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Joe Biden blasts Donald Trump for ‘un-American’ comments about Nato allies

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Joe Biden blasts Donald Trump for ‘un-American’ comments about Nato allies

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Joe Biden sharply rebuked Donald Trump for saying he would encourage Russia to attack Nato allies that did not spend enough on defence, as the US president pleaded for Republicans in Congress to pass a $95bn funding bill including aid for Ukraine.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday after the Senate approved the national security legislation with bipartisan support, Biden issued his most strident criticism yet of comments made by Trump last Saturday at a rally in South Carolina.

“Just a few days ago, Trump gave an invitation to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to invade some of our allies, Nato allies,” Biden said. “No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator. Let me say this as clearly as I can: I never will.”

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Biden added: “For God’s sake, it’s dumb, it’s shameful, it’s dangerous, it’s un-American.”

Trump’s comments last weekend have reverberated across the transatlantic alliance, triggering deep concern and outrage from officials across Europe. At the campaign event, Trump recalled telling Nato allies that he would not “protect” countries that were “delinquent” on their defence spending, and would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to those that failed to “pay” up.

Biden and his campaign have also seized on Trump’s comments to highlight the extreme foreign policy positions of his likely rival in November’s presidential election.

“Our adversaries have long sought to create cracks in the alliance — the greatest hope of all those who wish America harm is for Nato to fall apart,” Biden said. “For as long as I’m president, if Putin attacks a Nato ally, the United States will defend every inch of Nato territory.”

Biden’s remarks came after the White House cheered the Senate’s passage of a spending bill including $61bn to support Ukraine in its defence against Russia’s occupying forces, along with security aid for Israel and Taiwan and humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

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But the bill must now pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Mike Johnson, the chamber’s Speaker and a close Trump ally, has so far refused to call a vote on Ukraine aid, frustrating the Biden administration and allies of Kyiv in both parties on Capitol Hill.

Biden said the House should “immediately” pass the bill. “Stand for decency. Stand for democracy. Stand up to a so-called leader hell-bent on weakening American security. And I mean it sincerely: history is watching.”

Johnson is insisting on a crackdown on immigration by the Biden administration and Congress in exchange for any progress on Ukraine aid, even though Trump and many Republicans rejected a bipartisan deal on tougher border measures earlier this year. “National security begins with border security, we’ve said that all along,” Johnson told reporters on Tuesday.

But he is facing more pressure to call a vote on Ukraine aid following the Senate’s vote. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy weighed in with a short statement by video on X on Tuesday, in which he referred to the “next step” of a vote in the US House.

“We anticipate an equally strong moral choice and a decision that will work for the benefit of our shared security,” Zelenskyy said.

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Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, also chimed in. “We’ve heard all kinds of rumours about whether the House supports Ukraine or doesn’t. It seems to me that the easy way to solve that would be to vote,” he told Politico.

Biden’s comments on Tuesday came after the Financial Times reported that Nato would announce that 18 of its 31 members will meet defence spending targets this year. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, has pushed back strongly against Trump’s comments on Saturday night.

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Trial begins for Vietnamese property tycoon accused of $12bn fraud

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Trial begins for Vietnamese property tycoon accused of $12bn fraud

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The fraud trial of a Vietnamese real estate tycoon who allegedly misappropriated $12bn started on Tuesday, as part of the country’s largest corruption case that has also ensnared officials from the central bank and government.

Truong My Lan faces a death sentence or imprisonment if found guilty in the graft case, which has rocked the property and corporate bond markets of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The graft case is part of a corruption crackdown launched by Vietnam’s Communist party that has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of senior government officials, including cabinet ministers. Lan, developer Van Thinh Phat Group’s chair, is the most prominent businessperson to face graft allegations.

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Vietnam has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of manufacturers seeking to diversify their supply chains beyond China as geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing rise. However, the Vietnamese economy grew 5.05 per cent in 2023, missing the government’s official target, as overseas demand slowed.

The anti-corruption campaign has slowed down project approvals by the government, and more state scrutiny of private businesses could hurt investor confidence, analysts said.

Lan, 67, comes from one of Vietnam’s richest families who made their fortune in property. She has been charged with bribery, embezzlement, abuse of power and “lack of responsibility causing serious consequences”, according to state media.

She has denied wrongdoing, state media reported. Lawyers for Lan, who was arrested in 2022, did not respond to a request for comment.

Lan is accused by Vietnamese authorities of using Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), in which she owns a controlling stake of about 90 per cent, to funnel 304tn dong ($12.3bn) to her real estate company Van Thinh Phat.

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Loans worth more than $44bn were given by SCB to Van Thinh Phat and related companies between 2012 and 2022, accounting for 93 per cent of the total loans disbursed by the bank.

Authorities also said Van Thinh Phat used allegedly fake companies to sell corporate bonds through SCB to the bank’s depositors.

In addition to Lan, 85 people — including 15 officials from Vietnam’s central bank — are charged in connection with the case. The central bank officials are accused of receiving bribes from Lan to cover up the alleged fraud.

“The trial is important in terms of scale and because it signals that the [Communist] party is willing to expand its anti-corruption campaign to the private sector despite potential risks that it might have on the economy,” said Nguyen Khac Giang, a visiting fellow at Singapore’s Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute.

He said Lan’s corruption case had dented the confidence of some private businesses in Vietnam worried about the risks of operating in the country and the state companies they work with.

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The anti-corruption campaign has also made government officials hesitant to approve projects, he added, out of fear that they could be implicated in graft.

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FAA audit faults Boeing for 'multiple instances' of quality control shortcomings

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FAA audit faults Boeing for 'multiple instances' of quality control shortcomings

Boeing workers at the Renton Municipal Airport in Washington finalize assembly of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet on Feb. 27. An FAA audit faulted Boeing for “multiple instances” of quality control shortcomings.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR


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Jovelle Tamayo for NPR


Boeing workers at the Renton Municipal Airport in Washington finalize assembly of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet on Feb. 27. An FAA audit faulted Boeing for “multiple instances” of quality control shortcomings.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

WASHINGTON — After a six-week audit of Boeing, federal regulators say they found quality control problems at Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, one of its top suppliers.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it found “multiple instances” of Boeing and Spirit failing to “comply with manufacturing quality control requirements.”

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The FAA launched the audit of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the fuselage for the Boeing 737 Max, after a door plug panel blew out in midair during an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5.

No one was seriously hurt when the plug came off as the new jet climbed through 14,000 feet after departing Portland, Ore. It returned to make an emergency landing as winds whipped through a hole in the fuselage.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that four key bolts that were supposed to hold the door plug in place were missing when the plane left Boeing’s factory.

The audit found problems in “Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control,” the FAA said in a statement.

The agency says FAA administrator Mike Whitaker discussed the findings with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun last week, when the agency gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan of action to address its quality control problems.

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The FAA says it provided both companies with a summary of the audit findings. But the agency declined to share those details with NPR, citing its ongoing investigation.

Auditors visited Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash., and Spirit’s plant in Wichita, Kan.

Boeing confirmed Friday that it is in talks to buy Spirit AeroSystems.

“We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders,” said Jessica Kowal, Boeing’s director of media relations, in a statement.

That would be a change of strategy for Boeing, which nearly two decades ago sold off the assets that are now part of Spirit.

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But the supplier has had several costly and embarrassing problems with quality control in recent years as it pushed to keep up with Boeing’s ambitious production schedule.

NPR’s Joel Rose reported from Washington, D.C., and Russell Lewis from Birmingham, Ala.

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Read the Decision in the Trump Colorado Ballot Case

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Read the Decision in the Trump Colorado Ballot Case

Cite as: 601 U. S.

Per Curiam

(2024)

5

a wide array of offices-rather than by granting rights to all. It is therefore necessary, as Chief Justice Chase concluded and the Colorado Supreme Court itself recognized, to “ascertain[] what particular individuals are embraced”” by the provision. App. to Pet. for Cert. 53a (quoting Griffin’s Case, 11 F. Cas. 7, 26 (No. 5,815) (CC Va. 1869) (Chase, Circuit Justice)). Chase went on to explain that “[t]o accomplish this ascertainment and ensure effective results, proceedings, evidence, decisions, and enforcements of decisions, more or less formal, are indispensable.” Id., at 26. For its part, the Colorado Supreme Court also concluded that there must be some kind of “determination” that Section 3 applies to a particular person “before the disqualification holds meaning.” App. to Pet. for Cert. 53a.

The Constitution empowers Congress to prescribe how those determinations should be made. The relevant provision is Section 5, which enables Congress, subject of course to judicial review, to pass “appropriate legislation” to “enforce” the Fourteenth Amendment. See City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 536 (1997). Or as Senator Howard put it at the time the Amendment was framed, Section 5 “casts upon Congress the responsibility of seeing to it, for the future, that all the sections of the amendment are carried out in good faith.” Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., at 2768.

Congress’s Section 5 power is critical when it comes to Section 3. Indeed, during a debate on enforcement legislation less than a year after ratification, Sen. Trumbull noted that “notwithstanding [Section 3] … hundreds of men [were] holding office” in violation of its terms. Cong. Globe, 41st Cong., 1st Sess., at 626. The Constitution, Trumbull noted, “provide[d] no means for enforcing” the disqualification, necessitating a “bill to give effect to the fundamental law embraced in the Constitution.” Ibid. The enforcement mechanism Trumbull championed was later enacted as part of the Enforcement Act of 1870, “pursuant to the power

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