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Angela Merkel says fight against terrorism no excuse for U.S. entry ban

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel told U.S. President Donald Trump that the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for banning refugees or people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, her spokesman said on Sunday.

“She is convinced that even the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

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He said the German government regrets the entry travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority states, would review the consequences for German citizens with dual nationalities and would “represent their interests, if needed, vis a vis our U.S. partners”.

He said Merkel had expressed her concerns to Trump during a telephone call on Saturday and reminded him that the Geneva Conventions require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.

Trump on Friday ordered a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily banned travelers from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries.

Seibert’s comments were the first indication of discord between Merkel and Trump over the issue.

The two leaders had highlighted common interests such as strengthening NATO and combating Islamist militancy in a joint statement after their 45-minute telephone call.

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Thomas Oppermann, who heads the parliamentary faction of the Social Democrats, the junior partner in Merkel’s right-center coalition, called Trump’s order “inhumane and foolhardy” and said it would result in significant damage to the U.S. economy.

“The order contradicts everything that makes up the United States’ good reputation as a country of immigration,” he told Die Welt newspaper. “No one should be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.”

Germany’s pro-environment Green party also blasted the ban, with a senior party official telling Reuters the measure affected tens of thousands of Germans who had dual citizenship.

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“Donald Trump is no longer a reliable partner,” said Dieter Janecek, economic spokesman for the Green’s parliamentary faction. “If this insanity is not rescinded, that one should look into whether it is possible to impose a travel ban on him and (White House adviser) Stephen Bannon, the author of this unconstitutional rule.”

Trump on Saturday accepted Merkel’s invitation to attend the a meeting of the Group of 20 industrialized nations in Hamburg in July. He also invited Merkel to visit Washington soon.

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But Janecek said Germany had to take action if changes in the U.S. rules meant German lawmakers and other German citizens with dual citizenship could no longer visit the United States.

No comment was immediately available from Omid Nouripour, a Green lawmaker and vice-chief of the German-American caucus, who has German and Iranian citizenship.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Andrea Shalal; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 3 losers from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the other leading Democratic presidential primary candidates Wednesday night in the fieriest evening of the race so far.

His presence on the stage drew fire from the other candidates, but it also seemed to change the overall tone of the debate, with more attacks, counter-attacks, and passion than was generally seen earlier in the campaign.

Here’s a (necessarily subjective!) list of the winners and losers from the fray:

Winners

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — Warren hit her stride right as the debate started by attacking Bloomberg for his record on the mistreatment of women, racist policies, and his tax returns. She repeatedly came back to skewer the former mayor, making herself the biggest and most notable presence in the debate. But importantly, she also continuously brought the discussion back to the issues she cares about — like expanding health care, environmental justice,  and consumer protection — while getting in digs at the other candidates on the stage.

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Michael Bloomberg ‘lost everything’ in Las Vegas: MSNBC analyst

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Senior editor for "The Root," Jason Johnson, concluded that the biggest loser of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas Wednesday was Michael Bloomberg, but not merely because of his debate performance.

"The big new name was going to be Michael Bloomberg," he said. "This was probably the most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. He lost everything. This guy has spent $320 million. He had the opportunity to stand on stage, and appear to be an equal, and he looked bored. He looked disenchanted. He stumbled over obvious questions that anybody would have anticipated about sexual harassment and stop and frisk. I thought it was a bad night for him."

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Pro-immigration protesters interrupt Joe Biden’s closing statement at debate

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Former Vice President Joe Biden's closing statement was interrupted by protesters at Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

As Biden began his remarks, demonstrators began shouting about the Obama administration's record on deportations.

WATCH: Protesters interrupt the #DemDebate as the debate nears end. pic.twitter.com/TKCn6eIEsN

— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 20, 2020

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