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Democrats probe whether White House interfered in AT&T Time Warner…

( ) – Two U.S. House Democrat上海品茶会所s on Thursday asked the White House and Justice Department to turn over documents that could show whether Republican President Donald Trump sought to intervene in the regulatory review of AT&T Inc’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

In letters released on Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Representative David Cicilline, who chairs a panel overseeing antitrust issues, asked them to turn over records after The New Yorker magazine reported this week that Trump directed then-National Economic Council director Gary Cohn to use the Justice Department to block the deal.

The pair wrote that if accurate, Trump’s involvement would “constitute a grave abuse of power.” Last week, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling rejecting a Justice Department challenge to the deal filed in November 2017.

The White House and Justice Department did not immediately comment. AT&T declined to comment.

The letters cited the New Yorker article reporting that Trump called Cohn into the Oval Office “along with John Kelly, who had just become the chief of staff, and said in exasperation to Kelly, ,上海品茶水磨Mabel,‘I’ve been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing’s happened! I’ve mentioned it 50 times. And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it’s filed. I want that deal blocked!’”

Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a declaration last year that he had never received “orders, instructions, or directions relating” to the AT&T Time Warner deal from Trump, Justice Department officials or officials from the Executive Office of the President.

The Justice Department said last week it would not seek further appeals.

In February 2018, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon rejected AT&T’s request t,上海品茶Daisy,o see White House communications that might shed light on whether Trump pressured the Justice Department to try to block the deal.

AT&T lawyers said last year the deal may have been singled out for enforcement, citing as evidence statements by Trump as a candidate and as president that the deal was bad for consumers and the country.


Trump criticized the deal as a candidate in late 2016, saying it would concentrate too much media power in the hands of one owner, and later saying it would raise prices. He has also frequently attacked CNN, a Time Warner property now owned by AT&T, for what he sees as negative coverage of his campaign and administration.

Kenya ruling that corruption suspect must step down seen having…

NAIROBI ( ) – A Kenyan judge’s ruling that a county governor accused of corruption must step aside pending his trial could have widespread ramifications in the country, where senior officials are often charged with graft but rarely convicted.

Governance experts said on Monday that last week’s ruling could serve as a precedent in other high profile corruption cases, possibly leading to senior officials being removed from their jobs while they fight graft allegations.

Moses Lenokulal, the governor of Samburu County in central Kenya, was charged in May with corruption and unlawful acquisition of public property. Last Wednesday, High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled that Lenokulal can visit his office only with the authorization of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, a government anti-graft watchdog.

The ruling was the first specifying what actions state officers should take once charged, said Wanjiru Gikonyo, the head of a Kenyan governance group, the Institute for Social Accountability.

“Let them step aside. In this case the judge has started with those with the most responsibility, and it’s a good thing,” she told .

The government watchdog, the EACC, said on Tw,上海品茶微信Landon,itter: “Following this ruling, it will no longer be business as usual for constitutional office holders facing criminal charges of corruption and economic crimes.”

But some said accu,上海品茶水磨Quaid,sed officials would find a way around it.

“It is still a ruling that is subject to appeal. People may go to court and appeal it. It still has some lacunae, loopholes that people can make use of and defend their seats,” said Caleb Amisi, an opposition lawmaker.

Last week, Finance Minister Henry Rotich and other officials were charged with financial misconduct, marking the first time police have arrested a sitting finance minister. They all pleaded not guilty.

Critics have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of failing to deal with corruption during his first term, despite his promises to do so when he was first elected in 2013. Now more people are being charged, but successful prosecutions are still rare.

Hundreds of top government officials and business people are facing various charges related to corruption. Among those whose trials are ongoing are the former chairman of the National Land Commission, the managing director of the Kenya Railways Corporation, the deputy chief justice, the CEO of Kenya Power and the head of Ken,上海外卖品茶群Rachel,ya Pipeline Company.

On Monday, another governor, Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu County, was charged in an anti-corruption court in Nairobi alongside his wife and other senior county government officials.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include conflict of interest, abuse of office and dealing with suspect property. Anti-Corruption Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi’s ruling on bail in the 上海品茶工作室case is due on Tuesday.

The case will be the first big test of whether last week’s ruling will serve as a precedent, leading to other officials being barred from office while awaiting trial.

Already three other governors have corruption cases against them in court. Another four are being investigated on suspicion of graft.

Cruz-Diez, Venezuelan kinetic artist, dies in Paris at 95

CARACAS ( ) – Carlos Cruz-Diez, a Venezuelan artist who shaped the field of kinetic and optical art during the 20th century, died in Paris on Saturday, his foundation said on its website on Sunday. He was 95.

Born in Caracas in 1923, he moved to France in 1960 after studying at Caracas’ School of Fine Arts. His abstract works are defined by the use of color and lines to create the impression of movement, and are on display at museums including New York’s Muse上海品茶微信um of Modern Art, London’s Tate Modern, and Caracas’ Museum of Fine Arts.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our belov,上海妹子品茶微信Nadia,ed father, grandfather and great-grand,上海品茶水磨Idaline,father, Carlos Eduardo Cruz-Diez,” the foundation wrote. “Your love, your joy, your teachings and your colors will remain forever in our hearts.”

Despite living much of his life in Paris, he left his mark in his native Venezuela, most notably through the colorful murals lining the walls and floors of the Simon Bolivar International Airport serving Car,上海喝茶资源群Balthazar,acas.

While he rarely commented publicly on his home country’s turbulent politics, he recently expressed regret at living much of his life abroad.

“I regret not being able to have developed my artistic life in my country, surrounded by my people,” Cruz-Diez told Venezuela’s El Nacional newspaper in a 2014 interview.

Cuban officials attend funeral service for Cardinal Ortega

HAVANA ( ) – Cuban government and Communist Party officials attended funeral services for Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega on Sunday in a testament to his success in elevating the Church’s position on the Caribbean island after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Cuban First Vice President Salvador Mesa and two other top leaders on the Communist Party Politburo attended the Requiem Mass along with other officials.

Religious leaders from other countries including Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Puerto Rico Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves and Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of Boston also attended the event 上海品茶工作室in the colonial district’s Havana Cathedral.

Ortega, who died on Friday aged 82, was buried afterwards in the city’s Colon cemetery.

A labor camp inmate in the 1960s when Fidel Castro’s revolut,上海品茶Naia,ionary government was rounding up religious figures and other perceived enemies, Ortega became archbishop of Havana in 1981 at a time when Cuba was still officially atheist.

For the more than three decades that followed, as Castro’s stance on the Church softened, Ortega raised its visibility and powe,上海品茶微信Pablo,r, building a working relationship with the government thanks to his nonconfrontational style and opposition to U.S. sanctions.

Ortega earned the wrath of hard line exiles and some dissidents on the Caribbean island with his stance.

“His work helped a lot to bring closer the ideas of the Cuban government and the Catholic church,” retiree Maria Green, said, standing outside the Cathedral.

“He managed to solve many things and opened the way for many, many Cubans,” she added.

Ortega hosted three popes and negotiated the release o,上海品茶论坛Larissa,f dozens of political prisoners in 2010 and 2011.

When Raul Castro became president in 2010, Ortega backed his attempts to open up the country and restore relations with Western nations.

At a critical moment in secret talks between Cuba and the United States that led to a detente in December 2014, it was Ortega who relayed messages among Pope Francis, Castro and then-President Barack Obama.

Ortega met with hundreds of U.S. lawmakers, religious figures and businessmen over the years.

John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, worked with Ortega in the 1990s to channel medical aid to the country and said members of his organization provided some logistics for Pope John Paul II’s historic visit in 1998.

“With Cardinal Ortega, there was never a ‘can’t do it,’ or ‘we must wait,’ or ‘no’,” Kavulich said

Man pushes boy in front of train in Germany, killing him

FRANKFURT ( ) – A 40-year-old Eritrean man killed an eight-year-old boy on Monday by pushing ,上海品茶论坛Larissa,him in front of an oncoming train at Frankfurt’s main train station in Germany, police said.

The man also pushed the boy’s mother but she survived. Police were unaware of any connection between the man and the victims and his motive was unclear, a police spokeswoman said.

“According to witness reports, a 40-year-old man pushed the boy and his mother onto the track just as the ICE (high-speed train) was arriving. The mother, thank God, was abl,上海品茶工作室Kaiden,e to save herself,” the spokeswoman, Isabell Neumann, told reporters.

上海品茶微信“Unfortunately, the eight-year-old boy was run over by the ICE. He suffered fatal injuries,” she added. “The man concerned … fled the station after the crime. Passers-by took up the chase and the man was detained near the station.”

Neumann said the suspect was being questioned. The boy’s mother was taken to hospital and would also be questioned. Frankfurt police said on Twitter the suspected perpetrator was an Eri,上海外卖品茶群Idaleen,trean citizen.

Several platforms at Frankfurt station, a major rail hub in Germany, were closed after the incident.

The police spokeswoman said the man tried to push a third person onto the track but the woman managed to defend herself.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer strongly condemned the “horrific act” and warned against jumping to any conclusions as police were still investigating.

Seehofer said he would cut short his holidays to discuss the security situation with senior officials on Tuesday and inform the public afterwards.

Ramaphosa is ‘last hope’ for South Africa, Chinese diplomat says

JOHANNESBURG ( ) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is the “last hope” for Africa’s most advanced economy, but his government must turn incentive policies into laws to secure more Chinese investment, a senior Chinese diplomat told .

China is South Africa’s largest trading partner and has pledged more investment than any other country since Ramaphosa embarked on a drive last year to attract $100 billion of new investment to lift the economy out of a slump.

While it has attracte,上海品茶交友群Kaiden,d some $55 billion in total pledges – including from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well – the drive has so far done little to ease crippling unemployment or boost economic growth.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa is the last hope of this country,” Lin Songtian, China’s ambassador to South Africa, told .

But while African nations have seen a boom in infrastructure development over the past decade, he said projects proposed by the South African authorities had lacked feasibility studies capable of reassuring the Chinese government and banks of their profitability and sustainability.

Policies of extending incentives, including tax breaks, to attract foreign capital also did not do enough for Chinese investors, who Lin said wanted to see favorable conditions enshrined in an investment law approved by parliament.

“To date there are no major infrastructure projects from China here. Why? Because we don’t only need the concept of a project,” Lin said.

Upgrading South Africa’s antiquated railway network, modernizing Durban port and,上海品茶419论坛Quaid, reforming power firm Eskom would also help bring in Chinese money.

The heavily indebted state-owned utility has been forced to implement blackouts as it struggles to meet demand. It has been kept afloat by government,上海品尝嫩茶Ebba, bailouts but is regularly cited by ratings agencies as one of the main threats to South Africa’s creditworthiness and economic growth.

China De上海品茶会所velopment Bank agreed to lend Eskom $2.5 billion during President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa last year.

“Eskom is a debt trap. China gave them some loans before. And now they become very cautious. … Eskom is not an issue of money. It’s the issue of operation mechanisms, management, capacity,” Lin said.


Earlier this month Ramaphosa came out in defense of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei [HWT.UL], which is helping to bring its 5G technology to South Africa but is a favorite target of U.S. President Donald Trump.

With around 80 percent of the continent’s communications infrastructure already built by Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE, Lin said the kind of pressure the United States was exerting on its European allies not to sign deals with Huawei could never work in Africa.

“This continent is poor, but they are independent. And they will not compromise to the Americans,” said Lin, who previously headed China’s foreign ministry’s African affairs department.

He also shot back at U.S. accusations that Chinese lending for large-scale infrastructure projects was leaving Africa with unsustainable debt.

China agreed to restructure a portion of Congo Republic’s debt, allowing it to secure a bailout from the International Monetary Fund this month.

With number of African countries facing unsustainable debt expected to turn to the IMF for help in the coming years, Congo was seen as a test case for how Beijing would interact with the Fund.

While Lin said China was always open to working with the IMF, he said a boom in African Eurobond issues in recent years was more to blame for the continent’s debt woes.

“If it goes for electricity, roads, industrial parks and follows the concept of intensive development, temporary debt is okay and will be paid back when the country gets developed,” he said.

Sudan extends ceasefire with southern rebels

JUBA ( ) – Sudanese and South Sudanese officials agreed late on Saturday with the leader of an alliance of armed factions operating along their joint border to extend a ceasefire and grant humanitarian access to some areas aff,上海品尝嫩茶Pamela,ected by conflict in Sudan.

Sudan says neighboring South Sudan has been giving refuge to Malik Agar, one of many reb上海品茶会所els in Sudan. The two countries share a long and porous border, and have a history of supporting armed groups on each others’ territories after oil-rich South Sudan became independent in 2011.

Sudan and Agar signed a ceasefire on April 17 covering the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, a week after Sudanese President Omar al Bashir was overthrown after 30 years of rule. That agreement was due to expire at the end of July.

Peace talks will continue as rebel factions from Sudan’s Darfur region are expected to arrive in Juba on Sunday from Addis Ababa.

Saturday’s talks were attended by Tut Gatluak, South Sudan’s presidential envoy on security; General Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo, deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military council; and Agar, head of a loosely affiliated group of armed opp,上海品茶交友群Rae,osition groups.

Sudan faces armed insurrections across the country and protests by citizens enraged by decades of economic mismanagement and habitual human rights abuses by the security forces. Many protesters against Bashir and the military council that succeeded him have been killed.

Sudan’s ruling military council and the Forces for Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of Sudanese political and armed factions, agreed a three-year power-sharing deal this month, although many details remain to be resolved.

Agar was not part of that deal. This weekend’s negotiations in Juba centered on armed groups operating in regions that share a border with South Sudan.

“The visit by the Transitional Military Council to Juba today has centered on issues of peace negotiations with Sudanese oppositions groups from South Kordofan, Nubia Mountain and Darfur,” said Guatlak.

Agar, who heads a group known as the SPLM-North, said he wanted to agree a common position with the Forces for Freedom and Change. In the meantime the ceasefire would be extended and aid agencies given access, he said.

“We … renewed the cessation of hos,上海品茶会所Gabriella,tilities and opening of humanitarian corridors to the areas that are affected.

“This (negotiation) process has to be done by the President of South Sudan because he has the leverage over armed groups that are operating in Sudan,” Agar said.

Singapore PM’s brother backs opposition party in election twist

SINGAPORE ( ) – The Singapore prime minister’s estranged brother has thrown his support behind a newly-formed opposition party in an intriguing twist ahead of elections expected to be held as soon as this year.

In Facebook comments made late Sunday, Lee Hsien Yang said the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) – led,上海品茶网Sabine, by his elder brother Lee Hsien Loong and founded by his father Lee Kuan Yew – had “lost its way”.

His comments come amid a bitter feud between the siblings over their late father’s house, and an election which some analysts say could be months away and must be held by early 2021.

“I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party,” Hsien Yang said in the post.

“Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way.”

The PAP – which has ruled Singapore since its independence over half a century ago and never seen its vote share drop below 60% – did not respond to a request for comment.

The newly-formed Progress Singapore Party is led by Tan Cheng Bock, a former PAP lawmaker who shot to prominence by nearly defeating a candidate backed by Prime Minister Lee in the 2011 presidential race.

Lee, 67, has said he will step down as premier by the time he is 70, pitching the ruling party into a period of transition at a sensitive time.

Singapore’s economy is faltering, there is unease over inequality, and social media has given critics of the government – both genuine and fake – a platform like never before.

It is unclear whether Hsien Yang plans to enter politics. Tan has said Hsien Yang would be welcome to join the PSP on their terms and not for any personal agenda.

Analysts were uncertain over what impact the PSP and Hsien Yang might have in upcoming elections.

Singapore is unlikely to experience a seismic political shift like the one seen last year in neighboring Malaysia, where a party that had led every post-colonial government suffered an election defeat.

Related CoverageThe,上海品茶419论坛Fabian, feud 上海品茶会所involving members of Singapore’s first family

The PAP currently holds all but six of 89 elected seats in parliament.

The PSP may only further splinter the opposition vote, according to Garry Rodan, a profess,上海品茶会所Barney,or at Australia’s Murdoch University focused on Singapore politics.

But Michael Barr of Flinders University in Adelaide said if Hsien Yang does decide to stand in the election, a “Lee vs Lee” tussle could be a “game changer”.

Trump adviser: some time may pass before a third North Korea summit

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. President Donald Trump is open to a third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but some time may have to go by before this takes place, Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday.

Speaking on ABC, John Bolton said the United States has no illusions a,上海妹子品茶微信Gabrielle,bout North Korea’s capabilities, but Trump remains confident in his personal relationship with the North Korean leader.

Bolton’s comments came after two U.S. think tanks and Seoul’s spy agency said last week that North Korea was rebuilding a rocket launch site at Sohae in the west of the country.

There have also been reports from South Korea’s intelligence service of new activity at a factory at Sanumdong near Pyongyang that produced North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Bolton declined to discuss those reports or say whether a new North Korean missile launch would scuttle engagement with the United States. He said, however, that it was a mistake to assume North Korea would “automatically” comply with 上海品茶QQits obligations.

“The president’s confident in his personal relationship with Ki,上海喝茶资源群Macey,m Jong Un. He’s invested a lot of time in trying to develop ,上海品茶Hadley,that relationship,” Bolton told ABC’s “This Week.”

“He said he’s open to a third summit, none has been scheduled, and some time may have to go by.  But he’s prepared to engage again because he does think that the prospects for North Korea, which he’s been trying to persuade Kim Jong Un to accept if they denuclearized, are really quite spectacular,” Bolton said.

Trump told reporters Friday he would be disappointed if Pyongyang were to resume weapons testing and reiterated his belief in his good relationship with the North Korean leader, despite the recent collapse of their second summit in Hanoi.

North Korea has frozen nuclear and missile testing since 2017, and Trump has pointed to this as a positive outcome from nearly a year of high-level engagement with North Korea.

In his interview with ABC and in another with Fox News Channel, Bolton appeared to rule out any partial deal with North Korea and said Trump had proposed a “big deal” at the Hanoi summit under which North Korea would completely denuclearize and also give up its chemical and biological weapons.

“It’s possible that North Korea will go back and rethink the position they came in with and come back to talk to the president about the big deal,” he told Fox.

Bolton called the incremental approach North Korea has sought a “ploy” to obtain sanctions relief.

Japan’s Abe unlikely to meet South Korea’s Moon at U.N. in…

TOKYO ( ) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the United Nations General Assembly in September, the Sankei newspaper said on Monday, the latest sign of strained ties between the U.S. allies.

Abe will not hold talks with Moon unless Seoul takes constructive steps over World War-Two era forced labor and other issues, the paper said.

He will also forgo meeting Moon at an October meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering in November, the paper added.

The leaders did not meet during June’s Group of 20 summit in Japan’s western city of Osaka.

Separately, Korean Air Lines said it would suspend flights between the South Korean city of Busan and Sapporo in northern Japan from Sept. 3 because of falling demand amid the worsening diplomatic dispute that has spurred boycotts of Japanese goods and services, from beer to travel.

Relations between the Asian neighbors are arguably at their lowest ebb since they normalized ties in 1965. A South Korean court ruled last year that Japanese companies had to pay compensation to South Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Japan tightened restrictions on exports,上海品茶群二维码Tallulah, to South Korea of key high-tech materials in making memory chips and display panels, accusing its neighbor of inadequate management of sensitive items.

But the curbs were also seen as retaliation against last year’s ruling by the South Korean Supreme Court.

Japan says the court’s decisions violate international law because compensation was settled under the 1965 treaty.

In Tokyo’s latest effort to bolster its position on the issue, a Japanese foreign ministry official unveiled a document on Monday that describes,上海品茶微信Sabia, exchanges between Japanese and South Korean negotiators in the run-up to the 1965 treaty.

The document has a South Korean negotiator say in a 1961 meeting that it is natural to demand compensatio上海品茶工作室n fo,专门哟啪的微信群Nadine,r psychological and physical pain arising from forced labor.

“The South Korean Supreme Court decision says such matters as wages were solved by the treaty, but that the right to claim for reparation for psychological damage is outside the realm of the treaty,” the official said.

“But, compensation for psychological and physical pain was clearly asked for during the negotiations (toward the conclusion of the treaty).”

At a briefing on Monday after returning from a U.S. trip, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said she told American officials that Japan’s moves set a very dangerous precedent for using trade measures as a tool to resolve political issues.

Adding to the export curbs, Japan is preparing for cabinet approval as early as Aug. 2 to drop South Korea from a so-called white list of countries with minimum trade restrictions, Japanese media have said.

South Korea has protested against the plan, saying it would undermine the neighbors’ decades-old economic and security cooperation and threaten free trade.

Japan studio arson attack a ‘blow to animation industry’: commentator

TOKYO ( ) – A suspected arson attack on a Japanese animation studio in which 30 people are believed to have been kil,上海品茶论坛Caitlin,led and scores injured will be a major blow to the nation’s famed animation industry, a film commentator said.

Kyoto Animation, based in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is known for popular series such as the “Sound! Euphonium”. Its “Free! Road to the Worl,上海品茶交友群Queena,d – The Dream” movie is due for release this mont,上海外卖品茶群Hal,h.

But the studio has an outsized impact on Japan’s noted animation industry that outstrips a list of the works it has produced, said Tokyo-based film commentator Yuichi Maeda.

“It’s one of the best and largest animation firms in Japan, and with that loss of life, many of the best hands at animation in the nation are likely to be dead,” Maeda said, his voice shaking. “It’s too painful to contemplate.”

“It has a huge presence in animation here. To have this many people die at once will be a huge blow to the Japanese animation industry.”

While some companies, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s “Studio Ghibli” were well known for the limpidness of their scenery and use of colors, or their detailed drawings, the strengths of Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, stretched across the board.

“They really never did anything wrong. The animation was great, the story qua上海品茶工作室lity was really high. Overall, the balance was just amazing,” Miura said.

“…They do a huge variety of work, the stuff that everybody loves. They don’t make things that people hate,” Miura said. “This incident is just unimaginable.”

Malaysian police say political leader behind gay sex tape allegations

KUA,上海品茶网Pablo,LA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysian police on Thursday said a leader of a political party was behind videos purporting to show a cabinet minister, seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, engaged in sex with another man.

They did not identify the party or the leader.

The sex tapes, allegedly of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, were widely distributed to journalists and politicians via WhatsApp la上海品茶微信st month.

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir has named as his succes,上海品茶会所Idaia,so,上海喝茶资源群Fabian,r, spent about a decade in jail under the law on what he said were trumped up charges.

Azmin, who is said to be close to Mahathir, said the videos were a “nefarious plot” to end his career.

“Results of (police) investigation reveal that there is a wicked alliance that is masterminded by a leader of a political party with the intention to shame and destroy the reputation of a certain individual,” police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said in a statement.

Abdul Hamid said the video was probably authentic but that facial recognition tests were “not able to associate the perpetrator in the video with the individual in question”.

The statement did not identify the individual but the headline of the statement referred to the sex video “allegedly involving an individual bearing likeness to a senior cabinet minister”.

The video was produced by parties that were hired with “hundreds of thousands of ringgit”, Abdul Hamid said, referring to Malaysia’s currency.

The sex scandal has deepened rifts within the ruling coalition and raised concerns of a turbulent transition from 94-year-old Mahathir.

Azmin last month said he was convinced the videos were the work of insiders in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party, the biggest component of the Pakatan Harapan alliance. Anwar and Azmin are the president and deputy president in PKR.

Anwar has said it was “slander” to suggest he had anything to do with the leaked footage.

Earlier on Thursday, Anwar brushed aside talk of a challenge from Azmin for the premiership and said he had the support needed to become prime minister.

Croatia PM reshuffles cabinet, proposes six new ministers

ZAGREB ( ) – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday ordered a reshuffle of his cabinet with six new ministers, just over a year before his government’s term in office expires in late 2020.

“The logic behind this government reshuffle is to continue our work on achieving our goals for the benefits of the citizens, without any burden,” Plenkovic told reporters late on Wednesday after meeting his coalition partners.

The conservative-liberal ruling coalition, which is also supported by some s上海品茶QQmaller parties, has a thin parliamentary majority. The new ministers are expected to be approved by lawmakers on Friday.

The government will get new ministers for public administration, state assets management, agriculture, foreign and European affairs, labor and pensions, we,上海品茶Nadia,lfare policy, regional development and European Union funds.

All six of the proposed new ministers were previously lower-level government officials. Only the current Labour Minister Marko Pavic, who will take over the regional development and the EU funds ministry, was in the Cabinet.

The previous ministers in charge of public administration and state ,上海品茶微信Jackson,assets management resigned earlier this month following media reports about questionable real estate deals..

Also, some other ministers who are set to be replaced, have in recent months been criticized for conduct in relation to private matters which media reports have said raised questions of propriety.

“We want to carry on our work with the public and the media focusing on our,上海品茶网Landon, achievements rather than on the matters which have been a distraction from what we have been doing well,” Plenkovic said.

As part of the reshuffle, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric have been proposed as new deputy prime ministers.

Worries remain for U.S. government contractors as shutdown ends

WASHINGTON ( ) – Minutes after President Donald Trump announced an end to the longest U.S. government shutdown in history on Friday, Yvette Hicks’ phone started ringing.

“I had bill collectors calling me back-to-back-to-back wondering when I could start making a payment arrangement,” she said, recalling how her mood quickly changed from excitement back to worry.

Hicks, 40, a security guard at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, is one of thous,上海品茶会所Faith,ands of federal gove,上海品茶群二维码Talon,rnment contractors who do not expect to be paid for the month of work they missed during the 35-day partial shutdown – and who remain at risk if Trump and lawmakers fail to reach a more lasting agreement beyond the current three-week deal to reopen the government.

Trump, who had demanded Democrats agree to fund construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border before he would agree to reopen the government, has signed legislation guaranteeing back pay for 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown.

Contractors, however, were not included, leaving many worried they won’t recover their losses.

Without a paycheck, Hicks began rationing her children’s asthma medication, considered cashing in a life insurance policy and prayed every day she could keep her family from becoming homeless again.

“I promised them that we would never suffer like that again,” Hicks said in an interview at her home on Friday, crying as she recalled the three years she and her four children spent without a home.


It is not clear how many federal government contract workers there are, though some estimates run into the millions.

An official with the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents Hicks and nearly 700 other contractors, mostly security guards and janitors in Washington, said those members are among the lowest paid workers in the federal government.

“These are not folks who can afford to miss a paycheck,” said Alison Hirsch, the unit’s vice president. “These are not folks who are making enough money to have a robust savings account. It can permanently alter their credit scores, their ability to support themselves.”

When Hicks reports to work on Tuesday, it will be the first time she has been able to wear her uniform since she was hired in late December. Her first day was scheduled for Jan. 1, the same day the Smithsonian, which oversees the space museum and several others in Washington, closed due to a lack of funding.

With a book titled “Prayers for Difficult Times” on the sofa beside her, Hicks tearfully described giving her 8-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter smaller doses of their asthma medicine to make it last longer, while limiting how much time they ran and spent outside in the cold.

In a statement issued before Friday’s deal was reached, her employer, Allied Universal, said it would “provide vacation buyback for accrued time,” which is unlikely to help new hires like Hicks. It also said it provided letters to furloughed employees who were seeki上海品茶工作室ng to avoid late fees from creditors.

Wi,上海品茶微信Kaia,th bills piling up and uncertainty over whether the government will still be open beyond Feb. 15, Hicks said she still worries about becoming homeless again.

“There’s no stability,” she said. “How long will the government be shut down again if Trump doesn’t get what he wants?”

House Democrat seeks details of Treasury debt limit plans

WASHINGTON ( ) – A leading Democrat in Congress asked the U.S. Treasury on Tuesday to advise lawmakers about when it intends to seek an increase in the U.S. debt ceiling, an issue that could become part of the debate over President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Representative Richard Neal, who chairs the tax committee in the House of Representatives, requested details about the Trump administration’s debt limit plans in a Jan. 29 letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Treasury officials received Neal’s letter and were reviewing it, a spokeswoman said.

The current limit on U.,上海喝茶资源群Kaia,S. debt extends through March 1, and analysts say Congress will likely have to reinstate the ceiling at a level well above $20 trillion or risk a first-ever default that would damage U.S. credit. Treasury should be able to sustain government obligations for longer by taking various measures, while using cash on hand and incoming revenues.

“The United States must continue to pay all of its bills on time and in full. I look forward,上海品茶水磨Gabriel, to hearing from you about what adjustment in the debt limit is needed,” Neal said in the letter to Mnuchin.

Neal’s House Ways and Means Committee released the letter as the debt limit showed signs of becoming embroiled in the debate over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which led to a 35-day shutdown of about one-quarter of the federal government.

Congress and Trump reopened the government last week with a measure that will expire on Feb. 15, to give negotiators time to work out an agreement.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has urged Trump to consider the possibility of making the debt limit part of ongoing negotiations over border security, according to CNN.

The idea was quickly rejected by Democrats, who have accused Trump of using federal workers furloughed by the shutdown as “hostages” in his bid to win congressional approval for his border wall.

“T上海品茶会所he debt ceiling. No more hostages!” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. “That’s not a good idea. We ought to be negotiating to get an,上海外卖品茶群Kaia, agreement.”

In his letter, Neal blamed Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for a significant drop in government revenue and warned that effects of the shutdown could cut revenue.

Factbox: ‘Prepare to die’ – Most colorful alleged threats by Trump…

( ) – Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, allegedly called an associate “a rat,” threatened his dog and invoked “The Godfa上海品茶工作室ther” Mafia movies in a bid to stop him from testi,上海品尝嫩茶Radcliff,fying in an investigation run by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, according to court papers unsealed on Friday.

Stone was arrested in Florida on Friday and accused of lying to congressional investigators and tampering with a witness.

Prosecutors accuse the political provocateur of threatening an associate who hosted a radio program in an apparent attempt to stop the unnamed person from testifying to investigators probing Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The 24-page indictment is peppered with alleged threats, some with typos or grammatical errors, from Stone to the unnamed associate:

* “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,” Stone told the person in an April 9 email. He also threatened to “take that dog away from you,” and said, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive).”

* “If you testify you’re a fool. Because of tromp I could never get away with a certain (sic) my Fifth Amendment rights but you can. I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify,” ,上海品茶419论坛Sabina,Stone told the person in a Dec. 1, 2017, text message.

* “You are so full of (expletive). You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend,” Stone wrote in a May 21 email.

* Another Dec. 1 2017 message referred to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who declines to testify to Congress after mobsters bring his brother from Italy to the hearing in an apparent threat to the man’s safety. Court papers said that Stone told the person to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli.’”

(This version of the story was refiled to add dropped word in,上海品茶Naia, headline)

Myanmar filmmaker charged over Facebook posts about military

YANGON ( ) – A Myanmar judge on Thursday charged filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for Facebook posts he made about the po,上海外卖品茶群Queena,werful military, meaning he will stand trial despite concern over his health and an outcry from human rights groups.

The director, who runs a human rights film festival, was detained three months ago after a complaint from an army officer that listed 10 of,上海品茶419论坛Rachel, his Facebook posts.

In the posts he criticized the military’s political role and Myanmar’s 2008 constitution, which was drawn up by the former ruling junta and which civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is attempting to amend.

The case is one of a slew the military has launched against critics in recent months.

Some activists want Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to do more to protect free expression, but Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi himself has said she should not be blamed for his incarceration.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi pleaded not guilty to the charge, under section 505(a) of Myanmar’s colonial-era penal code, which carries a maximum two-year prison term for statements that could cause a soldier or other service member “to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty”.

But after preliminary hearings, the judg,上海品茶水磨Fabi,e at Insein Township Court, in the main city of Yangon, ruled the posts caused soldiers to lose respect for the military.

The court was packed with friends, diplomats and reporters.

A separate defamation case under a telecommunications law has been filed against Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for the same Facebook posts.

After Thursday’s ruling, the filmmaker told reporters he did not intend to damage or disrespect the military.

“The military was also not destroyed. There is no proof that respect was lost in the military. But I was charged with 505(a),” he said.

The prosecutor declined to comment.

The complainant, Lieutenant-Colonel Lin Tun, told the court that he filed the lawsuit because he took 上海品茶会所offense at the filmmaker’s posts.

“I am unsatisfied with his posts. This wouldn’t have happened if he did not write anything,” he told the judge.

“They couldn’t provide any proof on their accusations and yet they charged him,” defense lawyer Robert San Aung told after the hearing.

His client, who has recently undergone cancer treatment, was deteriorating in detention, the lawyer said.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners human rights group, 161 people are in jail, either convicted or facing trial on politically motivated charges.

Scores are on bail and 76 people had lawsuits against them just in June.

Malnutrition, disease kill at least 139 displaced in Indonesia’s…

JAKARTA ( ) – Thousands of people in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua have been displaced by fighting between soldiers and separatists, and at least ,上海品茶QQDaisy,139 of them have died from malnutrition and disease, an aid group said on Thursday.

But the Indonesian military disputed the figures for deaths and displaced issued by the Solidarity Team for Nduga aid group.

A long-running separatist movement in Papua has seen an increase in violence in recent months.

The military launched a crackdown following the killing by the rebels of 16 construction workers building a highway in the mountainous Nduga area in December.

Hipolitus Wangge, a volunteer wit,上海品茶Caitlin,h the aid group, said 1上海品茶工作室39 people had died in a camp for displaced in the town of Wamena, 40 of them aged under 5 and 24 older children.

He said 5,200 people, including 700 children, were sheltering in Wamena without enough food, clean water and clothing, while access to health and education was limited.

Many of the displaced were suffering from respiratory infections, diarrhoea and dysentery, he sai,上海品茶交友群Quaid,d.

“This morning, a two-year-old child died,” Wangge told reporters at a news briefing in Jakarta.

Muhammad Aidi, a spokesman for Indonesia’s military command in Papua said the group’s account of the situation was a “hoax”.

“There is no data on deaths,” he said, asking for proof of where the bodies were buried, while saying there was no data even on the size of the population in the area.

Aidi said some villagers had returned to their homes with the help of the military and the government and those who had not were afraid of the separatists.

Papua parliament member Emus Gwijangge has urged the military to allow journalists to go to Nduga, saying it had been difficult for the public to get an independent account, the Papuan media outlet reported.

Gwijangge estimated thousands were still displaced.

President Joko Widodo has sought to ease tension in the restive region, which became part of Indonesia after a controversial U.N.-backed referendum in 1969, by freeing prisoners, addressing rights concerns and stepping up investment.

Widodo has also pledged to developed impoverished Papua with projects like the Trans Papua Highway. After the killing of construction workers, he ordered the military to help complete the project.

Factbox: Will Spain’s Sanchez stay on as prime minister?

MADRID ( ) – Spain enters a week of votes and debates which will be vital in determining whether Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez, who has been acting prime minister since an inconclusive election in late April, will be confirmed in the job.

Leaders of the main parties are at odds with each other in a country with no recent experience of coalition governments and an increasingly fragmented political landscape, meaning it may take many more weeks, and possibly a repeat election, to find a deal.

Here are the main dates and events to watch out for:


Both the Socialists and far-left Podemos have said they wanted a deal, so this would at first glance be the most logical,上海品茶419论坛Eden, scenario. But Sanchez and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias have very different views of what an agreement should look like.

Sanchez said talks were off after Iglesias ,上海品茶Dallas,called his latest proposal “idiotic”.

Podemos is expected to publish on Thursday evening the result of a consultation of party members, though a party source said that might be pushed to Friday. They were asked to decide between an all-out coalition deal or a looser pact, proposed by Sanchez, that would include just上海品茶会所 a few low-ranking Podemos-backed officials.

The first option would make it harder for Sanchez to become prime minister, unless he does a U-turn and allows Iglesias and other senior Podemos figures to have key cabinet positions.


Sanchez and the leaders of parties from the far-left to the far-right will fight off for hours on Monday and Tuesday in a parliamentary debate ahead of the first investiture vote, scheduled for around 1800 (1600 GMT) on Tuesday.

Sanchez is very unlikely to win this first vote, which requires an absolute majority and would need not only the Socialists’ 123 lawmakers and Podemos’ 42 to vote for him but also many other small parties, to get at least 176 votes.


Forty-eight hours after the first vote, lawmakers will cast ballots again. This time, all Sanchez requires is more “yes” than “no” votes. But that still will not be easy.

It will mostly depend on what Podemos does. If they vote for Sanchez, alongside Basque nationalists and a handful of lawmakers from smaller regions, which are largely guaranteed, it is in the bag for Sanchez.

Without Podemos, Sanchez would require a surprise abstention by a big party, possibly the conservative People’s Party (PP). It would be very unexpected at this stage but that has happened in the past.


That’s where the game of chicken gets even more tense. Podemos or other parties might well decide they want to make Sanchez sweat it out more and wait for another vote in September, but the Socialists have said it’s all off if he is not sworn in next week.


If no deal is reached, a repeat election would be held on November 10. If there is a deal and Sanchez is confirmed as prime minister, the question wil,上海品茶工作室Cain,l be what he can achieve in power, considering how fragmented Spanish politics are.

China reveals plans for carrier relocation to Beijing’s new airport

(This Jan. 3 story was refiled to fix typo in airport name in paragraph 6)

BEIJING ( ) – China’s aviation regulator published on Thursday plans for airline relocation to Beijing’s new mega-airport set to open this year and said it would let foreign carriers decide which of the capital’s airports they will use.

Beijing Daxing International Airport, due to open in September, will accommodate 72 million passengers a year by 2025 and is expected to become one of the world’s busiest airports upon completion.

This will be the city’s second such facility and help relieve pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport, whose annual capacity has reached 100 million passengers.

Foreign airlines, along with those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, can choose which airport they want to operate in, with the option of having a presence in both. Chinese carriers, except China P上海品茶工作室ostal Airlines, will have to use only one airport, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). ,上海品茶网Earl,

China initially planned to relocate airlines from,专门哟啪的微信群Quaid, th,上海品尝嫩茶Sabine,e SkyTeam alliance to the new airport, while Star Alliance airlines would stay at the existing Beijing airport.

Airlines including China Southern, China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines and China United Airlines will be relocated to Beijing Daxing International Airport, while carriers such as Air China, Hainan Airlines and Grand China Air will stay at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Relocation will last from the winter of 2019 to the winter of 2021, the CAAC said.

Merkel’s coalition partner demands answers over German data breach

BERLIN ( ) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), demanded on Sunday that her interior minister quickly find out what Germany’s security agencies knew about a huge data breach and how they reacted.

The breach has shocked Germany’s establishment and risks rocking Merkel’s awkward ‘grand coalition’ again just months after a row over the fate of the domestic intelligence agency chief came close to tearing apart the ruling alliance.

The government said on Friday that personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures including Merkel had been published online, in what appeared to be one of Germany’s biggest data breaches.

Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the center-left (SPD), told the Funke media group the government must quickly shed light on “which agencies knew what exactly when, and how th,上海品茶工作室Idaleen,at was dealt with”.

“This should be a priority for (Interior Minister) Horst Seehofer. It’s about protecting our democracy,” Klingbeil added.

Seehofer told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung he only became aware of the breach on Friday morning, but that he would share everything he finds out with the public and intended to do so by the middle of this week at the latest.

The ecologist Greens leader in parliament, Anton Hofreiter, said the president of the BSI cyber defense agency, Arne Schoenbohm, must explain himself urgently in an extraordinary parliamentary committee meeting.

The BSI on Saturday defended its role in responding to,上海品茶419论坛Gabi, the data breach, saying it could not have connected individual cases it was aware of last year until the entire data release became public last week.

Last year, Seehofer was at the center of a political storm over another security agency chief, whose the fate almost tore apart Merkel’s coalition of her conservativ上海品茶工作室e bloc and the SPD.

Despite SPD resistance, Seehofer rescued Hans-Georg Maassen from dismissal in September when the domestic spy chief questioned the authenticity of videos showing far-right nationalists chasing immigrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

But Maasse,上海外卖品茶群Idaline,n was subsequently sacked in November over a speech given behind closed doors condemning “naive and leftist” government policies.

Syrian opposition urges countries not to reconcile with Assad

RIYADH ( ) – Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Sunday he was surprised by countries rebuilding ties with the Syrian government and urged them to reverse their decision.

Arab states, including some that once backed rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war, aiming to expand their influence in Syria at the expense of non-Arab Turkey and Iran.

The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy in Damascus last month and Bahrain said its embassy there, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama, had been operating “without interruption”.

“We do not have the power to stop this reconciliation,” Nasr Hariri told reporters in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he is based.

“We still hope there is a possibility for (these co,上海品茶QQFabi,untries) t,专门哟啪的微信群Idaia,o revisit their decisions and realize that the real and solid relation should be with their brothers of the Syrian people not with the regime that has committed all these crimes,” he said.

“Bashar al-Assad will remain a war criminal even if thousands of leaders had a handshake with him.”

Kuwait said last week it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in “coming days”, although the move would need a green light from the Arab League. ,上海妹子品茶微信Caden,

Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 in response to the government’s violent crackdown on “Arab Spring” protests. For Syria to be reinstated, the League must reach a consensus.

“We do not think it would be a sound step to readmit Syria into the Arab League. We think this is a decision that won’t be in the interest of the political process,” Hariri said.

U.S-allied Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were the main regional backers of armed groups opposed to Assad, providing finance or weapons or both, acting largely as part of a program of support 上海品茶工作室for the armed opposition coordinated by Washington.

Malaysia’s king abdicates after two years on throne

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysia’s King Muhammad V abdicated on Sunday, the palace said, after two years on the throne, the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year tenure.

The king’s resignation took effect immediately, the National Palace said in a statement. No reason was given and palace officials did not respond to requests for comment.

A week ago, the king, 49, had resumed duties after spending two months on medical leave. Im,上海品茶水磨Cain,ages purporting to show him getting married in Russia appeared on social media in December. The palace did not respond t,上海外卖品茶群Lake,o requests for comment on the photos or reports of a marriage.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the king assumes a largely ceremonial role, including as the custodian of Islam in the Muslim-majority country. However, the king’s assent is needed before the appointment of a prime minister or senior public officials.

Malaysia has nine royal households, who typically take turns to sit on the throne, and the selection of the next king is decided by a vote in the Council of Rulers, made up of all nine royal households.

The palace statement said the king, who took the throne in December 2016, was grateful for the opportunity given to him by the Counc,上海品茶交友群Caitlin,il of Rulers and thanked the prime minister and government for their cooperation during his rule.

“His Highness has worked towards fulfilling his responsibilities entrusted to him as the head of state, serving as a pillar of stability, source of justice, the core of unity … for the people,” the palace statement said.

The New Straits Times reported there had been tensions between the palace and the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who led the opposition to an election win in 上海品茶QQMay.

Mahathir, known for challenging royalty during his past 22-year tenure as prime minister, said in a blog post last week that everyone “from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens” are subject to the law. He did not elaborate.

In June, the government and palace faced a near two-week impasse over a plan to appoint a non-Malay as attorney-general. The king eventually approved the appointment, though the incident had stoked racial tensions.

Egypt’s Sisi opens mega-mosque and Middle East’s largest cathedral…

CAIRO ( ) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s largest church and mosque in the New Administrative Capital on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas, in a message of tolerance in the predominantly Muslim country.

Copts, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, were due hold a midnight mass in the Cathedral of the Nativity, billed by the government as the Middle East’s largest church, a few hours after the inauguration.

Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination under laws that favor Muslims.

They have also increasingly been targeted in recent years by Islamist militants including Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency in the north of the remote Sinai Peninsula.

Foreign dignitaries and officials including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit flanked Sisi at the opening, state television showed.

Angham, a prominen,上海品茶交友群Daisy,t local singer, sang for Muslim-Christian coexistence as a display of fireworks lit the skies over the two houses of worship.

“This is an important moment in our history,” Sisi said in a speech as he opened the cathedral. “We are one and we will remain one,” he added, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.

“On this day we see you have fulfilled this promise and here we are witnessing a great opening on this grand occasion,” the head of the Coptic church Pope Tawadros II said. He w,上海品茶论坛Caitlin,ill preside over midnight mass later in the evening with Sisi in attendance.

U.S. President Donald Trump also praised the opening of the church and the mosque.

“Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East. President Al-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

The Cathedral of the Nativity, adorned with Coptic icons, can accommodate more than,专门哟啪的微信群Kaiden, 8,000 worshippers while the al-Fattah al-Aleem Mosque can hold nearly double the number. Both are located in the new administrative capital, a major development located some 45 km (28 miles) east of Cairo.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque, said Islam obliges Muslims to safeguard and defend houses of worship, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish.

Contractors have been clearing debris from the perimeter of the cathedral in the last two weeks in preparation for its grand opening.

The new Egyptian capital, announced in March 2015, is intended partly to reduce crowding in Cairo but will also be home to governm上海品茶QQent ministries and an airport. The government is expecting to begin moving to the new premises later this year.

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

LYON, France ( ) – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on his上海品茶微信torical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the pedophile scandal inside the Catholic Church in France, and will stand trial alongside five others from his diocese.

While most of the recent focus in the Church’s global abuse crisis has been on Australia and Chile, Barbarin’s trial puts the spotlight on Europe’s senior clergy again, just as Pope Francis prepares to host a meeting of senior bishops from around the world in Rome next month to discuss the protection of minors.

Barbarin is accused of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s by Father Bernard Preynat – a priest who has admitted sexual abuse, according to his lawyer, and is due to go on trial later this year.

The charges carry a potential three-year prison sentence and fines of up to about $50,000.

Barbarin told the newspaper Le Monde in August 2017 that he had never concealed allegations against Preynat, but acknowledged shortcomings in his handling of them.

“I myself realize that my response at the time was inadequate,” he said.

Barbarin’s lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he expected Barbarin to be acquitted.

“He’s accused of covering up for Preynat, whereas in fact it was Barbarin who triggered this whole process,” Luciani said. “You don’t repair one injustice with another.”


Barbarin told Le Monde in 2017 that he had previously opened an investigation of Preynat under church or canon law because a judicial investigation was moving so slowly.

Barbarin, who moved to the Lyon diocese in 2002, has said he became aware of Preynat’s activities in 2007. He eventually removed the priest from his post in 2015.

Barbarin told Le Monde that he had suspended two other priests and called in the judiciary “when I learned of allegations of recent abuses, in 2006 and 2014”. But faced with allegations of abuses said to have taken place 15 or 20 years earlier, he said he “knocked on doors” for advice, but received no satisfac,上海品茶论坛Kailani,tory answer.

Lyon prosecutors had previously investigated Barbarin but dropped the probe in the summer of 2016 without a detailed explanation. However, an association of alleged victims called Parole Liberee (“Freed Word”) used a provision of French law to compel the cardinal to stand trial.

Pope Francis has come under fire over the Church’s handling of the spreading sexual abuse crisis.

In September, researchers said they had found indications of sexual abuse in Germany by 1,670 Catholic clerics over the course of seven decades. On Friday, the Vatican said an Argentine bishop working in a top Vatican financial department was under preliminary investigation for sexual abuse.

Pope Francis himself met Barbarin in early 2016, and later told the Catholic newspaper La Croix that it would make no sense,上海外卖品茶群Hadleigh, for the cardinal to resign before any eventual trial.

“According to the information at my disposal, Cardinal Barbarin took the appropriate measures, he took things in hand. He is brave, creative, a missionar,上海品茶微信Radcliff,y,” Francis was quoted as saying.