Affair

Toronto fans watch a man climb down a poll as they fill the streets in front of the city hall, during the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship celebration parade at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto
Toronto fans watch a man climb down a poll as they fill the streets in front of the city hall, during the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship celebration parade at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

June 17, 2019

By Tyler Choi

TORONTO (Reuters) – Around two million Toronto Raptors fans lined the streets of downtown Toronto to cheer on their hometown heroes in a victory parade on Monday to celebrate their first NBA championship that united Canada through basketball.

A bus carrying the Raptors was expected arrive at Nathan Phillips Square, which leads to Toronto’s city hall. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to arrive at the square, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.

Canadians from coast to coast and all the way up to the Arctic have been celebrating since the Toronto Raptors captured their first National Basketball Association championship in a country that is traditionally known as the home of ice hockey.

The Raptors clinched the best-of-seven series in Oakland, California last Thursday in six games by beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors 114-110, sealing a nationwide love affair with basketball.

The Raptors victory is the first major professional sports championship for a Canada-based team since Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. Toronto has been waiting for its beloved Maple Leafs to win the NHL championship since its last Stanley Cup victory in 1967.

“It’s the culmination of playing for 24 years. We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Raptors fan Chris Rogers.

Rogers, 34, who has rooted for the Raptors since they entered the league 1995, was dressed in a jersey of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. He had been waiting since morning to watch the parade.

Rogers said his workplace was fully in support of him being out of the office as they believed the parade was “important.”

Monday’s victory parade started from the Exhibition Center, where the Canadian National Exhibition is held, and was to culminate at the Nathan Phillips Square.

Approximately two million fans stood by to celebrated and catch a glimpse of the winners according to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Raptors.

Streets were closed off to accommodate the convoy carrying the Raptors, and three subway stations were also closed due to overcrowding on the street level. Enthusiastic fans festooned the streets of Toronto in Raptors colors – red, purple, black and white.

A few fans climbed atop of bus stops and the arches of Nathan Phillips Square, but were asked by police to come down.

The Snowbirds, an aerobatic flight demonstration team of the Royal Canadian Air Forces, is expected to soar over the skies of Toronto to join the festivities.

Toronto mayor John Tory proclaimed June 17, 2019, as “We The North” day to mark the occasion, borrowing the slogan used by the Raptors.

“This championship is the culmination of years of patience, support, devotion and belief. Toronto has proven that it is a basketball city and that the game thrives in The North,” Tory said in a statement.

(Reporting by Tyler Choi; Editing by Denny Thomas and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

Donald Trump Jr. arrives for Senate Intelligence Committee interview on Capitol Hill in Washington
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives for an interview before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

June 12, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, appeared for a closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday and then told reporters his responses were the same as during a 2017 appearance before the committee.

The interview had been expected to focus on a Moscow Trump Tower project and a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have information helpful for Trump Sr.’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“I don’t think I changed anything of what I said because there was nothing to change,” Trump Jr. told reporters after the Senate interview. “I’m glad that this is finally over. We were able to put some final clarity on that and I think the committee understands that.”

Asked if he was worried about potentially perjuring himself, he said: “Not at all.”

The Senate committee, which is chaired by Republican Senator Richard Burr, is conducting a bipartisan investigation into Russian interference in U.S. politics, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Senate investigation continues although Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his inquiry into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

The appearance by Trump Jr., who now heads the Trump Organization with his brother Eric, was expected to cover a wide array of subjects, including the Moscow Trump Tower project. Trump Jr. had previously testified in front of a different panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee, that he was only “peripherally aware” of the project.

But Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, contradicted Trump Jr.’s testimony.

The Russia project never came to fruition but is considered significant because it shows the president and his company were chasing a lucrative business deal in Moscow while the Russian government, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, was conducting a hacking and propaganda campaign to boost his candidacy.

Trump initially denied he had any business links to Russia at the time.

Cohen, who is currently serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty in two federal cases, also told Congress that Trump Jr. and the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer signed some reimbursement checks for hush-money payments made to a porn actress who said she had an affair with Trump.

The senators also were expected to question Trump Jr. about a June 2016 meeting he and campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner held at New York’s Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

The lawyer had promised to share damaging information on Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, although in fact, little useful information was shared.

Trump Jr. agreed to appear for the committee interview after the panel issued a subpoena for his testimony. The subpoena was criticized by some of the president’s most vocal defenders within his Republican Party.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump Jr. listens to his father U.S. President Trump during visit to Lake Okeechobee in Canal Point, Florida
FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump Jr. listens to his father U.S. President Donald Trump speak during a visit to Lake Okechobee and the Herbert Hoover Dike in Canal Point, Florida, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

June 12, 2019

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, will be interviewed on Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a congressional source said on Tuesday.

The closed-door appearance is expected to cover a broad array of topics. Among them will be what Trump Jr. knew about a Trump Tower project in Moscow. Another will be a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting when Trump Jr. and election campaign advisers Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer whom they believed had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic presidential election opponent.

Senators have also wanted to question Trump Jr. about his September 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. During that appearance, a congressional source said, Trump Jr. was asked about his involvement in a plan for a Moscow Trump Tower. Trump Jr. told the Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the plan, according to an official transcript.

His testimony was later contradicted by testimony from Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer. Cohen last month began serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty in two federal criminal cases.

Cohen also told Congress that some reimbursement checks issued to him for hush-money payments to an adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump were signed by Trump Jr., as well as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Republican Richard Burr, is the only congressional panel doing a genuinely bipartisan investigation of Russian interference in U.S. politics and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in particular.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; writing by Makini Brice; editing by Grant McCooland Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, will be interviewed on Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a congressional source said on Tuesday.

The closed-door appearance is expected to cover a broad array of topics. Among them will be what Trump Jr. knew about a Trump Tower project in Moscow. Another will be a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting when Trump Jr. and election campaign advisers Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer whom they believed had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic presidential election opponent.

Senators have also wanted to question Trump Jr. about his September 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. During that appearance, a congressional source said, Trump Jr. was asked about his involvement in a plan for a Moscow Trump Tower. Trump Jr. told the Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the plan, according to an official transcript.

His testimony was later contradicted by testimony from Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer. Cohen last month began serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty in two federal criminal cases.

Cohen also told Congress that some reimbursement checks issued to him for hush-money payments to an adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump were signed by Trump Jr., as well as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Republican Richard Burr, is the only congressional panel doing a genuinely bipartisan investigation of Russian interference in U.S. politics and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in particular.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson leaves his home in London
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

June 11, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, the favorite to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May, was criticized on Tuesday by a rival who said the former foreign minister was avoiding public scrutiny in the contest.

After three years of political deadlock over Brexit, the ruling Conservative Party is picking a new leader from 10 different candidates and hopes to have a new prime minister in place by the end of July.

Johnson, who led the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, is the frontrunner to replace May despite a long record of scandals and gaffes. Betting markets give him a 60 percent probability of winning the top job.

But rivals have turned on Johnson over his pledges to cut taxes for the wealthy, deliver Brexit with or without an exit deal and his apparent desire to keep a low profile.

When asked about Johnson, rival Matt Hancock said: “I certainly think that everybody who puts their name forward to be prime minister should be open to scrutiny, should be accountable.

“Everybody should participate in the proposed TV debates. And I think we’ve got to ask the question: why not?” he told BBC radio. “I’ve got nothing to hide and that’s why I am here.”

A spokesman for Johnson did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Johnson left his home in London on Tuesday morning without comment, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. He is due to begin his campaign on Wednesday.

“Time to come out of your bunker, Boris” the Daily Mail, Britain’s second-most-read newspaper, said in an editorial.

“Usually he positively craves media attention … Yet for weeks now he has been stuck in his trench, dribbling out vague policy ideas,” the newspaper said.

Rivals say he is avoiding the limelight because the contest is his to lose — a stray word or poorly placed joke could deprive him of his best chance at getting Britain’s top job.

“BORIS”

Johnson originally made his name as an European Union-bashing journalist in Brussels, then entered politics in the Conservative Party. He also raised his profile through a series of appearances on a television comedy.

Known in Britain and beyond for his clownish persona and disheveled mop of platinum hair, Johnson upset some Europeans before Britain’s Brexit referendum by comparing the goals of the EU with those of Adolf Hitler and Napoleon.

His quick wit and eccentric style helped him shrug off a series of scandals, among them getting sacked from the party’s policy team while in opposition for lying about an extra-marital affair. That and other episodes earned him the tabloid nickname “Bonking Boris”.

But where others would have floundered, Johnson became increasingly popular, culminating in his two victories in usually left-leaning London’s mayoral contests in 2008 and 2012.

He was considered a favorite for the top job when David Cameron resigned after the 2016 referendum. But his close ally, Michael Gove, abruptly deserted him and announced his own candidacy.

Gove, again one of his main rivals for the leadership, on Monday taunted Johnson.

“If I get through, which I am sure I will, actually, to the final two against Mr Johnson, this is what I will say to him: ‘Mr Johnson, whatever you do, don’t pull out, I know you have before, and I know you may not believe in your heart that you can do it, but the Conservative Party membership deserve a choice’,” Gove said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden, Larry King)

Source: OANN

French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2019. Madison Keys of the U.S. reacts after winning her fourth round match against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

June 3, 2019

By Ossian Shine

PARIS (Reuters) – Madison Keys dispatched Katerina Siniakova to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday before revealing a little-known weapon in a top tennis player’s armory — a mastery of boredom.

The American’s 6-2 6-4 victory over her Czech opponent was a more humdrum than hullabaloo affair, and afterwards Keys offered a nod to the power of routine.

“I mean, I think every aspect of life can be boring at times,” she smiled. “But… I think it would be exhausting if it was exciting all of the time.

“I think we’d all be dead as soon as we got onto the court. It’s life. Yes, we live this amazing life, we get to travel, we get to play matches, we have highs and lows, but we also have to go and practise every single day and do the exact same thing.

“Sometimes it can get monotonous but it’s also part of the routine and part of what gives you confidence when you go on the court.”

Next up the 24-year-old takes on Australian Ashleigh Barty in a match that promises to be anything but boring. 

“It’s going to be a tough one,” Keys predicted. “I think she’s obviously playing well to make the quarter-finals, and I didn’t get to see how she played today, but I feel like clay actually suits her game really well with her kick serve and slice.

“I’m going to have to have a game plan set, to be ready for her.”

Once again, the power of homework, preparation – and all the other boring aspects of excellence – look set to come into play.

(Reporting by Ossian Shine; editing by Tony Lawrence)

Source: OANN

Champions League Final - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
Soccer Football – Champions League Final – Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain – June 1, 2019 Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the Champtions League REUTERS/Sergio Perez

June 1, 2019

By Richard Martin

MADRID (Reuters) – Liverpool ended an incredible season by winning Europe’s biggest prize after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Saturday’s all-English Champions League final, earning sweet redemption after agonizingly missing out on the Premier League title.

Mohamed Salah scored the second-quickest goal in a Champions League final by converting from the penalty spot in the second minute while Divock Origi sealed victory in the 87th after Liverpool had survived some heavy late pressure from Spurs.

Tottenham, in their first European Cup final, kept their heads after the early setback and came to life when semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura was brought on but, with Harry Kane lacking sharpness, another European comeback was beyond them.

Liverpool, who missed out on the Premier League title to Manchester City by one point, did not produce their usual whirlwind attacking game but Salah’s debatable penalty and Origi’s arrowed finish sealed a sixth European Cup triumph.

“Everyone is happy now,” said Salah as the Liverpool fans rejoiced. “I am glad to play the second final in a row and play 90 minutes finally. Everyone did his best today, no great individual performances, all the team was unbelievable.”

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold who had marauded down the flank all night, added: “It is hard to put into words. The season we have had, we deserved it more than any other team.”

The win at the Wanda Metropolitano was sweet redemption for Salah and especially Klopp, who had suffered defeat in his last six major finals, including Champions League showpieces with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and Liverpool last year.

“I am so happy for the boys all these people, and my family. They suffer for me, they deserve it more than anybody,” said the elated German.

“Did you ever see a team like, this, fighting with no fuel in the tank? And we have a keeper (Alisson Becker) who makes difficult things look easy. It is the best night of our professional lives.”

His opposite number Mauricio Pochettino praised his team’s determined efforts to get themselves back into the game.

“We were fighting, and we played so well in the second half. I feel so proud, a little bit unlucky. To be 1-0 down from the start was tough, we changed our plans but we are very proud of these players and these fans. We can be optimistic.”

OUTSTANDING SEASON

Liverpool’s win was reward for an outstanding season in which they picked up a club record 97 points in the Premier League but finished behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, falling just short of a first league title in 29 years.

However, a sixth European Cup, which took them ahead of Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the all-time list and means they only trail AC Milan on seven triumphs and Real Madrid with 13, will help to compensate for that disappointment.

It was Liverpool’s first Champions League triumph since their incredible comeback against Milan in 2005 and, while this victory lacked the blockbuster drama of that night in Istanbul, it was not exactly a smooth ride in a lackluster affair.

Tottenham manager Pochettino took a bold but ultimately misguided gamble in fielding Kane, who had only returned to full training a week ago after almost two months out with a serious ankle injury and struggled to influence play.

The England striker was far from the only player from both sides who lacked sharpness in a game with few moments of quality, a possible effect of neither side having played any competitive games for three weeks after the domestic season.

Spurs put Liverpool under real pressure in the latter stages as Dele Alli headed over and Son Heung-min and Moura forced impressive saves from Alisson, who also pulled off his best effort to beat away a free kick from Christian Eriksen.

The Brazilian keeper’s reliable display was in stark contrast to what happened last year in Kiev, when Liverpool’s Loris Karius made two horrendous errors which cost his side two goals in their painful 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid.

When the final whistle went, Alisson was mobbed by his team mates while Klopp ran on to the pitch to embrace Origi, one of the heroes in the stunning semi-final second-leg turnaround against Barcelona, who killed the game with a ruthless finish.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

May 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was due to begin visiting Tibet on Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural sites, according to a news report on Sunday.

Branstad was scheduled to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from Sunday to Saturday, Radio Free Asia said in a report.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the story.

Radio Free Asia said it would be the first visit to Tibet by a U.S. official since the U.S. Congress approved a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners. The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

In December, China denounced the United States for passing the law, saying it was “resolutely opposed” to the U.S. legislation on what China considers an internal affair, and it risked causing “serious harm” to their relations.

Since then, tensions have been running high between the two countries over trade. China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

On Saturday, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. words and actions had harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint.

While the Trump administration has taken a tough stance towards China on trade and highlighted security rivalry with Beijing, the administration has so far not acted on congressional calls for it to impose sanctions on China’s former Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, for the treatment of minority Muslims in Xinjiang province, where he is currently party chief. 

A State Department report in March said Chen had replicated in Xinjiang, policies similar to those credited with reducing opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, above Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

May 19, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Alex Fraser

LONDON (Reuters) – A blimp depicting Donald Trump as a snarling, nappy-wearing orange baby will fly outside Britain’s parliament when the U.S. president makes a state visit next month if protesters can raise 30,000 pounds ($38,000) for advocacy groups.

At the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are due in Britain on June 3-5 for a state visit – a pomp-laden affair involving a carriage trip through London and a banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Britain’s so called special relationship with the United States is one of the enduring alliances of the past century, but some British voters see Trump as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on issues ranging from global warming to his treatment of women.

The blimp greeted Trump when he visited Britain in 2018, in what he described as an attempt to make him feel unwelcome, and the man behind the giant inflatable said he would let it fly again if a crowdfunding campaign can raise 30,000 pounds for groups backing causes from climate action to women’s rights.

“The blimp will get in the air when Donald Trump is on these shores,” Matt Bonner, its designer – who casts himself as a “Trump babysitter” – told Reuters. “The point of this is to mock Donald Trump, to give him a taste of his medicine.”

“What we want to do this time is to use the power, the momentum of Trump baby to help support people on the ground who are fighting against Trump policies and Trumpism more generally,” Bonner said.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan gave permission for the six-meter (20 foot) tall balloon to fly next to the Palace of Westminster in central London during Trump’s previous visit, provoking anger from the U.S. president’s supporters who said it was an insult to the leader of Britain’s closest ally.

A spokeswoman for Khan’s Greater London Authority (GLA) said any application to fly the blimp on land that the GLA managed would be judged by the same criteria as last time by GLA officials, the police and the Civil Aviation Authority.

“A state visit legitimizes a very controversial figure who is perpetuating divisions in our society and challenging that is much more important than any special relationship we have with the United States,” Bonner said.

While the British monarch makes the formal invitation for a state visit, the visit was offered by Prime Minister Theresa May when she became the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration in January 2017.

During his trip last year, Trump shocked Britain’s political establishment by giving a withering assessment of May’s Brexit strategy. He said she had failed to follow his advice, such as suing the EU, but later said May was doing a fantastic job.

Standing to benefit from the crowdfunding campaign are British groups UK Student Climate Network, Jawaab and Sisters Uncut, as well as U.S. organizations Sunrise Movement, United We Dream and Planned Parenthood.

“The baby always had an element of fun, but we’re deadly serious about standing in solidarity with those affected by Trump and the politics he represents across the world,” said Sheila Menon, one of the team behind the blimp.

Queen Elizabeth has hosted U.S. leaders including Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in her 67-year reign.

But Trump is only the third U.S. president to be accorded the honor of a state visit, after George W. Bush in 2003 and Barack Obama in 2011.

Last year, as hundreds of thousands protested across Britain, Trump was feted with a lavish dinner at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of British World War Two leader Winston Churchill. He and Melania also had tea with the queen at Windsor Castle.

The president then breached royal protocol by publicly disclosing details of a conversation he had with the monarch about the complexities of Brexit.

This year, the visit will include a meeting with May in Downing Street and also a ceremony in Portsmouth on the south English coast to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France during World War Two.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Merkel looks on as she attends a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as she attends a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

May 18, 2019

By Andreas Rinke

ZAGREB (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Saturday for Europe to push back against far-right parties, saying populist movements wanted to destroy core European values such as fighting corruption and protecting minorities.

Merkel made the remarks when asked about a scandal engulfing Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, whose leader Heinz-Christian Strache quit on Saturday as government vice-chancellor after he was videoed offering state contracts in exchange for political support.

“We’re having to deal with populist movements that in many areas are contemptuous of these values, who want to destroy the Europe of our values. We have to stand up to this decisively,” said Merkel, who has kept a low-profile during campaigning for next week’s EU parliamentary election.

“What falls under this is that minorities are not protected, that basic human rights are called into question and that corruption plays a role in politics,” she added after meeting Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb.

Merkel has left the most vocal election campaigning to fellow countryman Manfred Weber, the top conservative candidate in the May 23-26 election.

Weber, also speaking in Zagreb, said the Austrian scandal vindicated his intention not to rely on votes from far-right parties in his bid for EU commission president.

“The far right and populists are ready to sell their patriotism and the values of their country for their gains”, he said, referring to the affair.

(Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Lawyer Michael Avenatti walks out of federal court in New York
FILE PHOTO: Lawyer Michael Avenatti in New York, New York, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

April 11, 2019

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – Michael Avenatti, the high-profile lawyer known for his battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged with 36 counts of fraud, tax evasion and other financial crimes in an indictment made public by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The indictment came about three weeks after Avenatti, who gained national fame for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her litigation against Trump, was arrested in New York on two separate criminal complaints filed by federal prosecutors in New York and California.

The indictment means the grand jury has found the California prosecutors have probable cause to pursue their charges.

Avenatti, 48, has said he planned to fight all the charges and plead not guilty.

“I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me,” Avenatti, who is free on a $300,000 bond, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for California’s Central District have charged Avenatti with 10 counts of wire fraud, accusing him of misusing more than $12 million he received on behalf of clients following settlements and other negotiations.

“Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments designed to string along victims so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti’s financial house of cards from collapsing,” Nicola Hanna, the U.S. attorney for California’s Central District, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Avenatti became a prominent critic of Trump and a frequent guest on cable television news while representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She filed a lawsuit against the president over a nondisclosure agreement that in the weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election kept her from discussing her claims that they had an extramarital affair 10 years earlier.

Prosecutors say Avenatti misled clients and misused their funds to pay personal and legal expenses, to finance a coffee shop business he also ran and to pay for his share of a Honda private jet, according to the indictment. Federal authorities seized the jet on Wednesday, prosecutors said.

The indictment also accuses Avenatti of various tax crimes. He is accused of failing to file personal tax returns since 2010, and to pay $3.2 million in payroll taxes on his coffee business, even though he witheld some portion of this money from employee paychecks.

They also say he defrauded a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns for 2011 to 2013 that inflated his income.

Avenatti faces up to 333 years in federal prison if convicted on the California charges, prosecutors said. Federal sentencing guidelines typically call for defendants to serve less than the maximum time.

NIKE SCHEME

The New York prosecutors have separately accused Avenatti of trying to blackmail athletic wear maker Nike Inc for more than $20 million.

They said Avenatti and a co-conspirator, who they did not name, met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they represented a former college basketball coach with information about Nike’s involvement in a scheme to bribe high school basketball players.

They threatened to go public unless Nike hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation for $15 million to $25 million, and paid an additional $1.5 million to the client, according to prosecutors. Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said.

The alleged co-conspirator is prominent Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Geragos, who has not been charged with a crime, has declined to comment on the case.

Daniels replaced Avenatti as her lawyer last month, and has said she was “saddened but not shocked” by his arrest.

Avenatti also involved himself in the investigation of sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly by giving the Chicago state’s attorney’s office what he said was a tape of the performer having sex with an underage girl.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen, Brendan Pierson, Gina Cherelus, Gabriella Borter and Daniel Wallis; editing by Frank McGurty, Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, speaks at the Shape and Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York
FILE PHOTO: David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, speaks at the Shape and Men’s Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Marion Curtis/File Photo

April 11, 2019

(Reuters) – American Media Inc on Wednesday said it is looking at strategic options for its U.S. tabloid newspaper the National Enquirer, which may result in its sale.

The company announced the board’s decision after the operational review of the U.S. and UK editions of the National Enquirer, Globe and National Examiner brands, which began last August, the company said in a statement.

National Enquirer has been embroiled in a battle with Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive and founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of the Washington Post. The world’s richest man has accused the publication of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing intimate photos. AMI has defended its reporting on Bezos’ affair.

(Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN


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