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Donald Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, dies at 72

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President Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, died Saturday night after being hospitalized in New York, the president said in a statement. He was 72.

The president visited his brother at a New York City hospital on Friday after White House officials said he had become seriously ill. Officials did not immediately release a cause of death.

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”

The president is expected to attend Robert Trump’s funeral.

The youngest of the Trump siblings had remained close to the 74-year-old president and, as recently as June, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family that unsuccessfully sought to stop publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary.

Robert Trump had reportedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit for several days that same month.

Both longtime businessmen, Robert and Mr. Trump had strikingly different personalities. Mr. Trump once described his younger brother as “much quieter and easygoing than I am,” and “the only guy in my life whom I ever call ‘honey.

Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street working in corporate finance but later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings as a top executive in the Trump Organization.

“When he worked in the Trump Organization, he was known as the nice Trump,” Gwenda Blair, a Trump family biographer, told The Associated Press. “Robert was the one people would try to get to intervene if there was a problem.”

Robert Stewart Trump was born in 1948, the youngest of New York City real estate developer Fred Trump’s five children.

The president, more than two years older than Robert, admittedly bullied his brother in their younger years, even as he praised his loyalty and laid-back demeanor.

“I think it must be hard to have me for a brother but he’s never said anything about it and we’re very close,” Mr. Trump wrote in his 1987 bestseller “The Art of the Deal.”

“Robert gets along with almost everyone,” he added, “which is great for me since I sometimes have to be the bad guy.”

In the 1980s, Mr. Trump tapped Robert Trump to oversee an Atlantic City casino project, calling him the perfect fit for the job. When it cannibalized his other casinos, though, “he pointed the finger of blame at Robert,” said Blair, author of “The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire.”

“When the slot machines jammed the opening weekend at the Taj Mahal, he very specifically and furiously denounced Robert, and Robert walked out and never worked for his brother again,” Blair said.

A Boston University graduate, Robert Trump later managed the Brooklyn portion of father Fred Trump’s real estate empire, which was eventually sold.

Once a regular boldface name in Manhattan’s social pages, Robert Trump had kept a lower profile in recent years. “He was not a newsmaker,” Blair said.

Before divorcing his first wife, Blaine Trump, more than a decade ago, Robert Trump had been active on Manhattan’s Upper East Side charity circuit.

He avoided the limelight during his elder brother’s presidency, having retired to the Hudson Valley. But he described himself as a big supporter of the White House run in a 2016 interview with the New York Post.

“I support Donald one thousand percent,” Robert Trump said.

In early March of 2020, he married his longtime girlfriend, Ann Marie Pallan.

The eldest Trump sibling and Mary’s father, Fred Trump Jr., struggled with alcoholism and died in 1981 at the age of 43. The president’s surviving siblings include Elizabeth Trump Grau and Maryanne Trump Barry, a retired federal appeals judge.

Authors Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher described Robert Trump as soft spoken but cerebral in “Trump Revealed: The Definitive Biography of the 45th President”: “He lacked Donald’s charismatic showmanship, and he was happy to leave the bravado to his brother, but he could show flashes of Trump temper.”

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The U.S. has blacklisted nine Chinese companies, including smartphone maker Xiaomi

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Hong Kong — The U.S. government has blacklisted Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. and China’s third-largest national oil company for alleged military links, heaping pressure on Beijing in President Donald Trump’s last week in office.

The Department of Defence added nine companies to its list of Chinese companies with military links, including Xiaomi and state-owned plane manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China .

U.S. investors will have to divest their stakes in Chinese companies on the military list by November this year, according to an executive order signed by Trump in November.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Xiaomi Corp. overtook Apple Inc. as the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker by sales in the third quarter of 2020, according to data by Gartner. Xiaomi’s market share has grown as Huawei’s sales have suffered after it was blacklisted by the U.S. and its smartphones were cut off from essential services from Google.

Separately, the Commerce Department put China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) on the entity list, an economic blacklist that forbids U.S. firms from exporting or transferring technology with the companies named unless permission has been obtained from the U.S. government. The move comes after about 60 Chinese companies were added to the list in December, including drone maker DJI and semiconductor firm SMIC.

CNOOC has been involved in offshore drilling in the disputed waters South China Sea, where Beijing has overlapping territorial claims with other countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

“China’s reckless and belligerent actions in the South China Sea and its aggressive push to acquire sensitive intellectual property and technology for its militarization efforts are a threat to U.S. national security and the security of the international community,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

“CNOOC acts as a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China’s neighbours, and the Chinese military continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes,” Ross said.

Chinese state-owned company Skyrizon was also added to the economic blacklist, for its push to “acquire and indigenize foreign military technologies,” Ross said.

Beijing Skyrizon Aviation, founded by tycoon Wang Jing, drew U.S. criticism for an attempt to take over Ukraine’s military aircraft engine maker Motor Sich in 2017. The concern was that advanced aerospace technology would end up being used for military purposes.

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Nigerian Bishops call on President Muhammadu Buhari to hear the cries of Christians

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At the funeral of the Most Revd. Gregory Ochiaga, Emeritus Bishop of Orlu Diocese, who died on 29th December, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the call of religious leaders and deal with the growing violence in the West African country.

“We join our yokes to many courageous religious leaders, Catholics, and non-Catholics who have spoken out against government performance in the area of insecurity in Nigeria.

“There is no religious leader who will want the Government to fail, neither is there any genuine religious leader who truly feels the pain of their people will keep quiet when the life and property of the people are not secured.

“The Government should listen to the cries of Nigerians and take Nigerians seriously when we cry for a secured life, when we ask for a good opportunity for every Nigerians, and when we ask for the inclusion of every part of the country in the governance of Nigeria and not just a minimalistic approach to fulfilling constitutional quotas of representation.

“As we speak and constructively criticise the Federal Government, we assure the Government of our prayers and collaboration in seeking to build a nation where justice and peace reign. Where prosperity for everyone is achieved,” he said.

“We know that the level of insecurity in the country has reached an all-time high. The Nigerian people are no longer safe. “On a day-to-day basis, Nigerians are killed or maimed by bandits, cattle rustlers, Boko haram [responsible for the death of an estimated 1700 Nigerians in the first half of 2019 alone], herdsmen, kidnappers and various criminal elements that our security agents have not been able to deal with.”

President Buhari, who came to power on a mandate of strengthening Nigeria’s security forces and ending the endemic insurgency in 2015, has made much of these commitments during his re-election in 2019. As public trust in the government continues to decline, there is little to comfort the country’s embattled people.

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