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ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogFacebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg delivers a speech during a visit to Paris, France, on January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files WASHINGTON: The leaders of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee?s Russia investigation said Wednesday they intend to publicly release thousands of politically divisive Facebook ads purchased by Russia during last year?s presidential election. Representatives Mike Conaway and Adam Schiff told reporters after meeting with Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg that they were working with the company to release the ads publicly. ?We?ve asked for Facebook?s help to scrub any personally identifiable information, but it?s our hope that when that concludes we can release them publicly,? Schiff said. Conaway said it was unlikely the ads would be released before Facebook will testify to Congress about Russian interference on November 1. The committee ? one of the main congressional panels investigating allegations of Russian meddling ? recently received more than 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been purchased by Russia. The social media company found them on its network and said they appeared in the months before and after the vote. Lawmakers in both parties had previously said they wanted to make the ads public. Officials from Facebook and the committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sandberg?s meeting in Congress came as the world?s largest social media network ? joined by a growing list of other major Internet firms ? finds itself on the defensive in Washington amid renewed scrutiny about how Moscow sought to use their platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election. Sandberg is in Washington this week meeting with other lawmakers as well. She is expected to give a live interview with the news website Axios on Thursday. In addition to Facebook, Alphabet?s Google and Twitter have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms last year to purchase ads and post content that was politically divisive. All three companies have been asked to testify publicly about Russian interference before both the House and Senate intelligence panels on November 1. While Facebook and Twitter have confirmed plans to attend, Google has not. Revelations over the past month about how Russia appears to have leveraged their platforms to spread propaganda have prompted questions from both political parties about whether more federal oversight of their businesses is needed. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require Internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogWhite House senior advisor Jared Kushner attends a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US. WASHINGTON: A US House of Representatives committee asked the White House on Monday for information about a media report that senior officials used private email accounts for government business. The request by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee follows a Politico report on Sunday that President Donald Trump?s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, and other current and former White House officials used private emails for their government duties. In a letter to the White House counsel, the committee?s chairman, Republican Trey Gowdy, and top Democrat Elijah Cummings said they would examine whether senior Trump administration officials were ?deliberately trying to circumvent (federal) laws by using personal, private, or alias email addresses to conduct official government business.? Politico said the Kushner emails included correspondence about media coverage, event planning and other subjects. Kushner?s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client complied with government record-keeping rules by forwarding all the emails to his official account. During Trump?s 2016 election campaign, the Republican attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Some of Clinton?s messages were later determined to contain classified information. Politico said other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn. The New York Times reported on Monday that private accounts were also used by Trump?s daughter Ivanka after she became a White House adviser and by Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser. ?All White House personnel have been instructed to use official email to conduct all government related work. They are further instructed that if they receive work-related communication on personal accounts, they should be forwarded to official email accounts,? White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogA Boeing 777 in KLM livery on the assembly line at the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington, in 2012. Photo: AFP A panel weighing 4.3 kilograms fell from a plane shortly after take-off from a Japanese airport and smashed the window of a car being driven below, news reports and the airline said Sunday. No one was injured but aviation authorities will send safety inspectors to the western city of Osaka to investigate, said national broadcaster NHK. The piece fell on the vehicle shortly after the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 with 321 passengers on board took off from Kansai International Airport bound for Amsterdam on Saturday. The panel damaged the car's roof and broke its rear window, NHK said. The panel, 0.6 meters (two feet) long and one meter wide, is made of composite materials and fell from the base of the right wing, Kyodo News said. It is believed to have fallen at an altitude of 2,400 metres or higher. KLM said the aircraft landed safely at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Saturday afternoon. "KLM regrets this incident and has immediately launched an investigation into the causes," it said in a statement, adding that it is in close contact with Japanese aviation authorities and Boeing.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogProtesters display placards against US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in front of the US Army Career Centre in Times Square, New York, July 26, 2017. AFP/Jewel Samad/Files WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said on Friday that it had created a panel of senior officials to study how to implement a directive by President Donald Trump to ban transgender individuals serving in the US military. In the meantime, the existing policy would remain in force, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters. Last month, Trump signed a memorandum that directed the military not to accept transgender men and women as recruits. It also ordered Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine in the coming months how to handle transgender individuals currently serving, using criteria including ?military effectiveness and lethality?, budget constraints, and law. Trump?s move appealed to his conservative political base but was heavily condemned by advocates of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. It has also created uncertainty for thousands of transgender service members. The Pentagon has until February to provide an implementation plan to the White House and until then transgender service members can serve. Under Obama last year, the Pentagon ended its ban on transgender people serving openly, calling the prohibition outdated. ?Current transgender service members will continue to serve throughout the military and continue to receive necessary medical treatment as prescribed by their medical provider,? Manning said. Mattis had directed the deputy secretary of defence and vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to develop an implementation plan, Manning said. The panel would include other senior military officials, including outside experts. Separately, four US senators ? including John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee ? introduced legislation that would not allow the Pentagon to remove present service members based on their gender identity. ?When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,? McCain said.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogDonald Trump Jr. speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US, July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo WASHINGTON: A congressional panel wants to interview President Donald Trump's eldest son, his former campaign chairman and all others who were at a June 2016 meeting with Russian nationals, part of investigations into allegations that Moscow meddled in the US election campaign, senators said on Tuesday. The meeting in Trump Tower in New York has grabbed the spotlight in the saga of possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign as media reports of more participants than originally known have emerged. Russia denies interference in the election, and Trump says there was no collusion. Donald Trump Jr., who runs the Trump Organization family business, released emails last week in which he eagerly agreed to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father's campaign. The meeting appears to be the most tangible evidence of a connection between Trump's campaign and Russia, investigators in Congress have said. "Sure, sure," the US Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, told reporters when asked if he wanted the committee to call in the attendees. "Any intelligence out there that suggests that somebody is of interest to us, we have to pursue it," Burr said. "We've now got an email chain that makes that (the meeting) a very important aspect to get into." Senator Mark Warner, the panel's Democratic vice chairman, said some of the questions he wanted to be answered were, "Why were all those individuals there? What was really the purpose? What was the discussion?" US Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels are investigating allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered to help Trump, a Republican, win the presidency. The allegations have dominated Trump's first six months in office. Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. A representative of the Trump Organization also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WASHINGTON: Six top health advisors have resigned from Donald Trump´s advisory council on HIV/AIDS, complaining that the US president doesn´t really care about combatting the illness. In a letter published Friday in Newsweek, Scott Schoettes said the Trump administration has "no strategy" on AIDS and that he and his five colleagues will be more effective advocating for change from the outside. Schoettes, counsel and HIV project director at Lambda Legal, resigned Tuesday from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, along with Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados. The council can have up to 25 members. "The Trump administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and -- most concerning -- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease," Schoettes wrote. "If we do not ensure that US leadership at the executive and legislative levels are informed by experience and expertise, real people will be hurt and some will even die," he said. "Because we do not believe the Trump administration is listening to -- or cares -- about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down." PACHA, which was created in 1995, includes public health officials, researchers, health care providers, faith leavers, HIV advocates and people living with HIV. Its helps inform the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was last revised in 2015. Schoettes noted that Trump failed to appoint a head of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, a senior advisory position, and took down the Office of National AIDS Policy website the very day he took office -- on January 20 -- and has yet to replace it. He also stressed that changes Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress are seeking to the sweeping health care reform initiated by former president Barack Obama would be "extremely harmful" to people living with HIV or AIDS. Schoettes cited data showing that only 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States can access life-saving medications.
ISLAMABAD: The Insaf Panel has won the intra-party polls of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). According to the party?s chief election commissioner, Azam Swati, the Insaf Panel received 189,055 votes while the Ehtesab Panel bagged 41,647 votes. The members of the party ? around two million in number ? sent their votes via SMS to select the party?s hierarchy. PTI to hold intra-party elections on June 11 ECP had decided to not allot PTI its election symbol due to its failure to hold intra-party elections The party?s present senior leadership, including PTI Chairman Imran Khan, were all contesting from the Insaf Panel. Others who have been elected by the party members include Shah Mahmood Qureshi as the vice-chairman, Jahangir Tareen as the secretary-general, Aleem Khan as central Punjab president, Arif Alvi as Sindh president, Yar Muhammad Rind as Balochistan president and Ali Amin Gandapur as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (south) president. Holding of intra-party polls is mandatory for all political parties of the country according to the law.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogWASHINGTON: Several major US companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, JP Morgan Chase & Co and IBM Corp on Friday said their CEOs will remain in an influential presidential advisory group despite objecting to President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Citing the need to stay engaged with the administration, business leaders said they would remain in their advisory roles to continue working to influence White House policies. Trump, a Republican, on Thursday said he would pull the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, drawing anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry. Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger reacted by leaving White House advisory councils after Trump's move. "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said in a Twitter post on Thursday. He was a member of the business advisory group, known as the President?s Strategic and Policy Forum. He also belonged to Trump's manufacturing jobs council. Asked about CEOs' criticism of the US withdrawal, White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday said some companies that expressed support for remaining in the agreement raised concerns about the emissions reduction targets. Spicer, speaking to reporters at a daily news conference, added he does not know if Trump will replace Musk and Iger on the business council. A spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest US retailer, said on Friday that Chief Executive Doug McMillon will remain on the business council. McMillon said in a Facebook post late on Thursday he was "disappointed in today's news about the Paris Agreement. We think it's important for countries to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will remain on the council, the company said on Friday as it reaffirmed its support for the Paris accord. "IBM believes we can make a constructive contribution by having a direct dialogue with the administration ? as we do with governments around the world," a company spokeswoman said. Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Toby Cosgrove will also remain on the council, a spokeswoman said. Another prominent chief executive, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co, criticized Trump's decision. The company acknowledged Friday that he would not step down from Trump's business group. "I absolutely disagree with the administration on this issue, but we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people's lives and protect our environment," Dimon said in a statement. PepsiCo Inc Chief Executive Indra Nooyi is expected to remain on the council. The company said in a statement on Friday that while it is "disappointed with the announcement, we hope there is a way for the accord to move forward with the US at the table." 'LET'S GET A BETTER DEAL' Other chief executives also issued statements criticizing the decision to withdraw from the accord, including the heads of Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Goldman Sachs. General Electric Co CEO Jeff Immelt, who is on Trump's manufacturing council, said on Thursday he was disappointed in the decision and added: "Industry must now lead and not depend on government." Immelt will remain on the council, a company spokeswoman said on Friday. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who is also on Trump's manufacturing council, called the withdrawal "a failure of American leadership." A union spokesman said on Friday that Trumka intends to remain on the council to serve "as a voice for working people." Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg also will remain on the manufacturing council, the company said. Trump administration officials pushed back against company criticisms in television interviews on Friday. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn dismissed concerns about potential economic fallout from the climate deal withdrawal, such as the potential of other countries slapping tariffs on American manufacturers. In an interview on CNBC on Friday, Cohn said the move was part of the administration's efforts to boost US economic growth and help companies by increasing demand for US goods, along with other efforts targeting regulations, taxes and infrastructure. "If we can grow our economy, we're going to consume more and more products," he said. "We're going to need more manufacturing in the United States just to deal with domestic consumption." The issue could resurface later this month when, according to an administration spokesman, the White House plans to hold a June 19 meeting with technology leaders. Kellyanne Conway, a White House senior adviser, said on Fox News the deal would have "a statistically insignificant impact on the environment." "If you really cared about that piece, and you're one of these CEOs crowing today, then you would say 'let's get a better deal,'" she said in the interview on Friday, adding that Trump had said he was open to future negotiations. Trump created the business advisory group in December before taking office to assist him in making policy decisions. The council is led by Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone Group LP. Blackrock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink said on Thursday he would continue to serve on Trump's business forum, despite reservations about the White House climate decision because he believes he can add to policy discussions and be a voice for investors. General Motors Co said Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra also would remain on the presidential advisory panel, while it remained unclear whether Ford Motor Co's new chief executive, James Hackett, would join the group. In February, Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council amid internal pressure over Trump's immigration policies.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogLONDON: A top international cricket committee on Thursday called for TV referrals to be used in T20 internationals and gave high-level backing to a Test world championship. In addition, umpires will be allowed to send off players for misconduct, bat sizes will be restricted for the first time and run out rules changed from October 1 if the recommendations are approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives committee. The ICC cricket committee, headed by outgoing India coach Anil Kumble and several former star players made the recommendations after a two-day meeting at Lord?s in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. The so-called Decision Review System (DRS) -- where a TV umpire makes a call on decisions taken on the field -- is already used in Tests and one-day internationals. Big 3 abolished! India isolated, outvoted in ICC meeting the new proposed constitution of ICC got 9-1 approval on financial model and 8-2 approval on governance change The cricket committee said it should be extended to T20 internationals. The committee said teams will not lose a review, in any game, when an lbw decision comes back from the TV umpire. At the moment, teams can call for one review in each innings in one day games and two for every 80 overs bowled in Test matches. The committee said that if the new lbw measure is applied, the 80 over rule would be ended for Tests. The committee gave strong backing to the five-day game, expressing unanimous support for a Test world championship, and called it "crucial for the future of international cricket". It also reiterated its support for the game getting an Olympic place. Giving more authority to umpires to battle misconduct, the committee said football-style sendings off should be used for serious violence and other offences during play. It recommended the use of instant replays to help umpires signal no balls. The panel suggested introducing restrictions on the thickness and depth of bats and said a batsman will be deemed to have made his or her ground "when a bat bounces after being grounded behind the crease by a running or diving batsman". It also backed a two-year trial of concussion substitutes after Australia urged the ICC to introduce them after opening batsman Matt Renshaw was ruled out of the Pakistan Test in January, suffering twin blows on his helmet while fielding close-in. The panel includes former stars like India?s Rahul Dravid, former England captain Andrew Strauss, Sri Lanka?s Mahela Jayawardene and current Australia coach Darren Lehmann. The meeting was held ahead of the Champions Trophy which begins on June 1 with hosts England taking on Bangladesh in the opener.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogFBI Director James Comey arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last week amid an agency probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, has agreed to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing, the committee said in a statement on Friday. The hearing will be scheduled after the May 29 Memorial Day holiday, the statement said. 18 Russian links On Friday, reports citing current and former US officials familiar with the exchanges disclosed that Flynn and other advisers to Trump?s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race. The previously-undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the US presidential election and contacts between Trump?s campaign and Russia. Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak ? Russia's ambassador to the United States ? and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump?s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said. Trump under fire In addition, an explosive development Wednesday alleged Trump had asked then-FBI Director Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who saw a memo written by Comey. This followed a week of tumult at the White House after Trump fired Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about Daesh with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The 'Comey memo', first reported by the New York Times, caused alarm on Capitol Hill and raised questions about whether the President tried to interfere with a federal investigation. The White House quickly denied the report, saying in a statement it was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey". Comey sacked Comey, who had been leading his agency's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential campaign and possible collusion with Trump's campaign, was fired by Trump on May 10 in an abrupt move that sent shock waves throughout the world. Trump said this was a consequence of Comey's handling of an election-year email scandal last year involving the then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Democrats immediately accused Trump of acting out of political motives. The former FBI director had been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his handling of a probe of Clinton's use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state. As recently as Tuesday, the FBI clarified remarks that Comey made on the matter last week. Subsequently, Trump in a letter to Comey released by the White House said, "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogIndia's chances of participating in the Champions Trophy brightened on Thursday when a court-appointed panel of administrators asked the cricket board (BCCI) to pick the squad for the June 1-18 tournament. Holders India did not submit its squad for the one-day international tournament in England and Wales by the April 25 deadline after BCCI failed to halt a new revenue model to be accepted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The option of pulling out of the Champions Trophy by revoking the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) between the ICC and the BCCI has been gaining traction within the India board, which will discuss the issue at a special general meeting on Sunday. The four court-appointed administrators, who currently supervise BCCI operations, have instructed the board to ensure that the team continued their preparations to defend their title. "You are aware that the squad representing India at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was to be submitted by 25th April 2017 but the squad has not even been selected as yet," the administrators told BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary in an email. "Please convene a meeting of the selection committee for selecting the squad immediately. The squad can then be submitted to the ICC without prejudice to BCCI's legal rights." The BCCI was outvoted 13-1 last week at the ICC meetings in its bid to stall the new deal which considerably slashes India's share from global events in the 2015-2023 cycle. India is now expected to receive $293 million (£227.4 million), down from the $570 million it would have received under the 2014 arrangement.