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Ex-St. Louis policeman acquitted of murdering black motorist Anthony Lamar Smith

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A Missouri judge on Friday found a former St. Louis police officer not guilty of murder in the shooting death of a black man after a car chase in 2011, prosecutors said.

Officials feared the verdict could set off violent protests, as have similar deadly cases involving police and minorities have in recent years.

Jason Stockley, 36, who is white, had been charged with first-degree murder, accused of intentionally killing Anthony Lamar Smith and planting a gun in his car. Stockley, who was arrested in May 2016, testified he acted in self-defense.

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Judge Timothy Wilson’s highly anticipated ruling was announced Friday, more than five weeks after the bench trial ended.

Killings of unarmed black people by U.S. police in recent years triggered widespread protests and activists promised disruptive demonstrations if Stockley was acquitted.

St. Louis and state officials braced for a repeat of the violent protests and racial tensions that followed the 2014 fatal shooting by police of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, near St. Louis.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens on Thursday put the National Guard on standby. Some schools called off classes and some events were postponed, according to local media.

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Christina Wilson, Smith’s fiancée, pleaded at a news conference on Thursday evening for protesters to avoid violence if they demonstrate.

The verdict in St. Louis follows high-profile mistrials or acquittals of police officers charged in shootings in Ohio and Minnesota this year.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales and Chris Kenning; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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