Thursday, April 05, 2018

 

EU OPINION-SECURING RULE OF LAW WITH ECONOMIC POWER.

JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

EZEKIEL 20:47
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

ZEPHANIAH 1:18
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

MALACHI 4:1
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE

Saudi king reiterates support for Palestinians after Israel comments-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

RIYADH (Reuters) - King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia's support for a Palestinian state after his son and heir apparent said Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land - a rare statement by an Arab leader.The king also emphasized the need to advance the peace process in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday night, made after Israeli security forces killed 16 Palestinians last week during a demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border. The number rose to 17 on Tuesday.King Salman reaffirmed "the kingdom's steadfast position toward the Palestinian issue and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital", state news agency SPA said on Tuesday.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised King Salman, thanking him for his support."President Abbas expressed his gratitude and appreciation ... for his supportive positions of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian cause and the cause of Jerusalem and its sacred sites," said a statement published by the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.Abbas also praised Saudi Arabia for continuing to support the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the statement said.The report did not refer to the comments by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an interview published on Monday by U.S. magazine The Atlantic, which are the latest public sign that ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel may be growing closer.Asked if he believes the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, Prince Mohammed was quoted as saying:"I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations."Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines, does not recognize Israel. It has maintained for years that normalizing relations hinges on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war, territory Palestinians seek for a future state.Increased tension between Riyadh and Tehran has fueled speculation that shared interests may push Saudi Arabia and Israel to work together against what they see as a common Iranian threat.(Reporting By Stephen Kalin; editing by David Stamp and Diane Craft)

France wishes Egypt's Sisi success in new term-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Tuesday wished Abdel Fattah al-Sisi success for his next presidential term in Egypt and said it stood "resolutely" with the country on the fight against terrorism.Sisi, who had no real opposition, was re-elected for a second term with 97 percent of the vote, official returns showed. "France offers its wishes for the full success of President Sisi for his second mandate," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Von Der Muhll said in a daily briefing."It hopes that his reelection will allow him to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people for security, prosperity and the full expression of freedoms in a constitutional framework," she said without elaborating.With both France and Egypt concerned by the political vacuum in Libya and the threat from jihadist groups in Egypt, the two countries have cultivated even closer economic and military ties under Sisi.Rights organizations have accused France under President Emmanuel Macron of turning a blind eye to what they say are increasing violations of freedoms by Sisi's government.After hosting Sisi in Paris in October, Macron said it was not up to him to "lecture" Egypt on civil liberties."France stands resolutely alongside Egypt to face the common challenge of terrorism, to work for the solution of regional crises and to develop cooperation at the United Nations, in Africa and in the Mediterranean," von Der Muhll said.She added that Paris would continue its dialogue with Egypt on human rights and fundamental freedoms.(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Bate Felix and Sandra Maler)

THE EU WORLD DICTATOR

ISAIAH 57:20
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

REVELATION 6:1-2,13:1-3,7-9,16
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse:(EU WORLD DICTATOR) and he that sat on him had a bow;(PEACE) and a crown was given unto him:(WORLD LEADER) and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.(THIS IS THE EU DICTATOR)
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.(7 HEADS ARE THE 7TH WORLD EMPIRE IN HISTORY (THE EU) AS WELL AS THE VATICAN WHICH IS BUILT ON 7 HILLS. 10 HORNS ARE 10 KINGS THAT ARISE FROM THE EU, THEN #11 COMES ON THE SCENE BECOMES THE HEAD OF 3 OUNTRIES AND THEN THE EU DICTATOR, COMES FROM 1 OF THE 3 COUNTRIES THAT RULE FOR THIS TERM. I BELIEVE THE 3 COUNTRIES RULING AT THE TIME ARE SPAIN AND 2 OF THE ORIGINAL 6 THAT STARTED THE EU. FROM 1 OF THESE 3 COUNTRIES COME THE FUTURE EU DICTATOR PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION WHO GUARENTEES ISRAELS SECURITY FOR A LAND FOR PEACE 7 YEAR TREATY.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.(THE JEWISH EU DICTATOR GETS HIS POWER FROM SATAN,HE COMES FROM THE OCCULT).
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.(THE DICTATOR HAS A FALSE RESURRECTION. JUST LIKE JESUS HAD A LITERAL RESURRECTION THIS DICTATOR GETS MURDERED AT THE 3 1/2 YR MARK OF THR 7 YEAR TREATY AND COMES BACK TO LIFE. THIS IS HOW HE CAN CLAIM TO BE GOD AND GET AWAY WITH IT AND CONTROL THE WHOLE EARTH.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
16 And he (FALSE POPE) causeth all,(WORLD SOCIALISM) both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

DANIEL 11:36-40
36 And the king shall do according to his will;(EU PRESIDENT) and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,(THIS EU DICTATOR IS A EUROPEAN JEW) nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces:(HES A MILITARY GINIUS) and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
39 Thus shall he (THE EU DICTATOR) do in the most strong holds (CONTROL HEZBOLLAH,AL-QUAIDA MURDERERS ETC) with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many,(HIS ARMY LEADERS) and shall divide the land for gain.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south(EGYPT) push at him:(EU DICTATOR PROTECTING ISRAELS SECURITY) and the king of the north(RUSSIA) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.James Paul Warburg appearing before the Senate on 7th February 1950

Like a famous WWII Belgian General,Paul Henry Spock said in 1957:We need no commission, we have already too many. What we need is a man who is great enough to be able to keep all the people in subjection to himself and to lift us out of the economic bog into which we threaten to sink. Send us such a man. Be he a god or a devil, we will accept him.And today, sadly, the world is indeed ready for such a man.

No one will enter the New World Order... unless he or she will make a pledge to worship Lucifer. No one will enter the New Age unless he will take a Luciferian Initiation.- David Spangler Director of Planetary Initiative United Nations.

Opinion-Free movement threatened if European arrest warrant abused By Ralph Bunche-EUOBSERVER
LONDON, 3. Apr, 14:03-Last week, the former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, was remanded in custody by a court in Germany pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Spain to face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds in relation to the referendum and subsequent declaration of independence in Catalonia.Puigdemont's extradition is being sought via a European Arrest Warrant, the EU's flagship crime-fighting measure, a fast-track extradition regime through which an arrest warrant issued in one EU country is given effect in another.Anyone who cares about justice in the EU should be wary of the situation facing Puigdemont today.How he came to be arrested and detained in Germany says much about the future of the "area of freedom, security and justice" established in the EU in the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam.The European area of freedom, security and justice grew out of the need to guarantee the 'four freedoms' of Europe: the freedom of movement of goods, capital, services and people within the EU.In order to protect citizens and safeguard their freedoms, the need arose to break down barriers and disparities between EU member states with regard to internal security, the fight against crime, and the rights guaranteed to people moving from one country to another.At heart, the concept is that people should not be able to escape justice by simply moving across European borders; but equally they should expect their rights to be similarly respected no matter where in Europe they are.Puigdemont's arrest in Germany under a European Arrest Warrant challenges those principles to their very core.This was not the first time that a European Arrest Warrant had been issued by Spain for Puigdemont.Puigdemont was arrested in Belgium on an near-identical European Arrest Warrant in November.-Belgian impasse-The case spent weeks in litigation before the Belgian courts, with his lawyers arguing that his human rights, including his right to a fair trial, would be violated if he were surrendered to Spain, that the crimes that he was being accused of had no corresponding basis in Belgian law (a necessary pre-condition to extradition), and that the arrest warrant was merely another tool being used by the Spanish authorities to crack down on people advocating for the independence of Catalonia.The Belgian courts were not given the chance to rule on these issues, however.Once it became clear that the Belgian courts were not going to blindly execute the arrest warrant, the Spanish Supreme Court ordered it withdrawn.The decision was based in large part on the Spanish court's reluctance to have Belgian courts looking into the situation in Spain or perhaps worse, deciding to refuse the request.In essence, the court did not want the Belgian courts to look through Spain's dirty laundry.And they got their wish: the Belgian courts did not rule on Puigdemont's arguments, he was released and settled down into a house and life in the Brussels suburbs.On 23 March, however, a new European Arrest Warrant was issued by Spain related to Puigdemont and others based on the very same charges.Puigdemont was in Finland at the time. According to reports, upon learning of the new arrest warrant, he immediately sought to return home to Belgium.But he was being followed by the Spanish intelligence service during his drive back home.Upon his crossing from Denmark into Germany – a country which has crimes similar to those he has been accused of in Spain – the intelligence agents reportedly alerted the German authorities to his presence in the country and he was arrested there.Quite why Puigdemont was not arrested in Finland or Denmark on his way back to Belgium, or indeed left to return home to Belgium to reopen the proceedings there, is unknown.But given the reasons for the withdrawal of the original arrest warrant, the timing of its re-issuance, and the reported presence and proactive approach of the Spanish intelligence service, the impression that is left is that arrest in Germany, a country through which Puigdemont was merely transiting, was a strategic choice.There are no rules within the European Arrest Warrant system preventing countries from strategically withdrawing and then reissuing arrest warrants at more convenient times, in more convenient places.But perhaps there should be.Puigdemont's case sets a dangerous precedent that runs directly contrary to the goal of the European area of freedom, justice and security that EU citizens should expect to be treated equally throughout the Union.Gaming the European Arrest Warrant? It creates the possibility that the European Arrest Warrant can be used as a threat, preventing EU citizens exercising their rights of freedom of movement, issued wherever extradition is most likely, but withdrawn if the court does not appear to be finding in the government's favour, thus preventing the subject's rights from being protected and enforced by a court of law.With the rise of governments across Europe that are increasingly hostile to independent voices – notably in Poland and Hungary where an independent judiciary and civil society are under attack respectively – the prospect of a European Arrest Warrant system that can be gamed for political or strategic purposes like this should be avoided at all costs.Since its founding, we at Fair Trials have been advocating for fairer cross-border criminal justice cooperation mechanisms.We are firmly of the belief that such mechanisms must respect human rights, be free of politicisation and subject to the rule of law in order to be efficient and effective.We have long argued that improved human rights safeguards are needed in the European Arrest Warrant system in order to increase the level of trust that the countries of the EU have in each other's criminal justice systems and, thus, to ease the process of extradition.Such considerations are at the very heart of the European area of freedom, security and justice for which Puigdemont's case marks a worrying new chapter.Ralph Bunche is the Europe director of Fair Trials, a global justice watchdog.

Opinion-Securing 'rule of law' with economic power By Israel Butler-APR 3,18-EUOBSERVER

BRUSSELS, Today, 10:10-Negotiations on the next seven-year spending plan give the EU the chance to harness its economic power to protect the rule of law.Faced with a smaller EU budget after Brexit, some capitals have argued that governments that violate the rule of law should lose their entitlement to EU financial support, in particular access to 'structural funds'.Some insist that making receipt of these funds conditional on respect for the rule of law is neither feasible nor desirable.I disagree.It is legally sound, fair and can benefit the public. And in contrast to the slow and uncertain process behind Article 7, which for Hungary is gently meandering its way through the European Parliament and for Poland seems to have fallen down the back of the Council's sofa, conditionality can lead to swift and tangible consequences.According to the Treaty on European Union, the EU's "aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples." Every policy, law and power of the EU is supposed to serve this goal.Financing governments that undermine the rule of law, like those in Poland and Hungary runs against the core goals of the EU.Some argue that economic sanctions are inherently discriminatory because they will be felt much more acutely by less prosperous countries in central and eastern Europe.The argument is akin to saying that police should never run after suspects because it's not fair on criminals with short legs.EU funds can already be cut off as a sanction on governments when they fail to comply with EU public spending limits, or when they violate rules on how they should spend EU funds.The relevant laws require the EU to take the given country's economic situation into account to ensure that sanctions aren't disproportionately harsh.The fact that richer countries can resist economic sanctions more easily is surely reason to expand the toolbox rather than throw away the hammer. Different countries have different pressure points.Countries with a genuinely free press will be more sensitive to international political pressure.Countries with an independent judiciary will be more sensitive to legal challenges.And less prosperous countries with neither will be more sensitive to economic sanctions.-Civil liberty-Some have argued that conditioning funds on respect for the rule of law is unworkable because the notion can't be measured. This simply isn't true.At its core the rule of law is a requirement that individuals should have access to impartial, independent and effective courts to protect their freedoms.This is a very old civil liberty with a very precise legal definition built on sixty years of case law from European and international courts.EU rules on structural funds already contain requirements for governments to set up bodies according to certain criteria to administer and monitor how those funds are spent.The EU can simply add another requirement, that as a backup to these bodies, individuals must have prompt access to an effective remedy before an independent national court.Technically, this is already part of EU law, following a case by the EU's Court of Justice, but the commission department responsible for structural funds (the directorate general for regional and urban policy) hasn't been enforcing it.Commission officials are already equipped with guidelines to help them decide when governments have broken the rules and when funds should be cut. A requirement for independent courts can simply be slotted into existing procedures, with one proviso.The commission currently relies on national authorities to self-report about compliance. To make the new requirement effective, that practice has to change, and the commission has to independently check the health of national courts.-Stoking scepticism-Some have argued that conditionality could backfire by harming the general public and allowing targeted governments to stoke euroscepticism.This is only a realistic danger if the EU wields the tool clumsily.The commission could be given discretion to take over the selection and management of projects from national authorities, rather than cutting off funds completely, in cases where stopping funds would have a direct negative impact on the public.Management could then be handed over to an executive agency - the commission has power to set up such bodies to administer EU funding programmes for fixed periods of time.This would allow the EU to do some awareness-raising of its own and advertise that funding for the public benefit is coming from Brussels, and also minimise the risk of funding being misused through government corruption or cronyism.Authoritarian populists continue enjoy increasing electoral success across the EU and to pursue policies that undermine the rule of law.As they grow in strength, the EU's room for manoeuvre will become more limited. Current negotiations on the multi-annual financial framework may be the last opportunity for the EU to use its economic muscle to preserve its values.Israel Butler is head of advocacy at Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

Toronto police withdraw bid to march in Pride parade amid community concerns-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018
Toronto police are withdrawing their application to march in the city's Pride parade, the force's chief announced Tuesday after event organizers said the presence of uniformed officers would make members of the LGBTQ community feel unsafe.Chief Mark Saunders said he hopes the move "will be received as a concrete example" of the fact that he is listening closely to the community's concerns."I am committed thoroughly to building a better, stronger relationship between us," Saunders said in a statement. "Much more work is needed, of course. But hopefully this moment moves us forward in an important way."Pride Toronto and other community groups had posted a letter online Monday night asking police to withdraw their application, saying the force should work instead on better communication with the LGBTQ community.Olivia Nuamah, Pride Toronto's executive director, said the force's handling of several high-profile deaths connected to the city's gay village, including the disappearances of six men allegedly murdered by an accused serial killer, have shaken community relations with police."In asking them to (withdraw), instead of spending that time planning their participation in the parade, what (we hope police) would do is spend that time planning how to better consult with the LGBTQ community about what it thinks it needs to keep itself safe," Nuamah said in an interview before Saunders announced his decision.Several LGBTQ groups have said police did not seriously consider community fears that a serial killer was targeting men in the gay village. Relations were further strained when Saunders told a newspaper in Feburary that "nobody'' came to officers with information in 2012, when police launched an ultimately unsuccessful investigation into men missing from the area."Pride was born out of protest. It actually was born out of resistance to police," Nuamah said. "That's the context in which the community feels shaken, and it comes together to show strength and unity."Individual officers will still be allowed to participate in the parade if they leave their uniforms, cruisers and guns at home, as those are police symbols that make the LGBTQ community feel unsafe, Nuamah added.Police presence at the parade emerged as a contentious issue in 2016 — that year's march was interrupted by the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, which said it opposed uniformed officers being in the parade because their presence could discourage marginalized communities from participating.The issue was thrust under the spotlight again in January last year, when Pride Toronto adopted a list of demands issued by Black Lives Matter that included banning police floats from the parade. The following month, Saunders announced the force would not be participating in 2017's event.On Tuesday, the chief said he had hoped to see uniformed officers invited back to march in the 2018 parade, but said he understands that insisting they be allowed to participate could set back progress made with the community."I strongly believe that we should be working toward a time when this issue is no longer a point of controversy and where the participation of our members in the Pride Parade is accepted and welcomed," he said. "The Toronto Police Service will work hard over the course of the next year toward that end."Mike McCormack, the president of the union that represents Toronto police officers, said he thinks Saunders made the wrong move."We don't think this fosters a conversation or a narrative that's positive. We think that this type of action drives a wedge deeper in the community and policing, and it's disappointing to our members," he said.But Alok Mukherjee, the former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board and a visiting professor of criminology at Ryerson University, said he feels Saunders made the right call."It's important to understand the depth of feeling that exists right now in the LGBTQ community generally, but particularly the racialized members of that community," he said."There's a perception that the work that was done before in terms of building relationships between police and the LGBTQ community did not pay adequate attention to the fact that it's not a homogenous group."Given those feelings, Mukherjee said, it's important that police try to diffuse tensions and build a better relationship with all community members.Meanwhile, Toronto's mayor said he was "heartened" that police and community groups seemed to be communicating."I'm optimistic that's going to bear fruit going forward and be a better, longer lasting, more meaningful answer to this than if we'd just been able to say that police are back in the parade," John Tory said.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she, too, was hopeful that police would improve relations with the LGBTQ community."I truly hope that there can be a good discussion between Pride and the police services so that that relationship can be healed," she said. "But I do understand with all the things that have happened over the last year that it's a strained relationship right now."Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press.

More than 40,000 people returned to Syria's Ghouta: agencies-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's defense ministry said on Tuesday that more than 40,000 civilians who had fled Syria's eastern Ghouta have returned, Interfax agency reported.The government offensive on Ghouta has been one of the deadliest of the war, killing more than 1,600 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The government says it is restoring security to Damascus, which was regularly shelled from eastern Ghouta during the war.In the past 24 hours, 1,123 rebel fighters and their families have left the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta, Interfax citied the Russian Ministry of Defence.From the start of the humanitarian pause's introduction in eastern Ghouta, 2,269 militants and their families left Douma, the largest urban center in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the ministry said.(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Larry King)

Impatient for wall, Trump wants US military to secure border-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018
WASHINGTON — Frustrated by slow action on a major campaign promise, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built.Trump told reporters he's been discussing the idea with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis."We're going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," Trump said, calling the move a "big step."It wasn't immediately clear exactly how the proposal would work or what kind of troops Trump wanted to deploy. But the White House later said Trump wanted to mobilize the National Guard.Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support. The White House counsel's office has been working on the idea for several weeks, according to a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans.Trump has been annoyed by the lack of progress on building what was the signature promise of his campaign: a "big, beautiful wall" along the Mexican border. He's previously suggested using the Pentagon's budget to pay for building the wall, arguing it is a national security priority, despite strict rules that prohibit spending that's not authorized by Congress.At the Pentagon, officials struggled throughout the day to answer questions about the plan, including rudimentary details on whether it would involve National Guard members.But the administration appeared to be considering a model similar to a 2006 operation in which President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops to the southern border.Under Operation Jump Start, 6,000 National Guard troops were sent to assist the border patrol with non-law enforcement duties while additional border agents were hired and trained. Over two years, about 29,000 National Guard forces participated, as forces rotated in and out. The Guard members were used for surveillance, communications, administrative support, intelligence, analysis and the installation of border security infrastructure.In addition, President Barack Obama sent about 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010 to beef up efforts to battle drug smuggling and illegal immigration.Texas has also deployed military forces to its 800-mile (1, 290-kilometre ) border with Mexico. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now serving as Trump's energy secretary, sent 1,000 Texas National Guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley in 2014 in response to a sharp increase in Central American children crossing the border alone.Trump met Tuesday with top administration officials, including Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Session, to discuss the administration's strategy to address what White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders described as "the growing influx of illegal immigration, drugs and violent gang members from Central America."In addition to mobilizing the National Guard, Trump and senior officials "agreed on the need to pressure Congress to urgently pass legislation to close legal loopholes exploited by criminal trafficking, narco-terrorist and smuggling organizations," Sanders said.The meeting and comments came amid a flurry of tweets by the president on the subject over the last several days.Trump has been fixed on the issue since he grudgingly signed a spending bill last month that includes far less money for the wall than he'd hoped for.The $1.3 trillion package included $1.6 billion for border wall spending — a fraction of the $25 billion Trump made a last-minute push to secure. And much of that money can be used only to repair existing segments, not to build new sections.Also setting Trump off: A briefing from senior administration officials last week that included an update on an uptick in illegal border crossings, and images played on his favourite network, Fox News, of a "caravan" of migrants making their way through Mexico.Trump spent the first months of his presidency bragging about a dramatic drop in illegal border crossings. Indeed, the 2017 fiscal year marked a 45-year low for Border Patrol arrests. But the numbers have been slowly ticking up since last April and are now on par with many months of the Obama administration. Statistics show 36,695 arrests of people trying to cross the southwest border in February 2018, up from 23,555 in the same month of the previous year.At last week's meeting, Trump "directed a vigorous administrative strategy to confront this threat and protect America's national security," said Sanders. Tuesday's briefing was a follow-up to discuss the plans.Trump has also been under pressure from conservative backers, including commentator Ann Coulter, who has accused Trump of betraying his base for not delivering on the wall.Trump appeared to take credit Tuesday for halting a caravan of about 1,100 migrants, many from Honduras, who had been marching along roadsides and train tracks in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca."I said (to Mexican officials), 'I hope you're going to tell that caravan not to get up to the border.' And I think they're doing that because, as of 12 minutes ago, it was all being broken up," he said.But the caravan of largely Central American migrants had never intended to reach the U.S. border, according to organizer Irineo Mujica. It was meant to end at a migrants' rights symposium in central Mexico later this week.The caravan stopped to camp at a sports field in Oaxaca over the weekend. Mexican immigration officers have been signing them up for temporary transit visas, which would allow them to travel to the U.S. border, possibly to seek asylum, or to seek asylum status in Mexico.___Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego; Mark Sherman, Catherine Lucey, Darlene Superville and Kevin Freking in Washington; Nomaan Merchant in Houston; and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.Jill Colvin And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press.

Trump to decide 'very quickly' on US pullout from Syria-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he expects to decide "very quickly" whether to remove U.S. troops from war-torn Syria, saying their primary mission was to defeat the Islamic State group and "we've almost completed that task."A decision by Trump to withdraw from Syria would conflict with the views of his top advisers.In fact, as Trump addressed reporters at the White House, high-ranking U.S. officials spoke elsewhere in Washington about the need to stay in Iraq and Syria to finish off the militant group, which once controlled large swaths of territory in both countries, and keep it from rising up again.At a news conference with the presidents of the Baltic nations, Trump was asked whether he still favoured pulling U.S. troops out of Syria."As far as Syria is concerned, our primary mission in terms of that was getting rid of ISIS," Trump answered, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. "We've completed that task and we'll be making a decision very quickly, in co-ordination with others in the area, as to what we will do."The mission is "very costly for our country and it helps other countries a helluva lot more than it helps us," Trump said."I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation," he said during the appearance with his counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Trump also noted that the Baltic states are partners with the U.S. in the anti-IS coalition and "we will not rest until ISIS is gone."A senior Syrian Kurdish official said Trump's comments came at an "inappropriate time" as Islamic State militants re-emerge in eastern Syria and amid threats from Turkey.Ilham Ahmed, a senior Kurdish official in Syria's Raqqa province, said such a decision would clear the way for "total chaos in Syria," endangering areas newly liberated from the IS group and empowering Turkey to move in on towns controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition.The main IS holdout in Syria is in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, where momentum by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has stalled in recent weeks as many Kurdish members of the group have shifted west to the Afrin area to fight Turkish forces. Pentagon officials have publicly raised the prospect of this giving the IS group the breathing room it needs to regroup.Many have warned that a premature U.S. withdrawal from Syria would cede the country to Iran and Russia, which have supported Syrian President Bashar Assad. Iran's continued presence in Syria is especially troubling to neighbouring Israel, a U.S. ally that regards Iran as an existential threat.Some high-ranking Trump administration officials urged caution.Gen. Joseph Votel told a conference at the U.S. Institute for Peace that the United States would have to continue its work against remnants of the Islamic State group in eastern Syria. Votel is commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations across the Middle East, including Syria.Votel said the military campaign has been largely successful but is not over."The hard part, I think, is in front of us, and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes, addressing the long-term issues" like reconstruction of towns and cities badly damaged by the fighting and by the Islamic State group's scorched-earth tactics. "There is a military role in this, certainly in the stabilization phase."Trump was expected to discuss Syria at a meeting later Tuesday with his national security team. It was not immediately clear whether he would make a decision on withdrawing troops at that time.Also on the meeting agenda was the fate of some $200 million in U.S. stabilization assistance for Syria that the White House put on hold after Trump said during a speech in Ohio last week that he wanted to leave Syria "very soon." The State Department was to have spent the money on building up the country's infrastructure, including power, water and roads.At the same Institute of Peace event, State Department envoy Brett McGurk said, "We want to keep eyes on the prize, on ISIS, because ISIS is not finished."A third U.S. official, Mark Green, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, also argued at the conference that U.S. stabilization efforts in Syria are critical to a lasting defeat of the Islamic State group.___Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Robert Burns in Washington and Sarah El Deeb in Qamishli, Syria, contributed to this report.___Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap___This story has been corrected to show the name of the Syrian town is Deir el-Zour, not Der el-Zour.Darlene Superville, The Associated Press.

Migrant caravan, raising concerns in US, halts in Mexico-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

MATIAS ROMERO, Mexico — The caravan of Central American migrants that angered U.S. President Donald Trump was sidelined at a sports field in southern Mexico with no means of reaching the border even as Trump tweeted another threat to Mexico Tuesday."The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our "Weak Laws" Border, had better be stopped before it gets there," Trump wrote. "Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen."The caravan that once numbered 1,150 or more people actually halted days ago in the town of Matias Romero in the southern state of Oaxaca, where participants slept out in the open. After days of walking along roadsides and train tracks, the organizers now plan to try to get buses to take participants to the final event, an immigrants' rights conference in the central state of Puebla later this week.Bogged down by logistical problems, large numbers of children and fears about people getting sick, the caravan was always meant to draw attention to the plight of migrants and was never equipped to march all the way to the U.S. border."The idea was never for this group of people to reach the border. It was more to achieve a sensible and clear solution" to migrants' need to leave their countries, said Irineo Mujica, director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the activist group behind the annual symbolic event.With conditions bad in Honduras following that country's hotly disputed November presidential elections, unexpectedly large numbers of people showed for this year's march."We have never seen a march of this size. It is unmanageable," Mujica said.On Tuesday, the group — mostly Hondurans — spread out on blankets in walkways between buildings, on playing fields and on grassy spots between swing sets. Young children kicked soccer balls through the dust and climbed on resting parents, killing time. Adults gathered around the few power outlets to charge cellphones. A single municipal police officer kept watch.Women and children picked through piles of donated clothing, as volunteers ladled water boiled over a fire into cups with instant coffee and instant noodles.Aida Raquel Perez Rivera, 31, from San Pedro Sula — one of Honduras' most violent cities — was sitting on a rolled blanket in the shade. She said she hopes for asylum in the United States because the father of her daughters is trying to kill her."I have been threatened with death and I had to leave my daughters back there," said Perez Rivera. "I left without money, without anything, just the clothes on my back."Perez Rivera said she joined the caravan because there was safety in numbers. She said she is also considering seeking asylum in Mexico, but worries she couldn't support her daughters from Mexico.On Monday, Mexican immigration officials began taking the names of people interested in filing for asylum, or temporary transit or humanitarian visas in Mexico.But Mujica said he didn't know "if that was just to calm down Donald Trump's tweets, or calm down Donald Trump." He said the group was waiting for the migration officers to return.About 150 men already did break off from the march Sunday, hopping a freight train north, probably with hopes of trying to enter the U.S.But the rest of the migrants at the camp seemed unlikely to move again until Wednesday or Thursday. Mujica said about 300 to 400 say they have relatives living in Mexico and so may consider staying here at least temporarily.The "Stations of the Cross" caravans have been held annually in southern Mexico for about 10 years. They began as short processions of migrants, some dressed in biblical garb and carrying crosses, as an Easter-season protest against the kidnappings, extortion, beatings and killings suffered by many Central American migrants as they cross Mexico.The organized portions of the caravans usually have not gone much farther north than the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.This year's event seems to have gotten more notice in the U.S., and Trump has sent some angry tweets that raised hackles in Mexico, which in recent years has detained and deported hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants before they could reach the U.S. border."Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!" Trump wrote in one. "With all of the money they make from the U.S., hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours."In a statement late Monday, Mexico's government said about 400 participants in the caravan had already been sent back to their home countries. "Under no circumstances does the Mexican government promote irregular migration," the Interior Ministry statement said.The department also said that unlike in previous yearly caravans, "this time Mexican immigration authorities have offered refugee status" to participants who qualify. But it suggested it is not up to Mexico to keep people from going to the U.S. to apply for asylum."It is not this government's responsibility to make immigration decisions for the United States or any other country, so it will be up to the appropriate authorities of the United States to decide whether to authorize the entry of the caravan participants to U.S. territory," the statement said.Navarrete Prida had said earlier that he talked with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday about handling migration, "in accordance with each country's laws."Nielsen later tweeted that their talk focused specifically on the annual migrant caravan. "Working with Mexican officials to address the yearly illegal alien caravan. Exploring all options," she wrote.Mexico routinely stops and deports Central Americans, sometimes in numbers that rival those of the United States. Deportations of foreigners dropped from 176,726 in 2015 to 76,433 in 2017, in part because fewer were believed to have come to Mexico, and more were requesting asylum in Mexico.Mexico granted 3,223 asylum requests made in 2016, and 9,626 requests filed last year are either under review or have been accepted.Deportations continued at about the same pace in the first two months of 2018, with 15,835 people returned to central American countries.Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press.

The Latest: Potential Cosby jurors claim hardship, want off-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-April 3, 2018

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The Latest on Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial (all times local):-5 p.m.A new group of potential jurors summoned to Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial is proving more opinionated and less willing to serve than the panel that produced seven jurors over the last two days.Two-thirds of the 119 people brought in for group questioning Tuesday afternoon said they've already formed an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence. A little more than half of Monday's panel said they had already made up their minds.All but about 20 people in Tuesday's group begged off the case, saying it'd be a hardship to serve.Seven jurors have been picked for the retrial. Eleven slots remain to be filled.The 80-year-old comedian is charged with drugging and molesting a woman in 2004. His first trial ended in a hung jury.___12:50 p.m.Seven jurors have been picked in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial.Prosecutors and the defence chose a half-dozen jurors in rapid succession Tuesday after only choosing one juror Monday. Five of the jurors are white and two are black. The panel so far has four men and three women.All of the jurors seated Tuesday say they've read media reports about Cosby's case but haven't formed an opinion about his guilt or innocence and can serve as fair and impartial jurors.The Cosby jury will consist of 12 jurors and six alternates.The 80-year-old comedian is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His first trial ended in a hung jury.___11 a.m.Two more jurors have been picked in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial.Both women say they've read media reports about Cosby's case and the #MeToo anti-sexual assault movement. But they say they haven't formed an opinion and can serve as fair and impartial jurors.They were picked Tuesday, the second day of jury selection. Cosby's lawyers are upset because prosecutors have blocked two white men from serving on the jury, including one who said he thought many of the women coming forward in the #MeToo movement are "jumping on the bandwagon."Cosby's lawyers have also used two strikes, both to block white women from serving.Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home. He's pleaded not guilty. His first trial ended in a hung jury.___8:50 a.m.The judge in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial has delivered two major victories to the comedian's legal defence .Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Tuesday that a woman who says his accuser was out for money can testify. He also ruled that the jury can hear the amount of the settlement that Cosby reached with his accuser.Cosby's defence has laid out their plan to portray the accuser as a greedy liar who framed the comedian to get rich.His accuser's attorney says that the woman, Marguerite Jackson, is "not telling the truth."O'Neill previously helped prosecutor's case by allowing five additional accusers to testify against Cosby.Jury selection in the case is continuing Tuesday.___8:30 a.m.Comedian Bill Cosby has arrived for the second day of jury selection in his retrial on sexual assault charges.A woman walking into the suburban Philadelphia courthouse with Cosby Tuesday said they are looking for fair and impartial jurors. Only one juror was chosen Monday during the first day of jury selection.The 80-year-old Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a former Temple University athletics administrator at his home in 2004.The judge last June declared a mistrial after more than 52 hours of jury deliberations over six days. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favour of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.The male juror seated Monday indicated he had no knowledge of the case and wouldn't let what he's heard about the #MeToo movement influence his ability to be impartial.___12:20 a.m.One juror has been picked and key rulings are on the way in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial.Judge Steven O'Neill says he will reveal his decisions on lingering issues in the case before jury selection resumes on Tuesday in suburban Philadelphia.O'Neill is expected to rule if Cosby's lawyers can call a witness who says accuser Andrea Constand talked about framing a celebrity so she could sue and get money.Marguerite Jackson's testimony is crucial to the defence's plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar.Just one juror was seated as jury selection began on Monday. The young man said he had no knowledge of Cosby's case.The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.The Associated Press.



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