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CIA found Putin 'probably directing' campaign against Biden: report

CIA found Putin probably directing anti Biden interference
American intelligence agencies believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind a disinformation campaign targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, according to a new report.

A top-secret CIA assessment concluded Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach engaged in peddling "disparaging information about Biden inside the United States through lobbyists, Congress, the media and contacts with figures close to the president," two sources with knowledge of the report told The Washington Post.

“We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November,” the first line of the document reportedly reads.

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Kentucky man faces $750,000 fine, possible jail time for violating Canada's Quarantine Act

John Pennington

A Kentucky man traveled to a Canadian resort for some fun during the pandemic.

Instead, he got a visit from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for violating Canada's Quarantine Act – and now faces big fines and possible jail time.

John Pennington, 40, of Walton, Kentucky, was fined $1,200 on June 25 after staff at a Banff hotel called the police saying they believed the U.S. citizen was violating COVID-19 quarantine laws.

He could also face a fine of up to $750,000 or six months in jail.

Pennington could not be immediately reached for comment.

Americans are not allowed into Canada. But many have used a loophole to travel through Canada on the way to and from Alaska.

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U.N. chief says no action on U.N. Iran sanctions due to 'uncertainty'

UN chief

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that he triggered a 30-day process at the council leading to the return of U.N. sanctions on Iran on Saturday evening that would also stop a conventional arms embargo on Tehran from expiring on Oct. 18.

But 13 of the 15 Security Council members say Washington’s move is void because Pompeo used a mechanism agreed under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which the United States quit in 2018.

“There would appear to be uncertainty whether or not the process ... was indeed initiated and concomitantly whether or not the (sanctions) terminations ... continue in effect,” Guterres wrote in a letter to the council, seen by Reuters.

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Reuters: U.S. to slap sanctions on over two dozen targets tied to Iran arms

Iran presidentThe United States on Monday will sanction more than two dozen people and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear, missile and conventional arms programs, a senior U.S. official said, putting teeth behind U.N. sanctions on Tehran that Washington argues have resumed despite the opposition of allies and adversaries.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea. He did not provide detailed evidence regarding either assertion.

The new sanctions fit into U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to limit Iran’s regional influence and come a week after U.S.-brokered deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, pacts that may coalesce a wider coalition against Iran while appealing to pro-Israel U.S. voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

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Covid-19: Tighter national rules considered for England by government

UK's new guidelines for Covid

The government is considering a short period of tighter rules which could be announced in the next week, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.

Schools and most workplaces would be kept open during those weeks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the government is "prepared to do what it takes" against Covid-19.

It comes as the UK recorded a further 4,322 confirmed cases of coronavirus - the first time the daily total of positive tests has exceeded 4,000 since 8 May.

Another 27 deaths were reported within 28 days of a positive test.

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Israel returns to lockdown as COVID-19 cases mount

Israel under second lockdownIsrael entered a second nationwide lockdown on Friday at the onset of the Jewish high-holiday season, forcing residents to stay mostly at home amid a resurgence in new coronavirus cases.

A lockdown was imposed in late March and eased in May as new cases tapered off, reaching single-digit lows, but in the past week, new cases have reached daily highs of more than 5,000.

Israeli leaders have acknowledge they lifted measures too soon, but the move to reimpose sweeping restrictions has angered residents struggling amid an economic downturn.

“I strongly oppose lockdown. I feel like this is a mistake by the government I voted for, and I think that our freedoms and economy are destroyed by this decision,” Jerusalem resident David Khosid said. Israel’s unemployment rate is over 20%.

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Trump and US global image plunge during pandemic, survey finds

Trump and global image plunge around globe

The image of the US and Donald Trump around the world has plunged from poor to the abysmal over the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a global survey.

A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center of more than 13,000 adults in 13 advanced economies between 10 June and 3 August shows international confidence in the US and its president sharply down across the board, reaching historical lows in several countries.

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