Charles Smith comments

Posted in: Who is the real Ghislaine Maxwell: Epstein enabler or pawn? See in context

Opening statements in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse case are expected to begin on Monday, as prosecutors try to convince a jury that the British socialite recruited and groomed girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse.

U.S. prosecutors say that between 1994 and 2004, Maxwell — a former employee and romantic partner of Epstein’s — gained the girls’ trust by taking them to the movies, sending them gifts like lingerie and discussing sexual topics, according to a 2021 indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

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Posted in: Australian prime minister attacks French leader's credibility See in context

The U.S.-led submarine contract supplanted a prior French deal to supply Australia with its own diesel-powered submarines. The U.S. argued that the move, which will arm the Pacific ally with higher-quality nuclear-powered boats, will better enable Australia to contain Chinese encroachment in the region.

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Posted in: Not all gloom: World leaders tout success at climate summit See in context

Biden announced a 50 per cent emissions cut for the U.S. by 2030, which is nearly double the target announced by former president Barack Obama. Biden’s goal would represent a serious acceleration for his country, which so far has managed to cut carbon emissions about one percentage point per year since 2005.

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Posted in: Espionage trial starts behind closed doors for 2nd Canadian detained in China See in context

The trial of Michael Kovrig, the second of two Canadians detained in China for more than two years, is underway in Beijing in a closed courtroom, a senior Canadian diplomat said Monday.

China arrested Kovrig, a former diplomat, and fellow Canadian Michael Spavor in December 2018, soon after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei, on a U.S. warrant.

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Posted in: Myanmar security forces kill 12 anti-coup protesters See in context

Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in a wide area of the country’s largest city, as security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup.

The United Nations said at least 138 peaceful protesters have been killed in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, including at least 56 killed over the weekend.

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Posted in: Japan marks 10 years since earthquake, tsunami See in context

Ten years later, more than 40,000 people are still unable to return home in and around Fukushima, where areas near the wrecked plant are still off-limits due to radioactive contamination.

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Posted in: Queen vows to address Harry and Meghan racism claims See in context

Queen Elizabeth and her family said on Tuesday that they were saddened to learn of the experiences of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, saying they would address issues around race that were raised by the couple in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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Posted in: U.S. urges Saudis to disband force behind Khashoggi killing See in context

A second former aide has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who responded with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate.

Charlotte Bennett, a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor’s administration until November, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men.

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Posted in: Navalny's team calls for weekend protests outside Russia's FSB See in context

The wave of demonstrations that swept across Russia this weekend were notable for more than just the huge number of people who answered Alexei Navalny’s call to protest his arrest.

Just as striking were those in the crowd who said they had never supported the opposition figure before, but came out to signal their discontent with corruption and other complaints about Vladimir Putin’s government.

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Posted in: UK authorizes Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for emergency use; 1st in the world See in context

British officials authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Wednesday, green-lighting the world’s first shot against the virus that’s backed by rigorous science and taking a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.

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Posted in: Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers resign en masse as Beijing moves to quash opposition See in context

The disqualification came after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which held meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, passed a resolution stating that those who support the city’s independence or refuse to acknowledge China’s sovereignty over the city, as well as commit acts that threaten national security or ask external forces to interfere in the city’s affairs should be disqualified, according to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency.

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Posted in: New Zealand's Ardern credits virus response for election win See in context

New Zealand’s Prime Minister addressed the nation after her Labour Party secured a landslide victory in the 2019 election. The Labour Party won the election, which was originally set for September but was delayed by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority of 49 percent.

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Posted in: Negligence probed in deadly Beirut blast amid public anger See in context

The cause of the blast is yet to be confirmed – but it has been linked to a warehouse at the city’s port, close to populated areas, which was storing extremely dangerous explosive material. Lebanense officials are investigating exactly how the disaster happened, with the country’s prime minister vowing that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse would “pay the price”. Hassan Diab said: “I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability. Those responsible will pay the price.

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Posted in: Shootout at Chicago funeral leaves 14 wounded See in context

Better watch out - Lightfoot may send out some guidance counselors - that should fix it - yeah that's the ticket - more counselors - that's what the shooters need. This is the kind of thing that happens when you elect a knucklehead for your mayor. How's it going Chicago? Feeling safe yet? How's she working out for you so far?

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Posted in: Johnson offers visas for millions in Hong Kong See in context

This is an interesting reversal for the UK. In 1997, one of the conditions of the hand-over is that England would not grant access for Hong Kong residents by default, as they were afraid at that time that there would be a mass influx from Hong Kong into England. More than 20 years later, they've apparently done an about face.

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Posted in: Hong Kong police fire volleys of tear gas at protesters See in context

So China thinks HK already belongs to them...strength to the protesters

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Posted in: SoftBank Group reports ¥961.58 billion annual net loss See in context

The disastrous 1.9 trillion yen ($18 billion) operating shortfall at the Saudi-backed Vision Fund, including losses of almost $10 billion at office-sharing firm WeWork and ride- hailing app Uber Technologies Inc alone, left SoftBank with its worst annual loss of 1.4 trillion yen.

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Posted in: Moon, Abe hold 'friendly' talks on ASEAN sidelines See in context

ASEAN leaders are expected to issue a joint statement at the end of the three day meeting, which will most likely include a section on the South China Sea.

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