the daunting task of reuniting families and figuring out how to detain them. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more

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Позиція України: «негайне звільнення Сенцова і всіх інших бранців» в обмін на 23 росіян – Геращенко

«У випадку з Сенцовим і Балухом рахунок йде на дні. І це страшно»

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Кличко заявляє, що на Поштовій площі буде створений музей

На місці розкопок на Поштовій площі буде створено музей. Про це, за повідомленням офіційного порталу Києва, мер Києва Віталій Кличко заявив в ефірі телеканалу «Київ». 

«Ми на Київраді прийняли рішення, яке допоможе у створенні музею на Поштовій площі. Ми зробили так, аби і від інвестора можна було вимагати виконання його зобов’язань. Ми вирішили заснувати комунальне підприємство, яке буде займатися питанням збереження артефактів. Ми ставимося до цього дуже відповідально», – заявив Віталій Кличко.

Кличко також прокоментував заяви, що влада нібито не хоче створювати музей на Поштовій площі: «Лунають звинувачення, що хтось не бажає робити музей. Я завжди казав: музей там буде. Крапка. І ми розробили алгоритм, як далі діяти покроково».

21 червня Київська міська рада ухвалила рішення про продовження археологічних розкопок на Поштовій площі.

Новий проект рішення Київради, зокрема, передбачає залучити міжнародних експертів і фахівців із археології та консервації до проведення археологічних розкопок та до визначення об’єктів культурної спадщини, які підлягають консервації та музеєфікації на місці. Згідно із рішенням, відбудеться відкритий міжнародний конкурс із музеєфікації артефактів та організації публічного простору на Поштовій площі: «доки триватиме конкурс, Київрада не вноситиме будь-які зміни до цільового призначення власника або землекористувача ділянки на Поштовій площі», мовиться на сайті Київради.

У документі йдеться і про створення при КМДА комунального закладу «Центр консервації предметів археології», який вивчатиме способи можливої консервації подібних знахідок та займатиметься їх втіленням.

Також для того, щоб забезпечити подальші археологічні дослідження, мовиться у повідомленні, рішення передбачає створення нового проекту укріплення об’єкту розкопок.

Стародавню вулицю часів Київської Русі на Поштовій площі розкопали навесні 2015 року під час будівництва торгового центру. За оцінками археологів, дерев’яні споруди тут були зведені у ХI–XII століттях. Одна з них могла бути майстернею для виготовлення жіночих прикрас зі скла, бо в ній знайшли свинцеву суміш, яку використовували у такому виробництві, а також шматки жіночого браслета.

У листопаді 2017 року комітет Верховної Ради України з питань культури і духовності рекомендував тимчасово зупинити будівництво на Поштовій площі в центрі Києва до затвердження дорожньої карти археологічного дослідження території і музеєфікації об’єкту культурної спадщини.

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