Tag Archives: four

UPDATE 4-Syrian state media: Israeli missile strike kills four civilians

UPDATE 4-Syrian state media: Israeli missile strike kills four civiliansCAIRO/BEIRUT, June 30 (Reuters) – Israeli warplanes fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts in an attack that killed at least four civilians and wounded another 21, Syrian state media said. The Syrian military said Syrian air defences had confronted the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace. SANA also reported that Syrian air defences had brought down a number of the missiles.



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Judge orders permanent halt on construction of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall at four high priority sites

Judge orders permanent halt on construction of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall at four high priority sitesA federal judge on Friday expanded a ban on construction of President Donald Trump’s signature southern border wall that would have used money secured under his declaration of a national emergency, but that Congress never approved for the purpose.US District Judge Haywood S Gilliam Jr, of Oakland, California, blocked construction on four of the administration’s highest-priority projects on the US-Mexico border spanning 79 miles near El Centro, California, and Tucson.The Pentagon had moved to fund the projects using $ 1.5bn (£1.18bn) transferred into a Defence Department counter-drug programme from military pay and training accounts.In his order granting a permanent halt on the construction, Mr Gilliam also cleared the path for an immediate appeal.Mr Gilliam last month in part of the same case temporarily stopped another $ 1bn (£787 million) transfer for work on stretches totalling 50 miles in eastern New Mexico and Yuma, Arizona.But he signalled then that environmentalists and border communities covered in Friday’s ruling were likely to prevail in their claims that the administration illegally shifted money that Congress never intended or approved for the wall.Mr Gilliam last month cited “Congress’ ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures – even when that control may frustrate the desires of the executive branch”, and on Friday saw no reason to reverse course.“Defendants do not have the purported statutory authority to reprogram and use funds for the planned border barrier construction,” Mr Gilliam wrote.He acknowledged the government’s “strong interest in border security”, but said: ”Absent such authority, defendants’ position on these factors boils down to an argument that the Court should not enjoin conduct found to be unlawful because the ends justify the means. No case supports this principle.”Mr Gilliam’s latest 11-page opinion delivered a victory to the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had argued the wall would irreparably harm “recreational and aesthetic interests” in desert expanses that include national monuments, wildlife refuge and reserves and rivers, they said.Together with the US Justice Department, both sides had asked Mr Gilliam to speed up his ruling and enter final judgment so one of the president’s signature initiatives could quickly go before the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Friday.However, earlier in the day, attorneys for the Justice Department and ACLU notified Mr Gilliam that the government had said it planned to move ahead by Monday on the El Centro and Tucson border barrier projects and asked Mr Gilliam if he intended to rule before then, so if he didn’t they could file emergency motions over the weekend.In all, Mr Gilliam’s rulings blocked $ 2.5bn (£1.97bn) of the $ 6.7bn (£5.28bn) that the administration planned to transfer for the effort beyond the $ 1.375bn (£1.08bn) Congress allotted last winter.When Congress declined to sign off on spending at the levels sought by the president, Mr Trump eventually declared a national emergency in February to redirect mostly military-designated funding to pay for the project.Mr Gilliam said the administration’s plan to transfer counter-drug funding appeared to be illegal because the law the administration invoked applies only to “unforeseen” needs, whereas Trump had demanded funding since early 2018 and even in his campaign.“We applaud the court’s decision to protect our Constitution, communities, and the environment today,” said Gloria Smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club.“Walls divide neighbourhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources that should instead be used on the infrastructure these communities truly need.”“Congress was clear in denying funds for Trump’s xenophobic obsession with a wasteful, harmful wall,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.“This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no power to spend taxpayer money without Congress’s approval.”On a separate legal challenge to wall funding, US District Judge Trevor McFadden in Washington DC, in May tossed out a lawsuit by the Democrat-led House of Representatives to block the spending transfers, arguing that President Trump unconstitutionally diverted appropriated funds in violation of Congress’s power of the purse.The House has appealed that case to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.Washington Post



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Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused

Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accusedMoscow must ensure that those charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 face justice, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, after international investigators accused three Russians and a Ukrainian over the disaster. The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals. The Dutch-led inquiry team on Wednesday said international arrest warrants had been issued for Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are suspected of roles in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic.



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Dutch investigators to charge four suspects with murder over downing of MH17

Dutch investigators to charge four suspects with murder over downing of MH17Four men with links to the Russian military have been charged with murdering nearly 300 people on board an airliner shot down over Ukraine. Dutch investigators issued international arrest warrants for Russians Igor "Strelkov" Girkin, Oleg Pulatov, and Sergic Dubinsky, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. The men are accused of procuring and organising the deployment of the Russian missile launcher that shot down flight MH17 in 2014. Announcing the charges on Wednesday, Fred Westerbeke, the Netherlands’ chief prosecutor, condemned the Kremlin for trying to obstruct the investigation. "We have the proof that the Russian Federation was involved in this tragedy one way or another," he said. "Russia has not provided any information…and that is a slap in the face of all of the relatives of the bereaved," he said. Former FSB officer Igor "Strelkov" Girkin was the top separatist commander when MH17 was shot down Credit:  MAXIM ZMEYEV/REUTERS All 298 people on board flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed when it was blown out of the sky by a Russian-made Buk missile on July 17, 2014. About two thirds of the victims were Dutch. Ten Britons were also killed. It was the bloodiest single day in the war between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatist forces which has killed more than 10,000 people over the past five years. An image showing the Russian Buk missile launcher that shot down MH17 moving through separatist held territory before the incident.  Credit: Universal News & Sport (Europe) Russia has always denied involvement. But Australia and the Netherlands said last year that they hold Russia legally responsible for the shootdown and have said they will seek reparations. The Dutch-led joint investigation team, which also includes Australian, Malaysian, Belgian and Ukrainian investigators, said the men named on Wednesday were instrumental in bringing the Buk 9M38  missile involved into Ukraine from Russia. All were senior members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), a separatist movement largely funded and directed from Moscow. Mr Girkin, a former officer in Russia’s Federal Security Service, was the DNR’s “minister of defence” and top military commander at the time. Investigators painstakingly reconstructed the nose of MH17 to analyse the missile damage Credit: Dutch Safety Board Mr Dubinsky, Mr Pulatov, and Mr Kharchenko ran the DNR's military intelligence service, which is believed to have controlled and escorted the Russian BUK missile launcher on the day of the downing. Investigators say Mr Pulatov and Mr Dubinsky are serving or former members of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency. Mr Westerbeke said he was “realistic” about the prospects of bringing the suspects, who currently reside in Russia and separatist-held parts of Ukraine, to trial. But he added that investigations into the chain of command would continue, and that detectives are anxious to speak to soldiers from the 3rd battalion of Russia’s 53rd air defence brigade, which they believe provided the weapon and the crew. A separatist fighter stands on wreckage of the airliner near the village of Grabovo in July 2014 Credit: MAXIM ZMEYEV/Reuters He declined to say how far up the Russian chain of command the investigation could lead. But part of the evidence presented on Wednesday was an intercepted telephone conversation in which Alexander Borodai, DNR’s “prime minister,” asks Vladislav Surkov, an influential advisor to Vladimir Putin, for military reinforcements. Silene Fredriksz, whose son and daughter-in-law were killed in the disaster, said she was “satisfied” with the announcement. "There is a court case on March 9 2020 against four people for murder," she told reporters after family members were briefed on the charges. "I am happy that the trial is finally going to start and that the names have been announced. It's a start.” The Kremlin said it had no reason to trust the investigation and that its position on the incident has not changed. "Russia was unable to take part in the investigation despite expressing an interest right from the start and trying to join it,” said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin. The Russian foreign ministry called the findings "absolutely unfounded accusations aimed at discrediting the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community." Mr Girkin, who has fallen out of favour with the Kremlin since 2014, said in a statement: "I can only say that militia did not shoot down the Boeing." The man who answered a phone number previously listed for Sergei Dubinsky said he did not know him. Emails to addresses linked to Mr Dubinsky and Mr Pulatov did not immediately receive a response. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, said:  “The Russian Federation must now cooperate fully with the prosecution and provide any assistance it requests in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2166. “The charges brought against these individuals today show that the international community stands together against the impunity of those responsible for the despicable murder of 298 innocent people.”



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Trucker arrested in fiery Colorado pileup that killed four

Trucker arrested in fiery Colorado pileup that killed fourThe crash turned a stretch of Interstate 70, a major east-west highway, into a raging inferno on Thursday that involved at least 28 vehicles and may have damaged the road surface and an overpass, authorities said. Lakewood, Colorado police said they arrested Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, after he lost control of his tractor-trailer truck and started a chain-reaction during the late afternoon rush hour. “At that time of day we all know that I-70 can be very jammed,” police spokesman Ty Countryman told reporters near the scene.



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Venezuela has endured four days of blackouts. This is what it looks like there

Venezuela has endured four days of blackouts. This is what it looks like thereVenezuela is already experiencing a political crisis. Now, its citizens are enduring the fourth day of blackouts across the country.



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Trump Budget Sees $1 Trillion Deficits for Next Four Years

Trump Budget Sees $  1 Trillion Deficits for Next Four YearsThe fiscal 2020 proposal sees the deficit expanding to $ 1.1 trillion for 2019 and 2020, when Trump will run for re-election. The budget deficit has already climbed 77 percent in the first four months of the current fiscal year through September, according to Treasury Department data. Growing budget deficits would run contrary to the narrative put forth by the Trump administration that a package of tax cuts that took force last year will pay for themselves through faster economic growth.



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U.S. judge gives Trump ex-aide Manafort leniency: under four years in prison

U.S. judge gives Trump ex-aide Manafort leniency: under four years in prisonU.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis imposed the surprisingly lenient 47-month sentence on Manafort, 69, during a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, in which the veteran Republican political consultant asked for mercy but expressed no remorse for his actions. Manafort was convicted by a jury last August of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. Ellis disregarded federal sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors that called for 19-1/2 to 24 years in prison.



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Paul Manafort sentencing: Trump's former campaign manager sentenced to less than four years in jail for fraud

Paul Manafort sentencing: Trump's former campaign manager sentenced to less than four years in jail for fraudPaul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, has been sentenced by a judge to 47 months in jail – considerably less than prosecutors had sought for the 69-year-old known for wearing $ 10,000 suits. In what came as nothing less than a jolt to observers – prosecutors had requested he be jailed for up to 25 years – the man who served as Mr Trump’s campaign chief for a short but crucial few months, appeared to have been successful in his appeal to the federal judge TS Ellis to show mercy. There was no immediate reaction from either special counsel Robert Mueller or the president.



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Four US tourists, pilot killed in Kenya chopper crash

Four US tourists, pilot killed in Kenya chopper crashFour American tourists and a Kenyan pilot were killed when their helicopter crashed on a remote island in a lake in northwest Kenya, police said Monday. “There were five people on board, four of them were US citizens and the pilot, Capt Marious Magonga,” the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. Magonga was also a pilot for Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, who owned the crashed helicopter.



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