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18/01/2019
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USA: Much of the Mueller report is already public, but ... What does it say?

The hundreds of published pages from the Special Counsel’s office and the House intelligence committee read like a Le Carré novel.  Mueller vs Trump

Washington DC, Dec.8.– The Mueller investigation has been running for 81 weeks and counting. For much of that time it has offered those yet to get over the 2016 election a chance to fantasise about an alternative ending to the Trump presidency, one in which the good guys get the bad guys and justice is served. The market for this is so strong that there is even a podcast dedicated to investigation speculation, called “Mueller, she wrote”. Lawfare, a wonky legal blog, has become so popular that it has a merchandise section selling Lawfare-branded babygrows.

Yet the investigation is widely misunderstood. Many Americans seem to be waiting for a final report from Robert Mueller’s team, at which point something will happen. Both those assumptions are wrong. The report, when it eventually comes, will probably not be made public. And the judgment on what that report means for the president will be political, rather than legal. It will rest on the views of Republicans in Congress. And many of them would rather not think about it.

Interviews with Republican congressmen, staffers and strategists in the wake of the most recent guilty plea from Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, suggest few have paid it much attention. “I don’t think our members of Congress give a shit about Don Junior, the president’s family, people around the president,” says one. Another likens the party’s situation to the fable of the frog: the water is hotter, but colleagues have adjusted to it. Some quietly calculate that their political futures depend on publicly supporting a president whom they deplore.

Yet the widespread indifference in one party does not mean the special counsel’s investigation is inconsequential. Its seven guilty pleas or convictions are real enough. What has already been revealed, in the hundreds of pages of documents published by the special counsel’s office and the report by the House intelligence committee, is startling. These documents contain a cast of characters that seem drawn from a novel by Eric Ambler or John le Carré ...

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UN General Assembly fails to pass resolution on Hamas

A majority of 87 votes in favor did not reach the 2/3 required to condemn Hamas terrorism. A vote previously called to require a 2/3 majority was narrowly backed by 75 to 72, with 26 abstentions.

For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a record number of countries supported a General Assembly resolution condemning Hamas — but the world body still failed to pass the resolution.

United Nations, NY, Dec.6.– The resolution won a majority of 87 to 57, with 33 abstentions, but did not reach the required two-thirds backing.

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The truth about the naval clash between Russia and Ukraine

Russia attacks and seizes three Ukrainian ships; seeks to landlock eastern Ukraine.

We need to fucking fuck them up, fuck…it seems like the president is controlling all this shit,” a Russian commander tells the captain whose ship rammed a Ukrainian military tug-boat in the Kerch Strait while another used live ammunition against a Ukrainian warship (see video).

It looked more like piracy than self-defence. The Russian coastguards, part of the FSB, or security service, seized the Ukrainian ships and captured 23 sailors, wounding six of them. They took them to Crimea, a chunk of Ukraine that Russia grabbed four years ago. In 2014 Russia acted deniably, sending “little green men” in unmarked fatigues to Crimea. This time its forces acted openly, under the Russian flag.

The crisis did not emerge from out of the blue. It is the culmination of six months of growing Russian pressure on Ukraine. Having in 2004 annexed Crimea, Russia is now restricting access from Ukraine’s eastern ports to the Black Sea, and thence to the Mediterranean and the world.

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The Florida recount is now official. Here's how it will work

A quick breakdown of the process.

Tallahassee, Nov.10 (CNN).– Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced on Saturday that three statewide races in Florida would head to a recount. A lawyer watches as a voting technician sorts ballots at a Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections center in Riviera Beach, Fla., on Saturday.

With the margin of unofficial results in the Senate, gubernatorial and agriculture commissioner races below less than half of one percent (0.5%), a machine recount will commence.

Barring lawsuits, delays, and local issues that could lengthen the process, here's a quick breakdown of what to expect over the next week and a half.

Machine recount
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2018 Open Government Partnership held in Seoul to shed light on participatory democracy

Seoul, Nov.6.– As more and more citizens around the world are taking an active part in politics, reformers are looking for ways to ensure dialogue between governments and society.

The Open Government Partnership Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting 2018 takes place in Seoul on Monday and Tuesday, with participants discussing ways to promote citizens' involvement in political decisions.

This year's OGP meeting was jointly organized by South Korea's interior and safety ministry. Some 600 participants including government officials, lawmakers, professors and citizens discussed ways to promote democracy.

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