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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.

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

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

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

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

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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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.