Trump clears way for troop increase in Afghanistan as part of retooled strategy

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump opened the door to an increase in U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan last night as part of a new strategy for the region, arguing against a hasty withdrawal from America’s longest military conflict.

Trump, in a prime-time televised address, said his new approach was aimed at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for Islamist militants bent on attacking the United States. He also laid out a tougher approach to U.S. policy toward Pakistan.

The Republican president overcame his own doubts about the war that began in October 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. He said repeatedly on the campaign trail last year that the war was too costly in lives and money.

“My original instinct was to pull out,” he said in his speech, but added that he was convinced by his national security advisers to strengthen the U.S. ability to prevent the Taliban from ousting the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

Trump did not say how many U.S. troops would be sent, but Defense Secretary James Mattis has plans on the table to send about 4,000 more to add to the 8,400 deployed in Afghanistan currently.



Trump moves towards China tariffs in warning shot on technology transfer

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump lit a slow-burning fuse yesterday  to launch long-promised anti-China tariffs, but his actions appeared to be more of a warning shot than the start of a full-blown trade war with Beijing.

Venezuela knocks three zeros off ailing currency amid hyperinflation

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered a re-denomination of the ailing bolivar currency on Thursday, by knocking three zeroes off amid hyperinflation and a crippling economic crisis.

Facebook apology does little to satisfy lawmakers, Wall Street

WASHINGTON/LONDON  (Reuters) – Facebook Inc came under further pressure from lawmakers, investors, advertisers and users yesterday, the day after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted the social media network made mistakes in letting 50 million users’ data get into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Chile says no obligation to negotiate with Bolivia over sea access

SANTIAGO/LA PAZ,  (Reuters) – Chile argued in The Hague yesterday that it had no obligation to negotiate access to the Pacific Ocean with Bolivia, saying the matter had been settled by a peace treaty more than a decade ago.

Britain’s SFO to recover $6 mln from Chad oil corruption case

LONDON, (Reuters) – British prosecutors will recover 4.4 million pounds ($6.2 million) from a corruption case in which a Canadian energy company bribed Chadian diplomats in North America, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said yesterday following a court ruling.


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