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U.S. denounces burning of Koran copies by U.S. pastor

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WASHINGTON — The US State Department on Monday denounced the burning of copies of the Koran and a depiction of the prophet Mohammed by a Florida pastor, saying the acts did not reflect American values.

“We find such action deplorable. We find it disrespectful. I, frankly, don’t want to give this issue or that individual any more air time here,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

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“This is the act of one individual and in no way reflects the values of the American people or of the US government,” Nuland said.

The burning, attended by 20 people and streamed live over the Internet, was carried out by pastor Terry Jones at his church in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, The Gainesville Sun said.

Video of the burning was uploaded to YouTube by the pastor’s supporting group “Stand Up America Now.”

The actions were taken to protest the imprisonment in Iran of a Christian clergyman, Youcef Nadarkhani.

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The Pentagon had urged Jones to reconsider, expressing concern that US forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere could be put at greater risk because of the act, the newspaper said, but Jones insisted on going ahead with the protest.

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and condemned to death under Islamic sharia law for converting to Christianity when he was 19.

Now 34, he is a pastor of a small evangelical community called the Church of Iran. Iran’s supreme court in July 2011 overturned the death sentence and sent the case back to the court in Nadarkhani’s hometown of Rasht, in Gilan province.

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His retrial took place at the end of September 2011 with no verdict made public.

Several Western countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and France condemned the death sentence and said they feared it could be carried out soon.


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Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady

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MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.

"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."

Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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