Category Archives: USA

Bill Gates is building a smart city in Arizona


Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has purchased nearly 25,000 acres of land in southwestern Arizona for the construction of a brand-new “smart city,” AZ Central reports .

In conjunction with Belmont Partners, who holds the property, Gates’s investment firm Cascade Investment LLC has committed $80 million to build a community composed of offices, stores, schools, and homes. The community will be known as Belmont.

Roughly 3,800 of the 24,800 acres will be devoted to office, commercial, and retail space, according to Belmont Partners, while 470 acres will be set aside for public schools. The new community will feature 80,000 residences, giving it a population of about 182,000, comparable to that of Tempe, Arizona.

Belmont Partners expects its development to feature all the trappings of a futuristic city: high-speed internet embedded in the built environment, accommodations for self-driving cars (such as traffic lights that communicate with one another to minimize congestion), and smarter manufacturing technology.

Belmont will be located 45 miles west of Phoenix, near a highway that runs straight to Las Vegas. Shutterstock

“The experimentation that takes place in this new community has the potential to demonstrate the viability of new smart city concepts and serve as an example for cities nationwide and globally,” Brooks Rainwater, the director of the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at the National League of Cities, told Business Insider.

He added that Arizona is an ideal spot for pilot cities and testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs), “especially now that Gates’ project will join the AV pilots run by Google’s Waymo in Chandler, right outside of Phoenix.”

One of the world’s richest looks toward the future

Ever since Gates stepped down from Microsoft in 2006, he and his wife, Melinda, have been committed to reducing poverty around the world, typically through the Gates Foundation, and improving education in the US. He’s spent a lot of time learning about what makes successful communities, visiting farms , and reading up on the best ways to reuse and recycle.

The picture that has emerged for Gates, like many interested in future urban planning, is one in which cities can support a growing population with limited resources. The UN predicts 2.5 billion people will move into cities by 2050. Experts say that migration will only be feasible if there’s housing, transportation, and digital communication that can bear the burden.

In many cities, infrastructure technology is decades old and holds the city back.

Belmont Partners said in a statement that the city “will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.” It has not yet specified a timeline for construction. Rainwater said that when details are released, he hopes technology will serve as the “backbone” of the city, “not the purpose of its existence.”

“I do hope that there will be a core focus on design, livability, and the people who will live, work, and play there,” he said.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

By Chris Weller. Business

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Trump signs spending bill despite earlier veto threat


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Just hours after threatening a veto, President Trump said Friday afternoon that he had signed a “ridiculous” $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress early Friday and averted a government shutdown.

In a morning tweet, Trump said he might veto the omnibus bill because it does nothing to address the fate of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers” and does not fully fund his border wall.

But speaking to reporters at the White House about four hours later, Trump said he had decided to sign the bill despite his reservations, arguing that it provides much-needed funding for the military, including a pay increase for troops and new equipment.

“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” Trump said. “We need to take care of our military.”

Still, he voiced disdain for the hasty way the bill was passed.

“I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said, also calling on Congress to give him a line-item veto, a tool that the U.S. Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional for the president.

“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill,” he said later in his meandering 20-minute remarks, telling reporters that he had “very seriously” considered a veto.

“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” Trump said. “We need to take care of our military.”

Still, he voiced disdain for the hasty way the bill was passed.

“I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said, also calling on Congress to give him a line-item veto, a tool that the U.S. Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional for the president.

“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill,” he said later in his meandering 20-minute remarks, telling reporters that he had “very seriously” considered a veto.

The announcement, which Trump teased in a separate tweet an hour before it began, capped off a wild morning in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Several aides scrambled to convince the president not to follow through with his threat.

In his Friday morning tweet, Trump said that those protected from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been “totally abandoned” by Congress, and he blamed the Democrats.

Trump, who decided last fall to end the DACA program, was seeking a deal that would give Democrats protections they sought for the program’s recipients in exchange for additional funding of $25 billion for his long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall. The bill includes a minor down payment of $1.6 billion on his marquee campaign promise.

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded,” Trump said in his tweet.

In his remarks, at the White House, Trump said he was disappointed in the level of border-wall funding but pledged to do as much as possible with it and to seek more money from Congress.

Saying he was addressing Hispanics, Trump argued his party was more interested in the fate of “dreamers” than Democrats.

“Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats, who are using you for your own purposes,” the president said. His aides have argued Democrats are trying to use DACA as an election issue.

People familiar with Trump’s thinking said the president was frustrated with the bill and the coverage it was receiving, particularly on Fox News, where critics took aim at the level of spending in the bill.

“He doesn’t care as much about the spending levels, but he knows all of his conservative friends do,” said a senior White House official, who requested anonymity to speak more candidly.

Lawmakers have left town on a two-week recess, some of them on overseas trips and with no plans to return to Washington. The House passed the bill midday Thursday, and the Senate cleared the measure shortly after midnight.

Trump had until midnight Friday to sign a bill or a government shutdown would ensue.

The legislation funds the federal government for the remainder of the 2018 budget year, through Sept. 30, directing $700 billion toward the military and $591 billion to domestic agencies. The military spending is a $66 billion increase over the 2017 level, and the non-defense spending is $52 billion more than last year.

The spending bill is widely expected to be the last major legislation that Congress will pass before the November midterm elections, which had increased pressure to jam the bill full of odds and ends, with provisions addressing everything from gun safety to invasive carp.

The lack of an immigration deal in the spending bill had set already set off a round of recriminations, with the White House aggressively trying to deflect responsibility for the failure.

Trump’s veto threat only intensified the blame game on Friday morning.

“Let’s not forget that you ended DACA and torpedoed every possible bipartisan fix. This is on you,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said on Twitter.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) accused Trump of making a “loser’s bluff.”

“Go ahead and veto the omnibus over DACA. We dare you,” Pocan said on Twitter. “Everyone knows you’re the reason DACA recipients are abandoned.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers who opposed the spending bill on other grounds used the occasion to urge Trump to follow through with his threat.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, urged Trump to veto the bill.

“The@freedomcaucus would fully support you in this move, Mr. President. Let’s pass a short term [continuing resolution] while you negotiate a better deal for the forgotten men and women of America.”

Also urging Trump to veto the bill was Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who in a tweet Friday morning said: “Please do, Mr. President. I am just down the street and will bring you a pen. The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible.”

Before the Senate’s early-morning vote Friday, Corker had complained about the process of rushing the bill through Congress. Several other conservative lawmakers egged Trump on Friday morning, complaining about the amount of spending and the rushed process. But there is no indication that Trump shares those concerns.

Instead, in his veto threat Friday, Trump proposed something that conservative hard-liners have largely rejected in recent months — trading dreamer protections for border wall money. Conservatives, emboldened by a White House proposal released in January, have insisted that any immigration deal go farther, cutting several programs that allow foreign nationals to live in the U.S. legally.

Other senior Republicans began making their own Twitter pleas urging Trump to sign the bill.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn rattled off several policy wins in a Friday tweet directed at the president, including a gun-related measure long championed by the Texas Republican that was included in the 2,232-page spending measure.

“While (Democrats) obstructed normal appropriations process, forcing an Omnibus, the benefits of Omnibus to national security, border security, opioid crisis, infrastructure, school safety and fixing gun background check system are important and will save lives. @realDonaldTrump,” Cornyn tweeted Friday.

“Art of the deal wrecker,” was how Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sized up the president’s veto threat Friday morning. He urged the president to sign the bill.

“One day after his own (Office of Management and Budget) director said he would sign it, that he’s now saying he’s thinking about vetoing it,” Kaine told reporters. “What, does he just want to create more confusion and chaos? I don’t get it.”

 

BBKCiNcPresident Donald Trump pats Congress’ $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill with Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at his side at the White House on Friday.

 

Kaine said Trump’s professed concern about DACA recipients is not sincere because he walked away from an offer from Democrats weeks ago to protect them in exchange for more border security funding.

“He was the one who poured cold water on it and killed it among the Republicans just a month ago,” Kaine said.

“I hope he doesn’t do it. That’s my reaction,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), of Trump’s threat. “I don’t think what we did was the best thing we could have done,” he added. “But it was the only thing we could have done. So to veto it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

“This is classic Trump,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “He says one thing and then he does something completely different.”

Van Hollen added, “He’s actually one of the worst negotiators I’ve ever seen.”

Although Trump aides declared Thursday that Trump intended to sign the bill, there were signs of his displeasure with various aspects of it. On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the White House to reassure Trump. The president was upset with the amount of money for his border wall, and he griped about a proposed tunnel between New York and New Jersey — a project beloved by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — that Trump has ferociously tried to block as part of the negotiations.

Veto threats were made then, too, but after conversations with Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the White House issued a statement saying Trump supported the bill.

“Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters at the White House on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday, the White House also issued a lengthy release titled, “The American People Win as President Donald J. Trump’s Priorities are Funded,” with a long list of specific items in the massive legislation.

Asked about the president’s tweet on Friday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement: “The tweet stands for itself.”

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​You’ll suffer ‘Painful Experience’ if you run against me, Trump warns Oprah Winfrey


United States President Donald Trump says the candidate he most wants to run against in 2020 – the next U.S presidential election – is Oprah Winfrey.
Speaking in Western Virginia on Saturday night, during a rally in support of Republican, Rick Saccone, Trump said the campaign would be a “painful experience” for the American media proprietor, if she decides to run against him.

Trump said he knows Winfrey well and repeated that he would love to run against her.

“Oh I’d love Oprah to win, I’d love to beat Oprah. I know her weakness,” he said.

But speaking in an interview with CNN’s Van Jones on “The Van Jones Show,” on Sunday night, Winfrey dismissed speculations she will run for office in 2020 but had an advice for anyone who does.

“I will say to whoever is going to run for office, do not give your energy to the other side,” she said.

“Do not spend all your time talking about your opponents. Do not give your energy to that which you really don’t believe in. Do not spend an ounce of your time on that.

Winfrey added that though a bid for the presidency wasn’t for her, “The noise about running for president moved me so humbly and deeply.”

“It means that you have somewhere in the work gained the people’s trust,” she told Jones.

Speculation mounted earlier this year that the talk show host might seek the presidency in 2020, following a captivating speech at the Golden Globes in January.

Source: thewhistler.ng

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​US Court Fines Woman $16,000 For Braiding Hair


A Senegalese hairdresser has been forced to pay over $16,000 in fines after falling foul of a Tennessee law which outlawed employing workers who did not have a government licence to braid hair.
Fatou Diouf has been braiding hair all her life. She works professionally as a licenced natural hair stylist in the US’ State of Tennessee.

For her, hair braiding is a vocation that has brought her joy and remittances to support her family back home in Senegal. It’s also a means to support herself and her two children.

She said, “I never did any other job but hair braiding my whole life,” she said. “I cannot recall a time when I did not.”

But in recent times the job has become a burden. Fatou, who recently divorced her husband has been forced to pay $16,000 in fines to the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners.

Though braiders are free to work without a license in almost half the US, in Tennessee it’s not so since only licenced “natural hair stylists” may earn a living by braiding, twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending or locking hair.

She now pays $830 per month to the Tennessee government under a payment plan for her most recent violations. She says the payment is very stressful.

Based on her experiences, Diouf has become one of the most outspoken voices for reform. Together with the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center, Fatou has testified in favour of a bill that would eliminate the state’s licence for natural hair stylists—and the Board’s basis for fining braiders.

“We can create more employment if this bill passes,” she said.

Diouf is not alone in the predicament. The Institute for Justice has identified nearly $100,000 in fines levied against dozens of braiders and more than 30 different natural hair shops and salons since 2009. All of those violations were for unlicensed braiding; none were triggered by any health or sanitation violation.

Source: 247nigeriannewsupdate.co

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​Why I sacked US Secretary of state, Tillerson – Trump



President Donald Trump of the US has revealed why he sacked US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
Trump dismissed him via a tweet on Tuesday.

“I just fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Yesterday Rex said something mean about Putin.

“I’ve warned every American that under no circumstances was anyone allowed to criticize Putin or Russia (even if they committed acts of war against us). Mike Pompeo will replace Rex,” Trump tweeted.

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