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Sentencing testimony against South Carolina church shooter concludes

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U.S. prosecutors on Monday rested their case against white supremacist Dylann Roof, the convicted murderer they argue should be executed for killing nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church in June 2015.

Jurors heard four days of poignant testimony from more than 20 family and friends of the victims – who recounted the lives of their loved ones, ages 26 to 87, and the impact of their deaths – during the penalty phase of Roof’s federal capital trial.

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The same jury last month found Roof, 22, guilty of 33 counts of federal hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms charges for the massacre during a Bible study meeting at the landmark Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Roof, who is representing himself, asked the trial judge for a brief recess after the testimony against him concluded on Monday.

He has said he would present no evidence. He told jurors in an opening statement last week that he was serving as his own lawyer to prevent their hearing any details about his mental health.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Fire holds off Hong Kong police at campus as democracy protests escalate

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A large fire held off an apparent police advance on the Hong Kong campus where hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were holed up early Monday, hours after officers warned they may use "live rounds" if confronted by deadly weapons in a dangerous escalation of the near six-month crisis engulfing the city.

Protests have rocked the global financial hub since June, with many in the city of 7.5 million people venting fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.

China has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate the dissent, and there have been concerns that Beijing could send in troops to put an end to the spiralling unrest.

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Ambassador Sondland was updating Trump officials on progress of ‘push for investigations’ — including Mulvaney

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The Wall Street Journal obtained emails showing that ahead of President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was updating officials on the strive for investigations.

Chief of staff and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was one of the main points of contact, and he replied to the email saying he would schedule the call with Zelensky.

“I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone,’” Sondland wrote in an email on July 19.

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White House desperately scheduling things for Trump to do so he won’t watch the impeachment hearings

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Given President Donald Trump worked to intimidate witnesses in real-time during the hearings on the impeachment inquiry last week, the White House is desperately searching for something that can keep him busy.

Axios reported Sunday, the presidential daily schedule will be designed to keep the president distracted with their own counter-programming.

"Trump's schedule for the coming week shows him governing," Axios reported. He'll be promoting jobs and talking about things like "art and culture."

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