Exclusive: White House Moves Forward on Two More Arms Sales to Taiwan – Sources | World News

By Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with more sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan, telling Congress on Tuesday that it will seek to sell MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system, five sources familiar with the situation said.

The possible sales, which are likely to anger China in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, follows three notifications first reported by Reuters on Monday.

China considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

The pre-notification to Congress for the MQ-9 drone case is the first after President Donald Trump’s administration moved ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

(Reporting by Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources said on Monday, while China threatened retaliation.

A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees foreign military sales, said the sources, who are familiar with the situation but declined to be identified.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely damaged China’s sovereignty and security interests, urging Washington to clearly recognize the harm they caused and immediately cancel them.

“China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops,” Zhao told reporters in Beijing, without elaborating.

CONGRESSIONAL BACKING FOR TAIWAN

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Lawmakers, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the Taiwan sales.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it would comment only when there was formal notification of any arms sale. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had not yet been formally notified.

“China continues to use military provocation to undermine cross-strait and regional stability, highlighting the importance of Taiwan’s strengthening of self-defense capabilities,” Ou said.

News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its

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White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Asked for a response to Monday’s news, the Chinese embassy urged Washington in an emailed statement to stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan, “lest it should gravely harm China-US relations and cross-Strait peace and stability.”

In the emailed statement, an embassy representative said: “China consistently and firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan and has firm resolve in upholding its sovereignty and security.”

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

CONGRESSIONAL BACKING FOR TAIWAN

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Lawmakers, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the Taiwan sales.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington said it had no comment.

News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defense and to carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting to invade.

It comes at a time when China has significantly stepped up military activity near Taiwan and as U.S.-China

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Exclusive: White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan

By David Brunnstrom, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, three sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province which it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

In September, Reuters reported that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have had the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington said it had no comment, and China’s embassy did not immediately respond.

News that new arms sales were moving forward comes after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defense and to carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting to invade.

It comes at a time when China has significantly stepped up military activity near Taiwan and as U.S.-China relations have plunged to the lowest point in decades as the U.S. election nears. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, have both sought to appear tough in their approach to Beijing.

Speaking on Wednesday, the U.S. national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, warned against any attempt to retake Taiwan by force, saying amphibious landings were notoriously difficult and there was a lot of ambiguity about how the United States would respond.

The United States is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but it has not made clear whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a

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Bruna’s Cheese Bread Moves From Food Truck to Cottage Bakery

“It’s a bread meant to be eaten fresh out of the oven,” says Bruna Piauí Graf, founder of Bruna’s Cheese Bread. “It can be good later, but I don’t suggest that.” Brazilian pão de queijo — or cheese bread — are savory puff pastries made with gluten-free tapioca flour and cheese. They’re served everywhere in Brazil, and now, thanks to Graf, here in Denver as well.

Graf says she started Bruna’s Cheese Bread because she couldn’t find good pão de queijo in Denver. In 2019, she used the bread as inspiration for a food truck serving Brazilian sandwiches. But when this year’s pandemic ended plans for owning the food truck, Graf turned to selling the pre-made dough as it’s often found in Brazil: frozen and ready to be baked in the oven.

Pão de queijo originated in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The key ingredient, tapioca flour, comes from the yuca plant found there. Yuca, different from yucca, is a starchy tuber long used by Brazilian indigenous peoples to make bread. The process of extracting the flour involves peeling and grating the tuber, soaking it and letting it dry. When colonizers brought enslaved African people to the area, they learned to use the leftover tapioca starch to make their own bread, subsidizing the meager food they were given.

Years later, in the 19th century, Minas Gerais became known for producing a hard, salty Minas cheese. The cheese, plus milk and eggs, were added to the pão de queijo recipe, and it soon became a national delicacy.

Graf started making cheese bread here in Denver in 2019.

Graf started making cheese bread here in Denver in 2019.

Courtesy of Bruna’s Cheese Bread

Graf remembers eating pão de queijo while growing up in Barau, Brazil. “I would always go with my friends and family as a teenager to this [cafe], and it’s still there, and they’re still doing the same thing, same corner,” she says. “It’s always full of people, full of families with kids. [It’s where] a lot of friends come to eat and hang out and talk.”

In Brazil, she continues, pão de queijo is often eaten with coffee, either for breakfast or for afternoon teatime. It’s so popular that it’s on the Brazilian Starbucks and McDonald’s menus, but it’s also found frozen in grocery stores ready to bake. And frozen is the way Graf’s now selling the bread here.

She admits that it was never her intention to start a cheese bread business in the United States. Graf moved to Golden, Colorado in 2014 as an au pair—an exchange program where young people work as live-in nannies in another country in order to improve their second language. But two years later she met her husband and decided to stay. She then began to work at a Brazilian steakhouse and noticed how much customers loved the bread.

“They would get so excited, and they would go there just to eat the bread,” she remembers. But aside from the steakhouse, she didn’t know of anywhere else to find it.

The

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The House Moves to Avert a Shutdown

The House races to avoid a shutdown, while the Senate prepares for a hasty Supreme Court confirmation process. It’s Wednesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Senator Kamala Harris visited a farmers market in Flint, Mich., yesterday.


When it comes to climate change, Biden has been eager to play up the contrasts between himself and Trump, who has systematically rolled back environmental regulations.

But the Democratic presidential nominee is facing new pressure from the left to confront environmental issues more aggressively: Last week, as Lisa Friedman and Thomas Kaplan report in a new article, more than 60 wealthy donors asked Biden to commit to a moratorium on all new coal, oil and natural gas development — and to reject advisers with ties to fossil fuel companies.

We talked to Lisa, a reporter on the Climate desk, about the latest effort to push Biden leftward on climate issues.

When Biden released his climate plan this summer, activists roundly praised it as a bold proposal. And his recent speech amid the wildfires in the West drew kudos from many environmentalists. But now there’s an appetite for him to make more commitments. How come?

It’s true — Biden’s climate plan drew praise from almost all parts of the environmentalist community, as did his speech linking the wildfires out West to climate change and excoriating Trump’s climate denial.

Now activists and donors alike are pushing him on the issue of personnel, urging him to commit to advisers — and potentially a cabinet — free of fossil fuel influences.

I think the reason we’re seeing that push now is because this is when the more progressive wing of the party feels it has some leverage, and it wants to keep the pressure on Biden to ensure that he takes aggressive action on climate change if he wins in November.

To what degree has Biden already purged his campaign of oil- and gas-industry veterans?

To my knowledge there are no oil- and gas-industry veterans at all serving on the Biden campaign in the climate policy arena. But there are some people volunteering and informally advising the campaign who have served on the boards of energy companies, like former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, which is something that progressives have raised as a concern.

If the debate over whether to ban hydraulic fracking has a geographic epicenter, it’s in Pennsylvania, where labor leaders support continuing the practice — and where Biden is fighting hard to win back a state that Trump took in 2016. What is the political calculus on this issue, and how much of a deal breaker is it for some environmental groups and left-wing voters?

In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point, so this state is critically important.

Biden has been really threading a needle on this issue for just that reason. He has

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House moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks

House Democrats are aiming for a vote Tuesday evening on legislation to avert a government shutdown after rekindling talks with Republicans and the Trump administration over disputed farm assistance.

The House was originally slated to vote Tuesday afternoon on legislation advanced solely by Democrats, but multiple aides said those plans were temporarily put on hold as bipartisan talks resumed over aid for farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as well as nutrition assistance for children in low-income families.

Lawmakers are running up against a tight deadline, with just eight days left before current federal funding expires. The government would shut down on Oct. 1 if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill before then.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWhite House opposes House energy bill as Democrats promise climate action This week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg’s seat upends Congress’s agenda House Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill MORE (D-Md.) said the two sides are ”close” to a deal on government funding and could vote on an amended bill as soon as Tuesday night.

“I’m hopeful that we may be able to move it tonight,” Hoyer told reporters, noting that ”if we have a deal and people want to cooperate, it won’t be that late.”

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally CDC causes new storm by pulling coronavirus guidance Overnight Health Care: CDC pulls revised guidance on coronavirus | Government watchdog finds supply shortages are harming US response | As virus pummels US, Europe sees its own spike MORE (D-Calif.) also said Tuesday afternoon that Democrats would have an announcement “soon.”

Guidance from Hoyer’s office on the House floor schedule advised lawmakers that a vote on the stopgap bill is expected on Tuesday.

House Democrats introduced legislation on Monday that would extend current government funding through Dec. 11, but it did not include a provision requested by the White House to ensure farm aid payments continue flowing through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which has a borrowing limit of $30 billion.

The Trump administration has made billions available for farmers — a key constituency in the president’s base — amid the pandemic as well as to buffer the impact of the trade wars with China.

Democrats have been opposed to including the CCC funding in the stopgap spending bill, arguing that it amounts to a “political slush fund” to soften the impact of the president’s trade policies.

Republicans bashed the introduction of House Democrats’ bill on Monday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: GOP will confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE (R-Ky.) tweeting that “this is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”

“This is a really big issue in farm country and there are both Democrats and Republicans who are farmers. I’m hoping we can

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White House moves to curb policing of corporate misbehavior

“We’ve seen regulatory enforcement drop to historic lows across agencies in the Trump administration,” said Amit Narang, regulatory expert at the public interest group Public Citizen. “So, I don’t see it as a shift in priorities, but more as like a codification of what is already the policy.”

The memo applies to a broad swath of enforcement activity, including vehicle safety, fair housing and environmental and labor protections.

It doesn’t address independent agencies like the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Communications Commission, which don’t answer to the White House. But it implements a section of an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in May, which seems to cover those agencies as well.

The White House doesn’t have the ability to compel independent agencies to go along with the guidance, but they are run by Trump appointees.

The memo says investigations should take place within a specified timeframe and urges agencies to eliminate “multiple enforcement actions for a single body of operative facts.”

“The initiation of investigations and enforcement actions should carry the structural protection of requiring approval of a [political appointee] or, if necessitated by good cause, his or her designee,” according to the document.

The memo calls on executive agencies to issue any rules updating their enforcement practices by Nov. 26 with a request for public comment.

“President Trump’s executive order upholds the rule of law, presumption of innocence and independent adjudication,” a spokesperson for the White House budget office, which houses the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement.

“These principles protect both individuals and small businesses while at the same time enforcing the law against wrongdoers. Providing a fair process for all Americans is what’s at the heart of this executive order,” the spokesperson said.

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Alma Cocina Latina moves to Station North, will share space with Mera Kitchen Collective

Venezuelan eatery Alma Cocina Latina has announced it’s found a new home in Station North.



Irena Stein et al. posing for a picture: Emily Lerman, left, founder of the Mera Kitchen Collective, and Irena Stein, owner of Alma Cocina Latina, will share a cooking space in Station North.


© Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun/The Baltimore Sun/TNS
Emily Lerman, left, founder of the Mera Kitchen Collective, and Irena Stein, owner of Alma Cocina Latina, will share a cooking space in Station North.

The restaurant, which shuttered its location in Canton’s Can Company late last month, is set to reopen at 1701 N. Charles St. in mid- to late October. The 5,300-square-foot space was formerly occupied by the Pen & Quill, which closed in July. The restaurant will join a block occupied by the Charles Theatre and Orto, among various other businesses.

Alma Cocina Latina will share the space with Mera Kitchen Collective, the Baltimore group founded by former aid worker Emily Lerman. The two businesses had previously collaborated to prepare meals for World Central Kitchen, the food relief organization founded by celebrity chef José Andrés.

Through their newly formed partnership, Alkimiah, Alma Cocina Latina and Mera Kitchen Collective plan to continue to prepare free meals for community members through a combination of grants and donations, said Alma Cocina Latina owner Irena Stein.

“In this location we can do a lot more meals, and that’s wonderful,” said Stein. The atmosphere will remain consistent with the tropical, airy vibe of the Canton location, said Stein, and the menu under new executive chef David Zamudio will keep its trademark arepas and small plates.

———

©2020 The Baltimore Sun

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Cynthia moves IHC against interior ministry’s decision to reject visa extension

In its response to the IHC a day ago, the ministry stated that the American citizen’s visa had been extended twice during 2018-19 which was against the law — File photo

US Blogger Cynthia D Ritchie has submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday, challenging the interior ministry’s decision to deny her a visa extension.

In the petition, Ritchie made the interior secretary, deputy secretary, and director-general Federal Investigation Agency parties to the case, stating that she had fulfilled all the legal obligations required of her — in her visa application — to ensure her continued stay in Pakistan.

Ritchie accused the interior ministry of denying her visa without any solid reason, her petition mentioning that rejecting her visa extension was a violation of the General Clauses Act and the country’s visa policy.

Interior ministry asks Cynthia Ritchie to leave Pakistan within 15 days

Earlier this week, the ministry had rejected Ritchie’s visa extension application and asked her to exit the country within 15 days.

In its response to the IHC a day ago, the ministry stated that the American citizen’s visa had been extended twice during 2018-19 which was against the law.

It mentioned that the blogger had applied for her work visa extension two times, but she was given a business visa by the authority against the visa policy, adding that her company was not registered in Pakistan either.

The interior ministry on Friday had also submitted its comments to the High court in Cynthia D Ritchie’s case, stating that the American blogger should be stopped from making controversial statements that go against the basic rights of citizens.

The response came after the IHC expressed displeasure over the ministry’s comments at the previous hearing, instructing it to provide relevant records of its business visa policy. 

Ritchie accuses PPP leadership of ‘harassment’ and ‘manhandling’

In a video broadcast live on Facebook in May, Ritchie had alleged that a senior PPP leader had raped her while two others had ‘manhandled’ her at a separate occasion.

She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 during the PPP tenure, when the individual she accused of rape had been a senior minister.

Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani (who publicly responded to the allegation) — had “physically manhandled” her when the latter “was staying the President House”.

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