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China sends more ships to disputed shoal: Philippines

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The Philippine military on Thursday accused China of sending more ships to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, describing the move as an insult that would further inflame tensions.

Four Chinese surveillance ships and 10 fishing boats have anchored off the disputed Scarborough Shoal, with the fishermen taking giant clams and corals that are protected under Philippine law, a regional military spokesman said.

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It is the largest number of Chinese vessels seen at the shoal since the two countries began a sovereignty standoff there almost a month ago, according to Major Loel Egos, whose northern command covers the area.

“They are just worsening the insult, bringing in all these fishing boats and all we can do is resort to diplomacy,” Egos told AFP.

“They really want to test what a little country like the Philippinescan do against a giant.”

Egos said the Philippines, which has one of the weakest militaries in the region, has just two coast guard ships and a fisheries bureau vessel at the shoal that are unable to do anything about the Chinese fishing.

Asked about the increased Chinese presence, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman said the Philippines would show restraint.

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“We do not wish to escalate any tensions right now,” spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.

“Therefore, what we’re doing for now is to just to document the situation… and consequently, raise it before the (international) tribunals.”

But foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez called on China to “stop all forms of action that could aggravate the situation”.

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Ships from the two countries have been in a standoff over the shoal since April 8, after the Philippines detected eight Chinese fishing vessels there.

The Philippines sent its biggest warship to the shoal with the intention of arresting the fishermen, but two Chinese government vessels blocked those efforts.

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The Philippines pulled back its warship shortly afterwards in an effort to lower the tensions and the initial batch of Chinese fishing vessels left, however both sides kept boats there to assert their sovereignty.

The Philippines says the shoal is well within the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, as recognised by international law.

But China claims the entire South China Sea as its historical territory, even up to the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.

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Mitch McConnell’s effort to sabotage Trump impeachment could hit this brick wall

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his GOP allies have signaled that they might pass a highly partisan set of rules designed to sabotage an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which might include everything from time limits on Democrats trying to submit evidence, to a parallel public investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden to make Trump's Ukraine behavior look legitimate.

But on MSNBC's "AM Joy," justice and security analyst Matthew Miller walked host Joy Reid through how difficult such a package of rules could be to pass — and how even a small defection of senators from his caucus could block it.

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World leaders mocked Trump because they’re tired of his ‘center of attention’ act: MSNBC guest

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During an MSNBC segment on President Donald Trump's abrupt departure from NATO talks in London after video was released of world leaders making fun of him, an MSNBC guest said those same leaders have become tired of his act.

Speaking with host David Gura, the LA Times Eli Stokols said international diplomats have realized there is no dealing with the president who is in his own world and just wants attention..

"Your colleague had a great line: 'This is a president who views norms like a teenager views curfews,'" Gura began.

"Well, he likes going to these things and blowing them up and being the center of attention," Stokols replied.

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Trump slammed for lawless obstruction of Congress: ‘He’s taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution’

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On CNN Saturday, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), who voted for the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, discussed the path forward for impeaching President Donald Trump.

"We know moderate Democrats are a bit frustrated with leadership over potentially expanding the scope of their consideration, maybe the Mueller report findings and drawing up these articles of impeachment," said anchor Victor Blackwell. "Do you think it's a mistake not to include anything beyond the Ukraine matter?"

"Yes," said Holtzman. "I think it would be a mistake, although, you know, I'm still at a distance, and the members of the committee really have to, who have been digging into this deeply have the best feel, but my sense is that the, what the president did is so egregious, not just with regard to Ukraine, but what part of what's bad about his activities in Ukraine, is that he's taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution by saying that Congress has no right to get information, and he's cut off his committee, his administration from, and ordered and directed them not to cooperate with the committee in any way."

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