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U.S. halts funding to U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees

WASHINGTON/RAMALLAH (Reuters) - The United States on Friday halted all funding to a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees in a decision further heightening tensions between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump administration. FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest against possible reductions of the services and aid offered by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the decision as “a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of U.N. resolutions.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the business model and…

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U.N. Palestinian refugees agency voices regret, surprise at U.S. halting funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees said a U.S. decision on Friday to halt funding was disappointing and surprising, and rejected the U.S. assertion that its programs were irredeemably flawed. “We reject in the strongest possible terms the criticism that UNRWA’s schools, health centers, and emergency assistance programs are ‘irredeemably flawed,’” Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said in a series of Twitter posts. Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sandra MalerOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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No time for new North Carolina voting maps, groups tell court

(Reuters) - Groups who successfully sued North Carolina over Republican-constructed congressional maps that a court ruled to be illegally drawn for partisan purposes said on Friday there is not enough time to put in place new lines ahead of the November elections. FILE PHOTO: Visitors wait to enter the U.S. Supreme Court, as the Court sent back to a lower court a decision that Republicans in North Carolina had drawn congressional district boundaries to give their party an unfair advantage, in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan/File PhotoThe groups’ filing in federal court in North Carolina complicates an already difficult situation over maps that have…

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Disney World workers reach tentative agreement on wages

(Reuters) - Walt Disney World workers have reached a tentative agreement with parent Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) regarding wages, union body International Brotherhood of Teamsters said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: Security officers staff the entrance at the Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Barbara Liston/File PhotoThe union said the tentative deal will be voted on next week and a contract will be in effect until October 1, 2022 if approved. If ratified, Disney World workers will receive a minimum of $4.75 in wage increases over the lifetime of the contract, with everyone at the resort getting a minimum increase of $2.50…

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U.S. sees assault on Idlib as escalation of Syria conflict: Pompeo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said the United States views the Syrian government military assault on rebel-held Idlib as an escalation of the Syrian conflict, as the State Department warned that Washington would respond to any chemical attack by Damascus. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alex WroblewskiThe Syrian province of Idlib and surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close Russian ally. A source has told Reuters…

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Dispute resolution in focus as NAFTA talks drag

TORONTO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canada and the United States ended talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Friday without reaching a deal. One longstanding issue is Chapter 19 of NAFTA, a dispute resolution mechanism that the United States significantly scaled back in a bilateral deal it reached with Mexico. Flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca CookWHAT IS CHAPTER 19? Chapter 19 gives the United States, Canada and Mexico the right to challenge each others’ anti-dumping and countervailing duty decisions in front of an expert panel with members from both countries…

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Washington lauds McCain as one of America’s ‘bravest souls,’ Trump absent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington’s bitterly divided leaders came together on Friday to praise the late Senator John McCain as an embodiment of America’s fighting spirit, idealism and sense of humor, but there was one notable absentee: President Donald Trump. At a Capitol Rotunda ceremony, Republicans and Democrats called a temporary political truce to honor McCain on the third of five days of memorial celebrations in Arizona and Washington for the Vietnam War hero and two-time Republican presidential candidate. “He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good. Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally or your most…

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Wall Street mixed as U.S.-Canada trade talks end

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended flat while the Dow edged down and the Nasdaq closed higher in light trading on Friday as Canada and the United States concluded trade talks without resolution ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Capping a low-volume, late-summer week marked by tariff-related volatility, all three major U.S. indexes posted net gains for the period. The indexes were also up for the month of August, with the Nasdaq posting its largest monthly gain since January. Talks between Canada the United States to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ended on a sour note as the two sides were unable…

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Ford kills plan to sell Chinese-made vehicle in the United States

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the United States because of the prospect of higher U.S. tariffs, the head of the automaker’s North American operations said Friday. The automaker’s decision came as U.S. President Donald Trump is escalating a trade battle with China, threatening to impose duties on another $200 billion in Chinese goods. The Trump administration has already imposed duties on Chinese-made vehicles of up to 25 percent. Trump is separately evaluating a proposal to impose tariffs on all imported vehicles on national security grounds. The Chinese-made Focus Active, which Ford calls a…

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India Pushes Back Against Tech ‘Colonization’ by Internet Giants

NEW DELHI — In India, American companies dominate the internet. Facebook’s WhatsApp is the most popular app on phones. Virtually every smartphone runs on Google’s Android system. YouTube is the favorite video platform and Amazon is the No. 2 online retailer.For some Indian political leaders, it is as if their nation — which was ruled by Britain for a century until 1947 — is being conquered by colonial powers all over again.And they are determined to stop it.“As a country, we have to all grow up and say that, you know, enough of this,” Vinit Goenka, a railways official who works on technology policy for India’s governing…

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