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Saturday, Jun 24th

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Tillerson Declines Request To Host Ramadan Event

Rex Tillerson refused to host Ramadan breakfastSecretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.

Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.

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Close friend of Trump investigated over alleged €170m tax evasion

Close friend of Trump investigated for tax evasionA close friend and major fundraiser for Donald Trump is under investigation in Italy for allegedly evading €170m (£147m, $190m) in taxes after the sale of a luxury resort on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, the beach playground frequented by Gulf Arabs and Russian oligarchs.

Thomas Barrack played a critical role in Trump’s 2016 election campaign and inauguration and has been described as one of the president’s key advisers outside the West Wing.

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Clapper on Kushner-Russia reports: My ‘warning light was clearly on’

James ClapperFormer Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that he and the intelligence community were “very concerned” about reports that White House adviser Jared Kushner discussed establishing secretive back channels with the Kremlin.

“I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians,” the former intelligence chief told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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How Our Military Discards Its Wounded Troops

Discarding our wounded veteransWhen I joined the Army, I took a creed to “never leave a fallen comrade.” Now it appears that the military community to which I belong is failing to honor that creed.

I was disheartened but unsurprised to read the newly released Government Accountability Office report finding that 62% of servicemembers who received less than honorable discharges suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, or other mental-health illnesses. Misconduct based discharges, or “bad papers,” bar more than 57,000 veterans from receiving many benefits, including treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Marine officers are drugged, robbed after Bogotá pub crawl and could face charges

Marines drugged, robbed in BogotaThree married U.S. Marine officers have found themselves under investigation for a night in February that went off the rails in Bogotá, involving allegations they went drinking with some local women, were slipped illicit drugs, robbed of U.S. property and landed in a local hospital emergency room.

The men may have fallen prey to what is known as “burundanga poisoning,” according to a report on the investigation conducted by the Marine Corps Forces, South, a Southern Command subsidiary, and obtained by the Miami Herald.

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Alaska volcano erupts, triggers highest aviation warning

Alaska volcano eruptsAlaska's Bogoslof Volcano erupted Sunday, sending a plume of ash at least 35,000 feet into the air and temporarily triggering the highest aviation alert, scientists say.

The Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted at 2:16 p.m. Sunday, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The eruption lasted 55 minutes.
No further ash emissions have occurred at Bogoslof Volcano since the explosion, and seismic activity remains low, according to the observatory.

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China Charges Activist From Taiwan With ‘Subverting State Power’

China charges Taaiwanese human rights activistLee Ming-cheh, a human rights advocate from Taiwan who was detained in China in March, has been formally arrested on a charge of “subverting state power,” the Chinese government has announced, amid a continuing crackdown on civil society organizations.

His arrest, announced on Friday, marks the first time the Chinese authorities have charged someone from Taiwan with subversion. Many people in Taiwan fear it will not be the last, and it has added a new strain to the tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

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Grassley calls for investigation into Chinese promotion of Kushner family company deal

Grassley calls for investigation into Kushner family China dealSen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is calling for an investigation into “potentially fraudulent statements and misrepresentations” made by a Chinese company promoting investments in property partly managed by White House adviser Jared Kushner's family's company.

Reuters noted that Grassley cited one of its reports in a May 25 letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission calling for the probe.

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North Korea Test-Fires Another Ballistic Missile

N. Korea fires another missile - May 28, 2017North Korea test-fired what appeared to be another ballistic missile on Sunday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, further defying international pressure on the isolated nation to give up its missile and nuclear programs.

South Korea’s military identified the projectile as a short-range Scud missile. It had been been launched from near the coastal city of Wonsan and flew about 280 miles east.

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