Now Donald Trump Jr in trouble, Iraqi troops finally re-claim Mosul and top cardinal returns home to face sexual assault charges

Donald Trump Jr. Source: Wikimedia Commons

DONALD TRUMP JR. MET WITH RUSSIAN LAWYER AFTER PROMISE OF DAMAGING CLINTON INFO

A New York Times report published said that Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet a prominent Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about his father’s rival, Hillary Clinton. The meeting took place in June 2016, two weeks after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, and was attended by Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law and current White House advisor Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The report comes as Special Counsel and Former FBI Director Robert J. Mueller continues his investigation into the Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential election, including into any possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. Times’ sources have not yet revealed whether the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, produced the damaging information and whether the alleged information played a role in the campaign.

 

IRAQI TROOPS CLAIM VICTORY IN MOSUL

After nine months of brutal fighting, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul Sunday to congratulate his nation’s troops for reclaiming nearly all of the city from ISIS militants. ISIS claimed control over Mosul, Iraq’s second-most populous city, in mid-2014, controlling the city until the Iraqi military began its operations to reclaim the city in October 2016.

“We are glad to see normal life return for the citizens” al-Abadi said in a statement, before greeting families and touring a reopened market in the West of the city.

Still, despite the celebrations, fighting continued over a small, one square kilometer area west of the Tigris River retained by ISIS fighters. After years spent subjected to ISIS’ harsh interpretation of Islamic law, experts expect guerrilla-style attacks to continue around Mosul in coming weeks, despite the Iraqi military’s official reclamation of territory.

 

AUSTRALIAN CARDINAL RETURNS TO FACE SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES

Pope Francis’ top financial advisor and Australia’s highest-ranking Roman Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, returned to Sydney Monday morning to face charges of sexual assault. Local police met Pell at the airport in Sydney after he passed through customs and escorted him away via a separate exit. Pell is the most senior Catholic official ever to be charged with sexual offences.

After Australian police filed multiple counts of “historical sexual assault offenses” against him in late June, the cardinal traveled to Australia voluntarily to proclaim his innocence. Australia does not have a statute of limitations regarding such offenses and, though police have yet to release details of the allegations, news reports indicate that they are from many years ago.

Pell is due to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 26 for a preliminary hearing.

 

EGYPTIAN AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS REPORTEDLY MEET TO DISCUSS GAZA POWER-SHARING DEAL

Egyptian and Palestinian leaders met Sunday in Cairo where they reportedly discussed a power-sharing arrangement intended to ease international pressure on the besieged Gaza Strip. The leadership of Hamas, Gaza’s current ruling party, reportedly indicated to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, that it would allow the exiled leader of its rival Fattah party, Mohammed Dahlan, to return home and take control of the territory’s foreign affairs.

Dahlan fled Gaza due to the 2006-2007 civil war, which ousted Fattah from the territory and left Hamas in power. Israel has blockaded Gaza throughout the decade since and Hamas has few international supporters, with many international bodies labelling it a terrorist organization. Though Hamas’ economy has been severely weakened since the war, it is reportedly seeking a major financial and diplomatic backer due to increased pressure, not just from Israel, but also from Egypt’s president and a Saudi-led coalition that recently isolated Qatar.

 

UNESCO DEEMS BRAZILIAN SLAVE WHARF A ‘WORLD HERITAGE SITE’

A Rio de Janeiro wharf where nearly a million African slaves landed has been declared a World Heritage Site Monday by the UN’s top cultural body. The wharf was first discovered during construction for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and recent excavations have revealed a nearby cemetery where thousands of slaves were buried.

Rio de Janeiro’s Valongo Wharf, the UN stated, should be considered alongside sites of atrocities like Hiroshima and Auschwitz—all places that “make us remember those parts of the history of humanity that must not be forgotten.”

Originally constructed in 1779, the Valongo Wharf complex was originally intended to remove the unpleasantness of slavery from the heart of Rio. The slave trade was banned in Brazil in 1831, though the practice continued in various forms until 1888. In the years since its disuse, the Valongo Wharf’s site was used as a landfill and, later, a square was built over the complex.

 

Picture Courtesy: Facebook @IvankaTrump

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