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Germany pledges to protect religious circumcision

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The German government on Friday pledged quick action to protect the right of Jews and Muslims to circumcise baby boys on religious grounds, after a court ruling that prompted international outcry.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters it was “concerned” about the judgement published by a Cologne regional court last month calling the religious rite of circumcision a criminal act.

“It is absolutely clear to the federal government that we want Jewish, we want Muslim religious life in Germany. Circumcisions carried out in a responsible way must not be subject to prosecution in this country,” he said.

“It is urgently necessary that we establish legal certainty.”

He said that aides from Merkel’s office would now discuss with the relevant government ministries ways to put the rite on firm legal footing.

“It is clear this cannot be put on the back burner. Freedom to practise religion is a cherished legal principle,” he said.

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A spokeswoman for the justice ministry said that there were three options for new draft laws to protect circumcisions on religious grounds that were under “intensive” review.

The Cologne ruling said circumcision of male infants on religious grounds was tantamount to grievous bodily harm, a criminal act subject to prosecution.

It concerned a case brought against a doctor who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy in line with his parents’ wishes.

When, a few days after the operation, the boy suffered heavy bleeding, prosecutors charged the doctor.

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The court later acquitted the doctor himself of causing harm but judged that “the right of a child to keep his physical integrity trumps the rights of parents” to observe their religion, potentially setting a legal precedent.

German diplomats admit that the ruling has proved “disastrous” to the country’s image abroad, particularly in light of its Nazi past, following uproar from officials in Israel as well as Muslim countries.

European Muslim and Jewish groups banded together this week to criticise the ruling and called on German MPs to pass legislation protecting the practice.

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Trump has an ‘invulnerable reality distortion field’ — that makes Republicans defend the indefensible: GOP strategist

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Republicans are put in a difficult position by President Donald Trump's refusal to accept reality, a top GOP strategist explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Anchor Kasie Hunt played a clip of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempting to defend Trump's public statements that he could accept foreign election interference in hopes of being re-elected in 2020 despite his lousy poll numbers.

GOP strategist Michael Steel offered his analysis of the situation facing Republicans.

"This is the hardest thing for every surrogate of President Trump and every Congressional Republican to deal with," Steel explained. "His position is wrong. His position is indefensible. His position, even when he cleaned it up, wasn’t really right."

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Ex-DOJ lawyer explains how Trump is engaged in a cover-up — and it has nothing to do with Russia

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On Monday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," former White House attorney and law professor Neal Katyal walked anchor Ari Melber through the egregious ways President Donald Trump has abused executive privilege — and is covering up more than just the Russia scandal.

"Executive privilege is this concept, Ari, that goes all the way back to the founding, the idea that presidents should have some zone of secrecy around them, to have confidential deliberations and decision making," said Katyal. "I've been in two different administrations and I would say particularly President Obama was really careful to make sure that he wouldn't invoke executive privilege unless absolutely necessary. He only invoked it once in eight years, even though many years he had Congress opposed to him in terms of being from the opposite party."

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Ex-Ambassador to Russia explains how Putin will exploit the divisions between Trump and his advisors

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The former U.S. ambassador to Russia explained how Vladimir Putin will exploit the divisions between President Donald Trump and his advisors.

"A double bombshell in reporting from The New York Times this weekend about the president and his relationship with Russian president Putin," anchor Kasie Hunt said.

"First, The Times reports that the U.S. is escalating online attacks on Russia’s power grid in an effort, 'partly as a warning and partly to be poised to conduct cyber strikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.' But that’s not all," she noted. "The second bombshell in that report that officials are worried about briefing the president."

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