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Russia threatens US media with ‘tit-for-tat’ crackdown after Kremlin-controlled RT complains of ‘persecution’

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Russia on Monday threatened US media operating in the country with new legal restrictions after Kremlin-controlled broadcaster RT complained of persecution by Washington.

The Russian justice ministry sent letters to “a number of US media operating in Russia” warning them of the “unacceptability of breaching Russian law,” its press service said in a statement quoted by Interfax news agency.

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It said the letter was “a tit-for-tat measure in response to the persecution of Russian media in the United States.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which is US-funded, reported it received a letter warning its activities could fall under a controversial law that forces NGOs to register as “foreign agents”.

This law, passed in 2012, has not so far been used against media.

It obliges groups with so-called “political” activities and international funding to call themselves “foreign agents”, a term that recalls Stalin-era repression and Cold War espionage.

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The rules have seen some organisations reject much-needed funding from abroad, while others have closed down.

A government source was quoted by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti as confirming the existence of the letters.

The source said US media received “an official letter informing them of upcoming changes in Russian legislation about the broadening of the list of NGOs that can be named ‘foreign agents.'”

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The source said the letters had gone out to media including the Voice of America multimedia broadcaster and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its regional websites, one of which specialises in news from Moscow-annexed Crimea.

The source stressed that “these actions concern only American media, and this is an exceptional measure in response to the possible assignment of ‘foreign agent’ status to RT in the US.”

The warnings come after the Kremlin on Friday criticised “unprecedented pressure” on Russia’s RT state-controlled broadcaster in the United States and warned of possible reciprocal action.

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RT, which broadcasts in English and other languages, said last month that the US Justice Department had asked it to register as a “foreign agent.”

According to RT, the channel has been given a deadline of October 17 to register under FARA, a law written in 1938 to blunt Nazi propaganda, which specifically exempts news organisations.


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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