US sanctions hit Iranian cancer patients struggling to get life-saving meds

US sanctions are driving up the cost of cancer treatment in Iran, patients and doctors say – as restrictions reimposed on Tehran by Washington make it harder to buy life-saving medication and equipment.

Ali Shokri, a Tehran resident battling cancer, had his second round of chemotherapy after the US sanctions kicked in. The cost of each session jumped from 10 million Rial ($240) to 20 million ($475), Ali told Ruptly video agency on Monday, adding that the price hike isn’t the only problem cancer patients now face.

“The drugs can’t be found easily like before, and we have to look for them several times in different pharmacies.”

Marjan Shirazi, whose husband suffers from cancer, said that the drugs that used to be available before sanctions have now become “more expensive and rarer.”

The US assurance that the restrictions are meant to hurt the Iranian government is “an absolute lie” since the pressure from them “is directed on people as well,” she told Ruptly.

Doctors are stressing that punitive measures against Tehran make it harder – and in some cases completely impossible – to import supplies required for life-saving treatment. “When they impose sanctions on our banks, the money can’t be transferred easily to a foreign country to buy medications,” noted Ali Kazemian, who runs the Cancer Institute at the Imam Khomeini Medical Center. The doctor noted the US sanctions often block the imports of vital medical equipment.

Washington reinstated sanctions on the country after President Donald Trump had pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program – a move condemned by the EU, Russia and China, who are also signatories of the deal. The first round of restored sanctions was enacted in April, while the second lot came into force last week. The sanctions target Iran’s oil, banking and shipping industries.

READ MORE: Iranian central bank disconnected from SWIFT messaging – US treasury

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, said that the sanctions have “no impact” on the national economy. Officials in Tehran are pledging to continue oil production and foreign trade, as well to defend the country’s traditional shipping routes.

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Trump Allegedly Planning to Cut Relief Funding for Puerto Rico

CNN reports that Puerto Rico is being excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t want to deliver additional relief funding to Puerto Rico, White House officials told congressional appropriators Monday, CNN reports.

RELATED: FEMA Leaves Some 10 Million Bottles of Water to Spoil on Puerto Rican Tarmac

A White House aide told CNN that, although funding cuts have not been finalized, the U.S. territory has been excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

The aide reported that as Puerto Rican officials have not expired the relief funds, the White House has decided to forego any additional financial support “because they don’t need it and will most likely not be able to spend it.”

Last month, a tweet from the president clearly illustrated his position on the territories petitions for further assistance, saying: “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!"

When the revised death toll announced in October revealed that nearly 3,000 residents had died in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Trump dismissed the report and accused Democrats of exploiting the figures as part of a smear campaign against his administration.

Eleven months after the deadly hurricane hit the island in September 2017, residents were still without power, thousands were displaced, and hundreds of homes destroyed.

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Neil Young criticises Trump after losing his home in California fires

The songwriter says state is vulnerable because of climate change and accuses US president of defying science.

Neil Young has criticised Donald Trump for his reluctance to act on climate change after California wildfires destroyed the songwriter’s home.

In a tweet posted on 10 November, the US president blamed California’s “gross mismanagement of the forests” for the damage caused by the wildfires in northern and southern California. He implied that federal funding would be withdrawn if the situation was not rectified.

In a post on his website, Young responded: “California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think. We are vulnerable because of climate change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.”

On Sunday, Los Angeles fire chief Daryl Osby told the Guardian that climate change was undeniably a part of why the fires were more devastating and destructive than in years past. Osby said that environmental changes had expanded fire season across the state, putting a strain on resources.

Thirty-one people are known to have died in the wildfires with more than 200 people unaccounted for, according to the latest figures. The emergency now equals the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles as the deadliest California wildfire on record.

Young continued: “Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn’t be part of his decision-making on our behalf. Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient option than he does for the people he leads. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one.”

Young is among a number of stars known to have been affected by the wildfires. David Bowie’s long-term pianist Mike Garson tweeted on Saturday about losing his home and studio. Actor Gerard Butler posted a photograph of his charred home and thanked firefighters for their “courage, spirit and sacrifice”. Miley Cyrus said that she lost her home but escaped with her fiancé, the actor Liam Hemsworth, and their animals.

Gerard Butler @GerardButler

Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at http://SupportLAFD.org.

Lady Gaga tweeted that she had been evacuated from her residence. “I’m sitting here with many of you wondering if my home will burst into flames.”

Katy Perry and Rod Stewart also criticised Trump over his tweets. “This is an absolutely heartless response,” Perry tweeted. Stewart said: “California needs words of support & encouragement, not threats or finger pointing & accusations.”

 

 

  • Published in Culture

Trump fires back at European leaders after damp reception in France

President Trump lashed out at European leaders after French President Emmanuel Macron denounced his ‘America First’ brand of nationalism and called for the creation of a European army, independent from the US.

“Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Never easy bringing up the fact that the US must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection, hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade.”

@realDonaldTrump Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders. Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection,........

@realDonaldTrump .....hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade. I told them that this situation cannot continue - It is, and always has been, ridiculously unfair to the United States. Massive amounts.....

@realDonaldTrump .....of money spent on protecting other countries, and we get nothing but Trade Deficits and Losses. It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves...and Trade must be made FREE and FAIR!

Trump’s tirade came just one day after French President Emmanuel Macron – once regarded as a close confidant of the US president – rebuked Trump’s ‘America First’ brand of nationalism, comparing it to the forces that plunged Europe into conflict in the early 20th Century.

Speaking at an Armistice Day commemoration in Paris, Macron did not address Trump by name, but warned that "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism...nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."

At a recent campaign-style rally, Trump described himself as a “nationalist,” the first time he has done so since taking office. On Monday, the president’s beef with Maron and his European counterparts seemed to be driven more by financial concerns than ideological ones.

READ MORE: Umbrella troubles? Twitter mocks Trump as he bails on WWI commemoration over light rain

Trump has often criticized his European allies for failing to meet their defense spending targets, leaving the US to foot much of Europe’s security bill. At present, only five NATO member states – the US, UK, Greece, Estonia, and Poland – allocate two percent of their GDP to defense spending, a requirement for membership. In 2017, the US spent $686 billion on defense, over double the expenditure of all 28 other states combined.

However, European leaders as of late seem more interested in looking elsewhere for their defense needs. In a radio interview last week, Macron called for the establishment of an EU army that can defend the continent “without relying only on the United States.”

@realDonaldTrump President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!

Macron’s view was echoed by liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a long-time proponent of a closer-knit, federal Europe. Tweeting on Saturday, Verhofstadt said that Europe cannot be “unprepared for the America First Policy.”

@guyverhofstadt Yes, @ischinger, we need to go to majority voting in the EU & yes @p61pavel we need an integrated defence capacity as a European pillar of NATO. We are stronger together, cannot afford 27 parallel defence budgets nor being unprepared for the America First Policy. https://twitter.com/p61pavel/status/1060976524978016268 

Petr Pavel @p61pavel
Replying to @ischinger

Great idea! Will this European Army be part of or parallel to NATO? And wasn’t NATO designed primarily to defend Europe?

With the commemorations marred by gray skies and constant-drizzle, Trump received the cold shoulder from activists and from the French media too. Ahead of his arrival, French comedian Yann Barthes switched to English on his primetime show, telling Trump to “go and f*** yourself. You’re not welcome in this country.”

As the president’s motorcade rolled down the Champs-Élysées, a topless feminist protester hopped the barricades and ran towards the president’s car with the words “fake peacemaker” scrawled on her chest. Police apprehended the woman, and feminist group FEMEN later released a statement attacking several of the world leaders present at the event, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bare-breasted FEMEN protester almost throws herself at Trump’s m...

“FEMEN believes that restoring world peace with those who are responsible for the ongoing wars is hypocritical,” the statement said.

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"What A Stupid Question": Trump Slaps Down Another Journalist

Washington: President Donald Trump instructed journalists Friday to show more respect in the "sacred" White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter's question because it was "stupid."

The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a "terrible person" and had him barred from the White House.

In Friday's incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president's 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.

The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticized the Russia probe, to replace him. Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.

"What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions," he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.

Moments earlier he'd defended his decision to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta following their exchange at Wednesday's press conference, saying that Acosta "is a very unprofessional guy."

Asked how long Acosta will be denied the credential allowing him to work inside the White House, Trump said he hadn't decided and seemed to indicate that the extremely unusual sanction could be applied to more journalists.

"It could be others also," he said.

Trump went on to refer to another reporter, April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, as "a loser" and "very nasty."

The president said that the bad blood between him and the media was the fault of journalists showing insufficient deference.

"When you're in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. It's a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect," he said.

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Over 5,600 U.S. Soldiers at US-Mexico Border

Washington, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) Some 5,600 U.S. soldiers are Friday at the Mexican border to prevent undocumented migrants from entering the country, according to U.S. military sources.

Despite criticism from various sides, the Department of Defense initially predicted the deployment of some 5,200 uniforms.

The Pentagon said in a statement that 2,800 military units are located in Texas, 1,500 in Arizona and 1,300 in California.

Some 2,000 members of the National Guard, mobilized since last April, are also in the border area.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on October 31 to send up to 15,000 soldiers to the dividing line after the department announced it had sent 7,000 to that end.

The military publication Star and Stripes reported then that the Northern Command had confirmed that more soldiers could be added to the 5,239 initially assigned.

Nearly 40 units were summoned for the movement and the list includes combat engineers, Third Infantry Division aviators, members of forts from Texas, North Carolina and Kansas, and medical and logistical staff, the source added.

This operation, called Faithful Patriot, a name recently dropped, was described by Northern Command chief Terrence O'Shaughnessy as an effort to help the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection tighten defenses at legal entry points and nearby sites.

Newspaper reports stated that the military will have its actions limited by a federal law.

Such a rule, they pointed out, prevents the Army from carrying out police work in U.S. territory, which means that uniformed soldiers won't be able to participate directly in operations against Central American caravans seeking to reach the United States.

Some of the tasks allowed to soldiers include providing air support for border missions, installing concrete barriers, and repairing and maintaining vehicles.

R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection from March 2014 to January 2017, said the Army cannot stop asylum seekers at border crossings requesting protection.

I see the deployment of troops as a political maneuver and a waste of both military resources and taxpayers' money,' he said.

It is a big mistake to use active military personnel and assign them to such duties, Kerlikowske added.

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"Would Never Forgive Trump," Writes Michelle Obama In Memoir

Washington: In her memoir, former US First Lady Michelle Obama has ripped President Trump's spreading of the "birther" conspiracy theory against her husband Barack Obama.

In excerpts from her memoir "Becoming", Michelle Obama has said he she would "never forgive" Mr Trump for the "xenophobic" claims that her husband was not actually born in America, reports The Hill magazine.

"The whole thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed," the former First Lady wrote.

"But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks. What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family's safety at risk. And for this I'd never forgive him," she said.

The book, which is set to release on November 13, details the her early life in Chicago all the way through to her time as First Lady, and includes her feelings of shock and disbelief following Trump's election in 2016.

The comments were some of Michelle Obama's most direct aimed at the current President, whom she has mostly avoided criticising since leaving the White House last year.

Other criticism in the book was aimed at Trump's comments about women on the now-infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, as well as his conduct during debates with his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Michelle Obama plans to launch a 10-city book tour that is scheduled to kick off on November 13 in her hometown of Chicago.

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Chinese Greenlights 16 More Trademarks For Trump

According to Chinese government records, Ivanka’s trademark applications were granted preliminary approvals, in October, as Chinese and U.S. officials sought to restart trade talks.

China has greenlighted more than one dozen trademarks - ranging from fashion accessories to electronics - for United States’ First Daughter, Ivanka Trump.

RELATED: Activist Probing Ivanka Shoe Supplier Detained In China

In addition to the trademarks that cover several fashion-related categories, the clothing entrepreneur also applied for items in a category which covers voting machines and electronics including cameras and telephones.

The reportedly now-defunct company, which bears the name of the White House adviser, had previously applied for the 16 trademarks in March and May of 2016 - the year the elder Trump was elected U.S. head of state.

The family-run Trump Organization was also granted a number of trademarks by Beijing that same year.

According to Chinese government records, Ivanka’s trademark applications were granted preliminary approvals, in October, as Chinese and U.S. officials sought to restart trade talks.

“Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family’s businesses,” Caroline Zhang of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), who uncovered the filings, remarked.

Jordan Libowitz of CREW added that data indicated that some of the Washington advisor’s applications have taken longer than usual to process. “We obviously do not know the reason behind the timing, although some others have suspiciously lined up with events involving the Trump administration.”

However, Abigail Klem, former-president of the Ivanka Trump brand, had previously stated in relation to copyright infringement, that "we have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark." 

In May, China awarded Ivanka seven trademarks, which coincided with President Trump pledge to help Chinese state-owned telecom equipment maker to recover.

The recent trademarks are set to become fully approved after a three-month public review period. China has approved more than 30 trademark applications for Ivanka, who will hold trademarks for senior homes, veterinary services, batteries, wedding gowns and sausage casings. Ivanka Trump submitted 53 applications, overall.

China reversed a decision to reject nine Donald Trump trademarks last year, the Associated Press reported.

Ivanka currently serves as an adviser to her father, U.S. President Donald Trump.

Failed U.S.-China trade talks have resulted in Trump slapping $250-billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, followed by the Asian country imposing retaliatory tariffs on US$110 billion worth of U.S. products.

  • Published in World
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