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Diane A. Wade

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired two high-ranking Moscow police officials, days after anti-corruption journalist Ivan Golunov was freed amid an outcry over a fabricated drugs case.

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev had called for the dismissal of western Moscow police chief Maj. Gen. Andrei Puchkov and drug control chief Maj. Gen. Yury Devyatkin.

Ivan Golunov, 36, was released after lawyers said drugs had been planted on him.

It also emerged that police photos of a drugs lab were not taken in his flat.

The journalist, who had been working for the Latvia-based independent news website Meduza, alleged he had been beaten while in custody.

Ivan Golunov was later released under house arrest before being freed on June 11, a day after three respected newspapers published the same front-page headline: “I/We are Golunov.”

Kazbek Gekkiyev, Russian TV journalist, shot dead in North Caucasus

Hundreds of people were arrested during a pro-Golunov rally in central Moscow on June 12, many of them bearing the same slogan as the newspapers.

The interior minister announced the suspension of officers involved in the case on June 11, saying that the reporter’s guilt “had not been proven”.

President Vladimir Putin has avoided commenting on the case, although his spokesman said earlier in the week that the Kremlin had been keeping a close eye on it.

He will appear before the Russian public in the annual “Direct Line” phone-in on June 20, when Russians are given the chance to speak to the president.

Russian commentators have suggested the Kremlin is keen for the story to disappear before the event.

Ivan Golunov was stopped last week while on his way to meet another journalist in Moscow. Police officers said they found the drug mephedrone in his bag, and more drugs and weighing scales in a search of his home.

The journalist’s lawyers and press freedom activists said the drugs had been planted in order to silence the investigative journalist.

Ivan Golunov’s supporters immediately claimed that he was innocent and a victim of false drugs charges used against opposition figures and human rights activists by the Russian state.

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President Trump has hailed a deal reached with Mexico to help stem the flow of migrants to the US after he threatened to impose trade tariffs.

Under the deal, in which Mexico agreed to take “unprecedented steps”, the duties that were due to come into effect on June 10 have been suspended.

Donald Trump said: “Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement.”

There were fears that the tariffs could hurt US businesses and consumers.

Under President Trump’s proposal, duties would have risen by 5% every month on goods including cars, beer, tequila, fruit and vegetables until they hit 25% in October.

The deal was reached at the end of three days of negotiations which saw Washington demand a crackdown on Central American migrants.

In a joint declaration released by the US state department, the two countries said Mexico would take “unprecedented steps” to curb irregular migration and human trafficking.

However, it seems the US did not get one of its reported key demands, which would have required Mexico to take in asylum seekers heading for the US and process their claims on its own soil.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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Under the deal, Mexico agreed to deploy its National Guard throughout the country from June 10, pledging up to 6,000 additional troops along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. It will also take “decisive action” to tackle human smuggling networks.

The US agreed to expand its program of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while they await reviews of their claims. In return, the US will “work to accelerate” the adjudication process.

Both countries pledged to “strengthen bilateral co-operation” over border security, including “co-ordinated actions” and information sharing.

The declaration added that discussions would continue, and final terms would be accepted and announced within 90 days.

Should Mexico’s actions “not have the expected results”, the agreement warned that additional measures could be taken but did not specify what these would be.

In one of a series of tweets about the deal, President Trump quoted National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd as saying: “That’s going to be a huge deal because Mexico will be using their strong Immigration Laws – A game changer. People no longer will be released into the U.S.”

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told journalists: “I think it was a fair balance, because they have more drastic measures and proposals at the start, and we have reached some middle point.”

Speaking at a separate news conference, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “we couldn’t be more pleased with the agreement”.

President Trump caught members of his own party unaware when he announced the proposed tariffs last week.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in London for a three-day visit in the UK.

Protests are planned in several UK cities during the president’s visit, including in London, Manchester, Belfast, and Birmingham.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who is boycotting the state dinner – is due to attend and speak at the London demonstration, a party spokesman has confirmed.

Earlier, he tweeted: “Tomorrow’s protest against Donald Trump’s state visit is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country – including, just this morning, Sadiq Khan.”

Talks between President Trump and outgoing PM Theresa May will begin on June 4, with the pair expected to discuss climate change and Chinese technology firm Huawei.

Donald Trump’s visit coincides with the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which the Queen, the US president and other heads of state will attend at Portsmouth on June 5.

Crowds were gathered outside Buckingham Palace as President Trump and first lady landed by helicopter shortly after midday.

The Queen presented Donald Trump with a first edition of Sir Winston Churchill’s book The Second World War, from 1959, with gilt decorations and hand-sewn bindings in the colors of the US flag. He was also given a three-piece Duofold pen set decorated with an EIIR emblem, in a design made exclusively for the monarch.

Melania Trump received a specially commissioned silver box with a handcrafted enamel lid, decorated in royal blue with roses, thistles and shamrocks to represent the ceiling of Buckingham Palace’s music room.

After the private lunch, the Queen showed the presidential couple American artefacts and other items from the Royal Collection. In a nod to Donald Trump’s Scottish heritage, he was shown a bolt of Harris tweed.

Donald Trump Meets Queen Elizabeth In His First Official Visit to UK

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President Trump and the first lady met the Duke of York at Westminster Abbey, where they laid a wreath at the grave of the unknown warrior. The president signed the distinguished visitor’s book in his customary black marker pen, describing the 13th Century church as a “special place”.

Their next stop was Clarence House, where they joined Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for tea.

In the evening, the president and the first lady have joined a state banquet at the Buckingham Palace.

He has praised the “treasured friendship” between the UK and US as he joined the banquet.

The state banquet at Buckingham Palace was also attended by Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The guests also included prominent Americans living in Britain – Jeremy Corbyn, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable all boycotted the state banquet.

The Queen said the countries were celebrating an alliance which had ensured the “safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades”.

New calls for President Donald Trump’s impeachment came from House Democrats, after former White House counsel Donald McGahn failed to appear before Congress despite a subpoena.

Donald McGahn skipped a hearing on May 21 about the Mueller report.

In an extraordinary move, President Trump has vowed to block all subpoenas of his current and former staff.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said after the failed hearing: “Our subpoenas are not optional.”

“Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” he said.

The Trump administration claims that the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, into allegations of Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, cleared him of wrongdoing, and that there are no further questions to answer.

It also claims that staff cannot legally be compelled to testify, but Jerry Nadler said he would hold Donald McGahn in contempt and pursue other means of compelling testimony.

“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other,” he said.

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On May 2, President Trump responded on Twitter, arguing that he had “allowed everyone to testify” to Robert Mueller’s team, and accusing the Democrats of seeking a “do-over” of the special counsel investigation.

Democratic Party leaders have so far held off pressure from their lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings, and the party is divided over the merits of the move, but the pressure is growing as the president stonewalls congressional inquiries.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a party meeting on May 22 to discuss the issue.

Both the Department of Justice and White House released statements on May 20 arguing that Donald McGahn was under no obligation to give evidence.

According to a letter sent to House Judiciary Committee, Donald McGahn was “absolutely immune from compelled Congressional testimony”. Donald McGahn, who served as White House counsel for nearly two years under President Trump before his resignation in October 2018, said he would respect the president’s instruction not to appear.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused Democrats of pushing for “a wasteful and unnecessary do-over” of the Mueller report.

Citing the justice department guidance, Sanders said: “The former counsel to the president cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act accordingly.”

In the wake of Donald McGahn’s failure to appear, Jerry Nadler announced he had issued subpoenas to former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, McGahn’s former chief of staff.

According to a New York Times report, Democratic lawmakers and aides were examining possible rules changes to allow the House to fine people held in contempt, as well as other means to break the impasse.

An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet-100 made an emergency landing and burst into flames just after takeoff from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport killing at least 41 people.

Two children are among the dead. The jet had 73 passengers and five crew members.

“There are 37 survivors – 33 passengers and four members of the crew,” said Yelena Markovskaya, an official involved in the investigation of the crash.

A flight attendant was also reportedly killed in the incident. Five people are in hospital. One witness said it was a “miracle” anyone escaped.

Dramatic video shows passengers using emergency exit slides to escape the burning Russian aircraft.

Survivors suggest the plane was struck by lightning, but Russia’s national carrier said only that it returned to the airport for technical reasons.

Initial reports suggested the plane had landed on fire, but sources quoted by Russian news agency Interfax said the jet caught fire after a very bumpy landing.

The plane landed with full fuel tanks because the crew lost contact with air traffic controllers and decided it was too dangerous to dump fuel over Moscow, Interfax added.

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PM Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a special committee to investigate the disaster.

The aircraft left the airport at 18:02 local time, bound for Murmansk.

Its crew sent a distress signal when “malfunctions” occurred in bad weather shortly after take-off.

After making an emergency landing at the airport, the aircraft’s engines caught fire on the runway, Aeroflot said, adding that the crew “did everything to save the passengers”.

Aeroflot published a list of survivors who have been identified so far.

Murmansk’s Acting Governor Andrey Chibis has reportedly said that the families of those killed in the fire will each receive one million rubles ($15,300), while the victims being treated in hospital will be given 500,000 rubles ($7,650).

With millions of commercial flights taking place every year, lightning strikes in the air are relatively common.

Traditional planes, built using aluminum, are usually able to withstand such strikes as the shell or “skin” of the aircraft acts as a cage, distributing the electricity without causing damage and allowing them to continue their journey safely. Some newer aircraft are constructed using lighter materials that have lower electrical conductivity, such as carbon fiber, which need to be protected – often using wire mesh or foil.

More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in Bangladesh as Cyclone Fani hit the Asian country.

At least five people died and 63 were injured.

With more than a million people evacuated to safety, the director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said “fear of a major disaster is mostly over”.

Cyclone Fani was downgraded to a depression as it swept north-eastwards from India into Bangladesh on May 4, but was still powerful enough to submerge dozens of villages on the low lying coast.

Gusts of up to 43mph were registered.

Image source: Wikipedia

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Cyclone Chapala Hits Yemen Mainland with Hurricane-Force Winds

Houses were also destroyed in the Noakhali district, where 30 people were injured and two children killed, one aged 12 and another two years old.

India also moved more than a million people to safety to avoid Cyclone Fani.

A least 16 people were killed by the storm when it hit India on May 3, but officials said the loss of life could have been far worse.

In 1999, a super-cyclone in the Bay of Bengal ravaged the coast of Orissa for 30 hours and killed 10,000 people.

Early cyclone warning systems have since improved, giving authorities more time to evacuate people. The chief minister of Orissa said this was one of the largest evacuations in human history.

Members of the Venezuelan government say they are putting down a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaido announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.

He appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support.

Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Nicolas Maduro’s “usurpation” of power.

However, military leaders appeared to be standing behind Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s defense minister appeared on TV to stress the point. However, pictures from Caracas show some soldiers aligning themselves with Juan Guaido’s supporters.

Nicolas Maduro’s detractors hope the military will change its allegiance as resentment grows following years of hyperinflation, power cuts, food and medicine shortages.

So far, the armed forces have stood by President Maduro – despite dozens of countries, including the UK, the US and most of Latin America, recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

As a result, John Bolton, the US national security adviser, said what was taking place in Venezuela was not a coup, but a legitimate leader trying to take control.

Protesters supporting both sides have gathered at different points in the capital, Caracas.

There are running clashes between Juan Guaido’s supporters and armed military vehicles. Protesters were also seen throwing rocks, but being repelled by tear gas and water cannon.

TV cameras also caught the moment armored vehicles drove into a crowd but it is unclear if there were any injuries.

According to El Universal newspaper, at least 37 people had been injured across Caracas.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said the uprising by some members of the military had been “partly defeated”, but warned of possible bloodshed.

He warned: “The weapons of the republic are here to defend the nation’s sovereignty and independence.”

Vladimir Padrino also revealed one soldier had suffered a bullet wound.

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A three-minute video by Juan Guaido was published on April 30. In the video, he announced he had the support of “brave soldiers” in Caracas.

“The National Armed Forces have taken the correct decision… they are guaranteed to be on the right side of history,” he said.

Juan Guaido was filmed alongside another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, who has been under house arrest since being found guilty of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Leopoldo Lopez, who leads the Popular Will party of which Juan Guaido is a member, said he had been freed by members of the military.

He went on to urge Venezuelans to join them on the streets.

Meanwhile, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed he, his wife Lilian Tintori and their daughter had entered Chile’s embassy in Caracas to seek protection.

Juan Guaido, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, has been calling on the military to back him ever since he declared himself interim president.

He argues that President Nicolas Maduro is a “usurper” because he was re-elected in polls that had been widely disputed.

The video appeared to have been recorded at dawn in or near La Carlota air force base in Caracas.

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Japan’s Emperor Akihito has abdicated at the age of 85 in a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

In his last public address as emperor, the emperor handed over the symbols of power and thanked the public for their support during his 30-year reign.

He was given permission to abdicate after saying he felt unable to fulfill his role because of his age and declining health.

Akihito is the first Japanese monarch to stand down in more than 200 years.

He technically remained emperor until midnight, local time.

Crown Prince Naruhito, the emperor’s eldest son, formally ascends the throne on May 1. A new era – called Reiwa, meaning order and harmony – will begin in Japan’s unique calendar.

While the Japanese emperor holds no political power, he serves as a national figurehead.

Akihito has endeared himself to many people during his reign as he has interacted with those suffering from disease and disaster.

In the morning, Akihito took part in a Shinto ceremony to report his plans to the mythological ancestors of Japan’s imperial family.

The main “Ceremony of the Abdication” took place in a state room of the Imperial Palace in front of about 300 people including PM Shinzo Abe, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako.

Imperial chamberlains carried the state and privy seals into the hall, along with a sacred sword and a jewel which are considered symbols of the imperial family.

In a short ceremony, PM Shinzo Abe addressed the emperor, saying: “While keeping in our hearts the path that the emperor has walked, we will make utmost efforts to create a bright future for a proud Japan that is full of peace and hope.”

In his final speech as emperor, Akihito said: “I am deeply grateful for the people that accepted me as a symbol and supported me.”

“I sincerely wish, together with the empress, that the Reiwa era which begins tomorrow will be a stable and fruitful one,” he added.

“I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world.”

Emperor Akihito had surgery for prostate cancer in 2003 and a heart bypass operation in 2012.

In a rare speech in 2016, he said that he feared his age would make it hard for him to carry out his duties and strongly hinted that he wanted to stand down.

Opinion polls showed that the vast majority of Japan sympathized with him, and a year later parliament enacted a law that made his abdication possible.

Japan Emperor Akihito Suggests Abdication in Rare TV Address

Japan’s Emperor Akihito had a successful bypass operation

Emperor Akihito’s Abdication Approved by Japan’s Government

Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will become Japan’s 126th emperor – and will officially lead the country into the new Reiwa era. It will mark the end of the current Heisei era, which began when Akihito ascended the throne in 1989.

Naruhito, an Oxford University graduate, is married to Crown Princess Masako. Their only child, Princess Aiko, was born in 2001.

Japan’s current law prohibits women from inheriting the throne, so Princess Aiko’s uncle Prince Fumihito is now first in line, followed by her cousin, 12-year-old Prince Hisahito.

Japan’s monarchy is the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world. Legends date it back to about 600 BC.

The emperors used to be seen as gods, but Hirohito – the father of Akihito – publicly renounced his divinity as part of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War Two.

It was Emperor Akihito who helped repair Japan’s post-war reputation.

Previous emperors rarely interacted with the public, but Akihito redefined the role – and has come to be known for his compassion.

He also took up the role of a diplomat, becoming an unofficial ambassador for Japan and travelling abroad extensively.

While Akihito’s abdication was the first in 200 years, it wasn’t so rare historically.

According to Japan’s state broadcaster NHK, about half the emperors or empresses have done the same, and it happened frequently from the 8th Century to the 19th Century.

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President Donald Trump has issued a memorandum saying that asylum seekers should pay a fee to have their applications processed in the latest move in his crackdown on migration.

The presidential memorandum, issued on April 29, called for a slew of new rules.

The president also wants to disqualify asylum seekers who enter the US illegally from obtaining temporary work permits.

Critics say that fees would put the process out of reach for many people.

In his memo, President Trump said the fee would not exceed the cost of processing the applications, but estimates have not yet been provided of what this may be.

The vast majority of countries do not charge asylum application fees.

Victoria Neilson, a former official at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government agency that accepts asylum applications, told Reuters: “The majority of people coming to the United States seeking asylum are coming with little more than the shirts on their back.”

Under the current system, asylum seekers who enter the US both legally and illegally are allowed to work while their claims are processed.

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President Trump said regulations should be drawn up to ensure that asylum claims are adjudicated in immigration court within 180 days, except under exceptional circumstances.

While asylum cases are already meant to be finished within this timeframe, a backlog of more than 800,000 cases means that asylum claims can take years to be completed.

The orders given by President Trump to the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security mark a dramatic shift in US policy.

The president has given officials 90 days to come up with the new regulations.

The orders come amid Donald Trump’s efforts to stem the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross into the US.

Kim Jong-un has arrived in Vladivostok, Russia, for a summit with President Vladimir Putin.

The North Korean leader arrived by train in the Pacific Coast for his first talks with the Russian president, which are expected to start on April 25.

Kim Jong-un was welcomed by officials with a traditional offering of bread and salt.

Russia says they will discuss the Korean peninsula’s “nuclear problem” but Kim Jong-un is also said to be seeking support after talks with the US failed.

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Hanoi earlier this year to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program but the summit – their second – ended without agreement.

The North Korean leader greeted Russian officials warmly on his arrival in Vladivostok.

After tasting traditional korovai bread and salt, Kim Jong-un was entertained by a brass band before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

He told Russian TV earlier, after crossing the border at Khasan: “I arrived in Russia bearing the warm feelings of our people, and as I already said, I hope this visit will be successful and useful.

“I hope that during the talks with respected President Putin, I will be able to discuss in a concrete manner issues relating to the settlement of the situation on the Korean peninsula, and to the development of our bilateral relations.”

The summit is due to take place on April 25 at about 13:00 local time on Russky island, just off Vladivostok, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

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Russian and North Korean national flags are already in place on the island, where the leaders are expected to meet on a university campus.

Vladimir Putin was expected to arrive for the summit later.

According to his spokesman, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

North Korea has blamed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit in February.

Earlier this month, North Korea demanded that Mike Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US.

Kim Jong-un may also try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts believe this summit is a chance for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Vladimir Putin has been eager to meet Kim Jong-un for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has scored a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election.

With nearly all ballots counted in the run-off vote, Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, had taken more than 73% with incumbent Petro Poroshenko trailing far behind on 24%.

He told celebrating supporters: “I will never let you down.”

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev commented in a Facebook post that Russia wants Volodymyr Zelensky to show “sound judgement”, “honesty” and “pragmatism” so that relations can improve. Russia backs separatists in eastern Ukraine.

He said he expected Volodymyr Zelensky to “repeat familiar ideological formulas” that he used in the election campaign, adding: “I have no illusions on that score.

“At the same time, there is a chance to improve relations with our country.”

Petro Poroshenko, who admitted defeat after the first exit polls were published, has said he will not be leaving politics.

He told voters that Volodymyr Zelensky was too inexperienced to stand up to Russia effectively.

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Volodymyr Zelensky, a political novice, is best known for starring in a satirical TV series Servant of the People, in which his character accidentally becomes Ukrainian president.

The comedian told reporters he would “reboot” peace talks with the separatists fighting Ukrainian forces and volunteers in the east.

He said: “I think that we will have personnel changes. In any case we will continue in the direction of the Minsk [peace] talks and head towards concluding a ceasefire.”

There are sporadic skirmishes and the situation also remains tense around Crimea, annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

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A subpoena demanding the release of Robert Mueller’s full report into Russian meddling during the 2016 election has been issued, amid claims the current version “leaves most of Congress in the dark”.

The chairman of the House judiciary committee, Democrat Jerry Nadler, argued it is entitled to an unredacted version.

Donald Trump’s legal team argues it completely exonerates the president.

The DoJ has reacted by calling the subpoena “premature and unnecessary”.

It said it would “continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests”.

Elizabeth Warren became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for President Trump to be impeached.

She said: “The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty.”

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The 448-page redacted document is the result of a 22-month investigation by Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

It includes large swathes of redactions, which Jerry Nadler says “appear to be significant” in revealing how Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team came to their conclusions

Democrats have promised to continue pursuing President Trump following the release of the report on April 18.

Robert Mueller’s report says he found no criminal conspiracy between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, but could not reach a concrete legal conclusion on whether Donald Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

The report says: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.

“Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.

“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

The report also reveals that Donald Trump instructed a White House lawyer to try to get Robert Mueller removed over alleged “conflicts of interest”, but the lawyer resigned because “he did not plan” to follow the directive.

Robert Mueller examined 10 actions by the president in regards to obstruction of justice, which he said largely “took place in public view”

The report says that potential obstruction of justice by the president only failed because members of his administration refused to “carry out orders”

However, about 10% of Robert Mueller’s report is redacted – which means it may include yet more revelations.

Jerry Nadler issued the subpoena for the full, unredacted version on April 19, giving the US attorney general until May 1 to respond.

He said: “My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice.

“The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case.”

A huge fire has broken out at Paris’ famous Notre-Dame cathedral and has spread rapidly across the building.

Images on social media show plumes of smoke billowing into the air above the 850-year-old Gothic building.

The cause of fire was not immediately clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work.

Last year, the Catholic Church in France launched an urgent appeal for funds to save the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which was starting to crumble.

A major operation is under way in Paris to tackle the blaze.

According to officials, an area surrounding the building in central Paris has been cleared.

Notre Dame Cathedral Church Paris

Image source Max Pixel

Suicide inside Notre-Dame de Paris

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has canceled his planned speech to the nation in light of the fire, which has engulfed the giant spire of the cathedral, an Élysée Palace official said.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a “terrible fire” and urged people at the scene to respect the boundaries set up by fire crews in order to ensure that they remain safe.

President Donald Trump suggested “perhaps flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the fire.

The Notre-Dame cathedral, which is visited by millions of people every year, is undergoing renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.

Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Metropolitan Police arrests Assange for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012. He is found guilty and faces up to 12 months in prison, as well as extradition over US charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over an assault case that has since been dropped.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 11, he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.

Julian Assange now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.

The UK will decide whether to extradite him, in response to allegations by the DoJ that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases.

Julian Assange, 47, faces up to five years in US prison if convicted on the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said they would be fighting the extradition request. She said it set a “dangerous precedent” where any journalist could face US charges for “publishing truthful information about the United States”.

Jennifer Robinson said she had visited Julian Assange in the police cells where he thanked supporters and said: “I told you so.”

Julian Assange had predicted that he would face extradition to the US if he left the embassy.

After his arrest, the Australian national was initially taken to a central London police station before appearing in court.

Dressed in a black suit and black polo shirt, Julian Assange waved to the public gallery and gave a thumbs up. He pleaded not guilty to the 2012 charge of failing to surrender to the court.

Finding him guilty of that charge, District Judge Michael Snow said Julian Assange’s behavior was “the behavior of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”.

He sent Julian Assange to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing, where he faces up to 12 months in prison.

The court also heard that during Assange’s arrest at the embassy he had to be restrained and shouted: “This is unlawful, I am not leaving.”

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Julian Assange Questioned by Sweden’s Chief Prosecutor

Why is Ecuador protecting Julian Assange?

Julian Assange set up WikiLeaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.

WikiLeaks hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.

Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website.

She said she only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.

Chelsea Manning was found guilty by a court martial in 2013 of charges including espionage. However, her jail sentence was later commuted.

She was recently jailed for refusing to testify before an investigation into WikiLeaks’ role in revealing the secret files.

The indictment against Julian Assange, issued last year in the state of Virginia, alleges that he conspired in 2010 with Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. He faces up to five years in jail.

Chelsea Manning downloaded four databases from US departments and agencies between January and May 2010, the indictment says. This information, much of which was classified, was provided to WikiLeaks.

The DoJ described it as “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States”.

Cracking a password stored on the computers, the indictment alleges, would have allowed Manning to log on to them in such a way as to make it harder for investigators to determine the source of the disclosures. It is unclear whether the password was actually broken.

Julian Assange had been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation.

The investigation into the alleged rape, which he denied, was later dropped because he had evaded the arrest warrant. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has said it is now considering whether to resume the inquiry before the statute of limitations runs out in August 2020.

Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy on April 11 by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.

Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno said his country had “reached its limit on the behavior of Mr. Assange”.

The president said: “The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents.

“This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr. Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”

Lenin Moreno’s accusations against Julian Assange also included blocking security cameras at the embassy, accessing security files and confronting guards.

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President Donald Trump says he has spoken to Attorney General William Barr about tracing the origins of the inquiry that cleared him of colluding with Russia.

The Republican president described the investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller as “an attempted coup”.

William Barr meanwhile said he believes US authorities did spy on the Trump campaign.

US intelligence officials have previously said they were spying on the Russians, not the Trump campaign.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on April 10, President Trump railed against the Department of Justice inquiry into whether the Trump campaign had conspired with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 election.

The investigation cleared him and his aides of collusion, making no determination on whether they had tried to obstruct justice.

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President Trump said: “This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted take-down of a president. And we beat them. We beat them.

“So the Mueller report, when they talk about obstruction we fight back. And do you know why we fight back?

“Because I knew how illegal this whole thing was. It was a scam.

“What I’m most interested in is getting started, hopefully the attorney general, he mentioned it yesterday.

“He’s doing a great job, getting started on going back to the origins of exactly where this all started.

“Because this was an illegal witch hunt, and everybody knew it. And they knew it too. And they got caught. And what they did was treason.”

While President Trump was flying off to Texas, William Barr was appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The attorney general was asked whether spying occurred on the Trump campaign during the 2016 White House race.

“I think spying did occur,” he said.

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated.

“I’m not suggesting it was not adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

William Barr said he did not understand why intelligence officials chose not to warn the Trump campaign that it could be vulnerable to infiltration.

He praised the “outstanding” FBI as a whole, but told the panel: “I think there was probably a failure among the group of leaders.”

He added: “I feel I have an obligation to make sure government power is not abused.”

President Trump and his conservative allies have repeatedly suggested the Obama administration planted a mole in his presidential campaign to undercut his candidacy.

The former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked on ABC in May 2018 if the FBI had indeed snooped on the Trump team.

James Clapper replied: “No, they were not. They were spying on – a term I don’t particularly like – but on what the Russians were doing.

“Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence which is what they do.”

The same day in an interview with CNN, James Clapper said: “The objective here was actually to protect the campaign by determining whether the Russians were infiltrating it and attempting to exert influence.”

According to the New York Times last year, the FBI sent an informant, an unnamed US academic who teaches in the UK, to speak to two low-level Trump aides, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, after the agency became suspicious of the pair’s Russian contacts.

Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to secure a record fifth term as Israel’s prime minister after almost complete results from the country’s election suggested a new right-wing coalition.

The prime minister’s Likud party is expected to finish with the same number of seats as former military chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance.

A coalition between Likud and smaller right-wing and religious parties could control 65 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.

In a late-night speech to supporters Benjamin Netanyahu claimed a “colossal victory”.

Exit polls had earlier predicted a tight race with no clear winner.

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If he can form a new governing coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu could become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister this summer, overtaking the country’s founding father David Ben-Gurion.

However, the prime minister could be indicted in three corruption cases in the coming months.

Benjamin Netanyahu told cheering supporters at Likud’s headquarters: “It will be a right-wing government, but I will be prime minister for all.

“I’m very touched that the people of Israel gave me their vote of confidence for the fifth time, and an even bigger vote of confidence than previous elections.

“I intend to be the prime minister of all citizens of Israel. Right, left, Jews, non-Jews. All of Israel’s citizens.”

No party has ever won a majority in Israel’s parliament and it has always had coalition governments.

President Donald Trump has the right to keep his tax returns private and Democrats’ demands to see them are “harassment”, his lawyer, William Consovoy, has said.

The lawyer’s statement hints at the shape of a possible future legal battle over the issue.

On April 4, a Congressional tax committee demanded to see six years of Donald Trump’s returns, saying it was necessary to ensure accountability.

Unlike previous presidents, Donald Trump has refused to publish his tax details.

On April 5, the president said he believed that the law was “100% on my side”.

President Trump has maintained his business interests during his presidency, prompting questions about possible conflicts of interest. Questions also remain about his net worth, tax profile and past financial dealings.

The Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives in mid-term elections last year, giving them the ability to launch investigations into President Trump’s administration and business affairs.

William Consovoy said the tax committee did not have a valid legislative reason to see President Trump’s tax returns.

“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” the lawyer said of tax committee chairman Bill Neal.

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William Consovoy said the request was a “misguided attempt” to politicize tax laws and could also end up interfering with audits. He said the US Treasury should not comply with the demand.

President Trump has in the past said that he is unable to release his tax returns because they were being audited by the IRS.

However, the IRS has said that he could release the returns even if they are under audit.

In February the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen suggested during testimony to Congress that Donald Trump’s taxes were not under audit during the 2016 presidential campaign – when Donald Trump said they were.

President Trump had not wanted to release the tax returns because the resulting scrutiny could have led to an audit and “he’ll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on”.

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has decided to resign after weeks of mass protests, state media report.

The 82-year-old, who has been in power for 20 years, had already dropped plans to seek a fifth term as opposition to his rule grew.

The Algerian army had called for the president to be declared incapable of carrying out his duties.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a stroke six years ago and has rarely appeared in public since.

Car horns could be heard in the streets of the capital, Algiers, as hundreds celebrated the announcement.

People waved Algeria’s national flags and sang.

News of the resignation came in a statement carried on state news agency APS.

The statement read: “The president of the republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has officially notified the president of the constitutional council of his decision to end his mandate as president of the republic.”

State TV then reported that this would be with immediate effect.

According to the constitution, the Senate speaker should take over as interim president until fresh elections are held. The chairman of the upper house of parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, is expected to become caretaker president for three months until elections.

Pressure had been building since February, when the first demonstrations were sparked by President Bouteflika’s announcement that he would be standing for a fifth term.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika hospitalized in Paris after suffering mini-stroke

Tens of thousands protested across the country on March 1. Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s promise not to serve out a fifth term if re-elected, along with a change of prime minister, failed to quell the discontent.

Leaders of the protests also rejected President Bouteflika’s offer this week that he would go by the end of his current term – April 28 – as not quick enough.

It seems the powerful military agreed. Its chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaed Salah, said on April 2: “There is no more room to waste time.”

The protesters have also called for the whole political system, in which the military plays a significant role, to be overhauled.

Many of the demonstrators are young and say they want a new system of government.

There were accusations that Abdelaziz Bouteflika was being used as a front by “le pouvoir” – a group of businessmen, politicians and military officials – to retain their power.

Elections originally scheduled for April 18 were postponed and the governing National Liberation Front (FLN) vowed to organize a national conference on reforms.

The FLN has ruled Algeria since 1962, when the country won independence from France after seven years of conflict.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who came to power in 1999, strengthened his grip after a bloody civil war against Islamist insurgents which left 150,000 dead.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party, the AKP, has lost control of the capital, Ankara, in local elections, in a blow to his 16-year rule.

According to figures published by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, the main opposition party, the CHP, is also slightly ahead in the contest for mayor of Istanbul.

The AKP party is challenging the result in both cities.

Municipal elections were held across Turkey on March 31 and an AKP-led alliance won more than 51% of the vote.

The elections, considered a verdict on President Erdogan’s rule, have been taking place during an economic downturn.

Following the vote’s preliminary results, Turkish lira has been losing value recently and the economy went into recession in the last three months of 2018.

The AKP – Justice and Development Party – alleges “invalid votes and irregularities in most of the 12,158 polling stations in Ankara”.

AKP’s general secretary Fatih Sahin said on Twitter: “We will use our legal rights to the fullest, and we will not allow the will of our citizens to be altered in Ankara.”

The party says it will also challenge the result in Istanbul – the largest city – and the eastern province of Igdir.

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Commenting on the results in a speech on March 31, President Erdogan looked ahead to national elections in 2023: “We have a long period ahead where we will carry out economic reforms without compromising on the rules of the free-market economy.

“If there are any shortcomings, it is our duty to correct them.”

More than 57 million voters were registered to vote for mayors and councilors. Turnout was high at just under 85%.

According to officials, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Mansur Yavas won in Ankara. With almost all votes counted, he was on nearly 51% and the AKP’s Mehmet Ozhaseki had won the support of just over 47%.

Both CHP and the AKP claim victory in Istanbul, which has been in the hands of parties linked to President Erdogan since 1994, when he was elected the city’s mayor.

The election commission said the CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu was leading there by less than 0.5%, but that the results of more than 80 ballot boxes were being challenged. Results carried by Anadolu news agency put the margin even narrower, at less than 0.25%.

The AKP had been saying its candidate, former PM Binali Yildirim, was ahead by 4,000 votes. He later conceded his opponent had a narrow lead, only for the AKP to again claim victory.

The third largest city, Izmir, went to the CHP.

This was the first municipal vote since Recep Tayyip Erdogan assumed sweeping executive powers through last year’s presidential election.

The AKP, with its roots in political Islam, has won every election since coming to power in 2002.

President Erdogan, whose two-month campaign included 100 rallies, said the poll was about the “survival” of the country and his party.

With most media either pro-government or controlled by President Erdogan’s supporters, critics believe opposition parties campaigned at a disadvantage. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rallies dominated TV coverage.

The opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said the elections were unfair and refused to put forward candidates in several cities.

Some of the HDP’s leaders have been jailed on terrorism charges, accusations they reject.

Ukraine is voting in the first round of presidential elections with current leader Petro Poroshenko seeking re-election but the surprise front-runner is a comedian, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, along with former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, have expressed largely pro-European views during campaigning.

None of the pro-Russian candidates are seen as serious contenders.

If no candidate gets more than 50% on March 31, the top two will fight it out in a second round on April 21.

A total of 39 candidates are on the ballot paper, but only the three front-runners are considered to have any chance of victory.

President Poroshenko has significant powers over security, defense and foreign policy and the ex-Soviet republic’s system is described as semi-presidential.

The current leader, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarchs, was elected in a snap vote after former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in the February 2014 Maidan Revolution, which was followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a Russian-backed insurgency in the east.

The next president will inherit a deadlocked conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in the east, while Ukraine strives to fulfill EU requirements for closer economic ties.

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The EU says that about 12% of Ukraine’s 44 million people are disenfranchised, largely those who live in Russia and in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March 2014.

Separatist-controlled areas are boycotting the election.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is aiming to turn his satirical TV show – in which he portrays an ordinary citizen who becomes president after fighting corruption – into reality.

He has done no rallies and few interviews, and appears to have no strong political views apart from a wish to be new and different.

The comedian’s extensive use of social media appeals to younger voters.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s readiness to speak both Russian and Ukrainian, at a time when language rights are a hugely sensitive topic, has gained him support in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east.

Opinion polls suggest Volodymyr Zelenskiy will have a clear lead over Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko in the first round, and would retain it in a run-off against either of them.

Petro Poroshenko, 53, aims to appeal to conservative Ukrainians through his slogan “Army, Language, Faith”.

The current president says his backing for the military has helped keep the separatists in eastern Ukraine in check. He also negotiated an Association Agreement with the EU, including visa-free travel for Ukrainians. During his tenure the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has become independent of Russian control.

However, Poroshenko’s campaign has been dogged by corruption allegations, including a scandal over defense procurement, which erupted last month.

The third main contender is Yulia Tymoshenko, 58, who has served as prime minister and ran for president in 2010 and 2014. She played a leading role in the 2004 Orange Revolution, Ukraine’s first big push to ally itself with the EU.

The front-runner among the pro-Russian candidates, Yuriy Boyko, says he would “normalize” relations with Russia.

Zuzana Caputova has become Slovakia first female president after winning the second round of the vote.

The 45-year-old divorcee and mother of two, who has almost no political experience, defeated high-profile diplomat Maros Sefcovic, who was nominated by the governing party.

Zuzana Caputova framed the election as a struggle between good and evil.

The election follows the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak last year.

The journalist was looking into links between politicians and organized crime when he was shot alongside his fiancée in February 2018.

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Zuzana Caputova cited Jan Kuciak’s death as one of the reasons she decided to run for president, which is a largely ceremonial role.

With almost all votes counted, Zuzana Caputova has won about 58% to Maros Sefcovic’s 42%.

Zuzana Caputova gained prominence as a lawyer, when she led a case against an illegal landfill lasting 14 years.

She is a member of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, which has no seats in parliament.

Image source Wikimedia

In a country where same-sex marriage and adoption is not yet legal, Zuzana Caputova’s liberal views promote LGBTQ+ rights.

Maros Sefcovic is vice president of the European Commission.

He was nominated by the ruling Smer-SD party, which is led by Robert Fico, who was forced to resign as prime minister following the Kuciak murder.

In the first voting round, Zuzana Caputova won 40% of the vote, with Maros Sefcovic gaining less than 19%.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the sudden move to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett over a hoax attack has made a fool of the city.

The state’s attorney’s office maintains Jussie Smollett has not been exonerated, while the actor’s lawyers say his record has been wiped clean.

Rahm Emanuel told ABC News: “They better get their stories straight because this is actually making a fool of all of us.”

Police maintain Jussie Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack.

The actor has insisted throughout that he is innocent of all these allegations.

Speaking on Good Morning America on March 27, Mayor Emanuel pilloried Jussie Smollett, saying he “abused the city of Chicago”.

“You have the state’s attorney’s office saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax. He’s saying he’s innocent and his words aren’t true.”

Rahm Emanuel says he wants the court records unsealed so that all the evidence gathered by Chicago Police could be seen.

The mayor said he also wants prosecutors to explain why they made such a sudden reversal.

He said police had evidence that Jussie Smollett had made up claims that he was attacked on January 29 in downtown Chicago by two masked men who he claimed shouted racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and put a rope round his neck.

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Image source Wikimedia

Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats made the decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett on March 26 in a move that blindsided police – but he maintains that the TV actor is guilty.

He told CBS News: “Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence.

“Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”

He added that community service and a fine is a common outcome for such a case. When asked if those penalties were sufficient for Mr Smollett, he said: “I feel that it is.”

Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney, told NBC News: “The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.

“Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.”

Police, however, have disagreed, with Supt Eddie Johnson saying if Jussie Smollett “wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence”.

A Chicago police union on Tuesday renewed calls for a federal inquiry looking into what role the state’s prosecutor Kimberly Foxx, who recused herself, played in the case.

In a statement to NBC, the Fraternal Order of Police said they are “outraged…but not surprised”.

The union said Kimberly Foxx had “transformed the prosecutor’s office to a political arm of the anti-police movement”.

The Fraternal Order of Police said their demand was based on reports of texts between Kimberly Foxx and a former Obama aide about the case.

State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case last month, citing a conflict of interest “based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case”.

According to local media, attorney Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, connected Kimberly Foxx with Jussie Smollett’s family in the days following the alleged attack.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Tina Tchen had texted Kimberly Foxx on February 1 that Jussie Smollett’s family had “concerns about the investigation”.

Kimberly Foxx later told the Chicago Sun-Times that those worries were regarding leaked information about the case from “police sources”, and that the family felt the FBI would keep a “tighter lid on the information”.

According to a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report submitted to Congress on March 24, President Donald Trump’s campaign did not conspire with Russia during the 2016 election.

The summary did not draw a conclusion as to whether Donald Trump illegally obstructed justice, but did not exonerate the president.

The report was summarized for Congress by the attorney general, William Barr.

Donald Trump tweeted in response: “No Collusion, No Obstruction.”

The president, who has repeatedly described the inquiry as a witch hunt, said on March 24 that “it was a shame that the country had to go through this”, describing the inquiry as an “illegal takedown that failed”.

The report is the culmination of two years of investigation by Robert Mueller.

He wrote in his report: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

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The summary letter by William Barr outlines the inquiry’s findings relating to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

He concluded: “The special counsel did not find that any US person or Trump campaign official conspired or knowingly co-ordinated with Russia.”

The second part of the letter addresses the issue of obstruction of justice. William Barr’s summary says the special counsel report “ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment”.

The letter read: “The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”

William Barr says that the evidence was not sufficient “to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offence”.

The attorney general ends his letter to Congress by saying he will release more from the full report, but that some of the material is subject to restrictions.

William Barr wrote: “Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the [grand jury] material that by law cannot be made public.

“I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all information contained in the report as quickly as possible.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders described the findings of the report as “a total and complete exoneration of the president”.

President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said the report was “better than I expected”.

Congressman Jerry Nadler, the Democratic Chair of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, emphasized that the attorney general did not rule out that President Trump may have obstructed justice.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, said that while there was a lack of evidence to support “a prosecutable criminal conspiracy”, questions remained over whether President Trump had been compromised.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney welcomed the “good news”, tweeting that it was now “time for the country to move forward”.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden appeared to announce his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, before immediately correcting himself.

Joe Biden made the slip while addressing 1,000 Democrats at a dinner in his home state of Delaware.

The democrat said his record was the most progressive “of anyone running for the United-” before correcting himself and saying, “anybody who would run”.

The audience stood up and chanted “run Joe run”, while the 76-year-old crossed himself and said: “I didn’t mean it!”

Addressing party brokers and leaders in the city of Dover, Joe Biden said that it was time to restore the country’s “backbone”, but that they needed political consensus to move beyond what he called today’s “mean”, “petty” and “vicious” political landscape.

“I’m told I get criticized by the new left,” Joe Biden said, referring to a group of popular new left-wing Democrats that includes congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United- “

The former vice-president then corrected himself, saying: “Anybody who wouldrun.”

As the diners rose to their feet and chanted “run Joe run”, Joe Biden laughed and insisted: “I didn’t mean it!”

“Of anybody who would run,” he continued.

“Because folks, we have to bring this country back together again.”

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Joe Biden, who was vice-president from 2009 to 2017, added that the 2020 election will be the most important vote in a century.

Speculation that Joe Biden would announce his candidacy has reached feverish levels.

If he were to run, Joe Biden would be entering an increasingly crowded race – with 15 other Democrats having already declared their bids.

Among them are senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the race last week.

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Thousands of people have taken the streets in Moscow and similar demonstrations in two other Russian cities were called as the government plans to introduce tighter restrictions on the internet.

Last month, Russian parliament backed the controversial bill.

The government says the bill, which allows it to isolate Russia’s internet service from the rest of the world, will improve cyber-security.

However, campaigners say it is an attempt to increase censorship and stifle dissent.

Activists say more than 15,000 people gathered in Moscow on March 10, which is double the estimate given by the police.

Some protesters chanted slogans such as “hands off the internet” and “no to isolation” while others gave speeches on a large stage.

Opposition figures said that a number of protesters were detained in Moscow, but the police have not confirmed this.

The government says the so-called digital sovereignty bill will reduce Russia’s reliance on internet servers in the US.

The bill seeks to stop Russia’s internet traffic being routed through foreign servers.

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A second vote is expected later this month.

If it is passed, the bill will eventually need to be signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has introduced a swathe of tougher internet laws in recent years. On March 7, parliament passed two bills outlawing “disrespect” of authorities and the spreading of what the government deems to be “fake news”.

Last year, campaigners took to the streets to protest the media watchdog’s attempt to shut down the encrypted messaging service, Telegram.

Russia’s main security agency, the FSB, said at the time that Telegram was the messenger of choice for “international terrorist organizations in Russia”.