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Al Sharpton withdraws as eulogist at slain NYPD officer’s funeral

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The Rev. Al Sharpton said on Tuesday that he would not deliver the eulogy for slain New York City Police Officer Randolph Holder because he feared police union leaders would use his presence to turn the funeral into “some kind of confrontation.”

The decision by the civil rights activist and long-time critic of the NYPD was announced in an open letter emailed to media, which cited reports criticizing his planned role at the funeral scheduled for Wednesday. It came hours after Holder’s fiancée was quoted in the New York Post as saying the officer detested Sharpton.

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In the Post story, Holder’s fiancée Mary Muhammad was quoted as saying on Monday, “He didn’t like [Sharpton]. He wasn’t a fan. So I don’t know why [Sharpton] is speaking.’’

Holder, 33, was shot to death last week while on patrol in the city’s East Harlem neighborhood. He is the fourth New York City officer killed in the line of duty in the last 12 months.

The email included a letter, which was addressed to Holder’s father, and a photograph of the funeral program with Sharpton listed as the eulogist. Sharpton said over the weekend that he had been invited to the funeral by Holder’s father, a former police officer in his native Guyana.

Holder was killed by a single shot to the head on Oct. 20. The suspect charged in the murder, Tyrone Howard, 30, is due in court on Tuesday.

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“I thought my coming might give a sense of unity in the city; that we can disagree on cases and on policies but that we are united that the senseless and ruthless killing of officers like your son must be denounced,” Sharpton said in the letter.

“It is clear though after reading several articles that some union leaders and some others want to turn your and your pastor’s noble efforts into some kind of confrontation or sideshow,” he said.

The New York Daily News on Sunday quoted Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), as saying that inviting Sharpton was “an ironic twist. Maybe the family doesn’t understand his history with the NYPD. The city is divided because of people like Sharpton.”

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SBA spokesman Jordan Bieber said on Tuesday that Mullins was only expressing surprise at the invitation.”This is one of our fallen brothers and our focus is on Officer Holder and his family. We would never do anything to interrupt that because Al Sharpton is giving a eulogy,” Bieber said.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Toni Reinhold)


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Iran accuses foreign forces of raising Gulf ‘insecurity’ — but doesn’t mention Trump by name

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President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf and said Iran will present a peace plan, after its arch-foe Washington ordered reinforcements to the tense region.

"Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region," Rouhani said before a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war.

Rouhani also said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days.

"In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them," he said.

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2020 Election

Trump holds mass rally with Indian Prime Minister that was more like a campaign event than official one

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US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against "terrorism," vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside a football stadium in Houston.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from a crowd estimated by organizers at 50,000.

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Here’s how the law governing whistleblowers applies to the Trump Ukraine complaint

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This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump did something so concerning that an intelligence staffer felt the need to report the incident and file for whistleblower protections.

Trump asked Ukraine to look into scandals about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. For nearly a year, Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani was admittedly working to persuade officials in Ukraine to find "dirt" on the Bidens that they could use in the election. While the accusations against the younger Biden have been disproven, it's suspected, but not confirmed, that this was the incident detailed in the complaint.

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