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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.

Melania Trump
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

Melania Trump
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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Testing Of Self-Driving School Bus Halted In Florida, USA

French utility Veolia agreed to sell its 30 percent stake in Transdev to Germany's Rethmann Group.

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FILE - The headquarters of French international public transport company Transdev is seen in Issy-les-Moulineaux. VOA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday said it had ordered Transdev North America to immediately stop transporting schoolchildren in Florida in a driverless shuttle as the testing could be putting them at “inappropriate” risk.

The auto safety agency known as NHTSA said in an order issued late Friday that Transdev’s use of its EZ10 Generation II driverless shuttle in the Babcock Ranch community in southwest Florida was “unlawful and in violation of the company’s temporary importation authorization.”

“Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety,” said Deputy NHTSA Administrator Heidi King in a statement.

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Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA

“Using a non-compliant test vehicle to transport children is irresponsible, inappropriate, and in direct violation of the terms of Transdev’s approved test project.”

In March, NHTSA granted Transdev permission to temporarily import the driverless shuttle for testing and demonstration purposes, but not as a school bus.

The agency said the company had agreed to halt the tests. A spokeswoman for Transdev did not respond to several requests for comment Monday.

Transdev North America is a unit of Transdev, which is controlled by France state-owned investment fund Caisse des Depots et Consignations.

The company in August issued a news release saying it would “operate school shuttle service starting this fall with an autonomous vehicle, the first in the world.”

Transdev
Self Driving Car, Google

Transdev said the 12-person shuttle bus would operate from a designated pickup area with a safety attendant on board, would travel at a top speed of 8 miles per hour (13 kph), with the potential to reach speeds of 30 mph (48 kph) once additional infrastructure was completed.

There are numerous low-speed self-driving shuttles being tested in cities around the United States with many others planned.

NHTSA previously said it was moving ahead with plans to revise safety rules that bar fully self-driving cars from the roads without equipment such as steering wheels, pedals and mirrors as the agency works to advance driverless vehicles. The agency has said it opposes proposals to require ‘pre-approving’ self-driving technologies before they are tested.

Also Read: LG Signs Deal For Developing Self-Driving Modules For Mobile Robots

NHTSA told Transdev that failure to take appropriate action could result in fines, the voiding of the temporary importation authorization or the exportation of the vehicle.

Earlier this month, French utility Veolia agreed to sell its 30 percent stake in Transdev to Germany’s Rethmann Group. (VOA)