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Wednesday, Aug 15th

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Twelve Michael Cohen audiotapes released to federal investigators

Twlve Cohen tapes handed over to feds

Twelve audiotapes seized when federal agents raided the home and office of former Trump private attorney Michael Cohen have now been released to federal investigators.

At least one of the tapes is a secret recording of Trump that Cohen made just before the 2016 presidential election, in which Cohen and Trump discussed a buying the rights to the story of a former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump, according to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and an individual with knowledge of Cohen's legal strategy.

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Sanders: Trump considering removing security clearances for Obama-era officials

John BrennanWhite House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday said that President Trump is exploring whether to remove the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and other top Obama-era intelligence officials.

Sanders accused Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey and others of “politicizing” and “monetizing” their public service.

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DIY 3D-printed guns get go-ahead after Trump administration strikes court deal

3-D PRINTED GUNS GIVEN GO-AHEADFrom 1 August, thanks to the Trump administration, a commercially available software blueprint will allow people to make their own guns using ABS plastic resin and a 3D printer.

The green light came late last month, with a court settlement between the designer of the blueprint and the US state department. Gun rights advocates celebrated.

In a statement greeting the news, the Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice-president, Alan Gottlieb, said: “Not only is this a first amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby.”

Defense Distributed, the company behind the blueprint, declared: “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins.”

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Cuba Set To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Cuba seet to legalize same sex marriageThe draft of Cuba’s new constitution opens the path to same-sex marriage, a government official said on Saturday, which would make the country that once persecuted homosexuals an unlikely leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

In the early years of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, many homosexuals were sent to correctional labor camps, part of an institutionalized homophobia for which Castro later apologized.

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New York Daily News announces 50% cut to newsroom staff

NY Daily news cuts staffThe New York Daily News announced a 50% cut to its editorial staff early on Monday, marking a tremendous blow to one of the most popular papers in New York City and in the US as a whole.

In an email circulated to staff, executives said they had been working hard to transform the paper into “a truly digital-focused enterprise” but that they “have not gone far enough”.

Along with the 50% cut, the email said the paper will be refocusing on “breaking news – especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.”

The move is poised to shrink the editorial team, which once numbered more than 250 according to former staffers, down to about 40 full-time employees.

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Judge approves Mueller request to grant immunity for witnesses in Manafort trial

Mueller gets immunity rulingA federal judge on Monday approved special counsel Robert Mueller's request to grant immunity to five witnesses so they can testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said that he would unseal documents containing the identities of the witnesses, according to Talking Points Memo.

Mueller's team submitted the request for immunity last week and asked that the identities of the potential witnesses not be revealed because they had not yet been publicly linked to the case. Ellis ordered the special counsel on Monday to make public a list of about 30 witnesses.

Update: Trial date has been moved to July 1st. Names of the five witnesses have been released.

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‘Fox & Friends’ Books Entirely Wrong Guest, Gets Anti-Trump Rant on the Air

FOX n Friends book wrong guest

On Monday morning, the hosts of Fox & Friends First thought they were getting yet another guest who comports with the show’s conservative, pro-Trump politics.

But oh, did their producers ever book the wrong guest.

The show began the segment by playing video from last week’s Democratic primary debate for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, in which candidate Ann Kirkpatrick was booed for being the sole participant to offer unqualified support for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

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Pompeo calls Iran's religious leaders 'hypocritical holy men'

Iran v US in trade of threats

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted Iran's religious leaders as "hypocritical holy men" whom he says are more interested in lining their pockets and spreading hardline views abroad than helping out their own cash-strapped citizens.

Pompeo's speech on Sunday came as US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani traded angry threats amid rising tensions between the two countries.

"Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitised to the regime's authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's many abuses," Pompeo told a crowd of Iranian Americans during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

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Canada: At least two dead, dozen injured in Toronto shooting

Two dead in Toronto shooting

At least two people have been killed and a dozen others wounded, including a young girl, after a gunman opened fire in the Canadian city of Toronto before dying after an exchange of gunfire with police.

An unidentified man opened fire late on Sunday in the neighbourhood known as Greektown.

"Other than the shooter, we have a young lady that is deceased," Toronto police chief Mark Saunders told reporters late on Sunday.

"We are looking at all possible motives ... and not closing any doors," he added.

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