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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



Dollar drops as Trump tariff decision looms

“It’s been a relatively mixed start to trading in Europe on Friday and the US is on course to post small losses at the open, as the focus shifts from central banks back to trade,” noted Craig Erlamsenior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

Trump was Friday due to unveil a final list of Chinese imports that would face punishing tariffs, fanning fears of a trade war as Beijing warned that it could swiftly strike back.

The EU on Thursday meanwhile approved a raft of tariffs targeting US goods.

In Friday trading, the single currency recovered versus the dollar, one day after it was hammered by the ECB’s announcement that was accompanied by a cut in the central bank’s eurozone growth outlook, citing rising protectionism and global trade fears.

Confirmation that the ECB would end its crisis-era bond-buying stimulus provided only little support as that announcement had been widely expected.

The Federal Reserve had on Wednesday said that it would likely hike US rates twice more this year and four times in 2019, highlighting an increasing divergence between the two central banks.

Bank of Japan head Haruhiko Kuroda meanwhile on Friday defended its decision to press ahead with the country’s ultra-loose monetary policy.

After a two-day meeting, the BoJ said it would retain its current framework, pointing to a disappointing lack of progress towards its longstanding 2.0 percent inflation target.

In Europe, the euro had dived to $1.1580 Thursday from above $1.1800 — but recovered to above $1.16 at one point Friday.

The single currency’s slump Thursday had sent European stocks rallying the same day as a cheaper euro boosts the bloc’s exporters.

And while the Nasdaq hit another record on Wall Street overnight, US stocks were generally choppy as fears grow that Trump will announce tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

Those worries filtered through to Asia and Europe, where stock markets were fluctuating ahead of the weekend.

In London, shares in British engines maker Rolls-Royce soared 9.27 percent to 964.60 pence.

Fresh from announcing 4,600 job cuts, Rolls said it was now “well placed” to beat its cash flow target of £1.0 billion ($1.3 billion, 1.14 billion euros) by 2020.

Shares in supermarket Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, meanwhile jumped 1.9 percent to 254.50 pence after the company reported solid first-quarter sales.

– Key figures around 1000 GMT – London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7 percent at 7,709.56 points

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,546

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,093.94

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,528.60

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 22,851.75 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4 percent at 30,309.49 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,021.90 (close)

New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.1 percent at 25,175.31 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1597 from $1.1580 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3277 from $1.3270

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.56 yen from 110.64 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 89 cents at $75.05 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 20 cents at $66.69


Morocco loses 2026 World Cup vote

It’s been another disappointing bid for Morocco: the country had been hoping to make it fifth time lucky, but that was not be.

From a neutral point of view, Morocco faced an uphill task to win this bid.

They had come in to the process late and, from early on, it was obvious that hosting a World Cup which has been expanded to 48 teams would be an uphill task for a comparatively small nation.

At least nine new stadiums would have had to be built and enormous infrastructure development would need to be undertaken.

And despite assurances from the government it could afford it, their bid was beaten by a safer bid from the US, Canada and Mexico.

There is also the fact the United bid looks set to take in more than twice the revenue that Morocco would have, with some estimates saying the winning bid could make as much as $14bn (£10.3bn) in revenue, which could well have helped sway the vote.

It’s another big blow but, as one fan told me, they have now switched their attention to their first match at the World Cup in Russia.

On Friday, Morocco’s “Atlas Lions” take on Iran in their first game in this competition in 20 years.


‘Enemy attack’ in Somalia leaves 1 US soldier dead, 4 wounded

Islamist group.jpg
© AP/File The Islamic militant group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack friday that killed one U.S. service member and wounded four others.
A U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded Friday in an “enemy attack” in Somalia, the U.S. military said.

It was the first public announcement of a U.S. military combat death on the African continent since four U.S. service members were killed in a militant ambush in Niger in October.

President Donald Trump shared his condolences in a Twitter message Friday evening.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somalia,” Trump tweeted. “They are truly all HEROES.”

U.S. troops with Somali and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire in Jubaland, Somalia around 2:45 p.m. local time, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

The joint-coalition forces had been conducting an operation against al-Shabab militants about 217 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, when the attack occurred, the statement said. The operation aimed to drive out the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab from contested areas.

Three of the four U.S. service members were transferred for medical treatment while the fourth received medical care on the spot, the Washington Post reported.

Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement Friday.

The U.S. has about 1,000 special operations personnel in Africa. The last killing of a U.S. service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, Stars and Stripes reported.

Trump approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab in early 2017, leading to an increase in U.S. military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes.

Al-Shabab, linked to al Qaeda, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia. It was pushed out of Mogadishu in recent years but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.

Late last year U.S. drone strikes also began targeting a small presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group in Somalia’s north.

Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint U.S. military operation with Somali forces. Earlier Friday, the U.S. Africa Command issued a statement in response to allegations that civilians had been killed in a May 9 operation, saying a “thorough review” found the allegations to be “not credible.”

The October attack in Niger raised questions in Washington about the U.S. military presence across Africa as the Trump administration focuses counterterror efforts on a range of groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

A Pentagon investigation into the Niger attack, parts of which were made public last month, found multiple failures but none that directly caused the ambush by Islamic State group-linked fighters.

The investigation has already triggered changes in the way military activities are carried out in Niger and elsewhere in Africa, including giving teams the option to use heavily armored vehicles and beefed-up firepower.

Source: Fox News

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Morocco write to Fifa after US territories permitted to vote

The Moroccan Football Federation has written to Fifa to complain about US territories being allowed to vote to decide the 2026 World Cup hosts.

Morocco are bidding to host the tournament, against a joint proposal from the USA, Mexico and Canada.

Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are able to vote on 13 June, but Morocco claim that is a conflict of interests.

The 2026 World Cup finals will be the first to feature 48 teams.

It is learned that the Moroccan FA first wrote to Fifa on 26 April, explaining that residents of Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are US citizens while those of American Samoa are US nationals.

It has now asked Fifa to inform the US territories of their inability to vote in order to allow for a fair bidding procedure.

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US citizens ‘pay most for Nigeria visas’

Nigeria levies some of its highest visa fees for American and Saudi Arabian citizens, according to the Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper.

US nationals pay up to $270 (£200) for a single-entry visas while Saudi Arabians are expected to cough-up $441 (£326), according to a data obtained from the Nigerian Immigration Service by newspaper.

Malaysia, which is a popular destination for Nigerian students, is charged one of the lowest fees of approximately $6 (£4).

Here’s what a sample of countries are expected to pay, according to Daily Trust:

Saudi Arabia $441 (£326)

US $270 (£200)

Bangladesh $253 (£187)

India $253 (£187)

Indonesia $245 (£181)

Belize $200 (£148)

Chile $200 (£148)

Ireland $170 (£126)

Israel $169 (£125)

UAE $150 (£111)

United Kingdom $144 (£107)

South Africa $58 (£42)

China $64 (£47)

Malaysia $6 (£4).

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By Daily Trust

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