Judge excoriates Trump ex-adviser Flynn, delays Russia probe…

WASHINGTON ( ) – A U.S. judge fiercely criticized President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday for lying to FBI agents in a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and delayed sentencing him until Flynn has finished helping prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that he had arguably betrayed his country. Sullivan also noted that Flynn had operated as an undeclared lobbyist for Turkey even as he worked on Trump’s campaign team and prepared to be his White House national security adviser.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his December 2016 conversations with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador in Washington, about U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow by the administration of Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. The conversations took place between Trump’s November election victory and his inauguration in January 2017.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, leading the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia ahead of the election, had asked the judge not to sentence Flynn to prison because he had already provided “substantial” cooperation over the course of many interviews.

Lying to the FBI carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. Flynn’s plea agreement stated that he was eligible for a sentence of between zero and six months.

Sullivan sternly told Flynn his actions were abhorrent, noting that Flynn had also lied to senior White House officials, who in turn misled the public. The judge said he had read additional facts about Flynn’s behavior that have not been made public.

At one point, Sullivan asked prosecutors if Flynn could have been charged with treason, although the judge later said he had not bee上海419论坛n suggesting such a c,爱上海同城交流论坛Ida,harge was warranted.

“Arguably, you sold your country out,” Sullivan told Flynn. “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense.”

U.S. House panel offers alternative to retirement adviser rule

WASHINGTON ( ) – Legislation to bypass the U.S. Labor Department and have Congress set standards for brokers who give retirement advice passed a major committee on Wednesday and is now headed to the full House of Representatives.

Although the bill faces slim chances of becoming law, it reveals the depth of feuding in Washington over the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law’s requirement that retirement advisers follow a “fiduciary” standard that puts their clients’ interests first.

The requirement aims to end potential conflicts of interest by brokers who advise on individual retirement accounts and to protect con,上海419论坛体验Jackson,sumers from buying unnecessary investment products that line brokers’ pockets.

Last week, the Labor Department sent a revised proposal for an adviser rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Details will not be made public until the White House comple,021上海贵族宝贝论坛Jacklyn,tes its review. This was the department’s second stab at a r,上海后花园1314上海419论坛龙凤论坛上不去Lark,ule. Wide criticism from the industry and lawmakers alike forced it to withdraw its initial proposal in 2011.

The House Ways and Means Committee split along party lines as it debated the legislation, which would create a “best interest requirement” and lay out processes for advisers to follow.

Republicans, the majority, touted it as a workable alternative to the Labor Department’s rule, which they said could “frighten off” middle-income investors from seeking advice and give advisers incentives to work only for wealthy clients.

They took issue with how the Labor Department drafted its rule, as well, saying the first version was panned by thousands of people and complaining that the current version lacked transparency.

“Just disclose it,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, of Illinois, who helped write the bill, in comments directed at the department. “You’ve written it. It’s done. It’s not holy text.”

Democrats said lawmakers should wait to see the Labor Department’s rule before bypassing it. They also complained there were no hearings on the bill, introduced in December, and said industry pressure was behind a sudden rush to pass it.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, would likely veto the legislation if it passed both the House and the Senate. Democrats cautioned that the bill’s major effect, then, will be to hamper negotiations lawmakers might want to have with his administration. Since the initial version was released, Democrats have raised potential problems they see in the rule with the Labor Department.

House panel approves plan to privatize air traffic control

WASHINGTON ( ) – A Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives panel approved legislation to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system on Thursday as part of a six-year bill to authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Democrats failed in their attempt to amend the legislation to retain the flight service as part of the FAA.

By a 32-26 vote along party lines, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent the measure to the floor for consideration by the full House.

Republicans, including committee Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, say air traffic control must be transferred t,上海后宫阁419Radcliff,o the private sector to protect the system from deficit reductions and government shutdowns and to ensure timely upgrade of decades-old technology.

“Our,上海后花园阿拉网Earl, proposal ensures that the air traffic organization can operate as a high-tech service provider, not as a huge bumbling bureaucracy,” Shuster said at a hearing to mark up the legislation for full House consideration.

The failed Democratic amendment to keep air traffic control within the FAA would have made FAA funding mandatory, protecting it from political squabbles over the budget. It would also have required reforms to ensure adequate controller staffing and the more efficient FAA adoption of new technology.

“The only guarantee with privatization is years of transition costs and litigation,” said Representative Peter DaFazio, the top Democrat on the committee, who had introduced the amendment. “Regrettably, including this controversial proposal in this legislation is likely to hold up enactment of the rest of the bill.”

The committee also rejected a proposed Democratic amendment that would have lifted existing restrictions on the ability of the U.S. Transportation Department to regulate air shipments of lithium batteries, seen by safety experts as dangerou,上海楼风419论坛Fabi,s fire hazards when transported as cargo.

Over the objections of Democrats, the panel approved a measure directing the FAA to authorize package delivery by commercial drones within a year and to establish a pilot program for testing a traffic management system for unmanned aircraft. The FAA expects to issue commercial drone regulations late this summer, but drone advocates fear the rules will not accommodate sophisticated technologies needed for package del上海419论坛ivery.

Also accepted was a Republican amendment to encourage Uber-style flight sharing by allowing private pilots to use the Internet to find multiple passengers willing to share flight expenses.

UAE court upholds 10-year jail sentence of rights activist Mansoor

DUBAI ( ) – A court in the United Arab Emirates upheld on Monday a 10-year jail sentence against pro-democracy campaigner Ahmed Mansoor for criticizing the government on social media, two sources said on Monday.

The state security court’s ruling against Mansoor, who prior to his imprisonment had been one of a tiny number of publicly active rights campaigners in the UAE, was later reported by the Abu Dhabi-government,爱上海同城aishEden, owned National newspaper.

A trade and tourism hub, the UAE is an absolute monarchy which tolerates little public criticism. Mansoor, a 49-year-old electrical engineer and poet, was among five activists convicted of insulting the UAE’s rulers in 2011. They were pardoned the same year.

He was arrested again in March 2017 at his home in Ajman, on charges of publishing false information and rumors, promoting a sectarian and hate-incited agenda, and using social media to “harm national unity and social harmony and damage the country’s reputation”.

In May 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and handed a fine of 1 million dirhams ($270,000).

The court upheld both the jail sentence and fine on Monday, the two sources said on condition of anonymity.

The National also said that Mansoor would remain under surveillance for three years upon his release and that Monday’s ruling was not subject to further appeal.

United Nations human rights experts, the European Parliament and rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), are among those to have urged the UAE to release Mansoor and condemned his detention as ,爱上海419论坛Fabiana,a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.

In 2015 Mansoor received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, an annual prize awarded by a panel of international human rights NGOs, for his work documenting the human rights situation in the UAE.

Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said: “Instead of punishing Ahmed Mansoor for daring to express his opinions, the authorities must ensure his conviction and sentence are quashed and release him immediately and unconditionally.”

Human Rights Watch said in March 2018 it believed Mansoor was being held in solitary co,上海后花园龙凤Kai,nfinement, a concern echoed in a resolution by the European Parliament on the case.

上海419论坛The UAE’s railroading of prominent human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor is yet another stain on the country’s reputation,” Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at HRW, said.

“So long as Mansoor remains in prison, no amount of money nor army of public relations firms will be able to wash away this stain.”

South Carolina house speaker pleads guilty in ethics case, to resign

CHARLESTON S.C. ( ) – South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal ethics charges and agreed to immediately resign from the legislature.

Harrell, a Republican who上海龙凤419 became speaker in 2005, pleaded guilty to six counts that included using campaign funds for personal expenses, misconduct in office and false reporting, in a case that has laid low a key figure in the state Republican Party.

Harrell also agreed to cooperate with investigators going forward and to submit to polygraph tests, prosecutors said, raising the specter of further probes into other top state officials.

“I have agreed to this today to end what has been a two-year nightmare,” Harrell said in a statement. “To continue to fight this would have taken at least another year, possibly two.”

Harrell, who was indicted last month on nine criminal counts that included falsifying his private plane’s logbook to seek payment for non-existent travel, had previously denied any willful wrongdoing.

Under the plea agreement, Harrell will serve three years’ probation of a suspended six-year prison sentence and will pay a $30,000 fine, prosecutor David Pascoe said at a hearing in Columbia, the state capital.

He also agreed to surrender roughly $94,000 in campaign funds that he stood accused of paying himself for the personal use of his plane, Pascoe said.

Harrell, who suspended himself from the legislature a day after his indictment, has called the case against him a “politi,爱上海Leandra,cal vendetta” carried out by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, a fellow Republican, who ordered the investigation and convened a grand jury before appointing Pascoe.

In a statement, Wilson said his office would help ensure that Harrell upholds the terms of the agreement.

“This matter has confirmed that no one in South Carolina is above the law,” Wilson said in the s,上海419论坛Edgar,tatement, in which he declined to comment further on the case.

Chilean archbishop seeks dismissal of sex abuse cover-up charges

( ) – Attorneys for Chile’s most senior cleric said on Friday they will ask a judge to drop charges he covered up sexual abuse amid a scandal that has rocked the Chilean Roman Catholic Church and prompted a major civil investigation.

The ongoing church sex abuse scandal in the Andean nation has prompted Pope Francis to open ,爱上海Sandra,an investigation that has led to the resignations of several bishops and priests.

Lawyers for Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, have requested more time to prepare their case after Ezzati was originally due to be questioned by a civil prosecutor last month.

Ezzati’s defense team, which includes lawyer Hugo Rivera, has determined that the archbishop’s case does not qualify as a “cover-up,” Rivera told reporters on Friday.

“After a long review of the background … w上海龙凤419e are totally and absolutely convinced that this case does not meet the requirements established by law,” Rivera said.

The lawyers said they are due to discuss a settlement to dismiss the charges with prosecutors before a judge in the central Chilean city of Rancagua on Oct. 5.

The sex abuse crisis has gripped Chile’s Catholic Church since 2011, when Chilean priest Fernando Karadima was found guilty by the Vatican of abusing children in the 1970s and 1980s. The allegations prompted a probe that has led to the ousting of bishops and other priests.

All of Chile’s 34 bishops offered to resign en masse in May after attending a meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up.

Earlier on Friday, Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing the total to seven.

With the latest resignations, the pope has removed the leadership of about ,爱上海419Jagger,20 percent of the Latin American country’s dioceses.

Another political murder rocks Mexico in last weeks of presidential…

MEXICO CITY ( ) – Gunmen shot and killed a mayor running for re-election in Mexico on Thursday, the second murder 爱上海of a politician in a week after a candidate running for federal office was shot in the back of the head while taking a selfie with a supporter.

At least 113 politicians have been killed in the bloodiest election campaign in Mexico’s modern history, and the violence appears to be intensifying in the final weeks before the July 1 nationwide election.

Political assassinations have rocked the electoral season leading up to July 1, when voters will decide over 3,000 down-ballot seats and ele,上海千花网Lark,ct a new president.

Widespread disenchantment with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) over record levels of violence, political corruption and sluggish economic growth has helped propel leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to lead voter preferences for the presidency.

The mayoral candidate, Alejandro Chavez Zavala, of the right-left coalition led by,爱上海Nelson, the National Action Party (PAN), died in a hospital on Thursday while being treated for wounds, Michoacan Governor Silvano Aureoles said in a tweet.

Aureoles demanded justice for the small-town mayor’s murder and said that authorities would investigate the attack, in which Chavez’s wife was also injured.

The announcement of Chavez’s death follows the disappearance of Ismael Aguirre Rodriguez, a mayoral candidate in Nadadores, a hamlet in northern Coahuila state. Aguirre went missing in broad daylight on Tuesday after he stepped out to buy drinks, according to local media.

Fernando Puron, a federal candidate for the PRI, was slain Friday in Coahuila state after a bearded gunman opened fire on him as he greeted sup,上海龙凤419Jayla,porters following a political debate in Piedras Negras, a border city in northern Mexico. The shocking scene was captured on a CCTV camera.

According to Mexico City-based security consultancy Etellekt, at least 113 candidates and politicians have been killed since September. Many of the,爱上海419Fergie, slain candidates were running for local office.

“The risk going forward is that there will be reluctance to participate in local politics because it has become so dangerous,” said Michael Lettieri, a historian at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego.