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US tests mediumrange cruise missile after exiting INF treaty

first_imgWASHINGTON: The US Defense Department on Monday announced the test of a medium-range ground-launched cruise missile, just weeks after tearing up the Cold War-era pact with Russia eliminating that class of nuclear-capable weapons. The missile was launched on Sunday from the US Navy-controlled San Nicolas Island off the coast of Los Angeles, California. Also Read – Watch: Donald Trump says Florida faces absolute monster hurricane Advertise With Us “The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometres (310 miles) of flight,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.” While the missile was described as “conventionally configured,” meaning not nuclear-equipped, the launch was a sign of Washington beefing up its nuclear war-fighting capabilities in the wake of the collapse of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on August 2. Also Read – Pakistan test-fires 290-km range missile Advertise With Us The INF had banned all land-based missiles, conventional and nuclear, that could travel between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (310 and 3,400 miles), in an effort to abolish a class of nuclear arms being deployed by the United States and the then-Soviet Union that left Europe the most threatened. The missile tested on Sunday was a version of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile. The ground-launched version of the Tomahawk was removed from service after the INF was ratified. Advertise With Us New arms race worries Many fear the end of the INF, which Washington accused Moscow of having violated in recent years, will lead to a new and dangerous nuclear arms race. Early this month Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the US, no longer bound by the INF, had already begun work to develop “mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems.” “Now that we have withdrawn, the Department of Defense will fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles as a prudent response to Russia’s actions,” Esper said. But he also stressed the US was not embarking on a new arms race. “The traditional sense of an arms race has been in a nuclear context,” he said. “Right now, we don’t have plans to build nuclear-tipped INF-range weapons. It’s the Russians who have developed non-compliant likely, possibly nuclear-tipped weapons,” he said. He also said that the Pentagon would like to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Asia, a move that would likely anger China, which was not a party to the INF. “We would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later,” he said. Speaking in France before news of the US test launch broke, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was the United States and not Russia that withdrew “unilaterally” from the INF. He said Russia does not intend to deploy intermediate- and shorter-range missiles where the US has no similar weapons. “I have already said about that, and would like to say once again here, in France, we are unilaterally undertaking obligations. If the United States produces such offensive systems, we will also do so,” Putin said at a press conference before meetings with French leader Emmanuel Macron.last_img read more

Organized labor takes gamble by battling Obamas trade bill

first_img“There’s no risk in aggressively fighting for the right trade policy,” Samuel said. “Our members expect the politicians we elect to fight for their jobs.”Samuel said union members routinely “put in thousands of hours” to knock on doors, phone voters and do other tasks to help elect candidates, nearly all of them Democrats.Those defying them on trade are feeling the bite. For instance, the AFL-CIO is running a TV ad criticizing Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., for supporting fast track. The union says it wants a new congressman “with a backbone.”The AFL-CIO also is running ads and organizing protests against Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, who originally said she would oppose fast track but announced her support for the bill over the weekend.“Which Kathleen Rice can we trust?” the TV ad asks in a tone Democrats generally might expect from Republicans.The House’s leading trade proponent, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Democrats had added to the roughly 18 of their members willing to vote for the package.“They have a few more than that, but we need them to deliver more than they’ve publicly announced,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “We’re adding to our ‘yes’ column. We’re very close.” WASHINGTON (AP) — Organized labor’s fierce opposition to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda threatens to split the political left and deal a new blow to unions if the president prevails in a House vote that could come this week.Unions can ill-afford another high-profile defeat. Industrial states including Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin have enacted “right-to-work” laws after electing Republican governors and legislative majorities. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now a serious GOP presidential contender after winning major showdowns — including a recall election — against public-sector unions. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Last year, the United Auto Workers suffered a painful loss when workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee voted not to join. Nationally, union membership has declined for years.Nonetheless, labor groups say they have little to lose by battling trade deals they consider job-killers, and they’re ready to divorce themselves from Democrats who think otherwise. In campaigns against would-be friends, union activists are picketing offices and running TV ads against congressional Democrats who have endorsed or remain open to Obama’s bid for “fast track” negotiating authority.“Labor is taking a huge risk,” said Gary N. Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Massachusetts. Union activists could look like “extreme protectionists,” he said, which many Americans consider an outdated approach as they seek jobs in a global economy.Unions need smart, strategic thinking to recover from major setbacks in Wisconsin and elsewhere, Chaison said. “It’s been an extremely tough time for labor,” he said. “They must show they’re part of the solution.”Unions and Democrats agree on most big issues, but trade bitterly divides many of them. Samuel said the AFL-CIO has no qualms about going all-out to block Obama’s trade agenda. Still, he acknowledged the effort might fail.If the House approves fast track, Samuel said, “it will be with no votes to spare.”___Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Strategists on both sides predict a close House vote, and many say the pro-trade forces are within striking distance. If they prevail, it will deliver a stinging rebuke to unions already facing waning influence. In 1983, about 17.7 million U.S. workers — or one in five — belonged to unions. Last year the total was 14.6 million, or 11.1 percent.Even scholars who largely endorse labor’s trade strategy say unions are fighting from a posture of relative weakness.“They don’t have that much power or prestige to lose,” said Julius G. Getman, a labor law specialist at the University of Texas law school. Still, Getman said, labor’s approach might win new allies from a burgeoning liberal movement that’s associated with activists such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.Leading the opposition to the administration’s trade agenda is the AFL-CIO, which generally hailed Obama’s succession to Republican George W. Bush. Some member unions balked at the AFL-CIO’s decision in March to suspend PAC donations in order to focus all resources on defeating fast track. But overall reaction has been hugely supportive, said Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s head of government relations. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories FILE – In this April 25, 2015 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks in Waukee, Iowa. Organized labor’s fierce opposition to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda threatens to split the political left and deal a new blow to unions if the president prevails in an upcoming House vote. Unions can ill-afford another high-profile defeat. Industrial states including Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin have enacted “right-to-work laws” after electing Republican governors and legislative majorities. Walker is now a serious GOP presidential contender after winning major showdowns including a recall election against public-sector unions. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 0 Comments   Share   Obama says U.S. products must reach more foreign markets. He wants fast track powers to offer trade proposals that Congress can ratify or reject, but not change. If he obtains it, he’s expected to push the long-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and several other countries.The Democratic president is overwhelmingly relying on House Republicans to enact fast track legislation that survived a tough Senate vote. He needs perhaps two-dozen House Democrats, however, and unions are pounding his targets with calls, demonstrations and political threats.Late Tuesday, House Republicans cleared the way for a vote as early as this week, while also making a concession that points to the need for more Democratic votes. The Rules Committee removed a provision, strongly opposed by most Democrats, that would have funded a job-training program with cuts in Medicare spending. Instead, the program will be paid for with higher penalties and tougher enforcement of tax violations involving some businesses and higher education tax credits.The changes were made after a private meeting between Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Boehner strongly supports the trade bill, while Pelosi has been non-committal. 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