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German media, lawmakers point finger at Moscow over executed Georgian

German media, lawmakers point finger at Moscow over executed GeorgianDespite Russian denials, German politicians and media are blaming Moscow for the Berlin assassination of a Georgian who once fought Russian forces in Chechnya, an affair that could spark a diplomatic crisis. One security source, in comments to German weekly Der Spiegel, described the killing as a second Skripal affair — referring to the attempt on the life of a former Russian agent in England last year. On Friday, August 23, German police arrested a 49-year-old suspect from Russia’s Chechnya republic, shortly after Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, had been shot dead.



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Phoenix police must now report whenever they point a gun at someone

Phoenix police must now report whenever they point a gun at someoneChief Jeri Williams provided an update on Phoenix Police Department changes following a record number of police shootings in 2018.



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US Marine Alexander Curry-Fishtorn, 22, charged in connection with kidnapping Crown Point teen

US Marine Alexander Curry-Fishtorn, 22, charged in connection with kidnapping Crown Point teenA man has been charged in the kidnapping of a Northwest Indiana teenager who was the subject of an Amber Alert last weekend.



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Zimbabwe Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ as Inflation Blacked Out

Zimbabwe Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ as Inflation Blacked Out(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe’s finance minister responded to the country’s worsening economic crisis last week by blacking out inflation statistics for the next six months, boosting the price of the little power that’s available five-fold and admitting what the International Monetary Fund told him in April: the economy will contract for the first time since 2008.At the same time he spoke of fiscal surpluses and a relaxation in local ownership requirements for the key platinum industry. This all happened in a country with daily power cuts of up to 18 hours and shortages of everything from bread to motor fuel. People are receiving food aid in cities for the first time and a drought has necessitated the import of hundreds of thousands of tons of corn.When Robert Mugabe was ousted after four decades in power in late 2017 his replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa, promised economic regeneration and declared that Zimbabwe is “open for business.” Instead things have gone from bad to worse with the effects of rapidly expanding money supply through the sale of Treasury bills under Mugabe’s rule coming home to roost and this year’s outlawing of the U.S. dollar in favor of a local quasi currency that can’t be traded outside the country causing panic.“Zimbabwe is at a tipping point and if it falls over the edge it’s going to be quite a long way in coming back,” said Derek Matyszak, a Zimbabwe-based research consultant for South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies. “The wheels are falling off. There is no way out of a Ponzi scheme other than a massive infusion of cash to pay off your creditors.”The country with the world’s highest inflation rate after Venezuela also suspended annual consumer-price data for the next six months. The authorities need to collect comparable data since the introduction of the new currency in February. That marked a return to 2009, when the country abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar in favor of the U.S. dollar and other currencies after inflation surged to an estimated 500 billion percent.If the more commonly used black-market exchange rate is used, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation is currently 558%, about three times the official rate, while Venezuela’s is 35,004%, according to Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.Scrapping the official annual rate is “no real loss from an analytical perspective,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at NKC African Economics in Paarl, South Africa. “These elevated inflation readings did little more than create panic and damage what little confidence was left.”Still, the decision evokes other countries in crisis. Venezuela halted publication of inflation data and while it periodically releases figures, it isn’t operating on a regular schedule. In 2013, Argentina was censured by the IMF for tampering with its data.A de-linking of the country’s quasi-currencies from parity with the U.S. dollar in February and the re-imposition of the Zimbabwe dollar overnight in June has fueled depreciation with the currency officially trading at 9.28 to the dollar on Aug. 2. The black-market rate was 10.8, according to Marketwatch.co.zw, a website run by analysts. While the government has argued that in the face of foreign-currency shortages it has no choice but to reintroduce its own currency, Hanke disagrees.“The Achilles heel is the introduction of the new currency to the exclusion of the dollar,” he said. “They have decided to go in the completely opposite direction and claimed it’s the best thing since sliced bread and it’s going to be an absolute disaster.”While the cost of basic services has climbed 400% this year, pay rises have been around 10%, said Japhet Moyo, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which has 130,000 members.Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube tried to highlight the country’s first positive current-account balance in a decade as a sign of progress. Since his appointment last year, the government has sold only marginal amounts of Treasury bills. And earlier this year, the Cambridge University-trained economics professor forecast that month-on-month inflation, which surged to 39.3% in June, would be close to zero by year-end.The fundamental problem is that the government has failed to attract significant investment and hasn’t substantially changed the policies of the Mugabe era, said John Robertson, an independent economist in Harare, the capital.“People are very angry” and even though a quarter of the population has already emigrated, more may follow, said Matyszak.“The Zimbabwe I once loved has become a cemetery for my son’s future” said Ashley Randen, an unemployed single mother of a 12-year-old boy in Harare.\–With assistance from Daniel Cancel and Carolina Millan.To contact the reporters on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net;Prinesha Naidoo in Johannesburg at pnaidoo7@bloomberg.net;Ray Ndlovu in Johannesburg at rndlovu1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rene Vollgraaff at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net, Antony SguazzinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shooting

Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shootingAfter a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left 20 people dead, Republican officials partially blamed the attacks of terror on violent video games.



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Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shooting

Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shootingAfter a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left 20 people dead, Republican officials partially blamed the attacks of terror on violent video games.



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Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shooting

Republican officials point to video games after El Paso mass shootingAfter a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left 20 people dead, Republican officials partially blamed the attacks of terror on violent video games.



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Fake presidential seal at Trump's Turning Point USA event was created by a former Republican, reports say

Fake presidential seal at Trump's Turning Point USA event was created by a former Republican, reports sayA graphic artist created a fake presidential seal that mocked President Donald Trump back in 2016, reports say. On Tuesday, it reappeared.



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Point Break: Is Iran Ready to Retaliate Against America?

Point Break: Is Iran Ready to Retaliate Against America?The United States and Iran remain locked in a tense standoff, punctuated by periodic escalations, that could easily transition into a full-blown conflict. Following the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran has been subjected to crushing sanctions that have contracted its economy and put pressure on its leadership. Rather than concede, Iran has responded with increasingly provocative moves—sabotaging several oil tankers, shooting down a U.S. drone, and openly violating the uranium enrichment and storage thresholds in the JCPOA. Many in Washington want the United States to launch military strikes on Iran because they believe the prospect of a war that it would lose would force Iran into submission. Military action is much more likely to backfire, however, since it would only legitimize Iran's nuclear program and make a nuclear arsenal essential to defend itself from the United States.Iran has clearly telegraphed that it would restart uranium enrichment unless America’s European allies—who want to remain in the JCPOA—defy U.S. sanctions and continue to import Iranian oil. Iran’s recent moves are a desperate effort to recapture some of the economic benefits of the deal in exchange for its continued compliance. So far, modest European efforts to that end have done little to ease Iran’s economic crisis. Iran’s recent seizure of a British oil tanker—retaliation for the Royal Navy’s seizure of an Iranian vessel—is likely to make the Europeans even less willing to risk angering the United States on Iran’s behalf.



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UPDATE 6-FBI documents point to Trump role in hush money for porn star Daniels

UPDATE 6-FBI documents point to Trump role in hush money for porn star DanielsFBI documents unsealed on Thursday suggest that Donald Trump was actively involved in engineering a hush-money payment shortly before the 2016 election to a porn actress who said she had a sexual encounter with him, as his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, campaign team and others scrambled to head off a scandal. The documents, released on the orders of U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan, were used by law enforcement officials to obtain a 2018 search warrant that led to FBI raids on Cohen’s home and office. The documents provided the most extensive account to date of what appears to be then-candidate Trump’s personal involvement in the scheme to pay $ 130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to avert a controversy for a campaign already reeling from the release of 2005 audio from the TV program “Access Hollywood” in which Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals.



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