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US Marine guilty of killing transgender woman in the Philippines after sex act

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A Philippine court found a U.S. Marine guilty of killing a transgender woman on Tuesday, jailing him for six to 12 years in a case that has reignited debate over the American military presence in its former colony.

The Olongapo City regional trial court also ordered Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton to pay more than 4.5 million pesos ($95,350) to the family of Jennifer Laude, who was found dead last year in a hotel outside the former U.S. navy base northwest of Manila.

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Pemberton will serve a minimum of six years and a maximum of 12 years in jail. He had been charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser offense of homicide, which does not require malicious intent.

He can appeal against the verdict and sentence.

“This is not quite a victory,” Laude’s sister, Malou, told Reuters. “We expected a murder conviction but instead got homicide. We are not contented with the decision.”

Pemberton had earlier admitted in court to choking, but not killing, Laude. He said he had acted in self-defense after he discovered that a man was giving him oral sex, not a woman.

Protesters outside the Hall of Justice carried placards saying “Justice for Jennifer Laude! Justice for the Filipino people,” “Jail Pemberton in the Philippines”.

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Pemberton was due to be held in the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa, south of the capital, until the Philippines and U.S. government agree on where he should serve his sentence as prescribed under a visiting forces agreement.

But a lawyer for the victim said there was a brief dispute with U.S. officials about where Pemberton should go that was resolved when the judge ordered he be held at a Philippine army base for five days while a permanent solution was found.

“This is a sad day for the Philippines. It shows the U.S. gets what it wants,” said lawyer Harry Roque.

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The case has stirred debate over the presence of American soldiers on Philippine soil after senators voted two decades ago to kick out U.S. bases because of social issues, such as crimes committed by servicemen.

The United States has raised military aid to the Philippines this year as tension rises in the region over China’s new assertiveness in the South China Sea.

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The two allies are waiting for the Philippine Supreme Court to approve a pact allowing the U.S. military to store supplies at Philippine bases for operations related to maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disasters.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie)


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2020 Election

MSNBC’s Morning Joe scorches GOP senators for following Trump ‘over the cliff’ to election losses

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough hammered Senate Republicans for following President Donald Trump "over a cliff."

The "Morning Joe" host said the GOP had suffered losses in every election cycle since Trump won, and he said the president was a threat to his own party.

"All Republican incumbents who are endangered politicians," Scarborough said. "What bargain did they make that is worth following this man over the cliff? Who, right now, in early June, is on his way to losing in a landslide of his own?"

"These polls that we're going to show you in a minute are just a snapshot of where we are at the beginning of June," he added. "Things can change, but if they do change, it will be the first time in almost four years that elections have broken Donald Trump's way."

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Donald Trump is no longer president: Robert Reich

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You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J. Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.

He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV, and tweeting.

How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground?

He has incited more police violence. Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s.

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Trump-loving Minneapolis police union boss calls the cops on a reporter for knocking on his door

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Lt. Bob Kroll, the Trump-loving president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, called the police this week on a Washington Post reporter for the purported offense of knocking on the door of his house.

In an effort to get Kroll to respond to the charges that were filed this week against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's death, the Post sent one of its reporter to Krolls house after multiple other requests for comment went unanswered.

"A Washington Post reporter who knocked on Kroll’s door was soon pulled over by a police officer who said that Kroll had reported suspicious activity on his front porch and that 'he doesn’t want any press,'" the paper reports.

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