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Trump names US hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien as national security adviser

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WASHINGTON—President Trump named Robert C. O’Brien as his new national security adviser, picking a top hostage-affairs official for the high-profile White House role at a time when the U.S. is weighing how to respond to attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Trump tweeted the announcement Wednesday morning, writing: “I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!”

In his State Department position, which he held from May 2018, O’Brien worked closely with families of American hostages and advised the Trump administration on hostage issues. He previously helped lead the agency’s initiative for justice reform in Afghanistan during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

O’Brien’s appointment comes as Trump is confronted with multiple challenges in the Middle and Near East, including how to respond to weekend attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, and how to negotiate peace agreements in Afghanistan’s civil war and between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Trump administration also faces what it sees as increasing regional aggression from Iran, the target of new sanctions Trump announced just moments before tweeting about O’Brien’s appointment.

O’Brien was a major in the U.S. Army Reserve. After graduating from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, he founded a law firm in California that focused on international arbitration issues.

As national security adviser, O’Brien will be the highest-ranking Mormon in the U.S. government, a notable development for a church that has shown some wariness of Trump. The religious community is also expected to be a significant voting demographic in certain states in the 2020 presidential election.

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Hyderabad based GVK Group reportedly under government scanner

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Mumbai: The GVK Group, which is in locked in a legal battle with the Adani Group on stake sale in its flagship Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), on Tuesday said it has received a notice from the corporate affairs ministry (MCA), seeking some details about the airport operator.

This comes at a time when the Hyderabad-based diversified GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited, which owns 50.5 percent stake in the MIAL, is in the process of hiking its stake in the airport arm by acquiring 23.5 per cent additional stake from Bidvest and ACSA.

The MCA notice, according to sources, is based on a whistleblower complaint to MCA with regard to alleged ‘diversion of funds’ from some of the GVK Group companies.

MCA has initiated an inspection of the books of 11 entities, which include GVK Power & Infrastructure, Mumbai International Airport, GVK Jaipur Expressway Pvt and GVK Power. It has also ordered an inspection of the books of Navi Mumbai International Airport Pvt – the under construction airport at Navi Mumbai.

These companies are located in different jurisdictions — Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Rajasthan and Mumbai — of the Registrar of Companies and MCA has sent a physical inspection letter to each of these companies, sources said.

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