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NASA authorities step down under Donald Trump administration

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Donald Trump. Wikimedia

Washington, Jan 23, 2017: With Donald Trump promising to “unlock the mysteries of space” in his time as US President during his inaugural address, NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot has taken over as its acting administrator.

Lightfoot takes over from Charles Bolden and Dava Newman who stepped down as Administrator and Deputy Administrator, respectively, at the end of Barack Obama’s term, Space.com reported on Monday.

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“To be entrusted with this incredible agency, no matter how long, is an honour, and I commit to serving this team to the best of my ability so we can accomplish our ambitious missions and make this nation proud,” Lightfoot said in an internal memo to employees.

The Trump administration is yet to announce a name for the NASA Administrator.

Lightfoot said that the administration has appointed Erik Noble to serve as White House senior advisor and Greg Autry to be White House liaison.

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“The two are the first members of the so-called ‘beachhead team’ of administration staffers assigned to NASA, at least on a short-term basis,” the report added.

“There will be other new and familiar faces arriving at Headquarters, and we will communicate with you as often as possible to keep you apprised of those developments,” Lightfoot wrote in the statement.

Earlier, during a rally just two weeks before the election, Trump reiterated he would look to focus on exploring deep space.

“I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low-Earth orbit activity – big deal. Instead, we will refocus its mission on space exploration. Under a Trump Administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars,” he told a rally in Florida in October.

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In what could herald a new era for NASA, Trump is also set to cut the US space agency’s budget for climate change and let it focus on sending humans on deep space exploration missions like Mars, including another “giant leap” to the Moon.

“NASA has been reduced to a logistics agency concentrating on space station resupply and politically correct environmental monitoring. We would start by having a stretch goal of exploring the entire solar system by the end of the century,” Bob Walker, who has advised Trump on space policy, told the Telegraph in November.

NASA is already working to get humans to the surface of the Red Planet by the first half of the 2030s, as instructed by Obama. But things may change under Trump.

The US space agency is already developing a capsule called Orion and a huge rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS) to get astronauts to distant destinations such as Mars. (IANS)

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US President Donald Trump Raises a Possibility of Huawei Being a Part of US-China Trade Deal

The Chinese government denies stealing intellectual property and committing unfair trade practices

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tariffs, chinese imports
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on a range of subjects during an event in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2019. VOA

US President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of easing restrictions on Huawei as part of a broader trade deal with Beijing, despite labelling the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous”.

The comments on Thursday, which appear to run counter to Washington’s hardline policy on Huawei, come just a week after the US Department of Commerce placed the company on a trade blacklist, effectively barring it from conducting business with US companies, CNN reported.

“Huawei is something that’s very dangerous” from a security standpoint, Trump told reporters on Thursday.

But then he floated the idea of using the Chinese tech firm as leverage in the ongoing trade negotiations with China.

“It’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of trade deal,” Trump said. “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of, some part of a trade deal.”

In response to Trump, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Gao Feng said: “Recently the US is frequently using ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ to suppress Chinese enterprises. China urges the US to stop the wrongdoings to avoid further impact on the China-US trade relations.

US, Huawei CEO, China Ties
FILE – A man uses two smartphones at once outside a Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019. VOA

“If the US would like to continue to talk, it should show its sincerity and correct its wrong actions.”

The US has long branded Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and the No. 2 smartphone brand – as a security risk.

The Trump administration has been pressuring allies to restrict Huawei equipment in the build out of their 5G networks, citing national security concerns. Washington fears that Beijing could use Huawei equipment to spy on other countries, but has not provided any evidence that such acts have occurred.

Also Read: Google Duo Now Has Data Saving, Group Calls for Android

Huawei has repeatedly denied that any of its products pose a security risk, noting that Beijing has never requested access to its equipment and if it did, the company would refuse to comply, reports CNN.

The Chinese government denies stealing intellectual property and committing unfair trade practices.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the dispute over Huawei could deepen, reiterating the security risk posed by Huawei’s technology and saying he expects other international companies to elect not to use their products. (IANS)