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633 Arrested In Belarus Mass Protests

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President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarusian interior ministry has on Monday said at least 633 persons have been detained during the unrest protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Amid allegations of ballot-rigging since the disputed re-election of Lukashenko last month, demonstrators want the Belarusian president to step down as thousands defied heavy security and rallied in the capital Minsk, where troops and water cannon were deployed.

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Lukashenko who has been in power since 1994 has accused Western nations of interfering

He has rejected calls for new elections having claimed re-election with 80 percent of the vote on August 9. Lukashenko is buoyed by a show of support from traditional ally Russia,

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According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, eyewitnesses said that police began to make arrests in Minsk after the unsanctioned rally ended and people were going home. Video footage on Sunday shows men in plain clothes beating peaceful protesters with batons.

Since the mass unrest began at least four persons have been killed and hundreds injured in the crackdown, but Belarusians have been demonstrating across the country for nearly a month, with more than 100,000 persons flooding the streets of the capital, Minsk, for four straight weekends.

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Several opposition figures have fled the country amid threats of imprisonment.

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Biden, Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

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Biden Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

The first presidential debate in this year’s U.S. General elections takes place tonight. The duel between incumbent Donald Trump and the man who intends to wrest the office from him, Joe Biden, could be an inflection point in an American election year like no other in living memory.

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This year’s White House race has remained unchanged for months, fueled to some extent by the coronavirus pandemic and a sinking economy.  The sustained demonstrations on racial injustice, police brutality and by black lives matter group have also played a role.

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These events have sharply outlined partisan feelings that have been hardened over the most polarizing of presidents.  As the race stands today, there are very few undecided voters left.

For Trump, the contest is one of his last opportunities to reshape the race and color voters’ impression of his opponent.

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The debate comes just five weeks before election day, and voting is already underway in some key battleground states.

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NY Times: Trump ‘Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

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NY Times: Trump 'Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

New York Times has obtained a copy of president Donald Trump’s federal income tax and has revealed the president paid just $750 in taxes in 2016, the year he ran for the U.S. Presidency, and the same amount during his first year in office.  The newspaper also reports Trump paid no income taxes at all in ten of the previous fifteen years.

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Trump has faced and is still facing legal challenges for refusing to share documents concerning his fortune and business dealings.

He is the first president since the 1970s who has refused to make his tax returns public.  Even though making tax returns public is not legally required of presidential candidates or presidents, those who occupy the White House have always showed their tax returns in an act of transparency.

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Trump says the times report was “fake news.”  The newspaper says the information carried in the story was provided by sources with legal access to it.

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

Six in ten Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to end an accord with the European Union allowing free movement of people.

Switzerland is not an EU member, but it has a series of interdependent treaties with Brussels which gives it access to Europe’s free trade area.

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The move to rein in immigration was proposed by the Swiss people’s party but opposed by the government.    A similar initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum, damaging Swiss-EU relations.

The Swiss are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy.  They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

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Supporters of the anti-free movement plan say it would allow Switzerland to control its borders and select only the immigrants it wants.

Opponents argue it would plunge a healthy economy into recession at an uncertain time and deprive hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens of their freedom to live and work across Europe.

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