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Trump criticizes digital coins, demands they face banking regulations

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U.S. President Donald Trump blast Bitcoin, Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to U.S. and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank.”

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International,” he added.

Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020. Facebook and 28 partners, including Mastercard Inc (MA.N), PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) and Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N), would form the Libra Association to govern the new coin. No banks are currently part of the group.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the largest U.S. bank by assets, plans to launch its own digital coins.

Trump’s comments come one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook’s plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.

Powell said the Fed had established a working group to follow the project and was coordinating with other countries’ central banks, several of which have also expressed concern about Facebook’s digital currency project.

Facebook, the White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks, but crypto trading and digital currencies remain largely unsupervised. The market has also faced allegations of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Trump’s series of tweets on cryptocurrency also come on the heels of an event at the White House where the president criticized large technology companies that he said treated conservative voices unfairly.

The Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms like Facebook, Twitter and Google, said: “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Activities paralyzed as Hong Kong unrest hikes

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Hundreds of Hong kong protester has paralyzed today’s activities by forcing closure of bussiness hubs and institutions amid a mark of aggravated violence.

Local news says, a handful number of the Anti-govenment protesters occupied roads in the Central business district, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate, during their lunch hour.

Protesters have torched vehicles and buildings, hurled petrol bombs at police stations and trains and vandalized prime shopping malls over the past week in some of the worst violence seen in more than five months of unrest.

Many were dressed in office attire and wore the now-banned face masks as they marched down a major thoroughfare that connects luxury shopping malls and glittering skyscrapers.

Hundreds of protesters also set up barricades near a popular shopping mall in the eastern part of Hong Kong island, dragging traffic cones and orange gates to block roads.

Some held up signs reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” and “Stand with Hong Kong”, slogans that have become rallying calls for the protest movement.

Across the harbor, black-clad protesters and university students maintained their blockades of major roads, including the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to the Kowloon area, and a highway between Kowloon and the rural New Territories.

Police fired tear gas near the tunnel early on Thursday to try to clear the protesters. Roads were strewn with bricks and other debris, leading to widespread traffic jams.

Thousands of students barricaded themselves inside campuses at several universities overnight, preparing stockpiles of food, bricks, petrol bombs and other make-do weapons as they hunkered down.

Dozens of riot police gathered outside several universities early on Thursday as students fortified their positions with metal poles, bricks and chairs.

At Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, near the Kowloon entrance of the Cross Harbour tunnel, hundreds of students wearing gas masks readied for confrontations with police.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel kills Gaza gunman, militants fire rockets

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An Israeli air-strike killed a Palestinian gunman on Wednesday and Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel as a spike in violence edged into a second day.

As dawn broke, air raid sirens sent Israelis rushing to shelters in towns near the Gaza border and deeper in the country.

The Israeli military said its forces targeted a Gaza crew preparing to launch rockets over the border. At least one man was killed. The Islamic Jihad militant faction identified him as a member of the group.

The worst fighting in months began on Tuesday, after Israel killed in Gaza a top commander of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad, accusing him of masterminding recent attacks against Israel and planning more in the near future.

source Reuters

In response, Islamic Jihad gunmen fired about 200 rockets into Israel throughout the day. Further Israeli air strikes on the group’s targets in Gaza killed eight Palestinians, seven of them militants, according to Palestinian sources.

However, it appeared that Hamas, the main militant group that rules Gaza, was staying out of the fighting for now. A diplomatic source told Reuters the U.N. Middle East envoy was on his way to Cairo to begin mediation to end the violence.

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