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‘It’s Time To End America’s Longest War’ : Biden Announces Troops Will Leave Afghanistan 20 Years After World Trade Center Bombing

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Joe Biden, US President on Wednesday April 14, formally announced his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that led the US into the country to wage its longest war.

Biden delivered the historic statement from precisely the same spot in the White House Treaty Room that President George W. Bush announced the start of the war on October 7, 2001.

Biden said after the statement he’ll visit the section of Arlington National Cemetery where many of America’s war dead from Afghanistan are buried.

He also added that American diplomatic and humanitarian efforts will continue in Afghanistan while the US would support peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban but the war between the US and Afghanistan is over.

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” Biden said.

“I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” he added. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

“It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home,” he said.

Biden said the withdrawal will begin on May 1, in line with an agreement President Donald Trump’s administration made with the Taliban. He said the complete withdrawal will be done by September 11.

The White House believes that after two decades of “war,” it is clear to the President that throwing more time and money at Afghanistan’s problems wasn’t going to work.

“This is not conditions-based,” a senior administration official heavily involved in the deliberations said on Tuesday.

“The President has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

Some US troops will remain to protect American diplomats, though officials declined to provide a precise number.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Wednesday he spoke to Biden and that he “respects the US decision.”

“Afghanistan’s proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country, which they have been doing all along, and for which the Afghan nation will forever remain grateful,” Ghani said on Twitter.

Biden said that he spoke with former President George W. Bush on Tuesday ahead of announcing his decision to withdraw the troops.

“I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision. While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we are absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage and integrity of the women and men of the United States forces who’ve served,” Biden said.

The war in Afghanistan has killed some 2,300 US troops and cost more than $2 trillion.

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‘I Want To Learn From Xavi At Al Sadd’ : Andre Ayew

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Andre Ayew, Ghana captain  has heaped praise on Al Sadd boss Xavi Hernandes and says he expects to learn a lot from the Barcelona legend during his time at the club.

Ayew joined Al Sadd on a free transfer last week, where Xavi has been head coach since 2019.

2010 world cup winner, Xavi, led the team to win the Qatari League last season, and Ayew says he’s been left impressed with the work he has done since taking charge of the team three years ago.

“Xavi, the coach of the team, was a great player and played for a long time with the biggest and best club in the world – Barcelona, and he is now a coach for the best club in the Gulf after playing with the team for five years”.

“I follow the Al Sadd team and watched the development that took place in the team’s performance in terms of entertaining football, the positioning of the players and the great tactics with which the team plays.

“I expect to learn a lot from him during my time with him. My goal is to win titles, to make the fans happy, and to strive hard to win the AFC Champions League.”

Ayew expressed his happiness in joining the Qatari league champions

“I am very happy and proud to play at Al Sadd. It’s an important moment for me and my family, because of what Al Sadd provided to my family in the past, and therefore when the club offered me a contract, I agreed immediately and I am sure that we will win more championships together.”

Ayew played for six clubs, including his two loan spells at Lorient and AC Arlésien, in Europe and recorded 131 goals and 55 assists in over 400 appearances.

Ayew is expected to bring his wealth of experience on board to help the club achieve thier goal of conquering Asia having dominated domestic competitions in recent years.

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Manchester United Agree Fee With Real Madrid For Varane

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Manchester United have agreed a fee of £41m with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

The price for the France international is believed to be £41m including add-ons and the deal is set to go through, subject to a medical.

Having already signed England international Jadon Sancho for £73m from Borussia Dortmund, the acquisition of Varane would be a further statement of intent from United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were second in the Premier League last season but finished 12 points behind Manchester City.

Varane is well established as one of the world’s top defenders, having joined Real from French side Lens in the summer of 2011.

He has gone on to make over 350 appearances for the club, and be capped 79 times by France, helping them to World Cup glory in 2018.

He started all four of France’s matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out on penalties by Switzerland.

If the deal goes through as expected, Varane’s first competitive action for United could come when they start their Premier League campaign on August 14 against Leeds United at Old Trafford.

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Twitter Tests Upvote And Downvote Buttons

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Some iOS Twitter users will see up and down votes on comments as parts of research “to understand the types of replies you find relevant”, the social network says.

The voting buttons will be thumbs or arrows according to a graphic shared by Twitter.

Twitter said downvotes will not be visible to other users and will not change the order of replies.

Commentators have drawn parallels with Reddit’s use of up and down voting.

Twitter’s interest in methods for users to downvote or dislike had already been trailed last year by product lead Kayvon Beykpour who tweeted it was something “we’re exploring”.

But in today’s announcement the company was clear this was not a “dislike” button.

Reddit responded to the announcement on its twitter account with a gif that simply said “interesting”.

Upvoting and downvoting are features of many sites, but users were uncertain as to whether this would improve the quality of interaction on twitter.

One writer wryly observed in a popular tweet: “I for one am glad that twitter is introducing a dislike button as the one thing this platform doesn’t have enough of is unnecessary negativity.”

Cody Elam, a user researcher at Twitter, tweeted that the change “gives people the power to privately voice their opinion on the quality of replies without publicly shaming others while also giving us more nuanced feedback.”

Presently twitter allows users to hide individual replies to their tweets so that other users need to click if they wish to read them.

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