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US protests to Russia over arrest conditions of alleged spy

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The United States on Wednesday formally protested over the arrest in Russia of former US marine Paul Whelan, who has been jailed on charges of espionage since December.

The US embassy in Moscow has asked that allegations of mistreatment in pre-trial detention be investigated and Whelan’s safety guaranteed, according to spokeswoman Andrea Kalan.

“We have protested to the (foreign ministry) Paul Whelan’s mistreatment while in custody,” Kalan wrote on Twitter.

“Welfare of US citizens abroad is our highest priority,” she added.

The Russian ministry responded via its own Twitter account, suggesting the US instead comment on the rights of incarcerated Russian citizens on its territory.

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The US note of protest comes a few days after Whelan’s latest appeal of arrest conditions was rejected.

Whelan, who was arrested in December after allegedly receiving state secrets, maintains that he has been framed and that he took a USB drive from an acquaintance thinking it contained vacation photos.

During his most recent hearing, he made a direct appeal to US President Donald Trump.

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“Mr President — we cannot keep America great unless we aggressively protect and defend citizens wherever they are in the world,” he said.

Whelan is among high-profile detainees mooted for a potential prisoner swap with the United States. He also holds Canadian, Irish and British passports.

His relatives in the US have mounted a campaign for his release. His sister met National Security Advisor John Bolton and top Russia advisor Fiona Hill earlier this month, according to a statement by his brother David Whelan.

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Whelan has complained of pressure and said Russian authorities are isolating him to coerce a confession due to lack of evidence of his involvement in espionage.


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Not one Republican votes to allow debate on resolution condemning Trump’s racist attacks

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Not a single House Republican on Tuesday voted to proceed to debate on a Democratic resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist attacks on progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

The resolution (pdf)—which is on track to pass by Tuesday evening—"strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

The procedural motion to begin debate passed by a vote of 233-190.

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GOP congressman demands Pelosi’s House floor statement be ‘taken down’ after she denounces Trump’s racist tweets

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took to the floor of Congress to read a statement denouncing President Donald Trump's recent statements telling four Congresswomen of color to go back to their home country. But Republicans are trying everything they can to dismiss the bill.

"The comments are racist," Pelosi said. "How shameful to hear him continue to defend the offensive words. Words we have heard him repeat not only about our members but about countless others. Our caucus will continue to forcefully respond on these attacks which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America. There’s no place anywhere for the president’s words which are not only divisive but dangerous and have legitimatized an increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

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Gay man’s family cut off his ear after he came out

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A teen man came out to his parents and in response his dad severely mutilated him, reports Gay Star News.

The 19-year-old was then locked in a closet, where he tried not to bleed to death.

The teen is from The Gambia and is trying to get asylum in The Netherlands.

“I was so afraid to tell my family about my sexuality,” he said.

“I thought, maybe, my family will accept me because I am their family. This is who I am.”

“That was the biggest mistake I ever made.”

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