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30 июля, 21:33

Putin cutting U.S. embassy staff in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin hit back at pending U.S. sanctions against his country on Sunday by ordering 755 U.S. diplomats to leave Russia."I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered," Putin said in an interview with Russian television on Sunday, according to translated reports in the New York Times and RT. "We've been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it's not going to change in the near future."According to the U.S. State Department web site, there is an embassy in Moscow and consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. There’s no indication how big the total U.S. presence is, though Putin stated in his interview that the U.S. staff exceeds 1,000 people.President Donald Trump has indicated that he will sign a sanctions package that includes tough new penalties on Russia and would severely restrict the president's ability to ease those sanctions without congressional approval. The White House initially expressed opposition to the bill, but announced Friday that Trump would sign it into law after it passed the House and Senate with just a handful of opponents.The Obama administration levied sanctions for Russians meddling in the 2016 presidential election last December, which included seizing two Russian diplomatic compounds located in the United States. Russian officials have said the seizure was egregious, but did not respond in kind, reportedly due to assurances made by Trump's now-resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the U.S. would need to cut its diplomatic staff size and seized properities currently being used by the U.S. government. Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Estonia and other Baltic states over the next couple of days. During an interview with Fox News, Pence expressed hope that Russia would change its behavior in Ukraine, Iran and elsewhere."As we make our intentions clear, we expect Russian behavior to change," Pence said before Putin's interview was published. "The president and I remain very hopeful that we will see different behavior by the Russian government with regards to Ukraine, with regards to supporting rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea. We continue to believe that if Russia will change its behavior, our relationship will change for the better."

30 июля, 17:27

Russian official vows 'retaliation' for more sanctions

A Russian official on Sunday said the order to remove U.S. diplomats from Russia was “retaliation” for the Senate’s approval of increased sanctions last week — and promised more payback for similar actions in the future.The Senate voted 98-2 last week to impose greater sanctions on Russia, as well as North Korea and Iran. And, in response, Russia ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic presence there. On Sunday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on ABC’s “This Week” that the retaliatory move was “long, long overdue.”“After the Senate, the day before yesterday voted, or rather on the 27th of July voted so overwhelmingly on a completely weird and unacceptable piece of legislation, it was the last drop,” Ryabkov said. “If the U.S. side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind," he added. "We will mirror this. We will retaliate. But my whole point is don't do this, it is to the detriment of the interests of the U.S.”Asked if further retaliation could take the form of sanctions, Ryabkov declined to speculate. “We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen,” he said. “But I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things.”

30 июля, 17:27

Russian official vows 'retaliation' for more sanctions

A Russian official on Sunday said the order to remove U.S. diplomats from Russia was “retaliation” for the Senate’s approval of increased sanctions last week — and promised more payback for similar actions in the future.The Senate voted 98-2 last week to impose greater sanctions on Russia, as well as North Korea and Iran. And, in response, Russia ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic presence there. On Sunday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on ABC’s “This Week” that the retaliatory move was “long, long overdue.”“After the Senate, the day before yesterday voted, or rather on the 27th of July voted so overwhelmingly on a completely weird and unacceptable piece of legislation, it was the last drop,” Ryabkov said. “If the U.S. side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind," he added. "We will mirror this. We will retaliate. But my whole point is don't do this, it is to the detriment of the interests of the U.S.”Asked if further retaliation could take the form of sanctions, Ryabkov declined to speculate. “We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen,” he said. “But I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things.”

30 июля, 14:08

Lawsuits could force feds to pay Obamacare insurers

The companies claim the federal government owes them billions from a program meant to stabilize Obamacare marketplaces.

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30 июля, 00:00

The Republican Party's Massive Health Care Failures, Explained

Ezra Klein, VoxThe HCFA, the last-ditch effort to uphold Republicans’ promise to repeal Obamacare, was something unusual in politics: a bill that senators would only support if they were assured it would never become law. The hastily drafted legislation, which was only released three hours before the vote, would have detonated the Affordable Care Act’s individual markets without building anything in their place — as such, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would drive 16 million people into the ranks of the uninsured, and estimates of similar bills in the past had projected...

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29 июля, 08:45

My two-legged children refuse to help with my four-legged ones

Getting a dog was the children’s idea – provided I looked after it. Now, my live-at-home kids still adore our pets, but on exactly the same conditionTen years ago, I gave in to the children’s pleas and promises and acquired a small dog. I’d never been a dog lover and hadn’t owned one before, but the vet assured me that a border terrier was a safe bet. We called her Maisy and the children loved her very much, but never took her for walks or fed her or picked up after her. Of course not.Now the kids are grown, Maisy is still going strong, and they still don’t look after her. But the creature I got for the sake of the children is now the smallest member of a pack of hounds that mill around my feet like boisterous shadows and take up hours of my day. Continue reading...

29 июля, 02:20

McConnell’s Strange Achievement

With the public against it, a president who couldn’t stay on message and even allies calling it a ‘disaster,’ the Senate master nearly passed a huge bill anyway. That’s something, right?

28 июля, 23:45

The Anger in Jordan's Streets

Protests in the country's capital are directed not only at Israel but also at the Jordanian government.

28 июля, 17:55

Без заголовка

**Should-Read: Josh Barro**: John McCain saved Republicans from themselves by killing Obamacare repeal bill: "Lindsey Graham made a demand: He would vote for the terrible healthcare bill being offered before the Senate, a bill he thought would cause health insurance market disaster... >...as long as he received clear assurances that the House would never... make it law.... Like a lot of the weird things Republicans have said and done on healthcare in the last few months, it makes sense if you understand their underlying political goals. All the options Republicans have left themselves on healthcare are both terrible policy and dreadfully unpopular. So members haven't set out to make good policy. They have set out to avoid being blamed for whatever becomes law—and also to avoid being blamed if nothing becomes law.... >Early Friday morning, McCain arranged to vote out of alphabetical order, so he could shout the "no" that killed the bill to the applause of his Democratic colleagues. He built up as much drama as he could for the moment, telling reporters who asked about his intentions before the vote they would have to "watch the show." Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein hugged him on the Senate floor. If...

28 июля, 12:00

Could Trump’s Immigration Agenda Ever Get Through Congress?

Even groups supportive of the president’s plans have their doubts.

28 июля, 11:52

How McCain tanked Obamacare repeal

The maverick senator delivers a stunning rebuke to President Donald Trump and his own party leadership.

28 июля, 08:40

John McCain's 'No' Vote Sinks Republicans' 'Skinny Repeal' Plan

The Arizona veteran cast an unexpected vote against Mitch McConnell’s last-ditch proposal to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving the GOP once again without a way forward.

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28 июля, 01:54

Без заголовка

**Must-Read: Dylan Scott**: The Obamacare repeal debate is now a completely bonkers game of chicken: "On Thursday evening, mere hours before the Senate is supposed to vote on a health care bill, the United States Capitol is in chaos... >...This is what we actually know: >* Senate Republicans have still not released the actual text of whatever they will vote on at the end of their debate, probably Friday morning. >* Many Republican senators don’t want their bill, whatever it is, to actually become law. But they might still vote for it, because they want to pass some bill, any bill, and then open up negotiations with the House on a bigger health care package. >* There are rampant if unverifiable rumors that House Republicans are prepared to pass whatever the Senate sends them, perhaps as soon as Friday, >* Some senators are threatening not to vote for their own health care bill unless House Republicans assure them that they will not pass the Senate bill. >The real story is that Republicans, after seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, are unable to come up with a plan to actually do that, and it has come crashing down...

28 июля, 01:27

Want to see bipartisanship in Washington? Fire Mueller

The many rumblings about the special counsel's future — which have intensified since President Donald Trump publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions — could unite lawmakers from both parties in a way few issues have.

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27 июля, 23:58

Pants With PT01: How Italy Is Revamping Denim Once Again

The dominant characteristics of our time seems to dictate the beta of a new style. The rules seem to fade away before our eyes. Prior to constructing new ones, we all seem to seek assurance that the styles are on point and align with our personal identities.

27 июля, 23:30

The Senate's Blind Vote on 'Skinny Repeal'

Three Republicans issued an unusual demand on Thursday, saying they will only vote for Mitch McConnell’s latest proposal if they are assured it won’t become law.

27 июля, 22:32

House weighs 'martial law' for Obamacare repeal

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has instructed lawmakers to keep their schedules light, in case the Senate passes Obamacare repeal legislation and the House comes under pressure to act."While last votes are currently scheduled to take place tomorrow, Members are advised that — pending Senate action on health care — the House schedule is subject to change,” McCarthy's announcement to members reads. "All Members should remain flexible in their travel plans over the next few days. Further information regarding potential additional items will be relayed as soon as possible."

27 июля, 21:36

Lawmakers Grill Defense Officials on Equipment-Transfer Program

Members of a House committee expressed their concerns over a recent report revealing holes in how the agency turns over unused military gear to law enforcement.

27 июля, 21:16

Senate Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Fails – live

Lindsey Graham calls skinny repeal a ‘terrible policy, a horrible policy’Republican healthcare debate: what is a ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare?Trump’s healthcare battle reminds Scaramucci of Lincoln fighting slavery 6.40am BST Mitch McConnell describes it as “a disappointing moment.” 6.36am BST Among those who were considered skeptics of the bill, both Dean Heller of Nevada from the center right and Ted Cruz of Texas on the right ended up voting yes. Continue reading...

27 июля, 18:48

Remarks by the Vice President to the NFIB

Capitol Visitors Center Washington, D.C.  10:22 A.M. EDT THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Juanita.  Give Juanita another round of applause, will you?  She is a great, great champion of small business.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank her for that warm and overly generous introduction and for her leadership of this great organization. And to be here today to be able to welcome all of you, welcome you to Washington, D.C., it is an honor to be with all of you, with the NFIB, a pillar of American opportunity and prosperity.  (Applause.)  The National Federation of Independent Business has been such an extraordinary champion over the decades for small businesses and entrepreneurs across this country, and it’s great to be able to address you today. And it’s a particular honor for me to bring greetings from a friend of mine who himself is a businessman in an independent business who’s fighting every day for job creators just like all of you -- the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)  The President sent me here this morning to deliver a message but first and foremost to just to say thanks.  With the strong support of small-business owners like you all across this country, President Trump last fall won a historic victory -- more counties than any President since Ronald Reagan; 30 of 50 states, states no Republican had actually carried in a generation.  And the President and I could couldn’t be more grateful for the men and women of the NFIB who stood with this President all along the way.  Thank you for your support.  (Applause.)  And before I go any further, let me give you a quick update on one of the President’s top promises and top priorities.  As we speak, the President and I are pleased to report here in this building the United States Senate is moving forward on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)  And in the coming days, with the leadership of our President, the American people and American small businesses I believe will witness the beginning of the end of the Obamacare nightmare.  (Applause.)  I’ll speak more about that -- I’ll speak more about healthcare in just a few moments.  But first, let me again give my thanks and admiration to all the members of the National Federation of Independent Business.  NFIB is a titan of American excellence and entrepreneurship.  For nearly 75 years, the NFIB has brought together American small businesses and given them a voice in the halls of government.  Today those of you gathered in this auditorium at the United States Capitol represent a staggering 325,000 small businesses from every state in this country, and it’s remarkable to think about the impact that each and every one of you have. You create jobs.  You provide a pathway of opportunity for generations of Americans.  And you are literally the cornerstone of American communities from the smallest towns to the largest cities. President Trump probably said it best when he said that small businesses in his words, embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that determination can turn aspiration into achievement every single day. And he couldn’t be more right about small businesses in America.  Give yourselves a round of applause for the difference that you make each and every day.  (Applause.)  I just had the joy of meeting with about 20 small businesses from my home state of Indiana, and it’s great to see so many good friends here who I know make a tremendous difference back in the Hoosier State.  Now they know that I actually grew up in a small family business in a small town in southern Indiana.  I went to work at my dad’s gas stations when I was only about 14 years of age.  I know the sacrifices that small-business owners make, and I know that a small business is really all about family -- whether it’s your immediate family, your extended family, or the family of your employees.  And so I understand and appreciate the sacrifices and the unique joys of being involved in a small business. And as the world knows, President Trump grew up in a family business, too -- although his ended up to be a little bit bigger than my family’s.  (Laughter.)   We both know the sacrifices that are required, though, to make a business work.  And more than that, President Trump and I know that when small business is strong, America is strong.  (Applause.)  We both know small businesses are the engine of the American economy, and since day one of this administration, President Trump has been fighting to restart the engine of this economy and rev it up like never before. Our President has picked a world-class Cabinet full of entrepreneurs -- including the head of the Small Business Administration, Administrator Linda McMahon, who is an outstanding American success story.  (Applause.)  And with the support of his Cabinet and with the help of the Congress, President Trump has been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government on small business. I’m happy to report to you this President has actually signed more laws cutting through federal red tape than any President in American history.  (Applause.)  The legislation the President has already signed that Congress put on his desk is saving businesses like yours up to $18 billion a year in regulatory costs. In fact, the President also instructed every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal red tape on America’s job creators.  (Applause.)  And in case you didn't notice, the American people elected a builder to be President of the United States, and President Trump has already started to rebuild America.  And we won’t stop until America once again has the best roads, the best bridges, the best airports, and the best harbors, and the best future we could ever have.  (Applause.)  President Trump’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference, too.  Since Inauguration Day I’m pleased to report businesses like those gathered here today have created more than 850,000, new, good-paying jobs all across America.  (Applause.)  Company after company are responding to the President’s agenda with optimism and investment, like the historic investment that was made in an announcement yesterday at the White House alone by Foxconn, a company investing $10 billion in the heartland of America. And small businesses and manufacturers we're told haven’t been this confident in a decade or more, and they should be -- because our President is a man of his word.  He’s a man of action.  And under President Donald Trump, American small business is back and prosperity is here to stay!  (Applause.)  But it has been a busy six months, but the President likes to say in the Oval Office, that's what we call just a good start.  The truth is we got a lot more work to do.  And as I said at the outset, in the coming days, President Trump, working with this Congress, is absolutely committed to rescue the American people from the disaster of Obamacare.  (Applause.)  We all know the truth:  Every day Obamacare survives is another day that American businesses and American families struggle.  We all remember the broken promises they made to get Obamacare passed.  They said if you like your doctor you could keep them -- not true.  They said if you liked your health insurance you could keep it -- not true.  We were told the cost of health insurance would go down if Obamacare passed seven years ago -- that one is absolutely not true. In fact, our administration has confirmed that the average premium on the individual market has more than doubled since Obamacare went into effect less than four years ago, and in many states, it’s more than tripled. When Obamacare passed, we were actually promised that families would save up to $2,500 in premiums every year, but the average Obamacare plan today costs nearly $3,000 more than a plan did in 2013.  But I don't have to tell small-business owners about the struggle and the crisis in health insurance costs in America today. You all know also that, while premiums are soaring, choices are plummeting.  Next year, about 40 percent of America's counties, including nine whole states, will have only one choice of a health insurance provider, which means they have no choice at all. Even worse, dozens of counties will have no health insurance providers whatsoever on the Obamacare exchange in 2018.  It's important to remember that while we think of these statistics and we reflect on them as policymakers, we're talking about real people facing a real crisis.  You all know each and every day that behind every one of these numbers is a name, and behind every name is a story. As I’ve traveled across the country on our President's behalf, I’ve heard firsthand from job creators and working families about the burden that Obamacare has placed -- the burden of higher costs, fewer choices, and worse care for people who need it. As Juanita has pointed out, in her words, “the high cost of healthcare has been the number one problem for small-business owners for 30 years.”  But as she noted, “Obamacare turned that problem into a crisis.” But I want to tell you, Juanita, and to all those gathered here today:  Help is on the way and it's coming soon.  (Applause.)  You know I have heard this same thing from businesses I have talked to -- small businesses seeing premiums skyrocket by 25 percent or more every single year.  I’ve heard from entrepreneurs who had to actually drop their health insurance because it’s completely unaffordable.  And that's a heartache for a small-business owner.  You want to be able to provide health insurance and benefits for your employees, but you got to make ends meet.  Sometimes you got to make those hard choices. Worst of all, I’ve heard from job creators who can’t grow, and some who are even struggling to keep their doors open.  The men and women of the National Federation of Independent Business know the truth:  Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go.  And let me be clear:  This is the moment.  Now is the time. Despite the opposition of literally every single Democrat in both chambers of Congress, on Tuesday, I'm pleased to report the Senate voted, and I cast the tie-breaker to begin the debate to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And the NFIB was there, helping to make it happen.  (Applause.)    Let me assure you, President Trump and our entire administration are literally working around the clock with Senate Republicans to finish what they started earlier this week.  Throughout the rest of today and, I'm told, late into the hours of tonight, the Senate will continue debating proposals from Republicans and Democrats.  And when it's all said, the world’s greatest deliberative body, I believe, will vote on a bill to keep Republicans’ promise to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump made it clear, in his words, just a few short days ago:  “Inaction is not an option.”  And as the President said this morning to Senate Republicans, after seven years, this is their chance to shine.  They can't let the American people down. The Senate has an opportunity and an obligation to rescue the American people from the consequences of this failed policy.  And when the time comes, every single senator -- Republican and Democrat -- owes it to America to step up, to do the right thing.  They owe it to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)  And as is testament by your presence here today, the American people are watching.  Because you all know what’s at stake.  What happens in the coming days will determine the future of American healthcare, and whether our leaders in Congress can demonstrate the courage and determination to keep their word. But more than anything else, this will determine whether America still stands by principles that I believe are at the very heart of our experiment in self-government. You know, for the past seven years, we’ve had a healthcare system based on the flawed premise that the federal government should order every American to buy health insurance, whether they want it or need it or not; that bureaucrats and politicians know better than patients and doctors; and that, worst of all, that the American people can’t be trusted to run their own lives and make their own healthcare choices. Well, today -- literally today -- we have a chance to take a giant step toward restoring a healthcare system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition, and state-based reform.  And I believe the Senate will take that step and will deliver for the American people on a foundation of freedom.  (Applause.)   The President and I believe that the Senate will do the right thing, that they will begin to dismantle the failed policy of Obamacare in the coming days.  And President Trump will sign into law, when it's all said and done, a bill that puts our country on a path to better, more affordable healthcare for all the American people -- based on those timeless principles of freedom, free-market competition, and state-based reform.     And after that, I'll make you one more promise:  Before the end of this year, we're going to roll up our sleeves, and this President is going to work with the Congress, and we're going to pass one of the largest tax cuts in American history.  (Applause.)   I don’t have to tell small-business owners that the Americans' tax code is one of the biggest barriers to success for working families and small businesses like all of you gathered here today.  You know, there's an old joke that says that the Internal Revenue Code is 10 times the length of the Bible, but with none of the good news.  (Laughter.)   Well, here’s some real good news:  We’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms.  (Applause.)  And we're going to simplify the tax code by cutting seven brackets down to three; we’ll eliminate the alternative minimum tax.  And under President Donald Trump, I'm proud to say to small-business owners, we're going to repeal death taxes once and for all.  (Applause.)   And when it comes to businesses, the President has made it clear that we're going to cut the business tax rate to 15 percent to make sure that businesses across this country can compete with businesses all across the world.  And we're going to make sure small businesses can realize that benefit as well. (Applause.)    Our administration is already working with the Congress to craft a historic tax-cut bill.  In fact, later today, Congress and the White House will issue a statement laying out our guiding principles for tax reform.  I'll make you a promise:  Discussions and negotiations will continue, details will continue to be worked out.  But rest assured, we're going to cut taxes -- and we're going to cut taxes this year.  (Applause.)  Men and women of the NFIB, this is the moment, now is the time.  So today I want to offer you a challenge -- a challenge to continue to stand with our President as he fights for job creators all across this country and for a boundless American future. As you meet with your elected representatives in Congress this week, tell them -- tell them you’re counting on them to support the President’s agenda to move this country forward.  Tell them you're counting on them repeal and replace Obamacare and cut taxes, and continue to roll back the heavy hand of government that stands in the way of our prosperity.   And when you go and speak with them, speak with confidence.  The truth is that small-business owners, I think -- and maybe I'm a little biased because I come from a small, family business -- you're really the heart of America.  In so many ways, every single one of you has a story that springs straight out of the American Dream.  You embody the American spirit.  You never quit, you never back down, you never give up, no matter the odds.  That's how you make it in a small business.   And that's the attitude that you need to bring here to Washington, D.C.  Tell them to bring the same determination and the same persistence to the cause of strengthening and reviving the American economy.  And I just want to assure you that your voices will be heard, as they always have been throughout the 75-year history of the NFIB and your engagement. The truth of the matter is that our elected representatives know where the strength of this country lies, and it lies, I believe, in many places -- it lies in the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America.  (Applause.)  It lies in the hearts of men and women who put on the uniform of law enforcement at every level in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Our teachers, our public servants.   But I truly do believe that the strength of America also lies in the courage and in the hearts of men and women who get up every day, put their feet on the floor, and make a small business work.  (Applause.)     And so I want to encourage you on.  Let your voice be heard, but also have faith.  Have faith that there are better days ahead for America; that what we've begun to see in the recovery of the American spirit and the rebound of the American economy is really just the beginning.  And under President Donald Trump, with your help, I know the best days for America and for American small business are yet to come. And, lastly, have that other kind of faith.  This is a challenging time in the wider world, and it's been a challenging time for businesses.  But help is on the way, and hope always springs eternal -- because for so many of you, like for me and my little family, our hope ultimately doesn’t come from our government or from our elected leaders, but our hope comes from someplace deeper.  And so I encourage you to avail yourself of that faith in these times, and pray for the good leaders who serve in this building.  Continue to pray for our President and all the families that serve around him.   And pray with confidence that He who said:  I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future -- says that as much to this generation of Americans as He's ever said it before.   And so I say with faith today -- with boundless faith in the American people, so well represented here at the NFIB -- with faith in the determination of our President, and with faith in He who has ever been with those who first landed on the shores of this Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, that we will make America prosperous again.  We will make America safe again.  And to borrow a phrase, together we will Make America Great Again. Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  END   10:44 A.M. EDT