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US First Lady Melania Trump Starts The Final Leg of Her Africa Trip

She will depart Egypt for the U.S. later Saturday, capping a tour to highlight child welfare, education, tourism and conservation.

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First Lady Melania Trump meets with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his wife Entissar Mohameed Amer at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt. VOA
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U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrived Saturday in Cairo, Egypt, where she was greeted at an arrival ceremony by President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and his wife, Entissar Mohameed Amer.

After a visit to the presidential palace and a stop at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the first lady visited the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Egypt is Melania Trump’s last stop on a four-nation tour of Africa that also included a visit to Kenya, where she visited two orphanages, one for children and the other for elephants.

Trump stopped by the elephant orphanage on a visit to Nairobi National Park, a nature preserve located just a few kilometers south of the Kenyan capital.

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First lady Melania Trump visits the ancient statue of Sphinx, with the body of a lion and a human head, at the historic site of Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Park rangers told the first lady about steps Kenya is taking to conserve the elephant and rhino populations, which have been decimated by poachers. Another 11 rhinos died in July from drinking salty water after a transfer to a new Kenyan sanctuary.

A new Chinese-built railroad running through the park also has been a source of controversy. The project, which split the park in two, was backed by the government over the objections of conservationists who complained of inadequate environmental impact studies.

On Friday, Trump fed a baby elephant using a giant bottle, then got a small bump from another pachyderm as she tried to administer another feeding

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U.S. first lady Melania Trump (L) and first lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta (R) pet a baby elephant at The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi. VOA

During a 90-minute tour of the park, where she caught glimpses of hippos, a giraffe and other animals, Trump got out of the car to look at an ivory burn site, where the material has been destroyed to discourage the trade in elephant tusks.

After the visit to the park, Trump visited a Nairobi orphanage known as The Nest, which cares mainly for children whose parents have been incarcerated.

Trump’s first-ever visit to Africa and her first extended solo international trip as first lady have included visits to Ghana and Malawi.

Also Read: Former US First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At Age 92

She will depart Egypt for the U.S. later Saturday, capping a tour to highlight child welfare, education, tourism and conservation.

Trump’s visit includes promoting the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the funding of which President Donald Trump has twice proposed slashing by nearly a third. Lawmakers, however, have not approved those requests. (VOA)

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Russia Helped Trump To Win On Every Social Media Platform: Senate Report

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election

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Former Donald Trump presidential campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, center, who triggered the Russia investigation, leaves federal court with wife Simona Mangiante, on Sept. 7, 2018, in Washington. VOA

Russia used every major social media platform to target voters with misinformation to try to get Donald Trump elected president, according to a new report that was prepared for the U.S. Senate and seen by The Washington Post.

The report says Russians working for a group called The Internet Research Agency (IRA) began experimenting with social media to influence local elections in 2009 and expanded its operations to U.S. elections in 2013 using Twitter.

It gradually added other popular social media sites to its campaign, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

For the 2016 presidential campaign, the report says Russians attempted to stir up conservative voters to back Trump by stressing such issues as gun rights and immigration.

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Conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, California, April 18, 2017. VOA

At the same time, the Russian operatives sent black voters messages and other information aimed at confusing them about the electoral process, including misleading information on how to vote.

Other groups, such as liberals, women, Muslims, Latinos, and veterans, were also targeted with similar messages either appealing to their politics or trying to discourage them from voting.

“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says according to The Washington Post.

The newspaper says the report criticizes technology companies for what it calls their “belated and uncoordinated response” when the misinformation campaign was discovered and their delay in sharing information with investigators.

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Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Nov. 29, 2018, in New York, after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on an aborted project to build a Trump Tower in Russia. VOA

The report also warns that social media is morphing from what it says are tools for “sharing collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement,” including in the Middle East, to threats to democracy from “canny political consultants” and “politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike.”

The Post says Facebook and Google have not commented on the report. But Twitter says it has made “significant strides since the 2016 election to harden its digital defenses.”

The United States has already leveled criminal charges against Russia’s Internet Research Agency for interfering in the 2016 campaign.

Also Read: U.S. President Not Worried About Impeachment, Defends Hush Payments

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election and whether the president has tried to obstruct justice by trying to undermine the probe.

Trump denies there was any collusion and calls the Mueller probe a “witch hunt.” (VOA)