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Cuba’s president meets U.S. Senator Corker amid tense bilateral relations



Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who is on a trip to Havana to discuss tense bilateral relations and other “matters of common interest”, state-run media reported on Thursday.

Corker, a Republican but also a frequent critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, is the highest-ranking U.S. official that Diaz-Canel has met since succeeding Raul Castro as president in April. He is due to retire from the Senate later this year.

Relations between the old Cold War foes have deteriorated over the past year due to Trump’s hostile stance on the Communist-run island and what the United States has called a spate of “health attacks” on its diplomats in Havana.

Cuba denies any involvement and government officials have said they believe there were never any attacks, which they described as a pretext to justify conflict.

Diaz-Canel was expected to travel to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly next week but said in an interview broadcast on Sunday he could not talk with Trump as long as his administration kept its “abnormal” attitude toward the island.

The Trump administration has tightened the trade and travel embargo on Cuba and sharply reduced embassy staffing in Havana from more than 50 to a maximum 18.


Cuba’s ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma said the top U.S. top diplomat in Cuba, Mara Tekach, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and the ministry’s director of U.S. affairs Carlos Fernandez de Cossio also participated in Thursday’s meeting.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Paul Tait

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Trump considering withdraw from 68-year-old treaty with Japan: report



President Donald Trump has been privately talking about withdrawing from the postwar defense treaty with Japan, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Trump is telling confidants the treaty is unfair to the U.S. because it promises to help if Japan was ever attacked, but doesn't require Japan to come to America's defense, the sources told Bloomberg.

So far, the president hasn't taken any step toward pulling out of the treaty, which was signed in 1951, and administration officials insist that move would be highly unlikely.

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2020 Election

Rep. Ted Lieu: Impeachment is coming — and so is a Democratic president



Donald Trump recently called “impeachment” a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word,” but his continued stonewalling of legitimate congressional oversight requests are moving more and more House Democrats to embrace that “filthy” concept. That was the very point made by Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a progressive Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee during our recent conversation on “Salon Talks.” That committee would be the starting point for an actual impeachment inquiry of the president.

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US kicks off Mideast plan, with Palestinians boycotting



After a wait of two and a half years, the US administration is launching its Middle East peace plan Tuesday -- with an economic initiative that the Palestinians are boycotting.

For this most unconventional of US presidents, Donald Trump's Middle East peace-making bid is unlike decades of previous US attempts.

There is no talk of land swaps, a Palestinian state or other political issues that have vexed diplomats for decades.

The Trump administration says it will get to the political issues later.

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Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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