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Senate Republicans block attempt to keep sanctions on Russian oligarch’s firms

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Legislation seeking to keep sanctions in place on companies tied to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, including the giant aluminum firm Rusal (0486.HK), stalled in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, a victory for the Trump administration.

The vote was 57-42 to end debate on the measure, as 11 of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Democrats to support the measure as he faces questions about his relationship with Moscow.

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But that result still fell short of the 60 votes necessary to advance in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans have a 53-47 seat majority.

The result left its fate uncertain even though similar legislation has been introduced in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

Many members of Congress have been questioning the Treasury Department’s mid-December decision to ease sanctions on the core businesses of Deripaska – Rusal, its parent, En+, and power firm EuroSibEnergo – watering down the toughest penalties imposed on Russian entities since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Deripaska himself would remain subject to U.S. sanctions.

But the Trump administration has been pushing Republican lawmakers hard not to support the resolution of disapproval of the decision to ease the sanctions, which were introduced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Senate aides said Treasury staff had approached senators and staff repeatedly to argue that it was appropriate to lift the sanctions imposed in April because Deripaska had agreed to cut back his controlling stakes.

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European countries had also lobbied for the sanctions to be eased.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Brown and Susan Thomas)

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French directors guild to propose suspending Polanski

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A French organisation of more than 200 film-makers said Monday it will propose new rules for members charged or convicted of sexual violence, which could lead to the suspension of French-Polish director Roman Polanski.

The board of the ARP directors' guild voted to present to its members "new procedures to suspend any member facing legal charges, and expel any member convicted, especially for crimes of a sexual nature," said Pierre Jolivet, ARP president.

The proposed rules for suspension "would affect Roman Polanski whose judicial case is still open in the United States and for which he has been charged," Jolivet added

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Trump official Mina Chang quits after being busted inflating her resumé

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President Donald Trump has lost another top official in his State Department, days after Marie Yovanovitch testified the department had been "hollowed out."

"Mina Chang, a high-ranking State Department staffer who vaulted into the public spotlight after NBC reported she had inflated her resumé, has resigned from her position," Politico reported Monday.

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Popular right-wing radio host says he was fired in the middle of his show for criticizing Trump

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Liberals and progressives aren’t the only ones right-wing media can be unfair to: they can also be horribly unfair to conservatives. And one of them appears to be radio host Craig Silverman, who says he was fired by Denver’s KNUS 710 AM on Saturday for criticizing President Donald Trump on the air.

As much as right-wing outlets complain about “political correctness” and hypersensitive liberal “snowflakes” who are intolerant of other points of view, those same outlets often expect their employees to be in total lockstep politically — which, in 2019, often means not saying a word against Trump. According to Silverman, he was doing a segment on the late right-wing attorney Roy Cohn (who represented Trump in the 1970s) when KNUS’ program director entered the studio and told him, “You’re done.”

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