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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.

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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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Bill Barr may have killed probe of Trump’s payoff to Stormy Daniels: Florida prosecutor

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A Florida prosecutor called on Congress to examine whether Attorney General William Barr killed an investigation into an illegal payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, said newly released court documents further implicated Trump and his former aide Hope Hicks in the scheme, which has already resulted in a prison term for the president's former attorney Michael Cohen -- who implicated his boss in the campaign finance law violation.

"You and I don't have the benefit of the internal DOJ policy that forbids indicting a sitting president, and I think that is relevant here," Aronberg told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "There are a lot of things going on here. But I think that the public needs to know -- there needs to be public hearings about this. Especially I want to know what Bill Barr's role is."

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Trump administration will soon expand ‘remain in Mexico’ policy for migrants to busiest part of the border

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So far, asylum-seeking migrants who land in the most heavily crossed patch of the U.S.-Mexico border, in deep South Texas, have been spared from the controversial “remain in Mexico” program that requires applicants to go back across the border to await their fate from an immigration judge.

That’s about to change, officials say.

In coming days, and perhaps as early as Friday, some of the migrants apprehended in the U.S. Border Patrol’s busy Rio Grande Valley Sector are expected to be taken back across the Texas-Mexico border and told to wait for an asylum hearing in a yet-to-be-built courtroom in Brownsville, officials say.

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‘An attack on all of us’: Anime fans reel after deadly Japan fire

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A devastating apparent arson attack on a renowned Japanese animation firm has left anime fans and insiders heartbroken, with many likening the fire to a terror attack on their community.

The inferno that ripped through Kyoto Animation on Thursday killed 33 people and injured dozens more at a firm that has delighted fans across the world with its animations of popular manga works.d

"Kyoto Animation is home to some of the world's most talented animators and dreamers," Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted after the attack.

"KyoAni artists spread joy all over the world and across generations with their masterpieces."

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