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UN losing support from countries, says outgoing top official

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The UN’s outgoing political chief expressed concern Thursday in a parting message that the United Nations was losing support from a growing number of countries.

Jeffrey Feltman, an American who served as under-secretary-general for political affairs since 2012, said it was “quite worrying” that leaders were questioning the value of the United Nations.

“I do leave here concerned about making sure that we maintain in addition to the excellent leadership we have… that we maintain member-state support,” said Feltman.

There are “an increasing number of leaders, increasing number of countries that are questioning whether the multinational system that this organization represents is the right way forward, is the answer,” he said.

His remarks were directed in part at the United States where President Donald Trump has cut funding to the world body and his new national security adviser John Bolton has expressed skepticism about the UN’s work.

Feltman described the United Nations as a “force multiplier” in addressing issues including terrorism and climate change that concern US national interests and those of other countries.

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“We need to show that we can be effective,” he said in a farewell press conference.

Feltman, who oversaw UN efforts to end conflicts worldwide, said Syria “remains the most tragic example of the failures of the international community to address a peace-and-security, humanitarian and human rights catastrophe.”

Now in its eighth year, the war in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people with no breakthrough in sight for diplomatic efforts that have been undermined by divisions in the Security Council.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in December dispatched Feltman to North Korea to push for dialogue as fears of a nuclear war gripped the region.

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It was the highest-level UN visit to Pyongyang in six years, a mission undertaken with Trump’s approval.

Despite signs that the United States is opting for diplomacy on North Korea, Feltman said it was “important to manage expectations.”

“The issues are extremely complicated,” he warned, adding that summit meetings between North and South Korean leaders as well as between Trump and Kim Jong Un would be the “start of the process”.

Feltman will be replaced by another American, Rosemary DiCarlo, who becomes the first woman to hold the top post.

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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks

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Rachel Maddow on Monday worried about the pattern of government officials leaking to the press to stop President Donald Trump from sabotaging United States' interests to help Russia.

The MSNBC anchor broke down the key questions raised by the bombshell New York Times report that officials were keeping secrets from Trump to protect U.S. interests.

Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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