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Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims on Agriculture, Trade and Poll Numbers


What Trump Said

“Net farm income, because our economy is doing so well, is forecast to be nearly $8 billion higher than in 2016.”

The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service recently forecast that net farm income would reach $69.4 billion in 2019, compared with $61.5 billion in 2016. Yet President Trump is omitting that farm income reached $75.2 billion in 2017, before falling to $63.1 billion in 2018.

After adjusting for inflation, net farm income in 2019 will still be among the lowest 25 percent since 1929, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The group noted that “much is up in the air” and that farm income could fall with additional tariffs.

What Trump Said

“Agricultural exports expected to be $10 billion more than in 2016.”

While that figure is accurate — agricultural exports are projected to be $141.5 billion in 2019, compared with $129.6 billion in 2016 — the president is omitting that exports are expected to decline from 2018, when they totaled $143.4 billion. Moreover, agricultural imports are expected to increase in 2019, and the balance in agricultural trade is forecast to be the lowest in seven years.

What Trump Said

“Pelosi does not understand the bill. She doesn’t understand it, even though unions are in favor of it. Farmers, manufacturers, everybody, just about, is in favor of it.”

The president, referring to a broader free trade deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, said that unions favored the pact, but most major unions have not actually voiced support for it.

The A.F.L.-C.I.O., which represents more than 12 million workers, urged its members in April to write to Congress opposing the deal in its current form.

The United Automobile Workers union, after meeting with Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, in March, said in a statement that “some progress has been made” but “more work needs to be done to make this agreement enforceable and meaningful to our members and their job security.”

The president of the United Steelworkers union told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this week that “we’re not going to be out supporting a trade deal” until it includes labor law overhaul and enforcement mechanisms.

In congressional testimony on Wednesday, a representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said that without additional changes, “we will be forced to oppose the revised agreement.”

When the framework of the new agreement was first reached in October, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America criticized the deal, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters declined to take a position.

What Trump Said

“A strange thing is happening: My numbers are going up. Someday, you’ll explain that to me.”

Mr. Trump did not specify any poll or time period, but his approval ratings have largely remained unchanged throughout his presidency.

During his news conference on Thursday, Mr. Trump complained of Democrats trying to “demean the Republican Party and demean the president of the United States” to sink public opinion of him, which could refer to investigations started in the House or recent chatter about impeachment. But there is little evidence that these actions have caused the president’s poll numbers to rise.

House Democrats began inquiries into a variety of topics in January. At that time, about 54 percent disapproved of him and about 41 percent approved, according to aggregated polls from FiveThirtyEight.

Discussions of impeachment increased after a redacted version of the special counsel’s report was released in April. Still, about 53 percent disapproved of Mr. Trump, compared with about 41 percent who approved.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump’s disapproval ratings were around 54 percent.

Other Claims

In addition, Mr. Trump repeated several claims that The New York Times has previously fact-checked:

  • He falsely claimed assistance provided to farmers is paid for by China through tariffs. (The cost of tariffs are largely passed onto American companies and consumers.)

  • He falsely claimed “we never saw 10 cents from China” before he enacted tariffs. (The United States has collected tariff revenue on imports since the 1700s.)

  • He exaggerated when he said that the special counsel’s investigation cost $40 million. (The investigation has cost about $25 million as of September, and half of those costs would have occurred even without a special counsel.)

  • He exaggerated when he said that his administration was on track to complete 400 miles of his border wall by the end of next year. (The mileage is inflated and relies on counting replacement projects as new wall, and on tenuous funding.)

  • He falsely claimed the military was “depleted” before he took office. (Top military brass raised questions about readiness, but spending was higher than the next seven nations combined.)

  • He falsely claimed that a mass exodus of auto companies leaving the country “all stopped” since he took office. (Announcements from automakers to increase investment or move companies back to the United States peaked in 2016.)



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Kenya refuses to overturn ban on gay sex

Kenya refuses to overturn ban on gay sex

Kenya’s High Court has blocked an attempt to overturn a law banning gay sex, in a significant set back for LGBT+ rights across Africa.

Judges claimed repealing British colonial-era laws would open the door to same sex marriage in a country and continent that continues to discriminate against LGBT+ citizens.

Many in Kenya’s gay community had hoped the court would make history by scrapping the laws and inspiring other countries in Africa to do the same. Paul Muite, the main petitioner in the case, said he would appeal the decision. 

Activists had argued the laws criminalising consensual same-sex relations between adults were in breach of the constitution because they deny basic rights. The state should not regulate intimacy between gay couples, they said. 

One law punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and prescribes up to 14 years in prison for people convicted of homosexual acts. Another says “indecent practices between males” can bring up to five years in prison. 

The laws create an environment of fear and harassment even if they are not always enforced, activists said. “The issue is violence, discrimination and oppression,” one activist, Tirop Salat, said. 

But the judges, in a unanimous ruling, said those behind the appeal had failed to prove how the laws violated their right to health, dignity and privacy and said the laws do not single out gay people. 

“Acknowledging cohabitation among people of the same sex, where they would ostensibly be able to have same-sex intercourse, would indirectly open the door for (marriage) of people of the same sex,” said the judgment read in part by Justice Roselyn Aburili. 

Activists were quick to condemn the ruling. “These old colonial laws lead to the LGBT community suffering violence, blackmail, harassment and torture. They devastate people’s lives and have no place in a democratic Kenyan society,” the Nairobi-based National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission said after the decision was announced. 

At least half of Kenya’s LGBT+ persons have suffered physical and verbal assault, the commission said. Most assaults are not reported because people don’t have confidence that police will protect them. 

In a separate statement, the British LGBT+ organisation Stonewall called the decision “crushing news” and said some 70 countries around the world still criminalise same-sex relationships. 

Thirty-three of those are in Africa, according to Human Rights Watch, which called Friday’s ruling “a step backward in the progress Kenya has made toward equality in recent years”.

Some in Kenya, however, praised the decision as a strike against what they called “sexual perversion.” Gerald Walterfang with the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum said they were delighted with the ruling against what they termed a “destructive sexual lifestyle”.

Five most anti-LGBT+ countries in Europe, according to ILGA-Europe

Kenyan Bishop Alfred Rotich added: “LGBT is an orientation. You cannot legalise something as an orientation. If somebody has an orientation to steal money, we cannot legalise it.” 

Kenya’s courts had recently ruled in favour of LGBT+ rights. 

Last year, an appeals court ruled unlawful the use of forced anal exams to test whether two men had gay sex. In 2015, High Court judges ordered a government agency to register a rights group representing gay people, saying Kenya’s constitution recognises and protects the rights of minorities. 

Resistance to gay rights exists at the top of Kenya’s politics, however. President Uhuru Kenyatta said gay rights were “not of any major importance” and claimed the laws criminalising same-sex relations are supported by “99 per cent” of the Kenyan people. 

Additional reporting by AP



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Left-Leaning Methodist Leaders Vow ‘Resistance Tactics’ to Fight Church’s Support of Biblical Marriage

Left-Leaning Methodist Leaders Vow 'Resistance Tactics' to Fight Church's Support of Biblical Marriage


Hundreds of left-leaning United Methodist leaders and activists gathered in Kansas this week for the “UMC Next” conference to voice their opposition to the denomination’s official rejection of homosexuality and gay marriage. 

Denomination leaders voted earlier this year to strengthen their embrace of marriage between one man and one woman, laid out in the church’s “Traditional Plan.”  The UMC Book of Discipline affirms that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” It prohibits same-sex marriages and the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.

United Methodist clergy who disagree vowed this week to employ a “wide variety of resistance tactics” to fight back. 

“For some of us, resisting the Traditional Plan means violating the Book of Discipline. For some persons in their context, it might not,” said Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church of Washington, during a press conference on the last day of the UMC Next. 

“There will need to be a wide variety of resistance tactics all leaning into and seeking to help accomplish the commitments that we have made together here.”

Adam Hamilton, head pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, also voiced his opposition to the denomination’s commitment to biblical marriage. 

He encouraged those in attendance to find ways to oppose the Traditional Plan. 

“For some, resistance is putting up a banner saying all are welcome; and for others, it may mean participating in a same-gender wedding. The hundreds of participants are all thinking about what does resistance look like in their particular context,” he said in a statement. 

All of the leaders at the conference agreed the denomination is divided. 

“Every movement has a tipping point, a game changer, a watershed moment, this is one of them,” said convening team member Rev. Junius Dotson. “In a moment none of us have experienced before and could never have fully anticipated, we have come together and held many important things in tension. We have managed ambiguity, and cared for the waves of our own emotions and reactions. It has been intense, challenging, powerful, beautiful work we have engaged together.”

The leaders ended the conference with the following four commitments:https://umc-prod-umnews.azureedge.net/-/media/umc-media/2019/05/22/20/16…
 
1.We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness.

2. We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church which affirms the full participation of all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.

3. We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.

4. We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons. We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together. 

Traditional Plan supporter Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD), predicts that the UMC will split into liberal, conservative, and centrist factions.  

“It’s a question of how long it takes for that to unfold — and of who and how many go into each denomination,” Tooley told the Associated Press. “A lot of churches will be irreparably harmed as they divide.”

The Rev. Scott Hagan, a pastor from Bonaire, Georgia who supports the Traditional Plan, said the denomination needs to have a unified message so parishioners are not confused about what the church says about sexuality.

“To have each church — possibly in the same town — offering a different perspective and practice would surely be confusing to the public that comes to the church looking for guidance,” Hagan said.

The United Methodist Church claims about 12.6 million members worldwide, including nearly 7 million in the United States.





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Why NASS issued strict requirements to journalists – Akume

Why NASS issued strict requirements to journalists – Akume

The Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) has stated that the latest guideline for journalists covering the National Assembly (NASS) was issued to block Nigerians access to information. ANRP, who disclosed in a statement signed by its spokesman Mr Sesugh Akume on Friday in Abuja, described the new requirements as “despotic, unreasonable, and an attempt to […]
Why NASS issued strict requirements to journalists – Akume

Apapa Gridlock: ‘Operation Totality’ Begins Monday


The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) is to begin ‘’Operation Totality Enforcement’’ to ensure the timely implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that trucks parking on Apapa roads should vacate with 72 hours.

The Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Mr. Chris Olakpe, made the disclosure on Friday in an interview with the Raidar Gist.

President Buhari had said that the vacation would help in clearing the gridlock in Apapa and its environs and help in restoring law and order in the area.

The vacation notice was issued on Wednesday as one of the outcomes of a meeting convened by the president and chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on April 25.

According to Olakpe, major stakeholders have met to find a lasting solution to the gridlock caused by the indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles on roads in Apapa and environs.

‘’We are going to follow the directive to the letter. All hands must be on deck; any vehicles constituting nuisance on highways or bridges will face the wrath of the law.

‘’By Monday, May 27, we are going to commence Operation Totality to flush out articulated vehicles queuing on expressways and causing heavy traffic on the Apapa axis.

‘’LASTMA, together with other law enforcement agencies, will carry out the exercise,’’ he said.

The Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Hyginus Omeje, also told NAN that the corps would be part of the presidential task team to ensure sanity on the roads.

Omeje said that FRSC would provide 200 personnel to be part of the enforcement team.

‘’We are collaborating with LASTMA and police to manage the traffic,’’ Omeje said. (NAN)





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El París Saint-Germain quiere a Vinicius Junior

El París Saint-Germain quiere a Vinicius Junior


El interés del Real Madrid por fichar a las estrellas del París Saint-Germain es algo que se lleva repitiendo ya varios años. Lo novedoso ahora es que sucede justamente al contrario ya que es el club francés quien pone su punto de mira en uno de los ‘cracks’ blancos.

No es ningún secreto par nadie el afán de Florentino Pérez por incorporar a Neymar y a Kylian Mbappé a las filas madridistas, pero ahora es el jeque del club galo el que planea un contraataque con Vinicius como principal objetivo en este próximo mercado de fichajes.

Al-Thani parece haberse cansado de escuchar todos los rumores que relacionan al brasileño y el francés con el conjunto español y por ello, según informan algunos medios, estaría preparando una oferta por la promesa carioca. Vinicius llegó a Madrid el pasado verano para, en un primer momento, formarse en el filial merengue, pero no tardó en hacerse un hueco en el primer equipo, convirtiéndose en una de las pocas luces en la gris temporada madridista.

El joven de tan solo 18 años es uno de los futbolistas con mayor proyección a nivel internacional por su descaro, regate y velocidad, habilidades que demuestra cada vez que tiene oportunidad y que hacen la boca agua al madridismo. Sin embargo, el regreso de Zidane al banquillo y la inminente llegada de Eden Hazard, a la que podrían sumarse otros nombres importantes, podrían relegar al brasileño al banquillo a partir de agosto.

GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

El presidente del PSG ve entonces en él una oportunidad de oro para cobrar su venganza con Florentino, que podría salirse con la suya este verano cerrando el fichaje de Neymar o Mbappé. Pese a todas estas complicaciones que Vinicius pudiera encontrarse el curso que viene, él parece decidido a afrontar el reto con el objetivo de ganarse el puesto y ha dejado claro su interés por continuar en Madrid en más de una ocasión.

Steve Bannon and George Galloway ‘hug’ in Kazakhstan after learning Theresa May has resigned

Steve Bannon and George Galloway 'hug' in Kazakhstan after learning Theresa May has resigned

Steve Bannon and George Galloway ‘hug’ in Kazakhstan after learning Theresa May has resigned

Steve Bannon and George Galloway reportedly hugged each other in Kazakhstan following Theresa May’s resignation as prime minister. 

An image shared on Twitter showed Mr Bannon, Donald Trump’s former strategist, apparently chatting with and holding the arm of the former Labour politician on Friday. 

The pair were in the Kazakh city of Almaty to take part in a televised debate at the 2019 Eurasian Media Forum.

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Natalia Antelava, a journalist in attendance who posted the photo, claimed Mr Galloway announced, “Theresa May has resigned”, to which Mr Bannon replied, “Let me give you a hug”. 

Ms Antelava tweeted: “I pulled a camera out just as they let go of tight embrace but here is the far right and far left very much on the same page in Almaty.”

While apparently on opposing ends of the political spectrum – Mr Bannon is leading a training school to develop far-right “culture warriors” – lifelong socialist Mr Galloway has in recent months found alignment with the right over his desire for a hard Brexit. 

The 64-year-old announced earlier this year he would support the Brexit Party at Thursday’s European elections, having earlier said party leader Nigel Farage and he were “allies in one cause”. 

Mr Galloway later defended his interaction with Mr Bannon after journalist George Monbiot asked on Twitter if the man in the picture was really him. 

“What do you want me to do after a televised debate – punch him?” Mr Galloway said. He later suggested he had never hugged Mr Bannon, tweeting, “You see me hugging anyone Georgie Boy?”

It came after Ms May broke down in tears after announcing on Friday morning she will stand down as prime minister within weeks over her failure to deliver Brexit.

In an emotionally-charged statement on the steps of 10 Downing Street, Ms May said she will resign as Conservative leader on 7 June, but will remain as leader until her successor is chosen.



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North Korea Blames US for Failed Talks in Vietnam

North Korea Blames US for Failed Talks in Vietnam


North Korea is blaming the United States for deadlocked nuclear negotiations, vowing they will “never be resumed” unless Washington abandons demands for disarmament.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended in February without agreements on sanctions relief for Pyongyang and on concessions the North would make regarding its banned nuclear and ballistic programs.

A statement issued Friday through Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, citing a North Korean spokesman, accused the U.S. of intentionally causing the talks to collapse with impossible demands.

FILE – Flag-draped transfer cases with the remains of American soldiers repatriated from North Korea are seen during a repatriation ceremony after arriving to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 1, 2018.

The statement said North Korea “took crucial and meaningful measures,” including the discontinuation of nuclear and ballistic missile testing and steps toward the “repatriation of the American POW/MIA remains.” But instead of responding to “our goodwill measures in the same manner,” the statement said the U.S. “deliberately pushed the talks to a rupture by merely claiming the unilateral disarmament of the DPRK,” a reference to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea said the U.S. “would not be able to move us even an inch with the device it is now weighing in its mind, and the further its mistrust and hostile acts towards DPRK grow, the fiercer our reaction will be.”

The U.S. has maintained the talks failed because of North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for a partial dismantling of its nuclear programs.

South Korea

After the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit, Pyongyang also slowed the pace of talks with South Korea, which seeks warmer relations with its northern neighbor and a bigger role in reviving U.S.-North Korean talks.

Pyongyang’s statement came just hours before Trump travels to Japan for a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the North Korean nuclear issue will likely be a top agenda item.



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Kenya upholds law criminalising gay sex

Kenya upholds law criminalising gay sex


Kenya’s High Court has kept a law which bans gay sex.

Gay-rights groups argued that the state has no business regulating matters of intimacy.

However, religious groups said such matters should be guided by the country’s values.

The penal code, which is a legacy of colonial-era rule, criminalises “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” widely understood to refer to anal intercourse between men.

  • Latest updates on BBC Africa Live
  • Where is it illegal to be gay?

Gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Kenya’s National Gay And Lesbian Human Rights Commission says it has dealt with 15 prosecutions under the penal codes in 2018, with no convictions.

But it had argued for the law to be scrapped because it gives rise to a climate of homophobia.

In 2016, LGBT rights activists filed a case with Kenya’s High Court to decriminalise homosexuality.

The case was heard in February 2018 and a verdict initially expected in February 2019 – but delayed until Friday.



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China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei’s government ties


 

China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei’s government ties

China ramped up a war of words with the United States over Huawei on Friday, accusing Washington of spreading “lies” about the telecom giant thrust to the centre of their trade war.

The fiery response came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected Huawei’s denials that the Chinese company works with the Communist government.

The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage, and allegations of breaking sanctions on Iran.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it works with the Communist-led government.

“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo told CNBC on Thursday, adding that Huawei was “deeply tied” to the Communist Party.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.

“These American politicians continue to fabricate various subjective, presumptive lies in an attempt to mislead the American people, and now they are trying to incite ideological opposition,” Lu said at a regular press briefing.

Trump on Thursday again said Huawei posed a threat to national security.

“You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, a military standpoint. Very dangerous,” he told reporters at the White House.

The heated rhetoric comes as trade negotiations have stalled, with neither side announcing a new date to resume talks after they exchanged increases in tariffs earlier this month.

But Trump also said Thursday there was a “good” possibility that the two sides will strike a bargain and linked Huawei to any deal for the first time.

“If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form or some part of a trade deal,” he said.

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