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New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez convicted on all counts at corruption trial, cementing political downfall

Sen. Menendez guilty on all countsU.S. Senator Bob Menendez was convicted on Tuesday on all 16 criminal counts he faced at his corruption trial by a jury in Manhattan federal court, completing the once-powerful New Jersey Democrat's dramatic downfall.

The jury deliberated for more than 12 hours over three days before reaching a verdict in a trial that had taken nine weeks. Menendez, 70, had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included bribery, acting as a foreign agent and obstructing justice.

The trial centered on what federal prosecutors called several overlapping bribery schemes in which the senator and his wife Nadine Menendez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars and car and mortgage payments from three businessmen who wanted his help.

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Europe reacts to J.D. Vance as Trump's VP pick: ‘This is a disaster for Ukraine’

JD Vance is a disaster for Ukraine“This is a disaster for Ukraine.” Those are the words of one senior EU official today as Europe reacted to Donald Trump’s choice of Ohio senator J.D. Vance as his running mate.

While Europe was already panicked about a second Trump presidency and its implications for U.S. foreign policy, the addition of Vance to the GOP ticket has raised further questions about a potential new administration’s commitment to Ukraine and the transatlantic alliance.

Vance has made his views on Ukraine clear. In 2022, he told Steve Bannon in an interview “I got to be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.” In February 2024, when Vance made his first appearance at the Munich Security Conference, he told POLITICO that the U.S. needed to reassess its support for Ukraine and skipped a meeting with the Ukraine delegation and other senators.

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U.N. peacekeepers take cover as Lebanon's Hezbollah and Israel trade attacks

Volatile fighting between Hezbollah and IsraelUnited Nations vehicles rumble along a deserted road in south Lebanon, past abandoned villages, destroyed houses and burned and blackened farmland — remnants of daily attacks along the border with Israel that now threaten to escalate into all-out war.

For most of the past nine months since the war in Gaza began, Israel and Lebanon confined the border attacks mostly to military targets within a zone a few miles from either side of a historic cease-fire line. But recently, escalated attacks by both sides, which have reached farther into both Lebanon and Israel, have raised concerns about intensified fighting.

Literally in the middle of this confrontation is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, created in 1978 after Israel invaded the neighboring country. Despite the name’s indication that it would be temporary, UNIFIL has become one the longest-serving peacekeeping missions in the world.

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Food aid is piling up inside Gaza. Here's why it's not reaching those in need

Food not reaching GazansMore than a dozen empty flatbed trucks from Gaza rumble through the opening in the massive concrete wall that marks the border here. They park on the Israeli side and forklift drivers jump into action, loading huge sacks of flour, along with boxes of watermelons, mangoes, tomatoes and onions. Within 30 minutes, the trucks turn around and drive the short distance back into Gaza.

This scene plays out multiple times daily at Kerem Shalom, now the main artery supplying Gaza with food and medicine. All this activity raises hope that needed aid will reach the more than 2 million Palestinians trapped inside Gaza.

But here's the catch: Much of this humanitarian aid is piling up on the Gaza side of the border instead of traveling the last few miles to those suffering in the 10th month of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel blames the United Nations agencies responsible for collecting this aid and distributing it inside Gaza, saying they need to urgently step up aid deliveries.

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Blue Maga: we need to talk about the cult-like turn of the Democratic party

Blue Maga

Is the Democratic party, the self-proclaimed party of liberal values and scientific data, morphing into a Maga-like cult in front of our eyes?

Over the past few weeks, the calls for Joe Biden to step aside have been met not with thoughtful critiques or reasoned counter-arguments but with furious accusations of treason, disloyalty, and betrayal.

Whatever happened to the importance of voicing dissent? Of speaking truth to power? Weren’t liberals supposed to be the folks who value open debate and discussion?

Writing for the Guardian, 15 years ago, the cult expert Rick Ross warned us to “watch out for the tell-tale signs” of a cult, including “no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry”, “there is no legitimate reason to leave”, “former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil”, and “the group/leader is always right”.

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‘Not welcome in our city’: protesters march on Republican convention

Protesters at GOP convention

As the Republican national convention kicked off in Milwaukee on Monday, about a thousand people led a spirited demonstration against Donald Trump and his party on the streets outside.

The March on the RNC gathered in a park a couple of blocks from the Fiserv Forum, where Trump was formally nominated at the Republican candidate for president.

rmed with pro-Palestine flags, anti-Trump posters and even a ventriloquist’s puppet of Trump, the coalition of progressive groups marched through downtown Milwaukee, stopping traffic and chanting ‘Free Palestine’ as they walked.

The group had begun proceedings with a rally at Red Arrow park, where Omar Flores, co-chair of the Coalition to March on the RNC, was among the speakers.

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Biden orders Secret Service to protect RFK Jr. after attempt on Trump’s life

RFK Jr.President Joe Biden has directed the U.S. Secret Service to protect independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, the Homeland Security secretary said Monday.

Kennedy is a longshot to win Electoral College votes, much less the presidency. But his campaign events have drawn large crowds of supporters and people interested in his message.

“Thank you, President Biden, for extending me Secret Service protection,” Kennedy said in a statement. He also thanked his private security firm, Gavin de Becker & Associates, “for keeping me safe for the past 15 months of my presidential campaign.”

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Donald Trump names Ohio senator JD Vance as vice-presidential running mate

JD VanceDonald Trump has named JD Vance, the Ohio senator who has aligned himself with the populist right, as his running mate at the Republican national convention on Monday.

“After lengthy deliberation and thought, and considering the tremendous talents of many others, I have decided that the person best suited to assume the position of Vice President of the United States is Senator JD Vance of the Great State of Ohio,” wrote Trump on Truth Social.

When Trump first ran for office, Vance’s eventual nomination to run alongside him would have seemed implausible. Vance, a venture capitalist who rocketed into the public eye with his 2016 memoir turned Netflix movie Hillbilly Elegy, was once among Trump’s conservative critics.

“I’m a never-Trump guy, I never liked him,” Vance said during an October 2016 interview with Charlie Rose. Trump was, by Vance’s estimation at the time, a “terrible candidate”.

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Trump classified documents case dismissed based on 'unconstitutional' prosecutor appointment

Jack SmithA Florida federal judge dismissed the criminal case against former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents, writing that the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith in the case was unlawful.

Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The recent prosecution of President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was also backed by a special counsel, a role providing greater independence from Justice Department oversight. Hunter Biden was convicted of lying about drug use when he purchased a gun.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was nominated to the federal bench by Trump, agreed with the former president's argument that Smith's appointment in the case violated a constitutional provision requiring “Officers of the United States” to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

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