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Austria highest court ends row over Hitler birth house

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Austria’s highest court has put an end to a row over the house where Adolf Hitler was born, rejecting the amount the former owner had demanded in compensation, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Gerlinde Pommer’s family owned the yellow corner house in the northern town of Braunau on the border with Germany for nearly a century.

The government took control of the dilapidated building in December 2016 after years of legal wrangling with Pommer.

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Austrian authorities have been keen to prevent the premises, where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Although he only spent a short time at the property, it continues to draw Nazi sympathizers from around the world.

In January, a regional court ruled that the state should pay Pommer 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) in compensation, much more than the 310,000 euros she had been originally offered.

But another tribunal overturned this verdict in April, finding that the current market price — set by a court-appointed expert at 810,000 euros excluding any rental income — would constitute an appropriate amount of compensation.

Austria’s highest court has now upheld the April ruling, meaning Pommer will receive less compensation than she sought but still more than she had been originally offered.

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“After the court’s decision on compensation, a use for Hitler’s birth house can now be found within the framework of the law to prevent any sort of Nazi-related activity,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

Authorities will invite submissions from architects about the future of the site, the statement said without giving further details.

Pommer had been renting the 800-square-meter (8,600-square-feet) property — which also has several garages and parking spaces located behind the main building — to the interior ministry since the 1970s.

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The government paid her around 4,800 euros a month and used it as a centre for people with disabilities.

But this arrangement fell apart in 2011 when Pommer refused to carry out essential renovation work and also declined to sell it.

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Since then, the building has lain empty.

At one point, the interior ministry was pushing to have it torn down but the plans ran into angry resistance from politicians and historians.

Every year on Hitler’s birthday, anti-fascist protesters organize a rally outside the building.

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Judge orders State Department to expand search for records of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pompeo communications

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This Friday, a federal judge ordered the State Department to ramp up its search for records detailing communications in regards to Ukraine between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, McClatchy reports.

Judge Christopher Cooper of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wants the State Department to expand on its release last month of records documenting contact between the two.

Cooper gave the the State Department until January 8 to release all records documenting "emails, text messages, call logs and scheduled meetings on Ukraine policy that were dated until October 18," adding that the department had “not adequately justified why its Executive Secretariat used a cut-off date," according to McClatchy.

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Supreme Court to hear case demanding Trump’s taxes

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President Donald Trump is, like every other president, responsible for giving his tax returns to Congress. He has refused to do so for all three years he's filed his taxes.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden, who was put on the bench by President Trump, said that he would allow a House lawsuit to continue. That case involkes the 1924 law that says the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to seek tax returns.

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‘DESPICABLE’: Melania Trump finally responded to her husband bullying a teenager – and people are pissed

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First lady Melania Trump was blasted online for refusing to stand up to her husband's attacks on teenager Greta Thunberg, who has become a climate activist demanding a cleaner future for her generation.

The first lady's campaign "Be Best," is supposed to fight bullying, but when it comes to the bullying by her husband, Mrs. Trump has a blind spot. She explained in a tweet Friday that since Thunberg is an activist she deserves whatever she gets. By contrast, no one can mention her son with the president.

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