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Kim Jong Nam trial resumes as Vietnamese suspect takes the stand

Kim Jong Nam trial resumes as Vietnamese suspect takes the standThe trial of two women accused of killing Kim Jong-un’s half-brother will resume in Malaysia after months of delay on Monday, with a Vietnamese suspect in the case taking to the stand for the first time.  In a brazen plot resembling a spy thriller, Doan Thi Huong, 29, from Vietnam, and Siti Aisyah, 25, from Indonesia, are suspected of assassinating Kim Jong Nam, 45, by smearing lethal VX nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.  The women were ordered to testify in an August ruling by High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin, who said that it could be inferred from evidence presented in court that there was a "well-planned conspiracy" between them and four North Korean suspects to kill Kim. The North Koreans remain at large.  He said he "cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination" but noted there was no concrete evidence to support this.  The two young women, both from impoverished backgrounds but with aspirations for stardom, have claimed since their arrest shortly after the murder that they were duped by North Korean agents into believing that they were actors in a TV prank show when they wiped the toxic substance on Kim’s face.  Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia, will also stand trial Credit: Reuters Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, one of Ms Doan’s lawyers, told The Telegraph that she was “well and fine” ahead of the trial, but added that “there is definitely a bit of anxiety.” His client’s main line of defence would be that she had “no knowledge” of the audacious conspiracy, he said. “She will take the oath and testify the truth as per her police statement that she gave when she was arrested.” Mr Hisyam said he was “very confident” that his client would be acquitted based on the evidence and her statement. However, the trial is set is expected to require several hearings.  The pair of women have been on trial since October 2017 but proceedings have been hit by repeated delays, and Ms Aisyah's defence – which was originally due to start last year – is currently on hold due to a row over witness statements.  Last year prosecutors presented their case, calling 34 witnesses. Some described how the victim died in agony when his body quickly seized up as the substance took effect.  Kim was the estranged relative of the North Korean leader and it is widely believed he was targetted for being a perceived threat to the isolated regime.  South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies.  The women are the only two suspects in custody, after four accused North Koreans – the alleged masterminds of the plot – fled Malaysia and went into hiding.  A murder conviction currently carries a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia, although plans are afoot by the Malaysian government to abolish capital punishment for all crimes.



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Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

Where the investigations related to President Trump standWASHINGTON (AP) — A look at where the investigations related to President Donald Trump stand and what may lie ahead for him:



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Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledges

Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledgesPakistan will release a captured Indian pilot on Friday, Pakistan's prime minister told a joint session of parliament Thursday, in an overture towards New Delhi after soaring tensions fuelled fears of conflict between the nuclear-armed rivals. "As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow," Imran Khan said, a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down in a rare aerial engagement between the South Asian neighbours over the disputed region of Kashmir. The adversaries on Wednesday night and Thursday morning continued to trade fire over their disputed Kashmir frontier while Delhi demanded the return of its airman. In contrast to world leaders, who continued to call for the nuclear armed neighbours to show restraint, members of India's ruling party have called for more military action against Pakistan. The US said the risks from either of the adversaries taking more military action were “unacceptably high”. Delhi demanded the “immediate and safe return” of Wg Cdr Varthaman who was captured after his aircraft was lost during a dogfight with Pakistani jets on Wednesday. India called for the immediate and safe return of Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman Indian anger over the suicide bombing of a security convoy that killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Kashmir earlier this month has prompted the most severe showdown between the neighbours in nearly two decades. India blames the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group for the attack this week launched air strikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan responded with its own strikes and the said it had shot down two Indian jets, capturing Wg Cdr Abhinandan. Pakistani police say troops deployed in the disputed region of Kashmir continued trading fire with India overnight, forcing villagers living near the contested frontier to flee to safety. Police official Mohammad Tahir says cross-border fire continued into Thursday but there were no casualties. Pulwama suicide attack – Map Meanwhile Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, told a rally of supporters that his country's enemies were conspiring to create instability through terror attacks He didn't mention arch rival Pakistan but said a united India would "fight, live, work and win." The prospect of runaway escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed countries has sent alarm around the world. "The potential risks associated with further military action by either side are unacceptably high for both countries, their neighbours, and the international community," said a White House National Security Council told Bloomberg. Donald Trump, the US president, was more upbeat, saying America had been involved in attempts to persuade the neighbours to climb down. “We have, I think, reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” he said while in Hanoi. “They’ve been going at it, and we’ve been involved in trying to have them stop.”



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An 11-Year-Old Student Was Arrested in Florida After Refusing to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

An 11-Year-Old Student Was Arrested in Florida After Refusing to Stand for the Pledge of AllegianceThe 11-year-old was charged with disruption and resisting arrest



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Florida student faces misdemeanor charges after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

Florida student faces misdemeanor charges after refusing to stand for Pledge of AllegianceAn 11-year-old student in Florida refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and was arrested for a resulting confrontation with a teacher and police officer.



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Donald Trump demands Britain puts jihadists on trial as Isil makes desperate last stand

Donald Trump demands Britain puts jihadists on trial as Isil makes desperate last standDonald Trump has demanded Britain and its continental neighbours repatriate their captured Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters and put them on trial – or face the terrorists being set free to "permeate Europe." In a strongly-worded message tweeted late on Saturday night, the US president warned he would have little choice but to release approximately 800 "jihadists" currently held by American-backed Kurdish forces in Syria. He said now was the time for the ant-Isil coalition partners to "step up" and take over ownership of its rogue citizens who threaten the safety of Europe. Mr Trump's remarks came as the Sunday Telegraph exclusively revealed intense concern in Washington that "time is running out" to bring the terror group’s fighters to justice as coalition forces prepare to declare victory within days. "The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial," he wrote.  The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them……..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019 "The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.." "The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so  much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!" Time is rapidly running out to establish a coherent strategy with Isil fighters now controlling a pocket of land just 700 metres square in eastern Syria. At its height, the terror group controlled an area the size of Britain.     In a final gesture of defiance, surviving Isil militants on Sunday laid down roadblocks around their final redoubt to prevent an estimated 1,000 civilians trapped with them from leaving.   Mr Trump predicted victory would come on Saturday, but commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces commanders have slowed a push on the village of Baghouz with fears that civilians were being used as human shields.    SDF fighters man a checkpoint on the road leading to Bagouz, the last village under Isil control Credit:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images Europe On Saturday, the French army revealed a senior officer was facing punishment after publicly criticising coalition tactics.  Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier said an emphasis on minimizing risk to coalition personnel resulted in unnecessary civilian deaths and destruction of infrastructure that could feed resentment leading to another insurgency in future.  At least seven British Isil members, including two alleged members of the notorious ‘Beatles’ terror cell, are believed to have been captured and held in Syria. But an unknown number of others, including Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old child bride from Bethnal Green, are living in refugee camps and may also pose a threat to the UK.  According to a statement released by Miss Begum's family on Sunday, the teenager has just given birth to a baby boy. Mr Trump's comments put pressure on the British government to rethink its reluctance to commit to taking back the individuals. The village of Bagouz, Isil's ;ast enclave, is seen from an SDF hilltop position on February 14 Credit: Getty Images Europe/Chris McGrath Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary,  insisted last week he would “not hesitate” to prevent the return of anyone who supported terrorist organisations abroad. But yesterday SUN General Lord Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, said the UK had an obligation to accept its citizens. “Usually I disagree with Donald Trump, but on this occasion I think he’s right. “If there are … a large number of foreign fighters in captivity in Syria who originate from countries like the UK, then they are our citizens and we have a responsibility to act responsibly towards them. That means they have got to come back to this country.” And Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, echoed those views. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said: "It's clear, if you are dealing with a British citizen who  wants to return to this country and they're not a dual citizen – so their only citizenship is British citizenship – then we are obliged, at some stage at least, to take them back." ENDS



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Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

Where the investigations related to President Trump standWhere the investigations related to President Donald Trump stand and what may lie ahead for him:



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State of the Union: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuses to stand for Donald Trump as she joins women wearing white in protest

State of the Union: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuses to stand for Donald Trump as she joins women wearing white in protestCongresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – dressed in white in an act of solidarity with other women – declined to join a standing ovation for Donald Trump despite his purported call for “unity”. Mr Trump began his State of the Union address by claiming he wanted to work with the new Congress, including the Democratically-controlled House, in remarks that saw many members of the two chambers stand and applause – among them a number of Democrats, including speaker Nancy Pelosi. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation,” said Mr Trump.



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Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

Where the investigations related to President Trump standA look at where the investigations related to President Donald Trump stand and what may lie ahead for him:



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US judge says Obamacare can stand while appeal is heard

US judge says Obamacare can stand while appeal is heardA US judge who ruled earlier this month that Obamacare is unconstitutional has said the health care law can stand while his decision is appealed. Opposition Democrats, who have seen the law survive previous legal and legislative attacks, view it as a signature achievement of former president Barack Obama. Republicans on the other hand dismiss it as governmental overreach and President Donald Trump made repealing the law a key part of his campaign platform.



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