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Malaysia drops murder charge against Vietnamese woman accused of killing Kim Jong Un’s brother

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Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against a Vietnamese woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing harm using dangerous means.

Prosecutors told the court they made the offer of a reduced charge after receiving representations from the Vietnamese embassy and the woman’s lawyers.

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Doan Thi Huong, 30, pleaded guilty to the alternative charge, which carries a jail term of up to ten years, financial penalty or whipping.

Huong was accused of smearing Kim Jong Nam’s face with VX poison, a lethal chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

If she had been found guilty of murder, she would have faced a mandatory death penalty.

Huong had been charged together with Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah.

Prosecutors sprung a surprise last month by dropping the murder charge against Siti Aisyah, but later declined to do the same for Huong, despite appeals from the Vietnamese government. No reason was given for the decision.

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Last year, a judge had called for Huong and Siti Aisyah to enter their defense, saying there was evidence that the women and four North Korean men were part of a “well-planned conspiracy” to kill the half-sibling of Kim Jong Un. The men remain at large.

The women’s lawyers say they thought they were part of a reality prank show and did not know they were poisoning Kim.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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Inside Purdue Pharma’s media playbook: How it planted the opioid ‘anti-story’

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OxyContin’s makers delayed the reckoning for their role in the opioid crisis by funding think tanks, placing friendly experts on leading outlets, and deterring or challenging negative coverage.

In 2004, Purdue Pharma was facing a threat to sales of its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, which were approaching $2 billion a year. With abuse of the drug on the rise, prosecutors were bringing criminal charges against some doctors for prescribing massive amounts of OxyContin.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains how Republicans botched Trump’s impeachment defense from Day One

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said the polling after the first week of public impeachment hearings offered bad news to President Donald Trump.

About 58 percent of Americans are following the hearings very closely or somewhat closely, and 60 percent of those people believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Nearly one in three Americans have already made up their minds on impeachment, but about 30 percent say they could be swayed by new revelations about Trump's scheme to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Joe Biden.

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Trump rails against another woman impeachment witness

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President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that Jennifer Williams, a special adviser on Europe and Russia issues for Vice President Mike Pence's foreign policy team, was a “Never Trumper” after her deposition in the impeachment inquiry was revealed to have characterized the commander-in-chief’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “unusual and inappropriate.”

“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic] from Ukraine,” Trump tweeted. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

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