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U.S. sanctions five over Saudi ambassador plot

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WASHINGTON — The US Treasury Department on Tuesday announced measures against five individuals allegedly connected to a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

The five include Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, two men charged by the Justice Department with the alleged plot to kill ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on American soil.

Three other men — Abdul Reza Shahlai, Qasem Soleimani and Hamed Abdollahi — were also named as being linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force plot.

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Shahlai and Soleimani had been named in previous sanctions and so were already subject to an assets freeze and travel ban.

The announcement came swiftly after the existence of the alleged plot was made public Tuesday.

“Iran once again has used the Qods Force and the international financial system to pursue an act of international terrorism, this time aimed against a Saudi diplomat,” said David Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“The financial transactions at the heart of this plot lay bare the risk that banks and other institutions face in doing business with Iran.”

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Scientists to harness the sun to break down plastic

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Scientists said Wednesday they have come up with an environmentally-friendly method that uses artificial sunlight to transform plastic into power-generating chemicals, as countries worldwide battle to reduce waste.

Huge quantities of plastic have piled up on land and been dumped in the sea across the world, with Asian nations in particular facing criticism for failing to tackle the problem.

Researchers in Singapore say they have converted plastic into "formic acid", which can be used in power plants to generate electricity, by using a catalyst which neither damages the environment nor costs a lot of money.

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Pentagon suspends training of Saudis for security review

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The Pentagon announced Tuesday it was temporarily suspending operational training for Saudi military students in the United States following a shooting rampage last week by a Saudi air force officer.

Saudi Arabian military students in the United States will continue classroom instruction but operational training is halted pending a security review, senior Defense Department officials said.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, opened fire in a classroom at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida on Friday, killing three American sailors and wounding eight other people before being shot dead by police.

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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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