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Britain: Pussy Riot sentencing is a ‘disproportionate response’

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Britain added its voice to the international chorus of criticism of Russia on Friday after a court jailed three members of punk band Pussy Riot for criticising President Vladimir Putin.

Alistair Burt, a junior foreign minister, said he was deeply concerned by Russia’s “disproportionate response” to what he said had been “an expression of political belief”.

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Burt said reports about the conditions in which the women will serve their sentence, and the conduct of the trial, were “concerning”.

Britain’s relations with Russia are only just starting to improve after a frosty period following the killing in London of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with highly radioactive polonium in 2006.

The minister said the government “is committed to a relationship with Russia in which we can discuss differences frankly and constructively”.

He added: “We have repeatedly called on the Russian authorities to protect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportionate way.

“Today’s verdict calls into question Russia’s commitment to protect these fundamental rights and freedoms.”

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A court sentenced the three women to two-year jail sentences for the anti-Putin stunt performed in a prominent Moscow church.


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Giuliani’s latest trip to Ukraine opens up conflicts of interest — and puts Trump at risk: MSNBC analyst (edited)

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On MSNBC Saturday, legal analyst Danny Cevallos explained how Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to produce anti-impeachment propaganda could end up harming his legal position — by muddying attorney-client privilege with President Donald Trump.

"The only path to legitimacy is if there was a true corruption threat in Ukraine, and specifically if Hunter Biden and Burisma posed a true corruption threat," said Cevallos. "That is why Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. He's building that case. So that he can show, bring a news network there, right-leaning news network to do a documentary or investigate this issue and yield factual information that Rudy Giuliani can point to and say, this corruption, this evidence, these facts show that President trump was warranted in requesting an investigation, not generally into corruption, specifically into Hunter Biden. It's the only path that will work for Republicans that passes even remotely any kind of smell test. Even then, it's a bit of a stretch."

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Trump declares himself the ‘greatest of all presidents’ in manic tweetstorm attacking Pelosi and Democrats

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Donald Trump broke out of his Twitter hibernation on Saturday afternoon just before flying off to Florida for a pair of fundraisers, and used the opportunity to declare himself the "greatest of all presidents."

Attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not passing his signature trade bill, Trump then went after Democrats for trying to impeach him -- saying they were making a big mistake.

On Twitter, the president wrote: ""Hard to believe, but if Nancy Pelosi had put our great Trade Deal with Mexico and Canada, USMCA, up for a vote long ago, our economy would be even better. If she doesn’t move quickly, it will collapse!"

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Donald Trump sounds like a complete lunatic because he’s isolated himself in a far-right media bubble

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

If you have an older relative who spends way too much time stewing in the conservative media, you may have experienced a moment when you not only disagreed with him, but you realized that you had no earthly clue what he was going on about. Perhaps it was when he started talking about the UN plot to eliminate golf courses and replace paved roads with bicycle paths. Maybe he stopped you in your tracks with a discourse on why flies were attracted to Barack Obama, or complained about the government insisting on referring to Christians as "Easter-worshippers" or expressed outrage over 9/11 hijackers being given leniency by Muslim jurists.

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