President Donald Trump has visited a newly constructed section of his US-Mexico border wall, describing it as “virtually impenetrable”.
He signed his name on the wall while touring a section in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area.
The US president previously visited the site in 2018 to see border wall prototypes, but they have since been knocked down in favour of a 30ft high steel and concrete barrier.
He was joined by construction workers and top border protection, army and homeland security officials.
Mr Trump had much praise for the wall, telling reporters that it absorbs heat – “You can fry an egg on that wall” – and the concrete goes 6ft into the ground to prevent tunnelling.
Agents can also see through the wall to stop possible threats from the Mexican side of the border, the president said.
“When the wall is built, it will be virtually impossible to come over illegally, and then we’re able to take border control and put them at points of entry,” he added.
Mr Trump said he had been persuaded by border patrol and military officials to use more expensive designs for the wall, describing it as the “Rolls-Royce version”.
He opted for double-layered barriers at popular checkpoints and concrete-filled steel bollards instead of solid concrete.
So far, 66 miles of wall have been built with 251 miles in various stages of construction at 17 sites and contracts for 163 miles planned in the next 90 days, according to Army Corps Lt Gen Todd Semonite.
The Pentagon recently diverted $3.6bn (£2.9bn) from military construction projects to help build barriers on the border.
The Mexican government has sent tens of thousands of troops to its borders to help stem the flow of migrants heading to the US.
President Trump said Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had “been great”, adding: “You know Mexico has never done anything to impede people from pouring into our country and now they’re doing just the opposite.
“They’ve really been incredible.”
But the US president said there was still a national emergency regarding border security.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, he had promised that Mexico would pay for the wall.
Bloodshed, betrayal and a huge battlefield: 24 hours in northeastern Syria | World News
I cannot remember a sequence of events, bloodshed and geopolitical machinations in a single day that involved so many countries and so many people. In a single day.
We were on the road again, had been for four days, but as each hour passed, our ability to move safely in Kurdish northeast Syria lessened.
We overtook cars, trucks, flatbeds, and pick-ups laden with belongings, but there were fewer and fewer. Almost anyone who could, had already left the border lands between Syria and Turkey.
On the side of a road, near a truck stop, we came across five lorries, they were full of families. They had grouped together and were living there.
They were so confused by the fighting and the ever-changing shape of this battle that they decided to be mobile so they could move in any direction at any time.
The families had left the battle for Aleppo six years ago to find safety. The war has caught them up. They are fleeing once again.
This day on the road and the subsequent 24 hours became one of the most remarkable of my entire career.
The fighting between the Turkish backed militia and the Kurds intensified along a huge battlefield – basically the border between Turkey and Syria.
Claims and counter claims of success and failure filled the airways as the battle raged on. In truth nobody knew what was going on. We constantly had to stop to assess our routes.
News emerged that in the chaos of fighting, hundreds of Islamic State families and fighters had escaped from a camp and prison.
We had been in the de facto capital of Kurdish Syria, Qamishli, when an Islamic State car bomb destroyed a restaurant this week; now we were told in frenzied messages by Kurdish intelligence that IS sleeper cells had been activated and that our hotel was a target.
It brought panic to the staff and the guests, many of whom, like us, were Western journalists.
Our local producers rushed upstairs and said that we needed to stay away from the hotel front windows and pack and get out as soon as possible.
We peered into the street and could see armed intelligence officers surrounding the building, closing down the road and inspecting all cars coming and going.
We packed and left for a safe house.
It was eerie outside. The streets were quiet. The Turkish invasion and the news of the IS breakout and the threat of suicide bombers on the loose had spooked and depressed everyone.
On this day the Turkish invasion had intensified, nearly a thousand IS families and fighters had escaped, the capital was under attack and then from nowhere news of another even more shocking atrocity – a Turkish strike on a civilian convoy heading to act as human shields in the border town of Ras al Ain.
Our local guys watched in horror on social media as the videos flashed around. The pictures were horrendous.
We have good contacts with aid agencies as well and soon they were sending us their own videos of the hospitals and clinics where the injured were being treated.
We wanted to file this story and all the others from the day so far, but were stuck in a courtyard waiting to be told we could move to yet another safe place.
We sat with our friends and talked. In those moments, as they spoke in Kurdish, smoked heavily and occasionally hugged each other, it dawned on me as it had with them that the Kurdish grip on the homeland they call Rojava was slipping away.
As night fell we moved to our new accommodation deep in a Kurdish only district of the city. They said it would be safe forever, until this bombshell: the Kurds had done a deal with the regime of Bashar al Assad and the Russians.
Abandoned by the USA, the UK and France, the Kurds had no choice. The Kurds have always done deals with some pretty dubious regimes to maintain their autonomy or even their existence for generations, but this latest move meant our safe area was soon to come under the control of Damascus once again.
“It is bad or very bad, those are the options,” our Kurdish cameraman said.
He sounds matter-of-fact. He had tears in his eyes.
As the night skies filled with tracer rounds and as the sounds of gunfire echoed around the Arabic parts of the city in celebration that the regime was returning, our friends sat with their heads in their hands and wept. We all did.
How quick the regime would start to take back control of the region we did not know.
Local officials said we were fine but I was dubious. Syria considers us illegal entrants to the country and would accuse us of consorting with terrorists. The sentence is 12 years in prison.
I have been wanted by the regime since 2012 and I’m on a blacklist. Given their previous form for murdering people, I was in no doubt Bashar’s people would kill me if they caught me.
We woke early after a few hours’ sleep. Everything seemed fine. Nothing much appeared to have changed. Rather than rush we had coffee and talked to our foreign desk about some live appearances on our morning show and where we could film.
Then messages came through.
The border would be taken back by the regime in four hours. We were three hours away.
We scrabbled downstairs with our kit – 20 plus pieces. We sped off towards the border with Iraq. Iraq a safe haven? You couldn’t make it up.
We made the final crossing from Rojava. We left our friends behind and waved as our bus moved away and past rows of people trying to leave as well. As foreigners we were given priority. There is no discussion. It’s the system.
As we crossed the pontoon bridge to safety I thought of the children I had seen within this 24 hours; displaced from home and camping in schools where they will be taught Arabic, not Kurdish from now on.
Rojava was a dream but it has gone.
For sure though, the children will learn one thing in Kurdish: the meaning of betrayal.
Charleston to Tokyo: Conde Nast Traveller’s top 20 cities to visit | Travel News
The port city of Charleston in America’s Deep South has topped a list of the best cities in the world.
Conde Nast Traveller magazine’s readers voted for their favourite cities to travel to in 2019 based on architecture, nightlife, accommodation and food.
Places in America and Japan featured the most in the list, with three each, while European cities also did well.
UK cities were notably absent, while African and South American cities also didn’t make the list.
Here are the top 20 cities to visit in the world:
William and Kate arrive in Pakistan in first royal visit to the country in 13 years | UK News
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Pakistan for a five-day visit which aims to focus on strengthening ties and addressing challenges such as climate change.
The royal couple disembarked from a British Royal Air Force plane at Nur Khan Airforce base in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, on Monday night.
Kate embraced Pakistani tradition by wearing an ombre Catherine Walker gown which nodded to the shalwar kameez, a dress or tunic worn over trousers, while Prince William wore a navy suit with a blue tie.
The couple, emerging after an eight-hour flight, were greeted by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner, and were given bouquets of flowers by two children.
The tour will be William and Kate’s first official visit to Pakistan and their “most complex” tour to date, according to Kensington Palace, referring to political tensions and security concerns in the region.
More than 1,000 Pakistani police officers will be deployed to secure the Duke and Duchess’ safety during their stay.
Their trip, which was requested by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, comes during heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir, which both countries are claiming in full.
William and Kate’s trip will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan and “will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation”, the Palace said.
However details of the couple’s engagements will be announced on the day due to security considerations. The couple’s three children have stayed at home.
The tour, which lasts until Friday, will span more than 1,000km of the country, including Islamabad, the city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and border regions to the west.
William is hoping to create his own legacy in a country visited by both of his parents.
The tour comes 13 years after the last official royal visit to Pakistan when Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited the country in 2006.
Foreign Minister Mr Qureshi earlier said that the people of Pakistan still adore Princess Diana, who visited the country in the 1990s to participate in a fund-raising event for a cancer hospital built by now-prime minister Imran Khan.
Mr Khan is set to meet the royal couple during the visit.
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