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LOS ANGELES: A brush fire raging along a Southern California riverbed prompted the evacuation of two nearby amusement parks on Sunday (Jun 9), but no homes were threatened and no serious injuries were reported, authorities said.
The blaze erupted at about noon in the Valencia community of Santa Clarita, about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and had scorched about 40 acres of grass and scrub along the Santa Clara River by late afternoon, according to a dispatcher from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Firefighters managed to halt the advance of the blaze within several hours, carving containment lines around 20 per cent of its perimeter, the dispatcher said.
No homes or commercial buildings in the sparsely populated area were in danger from the fire, county sheriff's detective Oleg Polissky said.
But heavy smoke wafted into Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, as well as the adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park, and a tree on the edge of the water park caught fire, Polissky said.
Both parks posted notices online saying they were closed for the day.
"Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor are currently being evacuated due to the Sky Incident brush fire," Six Flags said on Twitter.
"The safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members is our top priority."
The departure of park visitors was delayed for about an hour by authorities' brief closure of exit roads, the parks said.
As many as nine people were treated for smoke- or heat-related issues from the fire, reporters reported. But the fire dispatcher said no one was known to have been seriously hurt.
The cause of the blaze was under investigation. The flames erupted as daytime temperatures in Santa Clarita climbed into the high-90s Fahrenheit, according to reporters.
Warmer, dryer conditions were returning to much of California following weeks of unseasonably cool, damp weather, renewing concerns about a resurgence of summertime wildfires across the state.
On Saturday night, utility Pacific Gas and Electric Corp shut off power to some 27,000 customers across five northern California counties in the Sierra foothills as a precaution against dry, windy conditions that pose a heightened risk of wildfires.
The precautionary blackout included areas in and around Paradise, a town largely incinerated last November by the deadliest and most destructive California wildfire on record, which claimed more than 80 lives.
LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May steps down as leader of her Conservative Party on Friday (Jun 7), formally triggering the race for a successor who will try where she failed to deliver Brexit.
May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, likely in late July, but has relinquished control over the direction of Britain's tortuous departure from the European Union.
Brexit is still scheduled for Oct 31 but while her rivals thrash it out, the project remains stuck, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels stuck in parliament.
May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on the plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get it through.
But she finally acknowledged defeat in a tearful resignation speech last month, the culmination of months of political turmoil that has slowly sapped all her authority.
Eleven Conservative MPs are currently vying to replace her, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson, but some are expected to drop out before Monday's deadline for nominations.
The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May's plan, delay Brexit again - or sever ties with Britain's closest trading partner with no agreement at all.
They are under pressure from eurosceptic figurehead Nigel Farage, who has called for a "no deal" option and whose Brexit party topped European polls last month.
His party made a strong showing in by-election for the British parliament in the eastern city of Peterborough on Thursday, but failed in its goal of winning its first MP.
However, the pro-European Liberal Democrats, who want to reverse Brexit, also performed well in the European polls, highlighting how divided Britain remains over its future.
May will formally relinquish her leadership in a private letter to her party on Friday, but no official events are planned to mark the day.
She put on a brave face this week when hosting US President Donald Trump for a state visit, before joining him and other world leaders to mark 75 years since the D-day landings.
But Trump used the trip to speak with Johnson and other candidates to replace her, emphasising where the political power in Britain now lies.
"She remains prime minister for a good few weeks yet," May's spokesman insisted, noting that any successor must meet Queen Elizabeth II and assure the monarch they have the support of enough lawmakers to take over.
He said May would focus on domestic issues, but "in relation to Brexit, the prime minister said it wouldn't be for her to take this process forward".
Trump has been highly critical of May's Brexit strategy and ahead of his visit to Britain, urged her successor to leave the bloc with no deal if necessary.
Johnson, a leading campaigner in the 2016 referendum who quit the government last year over May's plan, is among several would-be candidates who say they are willing to do this.
But Environment Secretary Michael Gove, another frontrunner, is open to other Brexit delay, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said leaving with no deal is "political suicide".
Trump had a phone call with Johnson this week and met both Hunt and Farage, although a planned meeting with Gove never materialised.
Nominations for the contest must be submitted on Monday, and the 313 Conservative MPs - including May - will hold the first of a series of secret ballots on Jun 13.
With the worst performers eliminated each time, the goal is to have two candidates left by Jun 20. They will then be put to a ballot of an estimated 100,000 party members.
The contest should be completed by the week commencing Jul 22.
SAN DIEGO: Years after the documentary film Blackfish galvanised a movement to end SeaWorld's killer whale performances, animal rights activists on Wednesday (Jun 5) called for an end to "circus-style" dolphin shows at the theme parks.
At a hotel news conference near SeaWorld's San Diego park, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a report documenting physical and behavioural harm it says dolphins suffer from their use in live shows and confinement in captivity.
Of greatest concern was the practice of trainers riding dolphins through the water while standing on their backs and beaks, said Dr. Heather Rally, a PETA Foundation veterinarian.
Such stunts strain the marine mammals' sensitive lower jaws in a way that can damage their hearing, injure joints and muscles and worsen other injuries caused by confinement within holding tanks where the dolphins are kept.
"We are asking SeaWorld to at least stop standing on dolphins' faces and using them as surf-boards in these ridiculous circus-style shows," Rally said. "We're asking them to retire these animals to seaside sanctuaries where they can have the opportunity to thrive."
Subjecting dolphins "such unnatural behaviour" may also provoke greater aggression between the dolphins, she said.
As evidence of this, Rally said many of SeaWorld's dolphins were observed with wounds or scars from "rake" marks sustained when one animal is bitten by another while swimming.
"THEY'RE TREATED LIKE ROYALTY"
At a separate news conference, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc officials defended their treatment of dolphins and denied the shows cause any harm.
"They're treated like royalty," said Hendrik Nollens, SeaWorld's vice president of animal health and welfare, insisting that if the behaviors in question caused the animals any discomfort "they wouldn't come right back and do it again."
"They are faster than us, they are stronger than us. They are in charge. They choose. They decide whether to do the interaction or not," he told reporters.
The PETA report was co-authored by Rally and behavioural biologist Toni Frohoff based on "in-depth observations" at all three SeaWorld parks - San Diego; Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas, they said.
SeaWorld faced a public backlash and declining revenues following release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which depicted captivity and public exhibition of killer whales as inherently cruel.
The film, which SeaWorld criticised as inaccurate and misleading, also explored the circumstances leading to the 2010 death of a top SeaWorld trainer, who was pulled underwater and drowned by an orca she had performed with in Florida.
SeaWorld trainers have not been allowed back in the water with killer whales during performances since that incident. In March 2016, SeaWorld announced it would halt breeding of orcas in captivity but that the existing whales would continue to perform as they live out their remaining years.
"While there's no Blackfish for the dolphins, it is essential that this report ... have the same impact that Blackfish had on orcas," the film's director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, said at the PETA news conference.
PETA said about 140 dolphins and some 20 orcas remain at SeaWorld parks.
BARCELONA: A YouTube personality in Spain was sentenced to 15 months’ jail and fined €20,000 (US$22,500) on Friday (May 31) for posting an online video in which he tricked a homeless man into eating toothpaste-filled cookies.
Kanghua Ren, also known as ReSet, was found guilty of an offence against moral integrity after the video of his prank went viral and sparked outrage.
However, Ren will likely not serve any jail time as sentences of up to two years are generally suspended in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.
Ren was also ordered to close down his YouTube channels for five years but as of Tuesday, his two YouTube channels, which respectively have more than 1.2 million and 260,000 followers, were still online.
Ren had carried out the prank in 2017 after he was “challenged” by one of his followers to replace the cream filling of an Oreo cookie with toothpaste.
The YouTuber, who was 19 at the time, then filmed himself removing cream from inside the Oreo before replacing it with toothpaste.
He then took to the streets of Barcelona and gave the cookies to a Romanian beggar along with €20.
"Maybe I went a little far, but let's look at the positive side, it will help him clean his teeth, I don't think he has often brushed his teeth since he became poor," Ren told his followers, according to a court document.
The homeless man later felt sick and vomited several minutes after eating the cookies, and said he feared for his life as he did not know what was in the cookie or who Ren was, said a Daily Mail report.
The homeless man later told Spanish newspaper El Pais that he had “never been treated so poorly while living on the street”.
The video sparked an outcry, so Ren posted a new one in which he went back to see the man and gave him another €20.
"If I had done this with a normal person, no-one would have said a thing, but as he is a beggar people are complaining," he said in a message accompanying the video, according to the court document.
Among the 200 most influential Spanish-speaking personalities on YouTube at the time, he then tried to stop the victim making a complaint in exchange for €300, police said.
Police added he targeted other vulnerable people in other videos on his channel, where he earns money through advertising.
MOSCOW: Roman Yudakov points in the distance to a stinking mountain of trash looming over the Russian capital and sighs: "Take a look at our pyramid!"
The rubbish towers above the Timokhovo dump outside Moscow, one of the biggest in Europe. Authorities plan to build an incinerator to burn some of the trash, but Yudakov and other activists are fighting for it to be recycled instead.
"The priority of the authorities is to burn, rather than sort (waste for recycling). Nobody is ready to do that," says the 36-year-old electrician as he flicks his cigarette butt in the direction of the 157m high dump east of Moscow.
Open since the late 1970s, Timokhovo receives dozens of lorries every day from the capital some 80 km away.
Since 2013, residents have complained of foul sulphurous smells and worry that effluents are polluting ground water. The authorities acknowledged the smell comes from the dump, but say it is now safe because of a filtration system. Activists however dispute this claim.
Just 7 per cent of rubbish is recycled in Russia, according to official data. This falls far below France's 43 per cent or Germany's 68 pe rcent achieved in 2017, according to Eurostat.
The majority of household waste in Russia ends up in locations like Timokhovo, whose trash pile can be seen from many kilometres away.
In recent years, waste management has emerged as a subject of heated debate as residents of towns surrounding Moscow have protested against dumps filled to over capacity or catching on fire.
Authorities came up with the idea of unloading some of the local landfills and taking the waste from Moscow, which produces 15 per cent of Russia's garbage, to the Arkhangelsk region in the north.
The new landfill project launched in the region 1,000km from the capital caused unprecedented demonstrations and led to clashes between local protesters and construction workers and security guards.
"NEED CHANGE IN MENTALITY"
With the issue emerging as a major cause of public discontent, President Vladimir Putin in December announced that the recycling rate will increase to 60 per cent by 2024 with the help of 200 new waste sorting centres.
But campaigners for recycling have reacted with scepticism, saying all centralised attempts at recycling have failed in the past, and only private initiatives can be effective.
"They pretend to talk about recycling. I've seen an ad on the subway and opinion polls on the subject, but for the moment the government is not rushing to support us," says Alyona Rudyuk, who runs a small recycling centre in Moscow.
The centre opened in November and is part of a network launched by an environmental association Sobirator. Every day, dozens of Muscovites come here to drop off their sorted packaging.
Sobirator also has a truck that collects rubbish in various Moscow neighbourhoods, advertising pickup points via social media or even coming straight to a person's home for a fee.
Natalia Umnova chose that option after collecting and sorting recyclables on the balcony of her flat for several months.
"We checked the (recycling) centres nearby, but they were either closed or only accepted one type of waste," she says.
To take recycling to a wider scale, there are a lot of challenges to overcome, mostly stemming from a lack of enthusiasm at the government level, says Sobirator founder Leonid Sinitsyn.
"We can show people how to do (recycling) but we can't solve the problem, so we need a change in mentality and in the law," he says.
So far government efforts appear to have had the opposite effect.
A so-called "garbage reform" kicked into action in January was supposed to make waste management more transparent, but in effect hiked waste disposal fees for already struggling Russians, fuelling more public ire.
"It's the price of (consumer) packaging that should increase, not the fees," says former MP Maxim Shingarkin, who was one of the reform's authors. "And as long as people are angry, they will not be motivated to recycle."
Moscow regional government said in a comment to AFP that increased fees go toward new sorting bins and rising transport costs following the closure of overflowed waste landfills.
In addition, three recycling centres opened last year and nine more are under construction, and more than 700,000 school children have attended special classes on the benefits of recycling, it said.
Despite these efforts, Shingarkin suspects that Moscow's main regional waste disposal operator may simply lack the motivation to develop recycling.
The company RT-Invest, partly owned by the state corporation Rostec, is also involved in building four waste incinerators around the capital, which Shingarkin believes is a conflict of interest.
"Sorting and recycling rubbish would mean there is less rubbish to burn," he said.
RT-Invest denied any lack of enthusiasm for recycling, saying the eight sorting centres it is constructing are "in its interests."
"It's only after sorting the waste that the non-reusable items will be sent to the incinerator," spokeswoman Yevgenia Sokolova said.
BUDAPEST: Hopes of finding survivors from one of Hungary's worst boat disasters were fading on Thursday (May 30), a day after a collision on the Danube left seven South Korean tourists dead and 21 other people missing.
The Mermaid sightseeing boat capsized and sank in just seconds after colliding with a huge passenger river cruise ship on the Danube in the heart of Budapest in driving rain on Wednesday evening.
Thirty-five people were on board the Mermaid, most of them South Korean tourists including a six-year-old girl who was travelling with her mother and grandparents and remains missing.
The boat's captain and a crew member - both Hungarian - are also missing following the disaster in which only seven people aboard the Mermaid are known to have survived.
Police said on Thursday that the captain of the larger ship, the 135-metre four-storey Viking Sigyn, had been taken into custody and "questioned as a suspect ... in relation to 'endangering waterborne traffic resulting in multiple deaths'."
"After being questioned, 64-year-old Yuriy C., a resident of Odessa, was detained and a request for his arrest has been made," the statement added.
Police and army boats mounted a second night of search activity on the chilly and fast-moving river but the operation has been complicated by high river levels and a strong current after weeks of heavy rainfall.
At the time of the collision, most passengers were sheltering from heavy rain inside the boat, Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for Mermaid owner Panorama Deck told weekly magazine HVG.
Toth described the chances of further survivors being found as "very slim".
Police said three bodies had been found several kilometres south of the disaster site.
"The current was so fast and people were floating away but the rescue team did not come," a rescued 31-year-old woman identified only by her surname Jung told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The Viking Sigyn "longship" had about 180 passengers on board.
"We were on our balcony, and we saw people in the water, screaming for help," said Ginger Brinton, a 66-year-old American tourist on the Sigyn.
"We never felt any bump. We didn't realise. We just saw people in the water. It was just terrible."
The tragedy comes five years after the Sewol disaster in South Korea in which more than 300 people, mostly children, perished when a ferry capsized in April 2014.
'SEVEN SECONDS TO SINK'
Security camera footage taken from a bridge "shows that before the collision the Mermaid turned towards the Viking Sigyn cruise boat, for some reason, the Viking then turned the small boat over, and it sank within seven seconds," police colonel Adrian Pal told a press conference.
The Mermaid was regularly serviced and had no apparent technical faults, Toth told Hungarian news agency MTI.
Lee Sang-moo, chief operating officer of Very Good Tour which organised the trip for the South Koreans, said most of the passengers were in their 50s and 60s, with the oldest a man in his early 70s.
Lee said 40 relatives are due to fly to Budapest from Friday, the same day South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is set to arrive along with a emergency task force.
SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHERMIA
Hungary's emergency services spokesman Pal Gyorfi said the seven rescued survivors were taken to hospital with symptoms of hypothermia and shock. Six of them were released on Thursday, while one remained hospitalised with broken ribs, the M1 public television channel said.
The wreckage of the Mermaid was found on the riverbed near the Margaret Bridge, one of the main links between the two parts of the Hungarian capital, local media said.
A floating crane was erected near the accident site on Thursday, but experts warned that the Danube's high current level would make any diving attempts very risky and that lifting the wreck could take several days.
Zsolt Gabor Pataki, a colonel with the fire department, said the search operation had been extended to cover the entire length of the Danube in Hungary south of Budapest and that the authorities in neighbouring Serbia had been contacted.
In a phone call with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for "active support" from the Hungarian government in the rescue efforts.
Floral tributes and candles were left at the embassy on Thursday by locals expressing their condolences.
'MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS'
Orban sent a condolence letter to Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, and sought to ensure his counterpart that Hungary was making every possible effort to find survivors, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said.
The accident happened on a popular part of the Danube river for pleasure trips, from where passengers can view the city and parliament building illuminated at night.
Dozens of small sightseeing boats ply the river through Budapest every day. Larger river cruise boats travelling on the Danube between Germany and the Black Sea typically spend several days moored in the capital.
WELLINGTON: A security breach that led to the premature release of New Zealand's budget resulted from an online bungle, not a sophisticated cyber attack as originally claimed, red-faced officials admitted Thursday (May 30).
The Treasury department called in police this week after the opposition National Party released parts of the government's annual budget, which was not due for release until Thursday.
At the time, Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf said his department had fallen victim to a "systematic" and "deliberate" hack, rejecting "absolutely" any suggestion the information had been accidentally posted online.
He was forced into an embarrassing backdown Thursday after police found no evidence that illegal activity was behind the leak.
"On the available information, an unknown person or persons appear to have exploited a feature in the website search tool but ... this does not appear to be unlawful," Makhlouf said in a statement.
He said Treasury prepared a "clone" website ahead of the Budget's release but did not realise that entering specific search terms on it revealed embargoed information.
Budget documents are a closely guarded secret and Makhlouf said an inquiry would be held to ensure such a breach was not repeated.
This year's document is the centre-left government's inaugural "well-being" budget, which it says is a world-first attempt to change the way economic progress is measured, putting people ahead of growth.
National leader Simon Bridges called for Makhlouf's resignation, saying the Treasury boss knew about the bungle days ago because his department fixed the website bug before police were called in.
He accused Makhlouf of sitting on the information and instead going public with an accusation that implied National had carried out an illegal hack.
"Clearly his position is not tenable," Bridges told reporters.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson, the minister responsible for the budget, declined to publicly back Makhlouf, who is due to leave his position next month and become governor of the Central Bank of Ireland.
"I am ... very disappointed that the Treasury did not seek to find more information as to how this happened before referring the matter to the police," he said in a statement.
He refused to address the matter further in the budget media lock-up at parliament, which Makhlouf did not attend, contrary to normal practice.
LOS ANGELES: Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled a new plan to protect abortion access on Tuesday (May 28), joining fellow White House hopefuls pushing back against Republican-backed state laws that restrict a woman's right to end a pregnancy.
The US senator from California said if elected president she will force states with a history of hostility toward Roe v Wade - the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion - to first obtain approval from the Justice Department before a law restricting abortion could take effect.
"Here's the thing, there are states that keep passing these laws," Harris said at a Tuesday night town hall hosted by MSNBC in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
"So, when elected, I'm going to put in place and require that states that have a history of passing legislation that is designed to prevent or limit a woman's access to reproductive health care, those laws have to come before my Department of Justice for a review," she added.
South Carolina is one of the early states in the presidential candidate nomination competition starting early next year and the first to have a sizeable population of black voters. A good performance in South Carolina is central to Harris' primary strategy.
Harris' proposal comes amid an intensifying national debate on abortion rights, as roughly two dozen Democrats seek to become the candidate to take on Republican President Donald Trump in next year's election.
Alabama this month approved one of the strictest abortion laws in the United States. It would make abortion illegal in nearly all cases, including those of rape and incest.
Several other Republican-controlled states, including Georgia and Ohio, have recently passed so-called "heartbeat" laws, which outlaw abortion if a doctor is able to detect a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
"I think it's very clear that – and it has not changed – that women's ability to have access to reproductive health is under attack in America," Harris said at the town hall.
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to consider reinstating Indiana's ban on abortions performed because of fetal disability, or the sex or race of the fetus, while upholding a requirement that fetal remains be buried or cremated after the procedure is done.
Both provisions were part of a Republican-backed 2016 law signed by Vice President Mike Pence.
Harris' plan to protect abortion access comes after those offered by other Democratic candidates, including US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Beto O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman.
Under Harris' plan, a state with a history of violating the Roe decision will have to prove that any new law or practice does not end or curtail a woman's right to choose an abortion.
The Harris plan is modeled on former preclearance provisions under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which were in place to protect voters from laws deemed hostile to a citizen's ability to cast a ballot.
The Supreme Court in 2013 said the map used for civil rights preclearance was outdated and needed to be updated before preclearance could resume.
Harris said the Supreme Court invalidated the preclearance map, but not the process itself. She said the preclearance process for abortion access would take into account actions taken by states over the past 25 years.
PORT MORESBY: Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill stalled his announced resignation and took legal action to prevent a vote of no confidence Tuesday (May 28), deepening the country's political crisis.
The veteran leader launched what appeared to be a last-gasp bid to cling on to power, pressing the Supreme Court to thwart a planned parliamentary vote to remove him from office.
Facing mounting criticism, O'Neill on Sunday announced that he would step down, but has so far avoided formally submitting his resignation to the country's governor general.
O'Neill - who has been in power since 2011 - is battling for his political life after a string of cabinet resignations sparked by his signing a multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with France's Total and US firm ExxonMobil earlier this year.
Local communities had complained bitterly about not benefiting from similar deals in the past.
O'Neill's government narrowly avoided a vote of no confidence after the signing by adjourning parliament for almost a month.
On the eve of lawmakers' return and with a new confidence vote planned for Jun 6, O'Neill lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court.
In a lengthy filing, O'Neill said he wanted to "ensure clarity of constitutional and legal processes".
The court on Tuesday refused to hear the case urgently and set proceedings for Friday, according to opposition lawmaker Brian Kramer.
O'Neill's opponents believe they have the votes to oust him.
On Tuesday, they elected member of parliament and National Alliance Party leader Patrick Pruaitch as their alternative prime minister.
TOKYO: There is "great respect" between the United States and North Korea, President Donald Trump said Monday (May 27), predicting "lots of good things" despite recent missile launches by Pyongyang.
"I personally think that lots of good things will come with North Korea, I feel that. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I feel that," Trump said at the start of bilateral talks with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.
"We've come a long way," the US leader added.
"There's a good respect built, maybe a great respect built between certainly the United States and North Korea."
The comments come despite short-range missile launches by Pyongyang in May that Trump's own National Security Advisor John Bolton said over the weekend were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Trump appeared to dispute Bolton's assessment in a tweet on Sunday, in which he called the missiles "small weapons" that "disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me".
The US president is in Tokyo for a state visit that included a meeting with the newly enthroned Emperor Naruhito on Monday morning, the first time the monarch has met a foreign leader since taking the throne.
Trump's bilateral talks with Abe are expected to focus on trade, North Korea and military issues, as well as other diplomatic crises, including the tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Abe has reportedly proposed serving as a mediator and is said to be weighing a state visit to Iran, and Trump said he remained open to talks.
"I do believe that Iran would like to talk, and if they'd like to talk, we'd like to talk also," he said.
"Nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me," he added.
Trump said US-Japan relations have "never been better," but the allies are locked in negotiations over trade, with the US leader repeating Monday that America suffers a "tremendous imbalance" with Japan on trade.
"We're working on that, and I'm sure that will work out over a period of time," Trump added, saying he expected the allies to be "announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries".
"We'll get the balance of trade straightened out rapidly."