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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
“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
“We will hold this president
accountable, one way or the other,” he said.
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
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.
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
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.
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
In the morning, Akihito took part in
a Shinto ceremony to report his plans to the mythological ancestors of Japan’s
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Under the current system, asylum seekers who enter the US both legally and
illegally are allowed to work while their claims are processed.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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.”
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
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
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
“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
Lenin Moreno’s accusations against Julian Assange also
included blocking security cameras at the embassy, accessing security files and
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
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.
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,”
“The question is whether it was
“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
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
“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.
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
William Consovoy said the tax
committee did not have a valid legislative reason to see President Trump’s tax
“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.
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
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
News of the resignation came in a statement carried on state news agency
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
More than 57 million voters were
registered to vote for mayors and councilors. Turnout was high at just under
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
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.
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
The front-runner among the pro-Russian candidates, Yuriy Boyko, says he
would “normalize” relations with Russia.
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
Police maintain Jussie Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack.
The actor has insisted throughout that he is innocent of all these
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
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
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
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
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
The report is the culmination of two years of investigation by Robert
He wrote in his report: “While
this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also
does not exonerate him.”
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
The letter read: “The Special Counsel therefore did not
draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct
William Barr says that the evidence
was not sufficient “to establish that the president committed an
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
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
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
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
“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
If it is passed, the bill will eventually need to be signed by President
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
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”.