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Gulf Arabs, Iran reject U.S. recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli

DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights united Washington’s Gulf Arab allies and regional foe Iran in condemnation on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait criticized Monday’s move to recognize Israel’s 1981 annexation and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi said it was an impediment to peace.

Iran echoed the comments, describing Trump’s decision as unprecedented this century.

“No one could imagine that a person in America comes and gives land of a nation to another occupying country, against international laws and conventions,” President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Trump, with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder during a visit to Washington, signed a proclamation on Monday officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it in 1981, in a move the U.N. Security Council declared unlawful.

“It will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East and the security and stability of the region,” said a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA.

It described the declaration as a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and of international law.

Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner visited the Gulf Arab region last month to seek support on the economic portion of a long-awaited peace proposal for the Middle East. Gulf Arab states host U.S. troops and are important for Washington’s regional defense policy.

Qatar, which has been at loggerheads with other Gulf states over its policies, joined them in rejecting Trump’s move and called on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights and comply with international resolutions.

Lebanon said the decision contravened international law.

“The world is witnessing a black day,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter during a visit to Russia.

Gulf Arabs, Iran reject U.S. recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli

Pakistan orders custody for Hindu girls at center of quarrel with India

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – A court in Pakistan on Tuesday ordered the government to take custody of two Hindu sisters allegedly kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, police said, a case that triggered a quarrel with Hindu-majority neighbor India.

Police say the teenagers left their home in mostly Muslim Pakistan’s southeastern province of Sindh on March 20 to be married in Punjab province, where the law does not bar marriages of those younger than 18, unlike Sindh.

“The girls appeared before Islamabad High Court on Tuesday morning,” Farrukh Ali, a police official in their home district of Gothki, told Reuters by telephone.

“The court has directed the deputy commissioner to take their custody,” he added, referring to an administration official in the Pakistani capital.

The court set a deadline of next Tuesday for the submission of a report into an inquiry ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and directed that the girls not return to Sindh until the case was resolved, broadcaster Geo Television said.

Police have detained ten people in the case over their marriages and registered a formal case of kidnapping and robbery by the teenagers, after complaints from their parents.

The incident prompted a rare public intervention by a top Indian official in its neighbor’s domestic affairs, when Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter she had asked India’s ambassador in Pakistan for a report on news of it.

Pakistan was “totally behind the girls”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on social media in response to Swaraj’s Sunday message, but asked India to look after its own minority Muslims.

At a news conference on Sunday, he referred to religious riots in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat in 2002 that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.

In Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, Pakistan accuses India of human rights violations, a charge New Delhi denies.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will seek a second term in a general election starting next month. He has taken a tougher stand towards Pakistan in the past five years.

Pakistan orders custody for Hindu girls at center of quarrel with India

Democrats push for Mueller report to Congress by next week, Republicans resist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A fight brewed between Democrats and Republicans over the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, while President Donald Trump kept up attacks on his critics on Monday.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman called for an investigation into the origins of the probe of any Trump campaign links with Russians, the Senate leader blocked a second attempt by Democrats to pass a measure aimed at pushing the Justice Department into full disclosure of the report.

Six committee chairs in the Democratic-led House of Representatives called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in a letter seen by Reuters, to release the full Mueller report to Congress by April 2. Earlier this month, the House voted 420-0 in favor of making the report public, with no Republican opposition.

Barr on Sunday released a four-page summary of conclusions of the investigation that detailed Russian interference but cleared the Republican president’s campaign team of conspiring with Moscow.

No one outside the Justice Department has yet seen the report, including the White House. The Justice Department has not said whether it will release Mueller’s full report, but Barr has said he will be as transparent as possible.

A person familiar with the matter said there were no plans at this time to show the Mueller report to the White House.

Trump on Monday vented his anger at the inquiry and vowed investigations into unnamed political enemies who did “evil” and “treasonous things.” The probe left unresolved the question of whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.

Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and a Trump ally, told reporters he would ask for an investigation. Barr told Graham in a telephone call that he would be willing to testify to the panel about the Mueller probe, according to a spokesman for the senator.

Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, noting that it took nearly two years for Mueller to conduct his investigation, said after blocking the Democratic measure: “It’s not unreasonable to give the special counsel and the Justice Department just a little time to complete their review in a professional and responsible manner.”

Trump said on Monday that “it wouldn’t bother me at all” if the report were released but that it was up to Barr.

The end of the Mueller inquiry did not spell the end of the investigative pressure on Trump by Democrats, who gave no indication of easing up on their multiple congressional investigations into his business and personal dealings.

Democratic lawmakers were likely to face a protracted legal battle that will turn on Trump’s right to keep communications with his advisers private, legal and political experts said.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said at least part of the report should be withheld.

Sekulow said it “would be very inappropriate” to release the president’s written answers to questions posed by the special counsel, calling the responses provided in November confidential. After lengthy negotiations, Trump reversed his previous stance that he would be willing to submit to an in-person interview with the Mueller team, ultimately agreeing only to provide written answers.

The president and his allies in Congress went on the offensive as the summary gave him a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, with no allegations of criminal wrongdoing brought against him.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House, without mentioning anyone by name or citing specific actions.

Trump pledged new investigations but did not specify who would conduct them or who should be targeted. Trump in the past has called for investigations of Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he defeated in 2016.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called for congressional hearings to investigate prominent Trump critics including former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI figures.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” program, Sanders said: “The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of a foreign government. That is an action equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country.”

Asked if Trump owed Mueller an apology, Sanders added: “I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president and they owe the American people an apology.”

Trump had repeatedly accused Mueller, a former FBI director, of running a “witch hunt” with a team of “thugs” and having conflicts of interest. But asked on Monday if Mueller had acted honorably, Trump said: “Yes.”

Mueller, who submitted his confidential report on his findings to Barr on Friday, neither accused Trump of obstruction of justice in trying to impede the investigation nor exonerated him of obstruction, according to the summary.

Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, concluded the investigation’s evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

The Mueller investigation had cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency but he has declared himself fully exonerated, despite what Barr’s summary said on the obstruction of justice issue.

On March 5, Mueller visited the Department of Justice’s main office in Washington to meet with Barr and Rosenstein and told them he would not be reaching a conclusion with respect to obstruction, a decision that was unexpected, a department official said.

The Kremlin said on Monday that President Vladimir Putin was ready to improve ties with the United States following the release of Barr’s summary and called on Washington to formally recognize there was no collusion. Russia repeated its denial of U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that it meddled in the election.

Mueller, in previous legal filings, described a Russian campaign to interfere in the election through hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, harm Clinton and boost Trump. Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 other Russians accused of taking part in a disinformation campaign and three Russian companies.

Democrats push for Mueller report to Congress by next week, Republicans resist

Pentagon chief says $1 billion of funding shifted to border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense shifted $1 billion to plan and build a 57-mile section of “pedestrian fencing”, roads and lighting along the border between the United States and Mexico, the Pentagon chief said on Monday.

Last week, the Pentagon gave Congress a list that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected for construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last month in a bid to fund his promised border wall without congressional approval.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a memo to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that the Department of Defense had the authority to support counter-narcotics activities near international boundaries.

Shanahan authorized the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing the project that would involve building 57 miles of 18-foot-high fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso sections of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pentagon chief says $1 billion of funding shifted to border wall

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Currency pairsMetalsRaw materialsCrypto
EURUSD1.2286525.1 (0.20%) 1.8
GBPUSD1.4028253.0 (0.38%) 2.5
USDCAD1.2903215.8 (0.12%) 2.6
USDCHF0.957309.3 (0.10%) 2.3
USDJPY106.33742.9 (0.40%) 1.8
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NZD/USD 22 March 2019 17:45 27 March 2019 18:00 Buy 0.6890-0.6910 0.6880- 0.6860 0.6950-0.6980
XAU/USD 21 March 2019 17:45 27 March 2019 18:00 Buy 1310-13.00 1310.00-1305.00 1320.00; 1330.00
NZD/USD 19 March 2019 17:45 21 March 2019 18:00 Buy 0.6900-0.6880 0.6900-0.6880 0.6970-0.7000
USD/CAD 18 March 2019 17:45 21 March 2019 18:00 Sell 1.3320-1.3290 1.3330 1.3250-1.3210
EUR/JPY 14 March 2019 17:45 21 March 2019 18:00 Buy 126.30-50 126.00 126.90- 127.30
EUR/CHF 12 March 2019 17:45 21 March 2019 18:00 Sell 1.1360- 1.1340 1.1380-1.1360 1.1300
USD/JPY 11 March 2019 17:45 21 March 2019 18:00 Buy 111.30-50 111.30 112.00-112.30
EUR/GBP 8 March 2019 16:25 12 March 2019 18:00 Buy 0.8600-30 0.8550- 0.8580 0.8690- 0.8740
GBP/JPY 7 March 2019 09:00 8 March 2019 18:00 Sell 146.70-50 147.00-147.40 145.70
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* Ester Holdings Inc. does not bear responsibility for the results of trade decisions, adopted using trading signals of independent analysts. All signals are informative.

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