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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

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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Trump Administration Throws Out Obama-Era Rules that Expended Federal Protection of Waterways from Pollution

The Trump administration has thrown out Obama-era rules that expended federal protection of waterways from pollution

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FILE - A dry water ditch is seen next to a corn field in Cordova, Maryland, June 11, 2015. VOA

The Trump administration has thrown out Obama-era rules that expended federal protection of waterways from pollution, a move environmentalists say they will challenge in court.

Getting rid of the 2015 Waters of the United States Act “puts an end to an egregious power grab, eliminates an ongoing patchwork of clean water regulations, and restores a longstanding and familiar regulatory framework,” Environmental Protection Agency Chief Andrew Wheeler said Thursday.

He added that it fulfills one of President Donald Trump’s “key promises.”

Wheeler made his announcement at the Washington headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, whose members have been lobbying against the clean water regulations.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks at a news conference in Washington, Sept. 12, 2019. VOA

The WOTUS rule protected wetlands and streams from pollution by pesticides, mine waste and fertilizers. It solidified what waterways fell under the landmark 1972 Clean Water Act.

Opponents of the Obama administration rules say the regulations created confusion, and likened them to a federal land grab of private property. Farmers and others complained the act also applied to small ponds that do not flow anywhere, leaving them wondering whether they could work their land without violating federal law.

Wheeler says the EPA will now redefine which waterways are subject to federal regulation.

Planned lawsuit

Also Read- US Biologists Declares “Unusual Mortality Event” in Deaths of Nearly 300 Ice Seals Off Alaska’s Northwest Coast

Environmentalists say they will take the EPA to court. They said Thursday that throwing out the 2015 rule means unsafe drinking water, a higher risk of floods when wetlands are destroyed and less wildlife habitat.

“The Clean Water rule represented solid science and smart public policy,” the Natural Resources Defense Council said Thursday.

Betsy Southerland, a top EPA official during the Obama years, calls the repeal a “victory for land developers, oil and gas drillers, and miners.” (VOA)