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Record number of US black women graduating from West Point



Record number of US black women graduating from West Point

WASHINGTON: They pose proudly in uniform, swords in hand: 34 young black women are set to graduate from West Point on Saturday, a record for the prestigious US military academy.

It is not the only record for the class of 2019: of the 985 cadets who have completed their four-year training, 221 are women.

“The strength of our Army lies within the diversity of its people and @WestPoint_USMA continues to prepare our future leaders to lead the modern #Soldier,” the US Army said on its Twitter account.

“Nothing standard-wise has changed, it’s just a concerted effort to broaden the people applying,” said academy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Ophardt.

“Our last true integration was in 1980 when the first group of women graduated from the Academy. Since then, we had a diverse pool, but not what we wanted,” he said.

According to data released by West Point, the class of 2019 includes 110 African Americans (11 percent), 79 Asians or Pacific Islanders (eight percent), 88 Hispanics (nine percent) and seven Native Americans (0.7 percent).

One of the proud graduates-to-be, Tiffany Welch Baker, this week told the NBC’s Today show that she wanted to be a role model.

“I hope those girls can see themselves in us,” she said. “I want these little black girls to say hey, I can do it too! It is possible for me.”








Trump to launch 2020 campaign in retiree-friendly Florida



Trump to formally announce his re election bid on June 18

WASHINGTON: Ronald, Don and John are living the good life in this haven of Republican retirees in Florida, a city designed for the aging, with paths everywhere for golf carts and where residents have plenty of time to campaign for their president, Donald Trump.

The Villages is a pleasant, immaculately clean, fast-growing retirement town in central Florida. The average age of its 75,000 inhabitants is 71. Some two-thirds are Republican.

One afternoon not long ago five retirees all wearing Trump pins reviewed lists of recent arrivals in the city in order to send them invitations to join Republican-affiliated clubs.

An hour’s drive to the south, in Orlando, the US president will be formally launching his re-election campaign on Tuesday.

“We’re very proud,” Ronald McMahan, vice president of one of the clubs,said. “We’re proud to be Republicans, we’re proud to be with other Republicans and very proud that Mr. Trump has chosen to open his campaign here.”

Trump’s choice of Florida was no accident. If he is to win a second term in the White House in 2020, he will have to win in Florida again.






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Biden, Sanders to face off as 1st Democratic debate line-up set



biden and sander

WASHINGTON: The Democratic Party on Friday announced its line-ups for the debut debate of the 2020 presidential cycle — a crowded, two-night affair that will see front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders square off in a highly anticipated match-up.

Twenty Democrats will take the stage in prime time on June 26 and 27 in Miami — in two groups of 10 — as they battle to become the nominee who will challenge President Donald Trump for the White House next year.

Former US vice president Biden, the unequivocal frontrunner, and liberal senator Sanders, who is polling in second, will be among 10 candidates sharing the stage on the second night.

They will be joined by South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has surged from obscurity into fourth place in early polling, and fifth place Senator Kamala Harris, who launched her campaign to strong buzz but has struggled to maintain momentum.

That leaves liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is polling in third place and whose star has risen recently, as the clear headliner on the first night.

Her primary on-stage rivals will be ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and Senator Cory Booker.

With the opening debate now set, the political stakes of the primary race were becoming clearer.

Warren squares off against several lower-polling rivals scrambling for a breakout moment.

Joining her will be New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, the only Latino in the 2020 race; former congressman John Delaney; congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; Senator Amy Klobuchar; and congressman Tim Ryan.

But the second night’s broadcast may ultimately score more eyeballs given it features the lion’s share of popular candidates.

In addition to the top-tier candidates, Day 2 will include Senator Michael Bennet; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, congressman Eric Swalwell; best-selling author on spirituality Marianne Williamson; and technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The debates will give unprecedented public exposure for candidates like Williamson and Yang, who are new to the political realm.

Yang, a 44-year-old Asian-American, has proposed a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month for every American adult to help address the growing threat of automation.

“My dreams are coming true,” he tweeted after the debate line-up was announced.

The debate, two hours per night, will air live on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

A manual random drawing to determine the line-ups was held at NBC News headquarters in New York, conducted in the presence of Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials and candidate representatives.

The 2020 Democratic race features the largest primary field in modern history, and the party was not able to accommodate all candidates.

Congressman Seth Moulton, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida failed to meet the polling and fund-raising criteria set by the DNC and were not invited to attend.









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Mexico publishes Trump’s ‘secret deal’ on migration



Mexico publishes Trumps secret deal on migration

MEXICO CITY: Mexico published the document Friday that Donald Trump earlier flaunted as a secret deal to curb migration, but denied it had capitulated to the US president’s demands for a so-called “safe third country” agreement.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard underwent a grilling in Mexico’s Congress, where some lawmakers insisted otherwise and demanded more details on what exactly he agreed to in the last-minute deal brokered a week ago to dodge Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods.

Angry over a surge of Central Americans seeking US asylum, Trump is pushing Mexico to agree to a deal in which migrants entering Mexican territory would have to apply for refugee status there, not in the United States.

The language in the “supplementary agreement” released by Mexico appears to resemble that. However Mexico’s foreign ministry insisted the document — signed by a deputy legal advisor to the ministry and his State Department counterpart — was “not a binding bilateral agreement.”

Rather, it says the two sides agree to immediately open talks to arrive at just that — a “binding bilateral agreement” — in which Mexico “would accept the return, and process refugee status claims, of third-party nationals” who cross its territory to reach the United States.

If in 45 days Washington decides that Mexico City’s efforts to curb migration are not enough, then the Mexican government “will take all necessary steps under domestic law” to bring that agreement into force in another 45 days, the text concludes.

Trump had waved the one-page document in front of reporters Tuesday to fend off critics who said he had in fact extracted little in the way of new commitments from Mexico with his tariff threats.

Photojournalists managed to capture a few sentences that day, but the full contents had not previously been revealed.

They will now almost certainly add fuel to the raging debate over who got the best of whom in the Mexican tariff row.








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