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Trump misses Senate deadline to report on Khashoggi killing | USA News

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US President Donald Trump declined to meet a Friday deadline to report to the Senate on whether the White House believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS, ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A senior administration official told US media that the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests.

Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist known for his critical writing on the Saudi government, was killed on October 2, 2018, after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body was dismembered and has not yet been found.

Initially, Saudi Arabia, a US ally, denied any involvement in the killing. But following a series of contradictory statements, the kingdom admitted that a team of Saudi agents killed the writer inside the consulate.

The CIA report concluded that MBS ordered the murder, a finding the crown prince denies. 

The killing was followed by weeks of rage with Western politicians demanding that Saudi Arabia be held accountable for the murder.  

A bipartisan group of US Senators triggered the terms of the Global Magnitsky Act on October 10, 2018, which required the president to investigate and determine if a foreign person is responsible for Khashoggi’s death within 120 days. The White House had until Friday to submit their report.

Although the White House has sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals for their involvement in the murder, including two top aides to MBS, members of Congress have called for greater action to be taken against the kingdom and its leaders.

“President Trump has steadfastly insisted the US-Saudi relationship is more important than establishing accountability for murder,” said Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC.

‘Rogue’ killing

The White House decision comes a day after a New York Times report revealed MBS told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, according to a conversation intercepted by US intelligence agencies.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir dismissed the report along with the possibility MBS, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, had any role in Khashoggi’s killing.

“We know that the crown prince did not order this. We know that this was a rogue operation,” he said, echoing the same theory Trump had pointed to following the murder.  

Saudi Arabia indicted 11 people in the killing, including several officials close to the crown prince, and is seeking the death penalty against five of them.

Al-Jubeir met members of Congress on Friday as some politicians seek to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder and the kingdom’s war in Yemen

On Thursday, the UN human rights investigator leading the international inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder said evidence showed he was a victim of “a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”. 

Last year, the Khashoggi killing proved to be a tipping point for several Congress members, who had already voiced frustration over US support for the Saudi-UAE coalition involved in the war in Yemen.

In December, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution condemning Saudi Arabia for its conduct in Yemen and for Khashoggi’s murder. Politicians have vowed to bring the measure and similar legislation up again this year.

On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced a bill that would end US involvement in the Yemen war. The “War Powers” resolution now goes to the House floor for debate.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse

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Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa

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If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake

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The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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