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Trump asks government agencies for plans to cut spending

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President Donald Trump, who has proposed cuts to an array of government agencies, is asking department heads to offer up plans to operate more efficiently.

Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Tuesday he would be instructing agencies to outline how they will comply with the president’s budget, which slashed spending for foreign aid and many domestic programs.

The federal hiring freeze imposed shortly after Trump entered office will be lifted on Wednesday, but agencies will be asked to remain mindful of Trump’s goal to reduce the federal workforce, Mulvaney said during a briefing.

Mulvaney acknowledged that the president’s budget would have to be approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, where lawmakers from both parties have balked at some of the drastic reductions.

“One of the reasons this is so difficult to do is you just can’t wave a magic wand in the Oval Office and do these things,” Mulvaney said. “There will be certain things for which we will need legislative authority.”

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In the bare bones budget issued last month, the White House did not offer many specific details on how the budget cuts would be achieved.

Mulvaney will ask departments to fill in some of those blanks. Preliminary plans are due from departments in June, with the final versions expected in September.

Not every department gets a cut under Trump’s plan. Mulvaney stressed that some agencies including the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs department will be able to beef up their workforce.

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(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


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American Islamic State ‘sniper’ charged in New York: Justice Dept

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A naturalized American who was a sniper for the Islamic State group has been charged in New York with material support for a terror group after being captured in Syria and repatriated to the United States, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Kazakhstan-born Ruslan Maratovich Asainov fought for the Islamic State in Syria for five years before he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces and handed over to US custody, the department said.

Asainov, 43, was brought back to the United States on Thursday and was to be arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.

He fought for IS in Syria from 2013 to 2018 as a sniper and a weapons trainer for other combatants.

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WATCH: Employee at Tim Hortons slurs Muslim couple and tells them ‘go back to your own country’

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According to a report from Deadline Detroit, a Muslim advocacy group has filed a complaint against a local Tim Horton's location after an employee insulted a Muslim couple and told them to "go back to their own country," followed by a sexist slur.

The report states Alaa Kouider and her husband, Ameur Dhaimini, were purchasing coffee at the local fast food location when they got into an argument with the cashier.

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President Bolsonaro says claims of hunger in Brazil ‘a big lie’

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday there was no hunger in the country, citing the lack of "poor people in the street with a skeletal physique" as evidence.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Bolsonaro blamed "populists" for propagating "a big lie" that some of Brazil's 209 million people did not have enough to eat.

"There is no hunger," the far-right leader said, noting Brazil "was rich in practically every type of crop".

"You don't see poor people in the street with a skeletal physique like in other countries.

"To say that there is hunger in Brazil is a populist discourse to try to win popular sympathy, nothing more than that."

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