Indian oil PSUs place orders for Iranian crude

Indian oil PSUs place orders for Iranian crude in defiance of U.S. sanctions

Two Indian oil PSUs have placed orders for Iranian oil to be delivered in November, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. The move comes in apparent defiance of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s crude oil exports that come into effect on November 4.

The Indian government has repeatedly requested Washington for a waiver of these sanctions for India, but has not received an affirmative response so far. “Two days ago, two of our companies have placed orders with Iran for oil for the month of November,” Mr. Pradhan said at the inaugural conference of the Energy Forum.

Image result for Indian oil PSUsThe question is, has the waiver been granted or not. We don’t know if the waiver has happened or not, but the Indian companies have gone ahead and booked the order,  he said.

The two companies in question are Indian Oil Corporation and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals, with a total order quantity of 1.25 million tonnes of crude, according to an official in the Petroleum Ministry. The U.S. embassy did not respond to requests for a response to the Minister’s statement.

On November 4, a second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran will target the oil industry, and impose penalties on oil companies, refineries, insurers and transport companies dealing with Iran.

According to an executive order (EO 13846) issued by President Donald Trump, all American and non-American entities were given a six-month “wind-down” period from May 2018, in which to “zero out” all transactions with designated Iranian oil companies and port operators.

Although countries like Turkey, Russia, and China have indicated they will go ahead with their oil trade with Iran, the European Union will probably accede in a large measure, given the exposure of their companies to the U.S. banking system.

India had thus far not publicly articulated its stand on the issue, but with the advance orders placed for November, has made it clear that India will not “zero out” its oil intake from Iran. While private companies like Reliance and Nayara Energy (Essar) have had to drastically reduce their purchases, public sector companies, who are more immune to U.S. strictures, and already have alternate banking arrangements and a “rupee-rial” mechanism, are staying the course for now.

Mr. Pradhan also said he had spoken to Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister two days ago regarding the higher oil prices and how prices should not be set with the interest of producing countries but also by keeping consuming countries’ interests in mind.

“The way certain major economies are handling their domestic currency, all the major currencies of the world are affected by this. These are the two factors affecting oil prices. The Indian government is working on this and I am confident gradually things will be normalised,” the Minister said.

He also categorically stated that the government’s directive to oil companies to absorb a ₹1 per litre hit to the price of petrol and diesel was not a reversal of the deregulation of oil prices.

However, he added that state-run oil companies must look beyond their profits to easing people’s burden. “The basic point is that they are all government companies,” Mr. Pradhan said. “Profitability is their motto, but public interest is also their responsibility.”


India signs $5.43 billion S-400 missile deal with Russia

India signs $5.43 billion S-400 missile deal with Russia

India and Russia signed a $5.43 billion deal for five S-400 missile system on Friday during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While India has a long history of signing big ticket defence contracts with Russia, this deal comes at a time of increased friction between the United States and Russia, Washington’s strong objections to the agreement and New Delhi’s own deepening defence cooperation with Washington.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin“The S-400 deal was signed today at 1100 hrs by the Joint Secretary Land Systems from India and the Director General, Rosoboronexport of Russia,” a top government source said. The deliveries will begin in 24 months, which is end 2020.

The U.S. has warned that the deal, signed during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi, could attract sanctions.

The U.S. has warned that the deal could attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea. It has to be seen if the U.S. would grant a waiver to India in this case.

Few other defence deals are also expected to be concluded, which will be announced during the joint statement after the talks.

Modi, Putin hold restricted meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a restricted meeting ahead of delegation-level talks of the annual bilateral summit. Modi received Putin at the Hyderabad House here and the two leaders warmly shook hands and hugged each other obliging cameramen.

Putin arrived here on Thursday evening for the 19th India-Russia Bilateral Summit and held a private meeting with Modi at the latter’s residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Putin at the airport here.

Around 20 agreements are expected to be signed between the two sides following the summit on Friday. This includes India’s purchase of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia at a cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore.

The deal has been an issue of much speculation after US President Donald Trump’s administration’s law — Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) — came into effect in January. CAATSA targets countries doing business with Russian, Iranian and North Korean defence companies.

Also expected to come up for discussion is Washington’s fresh sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear programme. New Delhi is worried over the new sanctions, set to come into effect on November 4, as Iran is a major supplier of oil to India.

The sanctions have also put into jeopardy the Chabahar Port in Iran being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan. Chabahar is a crucial link in the International North South Transport Corridor of which Russia is a key party.

Russia is one of only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits, the other being Japan. The India-Russia bilateral relationship was elevated to Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership in 2010.

This is the third meeting between Modi and Putin this year after an informal meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi in May and a bilateral on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa in July.


Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods kicks in

Donald Trump’s tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods kicks in

The ongoing trade war between the US and China has escalated after American President Donald Trump’s administration’s new 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods kicked in on Monday, spanning thousands of products, including food seasonings, baseball gloves, network routers and industrial machinery parts.

Trump's tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods kicks inChina retaliated immediately with new taxes of 5 to 10 per cent on $60 billion of US goods such as meat, chemicals, clothes and auto parts, reports CNN.

Trump’s latest tariffs on China now apply to over $250 billion of Chinese goods, roughly half the amount the country sells to the US. The latest round affects thousands of products bought by US consumers, including hundreds of millions of dollars of furniture and electronics imports. The US tariffs imposed earlier in the year mostly hit industrial goods.

The measures are meant to punish China for what the Trump administration says are unfair trade practices, such as intellectual property theft.

Beijing has rejected the US assertions, accusing Washington of protectionism and bullying. It has fired back with tariffs on American goods worth more than $110 billion. Monday’s tariffs are set to increase at the end of the year from 10 to 25 per cent, CNN said.

Trump has also threatened tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese products which would mean the US measures effectively cover all Beijing’s annual goods exports to Washington (the total for 2017 was about $506 billion).

Trump’s decision to move ahead rapidly with the latest tariffs appears to have put the brakes on plans for a new round of negotiations between the two sides.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited Chinese negotiators to Washington to resume talks, but a senior White House official said on Friday that no new meetings are planned for the time being.

-IANS | 24 September 2018 | Washington

US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan

Toughening its stance, US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan 

Toughening its stance, the US suspended more than USD 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take “decisive actions” against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating from its soil.

The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Day tweet accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

The suspended amount also include USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.

In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017 and other unspent moUS suspends over USD 1.1 bn assistance to Pak over terror groupsney from previous fiscal years.

“Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

“We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan,” she said.

The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law.

In August, while unveiling his new South Asia strategy, Trump had accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror,” and said the time had come “for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace”.

Referring to Trump’s new strategy, Nauert said despite a sustained high-level engagement by Trump administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan and also attack the US and allied personnel.

Department of Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews told PTI that National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in the CSF.

Of these funds, USD 400 million can only be released if the Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis certifies that the Pakistan government has taken specific actions against the Haqqani Network.

“At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that’s the entire amount of USD 900 million,” Andrews said.

During an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis did not respond to question if he was in favour of cutting off the aid to Pakistan.

“I prefer not to address that right now because it’s obviously still being formulated as policy. But I’ll give my advice on it to the president. I also agree on some confidentiality there,” he said.

According to a senior State Department official, no decision has been taken on the fate of USD 255 million security assistance to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017. The deadline for that is September 30 this year.

Mattis along with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to the leadership there. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said.

“They may say it’s a surprise, but what is no surprise is that the President has expressed his concerns, Secretary Tillerson has expressed his concerns, as has Secretary Mattis, and I imagine many other government officials having those conversations with Pakistan,” Nauert said.

Now, the money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be suspended forever, she said.

“Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, in the future, but they have to take decisive action. They have to take decisive steps,” she added.

“People have long asked, why don’t you do more about Pakistan, and I think this sort of answers that question. Obviously, Pakistan is important, an important relationship to the US, because together we can work hard to combat terrorism. Perhaps no other country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan and many other countries in that part of the region,” she said.

“They understand that, but still they aren’t taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism,” she said.

In an interaction with reporters, two senior state department officials insisted that such a move is not a punishment, but to provide an incentive to Pakistan to take more action against terrorist groups.

“We have not done anything that’s irreversible here. All this funding is available to Pakistan, if they undertake to take the measures that we’ve asked of them,” a senior administration official said in response to a question.

“Pakistanis have repeatedly said we don’t care about this money. What matters I think to the Pakistani’s is that it is the symbolism of doing this that it represents a deterioration of our relationship that they care about a great deal,” the official said.

“So we were hoping that this is an incentive that they don’t want to see this relationship deteriorate any further and that they’re going to commit to working with us to try to find a way to put it on a more solid footing,” the official added.

The US and others have long complained that Pakistan gives safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies allegations but President Trump has escalated the criticism against the country since he took office.

The Pakistanis say they have suffered great losses from the longstanding war against Islamist networks and are furious that Trump has failed to acknowledge the role they have played.

Yesterday, the state department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom. It announced that it was placing Pakistan on a special watch list, pursuant to 2016 legislation. The step does not carry any serious consequences.

-PTI | 05 January 2018 | Washington

Kim Jong mocked Donald Trump as “mentally deranged”

North Korean leader Kim Jong mocked Donald Trump as “mentally deranged”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un mocked Donald Trump as “mentally deranged” — and warned he will make the US president “pay dearly” for threatening the destruction of his country at the United Nations.

Kim lashed out after Trump stunned the world on Tuesday when he used his maiden UN General Assembly speech to warn the North that Washington would “totally destroy” it if the US or its allies were attacked.
 Kim Jong
The bellicose speech came after months of escalating tensions over advances in the rogue weapons programme operated by Pyongyang, which has defied tough sanctions to launch its sixth and largest nuclear test and to fire a series of missiles over Japan.
“I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the US pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK,” Kim was quoted as saying by state news agency KCNA, referring to North Korea’s official name.
Kim, whom Trump belittles as “Rocket Man”, also questioned the sanity of the US leader, referring to the “mentally deranged behavior of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state”.
Isolated and impoverished, the North says it needs a nuclear deterrent to protect it from an aggressive US and the autocratic regime has made militarism a central part of its national ideology.
The statement stressed Kim was in no mood to change course. Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last,” Kim added.
The angry response also came after the US yesterday sharply ramped up sanctions aimed at curtailing North Korea’s nuclear weapons drive, targeting the regime’s trading partners with a sweeping ban on business.
Trump unveiled the new measures as he met with the leaders of allies Japan and South Korea, even as key players China and Russia voiced unease with his more aggressive approach.
Pyongyang’s stated aim is to be able to target the US mainland and the nation has flaunted the advances in its weapons programme in recent weeks, with the September test of what it said was a miniaturised H-bomb capable of being loaded onto a rocket.
The country also tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range.
-22 September 2017 | AFP | Seoul

World Bank says India allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants under Indus Waters Treaty

Big win against Pakistan as World Bank says India allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants under Indus Waters Treaty

In a big win for the country at the World Bank, the world body has allowed India to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers.

Big win against Pakistan as World Bank says India allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants under Indus Waters Treaty

In a big win for the country at the World Bank, the world body has allowed India to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers.

The go-ahead from the World Bank came days after the conclusion of secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters Treaty.

The talks between the two side were conducted in a peaceful environment and concluded on a good note.

“Both India and Pakistan have agreed to continue discussions over the Indus Waters Treaty and reconvene in September in Washington, DC,” the World Bank said in a brief statement.

According to ANI, India is permitted to construct the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants on Jhelum and the Chenab rivers as specified in the Indus Waters Treaty.

However, Pakistan has opposed whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the treaty.

“The plants are on respectively a tributary of the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers. The treaty designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the “Western Rivers” to which Pakistan has unrestricted use. Among other uses, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the treaty,” the World Bank stated in a fact sheet.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.

The World Bank stated in its fact sheet that Pakistan has asked it to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects. However, India has asked for the appointment of a Neutral Expert for the same purpose.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim had announced in December 2016 that the World Bank would pause before taking further steps in each of the two processes requested by the parties.

Since December 2016, the World Bank has worked towards an amicable resolution of the matter and to safeguard the Treaty.

With ANI inputs

-August 2, 2017, Washington

Sikh man shooting in US: Kent Police calls it hate crime

Sikh man shooting in US: Kent Police calls it hate crime, offers USD 6,000 bounty on shooter



Almost after a week, the police have released the sketch of the shooter, who is still absconding. The lone white shooter was about six feet tall, medium built and between 35 and 40 years of age.

The Sikh man was working on his vehicle outside his home in the city of Kent in the Washington state on Friday, when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to the driveway, the Seattle Times reported.

Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with the victim saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country.”

The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.

The victim described the shooter as a six-foot-tall white man, wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face. Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said while the Sikh man sustained “non life-threatening injuries”, they are “treating this as a very serious incident.”

The US authorities today admitted that the shooting of Sikh man of Indian origin was a hate crime. Police said that the Sikh man identified as Deep Rai (39) was shot outside his home in Washington by a partially-masked gunman who shouted ‘go back to your country’.

Almost after a week, the police have released the sketch of the shooter, who is still absconding. The lone white shooter was about six feet tall, medium built and between 35 and 40 years of age.

The police in suburban Seattle and the FBI have also sought the public’s help in the shooting incident.

Authorities said on Thursday that they’re offering a USD 6,000 reward and have set up a phone line for tips: 253-856-5808.

The victim was struck in the arm. Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner said that they have not had reports of any similar incidents.

Police and the FBI have not identified a suspect but described him as a 6-foot-tall white man who came dressed in a dark hoodie, dark clothing and a mask covering the lower part of his face.

A suspect sketch shows the man with thick, dark eyebrows and brown eyes.

-, March 5, 2017 ,New York/New Delhi

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th President of United States

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th President of United States

Donald Trump was on 20 January, 2017 sworn in as the 45th President of the United States during a historic transfer of power. The Republican leader will succeed Democrat Barack Obama, who served two terms as president of the nation. In his swearing in speech, Donald Trump addressed the challenges ahead of him and vowed to get the job done as he thanked outgoing president Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for being “magnificent” during the presidential transition.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump reassured the citizens that he was going to get power back to the American people. He focused on the people and promised to get their wealth back. He claimed that the inauguration day was not just a transfer of power for him but a transfer of power to the people who have long borne the ills of the wealth and power being concentrated in Washington.

“We are not merely transferring power. We are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you the people. For too long, a small group has reaped the rewards while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. The establishment protected itself. There was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land; that all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment and it belongs to you and to everyone gathered here. This is your day,” he said.

Emphasising on people having the power while he is President, he said, “Our government is now controlled by the people. January 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. Forgotten men and women will no longer be forgotten.”

Reiterating his campaign stance, he vowed to ensure that jobs for Americans come before jobs for foreign nationals. “That is the past, now we are looking only to the future,” he said, adding, “From this day onward, it’s going to be only America first. Every decision will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

Addressing the “reasonable” demands of a “righteous” people, he also acknowledged that for many Americans the reality is different. He said that many are still living in poverty, factories have been shut amounting to lack of jobs, education system that is inaccessible to some and the young lives that have been robbed of opportunity due to drugs, gangs and crimes will all be taken care of in his regime, saying he will fight for them all with every breath in his body.

“I will fight for you with every breath in my body and will never ever let you down. America will start winning again like never before. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American,” he said.

Trump also talked about the military and said they will no longer be protecting other people’s borders and lives and that the safety of Americans will come first. He also said that subsidies to other countries have helped make the world better but at the cost of America and that will stop with him.

“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry. Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future,” he said.

He reinforced the importance of being loyal to the country and being patriotic, regardless of what colour they are. “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag,” he said.

Addressing Radical Islamic Terrorism, he also vowed in his speech to eradicate is completely. “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” he said.

He promised safety to Americans and said that if they all are united, America will be unstoppable. “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable,” he said.

He ended his speech by summing up his speech by promising again full attention to the people, their hopes and dreams, their voice and hailing his campaign promise of making America great again.

“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again. And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America,” he ended.

Hours before his swearing-in ceremony, Trump tweeted, “It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!” The President-elect also met outgoing President Barack Obama at the White House. Obama told Trump that it was good to see him. They exchanged pleasantries, and Melania Trump brought a gift for Michelle Obama.

–  New Delhi | January 21, 2017|

Five killed in shooting at US mall, shooter at large

Five killed in shooting at US mall, shooter at large

Five killed in shooting at US mall, shooter at large

Five people were killed on Saturday in a shooting at a mall in the US state of Washington with the gunman described as a “Hispanic male” still at large.

Police are searching for one shooter and are sweeping stores in the Cascade mall, Sgt Mark Francis said about the shooting in Burlington, about 100 kms north of Seattle.

Authorities said four women and a man were killed in the shooting.

Francis, spokesman for the state patrol, said the victims were shot in the makeup department of the Macy’s store.

Authorities released a surveillance image of the suspect apparently walking through a store and holding a rifle.

Francis said police did not know the gunman’s motive. He said the ages of the victims appeared to range from their 20s to elderly, but had no further identifying information.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement that many questions remain but state patrol and local law enforcement are on the scene working swiftly to locate the shooter and clear the area.

The FBI’s Seattle office announced that it was assisting local investigators with intelligence reviews and manpower.

The bureau said on Twitter that it “has no information to suggest additional attacks planned” in Washington state but did not elaborate.

Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald she was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room when she heard “what sounded like four balloons popping.”

“Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store,” Caswell said.

Authorities also released a photo of a man believed to be the gunman.

“Here is the shooter. We believe just one shooter…Armed with rifle,” Francis tweeted. He said police are “actively searching for suspect, tracking leads.”

-September 24, 2016/PTI, Los Angeles

Donald Trump wins Washington state Republican primary

Donald Trump wins Washington state Republican primary

Donald Trump wins Washington state Republican primary


Republican Party`s presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday night won the Washington state primary.

According to projections by major US media, Trump won in the northwestern state of Washington by a wide margin, ahead of his former rivals Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich and politician Ben Carson whose names were still listed on the ballot despite dropping out of the race weeks ago, EFE news reported.Since Cruz and Kasich dropped out from the presidential race earlier this month after Trump`s victory in Indiana on May 3, the billionaire has barely held campaign rallies.

In fact, he had not visited Washington state for several days, but this did not prevent him from gaining more than 75 percent of the vote.The victory ensures the New York magnate the majority of 44 delegates at stakes in Washington, inching him closer to the 1,237 delegates required for the official nomination in the July convention that will be held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump will probably achieve and surpass this number on June 7 when the republicans in New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico and the country`s most populous state California will go to the polls.