Trump says he would sign a peace deal with Taliban

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2020, leaving on a 2-day trip to India. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

Trump says he would sign a peace deal with Taliban

  • Hundreds of thousands expected to greet US president in India

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would sign a peace deal with the Taliban if one were eventually reached in Afghanistan.

“Yes,” he told reporters at the White House as he prepared to depart on a trip to India. “I would put my name on it.”
His comments came after a partial truce took effect in Afghanistan on Saturday, with the Taliban, US, and Afghan forces agreeing to a weeklong “reduction in violence.”
The truce was intended to set conditions for Washington and the insurgents to sign a deal in Doha on Feb. 29 that could ultimately lead to a withdrawal of US forces after more than 18 years.
Trump also called for an investigation into an apparent leak of classified intelligence from a briefing for lawmakers on Russian interference in the 2020 US presidential campaign, setting his sights on a leading Democrat.
Trump said he had not been briefed on intelligence that Russia was aiming to boost the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
A congressional source told Reuters on Friday that intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to help both Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders and Trump, who is seeking re-election.
Trump departed on Sunday on a quick trip to India, where he is to see crowds so large that they will make the much-ballyhooed turnout for his campaign rallies pale in comparison.
With a travel time of 17 hours, Trump and his wife, Melania, were headed first to Germany for a refueling stop at Ramstein military base before heading on to Ahmedabad, India, which is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown.
There, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to greet Trump on Monday for a road show leading to a rally in a cricket stadium with a capacity of over 100,000.
Trump routinely gets the biggest crowds of any candidate in the US presidential race, ranging up to 20,000 or so, and he has been grudgingly admiring of Modi’s ability to get a bigger crowd than him.

HIGHLIGHTS

• US President Donald Trump departed on Sunday on a quick trip to India.

• In India, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to greet Trump for a road show leading to a rally in a cricket stadium with a capacity of over 100,000.

• After addressing the stadium crowd, Trump and his entourage will travel to Agra.

• On Tuesday, he and Indian premier are to have a day of talks and attend an evening banquet.

“Here’s my problem,” Trump told a large crowd of supporters in an arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last week. “We have a packed house. We have thousands of people who couldn’t get in. It’s going to look like peanuts from now on.”
It will be a larger version of the “Howdy Modi” rally that they jointly appeared at in Houston to a jubilant crowd of 50,000 Indian Americans last year, where Trump likened Modi to Elvis Presley for his crowd-pulling power.
After addressing the stadium crowd, Trump and his entourage will travel to Agra for a picturesque visit to the Taj Mahal. Then it will be on to New Delhi, where he and Modi are to have a day of talks and attend an evening banquet on Tuesday. The Trumps get back to Washington on Wednesday.
After concluding trade deals with China and Canada and Mexico, Trump would like to reach a similar agreement with India to open more markets for American goods, but progress has been slow and Trump in recent days has said such a pact is more likely after the US election.
India and the US have hit each other with retaliatory tariffs. Over the past month they have engaged in intense negotiations to produce a mini-trade deal, but officials in both countries say it remains elusive.
The two sides have been arguing over US demands for access to India’s huge poultry and dairy markets, Indian price controls on medical devices such as stents and stringent local data storage rules that US technology firms say will raise the costs of doing business.
Modi’s government has sought restoration of trade concessions that Trump withdrew in 2019 and greater access to US markets for its pharmaceutical and farm products.
US officials say Trump will raise the sensitive subject of religious freedom during his meetings.
Modi’s government has faced protests at home and criticism abroad for enacting a citizenship law that is seen as discriminating against Muslims.


Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

Updated 01 June 2020

Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

  • Protesters managed to stop the truck and beat up the driver, who was later arrested by police
  • A New York City Police car earlier drove into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: A tanker truck drove through thousands of people marching on a Minneapolis highway to protest the death of George Floyd on Sunday before protesters dragged the driver from the cab and beat him, according to a Reuters witness and authorities.
It did not appear any of the marchers were injured when the truck raced toward them on I-35, blowing its horn, sending protesters scattering before coming to a stop, according to the witness and a tweet by the Minnesota Department of Public Security (MNDPS).
Police arrived soon after and arrested the truck driver, who was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, MNDPS said.
Video of the incident shows protesters swarming the vehicle before it comes to a stop.

Protesters hand over to police the driver of a tanker truck after he drove into a crowd marching on 35W north bound highway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)

“The incident just underscores the volatile situation we have out there,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told a news conference, adding he did not know the motives of the driver.
It marked the second incident in as many days of a vehicle driving at people protesting Floyd’s death after a New York City Police car was captured on video on Saturday driving into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects.
“Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators,” MNDPS tweeted.
Video showed the truck had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.
The company said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors in Minneapolis and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.
MNDPS did not identify the driver but said the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating the incident as a criminal matter.