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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.

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A parent should not move his or her child to a foreign country without a court order and a detailed co-parenting plan.

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Why Is a Court Order so Important?

Filing for divorce is a big decision for any couple. However, couples with children have even more to consider when divorcing. They have to work together to create a workable co-parenting plan that outlines custody, visitation, and communication plans. Typically, a couple files a custody agreement with the family court that states which parent is the primary custodial parent. However, custody agreements are state-specific. A judge needs to agree and enter an order before a parent can move children across state lines. If one member of the couple is considering immigrating as a single parent, he or she must receive permission from the family court.

Even if the custodial parent has sole custody of the children, he or she must have a court order before leaving the country with the children. A parent who relocates a child to a foreign country without a court order and the other parent’s consent has committed parental kidnapping. If the parent’s new home participates in the Hague Convention, the authorities in the United States and the new country will work together to return the child.

What Does a Court Consider When Deciding Whether to Allow Relocation?

If both parents agree to the move, a judge is likely to agree to the arrangement. However, absent an agreement, the parents will have to petition the family court to enter an order either allowing or disallowing relocation of the children. When determining whether to allow relocation, a family court judge will consider:

·         Which parent has primary custody

·         The country to which the parent wishes to relocate

·         Whether the parent is relocating for a new job

·         The immigration status of the parent after relocation

·         What type of support system the child will have (extended family and friends, for example)

·         The care the child will receive, including education, medical, and shelter

·         How convenient it will be for the co-parent to visit

·         Quality of life

·         The feasibility of the child maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents

How Can Parents Make a Workable Long Distance Co-Parenting Plan?

It can be difficult for a divorcing couple to agree to and stick with a co-parenting plan. Both parents have to commit to the work and cooperation needed to make it successful. If both parents agree to an overseas move or a judge enters an order allowing the custodial parent to move, they will need to create a strong parenting plan that considers the difficulties added by extreme distance. The Co-Parenting plan should include:

·         Accommodations for healthy communications between parents and children

·         Plans for regular, consistent communication between the non-custodial parent and the children

·         An agreement for respectful communication between the two parents

·         A calendar that outlines visitations between the non-custodial parent and the children, including holidays and extended visitation periods

As in any situation involving children, the parents and family court’s top priority should be the well-being of the children. When an overseas move benefits the children, all parties should work together to ensure the children can maintain a happy, healthy, and meaningful relationship with both parents.

A Las Vegas jury dealt a unanimous verdict against the nation’s largest health insurance company on November 29, ruling UnitedHealthcare cheated out-of-network emergency room doctors out of millions of dollars in proper reimbursements for the lifesaving work they performed.

The month-long trial featured revelations that United had gutted reimbursements to doctors handling heart attacks, strokes, and gunshot wounds to less than $200, all so the company could generate another billion dollars in profits.

“To look at the scheme they had to underpay and underpay us to protect our community was a shot in the gut,” said Sunrise Medical Center Doctor Scott Scherr, an emergency room doctor who helped saved many lives the night of the deadly Las Vegas mass killings in 2017.

“This sends a message to insurance companies that you know we need to be compensated fairly for the emergency care that we provide.”

Jury Deliberations in Las Vegas Trial against UnitedHealthcare

Houston Attorney John Zavitsanos said United had treated life savers as third-rate citizens for the past three years to feed the greed of an insurance company and he praised the jury for sending a clear message.

“They found by clear and convincing evidence that their conduct, and I am going to steal one of their words, that their conduct was egregious, and the jury will return to make an example out of them to other insurance companies of how health care professionals should not be treated,” said Zavitsanos.

The jury ruled United and other defendants had to pay a little more than $2 million in damages to doctors for the payments they were cheated out of, but United may see a much bigger punishment when the jury returns December 7th to decide on the amount of punitive damages the insurance giant now owes these doctors.

The court victory in Las Vegas sets the stage for similar lawsuits in 10 states over the conduct of United Healthcare. 

Image source: AP

Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who shot dead two people during Wisconsin racial unrest last year, was cleared of all charges.

The 18-year-old argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot the men and injured a third in Wisconsin.

The verdict on November 19, which followed a high-profile trial that divided the US, sparked protests in some cities.

However, politicians, including President Joe Biden, and families of the victims have urged restraint.

“What we need right now is justice, not more violence,” lawyers for the family of Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot and injured by Kyle Rittenhouse, said in a statement.

“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law,” President Joe Biden told reporters outside the White House.

Despite the calls for calm, a riot was declared by police in the city of Portland, Oregon, on Friday evening as some 200 people broke windows and threw objects.

There were also protests in Chicago and New York, but they were relatively low-key compared to the widespread civil unrest that the US had seen previously.

Kyle Rittenhouse said he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, in August 2020 in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The teenager and the men he shot are all white. The incident happened during violent protests over the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer.

Jacob Blake’s uncle was outside the court when Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted.

“We’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to continue to be peaceful. Let freedom ring,” Justin Blake said.

Anthony Huber’s family said the verdict “sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.”

Kyle Rittenhouse is now in an undisclosed location, a spokesman for his family told CBS.

“In this whole situation there are no winners, there are two people who lost their lives and that’s not lost on us at all,” they said.

The verdict has prompted strong reactions from both sides.

Derrick Johnson, the president of the civil rights organization NAACP, tweeted that the verdict “is a reminder of the treacherous role that white supremacy and privilege play within our justice system”.

Prominent civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton said the “outrageous and dangerous” verdict will encourage vigilantes to use violence to assert their power.

“These continue to be dark days for black people killed at the hands of people that believe our lives do not matter,” he said in a statement.

There are also concerns about the legal precedence the verdict could set for future cases.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom wrote: “America today: you can break the law, carry around weapons built for a military, shoot and kill people, and get away with it.”

President Biden said he was “angry and concerned” at the verdict, but that “the jury has spoken”.

Conservatives argue Kyle Rittenhouse asserted his right to bear arms and defended himself.

Former President Donald Trump congratulated him in a statement emailed to his supporters.

“If that’s not self-defense, nothing is!” he wrote.

Several Republican lawmakers said they would like to offer a congressional internship to Kyle Rittenhouse.

One of them was the representative of North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn, who on an Instagram story said: “You have a right to defend yourself, be armed, be dangerous and be moral.”

Following the verdict, right-wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted a clip of an exclusive interview with the teenager, to be broadcast on November 22.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Vice-President Kamala Harris became the first woman to – briefly – be given presidential powers while President Joe Biden underwent a regular health check.

Kamala Harris, 57, was in control for 85 minutes, while President Biden was placed under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy on November 19.

Joe Biden’s doctor released a statement after the operation, saying he was healthy and able to execute his duties.

The medical examination came on the eve of the president’s 79th birthday.

According to officials, Kamala Harris carried out her duties from her office in the West Wing of the White House.

Kamala Harris is the first woman – and the first black and South Asian American – to be elected US vice-president.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the temporary transfer of powers in such circumstances was not unprecedented, and that it was part of the process set out in the US constitution.

“As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007,” Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Kamala Harris Becomes First Female VP-Elect

President Biden was seen smiling as he returned to the White House.

“I feel great,” he said.

“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the president,” said Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor said the colonoscopy found a “benign-appear polyp” that was easily removed.

He added that the president’s gait also appeared “perceptibly stiffer and less fluid,” than in the past. This was attributed to wear and tear of the spine.

Joe Biden, the oldest US president to take office, had his last full medical examination in December 2019.

At the time, his doctor released a medical report describing him as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency”.

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Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption

The US is reopening its borders on November 8 to fully vaccinated visitors, ending a 20-month entry ban.

The ban was imposed by former President Donald Trump due to Covid-19.

It has affected non-US citizens from over 30 countries, including the UK and EU states, separating families and stalling tourism.

Airlines are expecting a flood of visitors as the restrictions are lifted for those who are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing.

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, US borders were initially closed to travelers from China in early 2020. The restrictions were then extended to other countries.

The rules barred entry to most non-US citizens who had been in the UK and a number of other European countries, as well as China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

Under the new rules, foreign travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before flying, get a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of traveling, and hand over their contact information. They will not have to quarantine.

New Coronavirus Variant Sparks Travel Bans on UK

The US land borders with neighbors Canada and Mexico will also reopen for the fully vaccinated.

Thousands of migrants have arrived in areas along Mexico’s border with the US, hoping to take advantage of the newly-relaxed rules.

In southern Mexico, a new caravan of thousands of mainly Central American migrants – many of them children – has crossed from Chiapas to Oaxaca state, with the ultimate aim of reaching the border and being accepted into the US.

The Migrant Alliance Group, a Mexico-based advocacy group, has warned that false information is being spread about the new rules in some communities – with many asylum seekers assuming that they will now receive more favorable treatment from border officials.

Businesses in cities along the border with Mexico are hoping for a boost after struggling under America’s Covid-induced restrictions.

United Airlines says it expects a 50% rise in international inbound passengers, while Delta’s chief executive Ed Bastian warned travelers to expect queues.

The EU recommended allowing American travelers into the bloc in June, while visitors from the US have been able to travel to the UK since July 28.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has told young protesters that politicians attending COP26 are “pretending to take our future seriously”.

The arrival of world leaders in Glasgow for the COP26 summit triggered a series of demos across the city.

The gathering attended by Greta Thunberg was one of dozens taking place.

She told fellow activists from “Fridays for Future” that change would not come from politicians at the summit but from individuals showing leadership.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was sailing up the Clyde, with plans to dock near the conference venue.

Demonstrations by French and Tamil groups were being held south of the River Clyde.

UK’s PM Boris Johnson welcomed world leaders to Glasgow on the first full day of the COP26 summit.

Leaders from 120 countries arrived for the talks, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.

About 25,000 delegates will be attending the two-week climate conference in the UN-controlled blue zone on the north side of the River Clyde.

Many different groups from across the globe will be using the opportunity to make their voices heard as the attention of the world is on Glasgow during the pandemic-delayed summit.

Davos 2020: Greta Thunberg Attacked By Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Greta Thunberg was one of the environmental activists speaking at the “Fridays for Future” meeting of young activists at Festival Park, near the COP26 campus.

The activist said: “This COP26 is so far just like the previous COPs and that has led us nowhere. They have led us nowhere.”

“Inside COP there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our future seriously, pretending to take the present seriously of the people who are being affected already today by the climate crisis.

“Change is not going to come from inside there. That is not leadership – this is leadership.”

The Swedish teenager led cries of “climate justice” and “no more blah, blah, blah”.

“We’re sick and tired of it and we’re going to make the change whether they like it or not,” she added.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion made this point directly at Glasgow Central Station, where a small group welcomed conference delegates arriving by train.

The group held up large eyes with signs warning the delegates that they represented the “world’s eyes on you”.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior traveled up the Firth of Clyde, carrying youth climate activists from Mexico, Uganda, Bangladesh and Namibia.

The Erskine Bridge was closed at short notice, stopping traffic for 90 minutes, to allow the vessel to pass.

After uncertainty over whether it would be allowed to enter the city, Greenpeace said the vessel was given permission to dock at Govan.

It eventually moored at the King George V docks at Shieldhall, downriver from the summit venue.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie of Police Scotland said it was outside of the exclusion zone, and the ship had not breached any COP26 restrictions.

Activists travelling on the ship, including Edwin Namakanga from Uganda, hope to send a message to world leaders.

In Royal Exchange Square, UK charity Oxfam organized a Scottish pipe band protest, with participants dressing up as 10 leaders from the world’s “highest-emitting” countries.

Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden were all caricatured in the band which Oxfam said was guaranteed to produce a “lot of hot air”.

Image source: www.g20.org

G20 leaders have approved a global agreement that will see the profits of large businesses taxed at least 15%.

It follows concern that multinational companies are re-routing their profits through low tax jurisdictions.

The pact was agreed by all the leaders attending the G20 summit in Rome.

Climate change and Covid are also on the agenda of the summit, which is the leaders’ first in-person gathering since the start of the pandemic.

Leaders of the world’s 20 major economies – made up of 19 countries and the EU – is short by two, however, with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin choosing to appear via video link.

The tax deal, which was proposed by the US, is expected to be officially adopted on October 31, according to Reuters, and will be enforced by 2023.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the historic agreement was a “critical moment” for the global economy and will “end the damaging race to the bottom on corporate taxation”.

Janet Yellen tweeted that US businesses and workers would benefit from the deal even though many US-based mega-companies would have to pay more tax.

Kerch Strait Clash: Donald Trump Cancels Meeting with Vladimir Putin at G20 Summit

The G20 summit comes ahead of the much-anticipated COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow which begins on November 1. What happens at the G20 may set the tone for COP26, with sharp divisions remaining between countries on their commitments to tackling climate change.

Italy’s PM Mario Draghi opened the two-day G20 summit with a message of unification, telling world leaders that “going it alone is simply not an option. We must do all we can to overcome our differences”.

There are increasingly dire warnings from experts for the future if urgent action is not taken to cut carbon emissions.

According to Reuters, a draft communiqué outlines a promise from the G20 to work towards limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5C (2.7F), saying it “will require meaningful and effective actions by all countries”.

The draft also notes the need for “developed countries to mobilize $100bn annually from public and private sources through to 2025 to address the needs of developing countries” so they can tackle climate change – a promise richer countries have failed to keep since 2009, when it was initially pledged.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton’s former aide Huma Abedin has reportedly written in a new memoir how she was sexually assaulted by a US senator.

According to the Guardian, Huma Abedin said the unnamed politician pounced on her on a couch in the mid-2000s after inviting her into his home.

Huma Abedin says she rebuffed him as he tried to kiss her and escaped.

The claim is detailed in her new book, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, which is being published next week.

Huma Abedin was one of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former Obama-era secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s most trusted aides, and was once described by her as her “second daughter”.

She describes the assault while recounting her work for Hillary Clinton when she was a senator for New York between 2001and 2009.

Huma Abedin reveals she was aware of Anthony Weiner’s relapse

Sydney Leathers Inside Edition interview: “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin have more of a business relationship than a marriage”

Huma Abedin, now 45, does not reveal the senator’s identity or even his party.

She says that after a Washington dinner she walked out with the politician and when they stopped in front of his home he invited her inside for coffee. She accepted.

According to the Guardian, which has seen an advance copy of the memoir, Huma Abedin writes: “Then, in an instant, it all changed. He plopped down to my right, put his left arm around my shoulder, and kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth, pressing me back on the sofa.

“I was so utterly shocked, I pushed him away. All I wanted was for the last 10 seconds to be erased.”

Huma Abedin says the senator apologized and said he had “misread” her, before asking if she wanted to stay.

She writes: “Then I said something only the twentysomething version of me would have come up with – ‘I am so sorry’ – and walked out, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible.”

She says she bumped into the senator a few days later on Capitol Hill, and he asked if they were still friends.

Huma Abedin also details in the book her anger at her ex-husband, former Democratic New York congressman Anthony Weiner, whose career was destroyed by sex scandals.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of State Colin Powell has died of Covid-19 complications at the age of 84.

The former top military officer died on October 18, his family said. He was fully vaccinated.

Colin Powell became the first African-American secretary of state in 2001 under Republican President George W Bush.

He also sparked controversy for helping garner support for the Iraq War.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in a statement, thanking the staff at the Walter Reid Medical Center “for their caring treatment”.

Colin Powell had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer which may have made him more susceptible to Covid-19 symptoms, according to media, as well as Parkinson’s disease.

President Joe Biden, calling Colin Powell a “dear friend”, said he had embodied the “highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat”.

Former President George W. Bush was among the first to pay tribute to “a great public servant” as well as “a family man and a friend” who “was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice”.

Colin Powell admits to exchanging “very personal” emails with Corina Cretu

President Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney saluted Colin Powell as “a man who loved his country and served her long and well” while also being “a trailblazer and role model for so many”.

Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell’s successor as secretary of state and the first black woman in the role, called him “a truly great man” whose “devotion to our nation was not limited to the many great things he did while in uniform or during his time spent in Washington”.

“Much of his legacy will live on in the countless number of young lives he touched.”

Current secretary of state Antony Blinken called Colin Powell’s life “a victory of the American Dream”.

Remembrances also poured in from prominent African-American leaders. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called him “a sincere and committed man”, while members of the Congressional Black Caucus praised his “legacy of valor and integrity”.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the first black man to serve in that role, hailed Colin Powell as “a tremendous personal friend and mentor” who would be “impossible to replace”.

Once a moderate Republican, Colin Powell became a trusted military adviser to a number of leading politicians.

However, he broke with his party to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, as well as Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020. A sharp critic of Republican president Donald Trump, Powell said he could no longer call himself a Republican after the violent January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Image source Wikimedia

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned, after pressure triggered by a corruption scandal.

Sebastian Kurz has proposed Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as his replacement.

The chancellor and nine others were placed under investigation after raids at a number of locations linked to his conservative ÖVP People’s Party.

Sebastian Kurz denies claims he used government money to ensure positive coverage in a tabloid newspaper.

The allegations this week took his coalition government to the brink of collapse after its junior partner, the Greens, said Sebastian Kurz was no longer fit to be chancellor.

The Greens began talks with opposition parties, who were threatening to bring a vote of no confidence against the chancellor next week.

Greens leader and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler welcomed Sebastian Kurz’s resignation and indicated he would be willing to work with Alexander Schallenberg, saying they had a “very constructive” relationship.

“What’s required now is stability. To resolve the impasse I want to step aside to prevent chaos,” Sebastian Kurz said as he announced his resignation.

He said he would remain leader of his party, and continue to sit in parliament.

“First and foremost, however, I will of course use the opportunity to disprove the allegations against me,” he added.

Sebastian Kurz became leader of the ÖVP in May 2017 and led his party to victory in elections later that year – becoming, at the age of 31, one the world’s youngest ever democratically-elected heads of government.

The corruption allegations relate to the period between 2016 and 2018, when finance ministry funds were suspected to have been used to manipulate opinion polls in favor of the ÖVP that were then published in a newspaper.

Sebastian Kurz becomes Europe’s youngest foreign minister at 27

Austria Elections 2017: Sebastian Kurz Set to Become World’s Youngest National Leader

While no newspaper was named by prosecutors, the tabloid daily Oesterreich put out a statement on October 6 denying media reports it had taken taxpayers’ money for advertising in exchange for publishing the favorable polls.

Sebastian Kurz, nine other individuals, and three organizations, have been placed under investigation “on suspicion of breach of trust … corruption … and bribery … partly with different levels of involvement,” the Prosecutors’ Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption said in a statement on October 6.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors carried out raids at the chancellery, the finance ministry and homes and offices of senior aides to the chancellor.

Sebastian Kurz has called the allegations against him “baseless”. He also denies wrongdoing in a separate investigation he was placed under in May over allegations that he made false statements to a parliamentary commission.

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Image source: ICIJ

Several world leaders have denied wrongdoing after featuring in the Pandora Papers, a huge leak of financial documents from offshore companies.

The 12 million files constitute the biggest such leak in history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein are among some 35 current and former leaders linked to the files.

Both have issued statements saying they have done nothing wrong.

Jordan’s royal palace said it was “not unusual nor improper” that King Abdullah owned property abroad.

Leaked documents show King Abdullah secretly spent more than £70 million ($100 million) on a property empire in the UK and US since taking power in 1999.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile questioned the reliability of the “unsubstantiated” information, after it detailed hidden wealth linked to President Putin and members of his inner circle.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC, which has been working with more than 140 media organizations on its biggest ever global investigation.

Other leaders linked to the leak include:

  • Czech PM Andrej Babis, who allegedly failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12 million in the south of France;
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who – along with six members of his family – has been linked to 13 offshore companies;
  • Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire businessman, who is accused of selling a copper and iron mine in an environmentally sensitive area to a childhood friend;
  • Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, whose family and close associates have allegedly been secretly involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400 million.

Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin Apologizes for Sueddeutsche Zeitung Remarks

Panama Papers Posted Online

In a tweet thread, the Czech prime minister said the allegations are an attempt to influence elections scheduled for this week and insisted he has “never done anything wrong or illegal”.

president Kenyatta said the investigation “will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe”, and promised to “respond comprehensively” to the leak once he returned from a state visit abroad.

The Pandora Papers show no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole or hid state assets in their offshore companies.

A statement from President Piñera’s office said he denied taking part in or having any information on the sale of the Dominga mining project.

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC which has led one of the biggest ever global investigations.

More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet.

Image source Wikimedia

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have won the federal election over outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.

SPD leader Olaf Scholz said he had a clear mandate to form a government, while his conservative rival Armin Laschet remains determined to fight on.

The two parties have governed together for years.

However, Olaf Scholz says it is time for a new coalition with the Greens and liberals.

Preliminary results gave SPD a narrow election win over the conservatives who suffered their worst-ever performance.

The Greens and pro-business FDP attracted the most support from the under-30s, in an election dominated by climate change and by differing proposals on how to tackle it. The Greens made history with almost 15% of the vote, even though it was well short of their ambitions.

It was the tightest race in years, bringing an end to the post-war domination of the two big parties – Olaf Scholz’s SPD and his rival’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Exit polls predicted a dead heat, but this election was unpredictable from the start, and the result was never going to be the end of the story. For one thing, the outgoing chancellor is going nowhere until the coalition is formed – and that may have to wait until Christmas.

The main parties want a new government in place by the time Germany takes over the leadership of the G7 group of nations in January.

The next chancellor’s task is to lead Europe’s foremost economy over the next four years, with climate change at the top of voters’ agenda.

Olaf Scholz’s SPD supporters greeted him in raptures, but it was only later when his party edged into the lead that he told a TV audience the voters had given him the job of forming a “good, pragmatic government for Germany”.

His conservative rival has dug in, arguing it was about forging a coalition, not about getting “an arithmetic majority”. Winner doesn’t take all, in other words.

CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak did not gloss over the defeat but said that was not the point: “In the end the question is going to be can you create a genuine project for the future?”

“Two maybe-chancellors and two kingmakers” – was one of the headlines summing up Sunday night’s rather scrappy result, but that is what it looked like.

Because it’s not just the Social Democrat and conservative leaders fighting for power. The two kingmakers are open to offers and planning to talk to each other to explore common ground.

Together the liberals and the Greens make up over quarter of the vote and would carry both of the big parties over the line.

They may be more popular with younger voters than any other parties, but it would take some skill to bring them under the same roof.

Coronavirus: Germany Protests Against Restrictions

On September 27, a Greens spokesman said it was no big secret that they were not close to the liberals.

Greens leader Annalena Baerbock wants to loosen Germany’s debt brake that stops a big jump in public debt. FDP leader Christian Lindner has little time for her party’s “ideas of tax hikes, or softening the debt brake”.

So of all the possible coalitions, the Greens and the liberals feature in the two that are most likely to form.

One is the so-called traffic-light coalition, made up of the parties’ colors – red (SPD), yellow (FDP) and the Greens – or there’s the Jamaica alternative, black (CDU), yellow (FDP) and the Greens.

It is the first time that Germany is facing a three-way coalition, but this country has entered a new political era and the talking is yet to begin.

Beyond the four mainstream parties, it was a bad night for the radical left and a patchy night for the far right.

Left-wing Die Linke fell below the 5% threshold required to get into parliament but survived because it secured three direct mandates.

Although the far-right AfD’s share of the vote appears to have slipped nationally, it’s set be the largest party in the eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia.

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The rescuers at 9/11 WTC are at 19% higher risk of cancer as a result of exposure to toxic fumes, according to a study published in a special The Lancet series to mark the 10th anniversary of the atrocity.

Relatives of people who died on 9/11 have read out victims’ names, as America marks 20 years since the deadliest terror attacks on its soil.

Many struggled to hold back tears at the ceremony held at Ground Zero, the site of the Twin Towers destroyed in the attacks by al-Qaeda militants.

A minute’s silence was held at the exact time each hijacked plane crashed.

George W. Bush, who was the president at the time, gave a speech in Pennsylvania, where one of the planes crashed into a field after passengers overpowered the hijackers.

The official memorial started with a minute’s silence at 08:46 – the exact moment the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001.

All morning, roses continued to be placed beside the names of the 2,977 victims etched into the Ground Zero memorial.

There were five more moments of silence over the next few hours – marking the time when the second plane crashed into the South Tower, when a third jet struck the Pentagon just outside Washington DC, when the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania, and finally when each tower collapsed.

The tributes will continue into the night, when two beams of light will shine 4 miles into the sky where the towers stood.

With thousands of names to read out, the list took hours to get through.

At the memorial in New York, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

President Biden traveled to all three attack sites on September 11 – New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In a video released on the eve of the anniversary, he paid tribute to the victims.

“No matter how much time has passed, these commemorations bring everything painfully back as if you just got the news a few seconds ago,” the president said.

9/11 Families Call on President Biden to Declassify Documents or Stay Away from 20-Year Memorials

9/11 Victim Identified after 16 Years

9/11 Pictures of Pentagon Released by FBI

VP Kamala Harris spoke in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after George W. Bush.

“We must challenge ourselves to look back, to remember, for the sake of our children… and for that reason, we must also look forward,” she said.

In the morning, former President Donald Trump released a video statement, praising first responders – and adding it was a “sad time for the way our war on those that did such harm to our country ended last week” – referring to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

However, Donald Trump planned to take part in something quite different later in the day – providing commentary for a boxing match in Florida with his eldest son, Donald Jr.

Other ceremonies included a vigil at the New York Fire Department’s memorial wall – a 56-foot bronze wall that honors the 343 firefighters who died on the day of the attacks.

In total, 441 first responders were killed, the largest loss of emergency personnel in US history.

At the Pentagon outside Washington, a dawn service was held.

Two pipers played Amazing Grace as a small group of military leaders looked on in solemnity, the building bathed in blue light.

A chapel of remembrance now marks the spot where American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the US defense building.

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has been hit by stones thrown by protesters during a campaign stop.

The prime minister was returning to his campaign bus after visiting a brewery when he was pelted by stones. He was not injured.

Justin Trudeau called a snap election in mid-August, in the hope of gaining a majority government for his left-of-centre Liberal party.

However, the prime minister’s campaign has been disrupted by demonstrations against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions.

Just over a week ago, Justin Trudeau was forced to cancel an election rally after a crowd of angry protesters ambushed the event.

Speaking to journalists on his campaign plane after the incident in London, Ontario, PM Trudeau said he may have been hit on the shoulder.

According to a reporter with Canada’s CTV National News, two people traveling on a media bus were also hit by stones, although they were not injured.

On September 7, Justin Trudeau called the actions of the protestors “absolutely unacceptable”.

“Nobody should be doing their jobs under the threats of violence or acts that put them in danger,” he said during a Montreal campaign stop.

“But it’s not just political rallies where this is happening.”

Provincial politicians, public health officials, restaurant owners and healthcare workers have faced harassment in incidents across the country in recent weeks.

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Erin O’Toole, the leader of the opposition Conservative Party, described the incident as “disgusting”.

“Political violence is never justified and our media must be free from intimidation, harassment, and violence,” he tweeted.

Justin Trudeau’s plans for vaccine mandates have become a key issue ahead of the September 20 election.

In Canada, all federal party leaders have championed Covid vaccines, though there are some policy differences.

Last month, the government announced that all civil servants – including workers in federally regulated sectors, like rail – must be vaccinated by the end of October or risk losing their jobs.

Commercial air, cruise and interprovincial train passengers must also be vaccinated to travel.

The Conservatives prefer incentives, like allowing for paid time-off for the jab, and requiring regular Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated workers and Canadians travelling across the country.

Canada has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world.

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Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing impeachment after an independent inquiry said he had harassed multiple women.

The state senate leader and fellow Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins called Gov. Cuomo’s behavior “unacceptable” and said he should resign.

A majority of New York assembly favor impeachment proceedings, which could lead to his removal.

Andrew Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to stay in office.

Telling reporters it was not in his nature to assault a woman, he blamed cultural differences and political vindictiveness for the scandal.

Andrew Cuomo is part of a Democratic political dynasty – his late father was also governor – and he became a household name leading New York out of the pandemic.

In a statement, Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that Andrew Cuomo must quit “for the good of the state”.

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have also called for his resignation.

The Associated Press has reported that at least 86 of 150 members of the Democratic-controlled state assembly are in favor of initiating impeachment proceedings.

On August 5, the chair of the state assembly judiciary committee, Charles Lavine, said the committee’s investigation is “nearing completion” and will soon consider articles of impeachment against Andrew Cuomo.

The assembly has called on the governor and his legal team to submit any evidence in his defense by Friday, August 13.

If a simple majority of members vote to impeach Andrew Cuomo, the case moves to an impeachment court comprised of the state senate – except for its majority leader – as well as seven judges of New York’s highest court. A two-thirds vote would be needed to convict.

If that happens, Andrew Cuomo would become only the second New York governor to be removed from office, following Governor William Sulzer in 1913.

Support for Gov. Cuomo appears to also be slipping among voters.

A Marist poll released on August 4 after the report found that 59% of New Yorkers believe he should resign, which is a significant rise from previous polls.

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The attorney general’s inquiry found that Andrew Cuomo had harassed 11 women during his time in office.

Investigators spent five months speaking to nearly 200 people, including staff members and some of those who made complaints against him.

While the inquiry is civil – rather than criminal – several local district attorney offices across New York have asked to review its findings to determine whether criminal charges could potentially be filed.

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The Department of Justice has ordered the IRS to hand over former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress.

The move reverses a 2019 finding that the request from the House Ways and Means Committee was “disingenuous”.

The DoJ decision appears to end a long legal battle over the records, and is seen as a sharp legal blow to Donald Trump.

Although not required by law, every president since 1976 – except Donald Trump – has released their tax returns.

Donald Trump is yet to publicly comment on the latest developments, although he still has ways to try to fight the ruling in court.

Republicans on Capitol Hill denounced the decision, describing it as politically motivated.

When he was president, Donald Trump repeatedly said he was under audit by the IRS and so could not release his tax returns – although the IRS has said an audit would not stop the release of the information.

The House Ways and Means Committee has previously argued that it required Donald Trump’s tax returns for an investigation into whether he complied with tax law.

The Trump-era justice department, however, refused to hand them over. It argued that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives was seeking them for partisan political gain.

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Donald Trump’s 2005 Tax Returns Leaked

In an opinion released on July 30, the justice department’s Office of Legal Counsel determined that the committee “has invoked sufficient reasons” for requesting the tax information.

“Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee,” the opinion said.

Among those who praised the decision was Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the American people “deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts and undermining of our security and democracy as president”.

In February, President Trump was ordered by the Supreme Court to hand over his tax returns and other financial records to prosecutors in New York.

The decision was a blow to Donald Trump, who had been in a legal battle to protect his records from a grand jury.

The former president has continuously denied any wrongdoing and has called the investigation into his tax affairs a “witch hunt”.

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Image source: Twitter

The remains of the final victim unaccounted for in the deadly apartment block collapse in Miami have been found and identified, her family announced.

The discovery ends a weeks-long wait for the family of 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya, who had been missing since her building collapsed on 24 June.

Estelle Hedaya’s brother, Ikey, told media that local New York police delivered the news to their family on July 26.

Her discovery brings the death toll in the collapse disaster to 98.

Search teams spent weeks combing the rubble for victims but said on July 23 that their search had finally ended. At that time, Estelle Hedaya was still unaccounted for.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said July 26 that police volunteers were continuing to “carefully and meticulously” sift through millions of pounds of debris at a secondary site looking for remains and personal items.

“We have done everything possible to bring closure to the families and I am especially proud that through these tireless efforts we were able at last to bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones,” the mayor told reporters.

The number of people missing had initially been put as high as 159, but police brought that figure down after weeks of checking reports.

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Miami Building Collapse: At Least Four Killed and 159 Missing

According to officials, the site where the 12-floor Champlain Towers South building once stood is being treated as a crime scene.

What caused the 40-year-old building to fall to the ground remains unknown, but a 2018 report had found structural problems with the ocean-side block.

All but one of those killed were recovered dead in the rubble, with one victim dying in hospital.

A Jewish funeral is expected to take place for Estelle Hedaya in New York on July 27, the AP reports.

Estelle Hedaya’s family and friends described her as outgoing and fun-loving and said she loved to travel and try new things, like salsa dancing.

Other victims of the disaster include the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, a 92-year-old grandmother and the sister of Paraguay’s first lady.

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Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Search efforts for possible survivors in the rubble of a partially collapsed building in the Miami suburb of Surfside have been suspended ahead of the controlled demolition of the rest of the building.

Teams are preparing to bring down the remaining structure using explosives.

The demolition of Champlain Towers South was brought forward over safety fears due to approaching Tropical Storm Elsa.

Part of the 12-story block collapsed on June 24. Twenty-four people are known to have died and 121 are missing.

No survivors have been pulled from the rubble at the site in the Miami suburb of Surfside since the first few hours after the structure’s collapse.

The families of the missing were told in advance of the decision to pause the search effort, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Cava Levine said.

The decision to bring forward the demolition of the remaining block was made after concerns were raised over the approaching Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to reach the west coast of Florida on July 6.

The mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said strong winds in the coming days could bring down additional debris from the unstable structure, endangering the lives of the search teams.

“It was obvious that the building was a problem,” Charles Burkett said on July 3.

He added: “We agreed that the only solution for that problem was to eliminate it.”

Mayor Burkett said the controlled demolition could take place as early as July 4, and should be completed within days.

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Miami Building Collapse: At Least Four Killed and 159 Missing

Announcing the temporary pause in the search operation, Mayor Cava Levine said the latest developments “do not signify that we are no longer focused on search and rescue”.

She said preparations for the demolition included “drilling into columns in the unsafe structure” and a pause was needed while the process was under way.

“We will begin the search and rescue once again on any sections of the pile that are safe to access as soon as we’re cleared,” she said.

Drones and 3D imaging equipment are being brought in to help those combing the rubble for signs of life.

The mayor signed a demolition order on July 2. She initially said she expected the demolition would not happen until late July.

There are no details so far about compensating the owners of the apartments. Meanwhile, officials are investigating other tower blocks in the area for structural faults.

What caused the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South to crumble remains unclear. A 2018 inspection, however, warned of “major” design flaws in the original design.

The building association’s board has said it will appoint an “independent receiver… to oversee the legal and claims process”.

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“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

According to recent reports, Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and its finance chief have been indicted in an investigation into alleged tax crimes.

Allen Weisselberg, 73, turned himself in to authorities in New York on July 1, ahead of the expected unsealing of as-yet-unknown charges.

The former president is not expected to be implicated personally in the case.

New York City has already cut business ties with the twice-impeached former president.

The Trump Organization is a family holding company that owns hotels, golf clubs and other properties.

Any criminal charges brought against the company would mark the first in long-running investigations on alleged fraud by both the Manhattan district attorney and the state attorney general.

Charges by District Attorney Cyrus Vance are expected to focus on whether Allen Weisselberg and other company executives received benefits such as apartment rentals or leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns.

Allen Weisselberg entered Manhattan’s criminal court building on July 1, the New York Times said. He and at least one other Trump Organization representative are expected to appear in court later in the day.

Donald Trump and his allies have said the investigations are politically motivated.

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In a statement this week, Allen Weisselberg said the case was looking at “things that are standard practice throughout the US business community, and in no way a crime”.

If the company is found guilty, however, certain business partners might draw a line under their relationship with the Trump Organization and the company could face fines.

New York City has already announced it will terminate contracts with Donald Trump’s company to run skating rinks, a carousel and a golf course, in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.

Daniel Goldman, who was lead lawyer in the House of Representatives for the first impeachment of President Trump in 2019, tweeted that the indictment could spur lenders to call in their loans, driving the Trump Organization to bankruptcy.

The investigations will also take into account eight years of Donald Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, obtained by prosecutors after a long legal battle, which ended in the Supreme Court in February.

Donald Trump, who inherited money from his father and went on to become a property developer, is the first president since Gerald Ford in the 1970s not to have made his tax returns public.

Despite facing a number of investigations, Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing personally or in his business.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in jail for murdering African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

The judge said Derek Chauvin’s sentence was based “on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown” to George Floyd.

George Floyd, 48, died after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

His murder caused global protests against racism and police brutality.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges last month. During his trial, his lawyer described the killing as “an error made in good faith”.

He was also told to register as a predatory offender and was barred from owning firearms for life.

Derek Chauvin and three other former officers are separately charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

The Floyd family and their supporters welcomed the sentence.

Lawyer Ben Crump tweeted: “This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.”

George Floyd’s sister Bridgett said the sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously” but there was still “a long way to go”.

President Joe Biden said the sentence “seemed to be appropriate” but admitted that he did not know all the details.

During the sentencing hearing, George Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd demanded the maximum available, a sentence of 40 years.

“Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” he said.

George Floyd’s daughter Gianna, aged seven, appeared in a video recording, saying she missed him and she loved him.

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“I ask about him all the time,” she said.

“My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”

The judge said the case had been painful for the community and the country, but above all, for George Floyd’s family.

“What the sentence is not based on is emotion, or sympathy, but at the same time, I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” said Judge Peter Cahill.

Derek Chauvin told the court he offered his condolences to the Floyd family, saying there would be “some other information in the future” and he hoped “things will give you some peace of mind”.

However, he did not apologize.

In court, Derek Chauvin’s mother said he was a “good man”.

“I have always believed in your innocence and I will never waver from that,” said Carolyn Pawlenty.

Derek Chauvin’s sentence was “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received” for deadly force, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

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Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

At least four have been killed and 159 are still missing after a12-storey residential building north of Miami.

Rescuers are desperately searching for any survivors trapped in the rubble.

As families desperately wait for news, search teams have been working around the clock and have reported hearing people banging beneath the debris.

What caused the 40-year-old building to collapse early on June 24 remains unclear.

At least 102 people have now been accounted for, but it is uncertain how many were in the building when it came down. Dozens of people have been evacuated from what is left of the structure.

President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida, meaning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help state agencies with the relief effort.

Overnight hundreds of rescuers used sonar cameras and specially trained dogs as they scoured the rubble for survivors. Teams were tunneling from an underground car park below the building in an effort to reach victims.

Champlain Towers: Miami Building Collapses Killing at Least One Person

The mayor of Surfside, where the disaster happened, Charles Burkett, said at an early-morning news conference that some 15 families had walked out of the building.

Most residents would have been asleep when the collapse happened at about 01:00 AM local time.

Overnight, search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises, but no voices coming from the tonnes of debris. Officials say the efforts are dangerous as further rubble could collapse on them.

Constant rain and storms are further complicating an already difficult task for the search-and-rescue teams.

Authorities have begun taking DNA samples from relatives of those missing in case only remains of their family members are found in the rubble.

Relatives of the missing have been huddled around a community centre a few blocks away, waiting for information and fearing the worst. They have been putting out appeals on social media for information that could help them find their loved ones.

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John McAfee, the founder of anti-virus software maker McAfee, has been arrested in Guatemala, accused of entering the country illegally

Anti-virus creator John McAfee has been found dead in a Barcelona prison cell hours after a Spanish court agreed to extradite him to the US to face tax evasion charges.

The Catalan justice department said medics had tried to resuscitate John McAfee, but were not successful.

It added that “everything indicates” John McAfee had taken his own life.

A controversial figure in the tech world, John McAfee’s company released the first commercial anti-virus software.

McAfee VirusScan helped to spark a multi-billion dollar industry in the computer world, and was eventually sold to technology giant Intel for more than $7.6 billion.

In October 2020, John McAfee was arrested in Spain when he was about to board a plane to Turkey, and accused of failing to file tax returns for four years, despite earning millions from consulting work, speaking engagements, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.

The US justice department alleged that McAfee evaded tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.

John McAfee was also accused of concealing assets, including a yacht and real estate property, also in other people’s names.

Spain’s National Court authorized McAfee’s extradition to the US to face the charges on June 23.

John McAfee arrested in Guatemala accused of entering the country illegally

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In recent years, John McAfee had repeatedly claimed that there was a plot to get him – however the court said there was “no revealing evidence” that he was being prosecuted for political or ideological reasons, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

He had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if returned to the US.

Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer, said he had intended to fight all the charges.

The entrepreneur, who was born in Gloucestershire, England first came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded his tech company and released McAfee VirusScan.

He also launched unsuccessful bids to become the Libertarian Party’s candidate for the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.

In 2019 McAfee expressed his disdain for taxes, tweeting that he had not filed tax returns for eight years because “taxation is illegal.”

In the same year John McAfee was briefly detained in the Dominican Republic for allegedly bringing weapons into the country.

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Image source The Blue Diamond Gallery

Catholic bishops face clash with President Joe Biden after voting to commission a document that may call for him to be barred from Holy Communion.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) clashed online over whether to draw up a teaching document on politicians who support abortion.

Holy Communion is the most important ritual in the Catholic Christian faith.

The Catholic president regularly attends Mass.

Responding to news of the bishops’ vote, President Biden said: “That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

The Vatican has already indicated its opposition to the bishops’ move.

After the debate on June 17, the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, vice-president of the USCCB, announced the move had passed by 168 to 55, with six abstentions.

The US clergy is deeply divided on the issue. The Most Rev Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, warned such a document would lead to the “weaponization” of the Eucharist (the more formal name for Holy Communion).

However, the Most Rev Liam Cary, the bishop of Baker, Oregon, said the Church was in an “unprecedented situation”, with “a Catholic president who is opposed to the teaching” of the Church.

The document will now be drafted by the doctrine committee of US bishops.

However, although it will be a form of national policy, it will not be binding. Each individual bishop has the right to decide who should be blocked from the Mass in his diocese.

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The document will return for debate at the next bi-annual US Catholic Bishops Conference in November.

The controversial issue of whether politicians who support abortion should receive Mass has become more prominent with the election of Joe Biden as president.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, warned most priests would be “puzzled to hear that bishops now want to talk about excluding people at a time when the real challenge before them is welcoming people back to the regular practice of the faith and rebuilding their communities”.

However, proposing the motion, Bishop Kevin Roades, of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said: “We weren’t targeting particular individuals or limited to one issue, but I think we need to accept the [Church’s] discipline that those who obstinately persist in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Cardinal Luis Ladaria – the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s theological watchdog – urged the US Catholic Bishops Conference to delay the debate.

He wrote to the conference saying it would be “misleading” to suggest abortion and euthanasia were “the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics”.

Catholics for Choice, an abortion rights group, said it was profoundly saddened by the move.

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Image source Wikimedia

Political organizations linked to Alexei Navalny have been banned by a court in Moscow after classifying them as “extremist”.

Activists will risk prison sentences if they continue their work and anyone who publicly supports Alexei Navalny’s political network can now be barred from running for public office.

Writing on social media, Alexei Navalny promised he would “not retreat”.

However, the Kremlin critic said his supporters would now have to change how they work.

Alexei Navalny is now jailed for violating the terms of parole in an embezzlement case – charges he says are politically motivated.

Russian parliamentary elections are due to take place in September and opinion polls show the ruling party losing support. Some of Alexei Navalny’s supporters have been planning to run in the elections.

Following June 9 ruling, a court statement said Alexei Navalny’s regional network offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) had been banned with immediate effect.

Alexei Navalny’s lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling.

A message later posted on Navalny’s Instagram account said: “We’re not going anywhere. We’ll digest this, sort things out, change, and evolve. We’ll adapt. We won’t step back from our aims and ideas. This is our country and we do not have another one.”

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Alexei Navalny – President Vladimir Putin’s foremost critic – was detained in January as soon as he returned to Russia from Germany. He had received treatment in Berlin for a nerve agent attack in Siberia last August that left him in a coma and fighting for his life.

He blamed President Putin directly for the attack which nearly killed him. The Kremlin denied any involvement.

The pro-Putin United Russia party, which dominates parliament, has been described by the opposition leader as “the party of crooks and thieves”, and millions of Russians have watched his videos alleging corruption in President Putin’s elite circle.

Alexei Navalny is expected to be a topic on the agenda of talks between Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden at their first summit on June 16.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power as either president or prime minister since 1999, recently said he hoped the Geneva meeting would improve the “extremely low level of relations” between the two countries but expected no breakthroughs.

According to new reports, the US and Denmark worked together to spy on top European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Danish broadcaster DR said Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service (FE) collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to gather information from 2012 to 2014.

Both FE and the NSA are yet to comment.

Denmark’s Defense Minister, Trine Bramsen, did not confirm or deny the report but told AFP that “systemic eavesdropping of close allies is unacceptable”. She was not in charge of the ministry during the alleged spying.

“This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel said she agreed with President Macron’s comments, but that she was also reassured by the Danish defense minister’s condemnation.

Intelligence was allegedly collected on other officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. Those nations have also called for explanations.

Norwegian PM Erna Solberg told public broadcaster NRK: “It’s unacceptable if countries which have close allied co-operation feel the need to spy on one another.”

The NSA is said to have accessed text messages and the phone conversations of a number of prominent individuals by tapping into Danish internet cables in co-operation with the FE.

The alleged set-up, said in the report to have been codenamed “Operation Dunhammer”, allowed the NSA to obtain data using the telephone numbers of politicians as search parameters, according to DR.

DR interviewed nine sources, all of whom are said to have had access to classified information held by the FE.

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Along with Chancellor Merkel, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the opposition leader at the time, Peer Steinbrück, are also said to have been targeted.

Similar allegations emerged in 2013.

Then, secrets leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone by the NSA.

When those allegations were made, the White House gave no outright denial but said Angela Merkel’s phone was not being bugged at the time and would not be in future.

Following the new report, Edward Snowden accused President Joe Biden of being “deeply involved in this scandal the first time around”. Joe Biden was vice-president at the time the reported surveillance took place.