Facebook Signs Lease for Office Space in Hudson Yards

Facebook Inc signed a lease for over 1.5 million square feet of office space across 30 floors and three buildings in New York City’s Hudson Yards, according to a statement by the luxury and commercial real estate development on Thursday.
Hudson Yards is a $25 billion complex of commercial and residential skyscrapers built on Manhattan’s far west side above the rail yards.
The deal includes about 1.2 million square feet in 50 Hudson Yards, about 265,000 square feet in 30 Hudson Yards and about 57,000 square feet in 55 Hudson Yards, the statement added.
“We’re excited to expand our offices there starting in 2020”, said John Tenanes, vice president of Facebook’s global facilities and real estate.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
 

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Pastor: Jimmy Carter ‘Up and Walking’ Post Brain Surgery

Former President Jimmy Carter was already “up and walking” just a day after undergoing surgery to relieve pressure on his brain from bleeding linked to recent falls, his pastor said.
The Rev. Tony Lowden of Maranatha Baptist Church visited Carter, 95, in an Atlanta hospital on Wednesday.
“His spirits are good and he is up and walking,” Lowden told reporters.
Carter Center spokeswoman Deanna Congileo has said there were no complications during Carter’s Tuesday surgery at Emory University Hospital for a subdural hematoma, blood trapped on the brain’s surface.
She said he would remain hospitalized under observation. It’s unclear when he’ll be released.
The center said the bleeding was connected to Carter’s recent falls. A Spring fall required Carter to get hip replacement surgery. He fell twice in October, hitting his head at least once.
Lowden said he expects Carter to ask when can he resume teaching Sunday School. The former president has been teaching Sunday School regularly at Maranatha Baptist for decades.
“I am going to tell him that we have everything in order at the church and he doesn’t have to worry about anything,” Lowden said. “There is no need to rush.”
 

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What These New US Citizens Most Look Forward to

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized 833,000 people – an 11-year high in new oaths of citizenship – in fiscal year 2019, which ended September 30. This fiscal year, USCIS administered the Oath of Allegiance to 60 of America’s newest citizens, from 51 different countries, during a special naturalizing ceremony Tuesday at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Holding American flags in their left hands, the group raised their right hands, and placed them over their hearts, and took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.
“It means a lot, joining one of the world’s greatest country of all times and able to serve this country,” said Sandra Amoah, a new U.S. citizen originally from Ghana.
For these 60 people from 51 different countries, young and old, this was the final step to become a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. But it also marked a new beginning in their lives.
“It’s going to open more doors for me for a young guy growing up, it’s a great opportunity right here,” Ghana native Yaw Opoku Amoah told VOA.
“I found it very emotional and I feel that it is a privilege that not very many people can obtain,” Virginia Growich, a new U.S. citizen who was born in England said.

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WATCH: Naturalizations Hit 11-year HighBecoming a U.S. citizen bestows many privileges, including being able to bring family members to the U.S., as well as being eligible for federal jobs and to run for public office. But in this crowd, many were excited to able to vote in upcoming presidential elections.
“I got my citizenship, and the most exciting part … next year it’s going to be vote and I will vote, yes,” said Sumreen Amer, a new citizen originally from Pakistan.
 “I am very interested in being able to vote,” Growich agreed.
While the Trump administration has proposed major cuts to legal and family immigration, and capped the number of refugees to the U.S. in 2020 at 18,000, USCIS, the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States, naturalized 833,000 people in fiscal year 2019, an 11-year high in new oaths of citizenship.
Sarah Taylor, acting director of the Washington District, says one reason for the increase in naturalizations might be the upcoming election.
“So we did have a big uptick always before a presidential election. It stayed high in the last couple of years and we anticipated it will remain high,” Taylor said.
Coming from such countries as Afghanistan and Yemen, these new citizens are hopeful for a bright future for themselves and their families, as they said: naturalization will open new doors for them in this land of opportunities.
 

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Cambodia to Free More Than 70 Opposition Activists on Bail

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the release on bail of more than 70 opposition activists arrested in recent weeks and accused of plotting to overthrow the government, he said Thursday.
Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than 34 years, has been under increasing international pressure to improve his human rights record, with the European Union threatening the withdrawal of important trade benefits.
“There are over 70 people, please hurry up work on this case so that these brothers can be released on bail,” Hun Sen said in a speech at a new cement factory in the southern province of Kampot, in comments directed at judicial authorities.

Self-exiled Cambodian opposition party founder Sam Rainsy speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 10, 2019.Cambodia arrested dozens of people in the run-up to last Saturday, when veteran opposition figure Sam Rainsy had said he would return from self-imposed exile to rally opposition to authoritarian ruler Hun Sen.
But Sam Rainsy did not return to Cambodia, saying he had been stopped in Paris from boarding a flight to neighboring Thailand. He instead flew to Malaysia before arriving in Indonesia on Thursday.

Leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha shakes hands with British Ambassador to Cambodia Tina Redshaw at his home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 14, 2019.On Saturday, Cambodia also relaxed the house arrest conditions on opposition leader Kem Sokha, who was arrested on treason charges more than two years ago. He says the charges are ridiculous and has called for them to be dropped.
Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy co-founded the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was banned in 2017. By then, Sam Rainsy had flown into self-exile in France after a defamation conviction and other charges he says are political.
On Tuesday, the European Union voiced concern at human rights in Cambodia as it gave a one-month deadline to authorities to respond to a report on its investigation before deciding whether to suspend trade benefits.
Hun Sen said that in addition to ordering the release of the opposition activists, he had ordered the Justice Ministry to withdraw arrest warrants for other opposition activists who had fled to Thailand or were in hiding in Cambodia.

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Two Killed, 35 Wounded in Baghdad Protests, Police, Medics Say

Security forces killed two protesters and wounded 35 others in Baghdad Thursday, police and medical sources said, as thousands of Iraqis continued a wave of anti-government protests.
One protester died immediately after a tear gas canister hit his head and another died in a hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces, the sources said.
Security forces used live fire, rubber bullets and shot tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered near Tahrir Square, a Reuters cameraman said.
Most of those hurt had choked on tear gas or had been hit by rubber bullets and were taken to hospital, medical sources said.
Protesters said the security forces had stepped up their firing of tear gas canisters and rubber bullets early Thursday morning.
More than 300 people have been killed since Oct. 1, as security forces have fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at crowds of protesters.

A woman holds a sign Arabic that reads “Since death is inevitable, do not live your life as a coward,” while protesters run for cover and riot police fire tear gas during clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters, Nov. 13, 2019.Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government has taken some measures to try to quell the unrest, including handouts to the poor and creating more job opportunities for college graduates.
But it has failed to keep up with the growing demands of demonstrators who are now calling for an overhaul of Iraq’s sectarian political system and the departure of its entire ruling elite.
The unrest is among the biggest and most complex challenges to the current ruling elite since it took power after the U.S. invasion and the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

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Political Crisis Continues in Bolivia After an Interim President Takes Over

Fresh protests erupted Wednesday in Bolivia just hours after opposition Sen. Jeanine Áñez was sworn in as interim president. The United States recognized Áñez as Bolivia’s temporary president. The country’s longtime leader, Evo Morales, said he was removed by a coup and that he would continue to fight. He spoke from Mexico where he was granted asylum. The leftist leader resigned  Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election result. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports Morales still has supporters in his country, especially among indigenous Bolivians.

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