Top U.S. Diplomat In China Quits Over Donald Trump’s Climate Policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – David Rank, the chargé d?affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, has left the State Department over the Trump administration?s decision to quit the 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

A State Department spokeswoman confirmed Rank?s departure, but said she was unable to verify Twitter posts that said he resigned as he felt unable to deliver a formal notification to China of the U.S. decision last week to quit the agreement.

?He has retired from the foreign service,? said Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the department?s East Asia Bureau. ?Mr Rank has made a personal decision. We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department.?

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, President Donald Trump?s pick as the next U.S. ambassador to Beijing, is expected to take up the post later this month.

A tweet from China expert John Pomfret quoted unnamed sources as saying that Rank had resigned as he could not support Trump?s decision last week to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

Another tweet from Pomfret said Rank called a town hall meeting to announce his decision to embassy staff and explained that he could not deliver a diplomatic note informing the Chinese government of the U.S. decision.

A senior U.S. official confirmed the account given in the tweets, but added that after Rank announced his intention to retire on Monday in Beijing, he was told by the State Department to leave his post immediately. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rank, a career foreign service officer who took over the post of deputy chief of mission in Beijing in January 2016, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jonathan Fritz, the embassy?s economics councillor, would serve as chargé in his place, Richey-Allen said.

Rank had been with the department for 27 years and served as the political councillor at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan from 2011-12.

Trump?s announcement last Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, saying the agreement would undermine the U.S. economy and cost jobs, drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and John Walcott, additional reporting by Jonathan Landay, editing by G Crosse)

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Pusha T Starts College Fund For 6-Year-Old In Viral Anti-Violence Video

The 6-year-old who called for an end to violence in his hometown in a viral video struck a chord with Pusha T ? so much so that the rapper is starting a college fund for him.

Jeffrey ?Lil J? Laney urged the people in St. Louis to ?stop killing each other? in a viral Facebook video his mom posted on May 15. The G.O.O.D. Music president responded to the heartfelt plea with a video and a letter to Jeffrey. 

In the letter, posted on Instagram on Saturday, the rapper told Jeffrey that his ?brave? video ?woke [him] up.? 

A post shared by Pusha T (@kingpush) on

?Hopefully other men in our communities see this video and also realize that a 6 year old boy just challenged us all to do better,? he said. ?No matter where we are in life we have to look out for the youth. As someone who?s familiar with places not too different from where you are, please believe me your options are endless and there is so much more to the world than your neighborhood. You have your life in front of you and you should enjoy every moment of it and more importantly LOOK FORWARD not behind you or around you and worry.?

In addition to starting the 6-year-old?s college fund, the rapper gave Jeffrey some things he can benefit from now. Pusha offered to pay for Six Flags tickets for Jeffrey and for summer camp at the Boys and Girls Club for him and his two cousins. He also threw in games, books and an iPad, and promised to buy the kindergartener tickets to see the new Spider-Man film.

?Lil J I want you to do me a favor and enjoy being 6 yrs old,? he wrote. ?Smile more than frown, explore without fear, learn uncontrollably, dream without limits.?

Jeffrey?s mom, Leanndra Cheatham, posted a Facebook video Friday of her son with the gifts Pusha T gave him. The 6-year-old thanked him for the presents.

?You gave me a lot of toys and I?m excited to go to college and I?m excited to go to summer camp and I love you, Pusha T,? he said, blowing a kiss afterward. 

Watch Jeffery?s original video below.

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