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Rhode Island GOP state senator charged with extorting sex

RI Minority Whip charged with soliciting sex from page'An unsealed grand jury indictment accuses a Republican state senator of extorting sex from a page in the Rhode Island Senate page program.

The indictment was unsealed Monday as Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle was arraigned on two counts of extortion in Providence Superior Court. Kettle pleaded not guilty.

Kettle, of Coventry, was indicted last week. State police separately charged him with video voyeurism for allegedly sending pictures of his ex-girlfriend's "private parts."


Key EU banker accused of bribery, Russia ties

Dimitri Pilshchikov accused of bribery, Russian tiesLatvia's top banking official explained the "rules of the game" for successful banking in the small European country. His sidekick sat the owner of Norvik bank down, scribbling the sum on a piece of paper: 100,000 euros ($125,000) a month.

An international complaint filed by Latvian bank Norvik alleges that a "Senior Latvian Official" repeatedly sought "to extort monetary bribes," and retaliated against the bank when its owners refused to pay up. The 39-page claim, filed before a World Bank arbitration body, left the identity of the senior official anonymous.

That person is Ilmars Rimsevics, Norvik bank officials told The Associated Press.


War monitor: 35 dead in Eastern Ghouta in last 24 hours

35 civilians dead near Damascus

At least 35 civilians have been killed near Damascus in less than 24 hours in heavy bombardment by Syrian government forces as they prepare a ground operation to recapture the opposition-held enclave, a war monitor group said.

Air raids and artillery fired on Eastern Ghouta - a suburb of the Syrian capital - killed at least 18 people on Monday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.

At least 17 others, including five children, were killed on Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory, with 75 others wounded.


Rapid fire rifle device on special offer in salute to Trump

Rapid fir rifle device on special in salute to Trump

There’s a Presidents’ Day sale on bump stocks, the device the Las Vegas shooter put on his rifles. Slide Fire Solutions, a bump stocks manufacturer, is offering 10% off with coupon code: MAGA.

That’s a salute to the campaign slogan of President Donald Trump, who promised to “Make America Great Again”, and who has responded to the deadly massacres in the past five months by continuing to oppose any new gun control laws.

“#HeresToFreedom,” the company wrote in a marketing email announcing the sale.



Clapper predicts 'other shoes to drop' in Mueller probe

James Clapper says the other shoe will drop

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper predicted Sunday that there are "other shoes to drop" in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election meddling, including potential ties to the Kremlin by those seeking to sway the election.

Clapper said Friday's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three foreign entities, which includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft, served to validate findings by the intelligence community on Russian election interference.


Rick Gates, ex-Trump aide and Manafort associate, expected to plead guilty in Russia probe

Rick Gates to testify against Manafort

Rick Gates, a former aide to President Trump, will plead guilty to fraud-related charges in the coming days and will testify against Paul Manafort, his former business partner who once ran the Trump campaign, according to a report on Sunday.

“Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a person knowledgeable of the development.

He will revise his plea in federal court in Washington, D.C., in the “next few days.”

Gates and Manafort were indicted last October by special counsel Robert Mueller on charges they laundered millions of dollars they were paid while working for a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.




Florida students turn to activism in wake of shooting

Florida students rise up against gunsThousands gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday to mourn the victims of a deadly school shooting and demand action from politicians amid a renewed debate over the nation's gun laws.

The rally was the culmination of three days of grief and anger that followed the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, roughly 25 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, which left 17 people dead and 14 others injured.

But amid speeches from elected officials and school administrators, it was students — the survivors of the shooting — who led calls to restrict access to firearms.


Iranian Passenger Plane Crashes Into Mountains, Killing 65

iranian plane crashesAn Iranian commercial airplane brought back into service only months ago after being grounded for seven years crashed Sunday in a foggy, mountainous region of southern Iran, and officials said they feared all 65 people on board were killed.

The crash of the Aseman Airlines ATR-72 marks yet another fatal aviation disaster for Iran, which for years was barred from buying airplane parts for needed maintenance due to Western sanctions over its contested nuclear program.

Its nuclear accord with world powers allows it to get those parts and the country has made deals worth tens of billions of dollars for new aircraft. However, President Donald Trump’s refusal to recertify the deal has injected uncertainty into those sales while Iranians still fly in aging aircraft.




‘This Is Who the American People Elected’: White House Grapples with Un-Presidential Trump After School Shooting

This is Who the American people elected

In the days ahead of the long Presidents’ Day weekend, several White House aides had privately conceded to The Daily Beast that they were worried how it would look if their boss decided to go golfing, again.

Entering the weekend directly following the Parkland school shooting—at a time when family and friends of the victims, as well as survivors, were still grappling with what had struck their community—President Donald Trump was already scheduled to spend the next few days at his Florida resort getaway, Mar-a-Lago, where he famously takes long stretches of hours to golf and blow off steam.

Senior White House officials were fully aware of how bad the optics would be, and how aloof the president would appear, if Trump hit the golf course to relax as another Florida community mourned and held memorials.


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