Trump demands $5.7 bn for steel barrier on US-Mexico border in Oval Office speech

US President Donald Trump delivers an address to the nation on funding for a border wall from the Oval Office of the White House. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019

Trump demands $5.7 bn for steel barrier on US-Mexico border in Oval Office speech

  • In his first ever televised Oval Office address, the president stopped short of calling for a much-touted state of emergency
  • Trump had spent days mulling declaring a state of emergency along the border that would have given him powers to bypass Congress

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump repeated his demand Tuesday for $5.7 billion to fund a wall on the border with Mexico, describing a "growing crisis" of illegal immigration hurting millions of Americans.
In his first ever televised Oval Office address, the president stopped short of calling for a much-touted state of emergency, instead appealing to the need to slash the cost of the illegal drug trade, which he put at $500 billion a year.
"There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day customs and border patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country," Trump said.
"We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration."
Trump had spent days mulling declaring a state of emergency along the border that would have given him powers to bypass Congress, which has so far refused to fund the wall project, and draw funds from the military to build the border barrier.

He didn't mention the idea in his nine-minute address but repeated his call for a wall and spoke of an "overall approach" that would use technology for detecting drugs and weapons.
"At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It's also what our professionals at the border want and need," he said.r.


16 dead as trains collide in Bangladesh

Updated 15 min 21 sec ago

16 dead as trains collide in Bangladesh

DHAKA: Two packed trains collided in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others, police said.
Three coaches were sent crashing off the tracks at Mondobhag station in the town of Kasba when a Dhaka-bound train collided with one heading to Chittagong.
“At least 16 people have been killed. And another 58 were injured. We have sent the injured to different hospitals in the region,” local police chief Anisur Rahman told AFP.
Cranes and other lifting gear were brought in to rescue trapped passengers, many of whom were asleep when the early morning crash took place.
“There was a loud noise, then I saw the train was completely ripped apart,” one injured passenger told Somoy TV.
“All the people around me were crying. There was blood everywhere. Some people had broken hands and legs,” another told the broadcaster.

Two packed trains rammed into each other in Bangladesh, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others. (AFP)

“My son was with me. I still don’t know what happened to him,” the man added.
Hayat ud Doula Khan, a government official in the district, said the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishitha train, hit the Chittagong-bound Udayan Express at about 3:00 am (2100 GMT Monday) as the Udayan was about to go through Mondobhog station.
Khan told AFP that the Turna Nishitha train should have waited outside the station to let the other one pass. A Bangladesh railway official told reporters faulty signals could be to blame.
“Three coaches were badly mangled and the victims are from these coaches,” Khan said, adding that train services out of Dhaka had been halted because of the accident.
Train accidents are common in Bangladesh and are often caused by poor signalling or other rundown infrastructure.
According to the Shipping and Communication Reporters Forum (SCRF), a private media research group, between January 1 and June 30 this year, at least 202 rail accidents took place in the South Asian country of 168 million people where some of the track is a century old.
In June, a train plunged into a canal after the bridge it was crossing gave way. Five people were killed and 100 injured.
The SCRF said pedestrians using mobile phones while crossing tracks, negligence by railway employees and poor maintenance of lines and bridges were the main cause of accidents.