Wednesday News: Breaking Moscow rules


TRUMP HAD SECOND AND MORE CONFIDENTIAL MEETING WITH PUTIN AT G20: President Donald Trump had a second and previously undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin while both were in Germany for the G20 meeting. The White House has confirmed that Trump and Putin spoke on July 7 at the end of a social dinner, a less formal diplomatic encounter. Trump reportedly left his seat at the table halfway through the meal and sat in an empty chair next to Putin, with Putin’s translator the only other person around. No formal readout of the encounter was distributed by the White House, where officials said the only account of the meeting in Hamburg came from Trump himself. The issues discussed have not been disclosed, but the meeting is likely to stoke concerns over Trump’s affinity for Putin.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S LACK OF CONCERN FOR AFRICA COULD BE DEVASTATING: Six months into office, the Trump administration's policy toward Africa has been left to drift, observers say. They cite vacant diplomatic posts and a lack of strategic thinking on multiple issues, including extremist threats in East and West Africa and civil war in South Sudan. While the U.S. this month pledged nearly $640 million in humanitarian assistance to alleviate hunger in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, critics said the aid had been approved months earlier by Congress but delayed by the Trump administration. The proposed budget would reduce funding from $30 million to $8 million to carry out the closure of the United States African Development Foundation, which supports local enterprises in 30 countries. It also would reduce funding by about $1 billion to the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which supports anti-retroviral therapy for over 11 million people, many in sub-Saharan Africa.

CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE DIMPLE AJMERA BLASTS TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera drew the ire of the local Republican Party after she said that Republicans who support Trump should not be leading local government. “Republicans that are supporting Trump, they should have no place on city council whatsoever or in the mayor’s race,” Ajmera said on the news show Flashpoint on WCNC, which aired Sunday. Ajmera stood by her comments Tuesday. “(Charlotte) rejected Trump in the 2016 elections,” she said. “So people are upset by what he represents. He values divisiveness. We can't let that divide us as we tackle important issues like economic mobility and as we address the issues of last September.”

OPPONENTS OF ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE SPEAK OUT AT PUBLIC HEARING: Opponents of a natural gas pipeline told state officials Tuesday that it will harm the environment and is not needed, but supporters said the pipeline is safe and will create jobs. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing at Fayetteville Technical Community on a water quality certification application for the proposed pipeline. Dominion Resources plans to build the 600-mile pipeline with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas. The proposed route runs from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. The pipeline is expected to go through eastern Cumberland County and the northeast corner of Sampson County. About 35 people spoke in opposition to the pipeline at the public hearing. About 10 were in favor. Opponents said the state should rely more on renewable energy such solar and wind power.

APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS JUDGMENT ORDERING STATE TO PAY BACK MONEY THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE TO SCHOOLS: The judges ruled unanimously that the Richmond County school system is owed $272,300, reversing a trial judge’s order last November commanding various state officials to immediately pay the school district or risk being thrown in jail. The state constitution says the “clear proceeds” of all fines, penalties and forfeitures collected for breaking the law belong to counties and must be used only for maintaining public schools. “The state violated the North Carolina Constitution when it moved money otherwise destined for the Richmond County schools to a separate State fund,” Judge Richard Dietz wrote for the three-judge panel. But “when the courts enter a judgment against the state, and no funds already are available to satisfy that judgment, the judicial branch has no power to order state officials to draw money from the state treasury to satisfy it.”