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Trump accuses China of election ‘meddling’ against him

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Finally, Trump Concedes Defeat

…As Argentina gets biggest loan in IMF’s history at $57bn***

China is attempting to “meddle” in the forthcoming US mid-term elections, President Donald Trump told world leaders during a UN meeting.

“They don’t want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade,” Mr Trump said on Wednesday.

Mr Trump did not offer proof for his claim. China and the US have been in a battle over tariffs since his election.

China’s foreign minister denounced the “unwarranted accusation”.

The US congressional mid-terms are due to be held on 6 November.

What did Trump say?

Opening the UN Security Council meeting in New York, which was held to discuss countering nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Mr Trump accused China of trying to interfere, without providing specific evidence.

“Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, coming up in November, against my administration,” he said.

“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade. And we are winning on trade, we are winning at every level.

“We don’t want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election.”

In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the council that “China has all along followed the principle of non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs.”

“This is a tradition of Chinese foreign policy.”

He continued: “We did not and will not interfere in any countries’ domestic affairs. We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China.”

Mr Trump later took to Twitter to post photographs of newspaper extracts which he described as Chinese “propaganda”.

When asked at a press conference if he had any evidence of Chinese interference, he said he could not divulge the proof but it would emerge.

In the meantime, Argentina has received the biggest loan package ever from the International Monetary Fund, aimed at shoring up the country’s ailing finances: a whopping $57.1bn that will be disbursed over the next three years.

“This is the biggest loan in the history of the IMF,” said the fund’s director, Christine Lagarde, on Wednesday as the final loan agreement was announced in New York.

The loan – $15bn of which has already been received by Argentina – comes with stringent conditions, including a commitment to a zero deficit for 2019.

Argentina had initially secured $50bn in a deal worked out in June after the South American country was battered by a currency crisis, a run on the peso and double-digit inflation.

The economy minister, Nicolás Dujovne, said that at the last minute the IMF agreed to increase the lending package by $7.1bn.

Lagarde said that as part of the deal, Argentina’s central bank had agreed to intervene in currency markets only in case of extreme circumstances and that the new amount would help Argentina’s government face its challenges.

The agreement will only allow Argentina’s central bank to intervene to stabilize its currency if the peso depreciates below 44 pesos to the dollar. It is currently at 39 pesos to the dollar after losing 50% of its value since the start of the year.

The deal was announced just a day after the president of Argentina’s central bank, Nicolás Caputo, resigned unexpectedly, reportedly after disagreements with the IMF’s guideline limiting the bank’s future intervention to rescue the peso.

Thousands of Argentinians joined in a nationwide strike on Tuesday to protest against economic turmoil and Mauricio Macri’s austerity measures.

Most Argentinians blame the international lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country’s worst economic crisis, in 2001, which pushed millions into poverty.

The IMF has admitted it made a string of mistakes that contributed to the economic implosion.

A 2004 report by the IMF’s internal audit unit concluded it failed to provide enough oversight and overestimated growth and the success of economic reforms, while it continued to lend Argentina money when its debt burden had turned unsustainable.

BBC with additional report from Guardian UK

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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’

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The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin

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Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel

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A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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