Putin thanks Trump for help in foiling attack plot

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk during a break in a session of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, in this November 11, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Putin thanks Trump for help in foiling attack plot

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked US counterpart Donald Trump Sunday for the CIA’s help in thwarting a planned attack in Saint Petersburg, the second time in a week that the leaders have exchanged praise.
Putin spoke by phone with Trump to convey his gratitude for intelligence supplied by the CIA which allowed Russia’s FSB security service to break up a “terrorist cell” that was planning attacks in Russia’s second city, the Kremlin said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
“The information received by the CIA was enough to detect, hunt down and arrest the criminals,” the Kremlin said.
Putin also pledged that Russian security agencies would pass on any information received about terrorist threats to the United States and its citizens.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed on Twitter that the Putin and Trump spoke Sunday.
The FSB announced on Friday it had arrested seven members of an Daesh group cell that had been planning a suicide bombing and “the killing of citizens” in crowded areas of Saint Petersburg on December 16.
Police confiscated a large number of explosives used to make homemade bombs, automatic rifles, munitions and extremist literature, it said.

On Tuesday, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said Russia was on alert for the possible return of jihadists from Syria ahead of the World Cup and the presidential election in 2018.
Russia has suffered several attacks this year, including a bombing on the Saint Petersburg metro in April that left 14 people dead.
The threat of attack has increased since Moscow’s military intervention in Syria in September 2015 to support President Bashar Assad’s regime, making Russia a priority IS target.
As many as 40,000 fighters traveled from all over the world, including Russia, to join IS in Syria after the 2014 declaration of its self-styled “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq.
In 2015, Russian security services estimated that 2,900 Russian citizens had joined the jihadist group, as well as several thousand Central Asians.
In a phone call on Thursday, Trump and Putin discussed the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program, and the US leader took the unusual step of thanking his Russian opposite number for hailing the American economy.
The pair have lavished praise on each other in the past, with commentators describing their cosy relationship as a “bromance.”
But diplomatic ties between Washington and Moscow are still fraught, with both expelling some of each other’s diplomats in September and the US designation last month of Russia’s English-language news channel RT as a “foreign agent.”
At his annual press conference this week, Putin said allegations of Russian interference in last year’s US election had been “made up by people who are opposed to Trump so as to delegitimize his work.”
The two leaders met in July on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany, after which Trump said he “accepted” Putin’s assurance that Moscow did not meddle in the vote.
“The Trump that you see on TV is very different than the real Trump,” Putin told reporters at the time. “There is every reason to believe that we will be able to at least partially re-establish the level of cooperation that we need.”


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 49 min 13 sec ago
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From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.