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Thousands protest austerity in Madrid march

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MADRID — Thousands joined a protest march in the Spanish capital Sunday against the conservative government’s austerity policies amid growing uncertainty over whether the country will need a financial bailout.

“No more unemployment, no more cuts…. They will ruin the country, we must stop this,” read a large banner as union and leftwing party leaders led the march.

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Others in the crowd carried “No” signs with scissors painted on them, a reference to the budget cuts that are affecting many Spaniards, with unemployment at 24.63 percent.

Spain’s biggest trade unions, the UGT and CCOO, have called protests in a total of 57 cities, and a general strike is planned for November 14, the same day unions have scheduled an anti-austerity strike in neighbouring Portugal.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is under pressure from his EU partners to cut the public deficit to 6.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, 4.5 percent next year and 2.8 percent in 2014.

Budget cuts over three years are to total 150 billion euros ($195 billion).

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The latest austerity measures included an increase in the value-added tax on September 1.

But as pressure grows for a sovereign bailout, the Bank of Spain has warned that the nation may miss its 2012 public deficit target and slip into a deeper-than-expected recession next year.

Spain missed last year’s public deficit target by a wide margin, ending 2011 with a budget shortfall equal to 9.4 percent of economic output instead of the promised 6.0 percent.

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This year, it has promised to lower the overall deficit to 6.3 percent of output, but already Madrid has been forced to admit that the cost of a banking sector rescue will push the gap to 7.4 percent.


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Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems

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Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.

Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."

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Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.

Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.

Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.

The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.

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New York cop who became El Chapo’s security guard arrested for selling cocaine and taking bribes

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A New York cop is being prosecuted after he was outed for selling cocaine and taking bribes after he went to work for drug kingpin El Chapo.

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Officer Ishmael Bailey had his bail set at $50,000 after he was arrested and arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. He was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, conspiracy, bribe receiving as a public servant and failing to perform duties as a public servant.

Lawyer Jeff Cohen argued that Bailey had two children and had to pay child support. The lawyer explained that Bailey “does understand the severity of his charges.”

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