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Joe McGinniss, controversial writer of ‘Fatal Vision,’ dies at 71

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Controversial US author Joe McGinniss, who pushed the boundaries of journalistic convention, at times becoming nearly as notorious as his subjects, has died. He was 71.

News reports said McGinniss passed away Monday at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The writer’s death was confirmed on his Facebook page, which for months offered a running account of his losing battle with prostate cancer.

McGinniss’s unique literary niches included America’s political leaders, as well as country club psychopaths.

He first made his mark as a writer in a groundbreaking, behind-the-scenes exploration of Richard Nixon’s successful White House run, “The Selling of the President 1968.”

The New York Times wrote as recently as 2011 that the 1969 work — a study in the Republican president’s use of television during his campaign — “remains a tour de force of reporting and analysis, as relevant today as when it first appeared.”

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During a career that spanned several decades, McGinniss also penned works about US political luminaries Ted Kennedy and Sarah Palin, among others.

His most famous blockbuster nonfiction crime work, “Fatal Vision,” offered McGinniss’s intimate account of the trial of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald.

The book was written with the cooperation of its sociopathic subject, an army doctor who eventually was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters.

Journalism ethicists said the work was morally compromised however, because McGinniss had elicited the cooperation of his subject by pretending he believed in his innocence long after he became convinced of his guilt.

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“Fatal Vision,” along with two other of his popular crime bestsellers — “Blind Faith” and “Cruel Doubt” — were made into television miniseries.

In 2010, McGinniss achieved new notoriety when he rented a house next door to Palin’s Alaska home so that the could work on an unauthorized biography about her.

“The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” an unflattering portrait of the conservative political darling and unsuccessful 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, was published in 2011.

It was his 11th and final book.

McGinniss said on his website that his aim had been to write a book that “traces Palin’s curious rise to political prominence and worldwide celebrity status” while also exposing “the messy reality beneath the glossy Palin myth.”

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‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

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"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

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Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

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Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

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Democrats believe Mueller testimony could be tipping point for impeachment: CNN

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On Wednesday, CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju reported that some House Democrats view special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming public testimony to the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in July as a potential tipping point that could sway both Democratic leaders and the American people in favor of opening an impeachment probe.

"Democrats who support opening up an impeachment inquiry believe this could bolster the calls to open up formal proceedings, perhaps shift public opinion, perhaps encourage the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move off of her opposition to opening up an impeachment probe because of what Bob Mueller will say," said Raju.

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