Portugal charges 18 policemen over ‘racist conduct’

Author: 
AP
Tue, 2017-07-11 03:00
ID: 
1499794761300117300

LISBON, Portugal: Authorities in Portugal are bringing charges of torture, assault, providing false statements and other crimes against 18 police officers over alleged racist conduct.
The Lisbon attorney general’s office said the crimes refer to an incident in 2015, when police clashed with young black men in a poor neighborhood near Lisbon.
A brief statement on the attorney general’s website Tuesday said the police officers are suspected of “severe abuse” of their position and neglecting their duty. It accuses them of offensive acts and insults, without describing the alleged crimes in detail.
Authorities launched an investigation after some of the young men alleged police had beaten and insulted them following their arrest. The charges say the police involved lied to investigators about what had happened.
Mussolini posters to be removed from Italian beach
Italian government authorities have ordered the removal of pro-fascist posters at a beach near Venice.
Ansa, the Italian news agency, said the ordinance issued on Monday by the prefect based in Venice cited concerns that public order could be disturbed by signs and photos of Benito Mussolini, Italy’s wartime fascist dictator. Italian law forbids glorifying fascism.
One of the signs proclaimed the area to be an “anti-democratic” zone.
Rome daily La Repubblica reported on Sunday that pro-Mussolini speeches were blasted over the Chioggia beach’s loudspeaker, and that one sign warned that facilities on the beach were for paying customers, otherwise “a truncheon on your teeth.” It quoted the 64-year-old owner of the concession as saying: “Here, my rules count.”
Italian beaches usually have a snack bar, changing rooms, bathrooms and beach chairs available for a fee, operated by a concession-holder who pays the local authorities.

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Russia likely to expel 30 US envoys in diplomatic tussle

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-07-11 16:43
ID: 
1499794357760071700

MOSCOW: Russia is considering retaliatory measures after the US expelled 35 of its diplomats in December, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday, without disclosing details.
Russian newspaper Izvestia said Monday citing sources that Moscow may be expelling 30 US diplomats and seize some US property in the country.
“We are thinking about specific steps, and I don’t believe that this should be discussed publicly,” Lavrov told journalists in a televised briefing.
He blamed the “outrageous” move on the administration of former President Barack Obama which “wanted to poison Russian-American relations to the maximum and do everything to put the Trump administration in a trap.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA-Novosti news agency that “there were several variants of a response and a harsh reaction is prepared.”
The expelled diplomats were based in Washington and San Francisco.
Obama announced the expulsions and the closure of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to purported hacking attacks dubbed “Grizzly Steppe” by US officials. He gave diplomats and their families 72 hours to leave.
President Vladimir Putin at the time ruled out kicking out US diplomats, a move that was interpreted as Moscow’s hope to build ties with the Trump administration.
The Russian strongman even invited US diplomats’ families to a party in the Kremlin.
However, Moscow is keen to regain its properties in the US and the subject was on the agenda of Putin’s first face-to-face meeting with Trump in Hamburg, according to the Kremlin.
Ryabkov reiterated Monday that “diplomatic property should be returned to us,” RIA-Novosti reported.
Trump said he had pressed Putin over alleged meddling in the US election that catapulted him to power but the Russian leader “vehemently denied it.”
The US Senate last month approved additional tough sanctions on Russia aimed at punishing Moscow for the alleged election interference.
Lavrov warned that these threatened “the whole relationship” between Russia and the US.
The sanctions led Moscow to cancel a meeting in June between US Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon with Russia’s Ryabkov. The two are to meet next week, according to reports.

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Sweden to cut aid to groups applying US abortion ban

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-07-11 15:40
ID: 
1499794314390060500

STOCKHOLM: A Swedish government agency on Tuesday threatened to cut aid to NGOs which have suspended abortion services over fears of losing US funding due to a decree signed by President Donald Trump.
In one of his first acts as president, Trump in January reintroduced the global gag rule, enacted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, which prohibits foreign charities from using US federal funding to provide abortion services, information, counselling or referrals.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), which aims to tackle global poverty, said it has decided that “partner organizations which receive aid to work on sexual and reproductive health and rights but also accept the president’s orders, can no longer receive aid.”
“Sida’s support for sexual and reproductive health and rights cannot be compromised,” Director General, Carin Jamtin, said in a statement.
“This concerns women having the right to decide when, and if, they want to have children and how many they want,” she said, adding that unsafe abortions represent around 13 percent of maternal deaths in the world.
The Netherlands estimates that a €600 million ($640 million) annual funding gap for NGOs was caused by Trump’s ban.
Sweden spends about 7 percent of its annual development aid on issues related to sexuality.

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India’s top court suspends ban on trade in cattle for slaughter

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-07-11 14:09
ID: 
1499793331179946700

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court suspended on Tuesday a government ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter, a boost for the multi-billion dollar beef and leather industries mostly run by members of the Muslim minority.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in May decreed that markets could only trade cattle for agricultural purposes, such as plowing and dairy production, on the grounds of stopping cruelty to animals.
The slaughter of cows, considered holy in Hinduism, was already banned in most parts of India, but Hindu hard-liners and cow vigilante groups have been increasingly asserting themselves since Modi’s government came to power in 2014.
Muslims, who make up 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people, said the May government decree against the beef and leather industry employing millions of workers, was aimed at marginalizing them.
The Supreme Court, in issuing its decision, stressed the hardship that the ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter had imposed.
“The livelihood of people should not be affected by this,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar told a court packed with lawyers and representatives of the beef industry.
India’s meat and leather industries are worth more than $16 billion in annual sales.
After the decision, the government told the court it would modify and reissue its May order, Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha said.
The government could exclude buffalo from the ban — buffalo are not considered sacred — and buffalo meat constitutes the bulk of India’s “beef” exports.
The crackdown on the beef industry has become highly emotive with a wave of attacks on Muslims suspected of either storing meat or transporting cattle for slaughter. An estimated 28 people have been killed in cow-related violence since 2010.
Late last month, after months of silence on the violence, Modi condemned killings.
Media has reported at least two cases of attacks on Muslims since Modi spoke out.
‘Huge relief’
Abdul ‘Faheem Qureshi, the head of the Muslim All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee that supports meat sellers, welcomed the court decision.
“We have to now restore the confidence of cattle traders that they can resume their business. It’ a victory for us,” said Qureshi, who had lodged a petition with the Supreme Court against the government ban.
India exported 1.33 million tons of buffalo meat in the 2016/17 fiscal year to March 31, worth about $3.9 billion. The previous year, it exported 1.31 million tons.
The Supreme Court order was also a boost for the leather industry, which supplies brands such as Inditex-owned Zara and Clarks.
“The order has brought huge relief,” said Puran Dawar, chairman of Agra-based shoe exporter Dawar Footwear Industries.
Apart from Muslims, the leather industry also employs lower-caste Hindus, mostly in menial jobs in tanneries.
But a cow protection group said the government should have been more forceful in making its case in court.
“The government should have stood its ground by fighting for the implementation of the ban,” said Pawan Pandit, chairman of the India Cow Protection Group.
“Modi must respect the sentiments of millions of Hindus, who have supported his government,” Pandit said.

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PM Sharif’s family and ruling party reject corruption report

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-07-11 12:40
ID: 
1499793264429914600

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s governing party has rejected as “trash” a corruption report accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of living beyond his means, the latest in long-running allegations which sparked fresh calls Tuesday for him to resign.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of civilian and military investigators issued its report Monday claiming there was a “significant disparity” in the Sharif family’s income and lifestyle.
But the Sharifs and their allies were defiant, with his ruling PML-N party dismissing the report as “trash” in a statement, and his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam — also named in the report — vowing on Twitter that the allegations would be “decimated” in court.
It was not immediately clear what action the Supreme Court would take over the report, whose recommendations are not legally binding. The court is scheduled to take up the case again on Monday.
The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world’s rich and powerful.
Three of Sharif’s four children — Maryam and his sons Hasan and Hussein — were implicated in the papers.
In April the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to oust Sharif from power, but ordered the formation of the JIT to probe the claims.
At the heart of the case is the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies.
Sharif’s ruling PML-N party insists the wealth was acquired legally, through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.
“Failure on the part of all respondents to produce the requisite information confirming ‘known sources of income’ is prima facie tantamount to not being able to justify assets and the means of income,” the JIT report stated.
It also accused family members of submitting “falsified/tampered” documents, and made a new allegation against the prime minister, claiming he was the chairman of a secret offshore company in the UAE.
The release of the report spurred fresh calls by opposition leaders and on social media for Sharif to step down.
The charge was led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party has spearheaded the push against Sharif.
Khan, who said Sharif has lost “moral authority,” has also demanded the Supreme Court put the prime minister on the Exit Control List (ECL), claiming he is a security risk.
The allegations are a blow to Sharif’s credibility ahead of general elections due to be held by next year, and as the civilian government appears to have reached an uneasy detente with the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its existence.
Bribery and other forms of graft are endemic in Pakistan, with the country coming in 116th place out of 176 countries ranked according to corruption by Transparency International in 2017.

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Rebel groups condemn deadly attack on Hindus in Kashmir

Author: 
AP
Tue, 2017-07-11 03:00
ID: 
1499793103419887000

SRINAGAR: As the Indian government blamed separatist rebels Tuesday for gunning down seven Hindu pilgrims and wounding 19 more before fleeing into the night, Kashmiri rebel groups condemned the rare, deadly attack on civilians and insisted they had no part in it.
Meanwhile, thousands of Hindus continued a religious pilgrimage undeterred, as Indian soldiers and police increased security along the mountain route to the Amarnath cave shrine.
Police said the attack Monday night began with gunmen unleashing a hail of bullets on an armored police vehicle and a police patrol. Police returned fire in both incidents and the gunmen responded, with bullets striking a bus carrying 60 Hindus returning from paying obeisance at the shrine.
Several people who were wounded said the attackers fired at the bus from three directions for nearly five minutes. They said the driver kept driving the bus, as it was being struck with bullets near the southern town of Anantnag on the main highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India.
The annual summer pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine has been targeted in the past and takes place under heavy security. Opponents of Indian rule in Kashmir accuse Hindu-majority India of using the pilgrimage as a political statement to bolster its claim to the disputed region.
Thousands of Indian army and paramilitary soldiers are deployed on the route to the cave shrine high in the Himalayas each summer. Officials said the bus was violating nighttime travel restrictions, which are imposed because security patrols are withdrawn after sunset.
More security was provided Tuesday for the buses that carry pilgrims to base camps where they start walking up a mountain path to the Amarnath cave.
Police were still searching for the assailants Tuesday. They have blamed militants, but no group has claimed responsibility. Three top separatist leaders in Kashmir have condemned the attack.
Officials said most of the wounded pilgrims were released from hospitals after overnight treatment. The seven bodies were airlifted to New Delhi for the journey to the pilgrims’ home states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in western India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that “India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and the evil designs of hate.”
Separatist leaders demanded an independent investigation into the attack on pilgrims, which is rare in the insurgency-wracked region.
“This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos,” three top separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik, said in a joint statement in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The attack sparked outrage across much of India. In the Jammu region of Kashmir, which is dominated by Hindus, hundreds of protesters shouted angry slogans against the militants and burned a faceless effigy meant to represent both terrorism and Pakistan, which India blames for supporting the rebels.
Many shops and businesses were also shuttered in Jammu, after trade unions and political parties called for a protest strike.
Meanwhile, students in the Gujarati city of Ahmadabad gathered for a sit-in to protest all religious violence, while peace activists planned a candlelight vigil in New Delhi on Tuesday night.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the last major attack on Amarnath pilgrims occurred in 2000 when gunmen struck in the Pahalgam area and killed 30 people, including some local porters who carry the baggage of pilgrims on the mountain path.

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Canada wildfires disrupt industry, force 14,000 from homes

Author: 
Ethan Lou | Reuters
Tue, 2017-07-11 09:17
ID: 
1499740513535130000

CALGARY, Alberta: Rapidly spreading wildfires in Western Canada’s British Columbia on Monday disrupted timber and mining operations, damaged equipment at a regional electric utility and forced thousands from homes in the interior of the province.
Authorities said at least 10 of more than 200 fires burning across the province were close to residential communities. Some 38,000 hectares (93,900 acres) had been ravaged as of midday on Monday. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, but some 14,000 people have been forced from their homes.
West Fraser Timber Co. said it had temporarily suspended operations at 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm. It said the sites have total annual production capacity of 800 million board feet of lumber and 270 million square feet of plywood.
“The fire situation in the Interior of British Columbia is volatile and the situation is evolving,” said West Fraser, one of several Canadian lumber producers targeted by new US tariffs in April as a long-running trade dispute escalated.
Vancouver-based EnGold Mines Ltd. said it had suspended exploration in British Columbia, home to all of its operations.
Imperial Metals Corp. said activity at its Mount Polley copper mine was “significantly reduced” because some employees had been evacuated from their homes, many roads had been closed and a local airport had been shut down.
“Should critical supplies, such as fuel, not be available due to road closures, the mine may be forced to suspend operations,” the company said.
Taseko Mines Ltd, which operates a mine near some of the fires, said some employees had been affected by evacuation alerts, but the facility was still running at capacity.
The province’s main electricity distributor BC Hydro and Power Authority said more than 170 power poles and 29 transformers had been damaged, and it expected the damage to increase.
British Columbia on Friday declared its first state of emergency since 2003 and deployed some 1,600 personnel over the weekend as electrical storms and brisk winds passed through the interior of the bone-dry province.
The fires broke out just over a year after a wildfire in Fort McMurray in neighboring Alberta province displaced 88,000 people and burned 590,000 hectares.

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Military plane crashes in Mississippi; at least 12 dead

Author: 
Associated Press
Tue, 2017-07-11 09:00
ID: 
1499745520655272300

ITTA BENA, Mississippi: A US Marine refueling tanker crashed into a soybean field in rural Mississippi on Monday, killing at least 12 people aboard and spreading debris for miles, officials said.
Leflore (le-FLOR’) County Sheriff Ricky Banks told The Associated Press that officials were still searching for bodies after nightfall, more than five hours after the KC-130 spiraled into the ground about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Jackson in Mississippi’s Delta region.
“We’re still searching the area,” Banks said. “It’s hard to find bodies in the dark.”
Banks earlier told the Greenwood Commonwealth that 16 people were believed to be on board but would not confirm that information to the AP. Banks said officials had found at least 12 bodies, but couldn’t rule out that more had been or would be found.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a Marine KC-130 “experienced a mishap” Monday evening but provided no details.
Andy Jones said he was working on his family’s catfish farm just before 4 p.m. when he heard a boom and looked up to see the plane corkscrewing downward with one engine smoking.
“You looked up and you saw the plane twirling around,” he said. “It was spinning down.”
Jones said the plane hit the ground behind some trees, and by the time he and other reached the crash site, fires were burning too intensely to approach the wreckage. The force of the crash nearly flattened the plane, Jones said.
“Beans are about waist-high, and there wasn’t much sticking out above the beans,” he said.
Jones said a man borrowed his cellphone to report to authorities that there were bodies across US Highway 82, more than a mile from the crash site.
Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Banks, no relation to the sheriff, told the Greenwood Commonwealth that debris from the plane was scattered in a radius of about 5 miles (8 kilometers).
Jones said firefighters tried to put out the fire at the main crash site but withdrew after an explosion forced them back. The fire produced towering plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat region and continued to burn after dusk, more than four hours after the crash.
Aerial pictures taken by WLBT-TV showed the skeleton of the plane burning strongly.
“It was one of the worst fires you can imagine,” Jones said. He said the fire was punctuated by the pops of small explosions.
Officials did not release information on what caused the crash or where the flight originated.

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Trump Jr. admits he wanted info on Clinton from Russian

Author: 
CHAD DAY and NEKESA MUMBI MOODY | AP
Tue, 2017-07-11 09:00
ID: 
1499742697825179200

WASHINGTON: A meeting between President Donald Trump’s eldest son and a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign occurred at the behest of a Moscow-based singer with family ties to Trump’s businesses, according to a participant in the talks. Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged Monday he made time for the meeting hoping to get information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The circumstances surrounding the meeting, and a report by The New York Times late Monday that Trump Jr. was told ahead of time that the source of the information was the Russian government, fueled new questions about the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow, which are being scrutinized by federal and congressional investigators.
The Times reported that Trump Jr., who was a key campaign adviser to his father, was told the Russian government was behind the information on Clinton in an e-mail from music publicist Rob Goldstone. The Times cited three unnamed people with knowledge of the e-mail.
The report is the first public word that Trump Jr. took the meeting with the understanding that he would be presented with damaging information about his father’s political opponent and that the material could have emanated from the Kremlin.
Goldstone spoke to The Associated Press earlier Monday to confirm he had set up the meeting on behalf of his client, Emin Agalarov, but he did not disclose the contents of the e-mail described by The Times. Goldstone did not immediately respond to attempts to contact him Monday night.
In a statement, Trump Jr.’s New York-based attorney Alan Futerfas called the Times report “much ado about nothing,” though he acknowledged his client had received an e-mail from Goldstone to set up a meeting with the purpose of passing along damaging information on Clinton. His statement did not dispute the Times report on the e-mail.
Futerfas said Trump Jr. was not told the specifics of the information and nothing came of the meeting. “The bottom line is that Don, Jr. did nothing wrong,” Futerfas said in the statement, noting that the younger Trump hasn’t been contacted by any congressional committees or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
The White House referred questions to the president’s son. Mark Corallo, a spokesman for President Donald Trump’s outside legal team, would not comment on the Times story, reiterating only that Trump “was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”
Earlier Monday, Trump Jr. tried to brush off the significance of the meeting, tweeting sarcastically, “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent … went nowhere but had to listen.”
Trump Jr. also said on Twitter he was willing to work with the Senate intelligence committee, one of the panels probing possible campaign collusion, “to pass on what I know.”
Lawmakers on the committee from both parties said they indeed wanted to talk with the president’s son. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the panel “needs to interview him and others who attended the meeting.” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, agreed, saying, “Based on his own admissions, this is an attempt at collusion.”
The sequence of events that led to the June 2016 meeting highlighted the tangled web of relationships that investigators now are sorting through.
The president’s son said the meeting was arranged by an acquaintance he knew through the 2013 Miss Universe pageant Trump held in Moscow.
Trump Jr. initially didn’t name the acquaintance, but in an interview with the AP, Goldstone confirmed he set up the meeting on behalf of Agalarov. Goldstone said the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, stated that she had information about purported illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee that she thought Trump Jr. might find helpful.
Goldstone said Trump Jr. agreed to squeeze the meeting into a tight schedule.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Monday the Kremlin doesn’t know Veselnitskaya and “cannot keep track” of every Russian lawyer who holds meetings in Russia or abroad. Although she has not been publicly linked with the Russian government itself, Veselnitskaya represented the son of a vice president of state-owned Russian Railways in a New York money-laundering case settled in May before a trial.
A staff member at Veselnitskaya’s firm told the AP on Monday that she was unavailable for comment.
During his visit to Moscow, Trump spent time with Agalarov, appearing in a music video with him and several contestants in the pageant, which Trump owned at the time. Agalarov’s father, Aras, is a Russian developer who sought to partner with Trump on a hotel project in Moscow and tried to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin during the Miss Universe contest.
According to The Washington Post and several other media accounts, the elder Agalarov paid Trump $14 million to $20 million to stage the pageant in Moscow. But Aras Agalarov was unable to persuade Putin to meet with Trump. Putin canceled the session, sending a Trump a friendly letter and a lacquered box in appreciation, the Post has reported.
On Monday, Goldstone said the Trumps and the Agalarovs stayed in contact after the pageant, and Emin Agalarov asked him to reach out to the Trumps to broker the June meeting with Veselnitskaya.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort attended the meeting. Goldstone said he and a translator also participated.
During the meeting, Goldstone said, Veselnitskaya made comments about campaign funding “that were not specific,” and then turned the subject to a discontinued Russian adoption program and the Magnitsky Act , a bill passed in 2012 that allows the US to impose sanctions on Russians for human rights violations.
Goldstone said that at one point during the meeting, Trump Jr. or Kushner said, “Can we get to the point?” And later, after Veselnitskaya had finished her presentation, Trump Jr. said, “Is that it?“
“The whole thing was really vague,” Goldstone said. He said he and Trump Jr. were the last to leave the room, and “I turned to him and said: ‘I’m really embarrassed. I don’t know what that was.”
Unlike Kushner, Trump Jr. does not serve in the administration and is not required to disclose his foreign contacts.
Over the weekend, Trump Jr. initially omitted any mention of Clinton from his account of the meeting, describing it as a “short introductory meeting” focused on the disbanded program that had allowed American adoptions of Russian children. Moscow ended the adoptions in response to the Magnitsky Act sanctions.
A day later, Trump Jr. acknowledged he was told beforehand that Veselnitskaya might have information “helpful” to the Trump campaign, and was told by her during the meeting that she had something about Clinton.
“No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he said. “It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” He said there was no follow-up after the meeting and his father was unaware it happened.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from providing “anything of value” to campaigns, and that same law also bars solicitation of such assistance. The law typically applies to monetary campaign contributions, but courts might consider information such as opposition research to be something of value.
Bradley A. Smith, a former Bill Clinton-appointed Republican Federal Election Commission member, said that based on what’s known about the meeting, Trump Jr.’s actions are unlikely to be considered illegal solicitation. “It’s not illegal to meet with someone to find out what they have to offer,” Smith said.
But Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said the situation “raises all sorts of red flags.”
“You do not want your campaign to be involved with foreign nationals, period,” said Noble, now senior director at the Campaign Legal Center.
The New York Times first reported the lawyer’s meeting with Trump Jr. and the meeting’s prospect of negative information about Clinton. Trump Jr.’s acknowledgment that he hoped to get information from her on Clinton only came in response to questions from the Times.
___
Moody reported from New York. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick, Andrew Taylor and Stephen Braun in Washington, Julie Bykowicz in Baltimore and Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

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FBI: US soldier pledged allegiance to Daesh group

Author: 
AUDREY McAVOY and LOLITA C. BALDOR | AP
Tue, 2017-07-11 09:00
ID: 
1499740513555130100

HONOLULU: An active duty soldier based in Hawaii pledged his allegiance to the Daesh (Islamic State) group, helped purchase a drone for it to use against American forces and said he wanted to use his rifle to “kill a bunch of people,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the US Army, made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Honolulu. He was arrested Saturday on terrorism charges.
Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said no documents made it to the Daesh.
Birney Bervar, Kang’s appointed attorney, said after Kang’s initial court appears that he still doesn’t know much about the case. He said he only talked to Kang for a few minutes.
The 26-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen lays out details of the yearlong investigation into the 34-year-old soldier, who was a one-time martial arts fighter who thought he was dealing with Islamic State agents but were undercover agents or sources instead.
Among the charges was that Kang copied military secret documents in 2015 and wanted to provide them to the organization, according to the affidavit. It also Kang says admitted that he voluntarily pledged loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
This occurred on Saturday at a home in Honolulu, where he thought he was meeting an actual member of the organization, the affidavit says. They made combat training videos he believed would be taken back to the Middle East to help prepare the group’s soldiers to fight American forces, according to the affidavit.
Kang, who received extensive combat training, also helped purchase a drone that he believed would help Daesh militants escape from American tanks, the affidavit says.
Kang, a trained air traffic controller based at Hawaii’s Wheeler Army Airfield, had his military clearance revoked in 2012 for making pro-Daesh comments while at work and on-post and threatening to hurt or kill fellow service members.
His clearance was reinstated a year later after he completed military requirements.
However, the affidavit says the Army believed Kang was becoming radicalized in 2016 and asked the FBI to investigate.
Kang has two firearms registered in his name, an AR-15-style assault rifle and a handgun. After the shooting last summer at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, he told an undercover source that the “shooter did what he had to do and later said that America is the only terrorist organization in the world,” according to the affidavit.
The document alleges he also later told the same source that “Hitler was right, saying he believed in the mass killing of Jews.”
Kang enlisted in the army in December 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks. He served in Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011 and Afghanistan from July 2013 to April 2014. Kang was assigned to the headquarters of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.
___
Baldor reported from Washington.

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