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How Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin blocked Ivanka Trump’s appointment to the World Bank

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  • Steven Mnuchin intervened to block Ivanka Trump from helming the World Bank, The Intercept reported.

  • A source told the news outlet that the pick “came incredibly close to happening.”

  • President Donald Trump was a staunch advocate of his daughter’s ascension to the top role.

President Donald Trump sought to name his daughter Ivanka to lead the World Bank in 2019, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin intervened to block the appointment, The Intercept reported Sunday.

In January 2019, the physician and anthropologist Jim Yong Kim, who had led the World Bank since 2012, announced he would be stepping down from his role the following month, creating a frenzy to fill the coveted position.

Kim’s surprise departure presented Trump as president with the ability to reshape the leadership of the World Bank, as the international financial organization has traditionally been led by an American citizen.

As the White House assembled a list of candidates, Ivanka Trump emerged as a favorite to her father, who told The Atlantic that she would have been an excellent choice because “she’s very good with numbers.”

But in April 2019, the younger Trump told the Associated Press she passed on the opportunity to lead the World Bank, saying she was “happy with the work” she was doing as a senior advisor to the president.

While she didn’t assume the role, she did help Mnuchin and Mick Mulvaney, then the White House chief of staff, in selecting Kim’s eventual successor, David Malpass, who at the time of his appointment was the under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

But according to two sources who spoke with The Intercept, the discussion surrounding Ivanka Trump’s possible ascent to the top of the World Bank was not simply from the Washington, DC, rumor mill.

The elder Trump apparently wanted his daughter in the role, with Mnuchin said to have stepped in to prevent the selection.

“It came incredibly close to happening,” a source told The Intercept.

When contacted by The Intercept, representatives for Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump did not respond for comment. Queries from the news outlet to the World Bank and the Trump Organization also yielded no response.

The World Bank, which was created in 1944, seeks to promote economic development and reduce poverty by “providing technical and financial support to help countries reform certain sectors or implement specific projects” in areas including education and healthcare.

Before her time in the White House, Ivanka Trump was an executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization. She also had her own fashion line, which included clothes, shoes, and accessories.

After her father assumed the presidency, she helped start the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which was supported by the World Bank and was created to generate funding for female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

In January 2019, a White House representative, Jessica Ditto, pointed to Ivanka Trump’s work with the initiative to justify her possible elevation to the World Bank.

“She’s worked closely with the World Bank’s leadership for the past two years,” Ditto said at the time.

She still lacked the depth of financial experience that previous leaders brought to the role, however.

“That’s a very thin base to try to establish credibility in this multilateral institution,” Scott Morris, the director of the US development-policy program at the Center for Global Development, told The Intercept. “It’s hard to imagine that she would have been viewed as a credible leader. It would be the worst kind of exercise of US power.”

He added: “I have to think as a candidate she would have encountered some resistance. But maybe [the bank’s members] would not have wanted to provoke the US president.”

Morris told The Intercept that the near-appointment could raise concerns about the continued US role in unilaterally appointing the World Bank’s leadership.

“A growing number of countries don’t like this whole arrangement,” he said. “For them to hear how close it was to being the US president’s daughter probably adds fuel to the fire that the Americans are so cavalier about this.”

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Africa

Deadly bombing at restaurant packed for Christmas in Congo

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Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say at least six people have died in a suicide bomb attack on a crowded restaurant in the eastern city of Beni.

Police prevented the bomber from entering the building, but he blew himself up at the entrance killing himself and five other people.

Another 13 people were injured.

The officials blamed Saturday’s attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant group said to be linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS).

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

More than 30 people were celebrating Christmas at the In Box restaurant when the bomb went off, two witnesses told AFP news agency.

Children and local officials were reportedly in the restaurant at the time.

“I was sitting there,” local radio presenter Nicolas Ekila told AFP. “There was a motorbike parked there. Suddenly the motorbike took off, then there was a deafening noise.”

After the explosion the military officer responsible for the state of emergency in the country’s east told residents to return home for their own safety.

There have been frequent clashes in Beni between the army and Islamists in recent weeks.

In November, Congolese and Ugandan forces began a joint operation against the ADF in an attempt to end a series of brutal attacks.

Authorities in Uganda say the group is behind a series of recent attacks in the country, including in the capital Kampala.

Map
Map

The militant group was formed in the 1990s by Ugandans disgruntled with the government’s treatment of Muslims, but it was routed from western Uganda and its remnants fled across the border to DR Congo.

It established itself in the eastern DR Congo and has been blamed for thousands of civilian killings there over the past decade, including in attacks on Christians.

In March the US put the ADF on its list of terror groups linked to IS. For its part, IS says the ADF is an affiliate.

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South Africa’s Tutu – anti-apartheid hero dies at 90

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Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice and LGBT rights and retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, has died, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday. He was 90.

An uncompromising foe of apartheid — South Africa’s brutal regime of oppression against the Black majority — Tutu worked tirelessly, though non-violently, for its downfall.

The buoyant, blunt-spoken clergyman used his pulpit as the first Black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town as well as frequent public demonstrations to galvanize public opinion against racial inequity both at home and globally.

Tutu’s death on Sunday “is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

“From the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”

Tutu had been hospitalized several times since 2015, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. In recent years he and his wife, Leah, lived in a retirement community outside Cape Town.

Throughout the 1980s — when South Africa was gripped by anti-apartheid violence and a state of emergency giving police and the military sweeping powers — Tutu was one of the most prominent Blacks able to speak out against abuses.

A lively wit lightened Tutu’s hard-hitting messages and warmed otherwise grim protests, funerals and marches. Short, plucky, tenacious, he was a formidable force, and apartheid leaders learned not to discount his canny talent for quoting apt scriptures to harness righteous support for change.

The Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 highlighted his stature as one of the world’s most effective champions for human rights, a responsibility he took seriously for the rest of his life.

With the end of apartheid and South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, Tutu celebrated the country’s multi-racial society, calling it a “rainbow nation,” a phrase that captured the heady optimism of the moment.

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Unashamed Anti-vaxxer, Marjorie Taylor Greene owns stock in 3 major vaccine makers

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Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has boasted about being unvaccinated, owns stock in 3 major vaccine makers

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene owns stock in three major vaccine makers, financial-disclosure filings show.
  • Greene holds AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson stock, each worth between $1,000 and $15,000.
  • Greene has boasted about being unvaccinated and slammed “vaccine Nazis” last month.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has boasted about being unvaccinated against COVID-19, owns stock in three major vaccine makers, financial-disclosure filings analyzed by Insider show.

Greene holds stock in AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, each worth between $1,000 and $15,000, according to an August 13, 2020, filing from Greene with the clerk of the House of Representatives.

The discovery was made as part of Insider’s Conflicted Congress project, which revealed that multiple US lawmakers held stock in vaccine makers as the pandemic raged in 2020.

The project found that at least 13 senators and 35 US representatives held shares in Johnson & Johnson, 11 senators and 34 representatives held shares in Pfizer, and two representatives or their spouses held shares of Moderna.

In September, Greene told Insider: “I have an independent investment advisor that has full discretionary authority on my accounts. I do not direct any trades.”

Despite her financial interest in vaccine stocks, Greene says she isn’t vaccinated and has decried those trying to make her get the shot.

In an episode of Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast released November 2, Greene said “vaccine Nazis” were “ruining our country.”

The issue of Greene’s vaccine assets has been seized on by Jennifer Strahan, who is running against her for Congress in Georgia’s 14th district.

Last week Strahan held a Twitter poll in which she asked, “Which of the following COVID vaccine manufacturers does @mtgreenee currently own stock in?”

She listed AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, or “all of the above” as choices.

“For those of you wondering, the correct answer is D! Our current representative rails against the vaccine, but owns stock in 3 of the 4 major vaccine manufacturers,” Strahan wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Speaking at Turning Point USA’s “AmericaFest” conference on Sunday, Greene reiterated her disdain for vaccines.

“I’m not vaccinated, and they’re going to have a hell of a time if they want to hold me down and give me a vaccine,” she said.

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