Bye Bye Boeing! Trump Hates on Air Force One, While Merkel Wants To Ban Burqas

Will Boeing say bye to their latest Air Force One project?
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The White House

A spokesman for President-Elect Donald Trump announced yesterday that Trump had sold all shares of his companies in June. Not only does this sell point to where Trump possibly gained cash to finish off the general election presidential campaign, but it also may address worries about his conflict of interest. The spokesman did not reveal why exactly Trump sold the shares, how much he sold them for or whether he had bought any investments since. Trump is not required to file a personal financial disclosure until May 2018. Once Trump takes office, he will be required, though, to publicly disclose any stock transactions worth more than $1,000 within 45 days. The Trump stock portfolio includes many investments in well known names, such as Apple, Exxon and Goldman Sachs.

Trump also recently tweeted out, “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” While Trump may be trying to cut spending, the secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, says that the cost is necessary due to the security features required by White House personnel, including protection from missile attacks, ability to communicate with nuclear forces and more. “Air Force One, although it is a 747 platform, is way, way more than what you would think of as a commercial airliner. It really is, in many ways, a flying White House, in terms of the security. There’s [electronic] countermeasures built in, communications, very high level communications, security of all types. After all, this is carrying the president of the United States,” she said. “It has to go long distances, it has to survive under difficult circumstances, much more difficulty than a normal civilian airliner. So it is a bit more complicated than perhaps meets the eye.” James also pointed out that the planes Trump is referring to won’t even be available for flight for another 10 years. Many on Capitol Hill are upset regarding Trump’s tweet, with some responding similarly, saying that he’s essentially attacking U.S. jobs and that he ought to learn “how defense contracts work before he tweets.”

However, many forget that President Obama had similar concerns regarding presidential aircraft costs at the beginning of his first term. In 2009, he halted the plan for new Marine One helicopters, blaming the extravagant costs of the Lockheed-Martin program.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a call for a widespread ban on full veil religious coverings. Germany would be one of several European nations to begin banning Islamic coverings in a response to perceived Islamic security threats. Merkel is currently attempting to secure a fourth term in her position. “The full veil is not appropriate here. It should be banned wherever it’s legally possible,” she said. While Germany is home to a Muslim community of 4.7 million, very few women wear the full burqa covering, with some estimates saying the number is as few as a couple hundred. Merkel also referenced the growth of Islamic sharia law in migrant communities, saying, “We don’t want any parallel societies. Our law takes precedence before tribal rules, codes of honor and sharia.”

Following Brexit, investors are warning that the United Kingdom may see a heavy loss of technical talent and startups. Technology entrepreneurs are pressuring the government to promise a continued influx of skilled migrants from the European Union, as well as EU market access. “The No. 1 concern for entrepreneurs post-Brexit is access to talent, in particular technical talent,” a group of nine companies said in an open letter this week. “Quotas on specific skills could severely limit the ability of new tech companies to grow.” Already, Paris and Berlin are hoping to overtake London as Europe’s tech and startup hub, with Dublin, Amsterdam and Frankfurt also eyeing the prize.

A recent study to determine worldwide educational and student performance is showing the U.S. falling behind in math and showing no growth whatsoever in science and reading. “We’re losing ground — a troubling prospect when, in today’s knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world. Students in Massachusetts, Maryland and Minnesota aren’t just vying for great jobs along with their neighbors or across state lines, they must be competitive with peers in Finland, Germany and Japan,” said Education Secretary John B. King Jr. Across the board, Singapore showed the best scores in mathematics, with the Dominican Republic taking the lowest spot. Singapore also took the top spots in science and reading. American students fell behind 36 other countries in math, 18 other countries in science and 14 other countries in reading.

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