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Trump criminally charged in New York, a first for a US ex-president



Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives onstage to announce that he will once again run for U.S. president in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury after a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, becoming the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges even as he makes another run for the White House.

The specific charges are not yet known, as the indictment remains under seal. CNN on Thursday reported Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud.

Trump said he was “completely innocent” and indicated he would not drop out of the 2024 presidential race. He accused Bragg, a Democrat, of trying to hurt his chances of winning re-election against Democratic President Joe Biden.

“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” he said in a statement.

Shortly after, Trump appealed to supporters to provide money for a legal defense. He has raised over $2 million, according to his campaign, since he incorrectly predicted on March 18 that he would be arrested four days later.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination according to polling, received support from a number of his potential challengers on Thursday including Florida Governor Ron Desantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.


“This will only further serve to divide our country,” Pence said.

While the White House did not comment, Democrats said Trump was not immune from the rule of law.

“I encourage both Mr. Trump’s critics and supporters to let the process proceed peacefully and according to the law,” said the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.

The charges will likely be unsealed by a judge in the coming days. Trump will have to travel to Manhattan for fingerprinting and other processing at that point.

Bragg’s office said it had contacted Trump’s attorney to coordinate a surrender, which a court official said would likely occur next Tuesday.


Trump’s lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said they will “vigorously fight” the charges.

The Manhattan investigation is one of several legal challenges facing Trump.

Bragg successfully prosecuted Trump’s business last year on tax-fraud charges, leading to a $1.61 million criminal penalty.

The presiding judge in that case, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, is expected to oversee this case as well, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Trump could use the case to stoke anger among his core supporters, though other Republican voters might tire of the drama. Some 44% of Republicans said he should drop out of the race if he is indicted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week.


Outside the courthouse, several protesters silently held signs criticizing Trump. Authorities bolstered security around the courthouse after Trump called for nationwide protests on March 18, recalling his charged rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.


Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she received money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.

The former president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has said he coordinated with Trump on the payments to Daniels and to a second woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also said she had a sexual relationship with him. Trump has denied having affairs with either woman.

Trump in 2018 initially disputed knowing anything about the payment to Daniels. He later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction.”

“No one is above the law,” Daniels’ lawyer Clark Brewster said on Twitter.


Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign-finance violation in 2018 and served more than a year in prison. Federal prosecutors said he acted at Trump’s direction.

Cohen said he stood by his testimony and the evidence he provided to prosecutors. “Accountability matters,” he said in a statement.

No former or sitting U.S. president has ever faced criminal charges.

Aside from this case, Trump faces two criminal investigations by a special counsel appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and another criminal probe by a local prosecutor in Georgia.

Trump has escaped legal peril numerous times. In the White House, he weathered two attempts by Congress to remove him from office, including for the Jan. 6, assault on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, as well as a years-long probe into his campaign’s contacts with Russia in 2016.


In last year’s tax-fraud trial, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office targeted Trump’s business but declined to charge Trump himself with financial crimes.

In the hush-money case, legal experts say Bragg is expected to argue Trump falsified business records to cover up another crime, such as violating federal campaign-finance law, which makes it a felony.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.


Imo women Elite Club felicitate with Imo State Congress of America



Evangelist Evelyn Childs, the public relations officer of the Imo Women Elite Club (IWEC)

Imo State of Nigeria women in the United States under the auspices of Imo Women Elite Club have sent good wish message to the Imo State Congress of America ahead of their 2023 Annual Convention holding in Houston Texas from 20 to 23 July.

According to a media release issued by Evangelist Evelyn Childs, the public relations officer of the Imo Women Elite Club (IWEC), are in forefront of advancing the progress of the female gender.

Through their foundation, they have been supporting women and girls in navigating mental and health problems.

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TRAGIC! Titanic sub destroyed in ‘catastrophic implosion,’ all five aboard dead



The Titan submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions to explore the wreckage of the sunken Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland, dives in an undated photograph. OceanGate Expeditions/Handout via REUTERS

A deep-sea submersible carrying five people on a voyage to the century-old wreck of the Titanic was found in pieces from a “catastrophic implosion” that killed everyone aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, ending a multinational five-day search for the vessel.

A robotic diving vehicle deployed from a Canadian ship discovered a debris field from the submersible Titan on Thursday morning on the seabed some 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of the Titanic, 2 1/2 miles (4 km) beneath the surface, in a remote corner of the North Atlantic, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters.

The Titan, operated by the U.S.-based company OceanGate Expeditions, had been missing since it lost contact with its surface support ship on Sunday morning about an hour, 45 minutes into what should have been a two-hour dive to the world’s most famous shipwreck.

Five major fragments of the 22-foot (6.7-meter) Titan were located in the debris field left from its disintegration, including the vessel’s tail cone and two sections of the pressure hull, Coast Guard officials said. No mention was made of whether human remains were sighted.

“The debris field here is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle,” Mauger said.


Even before the Coast Guard’s press conference, OceanGate issued a statement saying there were no survivors among the five men aboard the Titan, including the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Stockton Rush, who was piloting the Titan.

The four others were British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman, both British citizens; and French oceanographer and renowned Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, who had visited the wreck dozens of times.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” the company said. “Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”

Search teams and support personnel from the U.S., Canada, France and Britain had spent days scanning thousands of square miles of open seas with planes and ships for any sign of the Titan.

Intense worldwide media coverage of the search largely overshadowed the aftermath of a far greater maritime disaster stemming from the wreck of a migrant vessel off the coast of Greece last week, killing hundreds of people



Mauger said it was too early to tell when Titan met its fate. Search teams had sonar buoys in the water for more than three days in the area without detecting any loud, violent noise that would have been generated when the submersible imploded, Mauger said.

But the position of the debris field relatively close the shipwreck and the time frame of the last communication with the Titan seemed to suggest the failure occurred near the end of its descent on Sunday.

The U.S. Navy separately acknowledged that an analysis of its own acoustic data had detected “an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion” near the submersible’s location when its communications were lost.

“While not definitive, this information was immediately shared” with commanders of the search mission, a senior Navy official said in a statement first quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal, citing unnamed U.S. defense officials, said the sound was picked up by a top-secret system designed to detect enemy submarines.


In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, filmmaker James Cameron, who directed the Oscar-winning movie “Titanic” and has ventured to the wreck in submersibles himself, said he learned of the acoustic findings within a day, and knew what it meant.

“I sent emails to everybody I know and said we’ve lost some friends. The sub had imploded. It’s on the bottom in pieces right now. I sent that out Monday morning,” he recounted.

Sonar buoys dropped by aircraft had picked up some sounds on Tuesday and Wednesday that temporarily offered hope that the Titan was still intact and that its occupants were alive and trying to communicate by banging on the hull.

But officials said analysis of the sound was inconclusive and that the noises probably emanated from something else.

“There doesn’t appear to be any connection between the noises and the location on the sea floor,” Mauger said on Thursday.



Robotic craft on the seabed will continue to gather evidence, Mauger said, but it was not clear whether recovering the victims’ remains will be possible given the nature of the accident and extreme conditions at those depths.

“We will begin to demobilize personnel and vessels from the scene over the course of the next 24 hours,” the admiral said.

The search had grown increasingly desperate on Thursday, when the submersible’s estimated 96-hour air supply had been expected to run out if the Titan were still intact, a countdown that proved irrelevant.

The RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank during its maiden voyage in 1912, killing more than 1,500 people aboard, lies about 900 miles (1,450 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles (640 km) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The undersea expedition to the wreck, which OceanGate has been operating since 2021, cost $250,000 per person, according to the company’s website.


Questions about Titan’s safety were raised in 2018 during a symposium of submersible industry experts and in a lawsuit by OceanGate’s former head of marine operations, which was settled later that year.

The sweeping search covered more than 10,000 square miles of ocean. On Thursday, the deployment of two specialized deep-sea robot vehicles expanded the search farther into the ocean’s depths, where immense pressure and pitch-black darkness complicated the mission.

The fate of the tourist submersible captured global attention in part due to the mythology surrounding the Titanic. The “unsinkable” British passenger liner has inspired both nonfiction and fiction accounts for a century, including the blockbuster 1997 “Titanic” movie, which rekindled popular interest in the story.


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Explosions rock Kyiv as African peace mission visits Ukraine



South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin visit a site of a mass grave, in the town of Bucha, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

At least two explosions rocked Kyiv on Friday and air raid sirens blared as African leaders began a peace mission, hoping to mediate between Ukraine and Russia.

The African delegation, which includes leaders from South Africa, Senegal, the Comoros and Egypt, was expected to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and then hold talks Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday.

A Reuters witness in central Kyiv said he heard two explosions. Mayor Vitali Klitschko also reported explosions in the central Podil district, and warned that more missiles were headed towards the capital.

Another Reuters correspondent in the capital saw the smoke trail of two missiles in the air. It was not clear if those missiles were fired by Russia or by Ukrainian air defences.

A Reuters television crew saw the African leaders arriving in Kyiv in a convoy of cars and entering a hotel to use its air-raid shelter.


The leaders had begun their visit with a trip to Bucha, near Kyiv, which is one several places where Ukraine says Russian troops committed large-scale atrocities following their full-scale invasion in February 2022. Russia denies the allegations.

The African peace mission, which includes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Senagal President Macky Sall, could propose a series of “confidence building measures” during initial efforts at mediation, according to a draft framework document seen by Reuters.

The document states that the objective of the mission is “to promote the importance of peace and to encourage the parties to agree to a diplomacy-led process of negotiations”.

Those measures could include a Russian troop pull-back, removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of implementation of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant targeting Putin, and sanctions relief, it indicated.

A cessation of hostilities agreement could follow and would need to be accompanied by negotiations between Russia and the West, the document stated.


The mission is being launched shortly after the start of a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has pushed Russian forces back in some areas though Kyiv has regained only a fraction of the territory Russian forces occupy in Ukraine.

Kyiv says its own peace initiative, which envisages the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian land, must be the basis for any settlement of the war.


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