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CIA nominee Gina Haspel asks to withdraw from consideration over testimony concerns: report

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Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to become the next CIA director, asked to have her nomination withdrawn on Friday over concerns her role in the interrogation of terrorist suspects could prevent her confirmation by the Senate, reports the Washington Post.

According to the report, “Haspel told the White House she was interested in stepping aside if it avoided the spectacle of a brutal confirmation hearing” scheduled for   Wednesday.

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Haspel has come under criticism over her involvement in the CIA’s used of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — which included waterboarding.

The report notes that White House insiders say Haspel’s request caught Trump aides Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sander  by surprise and that they rushed to meet with her later in the day at her office at CIA headquarters.

The report notes that White House officials are unsure whether she will formally withdraw, but that President Donald Trump, alerted to her reservations, has urged her to remain as the nominee.


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Netanyahu, Gantz spur supporters on eve of tense Israeli polls

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main opponent Benny Gantz sought to galvanise supporters Monday on the eve of a tense election with the political fate of the country's longest-serving premier in the balance.

The vote on Tuesday will be Israel's second in five months after Netanyahu suffered one of the biggest defeats of his political career when he failed to form a coalition after April polls.

Opinion polls indicate another tight race that may see ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu's former right-hand man who is now a rival, play a kingmaker role with his campaign to "make Israel normal again."

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Purdue files for bankruptcy in bid to settle opioid crisis cases

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Purdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy in a settlement agreement that it hopes will provide more than $10 billion to address the opioid crisis, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

The pharmaceutical giant whose prescription painkiller OxyContin is blamed for much of the US opioid addiction epidemic, is facing thousands of state and federal lawsuits.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will contribute Purdue's entire value to a body established for the benefit of the claimants and the American people.

Purdue Chairman Steve Miller said the proposals will "provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis."

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US hints at military response to Saudi attacks as oil prices surge

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Oil prices made their biggest jump since the Gulf War on Monday after President Donald Trump warned that the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington blamed on Iran.

It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the United States to announce they may tap their strategic reserves.

"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump tweeted.

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