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US vet cancels project to raise money for border wall

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WASHINGTON: An Iraq war veteran canceled his plan to crowdsource $1 billion to help President Donald Trump build a wall on the Mexico border Friday after raising only $20 million and drawing questions about his online activities.

Triple-amputee veteran Brian Kolfage launched a GoFundMe account in December, quickly piling up donations as Trump was unable to get Congress to fund the wall — leading to a now three-week-old partial shutdown of the government.

But donations slowed and Kolfage said the group had concluded that the government won’t be able to make use of them in the foreseeable future.

In addition, Kolfage was put on the defensive late Thursday by a BuzzFeed News article that raised questions about his use of funds from a previous GoFundMe campaign, and alleged he ran an operation to fabricate fake news against liberal groups and politicians in order to generate traffic and profits from advertising.

Kolfage said on his GoFundMe page that he will refund donations or, if donors agree, will put them toward a new company that will build sections of the wall itself on private property along the frontier.

“Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government,” he wrote on his fundraising page.

The non-profit company, We Build the Wall, Inc., is led by Kolfage and other prominent anti-immigration activists including private security expert and regular Trump consultant Erik Prince; David Clarke, the former Milwaukee sheriff and a favorite of Trump; and Kris Kobach, the conservative secretary of state of Kansas.

Kolfage announced the move Friday after condemning the BuzzFeed article as “absolute lies to trick Americans” to not support the new venture.

BuzzFeed noted that Facebook had cancelled accounts he had for pages that promoted right-wing views that Facebook deemed “inauthentic activity,” its term for spam and click-bait focused pages, often known for fake news.

BuzzFeed also said that a 2015 GoFundMe campaign started by Kolfage raised over $16,000 for a veteran mentorship program.

But it reported that three military hospitals named by Kolfage said they never received any funds from him.

 

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Economy

Pakistan seeks greater partnership with WB: PM

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ISLAMABAD:  Imran Khan has told WB that Pakistan looked forward to greater partnership with World Bank (WB) in critical areas including eco-tourism, mountain, and religious tourism.

Talking to a delegation of World Bank headed by Vice President South Asia Hartwig Schafer in Islamabad today Imran Khan said that these sectors which have a huge potential towards the uplift of the poor and poverty alleviation. He highlighted various steps being taken by the government towards economic stability, poverty alleviation and improving ease of doing business in the country. The delegation comprised of Vice President Human Development Annete Dixon, Country Director Illangovan Patchamuthu, Operations Manager Melinda Good and Senior Country Manager IFC Nadeem Siddiqui. Special Assistant of Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and others were also present in the meeting.

The delegation appreciated Prime Minister’s vision on the economic stability of the country, human development and addressing the issue of stunted growth due to malnutrition. It briefed the Prime Minister about various ongoing projects of the World Bank in various sectors including water supply, sewerage and waste management, transportation and connectivity, capacity building and ease of doing business in the country.  It also offered WB’s assistance in attracting foreign investments, analytics, sharing of expertise and technical knowledge in various sectors to help the Government translate its vision into reality. Welcoming the offer, the Prime Minister appreciated World Bank’s continued engagement with Pakistan and its support towards capacity building, infrastructure development and economic growth.

 

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World

NATO condemns Russian ‘build-up’ in Crimea

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BRUSSELS: NATO today condemned what it called Russia’s “ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea” on the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
As Russia celebrated what it terms its “reunification” with Crimea, NATO hit out at Moscow over its plans to further militarise the Black Sea.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict sent ties between NATO and Moscow plunging to post-Cold War lows. NATO said there would be no return to “business as usual” with Moscow until there was “a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions.
“We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region,” NATO’s ruling North Atlantic Council said in a statement. NATO holds that it would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and urged Moscow to return the territory to Ukraine.

 

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Asia

Tokyo stocks open higher!

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Stocks opened here higher today, tracking gains on Wall Street due to optimism over US-China trade talks, with investors closely eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.
The Nikkei 225 index added 0.65 percent, or 139.64 points, to 21,590.49 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.43 percent, or 6.82 points, to 1,609.45.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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