Biarritz, Aug 25 (AP/UNB)— President Donald Trump says he has confidence in new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to carry out Brexit talks with the European Union.
Speaking to reporters during their first meeting since Johnson's elevation to the post, Trump says of Johnson and the talks: "He needs no advice. He's the right man for the job."
Johnson faces what he called "tough talks" in the weeks and months ahead with the EU as they hurtle toward a no-deal exit in October. He joked to Trump that "you're on message there."
Trump also appeared to speak disapprovingly of Theresa May, Johnson's predecessor, saying approvingly that the new prime minister is "a different person." Trump frequently criticized May's handling of the talks.
Trump promised that he and Johnson would work out "a very big trade deal" between their two nations once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
President Donald Trump says he has "second thoughts about everything" when asked if he regrets escalating a trade war with China.
Trump tells reporters at the Group of Seven summit that "we're getting along well right now with China" despite dueling barrages of tariffs issued Friday and a new threat to try to force U.S. businesses to leave China.
Trump appeared to be trying to de-escalate tensions with China over concerns that a global economic slowdown could be spreading to the U.S.
Trump was meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said one of his messages to Trump was to de-escalate the trade war. During their breakfast meeting he advocated for free trade, saying the U.K. has benefited from it for over 200 years.
President Donald Trump says it's "possible" he will invite Russia to rejoin the annual meeting of the world's advanced economies when he hosts the summit next year.
Speaking at the Group of Seven summit in France during a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump says he's considering inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia was a member of what was then the Group of Eight, but was expelled by the majority of the other countries in 2014 over its invasion of Ukraine.
European nations have insisted that Russia first comply with the Minsk Accords before it is allowed to rejoin. Trump has not said under what criteria he'd re-invite Putin.
President Donald Trump is disputing reports that he faces a tense reception from world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in France.
In a Sunday morning tweet Trump says "the Leaders are getting along very well."
Trump is trying to use the summit to convince global leaders to do more to address a global economic slowdown, as fears rise it could soon affect the U.S. ahead of his re-election.
But his counterparts, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he is set to meet Sunday, are trying to convince him to back off his trade war with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.
Trump tweets that "our Country, economically, is doing great — the talk of the world!"
Biarritz, Aug 25 (AP/UNB) — Under the threatening clouds of a global economic slowdown, President Donald Trump is confronting the consequences of his preference to go it alone, with low expectations that the leaders of the richest democracies can make substantive progress on an array of issues at their summit in France.
The meeting of the Group of Seven nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. — in the beach resort town of Biarritz comes at one of the most unpredictable moments in Trump's presidency, when his public comments and decision-making increasingly have seemed erratic and acerbic of late.
Trump, who arrived Saturday, and his counterparts are facing mounting anxiety over the state of the world economy and new tension on trade, Iran and Russia . Trump, growing more isolated in Washington, might find a tepid reception at the summit as calls increase for cooperation and a collective response to address the financial downturn. White House aides claimed he engineered a late change to the summit agenda, requesting a working session on economic issues.
The economic warning signs, along with Chinese's aggressive use of tariffs on U.S. goods, are raising the pressure on Trump and his reelection effort. He intends to push allies at the summit to act to promote growth.
But Trump's credibility as a cheerleader for multilateralism is in doubt, given that he has spent the first 2½ years in office promoting an "America First" foreign policy that relying on protectionist measures. Traditional American allies have come to expect the unexpected from this White House; increasingly they are looking elsewhere for leadership.
Only hours before his arrival in Biarritz, Trump had threatened anew to place tariffs on French wine imports to the U.S. in a spat over France's digital services tax; the European Union promised to retaliate. That was the backdrop for a late addition to his summit schedule — a two-hour lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron outside the opulent Hotel du Palais.
The summit host said the two men were discussing "a lot of crisis" around the world, including Libya, Iran and Russia, as well as trade policy and climate change. But he also echoed Trump's calls for Europe to do more to address the global slowdown, including by cutting taxes. "When I look at Europe, especially, we need some new tools to relaunch our economy," Macron said.
Trump insisted that despite tensions, he and Macron "actually have a lot in common" and a "special relationship." In a later tweet, he said: "Big weekend with other world leaders!
Macron outlined details of a French plan to ease tensions with Iran by allowing Iran to export oil for a limited amount of time, said a French diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with the presidency's customary practices. In exchange, Iran would need to fully put in place the 2015 nuclear deal, reduce tensions in the Persian Gulf and open talks. The plan was met with a skeptical reception by Trump, and the White House paid only a cursory mention of the Gulf in its official readout of the lunch meeting.
Trade was clearly on Trump's mind when he left for France. Trump declared that U.S. businesses with dealings in China are "hereby ordered" to begin moving home. It was a threat to use the emergency authority granted by a powerful, but obscure federal law intended to target rogue governments, terrorists and drug traffickers, and giving presidents wide berth in regulating international commerce during times of declared national emergencies.
It was not immediately clear how Trump could use the act to force American businesses to move their manufacturing out of China and to the U.S, and Trump's threat appeared premature — as he has not declared an emergency with respect to China.
In recent days, Trump has sent mixed signals on a number of policy fronts. At one point, he moved to simmer the trade conflict with China in order to ease the impact on American consumers during the holiday shopping season. At another, he flip-flopped on the need for tax cuts to stimulate an economy that Trump publicly insists is rocketing.
Feeding Trump's anxiety, aides say, is his realization that the economy — the one sturdy pillar undergirding his bid for a second term — is undeniably wobbly.
Trump planned to press leaders about what can be done to spur growth in the U.S. and abroad, as well as to open European, Japanese and Canadian markets to American manufacturers and producers. Trump has imposed or threatened to impose tariffs on all three markets in his pursuit of free, fair and reciprocal trade.
The annual G-7 summit has historically been used to highlight common ground among the world's leading democracies. But in a bid to work around Trump's impulsiveness, Macron has eschewed plans for a formal joint statement from this gathering.
Last year's summit, hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, ended in acrimony when Trump felt he had been slighted by Trudeau after the president left the meeting.
Trump tweeted insults at Trudeau from aboard Air Force One as he flew to a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Trump withdrew his signature from the statement of principles that all seven nations had agreed to.
Addressing the global slowdown isn't the only pressing challenge that Trump has discovered requires joint action.
For more than a year, his administration has struggled with persuading European leaders to repatriate captured fighters from the Islamic State group. So far his entreaties have fallen on deaf ears.
Many of the summit proceedings will take place behind closed doors, in intimate settings designed for the leaders to develop personal relationships with one another. On Saturday night they dined at the Biarritz lighthouse, with commanding views of the Bay of Biscay.
Trump, White House aides said, was looking forward to a Sunday morning meeting with new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson , the brash pro-Brexit leader whose election he'd backed. The two spoke by phone on Friday, and Johnson said Saturday he would use the meeting to push Trump to de-escalate the American trade war with China.
Trump has scheduled individual meetings with several of his counterparts, including Macron, Trudeau, Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Other topics on the agenda will be the clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong; Iran's renewed nuclear enrichment and interference with shipping in the Strait of Hormuz; and the Islamic State prisoners currently imprisoned by American-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.
Rio De Janeiro, Aug 25 (AP/UNB) — Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops on Saturday were deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry.
President Jair Bolsonaro also tried to temper global concern, saying that previously deforested areas had burned and that intact rainforest was spared. Even so, the fires were likely to be urgently discussed at a summit of the Group of Seven leaders in France this weekend.
Some 44,000 troops will be available for "unprecedented" operations to put out the fires, and forces are heading to six Brazilian states that asked for federal help, Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo said. The states are Roraima, Rondonia, Tocantins, Para, Acre and Mato Grosso.
The military's first mission will be carried out by 700 troops around Porto Velho, capital of Rondonia, Azevedo said. The military will use two C-130 Hercules aircraft capable of dumping up to 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) of water on fires, he said.
An Associated Press journalist flying over the Porto Velho region Saturday morning reported hazy conditions and low visibility. On Friday, the reporter saw many already deforested areas that were burned, apparently by people clearing farmland, as well as a large column of smoke billowing from one fire.
The municipality of Nova Santa Helena in Brazil's Mato Grosso state was also hard-hit. Trucks were seen driving along a highway Friday as fires blazed and embers smoldered in adjacent fields.
The Brazilian military operations came after widespread criticism of Bolsonaro's handling of the crisis. On Friday, the president authorized the armed forces to put out fires, saying he is committed to protecting the Amazon region.
Azevedo, the defense minister, noted U.S. President Donald Trump's offer in a tweet to help Brazil fight the fires, and said there had been no further contact on the matter.
Despite international concern, Bolsonaro told reporters on Saturday that the situation was returning to normal. He said he was "speaking to everyone" about the problem, including Trump, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and several Latin American leaders.
Bolsonaro had described rainforest protections as an obstacle to Brazil's economic development, sparring with critics who say the Amazon absorbs vast amounts of greenhouse gasses and is crucial for efforts to contain climate change.
The Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries who believe Bolsonaro has neglected commitments to protect biodiversity. Protesters gathered outside Brazilian diplomatic missions in European and Latin American cities Friday, and demonstrators also marched in Brazil.
"The planet's lungs are on fire. Let's save them!" read a sign at a protest outside Brazil's embassy in Mexico City.
The dispute spilled into the economic arena when French leader Emmanuel Macron threatened to block a European Union trade deal with Brazil and several other South American countries.
"First we need to help Brazil and other countries put out these fires," Macron said Saturday.
The goal is to "preserve this forest that we all need because it is a treasure of our biodiversity and our climate thanks to the oxygen that it emits and thanks to the carbon it absorbs," he said.
In a weekly video message released Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Group of Seven leaders "cannot be silent" and should discuss how to help extinguish the fires.
Bolivia has also struggled to contain fires that swept through woods and fields. A U.S.-based aircraft, the B747-400 SuperTanker, is flying over devastated areas in Bolivia to help put out the blazes and protect forests.
On Saturday, several helicopters along with police, military troops, firefighters and volunteers on the ground worked to extinguish fires in Bolivia's Chiquitanía region, where the woods are dry at this time of year.
Farmers commonly set fires in this season to clear land for crops or livestock, but sometimes the blazes get out of control. The Bolivian government says 9,530 square kilometers (3680 square miles) have been burned this year.
The government of Bolivian President Evo Morales has backed the increased cultivation of crops for biofuel production, raising questions about whether the policy opened the way to increased burning.
Similarly, Bolsonaro had said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms. Brazilian prosecutors are investigating whether lax enforcement of environmental regulations may have contributed to the surge in the number of fires.
Brazil's justice ministry also said federal police will deploy in fire zones to assist other state agencies and combat "illegal deforestation."
Fires are common in Brazil in the annual dry season, but they are much more widespread this year. Brazilian state experts reported nearly 77,000 wildfires across the country so far this year, up 85% over the same period in 2018.
More than half of those fires occurred in the Amazon region.
Indonesia, Aug 24 (AP/UNB) — Rescuers were searching for more than 30 people believed missing after a ferry caught fire off the coast of Indonesia's main island of Java, killing at least three people.
The vessel was carrying 277 people from Tanjung Perak port in East Java's Surabaya when it caught fire late Thursday, said Budi Prasetyo, the head of the local search and rescue agency.
About 240 people were rescued by nearby ships and boats. Three others were confirmed dead and rescuers were still searching for 34 others thought to be missing, said National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Yusuf Latif.
A port official, Syahrul Nugroho, said the fire broke out about 11 hours after the ferry left Surabaya headed for East Kalimantan province's Balikpapan city. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands. Many accidents are blamed on lax regulation of boat services.
The manifest for the ferry that caught fire Thursday showed that only 111 people were registered as passengers, along with 44 crewmembers, Prasetyo said.
Chicago, Aug 24 (AP/UNB) — Health officials said Friday that an Illinois patient who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping has died and that they consider it the first death in the United States linked to the smoking alternative that has become popular with teens and young adults.
The Illinois Department of Public Health the adult patient was hospitalized after falling ill following vaping, though it didn't give other information about the person, including the patient's name, age, hometown or date of death.
The state received the report of the death Thursday, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, the Illinois agency's chief medical officer.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 193 people in 22 states have contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear-cut common cause of the illnesses hasn't been identified and that they are being called "potential cases" that are still under investigation.
All of the sickened have been teens or adults who had used an electronic cigarette or some other kind of vaping device. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, infectious diseases have been ruled out.
The illnesses have been reported since late June, but the total count has risen quickly in the past week. That may be partly because cases that weren't initially being linked to vaping have begun to be grouped that way.
Among the newest reports are two in Connecticut, four in Iowa and six in Ohio. Health officials are asking doctors and hospitals to tell state health officials about any possible vaping-related lung disease cases they encounter.
In its news release, the Illinois agency said the number of people who contracted a respiratory illness after vaping had doubled in the past week, to 22.
"The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the release.
Electronic cigarettes have been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have been worried about kids using them. Most of the concern has focused on nicotine, which health officials say is harmful to developing brains and might make kids more likely to take up cigarettes.
But some vaping products have been found to contain other potentially harmful substances, including flavoring chemicals and oils used for vaping marijuana, experts say.
A number of the people who got sick had vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. CDC officials said they do not have a breakdown of how many of the sick people vaped THC.
The American Vaping Association, an advocacy group, issued a statement arguing that "tainted, black market THC products" are to blame. The group called on federal officials to clear nicotine vaping products of suspicion.
Matthew Myers, the head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the illnesses underscore why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be looking into e-cigarettes and their impact on health before they can be sold to the public.
Health officials said they need to gather more information.
"Investigators haven't identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all of the cases," Ileana Arias, a CDC official who oversees non-infectious disease, said during a Friday call with reporters. She also said the sickened might be dealing with different illnesses that have similar symptoms.