Wednesday January 29, 2020
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US House Votes to Reopen Government, Rejects Wall Money by Donald Trump

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in

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Donald Trump, Prince, troops
Indian American Congressman asks Trump to end government shutdown. VOA

The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives has passed a legislative package aimed at ending the partial government shutdown without paying for President Donald Trump border wall, drawing a veto threat from the White House.

The first bill passed by the House on Thursday in a 239-192 vote was a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 8 that would not allocate any new wall spending. Five Republicans joined Democrats in approving the legislation.

Then, the House voted 241-190 to approve funds for six agencies, including Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Labour, Treasury and other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year, CNN reported.

The package will now go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is expected to be blocked. This will leave congressional Democrats and the administration at a stalemate, with the partial shutdown no closer to getting resolved.

It has affected hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have either been furloughed or have had to work without pay.

Trump has said he will reject any measure that does not provide $5 billion in funding for his wall on the Mexican border. Newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the proposed border wall as “waste of money”.

“We’re asking the President to open up government,” she told the Today show before the first session of the new House. “We have given the Republicans a chance to take yes for an answer.”

Trump, U.S.
Donald Trump. VOA

Democrats say that Trump was holding government funding hostage for the wall, which they feel was “unnecessary and ineffective”.

Congressional leaders from both parties were expected to meet the President for another round of budget talks at the White House on Friday.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will not back measures that Trump does not support and called the Democrats’ move a “total non-starter” and a “political sideshow”.

As of Thursday, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly-elected members and a record 43 women of colour.

The new members included the first Muslim congresswoman — Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who took her oath on the Quran — and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, who became the first person to wear a hijab in Congress.

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New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids were the first Native American congresswomen in the House, while New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress.

The White House had issued a veto threat against the legislative package ahead of the House vote.

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in. (IANS)

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Facebook Working to Re-elect Donald Trump, Says Billionaire Philanthropist Geroge Soros

"As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear."

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Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

The billionaire philanthropist George Soros has slammed Facebook, accusing the social networking giant of helping to re-elect Donald Trump in the 2020 US election.

“Facebook will work to re-elect Trump and Trump will protect Facebook,” the 89-year-old said during a speech at a dinner hosted by his non-profit Open Society Foundation at Davos on Thursday, reports Politico.

“It makes me very concerned about the outcome of 2020,” Soros added.

Reacting to his outburst, a Facebook spokesperson said: “This is just plain wrong”.

At the dinner speech, Soros called Trump “the ultimate narcissist”, and Xi Jinping a “dictator”, while praising Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Soros also announced he will launch “the most important project of my life” — a $1 billion investment in “critical thinking” via a new network of colleges.

Judge, Trump, Moral
FILE – President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 4, 2019. VOA

Earlier this month, Facebook Vice President Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth claimed that it was the social networking giant that got Donald Trump elected as the US President in 2016 because “he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser”.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the key Facebook executive in the same vein suggested that the platform with over 2.45 billion monthly active users should not use its enormous reach to block Trump”s reelection in 2020.

“He (Trump) didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period”, said Bosworth who runs Facebook”s hardware group.

“Trump just did unbelievable work,” Bosworth wrote.

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“As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.”

Facebook also announced it will show fewer political ads to people on its platform and Instagram, starting with the US which faces Presidential elections this year, but won’t ban or limit those as Twitter has already done and Google to some extent. (IANS)