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Justin Trudeau, now the prime minister of Canada, appears in dark makeup on his face, neck and hands at a 2001 Arabian Nights

“I accept the fact that people make mistakes in the past and can own up to that and accept that,” Scheer said. “I believe many Canadians, most Canadians, recognize that people can say things in the past, when they’re younger, at a different time in their life, that they would not say today.”

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Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, El Pollo, The Chicken, Venezuela, Spymaster

The two intelligence agents scoured the sun-kissed faces of holidaymakers at Madrid’s airport until they spotted the 5½-foot bald man. Traveling under a disguised identity, Hugo Chávez’s long-time spy chief and one of the U.S.’s most wanted drug fugitives had just landed in Spain that Monday morning in March. Nicknamed “El Pollo” (“The Chicken”), retired Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal had traveled from the Dominican Republic after breaking ranks with Venezuela’s socialist administration and supporting Juan Guaidó, the U.S.-backed opposition leader. From the Spanish capital he hoped to leverage contacts and knowledge of the Venezuelan deep state to mount a military-backed rebellion against President Nicolás Maduro. Five months later, the former spymaster is in deep trouble. To the frustration of many in the opposition who have secretly tried to flip senior members of Venezuela’s military, Carvajal was arrested days before a failed barracks rebellion on April 30. On Thursday, judges in Madrid will consider whether to extradite him to the U.S. to face federal charges of cocaine trafficking. Carvajal’s fate is being closely followed by others in the Venezuelan security forces looking to defect. If somebody like the former spy, accused of collaborating with terrorist groups and smuggling several tons shipments of drugs into the U.S., could find redemption, there would be hope for others as well. The U.S. has promised senior Venezuelan officials they will be rewarded and see sanctions lifted if they turn decisively against Maduro. The Trump administration’s special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, even suggested Spain couldContinue reading

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Donald Trump Phone Call - US News Today

President Donald Trump’s weekend tweet canceling secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghan leaders just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is the latest example of a commander in chief willing to take a big risk in pursuit of a foreign policy victory only to see it dashed. What had seemed like an imminent deal to end the war has unraveled, with Trump and the Taliban blaming each other for the collapse of nearly a year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Doha, Qatar. The insurgents are promising more bloodshed. The Afghan government remains mostly on the sidelines of the U.S. effort to end America’s longest war. And as Trump’s reelection campaign heats up, his quest to withdraw the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan remains unfulfilled — so far. Trump said he axed the Camp David meetings and called off negotiations because of a recent Taliban bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed a U.S. service member, even though nine other Americans have died since June 25 in Taliban-orchestrated violence. But the deal started unraveling days earlier after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed his trip to Washington and the Taliban refused to travel to the U.S. before a deal was actually signed, according to a former senior Afghan official. Trump’s secret plan for high-level meetings at the presidential retreat in Maryland resembled other bold, unorthodox foreign policy initiatives — with North Korea, China and Iran — that the president has pursued that haveContinue reading

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Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe Politics Today

Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died. He was 95. His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe’s death in a tweet Friday 6 September 2019, mourning him as an “icon of liberation.” He did not provide details. “Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Mnangagwa said. Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe’s economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life. But growing discontent about the southern African country’s fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal. The announcement of Mugabe’s Nov. 21, 2017 resignation after he initially ignored escalating calls to quit triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power and reflected hopes for a better future. On the streets in the capital, Harare, on Friday people gathered in small groups sharing the news. “I will not shed a tear, not for that cruel man,”Continue reading

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Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping - China and Hong Kong News

Earlier this summer, Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, submitted a report to Beijing that assessed protesters’ five key demands and found that withdrawing a contentious extradition bill could help defuse the mounting political crisis in the territory. The Chinese central government rejected Lam’s proposal to withdraw the extradition bill and ordered her not to yield to any of the protesters’ other demands at that time, three individuals with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. China’s role in directing how Hong Kong handles the protests has been widely assumed, supported by stern statements in state media about the country’s sovereignty and protesters’ “radical” goals. Beijing’s rebuff of Lam’s proposal for how to resolve the crisis, detailed for the first time by Reuters, represents concrete evidence of the extent to which China is controlling the Hong Kong government’s response to the unrest. The Chinese central government has condemned the protests and accused foreign powers of fuelling unrest. The Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned other nations against interfering in Hong Kong, reiterating that the situation there is an “internal affair.” Lam’s report on the tumult was made before an Aug. 7 meeting in Shenzhen about the Hong Kong crisis, led by senior Chinese officials. The report examined the feasibility of the protesters’ five demands, and analysed how conceding to some of them might quieten things down, the individuals with direct knowledge said. In addition to the withdrawal of the extradition bill, the other demands analysed in the report were:Continue reading

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U.S. Asylum-Seekers

A Trump administration program forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico has evolved into a sweeping rejection of all forms of migrants, with both countries quietly working to keep people out of the U.S. despite threats to the migrants’ safety. The results serve the goals of both governments, which have targeted unauthorized migration at the behest of President Donald Trump, who threatened Mexico with potentially crippling tariffs earlier this year to force action. Some people sent to wait in the Mexican border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros said they never requested asylum, including Wilfredo Alvarez, a laborer from Honduras. He crossed the Rio Grande without permission to look for work to support his seven children and was unexpectedly put into the program. He was sent back to Mexico with a future court date. “We thought that if they caught us, they would deport us to our country, but it was not that way,” Alvarez said. “They threw us away here to Mexico, but we are not from here and it’s very difficult.” Others said they were never asked if they feared persecution in Mexico, despite U.S. government rules that say migrants should not be sent there if they face that risk. U.S. border agents give each returned migrant a date for an immigration court hearing at tents set up near the border. But the Mexican government has bused hundreds of migrants to cities around 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away, ostensibly for their safety. And there’s no promise that MexicoContinue reading

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Venezuela Military Might

In December 2007, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez suffered his first defeat at the polls. Although still wildly popular among the working class that had propelled him to power nearly a decade earlier, voters rejected a referendum that would have enabled him to run for re-election repeatedly. Stung, Chavez turned to a close confidant, according to three former advisors: Fidel Castro. The aging Cuban leader had mentored Chavez years before the Venezuelan became president, when he was still best known for leading a failed coup. Now, deepening economic ties were making Cuba ever more reliant on oil-rich Venezuela, and Castro was eager to help Chavez stay in power, these advisors say. Castro’s advice: Ensure absolute control of the military. Easier said than done. Venezuela’s military had a history of uprisings, sometimes leading to coups of the sort that Chavez, when a lieutenant colonel in the army, had staged in 1992. A decade later, rivals waged a short-lived putsch against Chavez himself. But if Chavez took the right steps, the Cuban instructed, he could hang on as long as Castro himself had, the advisors recalled. Cuba’s military, with Castro’s brother at the helm, controlled everything from security to key sectors of the economy. Within months, the countries drew up two agreements, recently reviewed by Reuters, that gave Cuba deep access to Venezuela’s military – and wide latitude to spy on it and revamp it. The agreements, specifics of which are reported here for the first time, led to the imposing of strict surveillanceContinue reading

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Matteo Salvini - Italy Politics News Today

Matteo Salvini slipped the rosary out of his pocket right before Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte began his speech to Parliament. He took it out and kissed it again midway through the address, just as Conte began admonishing him for exploiting his Catholic faith for political ends. The interior minister’s blatant brandishing of Catholic symbols has gone down as one of the most significant exchanges of his successful bid to topple Conte’s 14-month-old government, which collapsed Tuesday after Salvini’s League party withdrew its support. While right-wing populists in the U.S. and Europe have increasingly invoked their Christian roots to justify policies against Muslims and other migrants, Salvini’s gestures and rhetoric have carried particular resonance here since they directly challenge those of Italy’s other major figure: Pope Francis. Francis has made caring for migrants a hallmark of his papacy, traveling to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa in 2013 in his first trip as pope to comfort would-be refugees who survived shipwrecks and smugglers to reach Europe. He brought 12 Syrians home with him when he visited a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, three years later, and he has turned over Vatican apartments to house new arrivals to Italy. Salvini’s challenge to Francis’ core message has not gone unnoticed by the Vatican or the Italian Catholic Church, although it remains to be seen whether his explicit religious display will resonate with rank-and-file Italians. While Italy is a majority Catholic country, many Italians don’t go to church regularly and support abortion, contraception and otherContinue reading

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama - USA Politics News Headline

President Donald Trump can’t seem to get his facts straight when it comes to Barack Obama. From the economy to veterans and immigration, Trump routinely claims achievements of the former president as fully his own or distorts the truth to undermine the Democrat’s legacy. On problems uniquely his own, Trump deflects. This past week was no different. Fresh off vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey, and mindful of the 2020 campaign, Trump insisted that economists don’t believe his trade disputes with China could spur recession even though most analysts believe a downturn could start in the next two years. He also claimed progress on veterans’ health care under his watch that didn’t happen and blamed Obama for a policy of separating migrant children from their parents that he himself started. Trump repeatedly pointed to mental illness, not access to guns, as a main culprit behind the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. That’s oversimplifying the issue. A recap, also covering fuel economy standards and judges: ECONOMY TRUMP: “I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well … And most economists actually say that we’re not going to have a recession.” — remarks Sunday to reporters in Morristown, New Jersey. THE FACTS: Actually, most economists — about 74% — do expect a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021. The economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics mostly didn’t share Trump’s optimistic outlook for the economy. Thirty-four percent of the economists said they believe aContinue reading

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Soura - Kashmir - India News

For more than a week, the young men of Soura, a densely populated enclave in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, have been taking turns to maintain an around-the-clock vigil at the entry points to their neighbourhood. Each of the dozen or so entrances have been blocked with makeshift barricades of bricks, corrugated metal sheets, wooden slabs and felled tree trunks. Groups of youths armed with stones congregate behind the biggest obstacles. The aim: to keep Indian security forces, and particularly the paramilitary police, out of the area. “We have no voice. We are exploding from within,” said Ejaz, 25, who like many other residents in Soura interviewed by Reuters gave only one name, saying he feared arrest. “If the world won’t listen to us too, then what should we do? Pick up guns?” Soura, home to about 15,000 people, is becoming the epicentre of resistance to Indian government plans to remove the partial autonomy that was enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state. The enclave, which has effectively become a no-go zone for the Indian security forces, is now a barometer of the ability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government to impose its will in Kashmir after its dramatic move on Aug. 5 to tighten its control over the region. The change, the government said, was necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India, tackle corruption and nepotism, and speed up its development, which Modi says is the key to securing lasting peace and defeating terrorism. InContinue reading

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Utah Monument - USA News

The U.S. government’s final management plan for lands in and around a Utah national monument that President Donald Trump downsized doesn’t include many new protections for the cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches found there, but it does include a few more safeguards than were in a proposal issued last year. The Bureau of Land Management’s plan for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southwestern Utah codifies that the lands cut out of the monument will be open to mineral extraction such as oil, gas and coal as expected, according to a plan summary the agency provided to The Associated Press. The agency chose an option that doesn’t add any areas of critical environmental concern, increases lands open to cattle grazing and could raise the potential for “adverse effects” on lands and resources in the monument, the document shows. At the same time, the agency tweaked the plan from last year to call for new recreation management plans to address impacts on several highly visited areas, opens fewer acres to ATVs and nixes a plan that would have allowed people to collect some non-dinosaur fossils in certain areas inside the monument. The agency also determined that no land will be sold from the 1,345 square miles (3,488 square kilometers) cut from the monument. Last year, Interior Department leaders rescinded a plan to sell 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers) of that land after it was included in the draft management proposal and drew backlash from environmentalists. Conservation and paleontology groups haveContinue reading

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Melania Trump At Slave Castle In Ghana

In a clearing at the turnoff to Assin Manso, a billboard depicts two African slaves in loincloths, their arms and legs in chains. Beside them are the words, “Never Again!” This is “slave river,” where captured Ghanaians submitted to a final bath before being shipped across the Atlantic into slavery centuries ago, never to return to the land of their birth. Today, it is a place of somber homecoming for the descendants of those who spent their lives as someone else’s property. The popularity of the site has swelled this year, 400 years after the trade in Africans to the English colonies of America began. This month’s anniversary of the first Africans to arrive in Virginia has caused a rush of interest in ancestral tourism, with people from the United States, the Caribbean and Europe seeking out their roots in West Africa. “Ten years ago, no one went to the slave river, but this year has been massive,” said Awuracy Butler, who runs a company called Butler Tours. She said business has nearly doubled this year, which has been touted as the Year of Return for the African diaspora tracing their family history. The number of tourists has forced her to hire more vehicles, she said. “Everyone wants to add the slave river to their tour,” she said. The coastal forts where they spent their last days in Ghana in suffocating conditions are also increasingly popular, she said. The increase in tourism has been an economic boon for Ghana, whichContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News Headline

President Donald Trump is warning of an economic crash if he loses reelection, arguing that even voters who personally dislike him should base their ballots on the nation’s strong growth and low unemployment rate. But privately, Trump is growing increasingly worried the economy won’t look so good come Election Day. The financial markets signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession this week, sending a jolt of anxiety to investors, companies and consumers. That’s on top of concerns over Trump’s plans to impose punishing tariffs on goods from China and word from the United Kingdom and Germany that their economies are shrinking. Though a pre-election recession here is far from certain, a downturn would be a devastating blow to the president, who has made a strong economy his central argument for a second term. Trump advisers fear a weakened economy would hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric. And White House economic advisers see few options for reversing course should the economy start to slip. Trump has taken to blaming others for the recession fears, mostly the Federal Reserve, which he is pushing for further interest rate cuts. Yet much of the uncertainty in the markets stems from his own escalation of a trade war with China, as well as weakened economies in key countries around the world. Some of Trump’s closest advisers have urged him to lower the temperature of the trade dispute,Continue reading

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Migrants Held In A Chain-Link Enclosure In Texas

After local Guatemalan officials burned down an environmental activist’s home, he decided to leave his village behind and flee to the United States, hoping he’d be granted asylum and his little boy, whose heart was failing, would receive lifesaving medical care. But after crossing the border into Arizona in May of last year, Border Patrol agents tore the man’s 7-year-old son from his arms and sent the father nearly 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) away to a detention center in Georgia. The boy, now 8, went into a U.S.-funded foster home for migrant children in New York. The foster care programs are meant to provide migrant children with care while authorities work to connect them with parents, relatives or other sponsors. But instead the boy told a counselor he was repeatedly sexually molested by other boys in the foster home. A review of 38 legal claims obtained by The Associated Press — some of which have never been made public — shows taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who said their children were harmed while in government custody. The father and son are among dozens of families — separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy — who are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who say their young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care. With more than 3,000 migrant children taken from their parents at the borderContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - USA NEWS HEADLINE

Opposition parties launched rival campaigns to topple Prime Minister Boris Johnson and stop him taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal, illustrating fractures in the anti-Brexit movement that make neither scheme likely to succeed. Johnson has promised to push through Brexit by Oct. 31, with or without a deal, setting the scene for a showdown in parliament where a majority of lawmakers are opposed to an EU divorce without a transition agreement. With parliament the main obstacle to Johnson’s “do or die” pledge, lawmakers are urgently seeking a way to remove him or change the law to delay Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran socialist leader of the Labour Party, said lawmakers should support a vote of no confidence and back him to lead a “strictly time-limited temporary government” that would postpone Brexit and hold an election. “This government has no mandate for No Deal, and the 2016 EU referendum provided no mandate for No Deal,” Corbyn said. “I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success.” A handful of lawmakers from Johnson’s own Conservative Party said they would listen to Corbyn’s proposals. However, his chances of success were crippled by the leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat party, Jo Swinson, who said Corbyn was not the right figurehead for an emergency government. “We are facing a national crisis. We may need an emergency government to resolve it but if Jeremy Corbyn truly wants that toContinue reading

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Wayne LaPierre - NRA News US - Wayne Robert LaPierre

In the aftermath of the back-to-back massacres in Texas and Ohio, the debate over gun control has returned to the National Rifle Association and its immense power to stymie any significant legislation on the issue. The man largely responsible for the NRA’s uncompromising stance is its decades-long CEO, Wayne LaPierre, who has been engulfed in turmoil and legal issues as he orchestrates the group’s latest effort to push back against gun-control measures. Law enforcement authorities are investigating the NRA’s finances, and the gun group has ousted top officials and traded lawsuits with the longtime marketing firm credited with helping to shape LaPierre’s and the NRA’s image. LaPierre’s seven-figure salary, penchant for luxury clothing shopping sprees and reports that he sought to have the NRA buy him a $6 million mansion at an exclusive golf community have drawn considerable scrutiny amid allegations of rampant misspending. Ardent gun-rights supporters have turned on LaPierre in recent months, taking to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags #changethenra and #savethe2a. Some are calling for his resignation and questioning how he can turn the tide against the push for more robust gun-control measures after the Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, rampages, given all the scandals. “They’ve done so much damage to their reputation that the effectiveness of any NRA statements in really swaying opinion has to be considered diminished,” said Rob Pincus, a longtime NRA member and firearms instructor who founded a group calling for LaPierre’s resignation. “Anything that gets said by Wayne LaPierre isContinue reading

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Michael Brown and Darren Wilson - USA News

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white Missouri police officer stands as a seismic moment in American race relations. The fledgling Black Lives Matter movement found its voice, police departments fell under intense scrutiny, progressive prosecutors were elected and court policies revised. Yet five years after the black 18-year-old was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on a steamy August day, racial tension remains palpable and may be even more intense. From the march on Charlottesville to President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking congressional Democrats of color and Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling at NFL games, the country often seems more divided than ever. Ferguson “drew attention to the practices of police violence and a lot of the stereotypes and viewpoints that people had about black Americans,” said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a Washington University sociologist and expert on race relations. “I wish I could be a little more optimistic about its overall implications, but I am not sure yet that there is too much reason for optimism. I think that we’re in a place where we kind of see some progress coupled with some steps backward.” The suburban St. Louis community has changed, though to some, not fast enough. The government for the city of 21,000 is now more reflective of its populace, which is two-thirds black. Four of the six City Council members are black, compared with just one in 2014. The police force that was overwhelmingly white in 2014 is now far more diverse. The town hasContinue reading

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