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Gore says US will meet Paris goals, even without Trump


Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore speaks with delegates before the High-Level Stakeholders Meeting on Climate Change at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore speaks with delegates before the High-Level Stakeholders Meeting on Climate Change at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. will still meet environmental goals from the Paris climate agreement with or without the help of the Trump administration, former Vice President Al Gore said Monday.

President Donald Trump earlier had indicated the U.S. would pull out of the accord, which seeks global cooperation on reducing limits in an effort to battle climate change.

However, administration officials in recent days have indicated that the White House instead will seek a deal with less stringent requirements but remain within the pact.

Either way, Gore said the global effort is on the right track. Gore spoke at the United Nations Private Sector Forum, a gathering of global business and government leaders aimed at discussing sustainable growth and investment.

The former vice president, whose recent movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” follows the initial “An Inconvenient Truth,” said he’s hoping the administration “will lower its ambitions stated in Paris but remain in the Paris agreement.”

“But whether that happens or not, U.S. states and cities and businesses and industries are moving forward,” Gore said. “The projections now indicate that the United States will meet the commitments made at Paris whether it is affirmed by the federal government or not.”

Gore made mention of U.S. dignitaries in attendance, including several administration officials.

He pointed out the ferocity of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, noting the rarity of storms with such intensity.

Still, Gore said he’s optimistic about the progress being made on climate change action.

“We are seeing tremendous progress,” he said.



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Justin Trudeau says Canada will not buy from Boeing while it is ‘busy trying to sue us’


President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the Oval Office to the Residence of the White House in Washington, U.S. February 13, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the Oval Office to the Residence of the White House in Washington, U.S. February 13, 2017.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shot back at Boeing on Monday, saying his country will not purchase any of the aerospace giant’s Super Hornet jets if it continues to pursue a lawsuit against aircraft builder Bombardier.

“We have obviously been looking at the Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing as a potential significant procurement of our new fighter jets,” Trudeau said. “But we won’t do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business.”

Shares of Boeing hit a record high of $253.67, trading midday at its highest since 1948, according to FactSet.

Boeing’s lawsuit claims that Bombardier sold Delta Airlines 75 of its new C-Series planes for $19.6 million apiece, claiming the aircraft maker receives Canadian government subsidies that give it an advantage internationally. Bombardier returned fire on June 20, with President Fred Cromer saying “most people in our industry view this as an attack on innovation.”

Canada was in talks to purchase 18 Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing. Those talks were on hold after the Chicago-based company filed its lawsuit.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

Trudeau’s comments come after meeting in Ottawa with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who joined the Canadian leader in saying she would work with him to oppose Boeing’s move against Bombardier.

The Canadian aerospace company is the single largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland,with around 4,500 workers. May said she will speak to President Donald Trump at the United Nations this week, to impress “on him the significance of Bombardier to the United Kingdom.”

“I am very happy to be working with Prime Minister May to explain to the American administration how Boeing’s actions are harmful to workers here in Canada,” Trudeau said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is currently investigating Bombardier’s new C-series passenger plane, with the International Trade Commission due to deliver a preliminary ruling on the dispute later this month.

— Reuters contributed to this report.



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Trump: 'There's a good chance' for a Mideast peace deal


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 18, 2017, in New York.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 18, 2017, in New York.

Trump and Netanyahu also said they would discuss the Iran nuclear deal, a multilateral agreement reached in 2015 which Israel opposes, and which Trump has repeatedly criticized.

Asked by reporters whether the United States plans to stay in the deal, Trump replied, “you’ll be seeing very soon. We’re talking about it constantly, so you’ll see.”

Trump is scheduled to meet later in the week with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where the conversation will likely focus on the same issues. In August, Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, visited the Middle East for meetings with Israeli officials and representatives from a half-dozen Arab countries.

It’s unclear what, if anything, Trump intends to do to restart the stalled negotiations. So far, he has refused to endorse the so-called two-state solution, a hallmark of American policy under Trump’s predecessors, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Under a two-state solution, an independent Palestine would exist alongside an independent Israel.



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Here's why Trump's proposed UN reforms wont be easy


President Donald Trump speaks during a session on reforming the United Nations at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

President Donald Trump speaks during a session on reforming the United Nations at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

President Donald Trump wants the 193-country United Nations to trim its bureaucracy and cut costs while sharpening the focus of its work around the world.

Compared with the rest of his agenda, reforming the U.S. tax code and overhauling Obamacare will be a cakewalk.

In his debut appearance at the global body in New York on Monday, Trump scolded the institution for a swollen budget and a thicket of red tape.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”

Despite his criticisms, Trump said the United States would “pledge to be partners in your work,” helping to advance the cause of peace around the world.

Like much of Trump’s most ambitious agenda items, transforming the United Nations to Trump’s satisfaction would be a very heavy lift.

To begin with, the U.N is not a single institution so much as it is a sprawling global network of dozens of humanitarian and development agencies. By design, the decision-making process is distributed among a wide range of countries and constituencies that may have little in common and opposing views and interests.

Trump has complained repeatedly that the United States is paying more than its fair share of the U.N’s budget

As the largest single contributor to the U.N. budget, the U.S. pays about 25 percent of the organization’s regular operating budget and more than 28 percent of a separate peacekeeping budget. The U.S. has yet to make its payment this year, prompting fears that it may cut its annual contribution.



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Obamacare repeal bill sparks Twitter tiff between GOP senators


Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, speaks during a news conference to reform health care on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13, 2017.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, speaks during a news conference to reform health care on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13, 2017.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Graham-Cassidy “would give states broad waiver authority to eliminate the ACA’s core provisions for people with pre-existing health conditions.”

The group noted those waivers would come on top of the bill’s elimination of federal aid to help low- and middle-income people buy individual health plans, the elimination of expanded Medicaid benefits to poor adults, and big cuts to overall health insurance spending by the government.

CBPP senior fellow Aviva Aron-Dine wrote that a “little-noticed provision” of Graham-Cassidy that is related to block grant funding to states would allow individual states to get rid of Obamacare’s pre-existing rules.

“For example, a state that used a small portion of its block grant funding to provide even tiny subsidies to all individual market plans could then waive these protections for its entire individual market,” Aron-Dine wrote.

Likewise, states that used block grant funding to offer or subsidize coverage for low-income people could offer plans with large gaps in benefits. States seeking waivers would have to explain how they ‘intend’ to maintain access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but they wouldn’t have to prove that their waivers would actually do so.”

Aron-Dine noted that the waiver authority in Graham-Cassidy is similar to waivers contained in an Obamacare replacement bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that states that contain one-sixth of the nation’s population would let insurers charge sick people higher rates under those waivers in the House bill.

In those states, “less healthy individuals (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would be unable to purchase comprehensive coverage with premiums close to those under current law and might not be able to purchase coverage at all,” the CBO said.

And states accounting for half of the U.S. population would let insurers exclude the Obamacare requirement that their health plans cover a minimum set of so-called essential health benefits, the CBO found.

People needing, “maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits” in those states “would face increases in their out-of-pocket costs,” according to the analysis.

“Some people would have increases of thousands of dollars in a year,” the CBO said.



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Trump agrees stronger North Korea sanctions needed, South Korea says


Passersby are reflected in a TV screen reporting news about North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and their missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2017.

Issei Kato | Reuters

Passersby are reflected in a TV screen reporting news about North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and their missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2017.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to exert stronger pressure through sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear and missile tests, South Korea’s presidential office said following a telephone call between the two leaders on Sunday.

“The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation, and exert stronger and practical sanctions on North Korea so that it realizes provocative actions leads to further diplomatic isolation and economic pressure,” Blue House spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a televised briefing.

The Blue House said Moon and Trump had strongly condemned the latest missile launch by North Korea, and agreed that the two nations would work with the international community to implement the latest U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2375, Park said.



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Trump administration seeks to finesse Paris climate accord rather than breaking it altogether


President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017.

The White House immediately disavowed a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday that suggested the Trump administration was reversing its stated intention of abandoning the Paris climate accord.

However, top officials hinted the president would seek to renegotiate terms that were more favorable to the United States.

According to the WSJ’s report, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete said that President Donald Trump would abide by the landmark agreement, which was struck in 2016. Unnamed officials at a global warming summit told the publication that the U.S. was seeking to re-engage the international community to renegotiate the deal, rather than abrogate it.

If true, it would represent a sharp reversal from one of Trump’s signature policy pledges. In June, Trump vowed to renegotiate the deal or strike a new one.

“The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” The Journal reported Canete as saying.

However, the White House issued a statement saying there had been “no change” to Trump’s stance.

“As the president has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country,” said Lindsey Walter, a deputy White House secretary.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States could remain in the Paris climate accord under the right conditions.

“The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” Tillerson told CBS’s “Face the Nation” in an interview.

However, the WSJ report added that a White House spokesperson said the president’s stance on the Paris accord had never been set in stone.

Trump is considered a climate change skeptic, and has sharply questioned the impact of environmental policy on American business.

–Reuters contributed to this article.



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Military expert urges against conflict with North Korea: 'That time has passed'


Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers march to their positions prior to a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers march to their positions prior to a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

Davis retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years of active service and is now a senior fellow and military expert at Defense Priorities, a think tank.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the United Nations Security Council had “run out of options” on containing North Korea, and the United States may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

For Davis, that’s a clear escalation of rhetoric.

“We want to give him no incentive to use the weapons, and that’s why deterrence is such a critical thing at this point in time,” he said. “We can’t think that sanctions are going to stop him from what he’s doing. We have to find other levers, and I don’t even think we’re looking for those right now.”

Defying a fresh round of tough new UN Security Council sanctions on its textile exports and crude oil imports, North Korea launched a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean last week, prompting international condemnation.

“It’s not as if they decided to launch a test missile after the UN sanctions last Monday,” Davis said. “What’s going on is part of a broader process.”

“They need to launch a good four to five additional missiles over the next 12 months, with three to four months between each one of them, so they can validate the effectiveness of their missile fleet,” he added.

Pyongyang’s objective, Davis said, is to have a reliable ballistic missile capability so it can defend itself from what leaders view as the threat of a U.S. attack.

“We can expect more missile launches,” he said.



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Chuck Schumer on hot mic: Trump 'likes us'


Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a news conference on the Child Care for Working Families Act, which focuses on affordable early learning and care on September 14, 2017.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a news conference on the Child Care for Working Families Act, which focuses on affordable early learning and care on September 14, 2017.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s candid thoughts on President Donald Trump got caught on a hot mic Thursday.

In the audio from the Senate chamber, the Democratic senator from New York talks with an unidentified person about his Wednesday night dinner with Trump.

“He likes us. He likes me, anyway,” Schumer said.

It is unclear who Schumer means by “us.” He and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had dinner with Trump and top aides on Wednesday night. The pair has increased engagement with Trump recently.

After that dinner, the Democratic leaders said they agreed to pursue a deal to protect about 800,000 young immigrants from deportation. They said the deal would include border security measures but not the president’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump on Thursday cautioned that they had not reached a deal. However, he said they were close and insisted that he wants funding for his border wall at some point.

Schumer also outlined some advice he gave to Trump.

“Here’s what I told him. I said, ‘Mr. President, you’re much better off if you can sometimes step right, sometimes step left. If you have to step in just one direction, you’re boxed. … He gets that,” Schumer said.

The senator also said of Trump: “He’ll make us more productive, too.”



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Trump says tax reform package will be revenue neutral due to economic growth


President Donald Trump arrives via Air Force One at Bismarck Municipal Airport in Bismarck, North Dakota, September 6, 2017.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump arrives via Air Force One at Bismarck Municipal Airport in Bismarck, North Dakota, September 6, 2017.

President Donald Trump on Thursday told reporters that the tax reform package being crafted by lawmakers will be revenue neutral if economic growth spurred by the legislation is taken into consideration.

In a briefing on Air Force One, Trump also said he continues to have confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are both helping with the tax reform push.



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