Tue. May 18th, 2021


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Biden pitches childcare, education and tax plan in Virginia

Joe Biden has quadrupled the US’ refugee cap after facing a bipartisan backlash for being slow to increase the low number set by the Trump administration.

The president formally confirmed the decision to raise the bar from 15,000 to 62,500 refugee admissions per year, three months after he submitted a proposal to Congress on the issue.

“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Mr Biden said.

He added that the limit introduced by his predecessor “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees”.

Elsewhere, Facebook’s independent oversight board will determine on Wednesday whether it will uphold Donald Trump’s suspension from its platforms.

The ban came after the then-president was seen to condone the rioters who stormed the Capitol building in early January.

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US and North Korea in ‘cautious stages of a diplomatic dance’, says report

The US and North Korea are “are in the early, cautious stages of a diplomatic dance”, a new report has suggested.

The 38 North programme, which monitors North Korea, made the comment in a study released on Monday.

On Sunday, Pyongyang dismissed the Biden administration’s talk of diplomacy as a cover for measures that went against North Korean interests.

“It would not be a surprise if both sides use this initial period to probe and posture a bit,” the report said.

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 11:11

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Lincoln Project needles Trump with new ad

The Lincoln Project is releasing a new advert which taunts former president Donald Trump.

“Maybe you shouldn’t run again,” the narrator drawls. “Maybe the power Mitch McConnell has over the GOP is just too much for you. Maybe what McConnell and the rest of Washington is saying is true: that Trump is done.”

Nathan Place has the story:

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 10:50

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Joy Reid calls Tucker Carlson a ‘segregationist housewife from the 1950s’ in response to on-air attacks

MSNBC presenter Joy Reid has criticised Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his repeated on-air attacks against her.

She commented that it was not her “who spools out over my neighbourhood changing like I’m some segregationist housewife from the 1950s. That would be you, Tuckems.”

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 10:30

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Blinken to attend China-chaired UN meeting to bolster global cooperation

US secretary of state Antony Blinken will attend a China-run UN Security Council meeting on Friday about improving global cooperation, Beijing’s UN ambassador has confirmed.

The encounter will be the first between the top US diplomat and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

“It’s becoming more and more evident that in tackling the current global crises, multilateralism represents the right way out,” said Mr Wang.

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 10:10

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Biden pitches American Families Plan in Virginia

Joe Biden is pitching his childcare, education and tax proposals directly to voters.

On a trip to Virginia on Monday, the president renewed his calls for a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would introduce measures including free preschool provision and childcare support for lower income families.

“I think it’s about time we start giving tax breaks to working-class families and middle-class families instead of just the very wealthy,” Mr Biden said.

Alex Woodward has the details:

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 09:50

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Diplomatic activity fuels Iran deal speculation

Speculation is mounting that informal talks between the US and Iran are closing in on an agreement.

Over the weekend, Iranian media suggested an agreement had been made over what Washington would give Iran in return for its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

US officials, however, were quick to say the report was premature and inaccurate.

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 09:30

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Maduro ‘sending signals’ to Biden administration, senior White House official says

The US will not ease sanctions against Venezuela until it takes steps towards holding free elections, a top White House official has said.

However, the insider confirmed that Venezuelan president Nicolas Madura had been “sending signals” to Washington.

This comes after he let the World Food Programme (WFP) operate in the country and released six former executives of the US-based company Citgo from house arrest.

“Based on concrete actions, we’€™ll respond,” the source told Reuters. “But otherwise we’re going to continue to work with international partners to increase pressure in a multilateral fashion toward that goal of free and fair elections.”

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 09:10

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Good Friday Agreement must be protected, says top US diplomat

On a visit to London, Antony Blinken, Biden’s top diplomat, said the Good Friday Agreement must be protected.

He mentioned that the US has “no closer ally, no closer partner” than the UK. But amid warm talk of a special relationship, he had an important message for the British government.

“The United States remains a steadfast supporter of a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland, in which all communities have a voice and can enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace,” Mr Blinken said.

Alastair Jamieson reports:

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 08:55

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‘Stolen election’ lies are ‘poisoning our democratic system’, warns Cheney

Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney has hit out again at Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election being “stolen”.

The senior Republican figure tweeted on Monday that the 2020 election “was not stolen”, adding that anyone who supported this view was “turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system”.

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 08:35

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Senior Biden adviser suggests president still wears mask outside ‘out of habit’

Senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn has suggested that the president still wears a mask outside “out of habit” – although it is no longer part of official health guidance.

Speaking to CNN, she said “he’s always taken his role as sending a signal to follow the science very seriously”.

Rory Sullivan4 May 2021 08:15



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