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India, Pakistan or anyone but US must mop up Afghanistan quagmire, Trump says — RT World News

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India, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia or even Iran must shoulder the burden of fighting “terrorists” in Afghanistan, President Trump has declared, insisting it would be ‘unfair’ if the US spends another 19 years cleaning up its mess.

Look, India is right there. They are not fighting it. We are fighting it,” Donald Trump complained to reporters on Wednesday. “Pakistan is right next door. They are fighting it very little. Very, very little. It’s not fair. The United States is 7,000 miles away.”

At a certain point Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, they are going to have to fight their battles too,” the president continued in response to a question about the alleged reemergence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror groups in Afghanistan. While he did not explain how the war that began nearly two decades ago when the US invaded Afghanistan had become its neighbors’ battle to fight, he hinted that it could easily become a problem for them if they didn’t help keep the terrorists in check.




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All of these other countries where ISIS is around…all of these are going to have to fight,” he warned. The US would not spend “another 19 years” in what is already the longest war in its history.

Trump incongruously took the opportunity to pat himself on the back for “destroying ISIS 100 percent,” suggesting that at least those other countries will have little to do to maintain order – though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists the decimated terror group is “gaining strength” now that Trump has raised the possibility of pulling out of the region.

With India and Pakistan already occupied with the tensions in Kashmir, and Russia – which actually did the work of defeating IS (often reinforced by the US-backed “moderate rebels”) – most likely uninterested in wading back into a quagmire it exited decades ago, it’s unclear who among the countries Trump addressed might take him up on his offer to share the clean-up job in Afghanistan.




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Taliban says no direct peace talks with govt in Kabul until foreign troops leave Afghanistan



Iran is already suffering from a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign, and Washington considers it to be a “terrorist regime” anyway. Iraq barred US planes from its airspace on Wednesday after an alleged Israeli airstrike on Baghdad, while Turkey is facing sanctions for choosing Russian missile defense systems over a notoriously troubled US fighter jet.

While Trump has periodically floated a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, he suggested on Tuesday that he would leave “somebody there” to ensure the Taliban did not take over – though the Taliban already holds more than half the country, despite trillions of dollars poured into the war since 2001.




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Afghanistan demands US explain Trump’s comments about ‘wiping’ country off face of earth



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Goldman Sachs decided to pass on E-Trade before Morgan Stanley snatched it up, sources say

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Goldman Sachs had plenty of chances to make an offer for discount brokerage E-Trade before rival Morgan Stanley made its $13 billion move, but the bank didn’t throw its hat in the ring, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman acted as his bank’s deal-maker-in-chief when he approached E-Trade in December with an offer, according to the people. With him was CFO Jon Pruzan, who had spent the bulk of his investment banking career advising financial institutions on just such types of transactions.

Conditions were ripe for a takeover: TD Ameritrade, long seen as the likely buyer of E-Trade, had just consented to another corporate marriage: It was being bought by industry leader Charles Schwab for about $26 billion in stock.

Amid the backdrop of collapsing fees for retail stock trades that pressured E-Trade and its competitors, the timing of Gorman’s bid was perfect, the people said.

E-Trade’s availability was “no secret” to anyone in the industry, according to one of the people. Media reports and analysts speculated that Goldman or possibly Morgan Stanley could purchase E-Trade.

But by the time Gorman’s initial offer came in, E-Trade’s board of directors were well versed in who would be a viable partner. So when E-Trade engaged its bankers from JPMorgan Chase on the offer, the mandate wasn’t to run an open process to examine every possible suitor, according to the people.

Goldman “had the opportunity to express their interest and they didn’t,” said one of the people with knowledge of the matter. Goldman had examined the possibility of a deal internally and decided against it, said another person. One reason: The bank’s own direct-to-consumer play, Marcus, had already gathered more than $50 billion in consumer deposits, the cheap funding source that Morgan Stanley would be getting in the E-Trade takeover.

‘Eagle’ and ‘Moon’

The directive was to run a speedy process to protect against word getting out — “information leakage,” in Wall Street-speak. After the seller persuaded Morgan Stanley to increase its all-stock offer at least twice, the broker’s board finally became comfortable with the valuation.

During talks, Morgan Stanley referred to E-Trade with the code name “Eagle,” according to the people. It referred to itself as “Moon.” In other words, this was Morgan Stanley’s moonshot — a transformative deal that management likened to the first manned landing on the moon.

By the time it was officially announced early Thursday, minutes after The Wall Street Journal quoted Gorman on the deal, it would amount to a 31% premium to the latest closing price of E-Trade.

Gorman, his voice hoarse from being on the phone nonstop ahead of his big news, then spoke with analysts and began making the round of media outlets to trumpet his deal.

In fact, it was Gorman’s third attempt at buying E-Trade over the last 20 years, he would later tell CNBC’s Wilfred Frost in an interview.

“We had to move quickly,” Gorman said. “If we had messed around and tried to get this on the cheap, that would’ve caused all sorts of turmoil.”

— CNBC’s Wilfred Frost contributed to this story.



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Ukrainian villagers STONE buses bringing countrymen evacuated from Wuhan to coronavirus quarantine (VIDEOS) — RT World News

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Ukrainians evacuated from Wuhan, China, have been less than welcomed at a village hosting the coronavirus quarantine facility. Videos show locals throwing stones at buses with evacuees, burning tires and clashing with police.

Dozens of villagers first attempted to block the road leading to Novye Sanzhary, in the Poltava region of central Ukraine, and stop the government’s plan to quarantine the Ukrainian evacuees from Wuhan there. Their roadblocks were removed by force, with police using armored vehicles and arresting several locals.

Later on Thursday, the villagers gathered outside the local medical facility and threw stones at the buses bringing in the evacuees, smashing windows and damaging the vehicles.

“I urge the protesters not to violate the law. All attempts to commit offenses will be stopped,” Ivan Vygovsky, head of the Poltava regional police, said in a statement.

This is not the first such protest in Ukraine. Earlier this week, roadblocks were set up in the Ternopil and Lviv regions in the west, following rumors that the government was planning to set up quarantine facilities there. 




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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also appealed to the locals to show compassion for about 70 people who had been evacuated from China’s Hebei province on a charter flight.

“Unfortunately, not all of us reacted humanely,” Zelensky said on his Facebook page. “Attempts to block roads, block hospitals, and prevent Ukrainian citizens from entering the country – this is far from showing the best side of our national character.”

The novel coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has infected over 75,000 people worldwide and caused more than 2,000 deaths in the two months since the first case was recorded in Wuhan.

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Air travel demand set to decline for first time since 2009

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Passengers wear protective masks as they wait at Hong Kong International Airport, following the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong, China, February 7, 2020.

Hannah McKay | Reuters

Global air travel demand is set to decline for the first time since 2009 because of the coronavirus outbreak, the International Air Transport Association said Thursday.

Pauses in corporate travel and overall slumping demand due to warnings about the rapidly spreading illness have prompted carriers to suspend service or drastically reduce China service.

The virus’s impact on demand will cost airlines globally more than $29 billion — mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, IATA estimated. Chinese airlines are set to lose $12.8 billion in revenue because of the outbreak. The trade group, which represents most of the world’s airlines, had forecast demand growth in 2020 of 4.1%, which it’s now revised to a contraction of 0.6%.

The forecast assumes the virus remains largely concentrated in China, but IATA warned the impact could be greater if it spreads to other markets in the region.

The group based its estimates on the coronavirus having a “V-shaped impact on demand” as occurred during the 2003 SARS outbreak, which was marked by a six-month decline and an equally quick recovery.”

“These are challenging times for the global air transport industry. Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority. Airlines are following the guidance of the World Health Organization and other public health authorities to keep passengers safe, the world connected, and the virus contained,” said IATA’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, in a release.

“Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes,” he said. “Lower fuel costs will help offset some of the lost revenue. This will be a very tough year for airlines.”



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