In a 1st for an Ex-US President, Donald Trump charged over secret documents

News Network
June 9, 2023


Washington, June 9: Donald Trump said Thursday he has been indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, the US ex-president's most serious legal threat yet as a firestorm of criminal investigations imperil his bid for a second White House term.

"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform as he broke the bombshell news of a historic moment for the United States: the first time a sitting or former commander-in-chief has ever faced federal charges.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Justice Department regarding Trump's assertion. 

A Trump attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN his client has been indicted on seven charges including the willful retention of documents in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements, obstruction of justice and a count of conspiracy.

Though the precise details of the charges were not immediately clear, people familiar with the matter told The New York Times the conspiracy charge was related to obstruction of justice.

In his post, Trump, who is running for president again, said he has been summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami next Tuesday -- the day before his 77th birthday.

"I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States," he wrote.

His announcement came a day after US media said federal prosecutors had informed the former president's lawyers that he is the target of the probe into his handling of classified documents.

He was already the first former or sitting president to be charged with a crime -- in his case over election-eve hush money payments to a porn star who said she had an affair with him. That indictment was handed down by Manhattan's district attorney in March.

In a statement after his initial online posts, the Trump campaign lashed out at what it called an "unprecedented abuse of power," and called for the indictment to be thrown out.

'Dark day'

In a defiant video released after he shared the news, Trump repeatedly declared his innocence and framed the indictment as a form of election interference by a Justice Department "weaponized" by Joe Biden's administration.

"They come after me because now we're leading in the polls again by a lot against Biden," Trump says in the clip. "Our country is going to hell and they come after Donald Trump... We can't let this continue." 

His allies in Congress swiftly stood by him, like House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan.

Top Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy who has had a rollercoaster relationship with the former president, also rushed to defend Trump.

"Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.

"I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump."

Special counsel Jack Smith, named by US Attorney General Merrick Garland, has been looking into a cache of classified documents that Trump had stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after leaving the White House.

The FBI carted away some 11,000 papers after serving a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago in August, and obstruction-of-justice charges could be a result of his resisting efforts to recover the trove.

Trump eventually turned over 15 boxes containing almost 200 classified documents to the National Archives in January 2022 but was subpoenaed for any outstanding records in his possession.

When asked about the charges Thursday night, Smith's spokesman Peter Carr told AFP, "We are declining to comment."

Mounting legal woes

Some Democratic lawmakers spoke out following Thursday's extraordinary revelation.

Trump's indictment "is another affirmation of the rule of law," House Democrat Adam Schiff said.

"For four years, he acted like he was above the law," Schiff added. "But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been."

Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the documents case, telling a Fox News town hall event on June 1 that "everything I did was right."

But he has openly acknowledged taking and storing the documents, undermining his lawyers' suggestion he took the stash inadvertently in the confusion of a chaotic departure.

"This evidence just adds to the mound of stuff that already exists, and no one piece is the 'be all and end all,' but when you put them all together, the case is so strong," former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks told MSNBC.

"You cannot imagine his getting away with this."

The latest indictment comes with Trump facing numerous other probes as he bids to be the Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden for the presidency in 2024.

Smith is also looking at whether Trump should face charges over the 2021 US Capitol riot, and Georgia prosecutors are investigating whether Trump illegally attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election outcome there. 

The former president has already been charged with dozens of financial crimes as part of an alleged hush money scheme to silence a porn star claiming she had sex with him, and is due to go on trial next March, in the middle of primary election season.


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News Network
September 22,2023


New Delhi, Sept 22: BSP MP Danish Ali has approached Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for action against BJP member Ramesh Bidhuri over remarks made by the latter regarding him, during the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Chandrayaan 3 mission last night. The Speaker has expunged the remarks, but did not take any strict action.

BJP leaders said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had apologised immediately after Bidhuri made the remarks in the Lok Sabha. “He apologised to the House as the Deputy Leader and ensured the smooth functioning of the proceedings,” a source in the BJP said.

In a new low in the Indian parliamentary traditions, BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri on Thursday (September 21) abused a fellow MP from the BSP in the Lok Sabha, sparking massive outrage in political circles.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the success of Chandrayaan-3, Bidhuri called BSP MP Danish Ali “Muslim ugrawadi” (Muslim terrorist), “Bharwa” (pimp), and “katwa” (circumcised). Ali is a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP from Uttar Pradesh's Amroha Lok Sabha seat. 

As Bidhuri was making derogatory remarks against him, former Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Harsh Vardhan may be seen having a laugh.

Congress MP K Suresh, who was in the Chair at the time the remarks were made, said he has ordered the remarks to be expunged from the records, reported PTI. The clip of Bhiduri’s remarks has surfaced on social media and has drawn flak from several quarters, including Opposition leaders who have called for strict action against him.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday took “serious note” of certain objectionable remarks made by BJP member Bidhuri in the House and warned him of “strict action” if such behaviour is repeated in the future, officials said.

Rajnath Singh also expressed regret over the “objectionable” remarks. Singh said he had not heard Bhiduri's remarks and urged the Chair to expunge them from the proceedings if they have hurt the opposition members, according to PTI. “I express regret if the Opposition is hurt by the remarks made by the member,” said Singh, the Deputy Leader of the House.

‘Apology an eyewash’

On the other hand, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh called Singh’s apology an “eyewash”. “[It is a] complete shame what Bhiduri said,” Ramesh told reporters. “Rajnath Singh’s apology is not acceptable… it was a half-hearted apology, an afterthought…it is an eyewash. Bhiduri has spoken in a language that is an insult not just to Parliament but to every Indian,” Ramesh continued, wondering why the MP had not yet been suspended.

Ramesh said the BJP MP’s utterances make a mockery of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps reiterating --- “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”. He said strictest possible action should be taken against him while wondering if this isn’t the case fit for suspension. He said AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha stand suspended for exercising their democratic right of protest inside the Parliament, while Bidhuri has spoken in a language that is not only an insult to Danish Ali but to every MP and also every Indian.

TMC MP Mahua Moitra urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to take action against Bidhuri. She said the Speaker could “feel free” to initiate a privilege motion against her for “calling you out”. “But I am asking you here and now -- what action are you taking against Ramesh Bidhuri?” she tweeted.

“I have seen Ramesh Bidhuri as MLA in the Delhi Assembly. He was better during those days. I guess, in Parliament, his upbringing has been ably done by Modi-Shah. New Parliament. New India,” tweeted Congress leader Pawan Khera. Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also slammed Bidhuri for using “filthy language” in Parliament and termed it “sickening”. She asked whether the Speaker would take action against him.


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News Network
September 9,2023


A powerful earthquake in Morocco has killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds more, the country's deadliest tremor in more than six decades, toppling houses in remote mountain villages where rescuers dug through rubble for survivors.

The Moroccan government says death toll in earthquake near Marrakech has reached 1,037, with more than 1,200 injured.

The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco's High Atlas mountains late on Friday night. Most of the fatalities are in mountainous areas outside Marrakech, the nearest city to the epicentre, its updated toll showed.

Residents of Marrakech, the nearest big city to the epicentre, said some buildings had collapsed in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and local television showed pictures of a fallen mosque minaret with rubble lying on smashed cars.

The Interior Ministry, in its televised statement on the death toll, urged calm and said the quake had hit the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant.

Montasir Itri, a resident of the mountain village of Asni near the epicentre, said most houses there were damaged. "Our neighbours are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village," he said.

Further west, near Taroudant, teacher Hamid Afkar said he had fled his home and there had been aftershocks following the initial quake.

"The earth shook for about 20 seconds. Doors opened and shut by themselves as I rushed downstairs from the second floor," he said.

Morocco's geophysical centre said the quake struck in the Ighil area of the High Atlas with a magnitude of 7.2. The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.8 and said it was at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5km.

Ighil, a mountainous area with small farming villages, is about 70km southwest of Marrakech. The quake struck just after 11pm (3am UAE time).

The earthquake is Morocco's deadliest since a 2004 tremor near Al Hoceima in the northern Rif mountains which killed over 600 people.


World leaders react

Leaders worldwide have expressed their condolences and offered to help in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Morocco, which claimed the lives of at least 600 people. The 6.8-magnitude quake struck a mountainous area 72 kilometres southwest of tourist hotspot Marrakesh at 11:11 pm Friday, the US Geological Survey reported.

European leaders offered condolences, as did Russian President Vladimir Putin and Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, along with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “devastated" by the earthquake in Morocco. “We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco," Macron said on X, formerly known as Twitter, while onboard a flight to the G20 summit in India. “France stands ready to help with first aid."

Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel which established diplomatic ties with Morocco in 2020, ordered “any necessary assistance." Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered solidarity and support to the people of Morocco in the wake of this terrible earthquake. “Spain is with the victims of this tragedy and its families," he wrote on X.


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News Network
September 11,2023


Bengaluru, Sept 11: The federation of private transport associations have called off the ‘Bangalore Bandh’ after Karnataka government assured to fulfil their promises. From the morning, the private transport system was halted as cabs, taxis and other private buses stopped operating across the IT capital.

The major demand of the unions is to extend the government's Shakti scheme to even the private players in the state as they are severely hit by the free transport scheme to women. The government has already said that it is practically not possible to extend the Shakti scheme to private buses.

The auto unions have also demanded a ban on bike taxis in Karnataka, which is affecting their livelihood. The government said that it must seek a legal opinion on their bike taxi ban demand. Welfare board for drivers, insurance for auto drivers and lifetime tax on commercial goods vehicles are among the other demands. A total of 30 demands were presented to the transport department by the unions in previous meetings.

Earlier, transport unions had held discussions with state transport minister Ramalinga Reddy on July 24, just three days before they initially scheduled a protest for July 27.

However, Reddy had then said that he will take it to the notice of the chief minister and discuss the issues with him. After not hearing back from the government, the associations decided to go on a strike for a day on September 11. After minister Ramalinga Reddy promised the fulfillment of demands, the bandh was called off on Monday afternoon. 


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