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Trump offers to help resolve rift between Qatar, Gulf nations

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Washington, June 8, 2017: US President Donald Trump offered to help Qatar and the other Gulf nations resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary, the White House said on Wednesday.

In a telephone conversation with Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, Trump reiterated that a united Gulf Cooperation Council and a strong United States-Gulf Cooperation Council partnership are critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability, Xinhua reported.

He also emphasized the importance of all countries in the region to work together to prevent the financing of terrorist organisations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology, according to a White House statement.

The telephone talk came after a diplomatic row erupted between Qatar and the other Gulf nations. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt have cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. But Qatar has rejected the accusations as “unjustified” and “baseless”.

On Tuesday, Trump seemed to claim credit for Gulf nations’ decision to isolate Qatar, saying his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was “already paying off”.

“They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” Trump said on Twitter.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a regular press briefing on Tuesday that the US wants to see the diplomatic row between Qatar and the other Gulf nations “deescalated and resolved immediately.”

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Make Pluto a planet again, 6-year-old girl urges NASA

Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the governing body of astronomy, the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

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Six-year-old Cara O'Connor, a student from Cork, Ireland, wrote a letter to NASA asking the space agency to reclassify Pluto as a planet. (Courtesy of Glasheen Girls School)

Washington, Feb 19: Six-year-old Cara O’Connor of Ireland, who dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut one day, wrote a letter to the space agency urging it to reclassify Pluto as a planet, The Washington Post reported this week.

Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the governing body of astronomy, the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

The decision has not gone down well with Cara and she wants NASA to “fix this problem” for her and “make Pluto a planet again.”

“I listened to a song and at the end of it the song said “Bring Pluto Back” — and I would really like that to happen,” Cara wrote.

She talked about the Kuiper belt, a doughnut-shaped ring beyond Neptune where many dwarf planets are located, the Post reported on Saturday.

“I really think Pluto should be a main planet again like Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune, because in one video I watched called ‘Let’s go meet the planets,’ Pluto was at the very end,” she wrote.

In another video, she said, Pluto “was put in the trash can and was scared by planet Earth.”

“This was really mean,” Cara wrote, “because no one or no planet or dwarf planets should be put in the trash can.”

Cara’s plea did not fall on deaf ears as she received a reply from James Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, who complimented her on her interest in Pluto.

“I agree with you that Pluto is really cool — in fact, who would have believed that Pluto has a heart? … It’s a fascinating world that appears to be constantly changing. To me, it’s not so much about whether Pluto is a dwarf planet or not; it’s that Pluto is a fascinating place that we need to continue to study,” Green wrote.

“I hope that you will discover a new planet, and I trust that if you continue to do well in school we will see you at NASA one of these days,” he added.

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I should pay significantly higher taxes, says Bill Gates

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New York, Feb 19: Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates has said that he should pay more in taxes and that the government should require other super-wealthy people like him to contribute “significantly higher” amounts.

“I need to pay higher taxes,” Gates, who is worth over $90 billion, said in a CNN interview on Sunday.

“I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,” he said.

Gates, the second richest man in the world after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, did not mince his words when it came to the Republican tax law, which cut taxes for corporations.

“It was not a progressive tax bill. It was a regressive tax bill,” Gates said, arguing that the biggest benefits will be felt by the super-rich, despite the Republicans’ insistence that the tax cuts will help America’s working and middle classes.

“People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor, and so it runs counter to the general trend you’d like to see, where the safety net is getting stronger and those at the top are paying higher taxes,” he told CNN.

Asked of how he felt about “rising inequality” in the US, Gates, who has given away more than $40 billion of his personal wealth to charitable causes, said: “All advanced democracies have to think about that.

“You still have about a sixth of the population living in conditions that should be very disappointing to us, and government policies need to really think, ‘Why aren’t we doing a better job for those people?'”

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Imran Khan gets married for a third time, marries faith healer Bushra Maneka.

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Imran Khan is no more single, and it’s official. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has confirmed that their chairman has tied the knot for a third time.

Photographs of Imran Khan’s Nikah with Bushra Wattoo have been unveiled. The photographs show Imran and a veiled Bushra along with several others, including PTI leaders Awn Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari.

On January 3, media was abuzz with reports of the PTI chief having contracted a third Nikah with the lady he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

But the party said that the Nikah ceremony was solemnised in Lahore on Sunday by Mufti Saeed.

Party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry has wished the couple a happy married life.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

After much drama, Imran had broken his silence about his third marriage last month, clarifying that he had only sent a wedding proposal to Bushra and was awaiting her response.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the PTI chief, Imran had sent a marriage proposal and the lady had sought time to consult her family, especially her children, before making any decision.

The statement insisted that the PTI chief would announce it publicly if Bushra accepted the marriage proposal.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Last month, a local newspaper had claimed that Imran had already married for a third time and the woman in question was someone he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

The report also claimed that the wedding was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by Imran’s close aides.

In response, the PTI said an extremely private and sensitive matter was made the subject of an erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture.

“This has put an unacceptable burden, especially on the children of Bushra and Khan, who have had to learn of such a private and intimate issue from the media,” the statement said.

Stressing the need for restraint, Imran had urged the media to “give the two families, especially the children, their privacy”.

Imran Khan was previously married twice, but neither of his marriages lasted. He married Jemima Goldsmith, a British socialite, in 1995. The relationship ended in divorce in 2004. He then married journalist Reham Khan in 2015, but the marriage ended after just 10 months.

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