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Western Officials Believe Iran Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner

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Don't Turn Plane Crash Into Political Issue: Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman

US president, Donald Trump and some European leaders and Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, are expressing suspicion that Iran may have accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner that crashed on Wednesday.  Trump said somebody could have made a mistake and fired a missile that brought down the plane.

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He rejected Iran’s assertion that the Boeing 737-800 plane developed a catastrophic mechanical fault at an altitude of twenty-four hundred meters.

Government sources say U.S. officials have examined satellite data and imagery that suggest the airliner was accidentally targeted and hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile just after taking off from Tehran,

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The head of Iran’s civil aviation organization denies the plane could have been hit by a missile.

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Lebanon Urgently Needs New Government To Avoid Collapse – Hariri

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Lebanon Urgently Needs New Government To Avoid Collapse: Hariri

In Lebanon, caretaker prime minister Saad al-Hariri has on Monday said the country urgently needs to form a new government to stop a cycle of collapse and worsening economic and security conditions.

Over the weekend, violent confrontations shook the country’s capital Beirut, the worst violence since protests against the country’s elite erupted in October.

Hundreds of demonstrators were injured as security forces deployed water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing protesters.

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On October 29, Hariri had to quit as prime minister over crisis that has shattered confidence in banks and raised investor concerns about its ability to repay steep foreign debt.

Lebanon’s deep financial strains have sunk the currency, pushed up prices and driven banks fearing capital flight to put strict curbs on withdrawing and transferring dollars, measures that have further fueled rage among hard-hit Lebanese depositors.

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Reuters in a report cited a statement by state news agency NNA saying the country’s consumer protection association said it had seen “a rise in prices for the first time in Lebanon’s history at rates exceeding 40% over the past three months”.

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Sources said the president Michel Aoun on Monday met with security chiefs to work out a plan for deterring violent groups that “security services have detailed information on” while protecting property and peaceful protesters.

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Extradition Hearing For Huawei Executive Begins In Canada

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Extradition Hearing For Huawei Executive Begins In Canada

The first stage of an extradition hearing for a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei begins today, Monday in Vancouver, Canada.  The case has angered Beijing and has also set off a diplomatic furor and raised fears of a brewing tech war between china and the United States.

Beijing expressed great shock when Canada arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in late 2018, at the behest of the U.S.

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Huawei represents china’s ambitions to become a technological power, but has been the subject of U.S. security concerns for years. Beijing views meng’s case as an attempt to stunt china’s technological growth.

Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 47, committed fraud by misleading HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

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Meng, who is free on bail and living in one of the two Vancouver mansions she owns, denies the allegations.  Her defense team has pointed to comments by U.S. president Donald Trump they say suggest the case against her is politically motivated.

READ:  Iran’s Foreign Ministry Confirms Arrest Of US Citizen, Michael White

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for cellphone and internet companies. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft.

 

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Key Players Squabble Over Trump’s Impeachment Trial

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Key Players Squabble Over Trump's Impeachment Trial

The U.S. Senate is set to kick off the impeachment trial of president Donald Trump on Tuesday.  There are squabbles already over the trial.

Criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who is one of the team of lawyers defending Trump, said on CNN on Sunday he will tell the 100 members of the senate, who are acting as jurors deciding Trump’s fate, that “even if the facts as presented are true, it would not rise to the level of impeachment” to convict Trump and oust him from office.

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The lawmakers will be deciding whether trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for removing a president from office. As the trial nears, the republican-majority senate remains highly unlikely to convict Trump, also a republican, since a two-thirds vote against trump would be necessary to oust him from the white house.

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Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, leader of seven house of representative managers prosecuting the case against Trump, told ABC news’ on Sunday, the republicans have not debunked the facts that the president withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to an ally at war with Russia, and that he withheld a white house meeting that the president of Ukraine desperately sought to establish with his country.  He said Trump withheld the aid in order to force Ukraine to help him cheat in the next election.

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On Saturday, both the house lawmakers pushing for Trump’s conviction, and Trump’s defenders, filed legal arguments in the case.

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