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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.

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.”

President Donald Trump Denies He Is Planning to Fire Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller Accused of Unlawfully Obtaining Emails

Robert Mueller Investigation: Michael Flynn Admits Making False Statements to FBI

Robert Mueller Investigation: Donald Trump’s Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Lied About Russia Links

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.”

Joe Biden Criticizes Donald Trump’s Attacks on Intelligence Community

Joe Biden Tops Presidential Choice for a Quarter of Democrats in New Poll

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.

Russia: State Duma passes law requiring internet companies to store citizens’ personal data inside country

Russian-Planted Facebook Posts Seen by 126 Million American Users

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”.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max-8 has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board.

According to the airline, 149 passengers and eight crew members were on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines said 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 8 Americans and 7 British nationals were among the passengers.

The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the plane took off.

Another jet of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.

“At this stage, we cannot rule out anything,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

“We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”

Cuba: Plane Crashes at Havana Airport Killing More than 100

US-Bangla Plane Crashes on Landing at Kathmandu Airport Killing 49

Melbourne Plane Crash: Five Confirmed Dead as Charter Flight Hits Direct Factory Outlets Center

Recovery operations were under way near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 37 miles south-east of Addis Ababa.

The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on November 15, 2018. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on February 4, the airline tweeted.

Tewolde Gebremariam said at news conference that passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight.

He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, 7 French citizens, 6 Egyptians, 5 Germans, 4 Indians and four people from Slovakia.

Three Austrians, 3 Swedes, 3 Russians, 2 Moroccans, 2 Spaniards, 2 Poles and two Israelis were also on the flight.

There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

One person held a UN passport, Ethiopian Airlines said. The airline believed some passengers could have been heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on March 11.

A UN source also told AFP that “at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN”, and that this may include freelance translators.

World Food Program executive director David Beasley said seven members of agency staff had died in the crash.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, ahead of his second summit with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Air Force One landed at Noi Bai airport hours after Kim Jon-un reached Hanoi by train and car.

The summit, which is due to take place between February 27 and 28, follows a historic first round of talks in Singapore in 2018.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are expected to discuss progress towards ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Ceremonial guards had lined a red carpet laid out for Kim Jong-un as he arrived at Dong Dang border station on February 26. He was then driven to Hanoi, where heavy security and flag-waving crowds were waiting for him.

Kim Jong-un is thought to be travelling with his sister Kim Yo-jong and one of his key negotiators, former General Kim Yong-chol, both familiar faces from the previous summit with PresidentTrump.

The journey from Pyongyang to Hanoi took more than two days and traversed about 2,500 miles.

As Kim Jong-un’s train passed through China, roads were closed and train stations shut down. Chinese social media was abuzz with road closures, traffic congestion and delayed trains.

Vietnam’s Dong Dang station was also closed to the public ahead of his arrival.

Kim Jong-un is now being driven around 100 miles to Hanoi by car.

The North Korean leader chose to take the train as this is how his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, travelled when he went to Vietnam and Eastern Europe.

Kim Jong-un’s private green and yellow train has 21 bulletproof carriages and is luxurious, with plush pink leather sofas and conference rooms so the journey would not have been uncomfortable.

Air Force One left Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, landing in Hanoi on Tuesday night local time.

Details of their schedule are only just becoming clear. President Trump will meet Kim Jong-un for a brief one-on-one conversation on February 27 and then they will have dinner together with their advisers, according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. On February 28, the leaders will meet for a series of back-and-forth meetings.

The Hanoi meeting is expected to build on the groundwork of what was achieved at the Singapore summit in June 2018.

Trump-Kim Summit: Donald Trump Praises Historic Talks With North Korean Leader

Trump-Kim Summit Takes Place at Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island

The first summit produced a vaguely worded agreement, with both leaders agreeing to work towards denuclearization – though it was never made clear what this would entail.

However, little diplomatic progress was made following that meeting.

This time round, both leaders will be very conscious that expectations will be high for an outcome that demonstrates tangible signs of progress.

However, President Trump appeared to be managing expectations ahead of the summit, saying he was in “no rush” to press for North Korea’s denuclearization.

He said: “I don’t want to rush anybody. I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy.”

Vietnam has been chosen for many reasons. It has diplomatic relations with both the US and North Korea, despite once having been enemies with the US – and could be used by the US as an example of two countries working together and setting aside their past grievances.

Ideologically, both Vietnam and North Korea are communist countries – though Vietnam has rapidly developed since and become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, all while the party there retains absolute power.

Politics is an extremely tricky subject. Everyone thinks they understand and no one actually does. However, politics and its close cousin religion are quite often impossible to avoid in your day-to-day interactions. 

However, in all cultures, politics is highly personal. Passions can easily run high, and for some people, it is a subject worth destroying relationships for. Of course, you always have the option of not engaging in any political discussion at all, though that’s sometimes easier said than done.

There are good arguments both for engaging or avoiding politics. Here are some of them.

Arguments for openly discussing politics

1.) It allows you a better understanding of the local culture

In most instances, it can be advantageous to understand what makes your host culture tick. Not only will you avoid social pitfalls and find it easier to be accepted, you may also find that your host culture’s ways of thinking have much to offer you. You might even find that it makes more sense to you than how your own native culture tends to see things.

While you can learn much simply from observation, it’s impossible to truly understand any culture without examining how power relationships are handled in it. For that, engaging in respectful political discussion is necessary.  

2.) Discussing politics allows you to better understand events as they are

Current events are quite often tied to politics and your fate as an expat may very well hinge on your understanding of the local political climate. Events on the international and local level often have consequences you may not have considered unless you actually talk to a person on the ground about. Sometimes, it’s only because of these discussions that you can weigh correctly whether you should stay in the country, or leave altogether.

Arguments against openly discussing politics

1.) You don’t necessarily need a perfect understanding of local culture to be productive

Let’s face it. Many expats know almost nothing about their host country’s history and culture even after years of living in it. If you yourself are an expat, you probably know quite a number of these people. They probably manage to still be productive and happy without engaging in politics or understanding whatever is going on around them.

While some of us may be repulsed at the idea that not everyone feels that they need to know everything that’s going on, it’s a perfectly valid decision. This is especially true if you do not feel that you have the energy to spare discussing politics or understanding your host culture in depth. There are some drawbacks, sure. It rarely pays to be ignorant. But at least you can spend more time doing what other things you decide are actually more important.

2.) Locals may see you as meddlesome or condescending

It can be difficult to avoid sharing your own perspectives once any political discussion has started. And when you do, locals may see it as you being a pushy know-it-all foreigner, even if that isn’t the intent. This can be especially true if your own culture handles political discussions differently from your host culture.

If your country also has had a rocky history with your host country, there may still very well be a lot of people who will only tolerate you so long as you don’t step out of line when it comes to political discussions. In these cases, it may be prudent to avoid discussions altogether.

Regardless of what you think about politics, it’s best to get expat health insurance before leaving your home country for an extended period. You may not always know what the situation in your host country will be a year from now, but it’s important to at least be prepared as far as your health is concerned.

Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his second bid for presidency in 2020.

Bernie Sanders, 77, became a progressive political star in 2016 although he lost his candidacy bid.

His campaign says it raised $1 million within three and half hours of launching.

An outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, the Vermont senator has described him as a “pathological liar” and “racist”.

Bernie Sanders – an independent who caucuses with the Democrats – is one of the best-known names to join a crowded and diverse field of Democratic candidates, and early polls suggest he is far ahead.

His calls for universal government-provided healthcare, a $15 national minimum wage and free college education electrified young voters, raised millions of dollars in small donations and are now pillars of the party’s left wing.

Bernie Sanders, who lost the 2016 Democratic primary to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said in his email: “Three years ago, when we talked about these and other ideas, we were told that they were ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’.

“Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution. Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for.”

Bernie Sanders Backs Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy

Bernie Sanders Wins West Virginia Primary

President Trump, speaking to White House reporters on February 19, wished Bernie Sanders well on his second bid.

The president said: “Personally I think he missed his time. But I wish Bernie well. It will be interesting to see how he does.”

“He ran great four years ago and he was not treated with respect by [Hillary] Clinton and that was too bad,” Donald Trump added.

President Trump added that he liked Bernie Sanders as they both have been “tough on trade”.

Republicans and Democrats have reached an agreement in principle over border security to fund the government and avoid another partial shutdown.

The deal was struck in a closed-door meeting in Washington on February 11 after several hours of talks.

However, the agreement contains only a fraction of the money President Donald Trump wants for his promised border wall and does not mention a concrete barrier.

The deal still needs to be approved by Congress and signed by the president.

Speaking on February 12, President Trump said of the deal: “I can’t say I’m happy, I can’t say I’m thrilled.”

The president told reporters he would have a meeting about the agreement later today.

The Democrats – who now control the House of Representatives – have refused to approve the $5.7 billion for President Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico, one of his key campaign pledges.

Lawmakers expressed optimism that a bill would be approved by February 15 when funding runs out for some federal agencies.

President Trump Could Declare National Emergency to Build Mexican Border Wall

Oval Office Battle: President Trump Clashes with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over Border Wall Funding

Donald Trump to Close Down Government If Necessary to Build Mexico Border Wall

The longest shutdown in US history lasted 35 days and cost the country’s economy an estimated $11 billion.

Details have yet to be released but aides familiar with the negotiations say it includes $1.375 billion in funding for 55 miles of new fencing at the border, a small part of the more than 2,000 miles promised by President Trump.

The wall would be built in the Rio Grande Valley, in Texas, using existing designs, such as metal slats, instead of the concrete wall that Donald Trump had demanded.

According to recent reports, there was also an agreement to reduce the number of beds in detention centers to 40,250 from the current 49,057.

The talks had reached an impasse earlier with Republicans strongly rejecting Democrats’ demands for a limit to the number of undocumented migrants already in the US who could be detained by immigration authorities.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby said on February 11: “We got an agreement on all of it.

“Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together. We believe that if this becomes law, it’ll keep open the government.”

However, by yesterday, some of President Trump’s conservative allies had already denounced the deal, with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity calling it a “garbage compromise”.

House Freedom Caucus leader Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina said the agreement failed “to address the critical priorities outlined by Border Patrol Chiefs”.

President Donald Trump is “in very good health”, the White House doctor, Sean Conley, said after a four-hour physical examination.

Dr. Sean Conley added: “I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency and beyond.”

He and other 11 medical specialists put President Trump through a series of tests in a Washington suburb.

Donald Trump, 72, had previously been asked to lose at least 10lb and there is no evidence that he has done so.

White House aides report that the president is eating more fish than he used to, according to Reuters.

However, according to spokesman Hogan Gidley, President Trump “admits” he has not followed his diet and exercise plan “religiously”.

No further details on President Trump’s health have been released.

At the first physical of his presidency, which took place last year, Donald Trump was found to weigh 239lb and have a cholesterol level that is slightly higher than recommended.

President Trump is known to take medication for heart health and against cholesterol and male pattern hair loss.

His body mass index (BMI) indicates he is overweight but not obese.

Donald Trump’s health has attracted attention before. During his campaign he produced a letter that said he would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”. However, the doctor named as its author later said Donald Trump had written the letter himself.

President Donald Trump Is in Excellent Health After Physical Exam, White House Doctor Says

Donald Trump Is In Excellent Physical Health, Says Dr. Harold Bornstein

In 2018, Dr. Ronny Jackson said the president had “incredible genes” and it was not a matter of concern that he only slept for four or five hours a night because this was “just his nature”.

However, Donald Trump has been reported to eat large amounts of fast food and steaks, washed down by up to 12 cans of Diet Coke a day.

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President Donald Trump has refused to respond to a request from Congress to provide a report determining who killed the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In October 2018, senators wrote a letter demanding the murder be investigated and that the White House give more information.

A Trump administration official said the president was within his rights to decline to act.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

The journalist was a strong critic of the Saudi government. His body was reportedly dismembered and has still not been found.

Jamal Khashoggi Murder: Saudi Arabia Refuses Turkey Extradition Request

Jamal Khashoggi Death: CIA Did Not Conclude Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Murder, Says President Trump

Jamal Khashoggi Death: Saudi Arabia Identifies Journalist’s Killer

US intelligence officials have reportedly said such an operation would have needed the approval of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

However, Saudi officials insist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a “rogue” team of Saudi agents not acting on the prince’s orders.

An administration statement said President Trump “maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate”.

However, Democratic senators told the New York Times President Trump was in breach of the so-called Magnitsky Act, which requires a response within 120 days to requests from Senate committee leaders. That deadline passed on February 8.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has written to Senate leaders describing actions taken against individuals.

However, the documents do not indicate who was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death, as demanded by the senators.

The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, including Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince who, it alleged, was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

However, President Trump has faced criticism from senators for failing to condemn the Saudi crown prince directly.

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A group of 14 Canadian diplomats along with their families is suing the government for C$28 million ($21.1 million) after they succumbed to a mysterious illness in Cuba.

The group says the Canadian government took too long to warn, evacuate and treat them.

In 2018, Canadian and US officials were recalled from Cuba after complaining of dizziness and migraines.

The cause of the illness is unknown, but Canada has discounted the idea of a “sonic attack” on its embassy.

In a statement, the group said: “Throughout the crisis, Canada downplayed the seriousness of the situation, hoarded and concealed critical health and safety information, and gave false, misleading and incomplete information to diplomatic staff.”

Cuba Sonic Attack: US Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats

Cuba Sonic Attack: State Department Reveals Details of Suspected Acoustic Attack on US Diplomats

Cuba Mystery Illness: Canadian Diplomat Treated for Hearing Loss and Headaches

According to CBC, staff at the Canadian embassy began experiencing symptoms of the so-called “Havana syndrome” in spring 2017.

Several families were subsequently moved from Cuba, but until April 2018 Canada continued to post new staff to Havana despite warnings from US counterparts who had received similar complaints.

The US withdrew most of its non-essential personnel from Cuba in September 2017 and said 21 embassy employees had been affected.

Last month, Canada said it would be cutting its embassy staff by up to half.

At a news conference in Washington, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was aware of the lawsuit.

She said: “I am not going to comment on the specifics, but I do want to reiterate that I have met with some of these diplomats and, as I said to them, their health and safety needs to be our priority.”

Cuba has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, said US claims were a “political manipulation” aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has apologized after his 1984 student yearbook page emerged, showing a picture featuring men in racist costumes.

The Democrat governor said in a statement: “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”

Black politicians in Virginia called the image “disgusting” and Republicans urged Ralph Northam to resign.

The picture showed a man in blackface and another man in Ku Klux Klan robes.

The image appeared on a page with other photos of Ralph Northam, who was aged about 25 at the time, as well as personal details about him.

Ralph Northam did not elaborate on which costume he was wearing, but said he appeared in a photograph that was “clearly racist and offensive”.

His yearbook page, which came from the pediatric neurologist’s time at Eastern Virginia Medical School, was first published by conservative website Big League Politics.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper tweeted a picture of the page which it said it obtained from the medical school library.

An official from the medical school verified the photo and told the Huffington Post it came from a “student-produced publication”.

The yearbook page, which features Ralph Northam’s full name and photos of the future doctor and politician, also included a quote from a Willie Nelson song that read: “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”

Nivea Apologizes and Removes Racist Ad “White Is Purity”

Don’t Tip Black People: Virginia Waitress Kelly Carter Is Left Racist Note by White Couple

In his statement, issued after the image was made public, the governor said: “This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service.”

He added: “But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work.

“The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their governor.”

Ralph Northam later released a video statement via Twitter in which he said he was “deeply sorry” for the offence the image had caused.

He said: “I accept responsibility for my past actions and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.”

Before he was elected governor, Ralph Northam served for a decade as a Virginia state legislator.

Ralph Northam’s responsibilities as governor include implementing state laws, restoring voting rights for individuals who have had them withdrawn and issuing pardons.

Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has said he is “seriously considering” running for president in 2020.

Howard Schultz, who stepped down as Starbucks’ boss in 2018, says he is considering running as a centrist independent candidate in 2020.

In a series of tweets, he said the current two political parties in the US were “more divided than ever”.

During an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Howard Schultz said he had been a “lifelong Democrat” but criticized the current two-party dominated system.

He said: “We’re living at a most-fragile time not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics.”

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro is among those who have criticized the move.

Julián Castro told CNN that Howard Schultz’s potential run could give President Donald Trump the “best hope of getting re-elected” by splitting the opposition vote.

He said: “I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that might make.”

Starbucks drops #RaceTogether initiative

Howard Schultz rebuffed that criticism during his CBS interview, insisting: “I wanna see the American people win.

“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas and I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party.”

Howard Schultz, a former espresso machine salesman, grew up in public housing in Brooklyn, New York.

He started working for the original Seattle Starbucks chain back in 1982 when it only had 11 outlets selling coffee beans.

Howard Schultz, now 65, acquired the company in 1987 and by the time he stepped down in 2018, it had grown to 28,000 cafe in 77 countries around the world.

He frequently used his position to speak out on social issues like immigration and gun control.

He now has an estimated fortune of about $3 billion and is a regular donor to Democrat campaigns, including that of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Howard Schultz’s departure as CEO of Starbucks last year sparked rumor of his political ambitions.

His comments on January 27 prompted coffee-themed criticism by some on social media.

The Washington State Democrats posted a photograph, without comment, of a Starbucks cup with: “Don’t do it Howard” written on.

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has fired the country’s ambassador to China, John McCallum.

The move follows controversial comments John McCallum made about an extradition case involving a senior executive from the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

PM Trudeau said in a statement he had asked John McCallum to step down, but did not offer a reason.

The detention of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US, angered China and soured Canada’s relations with Beijing.

Meng Wanzhou is accused by the US of evading sanctions on Iran. Both she and Huawei deny those allegations.

She was arrested on December 1 in Canada’s western city of Vancouver at the request of the US.

Meng Wanzhou was later granted a C$10 million ($7.6 million) bail by a local court. But she is under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

In a statement, Justin Trudeau said: “Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s ambassador to China.”

The veteran diplomat, Justin Trudeau added, had served Canadians honorably and with distinction with many positions in cabinet.

The prime minister also thanked John McCallum and his family for their service.

John McCallum caused controversy on January 22 when he publicly argued that the US extradition request for Meng Wanzhou was seriously flawed.

The next day the ambassador issued a statement saying that he “misspoke” and regretted that his comments had created “confusion”.

However, on January 25, John McCallum was quoted as saying it would be “great for Canada” if the US dropped the request.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg: Canadian Sentenced to Death in China

Huawei Dispute: Two Canadians Detained in China

Meng Wanzhou: Huawei CFO Arrested in Canada

John McCallum was appointed Canada’s ambassador to China in 2017, stepping down as the immigration minister.

Canadian media say the diplomat was eager to take over the posting because of his strong personal connection to China.

John McCallum’s wife is ethnically Chinese, and he had a large Chinese-Canadian population in his former constituency in Ontario.

He also served as Canada’s defense minister between 2002 and 2003.

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Nastya Rybka, who said she had evidence of Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s election campaign, has been detained by Russian police.

The 27-year-old Belarusian model, real name Anastasia Vashukevich, was arrested at Moscow’s main airport after being deported from Thailand for soliciting.

Her lawyer posted a video on Instagram which, he says, shows her arrest.

The video shows a woman resembling Nastya Rybka and looking sedated struggles as four men push her into a wheelchair, then carry her.

The video clip posted by lawyer Dmitry Zatsarinsky has now been tweeted by Russian broadcasters and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny.

Dmitry Zatsarinsky said the model had planned to get a connecting flight to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, but had been seized and dragged from the transit zone on to Russian territory, then whisked away to a police station.

The lawyer called the Russian action “an international scandal”.

A Russian interior ministry statement, quoted by local media, says Nastya Rybka and three others detained with her at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport are accused of “luring into prostitution and practicing it”. The crime can be punished with up to six years’ jail.

Among the four held is Belarusian Alexander Kirillov, who was in custody with Nastya Rybka in Thailand.

They spent nine months in custody before a Thai court handed them a suspended 18-month sentence for soliciting. Thailand deported them on January 17, taking account of their time spent in custody.

They and five others – both Belarusians and Russians – pleaded guilty, after which they were deported.

While in custody, Nastya Rybka and Alexander Kirillov sought help from the US embassy, fearing extradition to Russia.

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Nastya Rybka said she had evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election campaign, allegedly obtained through an acquaintance with Russian billionaire industrialist Oleg Deripaska.

Oleg Deripaska denied the allegations and successfully sued both Nastya Rybka and Alexander Kirillov.

The billionaire is on the list of Russian oligarchs and politicians subject to US sanctions for alleged “malign activities” around the world.

President Donald Trump has denied working for Russia, playing down a Washington Post report that he had concealed a translation of a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Addressing reporters at the White House as he left for Louisiana, the president said: “I never worked for Russia.”

According to the New York Times meanwhile, the FBI launched a hitherto unreported inquiry into the president.

According to the newspaper, the FBI’s suspicions were raised after President Trump fired its director, James Comey, in May 2017.

That FBI inquiry, reports the New York Times, was taken over by justice department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Robert Mueller is leading an ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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On January 14, asked outside the White House if he was working for Russia, President Trump denied it outright before adding: “I think it’s a disgrace that you even ask that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax.”

President Trump was posed the same question by a Fox News host on January 12, and called it “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked”.

The New York Times notes in its own report no evidence has emerged publicly that President Trump took direction from Russian government officials.

On January 13, the president said his dismissal of James Comey was “a great service I did for our country”, while railing against FBI investigators as “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops”.

It was also reported at the weekend that President Trump had confiscated the notes of his own interpreter after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Washington Post, President Trump ordered the translator not to discuss the details of what was said.

However, on January 14, President Trump defended his nearly hour long discussion with President Putin in July 2017 on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

“It’s a lot of fake news,” he said, as he left to address a farming convention in New Orleans.

“That was a very good meeting. It was actually a very successful meeting.”

President Trump said he and Vladimir Putin discussed Israel and a German-Russian pipeline, adding: “We have those meetings all the time no big deal.”

ABC News reports that Democratic congressmen are considering issuing subpoenas to interpreters who attended President Trump’s meetings with Vladimir Putin.

On January 14, former Democratic White House candidate Hillary Clinton could not resist reminding Twitter users that during a campaign debate she had called Donald Trump the Russian leader’s puppet.

Polish mayor Pawel Adamowicz has died in hospital, a day after being stabbed at a charity event in his city, Gdansk.

The 53-year-old was attacked on stage in front of hundreds of people on January 13.

Pawel Adamowicz was taken to hospital for stab injuries and underwent five hours of surgery at a local hospital.

Doctors said the victim sustained injuries to his heart, as well as cuts to his diaphragm and abdomen.

Surgeons said he was given 41 units of blood during a five-hour operation on January 13.

After news of the severity of his condition broke, local residents queued at the hospital to donate blood.

Polish media say the suspect is a 27-year-old with a criminal record named Stefan – but his full identity has so far been withheld.

Police believe the suspect used a media pass to gain access to the stage.

On January 14, Poland’s health minister confirmed Pawel Adamowicz had died.

Thousands attended vigils across Polish cities, including in Gdansk.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda described the attack as an “evil hard to imagine”.

He said the day of Pawel Adamowicz’s funeral would be observed as a day of national mourning.

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The mayor was stabbed while attending the Great Orchestra of Christmas charity – an annual event where volunteers raise money for medical equipment in hospitals.

Moments before he was attacked, Pawel Adamowicz posted a picture from the stage on Instagram.

TV footage from the event showed the suspect rushing the stage and stabbing the mayor several times.

He then shouted to the crowd before being tackled to the ground and arrested.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Pawel Adamowicz at the scene, before transferring him to a hospital.

A police spokesman said the suspect had a long criminal history, including a bank robbery and an attack on a police officer.

Police also confirmed that he was released from prison late last year.

While on stage, the suspect reportedly shouted “Adamowicz is dead” and said the Civic Platform party, which led the previous government and had supported Pawel Adamowicz’s re-election, had wrongfully imprisoned him.

He also alleged he had been tortured behind bars.

The suspect will undergo psychological assessment to see whether he can be held criminally responsible for the attack, prosecutor Krzysztof Sierak said at a press conference on January 30.

Mayor Pawel Adamowicz was a popular figure – known best for his liberal political views and extensive tenure as mayor.

The father-of-two was from Gdansk and had held the position for two decades.

Pawel Adamowicz first came to power in 1998 – and had been re-elected four times since, including in November.

Democrats Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard have announced that they will challenge for the US presidency in 2020.

Julian Castro launched his campaign on January 12, and Tulsi Gabbard has said she will make a formal announcement within a week.

The ex-Obama Housing Chief is expected to be the only Latino in the race, and Tulsi Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress.

Both enter what could be a crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge President Donald Trump.

Until now only former congressman John Delaney has formally launched a campaign, more than a year ago.

However, Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren announced last month she was setting up an exploratory committee to consider a run.

Julian Castro, 44, made his announcement in his home town of San Antonio, Texas, where he was mayor from 2009 to 2014.

Long seen as a rising star in the party, Julian Castro served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama and was on the list of Hillary Clinton’s potential running mates for the 2016 election.

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Having a Mexican grandmother, he has used his background to criticize Donald Trump’s calls to build a wall to keep out migrants from Latin America.

Launching his bid under the slogan “One nation, one destiny”, Julian Castro said: “We say no to the construction of the wall and yes to the construction of communities.”

Julian Castro said his grandmother would have been amazed at his success and that of his brother Joaquin, a member of the US Congress.

Analysts say Julian Castro does not have widespread name recognition and may struggle to make an impression in a crowded field.

Martin Fayulu, the defeated opposition candidate in DR Congo’s presidential election, has vowed to challenge the result in court.

Felix Tshisekedi, another opposition candidate, was declared the winner amid accusations of a power-sharing deal with the outgoing president.

Several deaths and injuries have been reported in the wake of the results.

The election was to choose a successor to Joseph Kabila, who has been in office for 18 years.

The result if confirmed would create the first orderly transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

The influential Catholic Church, which posted 40,000 election observers, said the result did not match its findings.

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Thousands of supporters of Felix Tshisekedi took to the streets to celebrate but those who backed Martin Fayulu also came out in protest.

Violent scenes were reported in Kikwit, where at least two policemen and two civilians were said to have been killed.

There were reports of several hundred students protesting against the result and being dispersed by tear gas in the town of Mbandaka.

Protests were also reported in Kisangani but the south, where Felix Tshisekedi has broad support, was mainly in celebration.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged all sides “to refrain from violence” and widespread unrest has not yet been reported.

According to the National Electoral Commission (CENI), Felix Tshisekedi received 38.5% of the vote in the December 30 election.

The full results were: Felix Tshisekedi – 7 million votes; Martin Fayulu – 6.4 million votes and Emmanuel Shadary – 4.4 million votes.

Turnout was reported to be 48%.

President Donald Trump has announced he could declare a national emergency in order to build the Mexican border wall without the approval of Congress.

The announcement came after the president met senior Democrats, who refused his requests for funding.

The stand-off has seen President Trump withhold support for a bill to fully fund the government until he gets money for the border wall.

Donald Trump said he was prepared for the partial government shutdown – now in its third week – to last years.

Around 800,000 federal workers have been without pay since December 22.

President Trump’s aides and lawmakers will meet on January 5 in a fresh bid to resolve the impasse.

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The president initially gave a positive account of the 90-minute meeting at the White House, describing it as “very productive”.

However, when asked whether he had considered using emergency presidential powers to bypass congressional approval of funding, President Trump said he had.

He said: “I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. That’s another way of doing it.”

“I’m very proud of doing what I’m doing,” President Trump added.

“I don’t call it a shutdown, I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country.”

On January 4, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the meeting had been “contentious”, while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said: “We told the president we needed the government open. He resisted.”

Democrats, who now hold the majority in the House, passed spending bills on January 3 to reopen the government, including $1.3 billion of border security funds until February 8.

However, the legislation cannot take effect unless it passes the Republican-controlled Senate, where leader Mitch McConnell said his party would not back any measure without President Trump’s support.

Nancy Pelosi has again been elected as the House Speaker – the third most powerful role in Washington.

The 78-yar-old California Democrat reclaimed the gavel after the most diverse class of lawmakers were sworn in and as Democrats took control of the House after mid-term elections gains.

Her victory came as the government remained partly shut down in a row over funds for the president’s border wall.

Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to end the shutdown but will not support the wall.

She said: “I’m particularly proud to be a woman speaker of the house of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote.

“And, that we all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress – the largest number in history. “

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Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel as the House welcomed more women than ever before in the 116th Congress.

As of January 3, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly elected members and a record 43 women of color.

While Republican women marked some firsts this past election season – like Marsha Blackburn becoming the first female Tennessee Senator – the vast majority of these new lawmakers are Democrats.

Among them are the first Muslim congresswomen – Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar – and the first Native American women to serve – New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids.

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The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other titles belonging to Tribune Publishing suffered major printing and delivery disruptions on December 29 following a cyberattack.

The attack led to delayed distribution of the publications.

Tribune Publishing said it first detected the malware on December 28, which hit papers sharing the same printing plant.

The attack is believed to have come from outside the US, the LA Times said.

West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which share the same production platform in Los Angeles, were also affected.

“We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” an anonymous source with knowledge of the attack told the LA Times.

Marisa Kollias, Tribune Publishing spokeswoman, confirmed this in a statement, saying the virus hurt back-office systems used to publish and produce “newspapers across our properties”.

“Every market across the company was impacted,” she said, refusing to give more specifications on the disruptions, according to the LA Times.

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Other publications owned by the company include the New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel and the Annapolis Capital-Gazette, whose staff were the targets of a deadly shooting earlier this year.

Another publication, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel was also “crippled this weekend by a computer virus that shut down production and hampered phone lines,” according to a story on its website.

A Department of Homeland Security official said in a statement: “We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation.”

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More than 400 people are confirmed dead with 20 or so still missing following last week’s devastating tsunami in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia’s disaster agency announces.

Researchers have examined satellite images of Anak Krakatau to calculate the amount of rock and ash that sheared off into the sea.

They say the volcano has lost more than two-thirds of its height and volume during the past week.

Much of this missing mass could have slid into the sea in one movement.

It would certainly explain the displacement of water and the generation of waves up to 5m high that then inundated the nearby coastlines of Java and Sumatra.

The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) has been studying pictures from a number of radar satellites, including the EU’s Sentinel-1 constellation and the German TerraSAR-X platform.

Radar has the advantage of being able to see the ground day or night, and to be able to pierce cloud.

The capability has allowed some initial measurements to be made of Anak Krakatau’s lost stature, in particular on its western side.

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What was once a volcanic cone standing some 340m high is now just 110m tall, says the PVMBG.

In terms of volume, 150-170 million cubic meters of material has gone, leaving only 40-70 million cubic meters still in place.

Quite how much mass was lost on December 22 itself and how much in the following days is unknown. Scientists may have a better idea once they have had a chance to visit the volcano and conduct more extensive surveys.

However, with the eruptions still ongoing and a safety exclusion zone in force – no-one is going near Anak Krakatau.

Cone collapse with tsunami generation was considered a potential hazard before December 22.

In 2012, scientists had modeled the possibility six years ago, even identifying the western flank of Anak Krakatau as the section of the volcano most likely to fail.

The study, although simulating a larger event, predicted wave heights and coastal inundation times that were remarkably similar to what actually happened.

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A deadly tsunami triggered by Anak Krakatau volcano’s eruption struck Indonesia on December 22, at 21:30 local time, during a local holiday.

Giant waves crashed into coastal towns on the islands of Sumatra and Java, killing at least 281 people and injuring 1,016.

Sea water did not recede as it would with an earthquake tsunami and experts say that even if there had been warning buoys near the volcano, there would have been minimal alert time.

On December 23, coastal residents near Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano have been warned to keep away from beaches amid fears it could trigger a new tsunami.

It is thought that volcanic activity set off undersea landslides which in turn generated the killer waves.

Anak Krakatau erupted again on December 23, spewing ash and smoke.

Video shot from a charter plane captured the magnitude of the volcanic event in the Sunda Strait, between Sumatra and Java.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by blocked roads but heavy lifting equipment is being transported to badly hit areas to help search for victims.

The spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, told a news conference that another tsunami is a possibility because of the continued volcanic eruptions of Anak Krakatau.

He said: “Recommendations from [the] Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency are that people should not carry out activities on the beach and stay away from the coast for a while.”

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Anak Krakatau, which emerged in 1927 from the caldera that was formed during the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, has seen increased activity in recent months with people asked to avoid the area around its crater.

On December, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho put out a series of tweets explaining why there was no early warning for this tsunami. He said that Indonesia’s early warning system is set up to monitor earthquakes but not undersea landslides and volcanic eruptions, which can also generate deadly waves.

With 13% of the world’s volcanoes in Indonesia alone, it was crucial for the country to develop such system.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho confirmed there was no tsunami advance warning system the night of the disaster, adding that because of lack of funds, vandalism to the buoys and technical faults there had been no operational tsunami warning system since 2012.

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Vine and HQ Trivia co-founder Colin Kroll has been found dead in his New York flat at the age of 34.

Colin Kroll was found by police after his girlfriend reportedly asked them to check on him.

An HQ spokesperson confirmed the death of the CEO “with deep sadness”.

HQ Trivia app, a live trivia game on mobiles, became hugely popular, although its appeal waned this year.

NYPD officers went to Colin Kroll’s flat in Manhattan to carry out a welfare check and found his body along with drugs paraphernalia nearby, TMZ reported in the initial media coverage of his death.

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The HQ statement read: “We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it’s with deep sadness that we say goodbye. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”

The company confirmed Colin Kroll’s age after police had initially said 35.

Alan Kroll, Colin’s father, told the NewYork Times: “He had so much talent and had accomplished so much at such a young age. It truly is a waste.”

Colin Kroll co-founded HQ Trivia with Rus Yusupov, who paid tribute on Twitter: “So sad to hear about thepassing of my friend and co-founder Colin Kroll. My thoughts & prayers goout to his loved ones. I will forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart. He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother.”

HQ Trivia was launched in the US in 2017 and Colin Kroll was appointed CEO this September.

The free app live-streams quiz shows, with a pot of money – often thousands of dollars – available to split between winners.

The quiz show was guest-hosted by some big names, from Jimmy Kimmel to Bert from Sesame Street.

HQ’s popularity faded this year, dropping out of the App Store’s list of top 100 apps.

Colin Kroll was also a co-founder of Vine, a six-second video streaming service that was bought out by Twitter in 2012 for $30 million.

Vine announced in December 2016 that Twitter was discontinuing the mobile app.