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US envoy Nikki Haley praises Honduras for Jerusalem embassy support

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The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday heaped fulsome praise on Honduras for being one of a few countries that backed the controversial US decision to its embassy to Jerusalem.

In a visit to Tegucigalpa to see newly re-elected Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Haley stressed that US President Donald Trump’s government was “committed” to Hernandez and his administration.

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The two countries’ bonds were evident, she said, in the way Honduras voted with the United States at the United Nations in December to support Trump’s plan to move the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“That was not an easy decision for any country to have to vote on, but the people of Honduras stood with us in being able to make that decision for ourselves and decide where we want our embassy and to know that is our right,” Haley said in a joint news conference with Hernandez.

In the end, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to condemn Trump’s move.

A total of 128 of the UN’s 193 member states voted against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, maintaining the international community’s view that the holy city’s status must be decided through talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Just eight countries voted with the US: Honduras, Guatemala, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo.

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– Backing for Honduran president –

After Honduras, Haley was scheduled to visit Guatemala, which said after the vote that it would also move its embassy to Jerusalem at some point in the future.

The United States said last week it would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in May, essentially designating its pre-existing consulate there as its main mission.

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Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

In Tegucigalpa, Haley emphasized that Washington stood fully behind Hernandez, who won a second mandate after a November election bitterly disputed by the opposition, which called the vote rigged.

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The European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) both raised questions over the poll’s fairness.

Protests have been ongoing since that election, with demonstrators saying Hernandez was illegitimately named the winner over the opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla.

Haley called on all Hondurans to put the election behind them and rally to Hernandez.

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“Coming off the election, when tensions were high and passions were flaring, the United States thinks it’s very important that people come together,” she said, saying it was necessary for Honduras to move in “the right direction.”

She said she and Hernandez discussed other issues, notably efforts to stop Central American migrants illegally entering the United States, and the battle against gangs and drug trafficking.


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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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