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Donald Trump Did Not Meet With Iraqi PM For Security Reasons: US

The Pentagon has about 5,200 soldiers deployed in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting the IS

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Video: Frustrations Run High in Third Week of Shutdown. VOA

US President Donald Trump could not meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdelmahdi on his recent surprise trip to the Middle Eastern country because for “security reasons” the premier was only informed of the president’s visit two hours earlier, the White House said on Thursday.

In remarks to reporters who travelled with the US president, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that for “security reasons” the White House could only invite the Iraqi premier to meet with Trump two hours prior to the time that could be scheduled for the meeting.

Abdelmahdi was elsewhere in Iraq and could not rearrange his schedule to meet with Trump on such short notice, Sanders said, Efe reported.

Given the US announcement, the Iraqi premier’s press office issued a statement saying that the meeting could not be arranged due to a lack of agreement regarding how to conduct it and so the two leaders spoke on the phone instead.

During that telephone conversation, Trump invited Abdelmahdi to visit the White House and the prime minister accepted, Sanders said.

In addition, she said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Abdelmahdi in Baghdad on January 11.

Trump, U.S.
Donald Trump. VOA

Trump and his wife Melania on Wednesday made a surprise visit to US troops deployed in Iraq, the first time the president has visited soldiers stationed abroad.

The first couple visited the US Ain al Asad base in Iraq’s western Al Anbar province, and on their return to Washington aboard Air Force One they stopped in Germany to spend 45 minutes with US soldiers at the Ramstein military base.

Last week, Trump announced that he was withdrawing from Syria all 2,000 US troops stationed there to fight the Islamic State as part of an international coalition.

According to local media, the president also ordered the withdrawal of 7,000 of the 14,000 US troops stationed in Afghanistan, although this has not been officially confirmed.

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The Pentagon has about 5,200 soldiers deployed in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting the IS.

Last week, Pompeo assured Abdelmahdi that the US remains committed to the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Iraq and promised that the international coalition will continue working closely with the Iraqi military to destroy the remnants of the Islamic State. (IANS)

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Uber Receives 3,045 Cases of Sexual Assault in U.S. in Year 2018

"We are partnering with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme," Uber added

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Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Ride-hailing giant Uber has released its first safety review which contains thousands of sexual assault reports. The company has also revealed the changes it was making to make rides safer for its passengers and drivers.

The two-year safety review contains almost 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault that Uber received in 2017 and 3,045 it received in 2018.

Notably, the cab aggregator categorises sexual assaults into five subcategories, which are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, non-consenual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part and non-consensual sexual penetration.

In the last sub category, which is rape, the cab hailing major received 229 reports of rape in 2017 and 235 reports of rape in 2018. Throughout 2017 and 2018, the reported incidents occurred on 0.00002% of trips, according to the company.

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, said in the review.

“And, most importantly, by bringing hard data to bear, we can make every trip safer for drivers and riders alike.”

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Uber app. Pixabay

The ride hailing major long been under fire for its safety practices.

In its response to making rides safer for its passengers, Uber mentioned developments like its “in-app safety button”.

“We’re rolling out new features that allow riders to verify their driver with a secure PIN code, send a text message directly to 911 operators, and report safety incidents to Uber even before their trip is over,” the company said.

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In 2020, the cab aggregator will expand sexual misconduct and assault education to all the US drivers.

“We are partnering with RAINN, the nation’s largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme,” Uber added. (IANS)