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Pressure builds for Giuliani as associate enters talks over potential plea deal

Pressure builds for Giuliani as associate enters talks over potential plea dealPressure to cut deal comes after revelations that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are ‘likely’ to face more charges, attorney saysTalks about a potential plea deal are under way between federal prosecutors and an attorney for Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate indicted for making illegal campaign donations who helped Trump lawyer Giuliani’s search for dirt in Ukraine on Joe Biden, says an attorney familiar with the investigationThe talks appear to be in early stages, but the lawyer familiar with the investigation and ex-prosecutors say that pressure mounted on Parnas to cut a deal after prosecutors revealed on Monday that he and his business associate Igor Fruman, who was also indicted for making illegal campaign donations, are “likely” to face additional charges.If Parnas strikes a deal it could put further legal pressure on Giuliani, who is facing a growing number of legal woes including some relating to his international consulting business as part of an investigation of alleged crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.Parnas and Fruman, who were both born in the former Soviet Union, pleaded not guilty to illegally funneling contributions from a foreign source and three other counts. But Parnas and his lawyer have begun cooperating with the House impeachment inquiry in response to a subpoena and have turned over video and audio recordings to the House intelligence committee.As detailed in the 300-page report by House intelligence committee Democrats and other documents and reports, Parnas played a Zelig-like role in Ukraine and the US in tandem with Giuliani and several other conservatives to try and boost Trump’s political fortunes in 2020.Parnas and Fruman worked with Giuliani to help oust Marie Yovanovitch, a respected US ambassador in Kyiv who was removed this spring, and to pressure the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to announce an inquiry into debunked allegations about former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading candidate in 2020, and his son who had worked for a Ukrainian gas company, in order to lift a secret hold on $ 391m in badly needed US military aid.Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Dulles airport en route to Vienna in October and charged with a complex conspiracy to funnel $ 325,000 to a Trump Super Pac from a Russian source using shell companies.But federal prosecutors in New York have since widened their investigation to look at Giuliani, including his business interests in Ukraine, and reportedly issued numerous subpoenas.The lawyer familiar with the investigation, who requested anonymity since he was not authorized to discuss it, said: “There are some plea negotiations under way with regards to Parnas,” and the federal prosecutors in New York’s southern district which brought the charges; but he noted that “a proffer by Parnas’ attorney [has] not been accepted at this time”.Ex-prosecutors say a plea deal would probably require Parnas to offer more information about Giuliani and probably others he had contacts with, including possibly Trump and the Republican congressman Devin Nunes.Ex-prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig said plea deals typically require defendants to provide truthful testimony about other possible defendants which in Parnas’s case would include Giuliani. “That prospect has to make Mr Giuliani uncomfortable,” he said. “It might also make Representative Nunes and President Trump uncomfortable as well.”Similarly, ex-federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said that having a prosecutor signal more charges as likely against Parnas and Fruman “substantially increases pressure on Parnas to work out a deal”.Zeldin added that “additional charges could include such crimes as failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Convictions of these crimes carry substantial prison terms.Parnas’s lawyer Joseph Bondy declined to comment on whether plea talks were under way, but Bondy told the Guardian his client wanted to help the House of Representatives in its impeachment inquiry.In a statement, Bondy said that they are producing materials to the House intelligence committee “… and that Mr Parnas remains fully committed to providing relevant and accurate sworn testimony”. But Parnas needs to be “granted a level of immunity, such that his statements in the impeachment inquiry cannot be used against him in his federal prosecution”.Parnas and Fruman’s efforts to help Trump’s political fortunes go back at least to April 2018 when the duo were invited as prospective donors to a small Super Pac dinner with Trump at his DC hotel. There, Parnas talked to Trump and warned him that Ambassador Yovanovitch was hostile to his policies, to which Trump replied she should be fired, according to the Washington Post. Their $ 325,000 check to the Super Pac, America First Action, arrived a few weeks later.In a statement, the Super Pac indicated it has voluntarily cooperated with the federal inquiry, and the $ 325,000 check was put in a “segregated bank account … until these matters are resolved and a court determines the proper disposition of the funds”.



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UPDATE 3-Bolivia military says won't "confront" the people as pressure on Morales builds

UPDATE 3-Bolivia military says won't "confront" the people as pressure on Morales buildsPresident Evo Morales faced rising pressure to resolve a weeks-long standoff over Bolivia’s disputed election on Saturday after police forces were seen joining anti-government protests and the military said it would not “confront the people” over the issue. Morales’ government decried a “coup” against him by what it called “violent groups,” prompting a number of fellow leftist leaders in the region to rally around him and call for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Morales, Latin America’s longest-standing leader, won an election on Oct. 20, but a delay of nearly a day in the vote count sparked allegations of fraud and led to protests, strikes and road blocks.



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Dread builds in Vietnam over fate of missing UK migrants

Dread builds in Vietnam over fate of missing UK migrantsDread mounted across Vietnam on Sunday as relatives of migrants feared to be among 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain revealed new heart-wrenching details of their last contact with their loved ones. The driver of the refrigerated trailer discovered in an industrial park on Wednesday has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking in a case that has shocked Britain and cast light on the extreme dangers facing illegal migrants seeking better lives in Europe. The 31 men and eight women were initially believed to be Chinese, but several Vietnamese families have now come forward with fears their relatives are among the dead.



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2020 Dems' opposition builds against Trump judges

2020 Dems' opposition builds against Trump judgesExclusive data obtained by POLITICO shows that Senate Democrats are rejecting the president's judicial nominees far more often than during the last Congress.



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Frustration builds for Boeing Max plane crash families as they fight to have lawsuits heard in US courts

Frustration builds for Boeing Max plane crash families as they fight to have lawsuits heard in US courtsHuman remains and personal belongings were still scattered across the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash a month after it happened, a relative of one of the victims has claimed.  The London-based relative, whose sister died in the crash, told The Telegraph she was "horrified" to discover "what appeared to be an arm and a fragment of bone" when she visited the spot where 157 people lost their lives in March. She shared photographs showing children's shoes and other personal effects lying uncollected on the ground, taken 28 days after the tragedy, she said.  The relative, who does not want to be identified, also claimed the site wasn't properly secured with gaps in the perimeter allowing people and animals to "freely pass by" where the tragedy took place.  "We're still barely managing to believe what's happened but on top of the tragedy to have also no respect at all to the families and the victims and have those items left on the land… it's outrageous," she said.   The photos shared with The Telegraph show clothes and other personal belongings at the crash site The claims raise serious questions about how the Ethiopian authorities have managed the aftermath of the tragedy and whether the investigation is as thorough as it could be.  Contacted by this newspaper, the Ethiopian embassies in both the UK and the US declined to comment.  The horror has added to a build up of frustration among victims' families following the two recent airline tragedies involving the Boeing 737 Max plane. Victims of Indonesia's Lion Air crash, the first of the two involving the model, have launched legal action against the American aviation manufacturer for the wrongful death of their loved ones.   Among them is Rini Soegiyono, whose younger sister Niar, 39, was killed along with her state prosecutor husband Andri Wiranofa, 41, on the flight on October 29.  Ms Soegiyono, 52, who has been left to raise her nieces, aged just 11 and seven, believes Boeing owes her family and the others taking legal action an explanation for what went wrong.  "The world is also waiting so it is important to know so that it will not happen again. We don’t want any other family to have to go through what we are going through,” she told The Telegraph.  “We screamed, we screamed to the world. We had no experience before, we never thought that it will happen to us, to our family… because at that time, Boeing said that the plane is safe.”   The growing number of Indonesian litigants are now fighting for the right to have their cases heard in US courts, rather than in Indonesia, where victim compensation is likely to be much lower. A decision on whether that right will be granted is imminent.  Divers recovered the black box from the wreckage of the Lion Air plane Credit: Adek Berry/AFP An apology issued earlier this month by Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s CEO, for the double tragedy, and his admission that a preliminary investigation into the Ethiopian crash revealed that both incidents involved similar errors in automated flight systems, gave victims’ families renewed hopes for justice.  But Brian Kabateck, a high-profile California-based lawyer working on behalf of a dozen Indonesian families including Ms Soegiyono’s, said that Boeing owes the crash victims “much more than sympathy,” adding: “They deserve their day in a United States courtroom.” Lion Air flight 610 disappeared from the radar screens 12 minutes after take-off and all 189 passengers and crew were lost. Less than five months later, on March 10, a second Boeing 737 Max jet, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, nosedived into a field six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa leaving no survivors.  Even after the second crash, Boeing insisted that the 737 MAX was safe, and “was willing to continue to gamble with the lives of the flying public” while furiously working behind the scenes on a software fix, Mr Kabateck alleged.  Boeing declined to comment on the current litigation, referring The Telegraph to general public statements on its website.   For the families of the Ethiopian Airlines victims, the ordeal continues as they await reassurances that everything possible has been done to recover the personal belongings of their loved ones. More than 150 people were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash Credit: Eduardo Soteras/AFP The relative said she travelled to the crash site on April 7, almost a month after the tragedy, to be put at ease that the site had been thoroughly excavated after seeing pictures of chaotic scenes in the media.  But to her dismay, she claimed the area was not properly secured and victims' belongings had been left unattended and exposed to the elements.  She described the personal horror of flicking through the debris looking for a trace of her sister, a young aid worker.  "I spent almost two hours looking for anything belonging to my sister and that's the last thing I would wish for anybody. I literally searched every single spot to find something pertaining to her," she told The Telegraph.  "We found what we believe to be remains of human bones, which were then handed over to the guards in a military tent, just outside the site of the crash," she said. She added that to her shock the guards simply used a plastic bag lying on the ground to remove them, ignoring the "minimum standards and procedures" typically applied to the scene of a fatal accident. "I'm concerned that for them [the authorities] the search is finished. It is distressing to see that all the items that can mean the world to a suffering family are still on the ground, just waiting to be collected rather than being searched for," she said.   "There's a risk for the families of not retrieving anything from their loved ones' belongings."



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Here's An Idea: The Air Force Builds 200 B-21 Stealth Bombers

Here's An Idea: The Air Force Builds 200 B-21 Stealth BombersThe B-21 has disappeared into the “black” world of military technology, and will only reemerge when the bomber is ready.On October 27, 2015, nearly thirty-four years to the day after Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract to develop the first stealth bomber, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop a contract for a new bomber: the B-21 Raider. While many of the details of the Raider are shrouded in mystery, we do know a few things about it, and can infer others.(This first appeared in 2017.)The B-21 Raider bomber takes its name from both the twenty-first century and the legendary 1942 raid by Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle’s force of B-25 Mitchell bombers against targets in and around Tokyo, Japan. In invoking the Doolittle Raid, the Air Force is drawing attention to attack’s audacious nature, the strategic and tactical surprise, and the epic distances General Doolittle and his “raiders” flew to accomplish their mission.Recommended: Why Doesn't America Just Kill Kim Jong-un?



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India builds bunkers to protect families along Pakistan border

India builds bunkers to protect families along Pakistan borderOn Tuesday evening, Pakistan used heavy caliber weapons to shell 12 to 15 places along the Indian side of the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Kashmir region, a spokesman for the Indian defense forces said. The Indian army retaliated with its own shelling of the Pakistani side, he said. There have been frequent exchanges of fire along the actual and de facto borders in recent months, but Tuesday’s firing marked a major escalation after India carried out an air strike on what it said was a training camp run by an Islamist militant group in Pakistan.



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Anticipation builds as jackpot swells to more than $600 million

Anticipation builds as jackpot swells to more than $  600 millionThe Mega Millions jackpot is currently $ 654 million dollars as drawing nears.



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Australian Man Builds Life-Sized Camper Using Only Legos

Australian Man Builds Life-Sized Camper Using Only LegosThe replica caravan even has running water and electricity.



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Frustration builds as Carolina residents wait to go home

Frustration builds as Carolina residents wait to go homeExhaustion and frustration are building in the Carolinas as thousands of people wait to go home.



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