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Tuesday, Jun 18th

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Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Backs Down, but the Protests Continue

Hong Kong protests continueOn Saturday, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced the indefinite suspension of an extradition bill that, during the past week, had brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets—where they faced water cannons, pepper spray, and, for the first time in decades, rubber bullets—in perhaps the territory’s largest demonstrations since the former British colony was returned to China, in 1997.

But a suspension wasn’t enough, and, on Sunday, by some estimates as many as two million people staged another march, demanding a withdrawal of the bill and Lam’s resignation.

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Jared Kushner may have an ethics problem – to the tune of $90m

jared Kushner may have ethics problem

The stench surrounding Jared Kushner has grown more pungent with every passing day.

On Monday, the Guardian’s Jon Swaine reported that, since Kushner entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, a company Kushner co-founded has received over $90m in foreign funding, channeled through secretive offshore companies.

The public has no idea where this money is coming from – a major problem given that Kushner is not just one of Donald Trump’s chief international envoys, he is the de facto chief envoy.

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Heiress, socialite and fashion pioneer Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95

Heiress, socialite and fashion pioneer Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.

Vanderbilt was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who announced her death via an obituary that aired on the network Monday. She had been suffering from advanced stomach cancer.

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Dems investigating Trump have a new tactic to break his blockade

Dems use new tactics to break trump blockade

Democrats investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice are eyeing a new strategy to break the president’s all-out oversight blockade: calling witnesses who never worked in the White House.

Key lawmakers tell POLITICO they hope to make an end run around Trump’s executive privilege assertions by expanding their circle of testimony targets to people outside government who nonetheless had starring roles in Robert Mueller’s final report. That includes presidential confidants like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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Iran Threatens to Violate Nuclear Deal’s Limits on Uranium Enrichment

iran threatens to violate nuclear enrichment limitsIran announced on Monday that it would soon violate a central element of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year, unless it received assurances that Europe will combat punishing American sanctions.

Iran is on track to exceed the deal’s limits on nuclear fuel within days, the country’s Atomic Energy Organization announced. The agency also left the door open to an “unlimited rise” in Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, potentially triggering another flash point with Washington just days after attacks on oil tankers stoked tensions between the two nations.

The move was the country’s latest signal that it will abandon the pact unless other signatories help Iran circumvent economic sanctions imposed by President Trump. The threat seemed aimed primarily at the European signatories, to persuade them to break with Washington and swiiftly restore some of the economic benefits of the deal to Tehran.

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Ousted ex-Egyptian president Mursi dies after court hearing: state TV

Ousted President Mursi dies after appearance in egyptian court Ousted former Egyptian Islamist president Mohamed Mursi died on Monday after he fainted in court following a hearing, state television reported.

Mursi, a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood who was the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s modern history, had been in jail since he was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

State television said Mursi, who was 67, was in court for a hearing on charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islam.

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Supreme Court sends gay wedding cake dispute back to state courts

SC sends bakery case back to lower courtsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a partial victory to the owners of an Oregon bakery who were fined for refusing to provide a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony.

The justices wiped out lower court rulings against the bakers and sent the case back for another round of hearings.

The legal dispute raised the same issues that arose a year ago in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to provide a custom cake to celebrate the wedding of two men. That baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cake, said it would require him to act against his religious views and violate his right of free speech.

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Supreme Court hands Virginia Democrats a win in gerrymandering case

Virginia gerrymandering ruling gives Dems a victoryThe Supreme Court has ruled against the Virginia House of Delegates in a racial gerrymandering case that represents a victory for Democrats in the state.

In the 5-4 ruling, the justices found that the House didn't have the standing to appeal a lower court ruling that found that the new district maps must be used ahead of statewide elections later this year. Those new maps are already in use.

Democrats had claimed that previous districts were unlawful because they featured too many black voters, diminishing their power across the state and in other districts.

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Supreme Court declines to change double jeopardy rule in a case with Manafort implications

SC declines to change double jeopardy ruleThe Supreme Court declined on Monday to change the longstanding rule that says putting someone on trial more than once for the same crime does not violate the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy — a case that drew attention because of its possible implications for President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The 7-2 ruling was a defeat for an Alabama man, Terance Gamble, convicted of robbery in 2008 and pulled over seven years later for a traffic violation. When police found a handgun in his car, he was prosecuted under Alabama's law barring felons from possessing firearms. The local U.S. attorney then charged Gamble with violating a similar federal law. Because of the added federal conviction, his prison sentence was extended by nearly three years.

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