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Petro investors could violate sanctions against Venezuela, warns US Treasury

The controversial digital token, which was first unveiled last year, and President Nicolas Maduro said the first day of a pre-sale had generated £546million ($735million). But in a move likely to undermine investor confidence, the US Treasury has voiced its concern at the development, warning that buying petros could represent a violation of sanctions which prohibit the purchase of Venezuelan debt. A spokesman has warned: “The petro digital currency would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government … (and) could therefore expose US persons to legal…

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Italy facing debt crisis WHOEVER wins election as analyst shows soaring estimation

Scrutiny of the Italian parties’ election manifestos shows the cost of carrying out their pledges will dwarf current spending and make sovereign debt soar, making Italy’s financial crisis more “explosive” than ever. A study by Italian newspaper la Repubblica shows Matteo Renzi’s Partito Democratico (PD), for example, is expected to fall back on its promise to reduce debt from 131 percent to 118 in 2022, highlighting that debt would increase to 134 percent should he carry out his manifesto pledges. Antonella Guerrero, a journalist for the paper, said the reason…

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Space 

Bigelow Aerospace establishes space operations company to look at commercial space station market

WASHINGTON — Bigelow Aerospace has established a space operations subsidiary whose first task will be to study the market for the company’s commercial space stations as it grapples with competition from China and NASA. Bigelow Space Operations, formally announced by Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow Feb. 20, will handles the sales, customer service and ultimately the operations of the commercial space stations that Bigelow Aerospace will manufacture. The first task for the new company, Bigelow said in a conference call with reporters, is to perform a detailed market study for…

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Italy election 2018: Two things will decide result – Immigration and Italy’s weak economy

Immigration has rocked Italian politics in recent years and the arrival of more than 600,000 migrants over the last four years has seen a surge in support for the country’s anti-immigration parties. The shooting of five migrants by Italian far-right activist Luca Traini earlier this month fuelled national discourse about immigration and the issue looks set to become a decisive factor as the country votes for its next government. Daniele Albertazzi, an expert on Italian politics at the University of Birmingham, told Euronews that conversation across the country is only…

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Why does restoring full power in Puerto Rico seem like a never-ending task?

About a third of Puerto Rico’s residents — over 900,000 — are still living without electricity five months after Hurricane Maria battered the island on Sept. 20th of last year. As power restoration efforts continue against all odds, it’s still hard for officials to say when the power will be fully restored, the question on everyone’s mind. “I would hesitate to give you a date,” said Lt. Col. John Cunningham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the deputy commander for the Task Force Power Restoration on the island. “We…

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Hungary’s Viktor Orban vows to FIGHT Brussels and predicts EU SPLIT in election rant

The right-wing firebrand has been a thorn in the side of the bloc with his outspoken views on the EU’s economic and border policies. Those opinions have made him a nightmare for Brussels but have played into the views of supporters of his Fidesz party. And, with an April 8 election on the horizon, he ratcheted up his rhetoric again today with a bizarre rant. He predicted that, with western Europe wanting the east to follow its lead, there would be a vicious struggle ahead. His comments were a clear…

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Trump picks politics over policy on immigration vote

First Read is your briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter WASHINGTON — In the immigration debate, President Trump had two options before him: 1) make a good-faith effort to reach a compromise on border security and DACA, or 2) keep immigration as a political issue for his base going into the 2018 midterms and 2020. He chose Door No. 2, at least when it came to the legislation the Senate considered this week. Think about…

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Will Holder run for president in 2020?

I didn’t quite know what to expect when Eric Holder came to the Monitor Breakfast on Wednesday. Sure, I had seen him on TV during his six years as President Obama’s attorney general. But I had never met Mr. Holder in person. How would he feel about facing a room packed with reporters – 35, including me, the host – bursting with questions about the Mueller investigation, “memo wars, ” criminal justice reform, race, and gerrymandering? Oh, and one more: Will Holder run for president in 2020? More on that in…

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Bank of Italy governor warns party promises to slash eurozone debt could BACKFIRE

Italy’s debt is currently the second highest in the eurozone and ahead of the election on March 4, parties from across the political spectrum have vowed to tackle the financial crisis.  “Every promise is debt – think about it,” screams the message below a huge, ticking “debt clock” that greets passengers at the main train stations in Rome and Milan. The digital clocks, installed by a think tank, update Italy’s 2.3 trillion-euro debt in real time, urging voters to fear election promises that analysts say could send the debt spiralling…

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An antidote to despair over yet another mass shooting

As most presidents have done after a mass killing in the United States, Donald Trump spoke to the American people the day after the Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland, Fla. He was consoling to the victims’ families but also offered two practical steps. He called for better security in schools and more help for the mentally ill who might resort to such violence. His ideas are welcome. Yet he did not mention better regulation of guns. Nor did he speak of many other measures offered by experts. The reaction…

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