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MSNBC’s Ali Velshi: Trump ‘Cowardly Not to Take Questions From Legitimate News Sources’

MSNBC host Ali Velshi took grave offense at President Donald Trump taking questions from reporters from the Washington Examiner and One America News Network on Friday. Velshi considered it vital that Trump face questions about the report that former campaign aide Rick Gates would plead guilty in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. The news on Gates broke minutes before Trump’s joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Trump ended up taking questions about Syria and Jared Kushner’s security clearance. Velshi expressed outrage that the people who asked those questions were Gabby Morrongiello and Trey Yingst of the Examiner and One American News, respectively. "In the news conference, typically speaking, if something like this happened and the president had reporters in front of him—you know, he chose two very friendly outlets," Velshi said. Katy Tur, who was finishing her broadcast and handing off to Velshi, pointed out that Morrongiello and Yingst asked tough questions. Morrongiello asked, "Your chief of staff, General Kelly, has recommended ending the practice of granting interim security clearances to members of the Trump administration. If that proceeds, would you be willing to grant a waiver to Jared Kushner, one of your senior advisers?" Yingst addressed Turnbull and Trump, asking, "Australia is known for helping the Syrian people and Syrian refugees. So I ask you today, as the world watches, what steps can Australia take, with the help of the President and the United States, to ensure that civilians are protected in eastern Gouda?" Velshi told Tur that the questions being "tough" was irrelevant. "But they were still friendly outlets, the first one of which, OAN, peddles in conspiracy theories," Velshi said, arguing that "something is wrong at the White House" when such outlets have press credentials. "The president took the easy way out today," Velshi added. "It was cowardly not to take questions from legitimate news sources today. The fact that it was a hard question is secondary to the fact that the president, on a day he had to be held accountable, the very basis of our accountability in society, the president cheated." Pointing out that Gates was reportedly pleading guilty on charges to defraud the U.S. government, Velshi said it seemed as if the administration was living in an "alternate universe." Velshi did not provide further definition of what makes an outlet "legitimate," but he has engaged in his own conspiracy theorizing. Just this week, he said on air that he suspects the National Rifle Association of counting him as a member, offering no evidence besides promotional material he received in the mail. Elsewhere on MSNBC, John Heilemann theorized last month that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) could be a "Russian agent." Velshi also tweeted his displeasure over Morrongiello and Yingst asking questions. On the day of the 5th guilty plea in the Mueller investigation, Trump takes first question at news conference from pro-Trump One America News, which is known to circulate conspiracy theories. — Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) February 23, 2018 Aaaand the President’s final question…from the conservative Washington Examiner. Wow. Even the most basic elements of accountability are shed by this administration. — Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) February 23, 2018 The post MSNBC’s Ali Velshi: Trump ‘Cowardly Not to Take Questions From Legitimate News Sources’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump Announces Plans to Name U.S. Ship ‘Canberra’ in Honor of WWII Australian Ship

President Donald Trump announced on Friday while speaking at a joint press conference next to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that a new U.S. Navy ship will be named "Canberra." Three Australian Navy ships have been named Canberra, Australia's capital city, in the country's history. The U.S. vessel will specifically be named in memory of the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra, a ship that sunk during the Battle of Savo Island in World War II. Not long after the sinking, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered an American cruiser, the USS Pittsburgh, be renamed the the USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2) in memory of the HMAS Canberra. The first USS Canberra was decommissioned in 1970. Trump said in his announcement at the White House that the new Canberra will be Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 30, and the ship's sponsor will be Australian Minister of Defence Marise Payne. "I know that the USS Canberra will be a worthy successor to her Australian namesake and her American predecessor, the former Navy Baltimore-class cruiser the USS Canberra," Trump said. "As she sails the open sea, the new USS Canberra will symbolize to all who cross her path the enduring friendship between the United States and Australia. There is no closer friendship." Turnbull thanked Trump for the honor of having an American vessel named Canberra. Turnbull also noted LCS-30 will be built by Australian company Austal at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama where American workers are employed. "I want to thank you for the very rare honor you have shown to Australia by naming one of your future littoral combat ships the USS Canberra," Turnbull said. "What a great symbol of our alliance and our shared security endeavors. What an extraordinary statement of commitment." "What a great example of a hundred years of mateship," Turnbull said. The post Trump Announces Plans to Name U.S. Ship ‘Canberra’ in Honor of WWII Australian Ship appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Liberals Enraged After Obama Praises Billy Graham on Twitter

Liberal activists and journalists expressed outrage after former President Barack Obama praised the late U.S. evangelist Billy Graham on Wednesday. "Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many—and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans," Obama tweeted after Graham died on Wednesday at the age of 99. Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many – and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans. — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018 Graham, who became a de facto White House chaplain to several U.S. presidents, will become the first religious leader to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda next week. Several liberals were quick to castigate Graham on Twitter for his opposition to same-sex marriage and other views on LGBTQ issues, and chided Obama for praising the Christian preacher, the Daily Caller reported. why — KT NELSON (@KrangTNelson) February 21, 2018 Billy Graham was a bigot. https://t.co/tby6LoUOZ8 — RPBP (@rpbp) February 21, 2018 Delete this. — Calvin (@calvinstowell) February 21, 2018 Unfortunately, Billy Graham also destroyed many lives. He said, "The realization that someone you love is gay can be a shattering experience." He spoke out against #LGBT rights (like marriage equality) and told people to "seek freedom from homosexuality." https://t.co/5ujyJ3Dbhe https://t.co/bDw6IWTN57 — Eric Rosswood (@LGBT_Activist) February 21, 2018 No no no no no. "Let me say this loud and clear, we traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare." – Billy Graham, 1974. Barack, you're great, but please delete this and find a different way to memorialize a person who made life harder for many many people. https://t.co/LzMHol8GzL — Dylan Marron (@dylanmarron) February 21, 2018 nah — Questlove Gomez (@questlove) February 21, 2018 Hard pass https://t.co/brYsNxil19 — David Rudin (@DavidSRudin) February 21, 2018 … by dying. *swish* https://t.co/dhHnPPGCef — Allie Goertz (@AllieGoertz) February 21, 2018 Graham was a homophobe. https://t.co/5fL4127NSB — Asia Kate Dillon (@AsiaKateDillon) February 21, 2018 You don't have to do this anymore! https://t.co/njfXW8K3By — Bryan Maygers (@bmaygers) February 21, 2018 What exactly did he guide them towards, except not being gay and not supporting women's equality? Religion is not inherently virtuous https://t.co/MLGcbe5HAD — Adam Banks (@adambanksdotcom) February 21, 2018 Um…. and also a man that vehemently hated LGBTQ people and made life infinitely more difficult for them across the board. https://t.co/9nfIWQXjYF — James Michael Nichols (@JMN) February 21, 2018 The post Liberals Enraged After Obama Praises Billy Graham on Twitter appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump: Behavior of Russia, Iran in Syria Is ‘Humanitarian Disgrace’

President Donald Trump ripped Russia and Iran for the "humanitarian disgrace" of the Syrian civil war during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday. The Russian Federation and Iranian regime have bolstered Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in what has been a ruinous war that has sparked a refugee crisis and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Trump and Turnbull were asked what they could do to stem the bloodshed, and Turnbull said there needed to be a political settlement in the region before Trump answered, "I will say what Russia and what Iran and what Syria have done recently is a humanitarian disgrace. I will tell you that," Trump said. "What those three countries have done to those people over the last short period of time is a disgrace." Bloomberg reports: Syria’s eastern Ghouta district has for the past week sustained bombings by Syrian warplanes that have left at least 462 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. That includes at least 99 children. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has called on Russia to intercede in the region to help foster peace and has frequently condemned the Kremlin and Syrian government for its abuses against Syrian citizens. Trump added Friday that the U.S. focus in the region is on defeating Islamic terrorists. "We're there for one reason. We're there to get ISIS and get rid of ISIS and go home. We're not there for any other reason, and we've largely accomplished our goal," he said. The post Trump: Behavior of Russia, Iran in Syria Is ‘Humanitarian Disgrace’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Teachers Union President Attacks DeVos: ‘In Her Heart, She Doesn’t Care About Children’

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten attacked Betsy DeVos in recent remarks, questioning the secretary of education's motives and saying she "demonizes" and "demagogues" teachers unions. "In her heart, [DeVos] doesn’t care about children," Weingarten said. "She is an adversary. She demonizes us, she demagogues us, but she does it while smiling. That’s part of why I find her so dislikeable — don’t smile at somebody and then put a knife in their back. That’s what she’s doing." Weingarten's comments emerged in a Buzzfeed News report this week about a division among Democrats on the issue of charter schools and school choice. Unions and advocacy groups who oppose charter schools believe the next two years could be a "tipping point" for their cause, according to Buzzfeed. They plan to push candidates to come out against charter schools and the expansion private school vouchers despite the fact many Democrats have supported the measures in the past. Teachers unions have stood in opposition to DeVos since she was announced as President Donald Trump's choice to lead the department. Many union activists oppose DeVos' efforts to deteriorate a "big government approach" to education and to ultimately give states and local school districts regulator power. In May 2017, Devos told the American Federation for Children that "When it comes to education, no solution, not even ones we like, should be dictated or run from Washington, D.C." "We should have zero interest in substituting the current big government approach for our own big-government approach," Devos said. "When it comes to education, no solution, not even ones we like, should be dictated or run from Washington, D.C." A school choice advocacy group official indicated the stark opposition to the programs has been driven by opposition to the Trump administration. "The president is so wildly unpopular among Democrats that his support for some of these policies — which we’ve been working on for literally decades — had made the politics of supporting school choice much harder than it needs to be," said Derrell Bradford, the vice president of 50Can. "The politics of it are unfortunate." Weingarten blamed the administration for the "fierce" feelings that have manifested about public education. Trump and DeVos "have made the choices very stark," Weingarten said. "They’ve made this a ‘whose side are you on’ moment for us. The public has never been so fierce about public education — I have not seen this in decades." Former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are both advocates for charter schools and school choice. The post Teachers Union President Attacks DeVos: ‘In Her Heart, She Doesn’t Care About Children’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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State Department: U.S. Ready to Open Jerusalem Embassy in May

By Yara Bayoumy WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it will open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of U.S. policy and is bound to trouble U.S. allies who have already objected. U.S. President Donald Trump announced last December that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating even Washington's Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital. No other country has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Trump's decision has sown discord between the United States and the European Union over Middle East peace efforts. "We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, noting that it will coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary. The embassy in Jerusalem will be gradually expanded in existing consular facilities in the Arnona neighborhood, while the search for a permanent site has already begun for what Nauert called a "longer-term undertaking." The interim embassy will have office space for the ambassador and a small staff and, by the end of 2019, a new embassy annex on the Arnona compound will be opened, Nauert said in a statement. The consulate in East Jerusalem will continue to serve Palestinians, and for security reasons U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will continue living in the residence in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, and commute to the relocated embassy, another official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. A May opening is earlier than expected – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament last month that the move would take place by the end of 2019. Palestinians reacted to the news with anger. "This is an unacceptable step. Any unilateral move will not give legitimacy to anyone and will be an obstacle to any effort to create peace in the region," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who is in the United States until Saturday. An Israeli government source said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to visit the White House on March 5, is in contact with the Trump administration and would respond when the United States makes an announcement. In a speech on Friday to a gathering of conservatives in suburban Washington, Trump recalled his controversial decision, saying he withstood enormous pressure to make the move. "I put the word out that I may do it. I was hit by more countries and more pressure and more people calling, begging me ‘Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it,'" Trump said. "I said we have to do it. It's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do, we have to do it. And I did it." Clashes erupted in Gaza and the West Bank earlier on Friday, in a weekly protest against Trump's stance on Jerusalem. Palestinian health officials have said at least 20 Palestinians, most of them in Gaza, have been killed in protests against Trump's decision since the Dec. 6 announcement. (Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and John Walcott in WASHINGTON, Ori Lewis in JERSUSALEM; Writing by Mary Milliken; editing by Grant McCool) The post State Department: U.S. Ready to Open Jerusalem Embassy in May appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Dana Loesch Is Right: CNN Host Stood by as NRA Called ‘Child Murderers’

CNN host Alisyn Camerota told National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch on Friday that she had never let the NRA be characterized as "child murderers" without pushing back, but Camerota did allow that accusation to go unchallenged on her program on Monday. On Friday's "New Day," Camerota interviewed Loesch, who has been criticized for saying at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday that "many in legacy media love mass shootings" due to the ratings they generate. Camerota expressed outrage at Loesch's comments, saying it was "just malicious" that she would say that about the press. "I do need to interject though, Alisyn," Loesch said. "You're saying that it's malicious, but yet on your network, you've allowed accusations against me and millions of law-abiding Americans to be indicted as child murderers. I've watched you, Alisyn, on your program at this very time slot, and you've allowed that to stand uncorrected on your network." Camerota misunderstood at first, saying she had never called them "child murderers." "It's not true. We've never called you a child murderer," Camerota said. "We have to be fact-based." "No, you've allowed the accusations to stand, Alisyn. Please follow what I'm saying," Loesch said. "You've done nothing to correct that." "I don't believe you," Camerota said. "I don't believe you, and I don't believe you." However, on Monday's "New Day," Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg used that term to refer to the NRA, and Camerota let it pass. Alongside Hogg, fellow Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez called on the NRA to "disband," but Camerota cautioned that the NRA gives millions of dollars to politicians. "They have a very powerful tool, so how do you expect politicians who need money to keep running for office to say no to the NRA?" Camerota asked. "Because we keep telling them that if they accept this blood money, they are against the children," Gonzalez said. "They are against the people who are dying. There's no other way to put it at this point. You're either funding the killers, or you are standing with the children." Gonzalez said she hoped the politicians would have the "decent morality to support us at this point." Added Hogg: "And not take money from people that want to keep lessening gun legislation and making it even easier for these horrifying people to get guns, because if you can't get elected without taking money from child murderers, why are you running?" Camerota immediately asked if they would be able to return to school, given it was the site of the shooting. CNN promoted the interview clip on its website, with the headline, "Shooting survivor calls NRA ‘child murderers.'" The post Dana Loesch Is Right: CNN Host Stood by as NRA Called ‘Child Murderers’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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‘Annihilation’ Review

If Alex Garland's Ex Machina is at least in part about integrity of the mind—an examination of what consciousness means, how our memories define who we are, and the horror of facing deletion entirely at the whim of another—then Annihilation, Garland's tricky new sci-fi horror film, can possibly be understood as a counterpart focused on integrity of the body. What could be more terrifying than losing control of your body, of feeling yourself change from the inside out into something … new? Johns Hopkins biologist and Army vet Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a quartet of women headed into Area X, a mysterious expanse surrounded by "the shimmer," a semi-permeable barrier that is nevertheless impervious to scans and seems to protect itself from exploration. No one who has gone in to see what is happening in Area X has come back—with one exception. Kane (Oscar Isaac), a Special Forces operative and Lena's husband, reappears at the couple's house one year after having left. He has no memories. His eyes are blank. And he's dying. Lena accompanies psychologist Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), medic Anya (Gina Rodriguez), physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson), and anthropologist Cass (Tuva Novotny) in order to find out what has happened to Kane. She hopes to save him, though she knows that's probably futile. Mostly, she wants to know what has been done to him—or if he's even the same person who left her a year ago. Annihilation is at its most effective when it's dealing in rather straightforward body horror, that subgenre of fright flick concerned with the ways in which our physiques can be subjected to unwanted disfigurations and transformations. The most shocking imagery in the film comes from horrifying mutations and the creeping sensation that our bodies are not our own, that they can be manipulated by outside forces and can turn against us. The terror of cancer—of unending and unstoppable replication and mutation, of the body betraying itself due to either internal failures or external pressures—is a recurring theme, and Garland demonstrates both the dread and wonder that can accompany out-of-control genetic disaster. Branches that flower into radically different blooms coexist alongside a half-bear, half-human monstrosity that moans with the voice of a fallen comrade. The imagery that Garland has conjured up here is often simultaneously beautiful and grotesque, as when the remains of a member from a previous expedition are discovered plastered to a wall merged with a lichen-like metastasized growth that blossoms out from the skeletal remains. The general sense of creepiness is both aided and undermined by the soundtrack. The score is dominated by a sort of atonal pulse, a droning groan that gets deep into your belly and sits there, rumbling around. But there are also instrumental interludes, almost folksy in nature, that pull us back to more tranquil times in Lena and Kane's life. Perhaps these interruptions are needed to keep the dread from overwhelming, or to remind us of what Lena and her husband have lost. But they feel slightly out of place, as if they've been inserted from some other, slightly less-savage film. That sense of doubling, that there are two movies playing out at once and struggling against each other for dominance, mirrors the film's toying with the instability of groupings: of cells, of lovers, of explorers, of ecosystems. To be totally honest, as a result of that disharmony, I'm not entirely sure that Annihilation works. But on a purely visual, and visceral, level, Annihilation is haunting and memorable. It's a film built for multiple viewings; rendering a judgment after just one feels inadequate. The post ‘Annihilation’ Review appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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The Washington Free Beacon Podcast: Right and Righter Episode 2

On this episode of "Right and Righter," host Elizabeth Harrington welcomes Matthew Continetti, Aaron Harison, Natalie Johnson, and special guest Michael Goldfarb. That's right: The mysterious and publicity-averse Republican operative makes a rare podcast appearance. Topics include the gun control debate, bullying, Brendan Fraser, the Bachelor Winter Games, Millennials, Justin Trudeau, and turning the Moon into a gas station. You won't want to miss it. You can listen below or download the MP3 file, but, again, the best way to listen is to subscribe via iTunes (and leave us a 5-star review while you're there). https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/d11k1eidkpp6ab.cloudfront.net/2018/02/WFB-2-23-18.mp3 The post The Washington Free Beacon Podcast: Right and Righter Episode 2 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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U.S. Imposes Additional Sanctions on North Korean Ships, Firms

By Steve Holland and Christine Kim WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it was imposing its largest package of sanctions against North Korea, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes. In addressing the Trump administration's biggest national security challenge, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned one person, 27 companies and 28 ships, according to a statement on the U.S. Treasury Department's website. The actions block assets held by the firms in the United States and prohibit U.S. citizens from dealing with them. North Korea is seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have taunted each other through the media and in August Trump threatened to go beyond sanctions by bringing "fire and fury like the world has never seen." The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the sanctions, which are designed to disrupt North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels and to further isolate Pyongyang. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement the sanctions against the ships would help prevent Kim's government from conducting "evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports and erode its abilities to ship goods through international waters." The ships are located, registered or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros, Treasury said. Those targeted included a Taiwanese passport holder and mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore shipping and energy firms. "We imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before," Trump said in an address to a conservative activist group in Washington. "And … hopefully something positive can happen, we will see." The United States has led an international campaign to tighten sanctions on North Korea to force it to give up its development of weapons and missiles program. "The president is clearly frustrated and rightly so over the efforts that have failed in the past and also over the uptick in testing and the advances we've seen in the North Korean program," a senior administration official said at a background briefing for reporters. At another briefing in Washington, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stood next to enlarged photos he said showed December 2017 images that revealed ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other products destined for North Korea in an attempt to evade sanctions. Mnuchin said he could not rule out the prospect of the United States boarding and inspectingNorth Korean ships. He said the new sanctions are targeting virtually all shipping currently being used by North Korea. They bring the total number of U.S. sanctions against North Korea since 2005 to 450, Mnuchin said, with approximately half of those coming in the last year. "This is very impactful," he said. "This is virtually all the ships they're using at this moment in time." The U.S. government "also issued an advisory alerting the public to the significant sanctions risks to those continuing to enable shipments of goods to and from North Korea." Last month three Western European intelligence sources told Reuters that North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year and that it was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of U.N. sanctions. Jonathan Shanzer of the conservative Washington think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said Friday's move was "the largest tranche of DPRK (North Korea) sanctions" released by the Treasury Department. "The only thing missing here today is action against Chinese banks," he said. "We know they continue to undermine our efforts to isolate North Korea." Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the conservative Center for the National Interest, said, "Cumulatively speaking, the sanctions imposed on North Korea in total since 2017 are some of the biggest ever imposed on a nation state." Tougher sanctions may jeopardise the latest detente between the two Koreas, illustrated by theNorth‘s participation in the Winter Olympics in the South, amid preparations for talks about a possible summit between North Korea‘s Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. North Korea last year conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It defends the weapons programmes as essential to deter U.S. aggression. It has been more than two months since North Korea‘s last missile test. Kim said he wants to boost the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" with South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops, after a high-level delegation, including his sister, returned from the Olympics. In an extension of that rapprochement, the North agreed on Friday to hold working-level talks on Tuesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on the North‘s side of the border village of Panmunjom. U.N. SANCTIONS In December the United Nations approved U.S.-drafted limiting North Korea‘s access to refined petroleum products and crude oil, which the North Korean Foreign Ministry said amounted to an act of war. In January Washington announced a round of sanctions and urged China and Russia to expel North Koreans raising funds for the programmes. The U.N. Security Council banned North Korean exports of coal last Aug. 5 under sanctions intended to cut off an important source of the foreign currency Pyongyang needs to fund its nuclear weapons and missile programs. The new U.S. sanctions were announced while Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is visiting South Korea. She had dinner with Moon after a closed-door meeting with the president. At a dinner with Moon at Seoul’s presidential Blue House, she said the purpose was also to "reaffirm our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized." Moon said North Korea‘s participation in the Olympics had "led to lowering of tensions on the peninsula and an improvement in inter-Korean relations" and were thanks to President Trump's "strong support for inter-Korean dialogue." Her visit to South Korea coincides with that of a sanctioned North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 sailors. His delegation will attend the closing ceremony and also meet Moon. The Blue House has said there are no official opportunities for U.S. and North Korean officials to meet. Kim Yong Chol is the vice chairman of the North‘s ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee and was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency that South Korea blamed for the sinking of its navy corvette, the Cheonan. NorthKorea has denied any involvement. The post U.S. Imposes Additional Sanctions on North Korean Ships, Firms appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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