North Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 countries on new US travel ban

An international passenger (L) arrives at Dulles International Airport as a man (R) waits for loved ones to arrive in Dulles, Virginia, U.S. on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 September 2017
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North Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 countries on new US travel ban

WASHINGTON: Citizens of eight countries will face new restrictions on entry to the US under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday.
The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.
The restrictions rage from full travel bans on nationals from countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions. A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.
The announcement comes the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries is set to expire, 90 days after it went into effect. That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the US
“As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” reads the proclamation.
Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers .
The restrictions are targeted at countries that Department of Homeland Security officials say refuse to share information with the US or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.
“The acting secretary has recommended actions that are tough and that are tailored, including restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries,” said Miles Taylor, counselor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, said Friday.
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.
The restrictions are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The US then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.
The eight countries are those that refused or were unable to comply.
Trump last week called for a “tougher” travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.
“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he tweeted.
Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his authority and violating the US Constitution’s protections against religious bias. Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his campaign.
The new policy could complicate the Supreme Court’s review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month.


Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet is sworn in, Imran Khan pledges change

Updated 11 min 40 sec ago
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Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet is sworn in, Imran Khan pledges change

  • President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office to 16 federal ministers in Islamabad
  • Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also appointed five advisers to his Cabinet

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet was sworn in Monday, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to cut government spending, end corruption and repatriate public funds.
President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office to 16 federal ministers in Islamabad. Separately, Khan has also appointed five advisers to his Cabinet.
Khan, whose populist party won most parliament seats in the July 25 elections but fell short of a majority, forcing it to form a coalition, took the oath of office on Saturday as Pakistan’s 22nd premier. He campaigned on promises of rooting out endemic corruption and breaking powerful landowners’ monopoly on political power.
“I want to see Pakistan a great country” with social services for the poor, Khan said.
Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said after taking his oath of office that he is aware of foreign policy challenges ahead. Foreign policy, he said, will be revised and set on the correct path, in the “interest of Pakistan.”
Qureshi said he would reach out to counterparts in the region and focus on key issues of critical importance to Pakistan.
“Pakistan needs a peaceful and stabilized Afghanistan; our future is linked to peace in Afghanistan” Qureshi said. He said he wants to visit Kabul soon with a message that “we have to help and support each other and have to look for solutions of each other’s problems.”
Both neighboring India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and cannot afford any adventure, he said. “We have long standing, complex problems and have no option but to start a dialogue.”
He welcomed that Indian Prime Minister Modi in a congratulatory message to Khan expressed desire for talks.
As for ties with the United States, Qureshi said Pakistan wants bilateral relations based on respect and trust.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make a stop in Islamabad on his way to India and Afghanistan in the first week of September.
“There is a trust deficit in our relations from both sides and we have to bridge it” Qureshi said of US and Pakistan. “In meetings with the US secretary of state, I will boldly apprise him of our aspirations.”