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New Zealand terrorist pleads not guilty in mosque killings, shows little emotion

WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmakers accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of giving Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 US presidential race, while a top Republican ally said Trump was wrong to say he would accept political dirt from foreign sources. The uproar followed televised comments in which the US president told ABC News…

New Zealand terrorist pleads not guilty in mosque killings, shows little emotion

WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmakers accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of giving Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 US presidential race, while a top Republican ally said Trump was wrong to say he would accept political dirt from foreign sources.
The uproar followed televised comments in which the US president told ABC News he would be willing to listen to such damaging information about political opponents as he seeks re-election.
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said in an interview aired on Wednesday.
“It’s not an interference. They have information, I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”
Trump’s comments came less than three months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a report that found Russia waged a hacking and influence campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Democratic lawmakers roundly condemned the remarks. “What the president said last night shows clearly, once again, over and over again, that he does not know the difference between right and wrong,” said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress.
While some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates renewed their call to impeach the president, Trump’s comments did not seem to move House Democrats who have been on the fence closer to initiating impeachment proceedings.
Trump’s statement drew a rebuke, however, from one of his closest allies in Congress, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
“I think it’s a mistake,” said Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He accused Democrats of having accepted damaging information from foreign nationals on political opponents and said any public official contacted by a foreign government with an offer of help to their campaign should reject it and inform the FBI.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he was confident Trump was speaking hypothetically. Others prominent Republicans were outspoken in their discomfort, without naming Trump.
“It is never appropriate to allow a foreign government or its agents to interfere in our election process. Period,” said Republican Senator Mike Rounds.
Mitt Romney, a senator and former Republican presidential candidate, said it was “unthinkable” to accept adverse information on a political opponent from a foreign source. “It would strike at the very heart of our democracy,” he said.
Senate Democrats failed on Thursday to ram through legislation requiring US presidential campaigns to report to the FBI offers of help from an agent of a foreign government. The move was blocked by Republicans who control the chamber.
Senator Mark Warner, who pushed the legislation, recalled Trump’s “Russia, if you are listening” call for Moscow to dig up Clinton’s missing emails during the 2016 campaign.
“The President has given Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 election,” Warner wrote on Twitter earlier.
’Thing of value’Any foreign contribution of “money or other thing of value” violates US campaign finance law. Legal experts say knowingly soliciting information from a foreign entity would also be illegal.In a statement on Twitter prefaced with the comment: “I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub warned political campaigns not to accept foreign help, saying it risked putting them “on the wrong of a federal investigation.”An FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian election activities in the 2016 presidential election sparked Mueller’s probe, which confirmed US intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia worked to help Trump win.Mueller, whose investigation examined a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Trump’s campaign had with Russians promising dirt on Clinton, did not charge Trump campaign staff who attended the meeting.Trump defended his remarks in a flurry of tweets on Thursday morning in which he said it would be “ridiculous” to report his contacts with foreign leaders to the FBI.The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee expressed alarm at Trump’s comments.“The president has either learned nothing in the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson — that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” Representative Adam Schiff said.Democratic presidential candidates who renewed calls for Trump’s impeachment included US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and US Representative Eric Swalwell.“A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump,” Warren said.

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US border chief quits amid outcry over child detainees

WASHINGTON: The acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency announced his resignation on Tuesday amid a public outcry over alarming detention conditions of migrant children in Texas.John Sanders, appointed to the post just two months ago, said in a letter obtained by several US media outlets that he planned to step down…

US border chief quits amid outcry over child detainees

WASHINGTON: The acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency announced his resignation on Tuesday amid a public outcry over alarming detention conditions of migrant children in Texas.John Sanders, appointed to the post just two months ago, said in a letter obtained by several US media outlets that he planned to step down as acting CBP chief on July 5.Sanders’ departure coincides with the revelation of unsanitary detention conditions for children at an overcrowded Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, a sign of the increasing strain on resources due to soaring numbers of arrests at the US-Mexico border.The conditions at the center in Clint were described by a team of lawyers, doctors and others who visited the facility about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of El Paso.Nearly 250 children were transferred out of Clint on Monday but a CBP official said Tuesday that some 100 were being sent back there.“The three-year old before me had matted hair, a hacking cough, muddy pants, and eyes that fluttered closed with fatigue,” wrote Clara Long, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who accompanied the team.“His only caretaker for the last three weeks in a United States Border Patrol chain-link cage and then a cell… his 11-year old brother,” Long said.“Children at Clint told us they don’t have regular access to showers or clean clothes, with some saying they hadn’t been allowed to bathe over periods of weeks and don’t have regular access to soap,” she said.Speaking on CNN on Tuesday, Long said “the situation is dire.”“And it’s not just Clint,” she said.Sanders has led CBP since April, when President Donald Trump tapped CBP chief Kevin McAleenan to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.In a message to staff, Sanders did not give a specific reason for quitting and officials told The Washington Post and The New York Times it was not clear if his resignation was directly related to the handling of underage migrants at the border.Trump told reporters Tuesday he did not ask Sanders to step down but “knew there were going to be changes there.”US law requires unaccompanied minors to be returned to their parents or transferred to Health and Human Services facilities within 72 hours.But many of the children held by the Border Patrol in Clint had been there for three or four weeks, according to the team which visited the facility on June 17.“The Border Patrol claims that high numbers of border arrivals are causing these delays as they wait for space to open up in the somewhat more child-friendly detention centers and shelters,” said HRW’s Long.Arrivals of undocumented migrants at the southern US border have surged in recent months, with 144,000 people taken into custody in May alone. CBP deputy commissioner Robert Perez said more than 100,000 were children and families.“Everybody understands it is not the Border Patrol’s job to take care of children,” said Warren Binford, a Willamette University law professor who visited the Clint facility.“They are as upset as we are that these children are being put into their care because they don’t have the ability to care for them,” Binford said on MSNBC.“These children need to be with their families.”Perez, the CBP deputy commissioner, made the same complaint recently at a panel discussion in Washington.“We are a border security agency now being called upon to deal with things we’re not designed for,” Perez said.Trump, asked about conditions at the detention centers, said he was “very concerned” and urged Democrats to approve $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian funding for the southwest border.He said “bad people” were using children to take advantage of lax US immigration laws. “It’s a form of slavery what they’re doing to young children,” he said.Trump also said Mexico “for the first time in 50 years is helping us” prevent border-crossing.“So I just want to thank Mexico,” said the US leader, who had threatened steep tariffs on Mexican goods unless the government did more to slow migration.After a week of tense negotiations, Mexico agreed to reinforce its southern border with 6,000 National Guardsmen and expand its policy of taking back migrants while the US processes their asylum claims. Mexico has also deployed 15,000 troops to the US border.“They’ve done a great job,” said Trump. “Hopefully they can keep it up.”

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US’s Pompeo faces thorny issues on India visit, from trade to Russia arms deals

WASHINGTON: The acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency announced his resignation on Tuesday amid a public outcry over alarming detention conditions of migrant children in Texas.John Sanders, appointed to the post just two months ago, said in a letter obtained by several US media outlets that he planned to step down…

US’s Pompeo faces thorny issues on India visit, from trade to Russia arms deals

WASHINGTON: The acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency announced his resignation on Tuesday amid a public outcry over alarming detention conditions of migrant children in Texas.John Sanders, appointed to the post just two months ago, said in a letter obtained by several US media outlets that he planned to step down as acting CBP chief on July 5.Sanders’ departure coincides with the revelation of unsanitary detention conditions for children at an overcrowded Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, a sign of the increasing strain on resources due to soaring numbers of arrests at the US-Mexico border.The conditions at the center in Clint were described by a team of lawyers, doctors and others who visited the facility about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of El Paso.Nearly 250 children were transferred out of Clint on Monday but a CBP official said Tuesday that some 100 were being sent back there.“The three-year old before me had matted hair, a hacking cough, muddy pants, and eyes that fluttered closed with fatigue,” wrote Clara Long, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who accompanied the team.“His only caretaker for the last three weeks in a United States Border Patrol chain-link cage and then a cell… his 11-year old brother,” Long said.“Children at Clint told us they don’t have regular access to showers or clean clothes, with some saying they hadn’t been allowed to bathe over periods of weeks and don’t have regular access to soap,” she said.Speaking on CNN on Tuesday, Long said “the situation is dire.”“And it’s not just Clint,” she said.Sanders has led CBP since April, when President Donald Trump tapped CBP chief Kevin McAleenan to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.In a message to staff, Sanders did not give a specific reason for quitting and officials told The Washington Post and The New York Times it was not clear if his resignation was directly related to the handling of underage migrants at the border.Trump told reporters Tuesday he did not ask Sanders to step down but “knew there were going to be changes there.”US law requires unaccompanied minors to be returned to their parents or transferred to Health and Human Services facilities within 72 hours.But many of the children held by the Border Patrol in Clint had been there for three or four weeks, according to the team which visited the facility on June 17.“The Border Patrol claims that high numbers of border arrivals are causing these delays as they wait for space to open up in the somewhat more child-friendly detention centers and shelters,” said HRW’s Long.Arrivals of undocumented migrants at the southern US border have surged in recent months, with 144,000 people taken into custody in May alone. CBP deputy commissioner Robert Perez said more than 100,000 were children and families.“Everybody understands it is not the Border Patrol’s job to take care of children,” said Warren Binford, a Willamette University law professor who visited the Clint facility.“They are as upset as we are that these children are being put into their care because they don’t have the ability to care for them,” Binford said on MSNBC.“These children need to be with their families.”Perez, the CBP deputy commissioner, made the same complaint recently at a panel discussion in Washington.“We are a border security agency now being called upon to deal with things we’re not designed for,” Perez said.Trump, asked about conditions at the detention centers, said he was “very concerned” and urged Democrats to approve $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian funding for the southwest border.He said “bad people” were using children to take advantage of lax US immigration laws. “It’s a form of slavery what they’re doing to young children,” he said.Trump also said Mexico “for the first time in 50 years is helping us” prevent border-crossing.“So I just want to thank Mexico,” said the US leader, who had threatened steep tariffs on Mexican goods unless the government did more to slow migration.After a week of tense negotiations, Mexico agreed to reinforce its southern border with 6,000 National Guardsmen and expand its policy of taking back migrants while the US processes their asylum claims. Mexico has also deployed 15,000 troops to the US border.“They’ve done a great job,” said Trump. “Hopefully they can keep it up.”

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Dharavi slum beats Taj Mahal as India’s top tourist destination

NEW DELHI: One of the world’s biggest slums, located in Mumbai, has pipped the famous Taj Mahal to become India’s favorite tourist destination. Dharavi, where close to 1 million people live in an area of just over 2.1 square kilometers, was named by travel website TripAdvisor.com as the 2019 top visitor experience in India and among…

Dharavi slum beats Taj Mahal as India’s top tourist destination

NEW DELHI: One of the world’s biggest slums, located in Mumbai, has pipped the famous Taj Mahal to become India’s favorite tourist destination.

Dharavi, where close to 1 million people live in an area of just over 2.1 square kilometers, was named by travel website TripAdvisor.com as the 2019 top visitor experience in India and among the 10 most favorite tourist sites in Asia.

The slum has grown up on swamp land in the center of the coastal city of Mumbai over the past 150 years and has poor infrastructure and a lack of basic sanitation and hygiene facilities.

The squalid district was featured in the 2008 Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” which tells the story of a Mumbai teenager accused of cheating on the Indian version of TV gameshow “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

However, in 2012, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Katherine Boo portrayed a new side of life in the slum in her book “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum,” which showed it bubbling with hope in a changing world.

The recent Bollywood movie “Gully Boy” also gives the slum a new look with a coming-of-age tale based on the lives of street rappers.

“Slum tourism started in 2003 for the first time but it picked up after the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’” said Dinesh Bhurara, who runs travel agency Mumbai Dream Tours.

“Dharavi is not like a slum, but it is a city within the city. It is well-organized and people from all communities and religions coexist together. They work very hard. When tourists come, they see a new life in the slum which they don’t see in Mumbai and outside. This connects with foreigners,” Bhurara told Arab News.

Bhurara, 24, was born and brought up in Dharavi and started his travel business three years ago after gaining experience with other tour operators.

“People have lots of misconceptions about Dharavi. Movies like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ stereotyped the slum by showing its poverty, underbelly and by typecasting characters. But it’s not like that. When tourists visit it’s an eye-opener for them,” he added.

Tour groups to Dharavi normally consist of around five to six people, with visitors guided through its cramped alleys, and shown around houses and businesses.

“For tourists this is an educational tour. They learn how business is done here, and how people survive with their sheer efforts and aspirations. They also go to business and industry areas,” said Bhurara.

The peak season to visit Dharavi is between November and May with travel agents recording an average of 200 foreigners touring the slum every day during the season.

Bhurara charges 700 rupees ($10) per person for a four-hour trip to Dharavi and has five partners who run the tours with him. “When we take tourists inside the slum, we not only take them into an area, but we also take them into our lives and show them how life can exist even in this space. Many get inspired and are awestruck by the sheer energy inside the slum.”

He said the tourist influx had encouraged many Dharavi youngsters to learn foreign languages as a way to earn a living and he himself had taken up Spanish.

According to Bhurara the majority of tourists are from Europe and China. “People in Dharavi are now attuned to foreigners visiting them and they really appreciate that. For youngsters it’s an extra opportunity to earn some more. So many college students pick up foreign languages to earn something extra,” he added.

Dharavi is a hub of small industries with exports of leather and recycled goods reportedly worth $1 billion a year. More than 4,000 businesses operate there alongside thousands of single-room factories where migrants workers from eastern and western India are employed.

“Many people, even in Mumbai, are not aware of this part of Dharavi,” Vinay Rawat, a tour operator, told Arab News. “In Mumbai people come to see the most expensive house of the industrialist Mukesh Ambani and they also want to see the cheapest place in Mumbai which is Dharavi.”

Rawat added that wealthy people lived in Dharavi where new high-rise buildings had been constructed. He said people had lived there for four generations but that there were fears that the prime land could fall into the hands of property developers.

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