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Trump’s military prep school alma mater sold to Chinese investors for $15 million

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The bankrupt New York Military Academy, a 126-year-old preparatory school on the Hudson River that counts billionaire Donald Trump among its graduates, was sold on Wednesday after a bidding war between groups backed by two China-based investors.

The winning bid of $15.83 million came from the non-profit group Research Center on Natural Conservation, backed by a principal of China-based SouFun Holdings Ltd. They beat out California-based Global Preparatory Academies, which was funded by other Chinese investors, NYMA’s lawyer Lewis Wrobel told Reuters.

NYMA, located in Cornwall, New York, owed approximately $11.5 million to $12 million to creditors, principally local real estate firm Cornwall Improvement, Wrobel said.

Global Preparatory had signed a contract to purchase the school for about $13.2 million but failed to deliver the down payment, forcing the sale. A pre-sale appraisal valued the three parcels that made up the school at $10.1 million.

Bidding moved in $100,000 increments, said Mika Saarela, dean of academics at NYMA.

NYMA filed for bankruptcy March 3 but managed to complete the semester and graduate its 15 seniors. Enrollment dropped from a high of more than 500 during the 1960s to less than 100 in the last academic year, according to sources familiar with the situation.

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“Research Center on Natural Conservation, a non-profit group, indicated they want to keep NYMA as a school. We are obviously very happy with the outcome to keep the school’s mission alive,” said Saarela.

“We obviously want to get going as soon possible but our immediate plans are being worked out,” said Saarela.

Wrobel said the Global Preparatory Academies group was “funded with Chinese money. That we know for sure.”

He declined to name the investors.

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The bidding war unfolded in the U.S. bankruptcy court in nearby Poughkeepsie, following an hour of talks about the status of the school’s accreditation.

“It’s a rare event to get more than what is owed. It is possible it happened in this event, but we don’t know the full amount of the debt just yet. There will now be a substantial payment to creditors,” Wrobel said.

SouFun’s broker, Richard Warshauer of Colliers International New York LLC, and Global Preparatory’s lawyer Nick Pasalides, of Reich, Reich & Reich, both declined to comment.

Saarela said there were approximately 30 people at the auction, including townspeople, alumni and school officials in addition to creditors.

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Beijing-based SouFun, which operates a real estate information website, is no stranger to the area. Its non-profit affiliate purchased the nearby former mountaintop estate of Averell Harriman in 2011.

(Reporting By Daniel Bases; Editing by Ken Wills)

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Biden says Trump strategy makes Iran conflict ‘more likely’

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President Donald Trump's strategy on Iran, including abandoning a nuclear pact, is a "self-inflicted disaster" that could push the United States towards war with a major adversary, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden warned Thursday.

Hours after Iran shot down a US spy drone, sending tensions soaring, the former vice president said Trump was failing to prevent the Islamic republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon and to secure energy supplies through the Strait of Hormuz.

"President Trump's Iran strategy is a self-inflicted disaster," Biden, who leads in polling for his party's 2020 nomination, said in a statement.

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2020 Election

Ta-Nehisi Coates: ‘Joe Biden shouldn’t be president’

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Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden is under fire for fondly reminiscing about his “civil” relationship with segregationist senators in the 1970s and 1980s. Speaking at a fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, Biden expressed nostalgia for his relationship with the late Democratic pro- segregation Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Biden reportedly said, “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. … He never called me 'boy'; he called me 'son.'” Biden went on to say, “A guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys. Well, guess what. At least there was some civility. We got things done.” Biden was widely criticized by other Democratic presidential contenders, including Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio. We speak with acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates about Joe Biden’s long record on the wrong side of civil rights legislation, from opposing busing in the 1970s to helping to fuel mass incarceration in 1990s. Coates says, “Joe Biden shouldn’t be president.”

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Canada is taking advantage of Trump’s tariff pratfalls by scooping up new trade partners: report

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As American manufacturers reel and U.S. farmers see their economic well-being being destroyed by Donald Trump's trade wars, the Canadian government is stepping into the breach and boosting their own trade relations, reports Politico.

As part of their Global Translations podcast, Politico notes that countries -- and manufacturers -- are not standing by helplessly as Trump threatens and changes directions on trade on almost a daily basis.

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