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Russian dailies publish same front page over reporter’s arrest

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Three top Russian dailies on Monday published the same front page in an unprecedented act of solidarity over the arrest of an investigative reporter on drugs charges.

“I am/we are Ivan Golunov,” the Kommersant, Vedomosti and RBK newspapers declared in giant letters on their front pages.

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Golunov, a 36-year-old investigative reporter with Meduza, an independent Russian-language media outlet, was detained last week over allegations that he manufactured and dealt drugs.

His arrest sparked outrage among Russian journalists and supporters who say the charges against him are a punishment for his reporting.

Golunov faces between 10 and 20 years in prison if convicted.

In identical statements published on their front pages, the three newspapers said Golunov’s prosecution was an act of intimidation against Russian society and demanded an investigation into the policemen who had detained him.

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“We demand that the law be observed by everyone and for everyone,” they said.

Golunov was released from pre-trial jail at the weekend and placed under house arrest after hundreds of supporters gathered outside a Moscow courtroom.

The three newspapers said they welcomed the more lenient pre-trial conditions but said they did not consider the evidence presented by investigators to be convincing.

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“We do not rule out that Golunov’s detention and subsequent arrest are linked to his professional activities,” they said.

All three newspapers are privately owned but increasingly have to toe the government line.

During his two decades in power, President Vladimir Putin has silenced most of his critics and muzzled the media. The few opposition and independent media that still operate in Russia are under huge pressure, Kremlin critics say.

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Golunov has been charged with attempted dealing of a “large amount” of designer drug mephedrone and cocaine.

His lawyer and supporters pointed to egregious violations in his case.

Police released pictures of a drug laboratory that Golunov allegedly ran but later admitted that only one of the photos was taken in the journalist’s apartment.

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The Meduza website is based in EU member state Latvia to circumvent censorship from Moscow, but some of its journalists live in Russia.

Golunov’s detention has prompted statements of concern from the European Union, the United States, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, among others.

Since Friday, Russians have held one-person pickets in front of Moscow’s police headquarters — the only form of protest that does not require prior approval from Russian authorities.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.

"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan

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Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.

Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.

It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.

"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.

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