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Donald Trump inducts 2 Women in his Cabinet: Indian-American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Charter School Advocate Betsy DeVos

The appointment of both women, as with Trump's other Cabinet selections, requires Senate confirmation

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From left, Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for education secretary, and Nikki Haley, Trump's choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. VOA

November 23, 2016: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump named his first two women for Cabinet-level positions Wednesday – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos as his secretary of education.

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Haley, the 44-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, is serving her second term as governor of the mid-Atlantic state, but has no foreign policy experience. DeVos, from the midwestern state of Michigan, is the chair of the American Federation for Children, a group that has aggressively sought to expand the number of charter schools and voucher programs in the U.S. to allow students to attend private schools with taxpayer money.

The appointment of both women, as with Trump’s other Cabinet selections, requires Senate confirmation.

[bctt tweet=”In naming Haley, Trump cited her seven overseas trade missions for South Carolina and negotiations with international companies.” username=””]

FILE - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gestures while speaking at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention, Nov. 18, 2016, in Washington. VOA
FILE – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gestures while speaking at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, Nov. 18, 2016, in Washington. VOA

In naming Haley, Trump cited her seven overseas trade missions for South Carolina and negotiations with international companies.

“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” Trump said in a statement. “She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”

Devos, a school choice advocate

The president-elect declared that under Devos’s leadership, “we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.” She is a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican party.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. VOA
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. VOA

Some education reformers in the U.S. champion the use of charter schools, which they view as favorable to mass public education to give impoverished children a chance to attend better schools with more personalized instruction. But the president of the country’s biggest public teachers’ union, Lily Eskelsen Garcia of the National Education Association, immediately attacked Trump’s appointment of DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist.

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Eskelsen Garcia said DeVos’s efforts “over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students. She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense.”

Haley, a Republican, did not support Trump during the months-long Republican presidential nominating campaign. She initially backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and when he dropped out of the race, shifted her support to Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Shortly before the November 8 election, she said that she was not enthusiastic about the choice between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton to take over the White House when President Barack Obama’s term ends in January, but that she would vote for Trump.

She criticized his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States and used the national platform giving the Republican Party’s response to Obama’s last State of the Union address to rebuke Trump’s style by saying, “Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference.”

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Trump called her “weak on immigration” and in March wrote on Twitter, “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”

The two met last week in New York where Trump has been interviewing potential Cabinet members to join his new administration. In addition to Haley and DeVos, he has picked Republican party chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon as chief White House strategist, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Congressman Mike Pompeo to lead the Central Intelligence Agency and retired Army General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

FILE - Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York. VOA
FILE – Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York. VOA

Trump eyes Carson for HUD

Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and another Republican presidential candidate Trump defeated, said he has been offered a Cabinet position as housing and urban development chief, but it is not clear whether he plans to accept. The president-elect described Carson, an African-American, as “a greatly talented person who loves people.”

FILE - Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. VOA
FILE – Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. VOA

Like Haley, other Republican party figures were lukewarm at best to Trump’s candidacy before backing him against Clinton. Among his critics was House Speaker Paul Ryan, who now is celebrating Trump’s victory and the opportunity for Republicans to control both houses of Congress and the White House.

On Tuesday, Trump told a meeting of reporters and editors at The New York Times that party leaders are “loving” him.

“Paul Ryan right now loves me, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell loves me. It’s amazing how winning can change things,” he said.

Trump also touted the field of people he is considering for key positions in his government, including the possible appointment of another one-time critic, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as secretary of state.

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“We have many people for every job,” Trump said. “I mean no matter what the job is, we have many incredible people.”

Trump also told the Times he is “seriously” considering retired General James Mattis as his secretary of defense.

Most recent presidents have not named their most high profile Cabinet nominees — secretaries of state, defense, treasury and attorney general — until sometime in December. Obama did so by December 1 after his first election in 2008, while his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton waited until the last week in December.

Trump’s inauguration is set for January 20. (VOA)

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US to begin Jerusalem Embassy move preparations: Tillerson

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Photo: wikimedia commons

Washington, Dec 7. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that the State Department will “immediately” act on President Donald Trump’s order and start preparations to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump announced in a televised speech that he officially recognises Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and instructed the State Department to relocate the US embassy to the city, reports Xinhua news agency. (Read: Trump to Announce US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital, Move Embassy)

Tillerson, who is on a Europe visit, said in a statement on Wednesday night that the US has consulted with “many friends, partners and allies” about the relocation ahead of Trump’s decision.

Though hailed by Israel, Trump’s announcement immediately drew strong opposition and widespread criticism from Arab and European countries that such a move would inflame tensions and fuel violence in the Middle East.

Tillerson said that the US had taken measures to protect Americans in the region.

“The safety of Americans is the State Department’s highest priority, and in concert with other federal agencies, we’ve implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.”

Trump’s announcement marked a dramatic departure from his predecessors’ foreign policy.

Although the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former Presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

The status of Jerusalem, revered by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site by Jews, lies at the core of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

The international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries have their embassies in the city.(IANS)

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Sulabh International unveils World’s biggest Toilet Pot model

The NGO gave 95 new household toilets to the residents of the village.

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Sulabh launched biggest pot toilet models
Sulabh International in working towards improving sanitation. Wikimedia Commons

Sulabh International on Sunday launched the “world’s biggest” toilet pot model in Haryana’s Marora village — popularly known as ‘Trump village’ — on the occasion of World Toilet Day.

As per a release by the non-profit, the mega Indian-style pot, made of iron, fibre, wood and plaster of Paris, measuring 20×10 feet, was unveiled to create awareness about the use of toilets in the village dedicated to US President Donald Trump.

Sanitation expert and founder of Sulabh International, Bindeshwar Pathak, also dedicated 95 new household toilets to the residents of the village.

“This large pot replica will be shifted to Delhi’s Sulabh Toilet Museum,” the release quoted Pathak as saying.

He said the idea behind naming a village after Trump was to highlight the issue of sanitation and cleanliness globally.

Puneet Ahluwalia, a member of the ruling Republican Party in the US, said that such an initiative would go a long way to motivate masses towards cleanliness and safe sanitation. (IANS)

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Exposed! Paradise Papers reveal Tax-haven Secrets of the Super-rich! Even Queen Elizabeth II hasn’t been spared!

The publication of this investigation for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years comes at a time of growing global income inequality.

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paradise papers
Paradise Papers expose tax haven secrets of ultra-wealthy, including Queen Elizabeth. The details come from a leak of 13.4 million files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive - and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth. VOA

London, November 6, 2017 : A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate secretly invest vast amounts of cash in different offshore tax havens, media reports said on Monday.

The details come from a leak of 13.4 million files in the Paradise Papers on Sunday that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

The material which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with 100 other media organisations including the Guardian, the BBC and The New York Times.

Some of the revelations in the Paradise Papers include millions of pounds from Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate that has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund and some of her money that went to a retailer accused of exploiting poor families and vulnerable people.

Paradise Papers detail extensive offshore dealings by US President Donald Trump’s cabinet members advisers and donors including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law to the shipping group of the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The leak shows how social media giants Twitter and Facebook received millions in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions along with aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations including Nike and Apple.

It also includes information about a tax-avoiding Cayman Islands trust managed by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief wealth manager.

The leak also includes how some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an array of offshore schemes and the complex offshore webs used by two Russian billionaires to buy stakes in Arsenal and Everton football clubs.

The disclosures will put pressure on world leaders including Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May who have both pledged to curb aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

The publication of this investigation for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years comes at a time of growing global income inequality.

Offshore finance is about a place outside of one’s own nation’s regulations to which companies or individuals can reroute money assets or profits to take advantage of lower taxes reports the BBC.

These jurisdictions are known as tax havens to the layman or the more stately offshore financial centres (OFCs) to the industry. They are generally stable secretive and reliable often small islands but not exclusively so and can vary on how rigorously they carry out checks on wrongdoing. (IANS)