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Scandal-tainted Indian minister to quit Sunday

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The chief minister of a southern Indian state who is accused of being at the centre of a $3.6-billion mining fraud will resign on Sunday, he said Saturday.

B.S. Yeddyurappa, 68, head of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka state, announced he would quit in an official statement after national party chiefs demanded he step down.

“As per the decision taken by the senior leaders of the party and the parliamentary board in New Delhi, I will resign from the chief minister’s post,” Yeddyurappa said in the statement.

A report into corrupt mining practices by the Karnataka state ombudsman named him in the scandal.

Judge Santosh Hegde accused the chief minister of enabling illicit mining of iron ore in the state, which cost the public exchequer 160.8 billion rupees ($3.6 billion) between 2006 and 2010.

Hegde said his probe uncovered “involvement of some 100 mining companies, about 600 officials, powerful politicians including the chief minister”.

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The report said the federal and state governments lost money due in the form of royalties, central excise duties, value-added taxes and other levies.

The report also said Yeddyurappa?s family, including one who is a BJP member of the national parliament, benefited from the fraud.

Yeddyurappa also faces allegations of selling government land at below market value to family members.

The mining graft is the latest in a slew of corruption scandals in India, which is still reeling from the allegedly fraudulent sale of telecom licences in 2008 estimated to have cost the country up to $40 billion.

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The ombudsman’s explosive findings have cast a shadow on the BJP, which has been leading an anti-graft campaign nationally against the Congress-led government of Premier Manmohan Singh.

On Friday, India’s top court halted the extraction of iron ore in Karnataka after the mining fraud revelations.

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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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Here’s why Trump and Putin are only frenemies at this point

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President Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran has hit an obstacle: Russia.

While the United States insists that Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in international airspace last week, Russia rejected the charge on Tuesday and supported Iran’s claim that the Global Hawk drone with a 116-foot wingspan was shot down over Iranian territory.

A top Russian official stated Moscow’s intelligence findings at a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, according to Haaretz, the Israeli daily.

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2020 Election

How the GOP is embracing more ruthless power grabs in the face of huge political challenges

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On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases highlighting the collision between partisan power grabs and setting the ground rules for two of the most important elections in America—those for U.S. House and state legislative chambers.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

One ruling concerns whether the Trump administration can add a question to the 2020 census that asks if anyone residing in that address is not a U.S. citizen. The other concerns whether hyper-partisanship is unconstitutional when state legislatures run by a single party draw electoral districts to maximize their party’s likelihood of winning elections.

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