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Newsline: U.S. Senator’s Bill Would Name Russian Embassy’s Street After Slain Opposition Politician

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has introduced legislation to name the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington Boris Nemtsov Place in honor of the slain opposition politician. Rubio (Republican-Florida) proposed the bill on February 27, two years after Nemtsov was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin. Rubio, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said that Nemtsov “was just one of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s critics who have wound up dead or hospitalized as the regime cracks down on any opposition.” “The creation of ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’ would permanently remind Putin’s regime and the Russian people that these dissidents’ voices live on, and that defenders of liberty will not be silenced,” Rubio said in a statement. “Whether it is looking at a street sign or thousands of pieces of correspondence addressed ‎’1 Boris Nemtsov Plaza,’ it will be abundantly clear to the Kremlin that the intimidation and murder of opposition figures does not go unnoticed.” For Rubio’s resolution to become U.S. law, it must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

http://www.rferl.org/a/us-senator-bill-name-russian-embassy-street-after-nemtsov-rubio-putin/28337578.html

Newsline: China’s top diplomat on first official US visit in Donald Trump era

China’s top diplomat will soon be in the United States (US) on the first official visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office, amid signs of strain in ties over trade relations and growing tension in east Asia. State Councillor Yang Jiechi will be in Washington for two days beginning Monday. He will exchange views with senior Trump administration officials on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. Yang, the top diplomat in Chinese political hierarchy who has served as ambassador to Washington, is the first senior official from China to visit the US since Trump took office on January 20. And it comes after Trump agreed to “honour” the ‘One China’ policy, which considers Taiwan part of China, during a telephonic conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 10, retracting from his previous public stance that he would negotiate the policy. The future of US-China ties remain uncertain after Trump accused the world’s second-largest economy of cheating at trade and repeatedly called it a “currency manipulator”. Trump has also slammed China over its assertive moves in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), where Beijing has built islands that can potentially be used for military purposes.

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-china-s-top-diplomat-on-first-official-us-visit-in-trump-era-2336140

Newsline: India’s top diplomat to visit Washington for talks

India’s top diplomat will visit Washington this week for talks with the new US administration, an Indian foreign ministry official said Sunday. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is expected to discuss with American officials India’s concerns over proposed US legislation that could make it harder for companies to replace American workers with those from India and other countries. Also on the agenda during Jaishankar’s four-day visit, which begins Tuesday, is safety for foreigners following a Kansas City bar shooting that killed an Indian engineer and wounded another. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup did not give details Sunday, but news reports said Jaishankar would meet with US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Tom Shannon and other officials.

http://pakobserver.net/indias-top-diplomat-to-visit-washington-for-talks/

Newsline: Mexican consulates become welcome ally for anxious immigrants in US

First came the anxious calls in the days after the election of President Donald Trump. Now, people begin lining up before 8am and crowd the waiting rooms inside the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Mexican citizens come to renew passports that have been unused for more than a decade. They desperately ask lawyers if they can do anything to help them stay in the United States. They register their children for Mexican citizenship, just in case they are sent back and decide to move their whole family with them. When the consulate began to get reports of dozens of Mexicans being arrested by immigration officials last week, they immediately dispatched lawyers to the federal detention centre downtown. These are demanding times for the 50 Mexican consulates scattered throughout the United States. With Trump’s promise to crack down on immigrants living in the United States illegally and an executive order that vastly expands who is considered a priority for deportation, Mexicans living in the United States illegally are increasingly on edge. And consulates are moving quickly to help. As official representatives of the Mexican government in the United States, the consulates can provide legal guidance and resources for people and families dealing with immigration issues. Mexicans make up about half of the country’s 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The relationship between Mexico and the United States is at its lowest point in years. Mexican officials say they are eager to keep families living in the United States together. There are economic concerns too: Mexicans living abroad send more than $25 billion back home, with most of the money coming from the United States, according to Mexico’s central bank.

http://gulfnews.com/news/americas/usa/mexican-consulates-become-welcome-ally-for-anxious-immigrants-1.1980392

Newsline: Swedish Embassy asks the US to explain Trump comment on Sweden

Swedish Embassy in Washington asked US President Donald Trump to clarify what he meant when he alluded to a major security event that recently took place in the Scandinavian nation, local media reported Sunday. Speaking in Florida about a rise in terror attacks in Europe on Saturday, Trump referred to Sweden, who had taken in large numbers of refugees, saying “When you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.” “We want clarity on what it was about. We are wondering what he referred to,” Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson told the local TT news agency. The remark caused confusion in Swedish media, with some outlets publishing lists of what could have possibly gone wrong in the country on that day. It has also brought to life #LastNightInSweden hashtag mocking the comment and rapidly gaining popularity in Twittersphere.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201702201050848535-sweden-trump-what-happened-there/

Newsline: US Ambassador’s Gift to Somali President Leads to Confusion

Controversy is surrounding a meeting between U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, and new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The controversy is not so much about the meeting but what happened during the photo opportunity when Schwartz gave Farmajo a hat bearing a slogan that appears to be derived from President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” After the meeting, the Twitter account of the U.S. Mission tweeted about the meeting posting a message that read, “US2SOM Amb Schwartz had a fruitful mtng w Pres Farmaajo 2day + presented the Pres with a cap “MAKE SOM GREAT AGAIN.” The photo attached with the message shows the two men shaking hands and holding the hat. Most Twitter users thought the gift was a diplomatic misstep; others were harsher and said the timing for such a message was inappropriate because of Trump’s recent immigration travel ban that affected seven Muslim-majority nations, including Somalia.

http://www.voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-gift-to-somali-president/3730709.html

Newsline: US to station marines at de facto embassy in Taipei

The United States will station 10 to 15 marines at the country’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, a former US diplomat said on Friday (Feb 17), in a move set to incur China’s anger. In an interview on Taiwanese radio station Hit FM, William Stanton – the director from 2009 to 2012 of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which acts as the US embassy on the island in the absence of official ties – confirmed the deployment. Another former AIT director, Stephen Young, had mentioned the plan at a seminar in Washington.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/us-to-station-marines-at-de-facto-embassy-in-taipei-confirms-ex-diplomat