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Saudi Arabia calls allegations of orders to kill Jamal Khashoggi 'baseless lies'

Saudi Arabia calls allegations of orders to kill Jamal Khashoggi 'baseless lies'Saudi Arabia dismissed on Saturday accusations that Jamal Khashoggi was ordered murdered by a hit squad inside its Istanbul consulate as "lies and baseless allegations", as Riyadh and Ankara spa over the missing journalist's fate. As the controversy intensified, the Washington Post reported Turkish officials had recordings made from inside the building that allegedly proved their claims Khashoggi was tortured and killed at the consulate. A Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey for talks, officials said on Friday, with the case risking fragile relations between the two. In the first Saudi ministerial reaction to the accusations about Khashoggi's killing, Interior Minister Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef said that "what has been circulating about orders to kill him are lies and baseless allegations". The Kingdom "is committed to its principles, rules and traditions and is in compliance with international laws and conventions", he added according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The case risks damaging the image of the kingdom and its ties to the West as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promotes a reform drive at home. A security guard walks into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Credit:  Lefteris Pitarakis/AP On Friday night, former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for Britain to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia following the disappearance. Sir Malcolm said the UK Government should work with its allies to punish Riyadh. If other countries refuse to take part, Britain should consider taking unilateral action, he added. He told BBC's Newsnight: "If the current Crown Prince remains in power for the indefinite future, then in the first instance the United Kingdom must work with the United States, France and other countries to see if there can be a combined response, a punishment of some kind, of sanctions of some kind. "If the United States was not willing to take part then the United Kingdom has to consider action that it will take in its own name."   Big names from media and business have already cancelled appearances at a major conference in Riyadh this month. Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. Turkish government sources say police believe he was killed but Riyadh denies that. The Saudi delegation, whose composition was not immediately clear, is expected to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara at the weekend, state media said on Friday. It is likely that they will take part in a joint working group on the case, whose creation was announced Thursday by Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin following a request by Saudi Arabia. A Saudi official source quoted by SPA news agency said it was "a positive move" Turkey had agreed to the creation of what it described as a "joint action team" over Khashoggi's disappearance. Demonstration for missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Washington Credit: Getty The Turkish leadership has so far stopped short of accusing Saudi Arabia, although pro-government media have published sensational claims, including that an "assassination team" was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi. In a rare public comment on the case by a Saudi official, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf al Saud, told the BBC that Riyadh was "concerned" about its citizen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi left the consulate safely. Khashoggi, a Saudi national living in the US since September 2017 fearing arrest, criticised some policies of Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen. The Washington Post reported the Turkish government has told US officials it has audio and video recordings which show how Khashoggi was "interrogated, tortured and then murdered" inside the consulate before his body was dismembered. Turkish officials refused to comment on the veracity of the report. Ankara and Riyadh have been on opposing sides in the region on key issues, including the ousting of the Islamist Egyptian government and last year's Saudi-led blockade on Turkey's regional ally Qatar. Yet as key Sunni Muslim powers they have maintained cordial relations. But despite Riyadh's agreement on Tuesday to let Turkish authorities search the Saudi mission, the probe has not yet taken place. The two sides have been in intense contacts to resolve the issue, local media reported. Pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah said the search of the consulate had not yet happened because Saudi officials would only allow a superficial "visual" probe. The Turkish side did not accept the offer and Sabah said officials wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical that allows forensic teams to discover blood traces. Officers were looking into sound recordings sent from a smart watch that Khashoggi was wearing when he was inside the consulate to a mobile phone which he gave to his Turkish fiancee waiting outside, Hatice Cengiz. Milliyet daily reported that "arguments and shouting" could be heard on the recordings, but Sozcu newspaper said only "some conversations" could be heard. Bloomberg, the Financial Times, The Economist and The New York Times withdrew as media sponsors from the second Future Investment Initiative to be held between October 23-25 in Riyadh dubbed "Davos in the Desert" after the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort. The CEO of ride-hailing app Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, said that he will no longer be attending the event unless "a substantially different set of facts emerges". British entrepreneur Richard Branson said he would suspend two directorshipslinked to tourism projects in Saudi Arabia over concerns about the missing journalist. Amnesty International demanded the Saudi authorities reveal what happened to Khashoggi as it said Riyadh was "responsible at a minimum for enforced disappearance".



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Pope orders 'thorough study' of Vatican documents in McCarrick abuse case

Pope orders 'thorough study' of Vatican documents in McCarrick abuse caseIn a statement, the Vatican appeared to be committing itself to examine the paper trail on the McCarrick case, quoting from speech Francis made in 2015 in which he said “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead”. The latest crisis began in August when Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, said in a bombshell document that the pope knew for years about sexual misconduct by McCarrick with adult male seminarians but did nothing about it. Vigano accused a long list of current and past Vatican and U.S. Church officials of covering up for 88-year-old McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., and called on the pope to resign.



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Turkey orders 61 soldiers detained for suspected Gulen links: media

Turkey orders 61 soldiers detained for suspected Gulen links: mediaTurkish authorities ordered the arrest of 61 soldiers from the navy and land forces, including senior officers, for suspected links to a U.S.-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a 2016 failed coup, state media said on Monday. Eighteen of those ordered detained were on active duty, Anadolu news agency said, adding the suspects included 13 majors and 12 captains from the land forces and 24 first lieutenants from the navy. Authorities have carried out regular sweeps against alleged members of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network since the coup attempt of July 2016, in which 250 people were killed.



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Tanzania leader orders arrests as ferry death toll over 130

Tanzania leader orders arrests as ferry death toll over 130KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Hundreds of solemn people watched Friday as body after body was pulled from a capsized ferry that Tanzanian authorities said was badly overcrowded and upended in the final stretch before reaching shore. The death toll was above 130 but horrified witnesses feared that would rise as a second day of searching neared an end.



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Pope orders inquiry into bishop as U.S. Church leaders discuss abuse crisis

Pope orders inquiry into bishop as U.S. Church leaders discuss abuse crisisThe Vatican and U.S. Church officials announced the investigation on Thursday as the pope was meeting U.S. Catholic Church leaders to discuss a scandal that has shaken his papacy. The Vatican said the pope had appointed Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore to run the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, West Virginia, until Bishop Michael J. Bransfield is replaced. There were no details on the specific allegations against Bransfield and neither he nor his legal representatives could immediately be reached for comment.



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South Carolina orders one million to evacuate ahead of Florence

South Carolina orders one million to evacuate ahead of FlorenceThe storm had winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) and was due to gain strength before making landfall, which the U.S. National Hurricane Center said was likely to occur early Thursday, bringing heavy rain that could cause severe flooding through the region. “We do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane,” Governor Henry McMaster said at a news conference. In North Carolina, officials already had ordered some 250,000 residents and visitors to begin evacuating the Outer Banks barrier islands.



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Philippines' Duterte orders arrest of critical lawmaker

Philippines' Duterte orders arrest of critical lawmakerPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the arrest of a lawmaker fiercely critical of his deadly drug war, the second presidential critic from the Senate to be threatened with detention. Senator Antonio Trillanes, who is holed up in the Senate to avoid arrest, has also in the past accused Duterte of corruption and his son of involvement in drug dealing, drawing a pledge of revenge from the president. Trillanes’ arrest order stems from an amnesty granted in 2010 over his involvement in a coup attempt against then-president Gloria Arroyo and another effort to overthrow her.



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Judge orders US couple to hand crowdfunding money over to homeless veteran

Judge orders US couple to hand crowdfunding money over to homeless veteranA US judge has ordered a couple to hand over the money they raised for a homeless man through a crowdfunding initiative. Kate McClure, 28, and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico, 39 have until Friday afternoon to transfer over the remains of the $ 400,000 (£307,000) they raised.  The couple started the crowdfunding attempt when homeless veteran Johnny Bobbit came to Ms McClure's aid when she ran out of petrol on a motorway. But Mr Bobbitt's lawyers claimed the couple had refused to hand over the majority of the funds to the homeless veteran. On Thursday,  the judge presiding over the case in New Jersey ruled that the remaining cash should be placed in an account controlled by Mr Bobbitt's lawyers and frozen pending a new court ruling. The couple deny Mr Bobbitt's claim they spent the money on themselves. The former marine's tale went viral last year when the couple launched an online appeal to thank Mr Bobbitt for giving his last $ 20 (£15) to Ms McClure after her car ran out of petrol. Had an amazing dinner!!! Best dinner I have had in years! Maybe ever!!!��������������!!! A post shared by Johnny Bobbitt Jr. (@johnnys__journey) on Dec 5, 2017 at 4:47pm PST The overwhelming response led to donations from more than 14,000 well wishers, but the couple's relationship with Mr Bobbitt eventually soured as they accused him of using the money to feed a drug habit. Judge Paula T Dow has now ordered the couple to transfer the money into an account and hire a forensic accountant to review financial records within 10 days, local media reported. Judge Dow said the court would decide how the money would eventually be managed. Jacqueline Promislo, Mr Bobbitt's lawyer, has said she estimates the couple spent about $ 75,000 on his care.  Mr D'Amico recently told US media around $ 150,000 of the fund remains. Mr Bobbitt's legal representatives have claimed the couple spent remaining cash to "fund a lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford". For their part, the couple allege the marine veteran had once spent $ 25,000 of his new wealth on drugs in a single fortnight.



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Trump Orders White House Flag Lowered To Half-Staff Again In Honor Of McCain (UPDATE)

Trump Orders White House Flag Lowered To Half-Staff Again In Honor Of McCain (UPDATE)UPDATE: 4:40 p.m. ― President Donald Trump said in a statement Monday



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Monsanto owners call weed killer 'safe' after jury orders big payout

Monsanto owners call weed killer 'safe' after jury orders big payoutMonsanto’s German owners insisted Saturday that the weed killer Roundup was “safe”, rejecting a California jury’s decision to order the chemical giant to pay nearly $ 290 million for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that the product might cause cancer. While observers predicted thousands of potential future claims against the company in the wake of Monsanto’s defeat, Bayer — which recently acquired the US giant — said the California ruling went against scientific evidence. “On the basis of scientific conclusions, the views of worldwide regulatory authorities and the decades-long practical experience with glyphosate use, Bayer is convinced that glyphosate is safe and does not cause cancer,” the company said in a statement.



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