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US private Military Contractor Academi “Blackwater” to open security personnel training centres in China

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US Troops (representational Image0, VOA

Beijing, March 22, 2017: The founder of US private military contractor Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, has announced that he will open security personnel training centres in China, local media reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with Chinese official daily Global Times, Erik Prince said two training centres of his new firm Frontier Services Group would initially be set up on China’s border and conflict-ridden regions.

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One of these centres will be located in Xinjiang, which has experienced several violent attacks over the last few years, which the government blames on Uighur separatists, Efe news reported.

The other centre will be established in Yunnan, another sensitive region for China due to its proximity to Myanmar.

Clashes between the Myanmar Army and ethnic minorities such as Kokang people have caused collateral damage on Chinese territory, as well as an influx of thousands of refugees.

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The new company, headed by 47-year-old Prince — a former US Navy SEAL — brands itself a provider of security services to businesses operating in frontier areas.

Prince told the newspaper that his firm wants to support the development of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is threatened by armed conflicts across Asia.

His previous firm Academi, sold to an investment group in 2010, was accused of human rights violations during the US-led Iraq occupation during the last decade. (IANS)

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

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According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)