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Saudi Arabia calls urgent summit with Gulf and Arab League leaders

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Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to discuss escalating tensions in the region, the kingdom’s official news agency said on Saturday.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Salman had invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.

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Tensions have soared in the Gulf, with the United States deploying an aircraft carrier and bombers there over alleged threats from Iran.

Saudi foreign affairs minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country does not want to go to war with Iran, but was ready to defend its interests.

‘Riyadh does not want a war’

Riyadh “does not want a war, is not looking for it and will do everything to prevent it”.

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The United Arab Emirates “welcomed” Saudi Arabia’s invitation.

Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were damaged in mysterious sabotage attacks last Sunday off the UAE’s Fujairah, located at the crucial entrance to the Gulf.

This incident was followed by drone strikes Tuesday by Yemen’s Huthi rebels on a major Saudi oil pipeline, which provided an alternative export route if the Strait of Hormuz closed.

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Iran has repeatedly threatened to prevent shipping in Hormuz in case of a military confrontation with the United States, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran in recent months.

Jubeir said the UAE was leading the probe into the damaged oil tankers, but added that “we have some indications and we will make the announcements once the investigations are completed”.

Despite international scepticism, the US government has been pointing to increasing threats from Iran, a long-time enemy and also a rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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SPA on Sunday said the Saudi crown prince spoke on the phone with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about efforts to enhance security in the region.


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Paranoid Trump suspects John Bolton is trying to destroy his presidency with media leaks

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President Donald Trump suspects that former national security adviser John Bolton is out to get him.

Bolton left the White House last month, and he and the president's relationship had soured so badly they argued over whether he quit or was fired, and Trump now suspects the hawkish career bureaucrat is behind a flood of leaks against him, reported The Daily Beast.

Three people familiar with Trump's private conversations said the president speculated that his former national security adviser was behind the anonymous accounts that listed Bolton as one of the top officials deeply disturbed by the Ukraine pressure campaign.

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A ‘staggering’ 281 lobbyists have worked in the Trump administration

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At the halfway mark of President Donald Trump’s first term, his administration has hired a lobbyist for every 14 political appointments made, welcoming a total of 281 lobbyists on board, a ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations analysis shows.

With a combination of weakened rules and loose enforcement easing the transition to government and back to K Street, Trump’s swamp is anything but drained. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. And former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for.

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‘Deep into stupid’: Morning Joe gleefully trashes Lindsey Graham after Fiona Hill destroys his Trump excuses

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Following reports of multiple and very detailed accusations made by former Donald Trump Russia advisor Fiona Hill in closed-door testimony to a House committee on the extent of White House administration involvement in possibly illegal dealings with Ukraine, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough leveled some of the president's most avid defenders -- including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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