Opinion & Community

Massive blast in the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic quarter kills scores


Video link: 592e7bd4e4b00249e68a5cac_t_1496218611542_master.m3u8

 A massive blast Wednesday tore through the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital of Kabul killing at least 80 people, according to officials, underlining the fragility of the country as it buckles under a wave of rebel attacks.

The Interior Ministry said the blast was triggered by huge quantity of explosives hidden in a water tank that went off during the peak of the morning rush hour on a busy road in Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city.

Wahid Majroh, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said at least 350 people were also wounded.

“I felt like it was an earthquake and after that I do not know what happened,” said Mohammed Hassan, 21, who had been attending a bank training program. “All the staff around me, everyone, was injured.” 

Afghanistan has been suffering from a surge of attacks from the Taliban movement since it declared a new spring offensive, including spectacular attacks on the once secure capital.


There have also been a string of attacks claimed by the rival Islamic State group.

Even by the standards of war-torn Kabul, however, this blast stood apart for its sheer magnitude, blowing out windows across the city and setting dozens of cars ablaze.

The target was unclear, but the bomb went off near the Germany Embassy and the nearby French and Chinese embassies were reportedly damaged, according to Reuters news agency.

Officials said, however, that most of the casualties were civilians.

“These heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans,” said a government statement. “These attacks also demonstrate the extreme level of atrocity by terrorists against innocent civilians.”

More than three hours after the blast, ambulances were still rushing to the site and its smoking, wrecked buildings to evacuate the casualties, a sign that the number of dead and wounded could still rise.

Authorities closed all key roads to traffic to deal with the aftermath of the blast and as a precautionary measure in case further explosions were planned.


At Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, not far from the blast, hundreds of anxious and angry people crammed outside the main entrance, trying to get inside to see their injured loved ones, while police guarded the facility. Ambulances rushed back and forth carrying the injured, the dead, and sometimes just body parts burnt black by the blast.

Police and medics carried gray body bags covered with blood.

Like past attacks, the anger soon moved to the government for failing to protect residents — even in one of the most guarded enclaves in the city.

“This is an inept government that cannot protect the people and must be dissolved. It is time for an interim government to be formed,” said lawmaker Mirwais Yasin. 

There are already 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan supporting the government, but earlier this year, their leader, Gen. John Nicholson, said he needed several thousand more to break the stalemate. 

Tour de France 2017 stage maps and profiles revealed

Complete routes and profiles for all 21 stages of the upcoming Grande Boucle.



The 2017 Tour de France is just over a month away, and the ASO has revealed the routes and profiles for all 21 stages as the Grand Départ approaches. From the start in Düsseldorf through Belgium and Luxembourg to France, the 104th edition of the sport's main event will pit the peloton against an intriguing array of challenges, with a particular focus on a few steep ascents, across several distinct parts of France and its neighbours.

Defending champion Chris Froome and challengers Nairo QuintanaRichie Porte and Alberto Contador will find themselves on a route that may skew slightly towards the climbers but with a generally balanced feel. The time trial mileage is limited, but so are the mammoth uphill slogs.

Race director Christian Prudhomme noted late last year that he wanted a less predictable Tour de France. To that end, the 2017 Tour will spread its GC-defining days across all three weeks, with fewer climbs in total than in 2016 but several especially steep mountain gradients that will force riders to rely more on their own legs than the comfort of a teammate's slipstream.

A short opening time trial in Düsseldorf, marking the race's first foray onto German soil in three decades, will set the tone on the overall leaderboard early, though without much likelihood of serious time gaps. The stage hunters will come to the fore over the next few days as the Tour works its way south through Belgium and Luxembourg before the first true mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles on the fifth day of the race. The site of Chris Froome's first ever Tour stage win in 2012, where Vincenzo Nibali took hold of the yellow jersey in a victorious 2014 campaign, the relatively short but quite steep climb is sure to have a big impact on the race.

Two more mountain stages before the first rest day – a stage 8 with a late first-category climb and a stage 9 pairing the Grand Colombier with a late hors-categorie climb – are sure to delight the many fans who don't like waiting until late in the third week for GC action.




Stage 12 looks to be the next key challenge as the Tour heads to the Pyrenees. A long one at 214 kilometres, it features five categorised climbs and closes out with a fantastic trio of challenging ascents: the HC-rated Port de Balès, the Cat. 1 Peyresourde and a short but steep second-category finish to Peyragudes for good measure. A stage 13 with three first-category climbs will follow to keep the yellow jersey hopefuls on their toes.

The final week presents a pair of mountainous days on stage 17 and 18 as the final climber's test of the race. The former features the Croix de Fer and the Galibier among its four categorised climbs before a long but speedy descent to the finish. The latter finishes atop the Col d'Izoard which starts out gently before kicking up to sections of nine and 10 per cent.

The 20th stage offers one last GC challenge – an individual time trial in Marseille. Flat for the first 14 kilometres and the last five, the course features a viciously steep climb crested at 15.6 kilometres, an unusual feature for the discipline. At 22.5 kilometres in full, it's not an especially long race against the clock. Considering the topography of the Tour as a whole, however, things could still be close on the penultimate stage, and the TT could make all the difference in the battle to bring yellow onto the Champs-Élysées the following day.

2017 Tour de France route:

  • Stage 1 - July 01, 2017: Düsseldorf - Düsseldorf, 14km
  • Stage 2 - July 02, 2017: Düsseldorf - Liège, 206km
  • Stage 3 - July 03, 2017: Verviers - Longwy, 202km
  • Stage 4 - July 04, 2017: Mondotf-les-Bains - Vittel, 203km
  • Stage 5 - July 05, 2017: Vittel - La Planche de Belles Filles, 160km
  • Stage 6 - July 06, 2017: Visoul - Troyes, 216km
  • Stage 7 - July 07, 2017: Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges, 214km
  • Stage 8 - July 08, 2017: Dole - Sation des Rousses, 187km
  • Stage 9 - July 09, 2017: Nantua - Chambery, 181km
  • Rest day 1 July 10, 2017 Dordogne - Dordogne
  • Stage 10 - July 11, 2017: Perigueux - Bergerac, 178km
  • Stage 11 - July 12, 2017: Eymet - Pau, 202km
  • Stage 12 - July 13, 2017: Pau - Peryagudes, 214km
  • Stage 13 - July 14, 2017: Saint Girons - Foix, 100km
  • Stage 14 - July 15, 2017: Blagnac - Rodez, 181km
  • Stage 15 - July 16, 2017: Laissac-Severac 'Eglise - Le Puy-en-Velay, 189km
  • Rest day 2 July 17, 2017 Le Puy-en-Velay - Le Puy-en-Velay
  • Stage 16 - July 18, 2017: Le Puy-en-Velay - Romans sur Isere, 165km
  • Stage 17 - July 19, 2017: Le Murre - Serre Chavalier, 183km
  • Stage 18 - July 20, 2017: Briancon - Izoard, 178km
  • Stage 19 - July 21, 2017: Embrun - Salon de Provence, 220km
  • Stage 20 - July 22, 2017: Marseille - Marseille (ITT), 23km
  • Stage 21 - July 23, 2017: Montgeron - Paris, 105km

Waving goodbye: Cassini sends stunning image of ripples in Saturn's A ring from 'Grand Finale' orbits





A stunning new close-up view of Saturn’s Keeler Gap reveals the rippling waves along the edge of the main rings, caused by the mini-moon Daphnis.

The phenomenon is the result of Daphnis’ gravitational pull, which disrupts the tiny particles in the A ring, according to NASA.

Though just 5 miles wide (8 kilometers), the moon’s influence is powerful enough to create these waves in both the horizontal and vertical plane as it moves through the Keeler Gap, creating breathtaking patterns of waves.

Cassini captured the image before it began its Grand Finale orbits, according to the space agency.

The view, obtained from 18,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) from Daphnis on January 16, shows the sunlit side of the rings.

During this time, Cassini observed the outer edges of the main rings in unprecedented detail, even revealing a tiny strand of material near Daphnis, which ‘appears to almost have been directly ripped out of the A ring.’

‘Daphnis creates waves in the edges of the gap through its gravitational influence,’ NASA explains.

‘Some clumping of ring particles can be seen in the perturbed edge, similar to what was seen on the edges of the Encke Gap back when Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004.’

Though just 5 miles wide (8 kilometers), the moon’s influence is powerful enough to create these waves in both the horizontal and vertical plane as it moves through the Keeler Gap, creating breathtaking patterns of waves. During this time, Cassini even spotted a tiny strand of material near Daphnis, which ‘appears to almost have been directly ripped out of the A ring’

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent back the most detailed look yet at a sprinkling of ‘propeller belts’ in Saturn’s A ring. The features can be seen as bright specks surrounding the stunning wave pattern in the middle part of the ring


During its seven-year Solstice Mission, Cassini watched as a huge storm erupted and encircled Saturn (pictured). Saturn's solstice, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere, arrived just a few days ago for the planet and its moons

In this artist's illustration the spacecraft is shown breaking apart after entering Saturn's atmosphere. The planned end of Cassini will occur on September 15, 2017

In this artist's illustration the spacecraft is shown breaking apart after entering Saturn's atmosphere. The planned end of Cassini will occur on September 15, 2017

The latest views obtained by the Cassini spacecraft were captured on May 7 during a non-targeted flyby, at a distance of 316,000 miles (508,000 kilometers) and 311,000 miles (500,000 km). Three bands of bright methane clouds can be seen clearly above the surface. These are shown in stronger and softer enhancements, above

The brightness is thought to be the result of high-cloud tops, and this outburst is the most extensive observed on Titan since early last year. The images also reveal the moon’s hydrocarbon lakes and seas as dark splotches at the top

Twenty years after leaving Earth, NASA's Cassini spacecraft began its final mission: a series of 22 dives between Saturn and its rings. The first of those dives picked up surprising data - which was transformed into unsettling 'space music'

Cassini began the first of 22 'Grand Finale Orbits' through an unexplored gap on April 26 before it eventually takes its final plunge into the planet. This graphic shows these orbits alongside the Ring-Grazing orbits the craft has undergone over the past 13 years. The orbit of Titan, one of Saturn's moons, is shown in dark green and the direction of Earth is shown in white

Link to video: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4556178/Cassini-sends-stunning-image-ripples-Saturn-s-ring.html#v-3268326570182198235

McGregor vs Pacquiao?

by Nick Giongco/Manila Bulletin

PACQUIAO: ‘Age is just a number.’ (Manila Bulletin)

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao can fill in for Floyd Mayweather in case the brash American fighter opts not to proceed with a crossover showdown with mixed-martial arts star Connor McGregor, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said yesterday.

But Roach, who has trained Pacquiao since 2001, insists that the fight will have to be fought in a boxing ring as the duo gets ready for Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia.

“Not in an octagon and boxing gloves will have to be used and boxing rules will be enforced,” Roach said during the PSA Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel.

“Manny is not trained in the ground game and wrestling although he loves to imitate Bruce Lee. But he is not a UFC fighter. He is a pure boxer,” said Roach when asked about the possibility of seeing Pacquiao slug it out with McGregor.

For a fight to happen, “it has to be a boxing match,” said the 57-year-old Roach.

There have been talks that Mayweather will go for an unprecedented win No. 50 against McGregor and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has also made it known that the Filipino eight-division champ can step up to the plate.

Talks about a McGregor fight swirled even as Pacquiao and Roach welcomed the arrival of a new sparmate from Mexico: Adrian Young.

Roach immediately put the 24-year-old Young to the test and did three rounds with Pacquiao, whom Roach, swears was getting better following his lackadaisical showing exactly a week ago.

Activists investigating Ivanka Trump's China shoe factory detained or missing

 in Hong Kong/The Guardian

Three men from New York-based rights group China Labor Watch were looking at conditions at plant where Trump shoes are assembled

A labour activist working undercover investigating abuses at a Chinese factory that makes Ivanka Trump shoes has been detained by police and two others are missing, raising concerns the company’s ties to the US president’s family may have led to harsher treatment.

Hua Haifeng was being held by police on suspicion of illegal surveillance, his wife Deng Guilian said. Hua had worked for labour rights organisations for more than a decade and was investigating a factory in southern Guangdong province for New York-based rights group China Labor Watch.

Hua, 36, attempted to travel to Hong Kong last week but was stopped at the border. He was later questioned by police in Shenzhen, a city on the border with Hong Kong, and was released. He then traveled to Jiangxi province and disappeared, before his wife was notified by police. 

“I was scared when the police called me, I was shaking with a mix of fear and anger,” Deng told the Guardian, adding she was worried she would be unable to support their two young children as well as three elderly relatives without his income.

The case highlights the political sensitivity of a brand associated with the family of Donald Trump, who repeatedly bashed China for taking American jobs on the campaign trail but has since cosied up to president Xi Jinping.

Trump himself has been granted dozens of trademarks in China since becoming president, and relatives of Jared Kushner, an advisor to the president, were recently caught trying to entice wealthy investors into luxury developments, with the prospect of receiving US green cards in return.

Foreign NGOs have also come under increased scrutiny since Xi came to power in 2012, and a newly enacted law requires groups that operate in the country to register with the police.

Two other men, Li Zhao and Su Heng, had investigated a factory in Jiangxi province that assembles Ivanka Trump shoes and were still missing on Wednesday, said Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch. He believes they have been detained by police or are being held at the factory.

“I think they were detained because this factory makes products for Ivanka Trump, so now this situation has become political and very complicated,” said Li. “I appeal to President Trump, Ivanka Trump herself, and to her brand to advocate and press for the release our activists.”

The undercover activists were to allege a host of labour violations at the plant, Li said, including paying below China’s legal minimum wage, managers verbally abusing workers and “violations of women’s rights”.

Li said he contacted the Ivanka Trump brand on April 27 to inform them of the labour violations, and urged them to ensure their suppliers were complying with Chinese law, but no changes were made.

The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian. A woman who answered the phone at the Ganzhou, Jiangxi public security bureau said only, “I’m busy now,” before hanging up.

Calls to Huajian Group, the owner of the factory, went unanswered and staff at the factory where the three activists had gone undercover said they were not aware of the case.

Huajian also manufactures products for Coach, Karl Largerfeld and Kendall + Kylie at the factory where the activists went undercover.

“Over the last 17 years, we have conducted hundreds of investigations in factories across China, this is the first time any our investigators have been detained,” Li added. “The accusation from Jiangxi police has no factual basis. 

Activists are usually simply ejected from the factory, or in the worst case questioned by police before being set free. China Labor Watch has previously gone undercover in Apple and Samsung plants in China, without incident.

Li Zhao, one of the missing activists, was telephoned by police before he disappeared, but was not asked to report for questioning. He worked at the same factory as Hua in Guangdong, but was fired after five days for taking photos on his mobile phone. He then went to Jiangxi and disappeared.

With additional reporting by Wang Zhen.

Makati first to launch smart card for residents

By Emmie V. Abadilla/Manila Bulletin

Makati expects to be the Philippines’ First Truly Connected City after yesterday’s launch of the Makatizen Card that gives its 500,000 residents access to the city government’s services.

The card, which also functions as a valid government ID card and an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Card, can be used to transact with the city government,  receive cash allowances, stipends and other cash benefits.

Residents can also use the card to pay fees and taxes, personal remittances and other financial transactions while city government employees, can use theirs to receive salaries and allowances.

The Makatizen Card is a collaboration among the city government of Makati, Globe Telecom, its subsidiary G-XChange, Inc., and iBayad Online Ventures, Inc.

Some 1,000 functioning sample cards were yesterday tested at Makati City Hall.

“It takes us a step nearer to achieving our goal of empowering everyone, including those in the marginalized sectors of society, to enjoy a better quality of life,” says Makati Mayor Abigail Binay.

Furthermore, the card’s wide range of digital and mobile services offers the people of Makati  more convenient and cost-effective ways of meeting their day-to-day needs and obligations,” she added.

“We view this unsolicited project proposal from Globe, GCash, and iBayad as the springboard to transform Makati into the country’s first digital city.”

“For the Philippines to truly become a digital nation, we need to take advantage of new digital  opportunities and innovations to enable growth in every corner of our country,” according to Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu.


Red Cross seeks more donations for Marawi evacuees


MANILA — The Philippine Red Cross is asking for more donations to aid families affected by the ongoing armed clashes in Marawi City.

As of Tuesday, the PRC’s Operation Center reported that around 96 barangays (villages) or around 29,000 individuals have been affected and displaced by the tensions in Marawi.
Infrastructures, including houses, schools and jails, were also damaged, the humanitarian agency said Tuesday.
The PRC said they would accept any form of donations to cover the cost of food items such as rice, noodles, assorted canned goods, and hot meals, as well as non-food items such as blankets, plastic mats, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and jerry can containers.
“Filipinos always rise to help selflessly. Our brothers and sisters in Mindanao need you to help extend their lives while facing ongoing clashes. Let us help the most vulnerable by making a difference,” PRC
Chair Richard Gordon said in a statement.
PRC cited for instance that for every donation of P850, a family will receive rice, noodles, assorted canned goods, and coffee for three days. For just over P1,000, a family will be given comfort in the form of blankets, sleeping mats, and clean water.
PRC said 700 individuals have received hot meals, 725 individuals have been provided psycho-social support, while more than 8,400 individuals were given access to clean and potable water.
More than 200 blood units, meanwhile, are available at the PRC-Iligan Chapter for individuals who need blood transfusion.
“Help must reach out to people in Mindanao. Help us extend our humanitarian work to those in need by anticipating their needs,” PRC Secretary General Oscar Palabyab said in a statement.
Donors may deposit cash donations through any of the following Philippine Red Cross bank accounts:
Account name: Philippine Red Cross
BDO Peso Account – 00-453-0190938
BDO Dollar Account – 10-453-0039482
Metrobank Peso Account – 151-7-15152434-2
Metrobank Dollar Account – 151-2-15100218-2
Donors may also personally send their donations to the PRC’s office at the PRC Tower, 37 EDSA corner Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. Call 790-2410 or 0917-834-8378 and look for Ma. Rizza Genil or Shervi Corpuz for more details. SFM
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the attacks in Marawi City
Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860.


8 Maute Group members surrender – AFP

The 8 surrenderers provide 'very, very valuable intelligence' to government forces as they rid Marawi City of terrorists, says AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.

by Pia Ranada

MANILA, Philippines – Eight members of the Maute terror group have surrendered to government forces, according to the military.

“There were 8 members holed up in Marawi who surrendered to forces,” said Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, during a Palace news briefing on Wednesday, May 31.

Padilla received the information from Brigadier General Custodio Parcon of the Philippine Marines. Parcon said the terrorists surrendered on Sunday, May 28.

The 8 have been able to help military and police in ongoing clashes against the Maute Group, which continues to hold certain areas of the city under its control.

“These individuals have been talked to and debriefed and have provided very, very valuable intelligence,” said Padilla.

This is the first time members of the terror group have surrendered since the clashes began on May 23.

Padilla confirmed reports from ground commanders in Marawi that around 90% of Marawi had been cleared of the Maute Group.

As of Wednesday, May 31, 89 members of the group had been killed, said Padilla.

The AFP called on more terrorists to surrender. 

“Our message is, while you have time, consider deeply to surrender, lay down your arms and let’s just talk. We will treat you humanely,” Padilla said in a chance interview after the press conference.

The military is tapping religious leaders and scholars in backchannel talks to convince Maute Group members to surrender or let go of their hostages, including Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the vicar general of the Marawi bishop.

“The Muslim leaders have to help in convincing the Muslims holding him not to kill him because he helps not only Christians, but Muslims also,” said Padilla in a mix of English and Filipino.

“There are many religious leaders in the Muslim side who are interested that Father Chito come out of this alive because they have been working together on many good projects so if he is gone, who will be the connection of the Muslim leaders?” he added.

Soganub appeared in a propaganda video released on Tuesday, where he seemed to support the demands of the Maute local terror group. Bishop Edwin dela Peña said the priest was obviously "under duress" when he appeared in the video.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in Iligan City on May 26 that he had directed lawyer Abdullah Mamao, Presidential Adviser on overseas Filipino workers, to reach out to members of the terror group who are willing to "talk peace" with the government.

Martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has given government forces up to Friday, June 2, to end the Marawi siege. – Rappler.com


New Trump attack on Germany widens transatlantic rift



WASHINGTON, United States — The transatlantic diplomatic rift widened on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump responded to criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel with a new attack on German trade tactics and defense spending.

Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer insisted that the leaders “get on very well” but — as is often the case — his warm words from the White House podium were overshadowed by the president’s intemperate tweets.

When Trump returned over the weekend from the first foreign trip of his presidency, his aides hailed the tour as a success and a sign of renewed and bolder US leadership on the world stage.

But, while Trump received a warm welcome in Saudi Arabia and Israel, he left behind a bitter taste in Europe after the NATO summit in Brussels and the G7 get-together of the world’s richest powers in Sicily.

European leaders were especially dismayed by Trump’s refusal to reaffirm US support for last year’s Paris climate change accord and his failure to publicly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge.

Germany, until recently Washington’s closest partner in Europe, was particularly discomfited, and Merkel wasted no time in warning German voters that the United States can no longer be relied upon as before.

Trump’s response came in the early hours of Tuesday when he took to Twitter to once again demand that Germany renegotiate the terms of transatlantic trade and boost its defense spending.

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military,” Trump wrote, in his flamboyantly undiplomatic style. “Very bad for US. This will change.”

‘Trump was not aggressive’

German officials have repeatedly insisted that, as a member of the European Union, they cannot conduct bilateral trade talks with the US and that they are not ready to dramatically increase military spending.

In January, the White House accused Germany of exploiting an undervalued euro to boost its trade advantage, despite Berlin’s long opposition to the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy.

And, even after he held a frosty meeting with Merkel in Washington in March and heard her explain Germany has no independent, non-EU trade policy, Trump continues to complain about Germany’s surplus.

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, Trump told European officials in Brussels last week that “the Germans are bad, very bad.”

Spicer gamely tried to deny the report, insisting that European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had confirmed that “Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus.”

But after Merkel and other senior German officials, who are campaigning ahead of September national elections in their own country, spent the weekend attacking Trump, the US leader returned to the theme.

‘Weakening the West’

Not only does the spat continue but Merkel has seized upon it as an opportunity — in the wake of the election of Emmanuel Macron as a pro-Europe French president — to rally Europe around her leadership.

She warned German voters that her experience in dealing with Trump at NATO and the G7 had convinced her that the times when Europe could rely on Washington and London “are coming to an end.”

“Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us… but the current situation gives more reasons for… us to take our destiny in our own hands,” she said Tuesday.

“Europe must become a player active in international affairs.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was even more blunt on Monday, slamming the US president’s “short-sighted” policies that have “weakened the West” and hurt European interests.

“The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union,” he warned, judging that “the West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker.”

Speaking just days after Trump promised to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion worth of arms in order to deter Iran, Gabriel accused Washington of fuelling religious conflict.

And he warned against “accelerating climate change by weakening environmental protection.”

British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage, who has built a bond with Trump, accused Merkel and Juncker of triggering a row with Washington deliberately to further the “anti-democratic” goal of a German-led European state.

“Believe me, I know Trump and I know the people around him. He is not going to kick NATO into touch provided people pay their way,” Farage claimed.

“Merkel and Juncker actually want to see the Americans leaving Europe. And I regard that, far from being good for peace, actually as being very dangerous.”

Trump said he will give his verdict on the Paris accord later this week and has warned that Washington may pull out of a pact that European leaders see as the last best hope to slow global warming. CBB


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