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US judge denies Paul Manafort’s request to modify his bail terms

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President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, lost a bid on Thursday to modify the terms of his bail, after a federal judge said his proposal to pledge certain properties as collateral was “unsatisfactory.”

The ruling against Manafort by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson means that he will be forced for now to remain under house arrest unless he is able to offer other alternatives that are acceptable to the court.

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Manafort and Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, were indicted in October as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

They face charges including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States and failure to register as foreign agents for political work they did representing a pro-Russia Ukrainian party.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Fireworks expected as televised Trump impeachment hearings open

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Donald Trump faces the most perilous challenge of his three-year presidency as public hearings convened as part of the impeachment probe against him open under the glare of television cameras on Wednesday.

Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to prove over several weeks of hearings that the US leader abused his office by seeking Ukraine's help for his 2020 reelection campaign, and sought to extort his Kiev counterpart into finding dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump says the inquiry is "corrupt" and "illegal," and maintains he did nothing wrong.

"Democrats in Washington would rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts, which are going absolutely nowhere. Don't worry about it," he said confidently Tuesday in a speech to the Economic Club of New York.

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Trump ignores controversy to host Turkey’s Erdogan

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President Donald Trump will leap from the frying pan of impeachment into the fire of foreign policy controversy when he hosts his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday.

On the day that the impeachment process shifts to the dramatic phase of public hearings in Congress, Trump's meeting and joint press conference with Erdogan at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue promises extra fireworks.

Trump and Erdogan have good chemistry and the US president often seems to get along better with foreign strongmen than traditional US allies in places such as Western Europe or Canada.

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‘Pad Man’ faces ‘Terminator’ in Sri Lanka vote fight

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Sri Lanka's presidential election on Saturday is turning out to be a showdown between a man offering free sanitary pads and a former soldier dubbed the "Terminator" by his own family.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 70, a retired army lieutenant colonel, was the de facto military chief who crushed Tamil guerrillas and ended a 37-year separatist war, but Saturday's vote is his battle of ballots.

His family calls him Sri Lanka's "Terminator" because he promises to fight corruption and Islamic extremism, a key issue since the Easter Sunday suicide bombings this year that killed 269 people.

In contrast to the tough-talking Rajapaksa, his main challenger, Sajith Premadasa, a low-key politician, is hoping to appeal to women voters with promises to improve menstrual hygiene.

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