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June 13, 2017

Ivanka Trump’s business ended talks with a Japanese clothing company after learning that the company was backed by the Japanese government, according to a letter made public Monday.

The potential deal caused an uproar in December, during the presidential transition, when photos showed Ivanka Trump sitting in a meeting with her father, Donald Trump, and the Japanese Prime Minister.

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Her company had been in talks with the Japanese apparel maker, Sanei International, for two years. But the company backed away in January, “after learning that Sanei’s parent company had ties to the government of Japan,” Abigail Klem, President of the Ivanka Trump company, wrote in the letter.

The letter, dated May 17, was made public when House of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee published their correspondence with the company about conflict-of-interest concerns.

Ivanka Trump took a job as a White House adviser in March.

She has stepped away from the management of her fashion business, though she retains an ownership stake. She is not required to sell all her assets, but as a federal employee she is subject to rules that prohibit her from participating in matters in which she has a financial interest.

The Democrats still have questions. On Monday, they asked for details of how, when and why the first daughter’s company has sought trademark protections or pursued deals in foreign countries.

“We remain concerned that Ivanka Trump may have used and may continue to use her official position within the White House to benefit her private interests,” wrote the Democrats, who raised similar concerns in May.

Ivanka Trump’s company declined to comment on the new letter.

In the new request, the lawmakers asked why the Ivanka Trump’s company filed 14 trademark applications in China on March 28, one day before her official start as a White House adviser.

“Did Ms. Trump’s decision to join the staff of the White House play any role in the company’s decision to file those applications or the timing of that decision?” the letter said.

The Democrats also mentioned Ivanka Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And they noted that she traveled with President Trump on his first trip abroad to last month, to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy.

The lawmakers said they want to know whether the company has any pending business with any government whose officials were at meetings that Ivanka Trump attended while traveling with her father.

In early May, the Democrats asked about 30 pending trademark applications in China, and 180 more in emerging markets.

In that letter, the lawmakers focused on China’s decision to give provisional approval to trademarks on April 6, the same day Ivanka Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. Xi went to the Trump-owned resort as part of his official state visit.

Klem, the company’s President, told lawmakers in her May letter that its decisions were similar to those made by other companies that protect international trademarks. She also reiterated Ivanka Trump’s resignation in January.

Source: CNN

British PM to hold crunch talks with DUP leader

Theresa May will meet the DUP leader Arlene Foster later, whose support the PM will need in order to get her Queen’s Speech passed through Parliament.

It comes after the Prime Minister apologised to her MPs for the election result, telling them: “I got us into this mess and I will get us out of it.”

The first move in Mrs. May’s new reality of compromise politics is to listen to what the DUP hope to gain by offering the Conservatives their support.

It is thought the Prime Minister is preparing to ditch unpopular policies such as her social care reforms and plans to means test the winter fuel allowance.

Arlene Foster said her party wants to “support the national interest” and “bring stability to the nation”.

She told Sky News: “We enter these talks in a positive fashion, we are first and foremost unionists and therefore we want to secure the union.

But we do want to do so in the national interest to give stability to the Government and that’s why we will be entering these negotiations.”

Mrs May will also hold her second Cabinet meeting in two days. One senior Conservative source told Sky that “a head of steam” was building for a “softer Brexit”, with “significant people” pushing, but said the PM is “still unconvinced”.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston told Sky News: “The reality of having a different arithmetic is that we are going to have a different kind of Brexit negotiation because at the end of it this will come back to Parliament, and Parliament will be voting on it, and that’s the same for domestic legislation as well, there is going to have to be a much more consensual approach.”

Source: skynews

Qatar Airways records profits amidst Gulf crisis

Qatar Airways saw profit jump last year, ahead of the Middle Eastern crisis the Gulf state has been plunged into.

The Doha-based airline said net profit lifted almost 22% to 1.97bn Qatari riyals ($541m, £426m) for the year to the end of March compared to 12 months ago, as the state-owned carrier boosted passenger numbers 20% to 30 million.

But the outlook for Qatar Airways is uncertain after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut travel and diplomatic ties with Qatar last week, accusing it of funding Islamist extremist terrorism, charges it denies.

In response Qatar has also blocked all flights to the four boycotting nations

Qatar Airways faces a financial impact from the blockade, which bars it from large swaths of airspace. Flights to Europe and the Americas have been routed via Iranian and Turkish airspace, avoiding Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Flights bound for Asia and Africa have to fly around UAE airspace by circumnavigating the Strait of Hormuz.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker acknowledged the measures in a statement that accompanied the company’s annual report released on Sunday.

He said: “Qatar Airways continues to operate to the rest of its network as per its published schedules with day-to-day adjustments for operational and commercial efficiencies.”

Qatar Airways, which serves 150 destinations, launched 10 routes over the past financial year, including Adelaide, Atlanta and Helsinki.

The Gulf carrier has also expanded financial investment into other operators over the last year, including raising its 15% stake to 20% in IAG, British Airways’ parent company, and taking a 10% holding in Latam Airline Group in Chile as it eyes expansion in South America.

Source: ukfinance


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