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House Democrats seek 20 to 30 more witnesses in Russia probe, but GOP resists

Added: 25.02.2018 0:50 | 0 views | 0 comments


Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have a list of 20 to 30 witnesses they still want to question in the Russia investigation but fear that Republicans will prevent them from doing so, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., says.

From: www.yahoo.com

Ex-Trump aide paid Europeans to lobby for pro-Russia Ukraine: papers

Added: 25.02.2018 0:50 | 0 views | 0 comments


Donald Trump's ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort secretly paid a group of former senior European politicians more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for Ukraine's then-leader backed by Russia, US prosecutors have claimed. The group, which operated from 2012-2013, was managed by an unnamed "former European chancellor," who along with other members of the group lobbied US legislators and White House officials, the indictment alleged.

From: www.yahoo.com

Donald Trump's approval rating rises to 50 per cent in new poll

Added: 25.02.2018 0:50 | 0 views | 0 comments


Most probable voters in the United States now approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, according to a new poll. Fifty per cent approved while 49 per cent disapproved, the Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll showed. It was the first time Mr Trump had hit 50 per cent in the poll, which surveys 500 probable voters, since June 2017. Other polls from earlier in the week had lower support for Mr Trump with Reuters/Ipsos putting him at 40 per cent, and Quinnipiac at 37 per cent. At the same stage of his presidency the Rasmussen poll gave Barack Obama a 45 per cent approval rating. Donald Trump approval rating: Rasmussen polls In the last few days Mr Trump has made a high profile push for making schools "hard targets" for gunmen, including supporting the arming of teachers. That came in the wake of America's worst ever high school shooting when 17 people died in Florida last week. He continued those calls in a freewheeling, hour-long campaign-style speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington on Friday. At the biggest annual gathering of conservative activists Mr Trump abandoned his script, in which he had been expected to announce new sanctions on North Korea. Looking from the stage at an image of himself on a big screen, he said: "By the way, what a nice picture that is. Look at that. I'd love to watch that guy speak!" Mr Trump then turned around and put his hands on the hair at the back of his head, admiring it on the screen. He told the crowd: "Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. It doesn't look bad. Hey, we are hanging in, we are hanging in. Together, we are hanging in." The president added: "By the way, you don’t mind if I go off script a little bit, because, you know it’s sort of boring." In scenes reminiscent of his campaign rallies Mr Trump referred to "crooked" Hillary Clinton, his opponent in 2016, which sparked chants of "Lock her up" from the crowd. Why Donald Trump could win in 2020 At one point, a protester was removed after throwing a Russian flag towards the stage. The crowd of mostly young activists chanted “USA, USA” as the protester was ejected by security “They were very gentle. He was very obnoxious,” Mr Trump said. He then  attacked the assembled media for spreading "fake news" and vowed to "build the wall 10ft higher" every time someone objected to it. Mr Trump called Democrats "crazed" and warned his supporters the Democrats "will take away your Second Amendment", the right to bear arms. Ariana Gonzalez is over come with emotion as she visits a cross setup for her friend, football coach Aaron Feis, at the memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School  Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty He warned complacency would lead to Republicans being "clobbered" in upcoming Congressional elections in November. "Don’t be complacent because if the Democrats get in they will repeal your tax cuts," he added. Mr Trump asked the crowd of hundreds of people if they could have only one of tax cuts, or the Second Amendment, which they would choose The overwhelming majority cheered for the Second Amendment and he nodded his approval. Mr Trump added: “I think now we’ve proved I’m a conservative." He also publicly shamed an armed officer who failed to act during the Florida school shooting. Mr Trump condemned Scot Peterson, a sheriff's deputy who was on duty and in uniform as the resource officer posted to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It emerged that Mr Peterson, 54, stood outside the building where the shooting happened for four minutes as Nikolas Cruz, 19, gunned down fellow teenagers. Mr Trump said: "Deputy Sheriff Peterson, I guess his name is...What he did, he's trained his whole life when it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. He heard it right from the beginning so he certainly did a poor job." The US president added that Mr Peterson "didn’t act properly under pressure" or "was a coward". He said the officer was "not a credit to law enforcement". Mr Trump added that he would rather have had teachers armed with concealed weapons at the scene. He suggested up to 20 per cent of teachers, and school staff such as sports coaches, were "gun-adept" and could be armed. That would be more than half a million teachers. Mr Trump said: "A teacher would have shot the hell out of him (Cruz) before he knew what happened. I'm telling you that would work. "These teachers love their students, and these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns, and they (students) feel safe."  

The Latest: Russian Olympic Committee expects reinstatement

Added: 25.02.2018 0:35 | 0 views | 0 comments

The Russian Olympic Committee says it expects to be reinstated "in the next few days" even though the International Olympic Committee upheld its ban from the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang Games

Tags: Russia
From: rssfeeds.usatoday.com

Russians fear doping has sunk their bid to fly flag at Games

Added: 25.02.2018 0:35 | 0 views | 0 comments

A despondent mood swept through Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Games on Saturday, their hopes of being able to fly the Russian flag at the closing ceremony deflated by a second positive doping test. The IOC executive was meeting on Saturday to consider a report on the Russians' conduct at the Games, before making a decision on whether to lift the suspension of their Olympic status and allow them to fly their flag at the closing ceremony.

Tags: Russia
From: www.yahoo.com

Trump dismisses Democratic memo as a 'BUST,' takes another swipe at Russia probe

Added: 25.02.2018 0:17 | 0 views | 0 comments


President Donald Trump asserted Saturday that a Democratic memo rebutting Republican claims about surveillance of a former campaign aide was "a total political and legal BUST" and used the occasion to repeat his claim that an ongoing probe of possible collusion between his campaign and Russians...

From: www.sun-sentinel.com

UN approves 30-day ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s Ghouta

Added: 24.02.2018 23:51 | 0 views | 0 comments


The United Nations on Saturday passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, but Western diplomats said they were sceptical the Syrian regime would actually end its ferocious assault on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta.  After days of intense negotiations, Russia agreed not use its veto to scuttle the UN security council resolution, which calls for a halt to fighting as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the wounded from besieged areas.  The unanimous passage of the resolution was hailed by Western diplomats, who had pushed hard for a deal amid a week of intense Syrian regime bombing of Eastern Ghouta. Hours before the vote, the civilian death toll climbed above 500.   Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, castigated Russia for days of delays which slowed the passage of the resolution. “In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?” A picture taken on February 20 shows smoke plumes rising following a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region Credit: ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images It remains to be seen what impact the deal crafted in meeting rooms at the UN’s New York headquarters in New York will have on the ash-filled streets of Eastern Ghouta. Mrs Haley said the US was “deeply sceptical the regime will comply” with the ceasefire and called on Russia to pressure Assad’s forces to respect it. Russia demanded that the resolution not include a specific time for the ceasefire to go into force. The text instead reads that it should begin “without delay”, making it unclear when the fighting would actually stop. The ceasefire does not extend to terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. Both Russia and the Syrian regime accuse large swathes of the Syrian rebels of being al-Qaeda members, giving themselves a broad license to continue strikes.    “Russia used this loophole in previous agreements to continue bombing indiscriminately,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli think tank. Members of the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz One Western diplomat said they feared the exemption on al-Qaeda might render the resolution “worthless” but that they were still hopeful its passage at UN would compel Russia to at least reduce the violence in Eastern Ghouta.   “The people are happy but they do not trust the regime and its allies,” said one man in Eastern Ghouta, after hearing the news from New York. The council had been due to vote on Friday but the vote was delayed. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, tweeted her frustration, demanding a vote, as the discussions continued late into Friday afternoon. Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria. How many more people will die before the The Security Council agrees to take up this vote? Let’s do this tonight. The Syrian people can’t wait.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) February 23, 2018 More than 500 people have been killed since the assault began Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. New air strikes on the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday took the civilian death toll from seven days of devastating bombardment to more than 500. A Syrian rescuer helps a man at the site of Syrian government bombardments in Douma Credit: HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP “This is about saving lives,” said Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog. "UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go. It's time for the council to come together and shoulder its responsibility to urgently avert a situation that is beyond words in its desperation,” he said. Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council that can veto a draft resolution. It has done so repeatedly throughout Syria’s civil war, torpedoing numerous efforts to stem the bloodshed even as its air force carries out bombing runs on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally. Russia had described civilian testimonies from the embattled area as “mass psychosis” earlier in the week, and blocked a UN Security Council vote.  Ghouta dispatch On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for an immediate truce in Eastern Ghouta. “France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental international humanitarian law,” it read. The letter included a condemnation of the attacks on Damascus by opposition fighters inside Eastern Ghouta, but ended with a call for Russia to “assume its full responsibilities”. In a statement released Friday, the European Union called for an immediate ceasefire and access for aid trucks, citing a “moral duty” to protect civilians. Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta," the bloc said. US president Donald Trump said Russia and Iran's behavior in Syria was a 'disgrace'. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke out Friday. "Russia and Iran must stop the regime," he said. Turkey, Iran and Russia are co-signatories on the de-escalation agreement. Mr Cavusoglu said the offensives in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib were "contrary" to the agreements negotiated by the three countries. How Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria Eastern Ghouta is the last holdout of Islamist and opposition fighters near the capital. The densely populated area has been under siege since April 2013 and has become synonymous with civilian suffering – either through starvation and lack of access to medical supplies, or under intense aerial bombardment. On Friday, helicopters dropped barrel bombs on homes in the Hamorieh neighbourhood, and warplanes strafed the residential neighbourhood of Ein Tarma. According to Save the Children, more than 70 per cent of buildings in Ein Tarma have been destroyed or damaged. Infrastructure across Eastern Ghouta has sustained heavy damage, and some areas have not had water or electricity for two years. Twenty-two hospitals and clinics have bombed since Sunday. Medical charities have accused the Syrian government of deliberately targeting healthcare facilities, which is a war crime. Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in Eastern Ghouta  Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 13 hospitals it supports have been destroyed or damaged this week and that medical staff were struggling to cope with repeated mass-casualty influxes. The latest surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta is thought to be the first phase of an assault that will eventually include ground troops and will follow the same arc as Syrian government forces’ battle for east Aleppo. In Aleppo, the population was starved and endured weeks of air raids, after which ground troops moved in and fought block by block until the entire area was back under government control. Surviving civilians and militants were then bussed to Idlib province, one of the last areas of Syria still controlled by anti-government forces.

Pro-Russia GOP Congressman Features Prominently In Trump Aide's Plea Document

Added: 24.02.2018 23:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


WASHINGTON ― The criminal information document released by special counsel Robert Mueller ahead of Trump campaign aide Rick Gates’ guilty plea on Friday contains prominent references to “a member of Congress” who met in 2013 with future Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and another lobbyist.

From: www.yahoo.com

Russian spies hacked the Olympics and tried to make it look like North Korea did it, U.S. officials say

Added: 24.02.2018 23:33 | 0 views | 0 comments


Russian military spies hacked several hundred computers used by authorities at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, according to U.S. intelligence.
They did so while trying to make it appear as though the intrusion was conducted by North Korea, what is known as a "false-flag" operation,...

From: www.sun-sentinel.com

Olympics' Board Does Not Lift Suspension Of Russian Olympic Committee

Added: 24.02.2018 23:07 | 0 views | 0 comments

Calling two doping cases "hugely disappointing," the IOC's executive board said that factors had "prevented the IOC from even considering lifting the suspension for the closing ceremony."

From: www.npr.org

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