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South Korean cosmetics firm boss quits over YouTube praising Japan

South Korean cosmetics firm boss quits over YouTube praising JapanThe head of a major South Korean cosmetics firm resigned Sunday after facing heavy backlash for forcing his staff to watch a YouTube video praising Japan during a raging trade war between the two nations. The clip, played at a monthly meeting of some 700 employees of Kolmar Korea last week, slams President Moon Jae-in’s response to Japan’s trade regulations and praises Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for “not punching Moon in the face”. The video also refers to Venezuela’s crippling economy, where “women are going into prostitution for mere seven dollars”, and adds that South Korea is not far from meeting a similar fate.



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Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is Lying

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is LyingLucas Jackson/ReutersIn a new filing against the National Rifle Association, lawyers for ad agency Ackerman McQueen suggest that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre is lying about a critical moment in the gun rights group’s recent leadership shake up. At issue is multi-million-dollar litigation between the NRA and its ex-ad firm. In court filings of its own, the NRA has alleged that Oliver North, the groups's former president, was ousted in part because he withheld information from the NRA about payments he took from Ackerman McQueen, which had served as the gun rights group’s primary ad contractor until just months ago. The NRA claims North kept the nature of his deal with Ackerman McQueen a secret from LaPierre and the gun group’s leadership. But in a July 16 filing that was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre himself helped negotiate the deal between their firm and North. And they hint that they have documentation to prove it. In a statement, the NRA denied the suggestions. “The facts are clear – Mr. LaPierre and the NRA had no idea that Col. North was negotiating to become an employee of Ackerman McQueen,” said Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And to the extent Col. North was pushing a contrived narrative about Mr. LaPierre and the NRA, he was conflicted. He was an employee of Ackerman at the time he was allegedly scheming with the agency to unseat Mr. LaPierre.”  It’s a messy new chapter in the months-long legal battle between the NRA and the ad firm it used for more than three decades. And it comes as the gun group has jettisoned senior staff and faced revolts from grassroots activists and donors. “LaPierre negotiated the terms of the North Contract directly with Lt. Col. North and a detailed term sheet was sent to AMc [Ackerman McQueen] for completion of the formal agreement,” the filing reads. The NRA’s then-treasurer, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, also reviewed and approved North’s contract with the firm, according to the filing, and the NRA board’s audit committee green-lit the contract as well. “On at least two occasions, counsel for the NRA has reviewed the North Contract,” the filing adds. NRA Pulls the Plug on NRATVAckerman McQueen’s insistence that NRA officials were aware of the contract with North is directly at odds with the contention the NRA made in a suit it filed against the ad agency in April. North was ousted from the NRA that month during the group’s annual meeting and has since accused LaPierre of gross mismanagement and making highly questionable expenditures. The NRA, meanwhile, has alleged that North tried to oust LaPierre in a coup. And in a separate suit in May, it accused Ackerman McQueen of breach of contract by leaking information about both LaPierre and the NRA’s finances. Ackerman McQueen had been a central force behind the NRA’s evolution from a gun rights group to a conservative cultural institution. As part of that mission, the ad firm helped launch and manage NRATV, the NRA’s recently shuttered internet-video arm. The NRA has alleged in court that Ackerman McQueen had refused to share its analytics with the gun group. But In its July 16 filing, Ackerman McQueen claims that the opposite is true. “Two days before the lawsuit was filed, LaPierre was in AMc’s office and was in attendance for the presentation of the NRATV analytics,” it reads. “LaPierre walked out of the meeting.” A spokesperson for the NRA’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The filing indicates that the fight between the NRA and Ackerman shows no signs of losing steam. Earlier this week, longtime NRA director of public affairs Jennifer Baker left the group. And a month ago, the group parted ways with its longtime top lobbyist, Chris Cox. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Harris blasts, and takes money from, Epstein's law firm

Harris blasts, and takes money from, Epstein's law firmKamala Harris bemoaned the influence of the powerful and connected elite last Tuesday when she called on top Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from any matter related to Jeffrey Epstein. Harris, a California senator and Democratic presidential candidate, was one of several White House hopefuls to blast the handling of Epstein's case in Florida a decade ago, when his lawyers negotiated a deal with federal prosecutors that allowed him to avoid the possibility of years in prison.



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U.S., Taliban aim to firm up date for foreign force exit from Afghanistan

U.S., Taliban aim to firm up date for foreign force exit from AfghanistanUpcoming peace talks between the United States and the Taliban will focus on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops from Afghanistan and on a Taliban guarantee militants won’t plot attacks from Afghan soil, sources said on Monday. A seventh round of talks between the warring sides begins on Saturday in Qatar’s capital of Doha, where U.S. and Taliban negotiators have been trying to hammer out a deal to end to the 18-year-long war since October. “Once the timetable for foreign force withdrawal is announced, then talks will automatically enter the next stage,” said Sohail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha.



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UPDATE 1-Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US "terrorist" acts

UPDATE 1-Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US "terrorist" actsIran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by U.S. forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards. President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces. Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.



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In Craig Indictment, a Top Law Firm Tries to Hide Lobbying

In Craig Indictment, a Top Law Firm Tries to Hide LobbyingU.S. prosecutors laid out how Craig, a top partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, took pains to avoid registering his work as foreign lobbying — in part, they allege, out of a belief that registering under the so-called FARA law would prevent him and others from taking government jobs in the future. Craig’s efforts included backdating a letter and invoice to obscure that a private Ukrainian had funded the work and allowing the Ukrainian government to lie about how much the work cost, prosecutors said in a 22-page indictment filed Thursday. Craig will be arraigned on Friday.



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U.S. tourist, guide kidnapped in Uganda freed after 'settlement': tour firm

U.S. tourist, guide kidnapped in Uganda freed after 'settlement': tour firmAmid fears the incident could deter tourists from visiting the East African country, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Twitter for the kidnappers to be found. Ugandan authorities said on Sunday that Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, and her driver, Jean Paul, had been rescued unharmed after being seized by gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 2. “I don’t have details of the final settlement” New Vision reported on Monday, citing undisclosed sources, that a ransom of $ 30,000 had been paid.



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US tourist, guide, kidnapped in Uganda freed after ransom paid: safari firm

US tourist, guide, kidnapped in Uganda freed after ransom paid: safari firmA US tourist and a safari guide kidnapped by gunmen in a Ugandan national park have been recovered safe and sound after a ransom was paid for their release, a safari firm said on Sunday. The pair were hauled from their safari vehicle by four gunmen around dusk on Tuesday as they drove through the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Mike Walker, manager of Wild Frontiers Safaris, said US tourist Kimberly Endicott and experienced guide Jean-Paul Mirenge, were “back safe”.



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Catholic Church in US state failed to disclose 200 accused clergy: law firm

Catholic Church in US state failed to disclose 200 accused clergy: law firmThe Catholic Church has failed to disclose more than 200 names of clergy accused of abuse in the US state of Illinois, a law firm claimed Wednesday. The firm Jeff Anderson & Associates has previously released names of accused clergy in other parts of the country based on information it compiled from public sources such as lawsuits. Its latest report outlined 395 Catholic clergy and laypersons in Illinois who have been accused of sexually assaulting children.



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Venezuela to move state oil firm PDVSA office from Lisbon to Moscow

Venezuela to move state oil firm PDVSA office from Lisbon to MoscowMoscow has backed Maduro in the face of a political challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January — a move backed by most Western nations. Rodriguez, explaining the decision to move PDVSA’s office at a joint news conference in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said Europe had shown it was no longer able to guarantee the safety of Venezuela’s assets. The PDVSA office move corresponded with plans to expand technical cooperation in extracting oil with Russian oil companies Rosneft and Gazprom, she added.



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