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Ethiopia says Army chief of staff shot during coup attempt — but the internet was turned off so accounts are sketchy

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Ethiopia’s army chief of staff has been shot, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on television Sunday as the government said it had thwarted an attempted coup in a regional state of this Horn of Africa nation.

Abiy took to national television in the early hours of the morning dressed in military fatigues and announced that army chief Seare Mekonnen had been shot, an AFP correspondent said. His condition was unknown.

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The internet was cut in Ethiopia, and more details were not immediately available.

The United States embassy issued alerts about reported gunfire in the capital Addis Ababa, and violence around Amhara’s main city Bahir Dar.

“The embassy is aware of reports of gunfire in Addis Ababa. Chief of mission personnel are advised to shelter in place,” the embassy said in one of its two alerts.

Earlier, Abiy’s office announced that an attempted coup had taken place in Amhara, one of nine autonomous regions in the country.

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A statement from his office did not give details on who was believed responsible for the attack, the latest blow to his efforts to stabilise and reform the Horn of Africa nation.

“The coup attempt in Amhara regional state is against the constitution and is intended to scupper the hard won peace of the region,” said the statement.

“This illegal attempt should be condemned by all Ethiopians and the federal government has full capacity to overpower this armed group.”

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No details were given of the targets of the attack in the second-most populous state in the country, headed by regional president Ambachew Mekonen.

A journalist in the regional capital Bahir Dar told AFP shooting had begun shortly after sunset and continued for several hours before calming.

Since coming to power in April 2018 after two years of anti-government unrest, Abiy has been hailed for his efforts to end the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors.

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He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, sought to crack down on rights abuses and arrested dozens of top military and intelligence officials

He also sealed a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a longtime foe.

But he has battled a surge in tensions between ethnic groups in the diverse country — usually over land and resources — leading to deadly violence in the nation of more than 100 million people.

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Over a million people have been displaced by the ethnic clashes, which analysts attribute to multiple causes, such as the weakening of the once all-powerful ruling EPRDF and different groups trying to take advantage of opportunities presented by the political transition.

The coup attempt comes a year after a grenade explosion at a rally Abiy was addressing left two people dead.


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Trump’s capitulation cheered on Russian TV: Ambassador McFaul says ‘they are joyous in Moscow’

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America's former ambassador to Russia explained how their state media is celebrating President Donald Trump's capitulation in Ukraine and Syria.

Ambassador Michael McFaul was interviewed Wednesday by MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

"How do you think this should play out, now that they are assembling step-by-step insider accounts with people who are bravely stepping forward, some giving up their careers, Mike McKinley and others having had to quit over this," Mitchell noted. "How do you think this plays out legally or in terms of the politics of impeachment?"

"Well, legally, I’ll defer to others who are more expert. I think what it does underscore is how grossly inept and just broken down the Trump foreign policymaking process is," McFaul replied.

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Feds investigating whether Rudy Giuliani was a victim of foreign spy effort targeting Trump

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President Donald Trump's defense attorney is not only a subject in a criminal investigation, but is also part of a counterintelligence probe into whether he was compromised by a foreign power, CNN reported Wednesday.

This is an investigation that goes far longer and back further than we realized and also that it’s much broader than we initially thought," CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Pérez reported.

"One of the things we’re getting a picture of, a better picture of is this involves not only Giuliani’s financial entanglements with allegedly corrupt Ukrainian figures but also counterintelligence angle is there to this and the idea that perhaps Rudy Giuliani and some of his business dealings were part of essentially an influence operation, a foreign influence operation with a target being the Trump White House," he reported.

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Internet recoils at Trump’s latest ‘insane’ news conference: ‘Maybe this guy shouldn’t be president’

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President Donald Trump ranted at length about the Kurds, military deployments overseas, Sen. Lindsey Graham and former President Barack Obama in a bizarre conversation with reporters in the White House.

The president met with the media Wednesday afternoon during a bilateral meeting with Italian president Sergio Mattarella, and he touched on a bewildering variety of topics -- much to the confusion of onlookers.

This is fucking insane.

This press conference is purpose-built to empower and delight every bad actor in the world.

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