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Trump to announce new Cuba policy on Friday

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Washington, June 16 : The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will announce his administration’s review of the country’s new policy toward Cuba on Friday.

The President will travel to Miami on Friday to “make an announcement on US-Cuba policy”, said deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at a press conference.

When asked whether Trump is planning to announce the naming of an ambassador to Cuba anytime soon, Sanders said that she was not certain what the plans are on that subject or whether it would be included in the President’s Friday announcement, reports Efe news.

Several US media outlets had reported the date and site for the announcement of the result of the review of Washington’s Cuba policy that Trump promised when he took office, a policy that to date has included greater rapprochement with the communist island and was initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

In his search for votes in Florida during the presidential campaign, Trump toughened his stance on Cuba and promised to rescind many of Obama’s measures.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier this week at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump wants to allow business activity and trade with Cuba to continue as much as possible because he appreciates the benefits that this opening provides for the Cuban people.

However, the administration wants to ensure that it is not involuntarily or directly providing financial help to the Raul Castro regime and that it is not violating the law, Tillerson said on Tuesday.

“As we’re developing these business relationships and as we’re enjoying the benefits on the economic and development side, are we inadvertently or directly providing financial support to the regime? Our view is we are,” Tillerson said.

“And the question is … how do we bring that back into compliance with longstanding statutory obligations?” he added.

It is anticipated that Trump will also urge the Cuban government to improve its respect for human rights, according to information provided by Tillerson.

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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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